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Google Play App Roundup: Fluctuate, Arena of Valor, and Remindee

Your phone might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new, and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

Fluctuate

Buying things on the internet can save you a lot of money if you wait for a good deal to come along, but you could be out of luck if you don't hop on a hot deal fast enough. Fluctuate is a new app that tracks prices for things you want to buy, and pushes alerts for pricing changes. The basic functionality is free, but several advanced features will cost you.

There are two ways to add items to Fluctuate. You can either share a URL to the app via Android's built-in permission system, or you can open the app and tap the floating action button to paste a URL manually. Fluctuate reads the page and looks for a price, which it usually finds. You have the option to tell the app that the detected price is not the correct one. In that case, the app loads the page, and you can tap on the name of the item and the price to correct the record.

With your item set up in the app, you'll see a notification in the event the price changes… at all. Depending on the site, that might mean a lot of notifications. You can, instead, set a threshold at which you'll receive a notification. Each item on your Fluctuate list shows the current price, and tapping on it lets you buy or view the product. When selecting "Buy now," the app will track how much you've saved based on the price drop since an item was added to the list. That running tally appears at the top of the app.

All of this functionality is free, and there are no ads in Fluctuate. The app will track pricing data over time for your saved items, but you can only see the graph if you upgrade to the pro version for $3.49. There's a separate $1.99 IAP for backup and restore support. That lets you save your tracked items so you won't lose them when migrating to a new device. If you want both, there's a single $4.99 everything upgrade.

Fluctuate has performed well for me with a variety of sites including Amazon, the Google Store, and B&H. I think the IAPs are a bit high, but the free functionality is already very solid. It would have been easy to toss some contextual ads in Fluctuate, but the devs didn't do that. Thumbs up there.

Our Favorite Projects with Frank Ippolito!

Frank's up at the Tested office to wrap up the year with an announcement, and we look back at some of our favorite projects working with Frank and awesome his team at Thinergy. We can't believe how far we've come since first working together five years ago!

PROJECTIONS, Episode 36: Best of VR Picks + Visit to Pixar!

In our final episode of Projections for 2017, we look at the past two years of consumer virtual reality and share our favorite VR games, experiences, and innovations. From VR "classics" that nailed this new medium years ago to breakthrough experiences that changed how we understood presence, here's what new VR owners should try out. Plus, we visit Pixar Animation Studios to chat with the producer of Coco VR about Pixar's foray into virtual reality!

Tested in 2017: Sean's Favorite Things!

Our 3D printer expert Sean's favorite things of the past year include a modelmaking guide book, earbuds, custom LEGO minifigs, a handy driver, and a sculpt he found at a convention this year. Plus, an MP3 player pick!

Tested in 2017: Terry’s Favorite Things

I was able to test a ton of new products during 2017. Here are a few things that stand out for me as I look back over the year. It's mostly RC stuff…but not all!

Shrinking Multi-Rotors

The science of designing FPV racing quads is far from stable. Power systems, batteries, and flight controllers are still on ever changing trajectories. It seems that your new quad is obsolete before you can even get it airborne. One of the trends I've noticed is that quad frames are getting ever smaller. Not so long ago, 250mm ships were the norm. A snapshot of the current quad market would show many options measuring 150mm or less.

The Vortex 150 is my favorite racing quad of 2017. It's a prime example of the advantages that are offered by downsized birds.

My first thought about smaller frames was that building them would be difficult. That was based on the difficulties that I had cramming all of the necessary gear into the 250mm racer I built a couple of years ago. The flip side is that all of the onboard electronics have become smaller as well. Perhaps my concern is unfounded. I hope to form an experience-based opinion by building a sub-100mm quad in the coming year.

While I did not build a small race quad in 2017, I did test a few factory-built designs. My favorite was the Vortex 150 from Immersion RC. This 150mm quad yields nothing performance-wise to my larger racers. In fact, it is probably the fastest and most maneuverable ship in my multi-rotor fleet.

One of the prime advantages of the smaller generation of quads is that you're dealing with less mass. Less mass means that you're not as likely to break something when you crash…and crashes are inevitable. Less mass also means that the aircraft is able to respond to quick changes in direction more quickly. That's definitely a bonus since the goal is often to dart about like a hummingbird.

The Inductrix FPV is tiny but capable. It has opened the door to indoor FPV racing.

A further benefit of the shrinking nature of multi-rotors is that truly great-flying indoor racers are now practical. Indoor FPV racing has become really popular, especially at this time of year. My favorite, and one of the most popular indoor racers is the Blade Inductrix FPV. It is tiny, agile, and tough. While my Inductrix FPV is still box stock, lots of people modify theirs (or build from scratch) with custom motors, flight controllers, frames…you name it. If you want to put your finger on the pulse of indoor quad racing trends, google "tiny whoop" and prepare to spend some time in the rabbit hole.