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21 min ago

Samsung issues 'urgent update' to fix Device Quality Agent error

4

Samsung is releasing a patch for an annoying bug that kept people from enjoying their Galaxy S8s.

Samsung has issued an "urgent new software update" to fix a problem some of its Galaxy S8 customers were experiencing with a software component called Device Quality Agent, or DQA.

After downloading a day-one software update, many Galaxy S8 owners in the U.S. and Canada began seeing an error every 30-seconds to a minute with the notice that "DQA keeps stopping." DQA is that Device Quality Agent, and it keeps tabs on Wi-Fi quality throughout the device. The temporary fix was to Force Close the DQA app itself, or to disable Wi-Fi, but neither were long-term solutions. Thankfully, Samsung issued the small urgent update through its Galaxy Apps store starting April 24, and it should roll out to all Galaxy S8 owners in due time to fix the issue.

This is the second time in a week that Samsung has had to deal with a small but vocal minority of customers complaining that a bug had beset their new smartphone. Previously, Samsung announced that it would issue a software update to correct a red tint problem on some of its AMOLED displays.

Did you experience the "DQA keeps stopping" bug? Let us know if the update fixed the problem!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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49 min ago

Six things you need to do immediately after getting the Galaxy S8

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Take some time to make your Galaxy S8 yours.

There's a lot going on inside the Galaxy S8. From the new design, which does away with much of the front bezels, to the relocation of the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, the S8 is all new. But there are some holdovers from previous versions of the Galaxy lineup, including a number of software features that were present in previous iterations, updated and brought over to the S8.

To make the transition to the Galaxy S8 an easy experience, here's a list of six things you should do right after getting the phone and turning it on.

1. Make sure the navigation buttons are to your liking

If you're coming from another Galaxy phone, you may not feel the need to change the order of the virtual home buttons, but anyone else may be confused and irritated by the fact that the back button is to the right of the home key on the Galaxy S8.

The good news is that you can change where those buttons live just by going straight into the settings and making a quick switch. While you're there, be sure to pick a background color for your new virtual home and check 'Unlock with Home button' if you want to make unlocking the phone much easier.

How to switch the position of the navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8

2. Set up your preferred unlock method

There are a ridiculous number of ways to unlock your Galaxy S8, and you should take some time after setting it up to try them all out and discover which one works best for you.

Because the Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone, it may be difficult to reach for some people and requires the phone to be picked up from a table to unlock it. So it's a good idea to experiment with two new unlocking features — facial recognition and iris scanning — to see whether or not they suit your needs.

Of course, if neither of them do the trick, a simple wearable should suffice, but either way we'd recommend trying to get face recognition working, since it's nearly as fast and accurate as a fingerprint — and you don't even need to touch the phone.

Oh, and while you're in there setting up the face unlock or iris scanner, do yourself a favor and enable the feature that starts scanning immediately after the screen turns on. It's called "Iris unlock when screen turns on" or "Face unlock when screen turns on" in their respective setup areas.

The difference between iris scanning and face unlocking on the Galaxy S8

3. Enable 'Secure Startup'

It's great to have myriad ways to unlock your Galaxy S8, but great security is your responsibility, especially since, increasingly, your phone is your life and your lifeline.

One way to prevent unwanted hands or eyes on your data — even the notifications on your lock screen — is to enable Secure Startup, which requires a PIN or pattern before you even reach the Android lock screen. This ensures that if your phone is stolen or lost while it's off, no one will be able to see any personal information, since the phone's content is completely encrypted until after the secure unlock code is entered.

Understanding Direct Boot on Android

4. Tame that TouchWIZ launcher

The launcher on the Galaxy S8 is actually pretty darn good, but it can get better pretty quickly. The first way is to give yourself one of Samsung's beautiful Infinity Wallpapers, which shift and luxuriate as you move through the various screens. But unlike other live wallpapers, the Infinity Wallpapers also extend to your lock screen and always-on display, which makes spending some time choosing the right one even more essential.

The TouchWIZ Home launcher is also pretty customizable: You can enable an app drawer button if you'd prefer not to swipe up or down to get to your list of apps, and you can change the home screen grid to 5x5 to fit more on the screen at once. Finally, you can hold down on any home screen to align the icons to the top left or bottom right — or leave them strewn all over the place — to suit your desire for order or lack thereof.

5. Learn your gestures

There must be some advantage to moving the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, right? Well, Samsung allows you to use it to activate the notification shade by swiping down on that fingerprint sensor. The feature isn't enabled by default, so you're going to want to head to the phone's settings and go to Advanced features and enable Finger sensor gestures.

It seems like a nothing add-on, but once you enable it you'll realize how convenient it is to be able to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to check notifications, especially right after unlocking the screen.

More: How to quickly get to the GS8 camera with the power button

6. Don't waste that screen space

The Galaxy S8 has a new, taller screen, and some apps don't support that extra vertical space out of the box. But it's easy to force them to — just head to the settings, go to Display and Full screen apps and check off the ones you want to force to fill the whole screen.

Some apps don't look perfect when stretched, but we haven't noticed any that look downright wrong, and that's all we can really ask for, at least until developers build in support for this new, taller format.

In an 18:9 world, we need a new way to quantify screen size

Your turn

What are some of your essential out-of-the-box Galaxy S8 tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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1 hour ago

How to customize the Galaxy S8 navigation bar and home button

6
Galaxy S8 soft keys

It's easy to change the color or swap the order of your Galaxy S8's software keys.

The move to on-screen keys in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ opens up new possibilities for customization. Unlike capacitive and hard keys, the GS8's buttons and status bar — the back, home and recent apps keys you see at the bottom of the screen — are part of the display, and can be controlled through Samsung's software.

And it turns out there are a few neat ways in which you can personalize your Galaxy S8's buttons. Here's how:

Background color

Navigation bar options

As the name suggests, the background color option allows you to set the hue of the lower area behind the on-screen buttons. By default, it's white, though it's worth noting that this setting only affects Samsung's own apps — standard Android apps will use the regular black background or whichever color the app's developer specifies.

There are a few pre-selected colors for you to choose from, or you can tap the color wheel to pick one of your own.

Unlock with Home button

The Unlock with Home button option is self-explanatory. By default, pressing the virtual home button while the screen is off takes you to the lock screen, where you can swipe to unlock using pattern, PIN, face unlock, or irises. (Or simply swipe to unlock if you're using Android's Smart Lock feature.)

With this option enabled, your phone will unlock immediately — after first checking your face, irises, or asking you for a PIN or pattern. (With Smart Lock, you'll simply press to unlock.)

Note: This setting won't affect how the fingerprint scanner works. If you have fingerprint unlock set up, unlocking via the fingerprint scanner will always bypass the lock screen.

Button layout

Button layout

By default, the Galaxy S8's keys are arranged in the same order as older Samsung phones — recents - home - back. If you're used to the button layout used by most other Android phones — back - home - recents — you may want to switch to this layout.

How to switch the position of the navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8

Home button sensitivity

This one's self-explanatory: You've got five levels of sensitivity to choose from to decide how hard you'll need to press the screen for the GS8 to register a hard press on the home key.

Obviously, this only applies to hard presses such as when you're unlocking the phone or using the home button from within a full-screen app where the soft keys are invisible.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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21 hours ago

How to enable or disable the LG G6's camera roll — and why you may want to leave it off

5
LG G6

The LG G6 lets you see a scrolling strip of recent photos, but you may want to leave it off for quicker camera load times.

The LG G6 has a lot of neat features that utilize the taller 18:9 aspect ratio, letting you see more at once. One of those can be found in the camera app. The filmstrip view — officially called "camera roll" — gives you a scrolling vertical strip of recent photos off to the left of your main viewfinder. It's a great way to use up some of that extra height, since the sensor itself shoots in 4:3 natively.

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1 day ago

Nougat is now available for the Note 5 on all major U.S. carriers

67

Samsung's 2015 phones are beginning to receive Nougat in the U.S.

Update, April 24: It looks like T-Mobile has rolled out Android 7.0 Nougat to its Galaxy Note 5 units, too! Go get it!

Three of the four big U.S. carriers are rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and Note 5 over the week, much to the delight of impatient users everywhere.

Sprint and Verizon were first out of the gate to bring Samsung's 2015 suite of phones to its latest version of the Samsung Experience, which improves the design of the UI and upgrades things like notifications and multitasking. AT&T followed shortly thereafter. Here's a look at what to expect, as seen on the Galaxy S7.

Here are the phones that have received updates so far:

  • Galaxy S6: Sprint
  • Galaxy S6 edge: Sprint
  • Galaxy S6 edge+: AT&T, Verizon
  • Galaxy Note 5: Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

No word on when the T-Mobile variants will get Nougat.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon Best Buy

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1 day ago

Galaxy S8 camera tips and tricks

10

Here's a look at the Galaxy S8's camera app, what it can do, and how it can inspire you to be a little more silly with your smartphone.

Samsung's smartphones have had a pretty consistent track record over the past few years when it comes to shooting photos. And though Samsung's had a storied past of overdoing it on the extra features, the companion camera apps as of late have come equipped with some genuinely fun-to-use features and abilities. This year's Galaxy S8, in particular, is well-equipped for inspiring creativity — and not just because it offers knockoff Snapchat filters.

For a full look at the Galaxy S8's camera capabilities, check out the full review of the flagship device. Or, read on for a rundown on the Galaxy S8's camera and what it can do.

New camera app — who dis?

The Galaxy S8's camera app interface. {.caption }

The camera app on the Galaxy S8 hasn't been mega overhauled by any means, but it's definitely been tweaked a tad so that it's more user-friendly. The new layout also puts the most important features of the device's camera abilities up front. For instance, now when you go to snap a photo, you can zoom in and out by simply sliding the shutter button from left to right. It's one-touch access to the two most important features of the camera: shooting a photo and zooming around.

A quick way to change cameras

If you want to change cameras, the option is available at the top of the interface. However, you can also simply swipe up on the viewfinder to change cameras, which is an immensely easier shortcut if you're using the Galaxy S8 one handed!

Use a photo filter

Swipe to the left on the bottom shutter button area to choose between photo filters. There are eight to start with, but you can download more if you please from the Galaxy Apps store. This screen will also offer shortcuts to face masks and other sorts of filters and effects.

What each camera mode can do

Galaxy S8 camera modes

The Galaxy S8's various camera modes.

Swipe to the right in the same area of the interface to choose between camera modes. You can choose between the following:

Auto: This is the automatic shooting mode and it's pretty self-explanatory. This is likely the way you'll be shooting a majority of the time with the Galaxy S8 or S8+.

Pro: This is Samsung's manual mode. From here, you can choose the ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and exposure level. You can also take advantage of a manual focus option, which helps in macro shooting situations. There's an option to choose the focus area, as well as options for the metering mode.

Panorama: A feature that's standard on most smartphones. The Galaxy S8's Panorama mode is no different from others, though it will require you to scan the scene from right to left.

Selective focus. Selective Focus.

A preview of the Galaxy S8's Selective focus.

Selective focus: Sadly, this is not the iPhone's portrait mode, but it is the closest you'll get when the macro mode or general bokeh effect isn't showing up in your smartphone photography. The Selective focus functionality will take several pictures at once, and then you'll have to head back into the Gallery to choose the style of focus you like before saving the photo. The result is typically some neat close up shots. The mode is available for the front-facing camera, too.

Slow motion: This mode switches you into the video recording ability. Once you've made your video, tap on it in the gallery app to select when in the video timeline to transform it into slow motion.

Hyperlapse: Set up the Galaxy S8 on a mobile tripod of sorts and leave it facing the window to shoot the sunset. Come back to it after an hour to see how you've captured the changing light, and then share it to Instagram.

Food: This is like portrait mode, but for food. Snap a photo of your spaghetti or whatever other culinary monstrosities you have laying out in front of you. You can move the circle in the viewfinder to adjust the blur of the background and then tap the shutter button to take the picture. Note that this only works on objects that are up close.

Virtual shot: Samsung's virtual shot is always sort of hard to explain to others. Basically, the Galaxy S8 takes a few rapid photos in succession as you physically orient yourself around an object from either side. It then compiles those shots into an animated file of sorts. You can share the virtual shot as a video or GIF image file on social media. Note that it can be hard to make this shot if your subject isn't standing still.

Blur your face

The Galaxy S8 is equipped with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that's pretty capable. It shoots at an aperture of f/1.7 and features autofocus, so you can confidently use it at the bar to snap a selfie of your and friends. But if you're not feeling so confident, you can utilize the beauty modes that come built into the camera app to hide your imperfections. And there's no shame in it either — I do it all the time! A little facial blur is especially useful now that front-facing cameras shoot at a higher resolution.

Take a wide-angle selfie

You can snap a wide-angle selfie by swiping right on the shutter area in the front-facing camera mode. Or, as I like to refer to it, a panorama mode for the front-facing camera.

These aren't Snapchat Filters

Samsung bundled in a face mask feature in the Galaxy S8 — not to be confused Snapchat filters, though they work almost identically. You can use them with the front-facing camera on yourself, or the rear-facing camera with a friend. Annoyingly, you can't use them in tandem with the other effects, which means you can apply a filter on top of a filter. It's one filter at a time here, people. Don't get hasty.

Filters with a friend.

You can use the Galaxy S8's face masks with a friend.

Tap into the mode by selecting the itty bitty bear icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the interface. Once you've chosen your mask, tap back on the viewfinder to resurface the shutter button. Say cheese! Some masks have audio effects and animations, while all masks will be sure to delight those you love most in your life. You can snap a photo or record a video with the masks on, as well as easily remove the effect if it just becomes too much. It even works with a friend.

Bixby in the camera app

There is quite a bit of nuance when we're talking about Bixby, the Galaxy S8's native virtual assistant. Unfortunately, it's pretty half-baked in its current implementation, but the one part that does work is Bixby Vision, which utilizes the camera.

Tap the Bixby button. You can point the camera at an object or landscape, and then Bixby will retrieve relevant images and shopping links -- unless you're on Verizon, which weirdly doesn't offer shopping links to Galaxy S8 users at the moment, though you can still look up images. Bixby Vision works on a variety of objects, including clearly labeled beauty products and branded electronics. And sometimes, it'll confuse things, too, which makes for a hilarious turn of events at times when you're seeking a little simple humor in life.

The Bixby Vision button.

The Bixby Vision button lives on the camera app.

Anyway, Bixby is baked into the camera app as a way to encourage you to use the feature's camera abilities, just as there's a dedicated hardware button for using its voice-activated features. And perhaps, if you find it useful to compare what's on display at the store with what you can find online, you can quickly access this feature by enabling Quick launch in the camera app settings and then tapping the Bixby button. But again, you can't do this if you're on Verizon.

What to enable in the camera settings

GS8 camera settings

The Galaxy S8's camera settings.

Don't forget that there are a number of extra settings available for the minor features you can enable on the Galaxy S8's camera app. Here's a couple to consider turning on:

Tracking AF: Use this mode if you want the camera to continually focus on a person or a moving object in the viewfinder.

Shape correction: This is particularly helpful for automatically correcting lens distortion before it occurs.

Ways to take pictures: From here, you can select whether you want to tap the screen, show your palm, or tap the heart rate sensor to take a selfie.

Motion photo: This is a great feature to enable on vacation. This records a short video clip of what's happening in the photo before it shoots the photo.

Review pictures: Want to see your masterpiece before it files away into the Gallery app? Turn on the option to review your photos right after you snap the photo.

Quick launch: Turn this feature on if you want to quickly launch the camera app with the Power button.

Floating Camera button: This adds an extra camera button that you can move anywhere on the screen. It's especially useful if you're wielding the Galaxy S8+, which is much taller than its smaller sibling.

From left to right: The Galaxy S8's camera decoration mode; Additional camera decoration modes available in the Galaxy Apps store; Downloadable camera modes from the Galaxy Apps store.

Need more guidance?

Aching for more customization over your Galaxy S8's photo-taking abilities? There are plenty of third-party apps that can help facilitate that, though you can also download extra filters and abilities for your Galaxy S8 camera from the Galaxy Apps store.

Need more advice? Leave us a comment and tell us what you've discovered about the Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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1 day ago

Samsung and Qualcomm said to be working on Galaxy S9 processor, because of course they are

46
Qualcomm + Samsung execs

It'd be more surprising if they weren't.

The just-released Samsung Galaxy S8? Old news. The Korean media is already trying to sniff out details of Samsung's first major handset for 2018, presumably the Galaxy S9.

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1 day ago

LG G6 with Quad DAC and 64GB storage lands in India for ₹51,990

21

LG G6 comes with attractive pricing and a slew of launch-day offers.

The LG G6 is now official in India, with the phone set to go on sale starting tomorrow exclusively on Amazon India for ₹51,990 ($805). LG is obviously targeting the Galaxy S8 and S8+ with its flagship, and the pricing reflects that. The Indian variant of the G6 comes with a 32-bit Quad DAC and 64GB storage, and is ₹6,000 ($95) less than the Galaxy S8. When seen against the Galaxy S8+, which is retailing for ₹64,900 ($1,005), the G6 turns out to be an even better deal.

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2 days ago

Make the Bixby button great again: BixRemap will open Google Now instead

66

If Bixby isn't your thing, here's how to replace it with Google Now.

The Galaxy S8 has been mostly well received by everyone. Blogger and users who have scored their phones already are saying really good things, and even the naysayers are impressed with the hardware. It just seems like a damn good phone so far. But there is one thing a lot of folks are saying they would like to change: The Bixby button.

Bixby seems like a cool robot friend AI thing. Unless you're on Verizon or in Europe, that is. I won't dismiss it outright until I've tried it long enough to know if I like it or not.

But other people feel differently and want the convenience and familiarity that comes with Google Now and hate that the button is hard-programmed to open Bixby when pressed. Earlier methods to bypass this have been patched by Samsung as they "exploited" services that they didn't need to access in order to gain control over the button. But because Android developers are crafty and awesome, we have a new app that will save the day.

Developer Dave Bennett is using his own service (you'll need to enable it when you first run the app) that overrides the Bixby behavior. When you press the button, Bixby opens but is quickly backgrounded while Google Now opens. Ha! Awesome, Dave.

You can grab the app (it's free) from the Play Store link above. We don't know if Samsung will find this app not to their liking and patch it away, but it works today so live in the moment and show Bixby who is the boss.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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3 days ago

Hate the Galaxy S8's unlocking options? Buy a Fitbit

77

The Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor placement has some people in a tizzy. Here's how to avoid using it and still keep your device safe.

The Galaxy S8 is a great phone with a lot of ways to unlock the screen. That stems from the fact that Samsung relocated the fingerprint sensor from the front below the screen, which is easy to reach, to the back next to the camera, which is considerably harder. Then it added two new ways to unlock the phone with one's face, but neither of them are as easy and seamless (though they're pretty darn close) than a fingerprint sensor below the screen.

So what's a person to do? How do you overcome this? Well, you could just adapt and learn to live with it, but that's no fun, right? We like to complain and then find better ways to do the same thing! If that describes you to a tee, then let's talk about Fitbit.

Fitbit? Daniel, you crazy

Hear me out. Samsung has included a popular Android feature called Smart Lock that uses an idea called persistent authentication to temporarily disable the phone's lock screen for a period of time. The idea behind persistent auth is that once you prove to the phone that you are you, you shouldn't necessarily have to continue doing so as long as that cycle of trust isn't broken.

You can wear a Fitbit, or any Bluetooth wearable, to safely bypass the lock screen at any time.

So Google figured out a way to do this, and integrated it into Google Play Services a couple of years ago. It's not necessarily the most popular Android feature, which is why it's often overlooked, and perfect for a phone that makes it just a bit too difficult to quickly unlock using a biometric passcode.

While wearing a Fitbit, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device that has a persistent Low Energy (LE) connection to the Galaxy S8, Smart Lock allows users to bypass the unlock process entirely. This makes it easy just to push the invisible home button on the front of the Galaxy S8 (it's always on, even when there's nothing on the screen) to get to the home screen, or press the home button after quick-launching the camera without having to wait for the phone to unlock.

Smart Lock isn't a perfect fix to your Galaxy S8 biometrics troubles, of course: for security reasons, you're forced to re-enter a lock pattern or PIN after four hours of inactivity; and it doesn't always detect the Bluetooth device, even when it's right next to the phone. I wore a Fitbit Alta HR the entire time I reviewed the Galaxy S8 and only had this happen a couple of times, but it was annoying when it did.

Of course, you don't have to use a Fitbit, or even a wearable, to engage in Smart Lock's Trusted Devices feature. It can be any Bluetooth device, including a speaker, selfie stick, or something else entirely. As long as it is connected to your phone, it will work. I just recommend a wearable because, well, it's generally attached to you and harder to steal than a selfie stick or a speaker. It would also be great if Trusted Devices worked with biometric persistent authentication, so it would automatically disconnect not with the Bluetooth connection but with the cessation of a readable heart rate.

See Fitbit Alta HR at Amazon

Other ways to Smart (un)Lock

Trusted Devices aren't the only way to bypass Samsung's lock screen hell. Google has incorporated three other methods, too, and all can work for you.

  • On-body detection keeps the phone unlocked when the proximity sensor is engaged. The idea is that the phone is in your pocket, so Google trusts it's you who has possession. Once you remove the phone from your pocket, you have a few seconds of freedom before the lock mechanism springs back into place. This doesn't always work consistently with every phone, but it's done a good job on the Galaxy S8.
  • Trusted voice is a way to unlock your Galaxy S8 with your voice by saying "OK Google", and it works well, but the screen has to be turned on (but still locked) for the feature to engage, which isn't as useful.
  • Trusted location puts a geofence around an area — your house, your work — where the phone will stay unlocked (for four hours, at least) when you're there. Because it uses an approximate location to save power, Trusted Location isn't a particularly secure method for maintaining authentication, but it's convenient. Only use this when you're sure your device is safe.

How to enable Smart Lock on your Galaxy S8

Want this on your phone? Here are the steps to enable Smart Lock.

  1. Swipe down from the notification shade on your home screen.
  2. Tap on Settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Tap on Lock screen and security.
  4. Tap on Smart Lock.
  5. Enter your unlock code.

  6. Select On-body detection, Trusted places, Trusted device, or Trusted voice.
  7. Configure your Smart Lock settings.

No cure for the common outrage

None of these methods are complete solutions for your Galaxy S8 unlock vitriol. If you can't overcome your absolute hatred for the placement of the fingerprint sensor or the perceived slowness of the iris scanner, you probably shouldn't buy the phone.

But I can assure you that, after using both the Galaxy S8 and the S8+ for a number of weeks, the combination of fingerprint, facial and Google's own Smart Lock procedures is a recipe for certain success. Even without Smart Lock, I've found a fairly good rhythm just using a combo of face unlock and the fingerprint sensor, but the addition of a trusted device like the Fitbit Alta HR improved that process immensely.

What do you think? Would something like Smart Lock be enough to overcome your hesitation in buying a Galaxy S8? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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3 days ago

Jelly smartphone review: So tiny

37

The company that built Jelly doesn't claim it's the smallest smartphone in the world. (That honor might instead belong to its predecessor, the Posh Micro X.) Rather, Jelly is touted as the world's smallest smartphone that also includes 4G. Toss in Android 7.0, dual SIMs, a replaceable battery and a full-size headphone jack, and you start to wonder if maybe a phone that fits in your coin pocket is worth making a few sacrifices – like re-learning how to type on a keyboard the size of a matchbook. And that's not even taking into account the bargain-basement price.

Is Jelly worth braving the hazards of Kickstarter and MediaTek processors? Is "world's smallest smartphone" really a title anyone should be chasing? Just how bad can a smartphone camera get, anyway? Hit the MrMobile video above and see if Jelly is a fit for the smartphone lightweight in your life (or a good second phone for the days you need to travel light)

Stay social, my friends

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3 days ago

Sorry, Verizon users: Bixby is even more crippled on the Galaxy S8

103

Adding insult to injury, half of Bixby Vision's functionality doesn't yet work if you're on Big Red's network.

We're all a little bummed about Bixby. Samsung's version of its virtual assistant isn't everything we'd hoped it would be, especially from a company as big and as established as one of the world's major smartphone manufacturers. And to make matters worse, Verizon users won't be able to use half of the one part of Bixby that works — Bixby Vision.

Bixby Vision lets you snap photos of things and retrieve relevant images or shopping links. The latter is particularly useful when you're at a brick and mortar store, for instance, and you're looking for a deal online. Bixby Vision lets you find those items on Amazon with the simple snap of a photo, but not so with the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S8 or S8+. According to CNET — and later verified on the AC staff's Verizon version of the Galaxy S8+ — Bixby Vision can snap a photo and look for images, but it won't offer shopping links on Amazon, nor does it offer the option.

Verizon had told The Verge that in the meantime, people can use "the existing Amazon app on your Samsung Galaxy S8 for the same photo and shopping experience." Sure, you can still search for things on Amazon by simply launch the Amazon app and typing them in yourself, but it's odd that one of the few successful functions Bixby is supposed to perform is crippled by one of the U.S.'s largest carriers.

For now, all that Bixby does on the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is launch the Bixby feed and show you related images on Pinterest.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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3 days ago

Mint SIM review: The AC community weighs in

Four Android Central community members give their thoughts on the value-first alternative carrier, Mint SIM.

We know that our readers are pretty savvy folks, and want the best deal for mobile data they can find. Mint SIM, which you've seen mentioned a lot on the site in recent months, is an alternative carrier that promises great LTE speeds and coverage for less than any other carrier.

But people were skeptical — what's the catch? Why is it so cheap? And are there any downsides? We decided to let the AC community decide for itself. Four forum members, some of whom were provided Mint SIM service in exchange for moderating the forum (but were not influenced for a review in any way) had this to say.

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On setting it up

All four reviewers had a very easy time setting up Mint SIM because it is essentially "plug and play." You get a SIM kit in the mail, which takes a couple of days, and go to the company's web page to activate the SIM card. Here's what DecAway had to say:

I turned my device off, pulled out the old SIM card and popped the Mint Sim, SIM card into my phone and powered it back up. After a few minutes of working your way through the activation process, you'll be in business and can power up your device and connect to the network. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the ease of activating the SIM and establishing service!

The others noted that the APN — the address that allows the SIM to connect to the Mint SIM network — should automatically work, but on some phones it may need to be entered manually. That's easy enough, since instructions are in the Getting Started guide. dpham00 said this:

Setup was straightforward. The provided pamphlet guides you through the activation process, porting your phone number (optional), inserting your sim (the provided sim has perforations, and can be punched out for a mini, micro, or nano sim), and setting up the APN. After doing the activation process, I didn't have to do any setup at all, I just popped in the sim and everything worked fine.

How to set up the APN on your phone

On performance

Here's where things get interesting. All four reviewers agreed that performance was good, not great, and that it varied wildly depending on the time of day and the location. dpham00 said that his experience was inconsistent:

Performance seemed to be a little inconsistent – even immediately after getting a good speed test, I would sometimes struggle to open a web page. This could be an issue with the Mint sim being de-prioritized over T-Mobile customers, or something with the connection itself as sometimes, simply turning airplane mode on, and off again, will get things going.

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He notes that, indeed, because Mint SIM is an MVNO — an alternative carrier — it must piggyback off a larger network, which in this case is T-Mobile. While it's unlikely that T-Mobile is actively deprioritizing Mint SIM traffic, it not be privy to the network's fastest speeds, especially during times of congestion.

DecAway had a similar experience, but found that performance was mainly very good, and quite reliable:

After a week of using the service I can tell you that it's definitely not always "blazing" fast, as noted by Mint SIM, but it can be… and it is adequate. Mint Sim users are naturally deprioritized, meaning in congested areas your bandwidth will be much more limited at times, which I attribute to the slower speeds that I received. However, is that necessarily bad? Well, the answer is that it depends. First, objectively, I just paid roughly $12 bucks for 2GB of LTE data... Reflecting on my experience with Mint Sim so far, I have been able to achieve download speeds of up to 21.04mbps and 12.24mbps, with a top-end 13.79mbps and 9.99mbps upload speeds.

Those are pretty good speeds. VDub2174 had a similarly good experience, but remarked on the excellent Mint SIM coverage:

Coverage was great for me! When I checked the coverage map I saw that I was in an area that got great 4G LTE coverage. Living in a suburb area I sometimes get spotty 4G LTE but in my direct neighborhood it was great. I kept an eye on my reception while going about my day and saw that coverage was on point with my T-Mobile phone.

He also enjoyed access to Wi-Fi Calling, which is a hallmark T-Mobile feature that made the jump to its MVNO partners.

User Golfdriver97 also enjoyed the wide coverage provided by T-Mobile's network, saying he didn't have a problem with speed or network availability anywhere he went.

Had good to high signal where I went. So there wasn't any gaps in coverage.

On value

All four reviewers noted that Mint SIM, even with its sometimes-spotty LTE data speeds, is a good deal. From dpham00:

So the question you are having now is – is it worth it? I would say for the price, absolutely. It is aggressively priced if you are willing to make a commitment from 3 months and up, especially at the one year mark. Sure it has a few hiccups here and there, but if you are looking at Mint sim, then you are looking for a bargain basement pricing, and as such, you will have to deal with the occasional problem here and there. If you are using it a lot and demand the best performance, then you would probably be better off with one of the big 3. However, I think this is great for someone who uses the internet somewhat sparingly and can accept some hiccups.

Golfdriver97 agrees:

I would honestly say give them a shot. Start by getting an independent number at first. This way you aren't porting your number and find out that it doesn't work for you.

That's another sentiment shared by all reviewers: Mint SIM is alright as a primary number — VDub2174 said his number was recycled and received a lot of spam calls — but better as a secondary number primarily for data usage. While Mint SIM doesn't support tethering, it's a good way to watch media on the go for less money.

DecAway said that Mint SIM is great for most situations:

If you carry two phones around like me and can turn on wireless tethering with the other device, it really makes up for the shortfalls. If you're cool with occasional inconsistencies in data speeds, then it's also less worrisome. Call quality and messaging are more than adequate, so if you really need a cheap phone plan with the promise of internet in uncongested areas and off-peak times, this could be the answer for you.

He also notes that the promotional pricing, which is $35 for 3 months, with 2GB of data, is only for new customers, so it's an easy investment to try, but costs will go up eventually. (You can get 20% off a 6-month or 1-year plan with the offer code "ACMINTSIM20", by the way.)

Finally, VDub2174 sums it up nicely:

Pricing is very affordable when compared to other plans so if you're looking for a plan that gives you the most bang for your buck, I would check out Mint SIM.

So there you go. Mint SIM is a great choice for people who don't need tethering, and can deal with a few occasional slowdowns when it comes to cheap wireless data service.

Head to our dedicated Mint SIM forums to ask questions and get more information!

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

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