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10 min ago

Where to buy a U.S. unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge

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U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7

Samsung is finally offering a SIM-unlocked Galaxy S7 (and GS7 edge) in the United States. That means a few things.

The unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are able to work on pretty much any operator here in the U.S. While most folks out there don't hop from one to the next too often, it's still a very nice ability to have. These versions also aren't bloated up by carrier software. And as we noted when the GS7 was released, the operators can make a pretty big mess of things. These should also theoretically get software updates faster. (We'll just have to see on that one.)

But the big question: Where will you be able to buy an unlocked Galaxy S7? Turns out there a number of choices. Samsung has committed to having the phones available from several different retailers, but not all have put them on sale right at the same time. Here's the current list, and we'll be updating it as more join in.

U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7

See at B&H Photo See at Samsung See at BestBuy

U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7 edge

See at B&H Photo See at Samsung See at BestBuy

These direct links will take you to the proper pages for the U.S. unlocked phones ... make sure when searching elsewhere for the phones that you aren't confused by other "unlocked" models — those could possibly not have the correct network bands for the U.S.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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4 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 shown off in triad of colors in leaked renders

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It wasn't that long ago that we got our first peek at the rumored specs of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and now we've got a look at some leaked renders that show what is likely to be the plus-sized phone's design.

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11 hours ago

Sony Xperia X Performance review: 80% of a great phone

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Sony's new line of smartphones gets a spec boost in the Xperia X Performance, but do a few tweaks to the formula justify its $699 cost?

The quick take

The Sony Xperia X Performance is a good phone, but it not only fails to justify its $150 premium over its cheaper counterpart, it also falls down as a flagship, too. Too few improvements over the Z5 series, and some frustrating screen responsiveness issues, have us asking how, after so long, Sony still can't get it right.

The Good

  • Great performance in apps and games
  • Nice daylight photo capabilities
  • Excellent stereo sound output
  • Waterproof metal chassis is one hand-friendly

The Bad

  • Stupefying screen responsiveness issues
  • Slow camera startup and occasional shutter stutter
  • Too similar to the Z5
  • Can't justify its $150 price increase over Xperia X

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14 hours ago

Smartphone nerds, it's time to start getting excited about Huawei

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Huawei logo

Huawei is serious about Western markets, and its phones are about to get really good thanks to completely overhauled software. All of this could add up to the once obscure Chinese firm being Samsung's major European rival in 2017.

In one fell swoop, Huawei is about to address one of the biggest longstanding weaknesses in its Android phones. As reported this past week, Huawei soon will unveil a major new version of its EMUI software, with the timing likely to coincide with the company's IFA 2016 press conference in early September. (Also likely: a new Huawei Mate handset to showcase this new software.)

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19 hours ago

Honor 5C is now up for sale on Flipkart for ₹10,999

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After making its debut in India late last month, the Honor 5C is now up for sale in the country. The phone is available exclusively on Flipkart for ₹10,999, with gold, silver, and grey color options listed.

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21 hours ago

LeEco Le Max 2 review: Welcome to the age of USB-C audio

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LeEco Le Max 2 review

The LeEco Le Max 2 offers a lot for its asking price, but USB-C audio is going to frustrate a lot of users.

Quick take:

The Le Max 2 is the company's flagship for 2016, and builds on what we've seen with the Le Max. The screen is a more manageable 5.7 inches (from its predecessor's 6.4 inches), and a 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820 SoC ensures that you won't see any slowdowns in day-to-day usage. The 21MP camera is one of the best at recording 4K video, and you get free access to LeEco's considerable content ecosystem. However, LeEco's decision to move to USB-C audio in favor of the ubiquitous 3.5mm jack is ill-advised, as it tries to solve a problem no one had in the first place.

The good

  • Fast performance
  • Decent camera
  • Free access to LeEco's content ecosystem

The bad

  • USB-C audio
  • Average battery life
  • Slow fingerprint sensor

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1 day ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 preview: Specs, software, release info and more!

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Samsung phones

Once again, it's almost Galaxy Note time — and 2016's big-screen Samsung phone looks like being the best in years.

Samsung's Galaxy Note series has always been a fan favorite. It's said among followers of the series that the only thing which can replace a Note is another Note. And so after a strong showing earlier in the year with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, all eyes are on the Galaxy Note 7, due for arrival in the second half of the year.

As usual, the rumor mill is buzzing with speculation about what we can expect from the latest in a popular line of big-screened phones. And to help you cut through the hype and speculation, we've collected all the most reliable info here, in our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 preview. Read on to learn more.

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1 day ago

What bands are supported in the U.S. unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7?

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Pretty much all the bands are supported in the Samsung Galaxy S7. Thanks for asking.

The thing about having a SIM-unlocked smartphone is that it still has to be able to support the bands — that is the radio frequencies — of wherever it is you're trying to use it. And the unlocked Galaxy S7 and GS7 edge that Samsung has released in the United States pretty much has 'em all.

Here are the bands supported by the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge:

Category Features CDMA 1x & EVDO Rev 0/RevA BC0, BC1, BC10 GSM Band 2/4/5/8 UMTS Band 1/2/4/5/8 FDD-LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/18/19/20/25/26/29/30 TDD-LTE Band 38/39/40/41 TD-SCDMA Band 34/39

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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1 day ago

Quick comparison: 2016's mid-range Android challengers

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It's a great time to buy a mid-range phone.

With the unveiling of the Honor 5C and Wileyfox Spark in Europe this past week, and the imminent arrival of the Sony Xperia XA and ASUS Zenfone 3 internationally, the mid-range market continues to be one of the most competitive spaces for Android phones. With many such handsets launching this summer, we've rounded up the top six to see how they compare on paper.

You'll find out spec showdown down below, along with links to our hands-on coverage with each of these promising mid-level handsets!

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1 day ago

Xiaomi's gigantic Mi Max debuts in India for just ₹14,999

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At a media event in New Delhi, Xiaomi launched the Mi Max in India. The phablet will be available starting July 13, and will retail for ₹14,999. Registrations are now live, and unlike earlier phones, the Mi Max will be available in general sale on Xiaomi's website, as well as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm.

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1 day ago

Xiaomi sold over 1 million units of the Redmi Note 3 in India

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At the Mi Max event in New Delhi, Xiaomi announced that it sold over 1 million units of the budget Redmi Note 3 since the phone debuted in India earlier this year.

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1 day ago

The Xiaomi Mi Max is launching in India — watch the livestream right here!

1

Xiaomi is all set to launch the Mi Max phablet in India. Hit up the video above for all the action from the livestream. The manufacturer is also bringing MIUI 8 to India today, and as such there should be plenty of things to look forward to.

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1 day ago

HTC kicks off Sense 8 Home closed beta on non-HTC phones

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Last week, HTC started sending out emails over a closed Sense 8 Home beta test on non-HTC hardware. The closed beta has now kicked off, with HTC giving beta testers access to the HTC 10 launcher and its user feedback app.

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1 day ago

LG's dual-camera X cam now available on South Korea's SK Telecom, LG U+

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LG announced the X cam earlier this year, and the phone is now available on South Korea's SK Telecom and LG U+ for ₩495,000 ($430). The highlight of the X cam is the dual rear cameras, with the phone getting a secondary camera with a 120-degree wide angle lens, much like the LG G5.

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2 days ago

ASUS ZenFone Max review: Lasts long, and that's that

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The quick take

The maiden ASUS ZenFone Max launched last year was not perfect, but it was a standout performer in the affordable smartphone segment with its stellar battery life. The company recently launched a refresh with upgraded internals and identical design – just months after the first one went on sale. The highlight of the ZenFone Max – battery life — hasn't changed, and it's one area where it doesn't disappoint. In few others, however, it sadly does.

The Good

  • Battery life
  • Solid build quality
  • Internal storage

The Bad

  • ZenUI experience and bloatware
  • No quick charging
  • Weight

About this review

I used the Indian retail variant of the ASUS ZenFone Max that ran ZenUI on top of Android Marshmallow out of the box. There was about 25GB of free storage available after setting up the device. For most of the time, I used it with an Airtel 4G SIM in Delhi NCR.

ASUS ZenFone Max Design

The ZenFone Max is not much of a looker, and is identical to its predecessor — the original ZenFone Max — which went on sale just six months ago and follows the company's design ethos with signature concentric circles at the front and a metallic strip running along the sides with large bezels all around.

At 202 grams, the ZenFone Max is quite heavy and sports a noticeable width – a trade-off for packing in a massive 5000mAh battery. But it feels quite sturdy and is a solid device. With that heft and build quality, you actually can use the ZenFone Max to throw at someone in case of a street fight (or not). I'd like to point out that several big-battery phones in the market — like those from Lenovo and Gionee — are lighter than ZenFone Max.

The removable rear panel sports a faux-leather finish which gives the soft-touch plastic a nice feel and aids the grip. The gold metallic edges provide a stylish accent to the rear panel. There's nothing special about the design of ZenFone Max, and it is identical to most ZenFone devices. Yet it stands out in the herd and feels nice in the hand.

ASUS ZenFone Max Hardware

When it comes to internals, the latest ZenFone Max gets a significant upgrade by packing in octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor as compared to the Snapdragon 410 that powered the original ZenFone Max. This time around, the ZenFone Max comes in two variants with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. Both variants include a generous 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 64GB via microSD card.

Category Features Operating System Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with ZenUI Display 5.5-inch HD (1280 x 720) with Gorilla Glass 4 protection Processor 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 RAM 2GB/3GB Internal Storage 32GB; expandable up to 64GB via a microSD slot Rear Camera 13MP Front Camera 5MP Dimensions 156 x 77.5 x 10.6 mm Weight 202 grams Battery 5000 mAh

While overall the ZenFone Max is an able mid-ranger for your daily tasks, it tends to get bogged down with extensive multitasking or playing graphic-intensive games. Even with the Snapdragon 615 processor, the new Zenfone Max feels a bit underpowered and you would have hoped it was better. While I reviewed the 2GB variant, the 3GB variant would obviously fare better and makes more sense if you can spend the extra dough.

A fingerprint scanner is a noticeable omission on the ZenFone Max. While it is not a top priority for a lot of budget smartphone buyers at the moment, it is a blank spot on the specifications sheet when compared to several other budget and mid-range devices in the market right now.

ASUS ZenFone Max Display

While several, sub-₹10,000 smartphones from Xiaomi, Lenovo, Meizu, et al sport full HD displays, the new ZenFone Max stays with 720p HD resolution on a 5.5-inch display. The sole positioning of the smartphone is its endurance and a 1080p display would've hit that metric.

The display on the ZenFone Max is not the sharpest, yet the brightness and color reproduction is impressive. The viewing angles too are great and the screen is not very reflective, and therefore the sunlight legibility is pretty good. From the display settings, you can also customize the screen colors or choose from a few presets to tune the display as per your preference. Tinkering with the settings, you can adjust the temperature, hue, and saturation.

Overall, the display on the ASUS ZenFone Max is good enough for your daily drive and there's also Gorilla Glass 4 for scratch and shatter resistance. While a 720p display is a tad underwhelming on a large display, a lot of users might be okay with the trade-off.

ASUS ZenFone Max Software

Thankfully, the ZenFone Max now runs Android Marshmallow out-of-the-box wrapped under Asus's proprietary skin, the ZenUI. The latter though isn't optimized well, and often things would freeze and there would be random lags when a few apps were in background.

While Android skins are a matter of individual choice, the ZenUI is a tad gimmicky and much bloated. On first run, dive into the app drawer and you'd find a bunch of first party apps like ASUS Mobile Manager, ASUS Support, AudioWizard, Auto-start Manager, Do It Later, MiniMovie, PhotoCollage, Laser Ruler, MyASUS, Share Link, Splendid, Weather, WebStorage, ZenCircle, and ZenTalk. Also, you'd have all these apps and more updating on the first run which is a poor unboxing experience. There's also a bunch of third party apps like Clean Master, Dr. Safety, Amazon Kindle, Snapdeal, TripAdvisor, TrueCaller, Newshunt, and few others that are offered as suggested apps and are downloaded automatically as soon as you finish setting up the device.

The Asus Mobile Manager boosts and optimizes RAM and battery, but also includes shortcuts to several other optimization apps. Asus could've really packed in all that functionality in an integrated Mobile Manager app for better user experience.

The ZenFone Max supports gestures and along with the double-tap to wake up or turn off the display, you can draw various letters on the screen to launch apps from standby. It's awkward though that there is no option to customize the gestures. You can flip the device over to mute a call and can also take a screenshot while using any app by shaking the phone. It's not the best implementation though, and several times I had to shake the phone violently – to the surprise of folks around me – to capture a screenshot making it a pointless 'shortcut'.

ASUS ZenFone Max Battery life

Of course, the highlight of the ZenFone Max is the 5000mAh battery it packs and the tremendous battery life it claims to offer. The claim's not misplaced and you can easily get through the second day on ZenFone Max with moderate usage. A casual user will be able to squeeze in more than two days by configuring the optimum battery mode. Asus offers multiple battery modes based on your usage — performance, normal, power saving, and super power saving. You can also create a customized one.

The ZenFone Max supports reverse charging, and can be used as a power bank to charge another phone using the bundled OTG cable.

Like the last time, one of the baffling issues with the ZenFone Max is the inefficient charging via the standard 1A/5V bundled charger. The ZenFone Max is notoriously slow to charge taking an average of five hours to charge the phone from zero to hundred percent. A quick charging solution would've been great especially when you have to charge a bigger battery like the one it has.

ASUS ZenFone Max Camera

When it comes to camera, the Asus ZenFone Max has a pretty much standard package on the specifications sheet. There's a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF support and laser focus, and a 5-megapixel front camera. However, the rear camera is only average as compared to budget smartphones from Xiaomi and LeEco which has set new benchmarks in imaging for the budget smartphone segment.

The ZenFone Max captures good details and the colors are accurate. Some landscape shots though lacked sharpness. While the camera focusses in a jiffy, the shutter speed is unimpressive. Interestingly, the ZenFone Max does pretty well in low light photography. For a budget device, using the Night or Low Light mode, I managed to click several decent pictures. The front camera too is good enough for your selfies and manages to capture enough details and accurate colors.

The default camera app is loaded with options with several toggles right on the viewfinder. There are a variety of shooting modes like HDR, Super Resolution, Depth of Field, Low Light, Night, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, and Smart Remove and the settings include options to configure the ISO, white balance, exposure, and other features like Anti-Shake Enhancement.

ASUS ZenFone Max Bottom line

ASUS has retained the best bits of the first ZenFone Max — the design and build quality as well as the camera — while upgrading the internals across the board. There are still some misses, like the lack of quick charging and fingerprint scanner. The hardware upgrade too doesn't up the performance as much as one would've liked thanks to the buggy ZenUI.

The ZenUI user experience on the ZenFone Max leaves a lot to be desired, and the amount of bloatware is plain annoying. One would wish that Asus would give ZenUI a refresh like Samsung recently did with TouchWiz.

Should you buy it? Probably

At ₹9,999 ($148) for the 2GB RAM variant in India, the Asus ZenFone Max is a good buy if you're looking for a decent smartphone that can last long and does good enough in performance and camera department wrapped in a solid chassis. The 3GB RAM variant, while being a better performer comes at a premium (₹12,999 ($192)) that might not be good enough for the neither-here-nor-there smartphone.

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