2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review is a post by Josh Smith from Gotta Be Mobile.

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is an exceptional plug-in hybrid that I enjoy driving more than the 2016 Toyota Prius. Unlike the original model, the Prius Prime brings a full EV mode to the party that combines a very good electric range with the proven benefits of the hybrid system.

You can buy the 2017 Prius Prime in three trim levels including Plus, Premium and Advanced. I spent a week putting the Prius Prime Advanced, which starts at $33,100 and was equipped with no additional packages, to the test. You can add accessories like all-weather liners, alloy wheels or other small upgrades to the Advanced trim level, but it already comes with all the options Toyota offers.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime won me over from the hybrid only, with more functionality, a new look and smart features even if it is missing CarPlay & Android Auto.
Pros
EV Mode is zippy and a nice addition to the standard Prius.
Great Fuel economy in hybrid mode.
Good set of safety features.
Smooth switch from electric to gas a power.
Cons
No Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
No middle buckle limits total seating to four.
Love it or hate it style.

The 2017 Prius Prime Advanced is an excellent vehicle, thanks in part to the price, which allows a buyer to get into a plug-in hybrid for significantly less than the Chevy Volt. This does come at the cost of a lower EV range, one extra passenger in the back seat and a lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

2017 Prius Prime Range & Driving

The 2017 Prius Prime offers 25 miles of plug-in range, which is half of what you get with the Chevy Volt but, as it turns out, it’s just about right for my typical week. It would even work for my wife’s daily commute, which is just about 20 miles round trip. The key with the Prius Prime, and other plug-in hybrids, is that the electric only range just needs to handle your average drive, because the hybrid system gives you as much range as you’ll ever need. As long as you stop for gas eventually. The Chevy Volt’s range is a better fit when I travel to a nearby coworking place, but ultimately even the Volt is not enough for an electric only trip.

With the electric range and nightly charging I rarely needed to use much gas during my week with the Prius Prime and that is what counts. Yes the 133 MPGe is an impressive looking number, but the practical side of this is that both me and my wife could use the Prius Prime Advanced for our regular driving needs while relying mostly on electric power.

It’s a Prius, so it’s not particularly fast and it’s not going to give you the thrills of driving a sports car, but it is easy to drive and handles well. It’s definitely fast enough to get into traffic and to get up to highway speeds. When on electric power you get more instant access to the limited power you do have. In town and in traffic that first two seconds of acceleration feels zippy when in EV mode.

You can choose between Eco, Normal and Power driving modes, but Eco is too sluggish for me to use for more than a test. There is also an option to hold the EV power in reserve to use it later. You can charge over a standard 120 outlet and it will take some time, or you can get a full charge in about 2 hours on a 240 volt connection. Overall range is well over 600 miles with the combined electric and gas reserve.

2017 Prius Prime Looks & Interior

It’s a Prius.

The 2017 Prius Prime gains new looks that I like better than the 2016 Prius, but it’s still a car that will strike you as awesomely futuristic and modern or illicit an exclamation of “Why?” when you see it.

A new grille streamlines the front of the car and the upgraded taillights help deliver a better overall look. I won’t go so far as to say I’m in love with the design of the Prius Prime Advanced, but it’s easier to appreciate.

Inside you’ll find a gigantic screen at the center of the dash. It’s the home for all of the tech, but it’s also the main focal point anytime you get in the car. Yes, you still have a dash where key details for the driver exist, but you can’t talk about the inside of the car without mentioning this dominating screen.

The seats are heated, but the buttons are tucked way under the overhang of the dash, so it’s a stretch to reach them. The seats are comfortable overall and there is plenty of rom for those in the front seat.

One catch is that this is only a four seater. The back seat does not come with a middle belt like you will find in the Chevy Volt. Cargo space is down slightly from the standard Prius, but I still had enough usable space for all of my needs.

2017 Prius Prime Technology & Safety

The huge screen comes with a new version of Toyota Entune that is definitely the best version we’ve used, but it is missing a key new car feature I want: Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Toyota is a holdout that refuses to add this support to Toyota vehicles. I definitely miss CarPlay or Android Auto when in the Prius Prime. Android Auto gives me Waze and other apps on the dash and CarPlay is nearly as good as Android Auto with great access to apps and messages.

The large display is easy to see, it doesn’t blind you at night and the system is generally easy to use. You can plugin to play music or connect over Bluetooth. The call quality is above average. Finding what you want in the system is simple and this is the right direction for Entune, I just wish it also came with support for Android Auto and CarPlay. There is no volume knob, so you need to use touch buttons, but thankfully there are steering wheel mounted volume controls.

On the Premium and Advanced trim level there is a built-in wireless charger that you can use for many new smartphones.

On the safety side, the Advanced trim level includes many of our must have features like radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure alert and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. The radar cruise control system works great and simplifies longer trips by taking the frustration out of following inconsistent drivers.

You Need These 10 Must Have Car Features: Find Out Why

Smart Cruise Control

Smart Cruise Control

Do you hate constantly adjusting your cruise control, or giving up on cruise control because of traffic or due to a driver in front of you who keeps changing speed? You need a smart cruise control system.

Smart cruise control goes by many different names. You may see it listed as Radar Cruise, Adaptive Cruise or Intelligent Cruise control. Whatever it is called, it will allow you to set your cruise control and then stay with the flow of slower traffic.

Here's why we love it and why you need it. You get on the highway and set the cruise at 76 miles per hour. You also set the distance you want kept between you and the car in front of you. There are typically three or four settings so you can be close or keep a lot of space. Now you simply steer and your car will go 76 mile per hour when traffic allows it or there is no one in front of you. When someone is in front of you going 73 mph, the car automatically slows down to keep you the distance you choose from that car. This is indispensable in traffic and on long road trips. 

Not all smart cruise control systems are the same. Some of work at all speeds, while others only work above a specific limit. Some systems can bring you to a complete stop in traffic and then restart without you needing to touch a pedal. 

You can find adaptive cruise control on cars as cheap as $18,500 like the Toyota Corolla, and as an option on many cars below $30,000. Even on pricier cars you may need a higher trim level or special package to get this feature. 

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review is a post by Josh Smith from Gotta Be Mobile.

10 Best Nokia 6 Cases

10 Best Nokia 6 Cases is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

These are the best Nokia 6 cases to protect your phone and keep it looking new. Our buying guide will go over all the different cases available and what they each have to offer. This is an excellent affordable phone, but with a big 5.5-inch screen a case is highly recommended.

Just because Nokia’s latest phones are ultra-affordable, or even cheap, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep them protected. In fact, being an excellent phone for just over $200 means you’ll have some extra money to get a quality Nokia 6 case.

We have everything from thin cases, cheap options, kickstand cases, to heavy-duty protection. Our list details cases as low as $7, which is better than paying $150+ to repair a broken screen. You’ll need to spend upwards of $25 for the most durable cases or something made by Nokia themselves.

While we recommend investing in a quality case from Nokia, even cheap $7-10 TPU cases on Amazon are better than nothing. In fact, TPU cases typically offer some of the best protection for half the cost of other cases. The more expensive Nokia 6 cases have durable materials, extra features like a kickstand, or premium materials like Carbon Fiber.

Additionally, a case will have raised edges around the screen and camera lens. This way important aspects of your phone can’t get damaged easily.

The Nokia 6 comes in a few different storage and RAM configurations, but they all have the same design. Meaning any and all cases from our roundup will fit your phone.

In closing, being one of the best budget phones available in 2017 means owners have tons of cases to choose from. Popular brands like Incipio have great protection, and several others on Amazon. That said, it’s not the latest Galaxy S8 so your options are somewhat limited. Don’t worry though, as we’ve gathered a list of the best cases that will keep your phone safe, protect the screen or camera, and make it easier to hold. Grab a case from our slideshow below.

Nokia Carbon Fiber Hard Shell

Nokia Carbon Fiber Hard Shell

First up is the official Carbon Fiber case from Nokia themselves. This slim, sleek, hard-shell case features a smooth yet easy to grip carbon fiber outer shell. Each corner has extra protection to keep your phone safe from drops too. 

Being an official case made by Nokia means you'll get the perfect fit. Precision laser-cutouts give you access to all the buttons, ports, camera, sensors and more. In fact, this case is more of a snap-on cover. So while it doesn't cover the entire phone, all the important parts are safe. 

Each corner folds over and extends beyond the screen, so you can lay the phone face-down without worry. It doesn't hurt that the case looks stylish with the stainless steel and carbon fiber finish.  

Buy it Now for $22 from MobileFun

10 Best Nokia 6 Cases is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

5 Best Apple TV 4K Alternatives

5 Best Apple TV 4K Alternatives is a post by Josh Smith from Gotta Be Mobile.

The Apple TV 4K offers you access to 4K movie rentals, AirPlay, mirroring your iPhone and loads of other features, but it isn’t the best 4K streaming device for everyone. It’s also more expensive than many competing products. Here are the best Apple TV 4K Alternatives and what they offer compared to the newest Apple TV.

Apple delivered a major breakthrough when they negotiated lower digital 4K movie purchase prices and they offer the best access to 4K rentals across the board, but there is no optical audio out and there is no support for Dolby Atmos yet. The Apple TV 4K is also one of the most expensive 4K streaming devices out there.

Yes, the Apple TV is going to slot into your Apple filled life better than most of the devices on this list, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t viable alternatives out there if you want different features or are looking for a more affordable way to watch 4K video on your TV. If you have HomeKit connected devices, you may want to go with the Apple TV 4K, even if there is another device you like better since it is also a smart home hub.

Here are the best Apple TV 4K alternatives you can buy.
Here are the best Apple TV 4K alternatives you can buy.

Many of the devices include apps that you can install on your iPhone or iPad to use as a remote control, and some include options to stream from your iPhone to the TV, similar to how you use AirPlay or mirroring.

Here are the best Apple TV Alternatives that can all streak in 4K, including favorites like Netflix and that offer access to apps like HBO Go, Amazon Video, movie rentals and more.

  1. Amazon Fire TV 4K
  2. Nvidia Shield TV
  3. Roku Ultra
  4. Xbox One S
  5. Smart TV

The cheapest Apple TV 4K alternative is the Amazon Fire TV 4K, which you could put on three TVs for the price of one Apple TV 4K. The Google ChromeCast Ultra is the same price, but it relies on you using a phone as the hub instead of a remote control, which may turn off some users. Each device has strengths and ways to stand out, and should be part of your research as you look into buying a 4K streaming box in 2017 and early 2018.

Amazon Fire TV 4K

Amazon Fire TV 4K

The Amazon Fire TV 4K is one of the best Apple TV 4K Alternatives. This is an affordable device at $69.99 and we've seen it on sale for around $55 during the holidays. 

This slim unit sits behind your TV, streams all of your favorites in 4K including Netflix and Amazon Video. There are a lot of 4K video rentals on Amazon, and Amazon is matching Apple's prices most of the time for rentals and purchases. 

You get a voice controlled remote like you do with the Apple TV, but in this case you are using Alexa instead of Siri. The Amazon Fire TV supports 4K at 60 FPS, HDR and Dolby Atmos. 

It's easy to use, and you can use Alexa on it to control your smart home and interact with other apps. The Fire TV 4K does not include an Ethernet port, so you will need to buy an adapter if you need to use a wired connection.  

$69.99 at Amazon - $54.99 on Sale

5 Best Apple TV 4K Alternatives is a post by Josh Smith from Gotta Be Mobile.

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

In this quick guide we’ll show you how to follow hashtags on Instagram. If you have a few favorite topics or hashtags you’re constantly searching for, you’ll be happy to know you can follow them now. This way, important topics or trending hashtags will show up right on your Instagram feed without looking for them.

We saw hints of new features like this earlier in the year, but in December Instagram made it official. Giving users new ways to discover photos, video, people or other trending topics. Whether you’re constantly searching a hashtag to follow the latest news, or just like keeping up with your favorite NFL team, this makes it easier than ever.

Read: How to Stop Instagram Auto-Play Videos

Throughout 2017 Instagram added a lot of neat new features to its social network. From hiding photos or video to an archive, saving live videos, and now following hashtags. It’s basically just as simple as following a friend or any other account. That said, our quick video below will show you how.

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram

If you’re interested in following a hashtag on Instagram it’s actually really simple. You search, find, and tap the big blue “follow” button at the top just like anything else on Instagram. That said, if you’re new to the social sharing site, here’s a more detailed set of instructions.

Instructions

  • Open Instagram on your phone or tablet
  • Tap the magnifying glass Search button near the bottom left of the screen
  • Type “#” and the word/topic you want to follow, we typed #Packers
  • Hit enter or search to find that hashtag topic
  • Tap the big blue Follow # button near the top

That’s all you have to do. Now, hit home and go back to your regular Instagram feed full of all your friends, family, or people you follow. Next, swipe down from the top of the page to refresh your feed. You’ll instantly see results inside your Instagram of the hashtag you’re now following.

You can also tap any hashtag in a post or comment to view that hashtag. Then, click the same follow button at the top.

Additionally, each hashtag page also shows related content or similar tags, so it’s easy to find and follow a bunch in a matter of seconds. Be careful though, you’ll quickly overload your timeline if you follow popular topics.

In closing, this basically lets you follow any hashtag topic instead of an individual person or page on Instagram. As a result, you’ll get far more content to scroll through. Letting people discover more photos, videos, people, places, and everything else you’ll ever find on Instagram. While you’re here, find out how to upload multiple photos at once, or how to turn off comments on your Instagram posts.

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

5 Things to Know About the iOS 11.2.1 Update

5 Things to Know About the iOS 11.2.1 Update is a post by Adam Mills from Gotta Be Mobile.

Apple’s rolled out a new iOS 11.2.1 update to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users and the latest version is focused on fixing issues that popped up after the iOS 11.2 release.

The iOS 11.2 update delivered a long list of new features and fixes, but it also brought problems to many iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners.

The company’s iOS 11.2.1 update addresses some of these issues though we’re already hearing and seeing some early problems with iOS 11.2.1.

If you’re upgrading from the iOS 11.2 update, your version of iOS 11.2.1 comes with a short change log and a tiny download. iOS 11.2.1 is only a few MB for the iPhone X, iPhone 7, and others.

If you’re upgrading from an older version of iOS 11, your iOS 11.2.1 update will be much larger thanks to the updates you skipped. If you skipped iOS 11.2, your iOS 11.2.1 update will be several hundred MB.

iOS 11.2.1 is a small download, but it could have a significant impact on your device’s performance. You could see a boost, but you could also encounter problems.

Our guide to iOS 11.2.1 includes our initial impressions of iOS 11.2.1 on the iPhone X and iPhone 7, a look at the current state of iOS 11.2.1 problems, information about the iOS 11.2.1 downgrade, and a look at what’s next from Apple in terms of bug fixes.

iOS 11.2.1 Impressions

If you’re currently running iOS 11.2, you should be able to download and install the iOS 11.2.1 update in less than 10 minutes.

The iOS 11.2.1 update is just a few megabytes for most devices. The iPhone X iOS 11.2.1 update is just 68.7 MB and just about the same on the iPhone 7.

All in all it took about 7 minutes for the download and installation to complete on these two iPhones.

If you’re moving up from an older version of iOS , you can expect a long download time and a lengthier installation. Remember, the features and fixes from the iOS updates you skipped are baked into iOS 11.2.1.

For more on the exact timing for your device, take a look at our walkthrough.

We’ve only been using the iOS 11.2.1 update for a short time, but here are a few early thoughts about its performance.

We haven’t noticed a sharp drop in battery life on the iPhone X or iPhone 7. We haven’t noticed any issues with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and we were able to connect to our routers, eero, headsets and speakers.

Our core apps are performing fine and we haven’t noticed any catastrophic issues. A meltdown could happen at any moment and we’ll let you know if one does occur.

The iPhone X and iPhone 7 are both fast with iOS 11.2.1 on board, same as iOS 11.2. We haven’t experienced any lag or slowdown during our short time with the update.

If you need additional feedback about iOS 11.2.1, take a look at our reasons to, and not to, install the iOS 11.2 update on your device right now.

Per usual, we’re in the process of publishing mini iOS 11.2.1 reviews and you can find them at these links for the iPhone XiPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6siPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, and the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, and iPad mini 2 when they go live.

iOS 11.2.1: What’s New

iOS 11.2.1 doesn’t come with a massive change log like iOS 11.2. The list of changes is short and focused on fixing issues plaguing the company’s HomeKit platform.

iOS 11.2 users discovered a zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability inside iOS 11.2. The vulnerability allows for unauthorized control of accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.

Apple rolled out a server-side fix last week, but the company’s restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

As of right now, that’s the only change on board iOS 11.2.1. Apple’s change log does note that it fixes “bugs” so we’ll keep digging into the software and let you know if we find anything else.

iOS 11.2.1 Problems

The iOS 11.2.1 update is a bug fix update, but even the smallest iOS updates can cause major problems.

The iOS 11.2.1 update is extremely new, but we’re already seeing iPhone and iPad users complain about installation and download issues, issues connecting to Bluetooth, weird battery drain, and problems with apps.

If you’re noticing iOS 11.2.1 issues on your phone or tablet, take a peek at our list of fixes for common iOS 11 problems. We’ve also released tips to improve iOS 11 performance and tips to improve iOS 11 battery life on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

If you can’t find a fix for your issue, you can try downgrading to an older version of iOS 11.

Apple is currently signing off on four versions of iOS 11 including iOS 11.1, iOS 11.1.1, iOS 11.1.2, and iOS 11.2. This means you can drop back to one of those if iOS 11.2.1’s problems are too much to handle.

Unfortunately, there’s no going back to anything older than iOS 11.1. Apple’s permanently closed off the other downgrade loopholes.

iOS 11.2.1 Jailbreak

We’ve seen some promising developments, but jailbreak developers still haven’t released a working jailbreak for iOS 11.

If you’re currently jailbroken on iOS 10 or below or you think you might want to jailbreak your phone or tablet, you’ll want to avoid iOS 11.2.1.

For more on the iOS 11 jailbreak status, take a look at our roundup.

What’s Next

Apple’s iOS 11.2.1 update will probably be the last iOS update in 2017. With the holidays as close as they are, we aren’t expecting any additional updates unless there’s something seriously wrong with iOS 11.2.1.

Now that Apple’s iOS pipeline is empty, those of you dealing with iOS 11 problems need to be extremely proactive and track down manual fixes.

You can’t rely on Apple to fix your problems in 2017.

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 11.2.1 & 9 Reasons You Should

Install iOS 11.2.1 If You Use HomeKit

Install iOS 11.2.1 If You Use HomeKit

Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought some problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.

The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.

Last week, Apple rolled out a server-side fix, but the company's restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1.

If you use HomeKit and value your home security, you'll want to install the iOS 11.2.1 update right away. 

5 Things to Know About the iOS 11.2.1 Update is a post by Adam Mills from Gotta Be Mobile.