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9 min ago

How can I check and see if my phone is rooted?

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Did all this stuff work? Am I rooted? Here's how to tell.

So you just went through a bunch of instructions you didn't fully understand, or downloaded some program to your computer and let it run, and your phone is supposed to be rooted. (And yes, naysayers, this is more common than you think — not everyone lives and breathes this stuff.) How can you be sure it worked?

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3 hours ago

How to fix Galaxy S7 battery life problems

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The Galaxy S7's battery is bigger than before, but you still don't want to waste what you have.

The eternal quest for longer battery life in smartphones continues on, as evermore efficient chips and bigger batteries are in a battle with new software, apps, features and big screens. You want your phone to do everything, but also do it for a very long time — and those things are at odds, especially if you don't want to be chasing around a wall outlet everywhere you go.

The Galaxy S7's 3000 mAh battery is bigger than last year's Galaxy S6 and offers really solid battery life, actually, but if you consistently find your GS7 coming up short at the end of the day we have a handful of tips for you to get the most out of what battery you have.

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12 hours ago

Galaxy Note 7 tipped for Euro release in September, new colors and updated Gear VR pictured

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And there's a rose gold/blue version too!

We're just days away from the official unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and the pace of leaks is starting to build. The latest sortie of information and images comes from French outlet NoWhereElse and Steve Hemmerstoffer, also known as @onleaks on Twitter.

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1 day ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 edge: What does a curvy Note 7 mean for next year's flagships?

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Will the Galaxy S8 have a flat display, or is Samsung going all-in on the edge?

Unless the past several weeks of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leakage have been part of some elaborate trolling campaign, it's looking like the next member of Samsung's popular Galaxy Note family will feature a curved "edge screen," like the Galaxy S7 edge.

If that happens, it raises an interesting question about the future of the Galaxy S line: Is Samsung going all-in on edge? Could this year's regular Galaxy S7 be the last flat flagship?

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1 day ago

Galaxy Note 7 teased again in crazy new Korean ad

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Teasers of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Note 7 have been flying around, and as we get closer to the August 2 event in NYC, they continue to pop up. The latest is a rather interesting and slightly crazy ad from Korea. It starts off with some teaser shots of a close up phone screen, and ends with a numbered sequence of 1 through 5 and then a question mark.

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1 day ago

Video: 11 minutes of the flat Galaxy Note 7 we may never know

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Prototype Korean Note 7 shown in Chinese video — but don't expect this model to ever go on sale.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is almost upon us, with launch events scheduled for Aug. 2 in London and New York. And if all the rumors are to be believed, it'll sport an S7 edge-like curved screen — the first Note to do so in two years.

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1 day ago

Moto G4 review: Balanced on a budget

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How does the Moto G4 stack up to other budget phones?

The Quick Take

The Moto G4 is a 5.5-inch Android phone that lacks any kind of definition to help it stand out. With a single top speaker grill, and its rounded corners, it blends in. It delivers a great display that is easy to see both inside and outdoors, along with a battery that will keep you going all day — and then some. It's got a decently-performing camera, and new access to manual features for photos.

The Good

  • Solid feel in your hand
  • Good camera with manual features
  • Great battery life

The Bad

  • Processor gets overworked from extensive use
  • Camera lags when opening
  • Only 16GB of onboard storage

About this Review

I (Jen Karner) after a week of using a Moto G4 for about ten days, running Android 6.0.1 with the May 1, 2016 security patch. The build number is MPJ24.139-48. It was connected to the AT&T network in Halethorpe, Maryland.

The best of plastic

Hardware

Category Features Display 5.5-inch Full HD display, 401 PPI, Gorilla glass 3 Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC (Octa-core Cortex-A53) Storage 16GB, expandable by 128GB Adoptable storage RAM 2GB Rear Camera 13MP f/2.0 Front Camera 5MP Battery 3000 mAh Size 153 x 76.6 x 7.9 mm
154 g

In your hand, the Moto G4 feels sturdy, but definitely made of plastic. The back plate is smooth, with a textured cross hatch that can feel a bit strange at first, especially if you're moving to the G4 from a metal framed phone. Despite its large screen, the phone fits and can be used with a single hand.

When you're looking at it, the phone could pass for any other rectangular, round-cornered phone. There's only one piece of branding at all, on the backplate: the Moto logo just underneath the camera. This is a phone that is striving for simplicity, something you can tell by glancing at it. There are only two buttons, both located to the right of the screen. The power button is seated on top, with a textured pattern to help tell it apart from the volume rocker. The rocker, is seated just under the power button and is smooth. Both of the buttons are metal, and are easy to tell apart from the phone's plastic body.

The screen does its job well, delivering a great experience even in direct sunlight.

There are only two ports on the phone, the micro-USB charger at the bottom, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a single speaker located above the screen, and while not amazing, it gets the job done. To the right of the speaker grill is the lens for the front facing camera. On the back of the phone you'll find your rear facing camera. The back plate of the phone also pops up revealing your SIM card slot, an microSD card slot, and the unremovable battery.

The screen on the Moto G4 is a 5.5-inch Full HD display with a Gorilla Glass 3 overlay that reaches nearly across the entire phone, with space above and below it. The screen does it's job and well, delivering a great experience even in direct sunlight. You'll get vibrant and poppy colors that aren't washed out, or oversaturated. Even when you dim your screen, it's never so dark that it's unusable so long as you are indoors.

The Snapdragon 617 processor is adequate to let you get everything done, but doesn't go above and beyond. Likewise, the phone occasionally heats up when playing a battery-intensive game like Pokemon Go or Avengers Academy for a prolonged period of time. For the most part, though, the phone is capable of handling anything from social media and the web to playing Match-3 games for an hour and a half.

Android all the way

Software

Happily, the Moto G4 is running Android 6.0.1 out of the box. Having the most up to date software possible is a must for many people, and seeing a budget level phone up to date is always a good thing to see (though it won't be up-to-date for long). Instead of seeing overbearing Moto software, there is an emphasis on Google and stock Android, with a few Moto flourishes thrown in.

Those flourishes include gestures, but sadly lacks the Moto Voice feature that allows you to quickly access specific notifications usually found on more expensive Motorola devices. You will be using those Moto gestures as you become more acquainted with the phone. You can launch your camera by quickly double twisting the phone, or flipping it to lay face down to silence an incoming phone calls.

When the phone did start to heat up was when there were some issues with the performance of the phone.

There were some issues when the phone was used for an extended amount of time, though. The entire thing would heat up, and while never becoming too hot or issuing a warning, it did become uncomfortable in my pocket or hand. When the phone did start to heat up was when there were some issues with the performance; apps would stutter, and it was easier to just put the phone down and let it cool back down before trying to do much of anything.

To storage, if only 16GB of space seems like too little, you're still in luck. The Moto G4 takes advantage of Google's Adoptable Storage feature, letting you mount up to 128GB microSD card to augment the storage you have access to.

An expected flaw

Performance

The Moto G4 is running on a Snapdragon 617, with 2GB of RAM which, while technically an upgrade from its predecessor, is aging quickly and as you're running around doesn't always stand up to the abuse. That's not exactly rare with a lower-end phone, but it is still just a bit disheartening.

For most people, the processor will be exactly what you need out of the phone. However when used heavily, the phone does occasionally try to rebel. On several occasions during my time with the Moto G4, it got hot and jittery enough that I had to clear all of the open tasks, or even restart the phone. This was generally after heavy extended use that most people wouldn't get to.

Fine tuned controls

Camera

For plenty of people, the camera on their phone is a pretty big deal. You want something that can capture the moments in your life that matter. For the most part, the Moto G4 has delivered a great camera. With a 13MP sensor on the back and a 5MP front facing shooter you'll be covered. The one big flaw, though: no matter how you open the camera it takes several seconds to load. It's not a deal breaker, but it can be frustrating when you're trying to grab a shot in the spur of the moment.

Once it opens up, you're good to go. The camera allows you to adjust between regular shooting, and with the G4 they've added manual controls. While many people don't want to fuss with these, there are others who like being able to fine tune the photos they snap and now they can. LG is already known for their manual settings, but it's nice to see Moto joining in as well.

Switching between photo and video capture is simple, and just involves a few taps. If you want to adjust your default settings for photo and video, the settings are available by swiping to the side. If you decide to dive into the professional mode, you'll have access to all of the manual settings. These settings pop up on a sliding scale for adjustment after you tap on the appropriate settings on the right side of the screen.

Another small downside to the camera: how long the HDR takes to process. Occasionally you'll get a message asking you to hold your phone steady while taking a photo. For most people holding still for an extra second or two isn't a big deal, but it can produce problematic blurry photographs if your hand is shaking. This didn't happen often, but it's worth noting.

Overall the camera performs really well, especially for a phone under $300. The fast autofocus also means that you can easily grab great candid shots. You'll just need to make sure the camera is open in advance. It would have been nice to see some optical stabilization, but given the small size of the phone it's usually pretty easy to hold steady.

It just keeps going

Battery

There's something to be said for a phone that has a battery capable of getting you through the day without needing a charge. The Moto G4 is packed with a 3000mAh battery that will get you through your commute, and work day, along with getting you home. A single full charge got me through nearly a full day when I needed to charge it.

The adapter included with it is equipped with TurboPower charger, Moto's take on Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 standard. It's easy enough to just plug in for 10 or 15 minutes and see a 20% improvement in the battery. If the Moto G4 dies on you, which only happened to me once, it'll only take about an hour and a half to get you back up to a full charge again.

For everyday users this battery will get you through at least a full day. For heavier use, it's good for about 16 hours.

It's worth it

Bottom Line

So is the Moto G4 worth the $199.99 price tag? In a word, yes. This phone packs a serious punch for its asking cost. You get fantastic battery life, a decent display, and a camera that delivers great results. While there are some small issues it doesn't take away from the whole package, and the Moto G4 is a contender in the budget range of phones.

While Motorola used to dominate the budget range, those days might be running out. There are progressively more budget phones, and each one has it's own particular perks. While the G4 may not be the best overall phone, you can deny the appeal of a battery that can take whatever you feel like throwing at it.

See at Amazon

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1 day ago

LG V20: Imagining a next-gen, 'phablet-class' LG phone

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LG

After the flop of the G5, LG could do just about anything with the anticipated follow-up to the V10. Let's look into our crystal ball and imagine how a larger, beefier LG smartphone might materialize.

The LG V10 was one of the more underrated phones of 2015 — in many ways, the logical conclusion of the plastic Android smartphone. The hardware was a weird mishmash of metal and plastic. Performance was fast. The screen was pretty good. The camera impressed. The software was kind of a mess. There was a removable battery!

LG augmented all this with some standout camera software features, a pair of front-facing cameras (one regular, one wide-angle) and a quirky second screen up top, which could show notifications in tickertape form, or let you quickly hop between apps.

The V10 was targeted at content creators and power users — a good chunk of the audience Samsung attracts with its Galaxy Note series. So a year on, and with Samsung in an even more dominant position, how might LG react? Let's take a look at a few possibilities for the V10's successor, reportedly coming to market as the LG V20 this September.

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3 days ago

BlackBerry DTEK50 hands-on: Stuck in neutral

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BlackBerry's second Android phone, the DTEK50, has a vexing name and a lack of star appeal. But it's also cheap.

I have been fielding radio interviews since mid-2013 about the inevitable demise of BlackBerry's smartphone business, and each time since then I say, "Sure, this may be it," and each time I am left wondering whether the company's stubborn tenacity is its blessing or its curse.

In the DTEK50, BlackBerry may have finally solved the solution to its hardware profitability problem: a low-stakes handset based on the reference design of an existing product, the Alcatel Idol 4, with a software experience that brings the Priv's impressive amalgam of near-stock Android and a homegrown app suite to a price more palatable to the average IT manager.

Hardware impressions

At first glance, this is an Alcatel Idol 4 — yes, the still-unreleased cheaper version of the Idol 4S — with slight changes, particularly to the phone's back. A 5.2-inch 1080p LCD display covers the phone's otherwise-uninteresting front, and it is, like the rest of the hardware, adequate but largely unimpressive. Colors are vibrant, and white balance, which can be adjusted through the settings, is slightly too warm out of the box. Thankfully, BlackBerry decided to set the phone's DPI — the amount of content shown on the screen — fairly high, which is a nice change fro the average device in this price range.

More: BlackBerry DTEK50 specs

The phone costs $299, and it feels like it: Aluminum chamfers and a rubberized textured back are highlights, but its near-weightlessness is not an asset. Still, the back does not creak like its Priv predecessor (which cost nearly three times as much), and despite the gimmicky nature of the front and back being offset from the bezels to mimic layers, there is a solidity to the chassis that I appreciate.

Unfortunately, the DTEK50 inherited a now-standard negative trait of Alcatel's recent product lineup: a power button located on the top left, which is sure to vex the vast majority of the right-handed user base.

Even worse, where the power button exists on most phones — right side middle — is a convenience key that, after unboxing the phone, I depressed like an idiot for 10 seconds before realizing it didn't power on the phone. This isn't the first time we've seen such a button on an Android phone — Samsung's Galaxy S Active line famously added one a few years ago — but BlackBerry hopes that you'll use this one to quickly open its Hub, or its Calendar, or — mercifully — BBM.

Around back, you're looking at a 13MP rear camera, which doesn't have the same pedigree as the Priv's 18MP shooter, but upon first impression the DTEK50 exhibits a fair approximation of what a $300 phone in 2016 offers. A full review will reveal specifics, but at least BlackBerry's camera app has received considerable performance improvements since the Priv's debut last year.

The phone costs $299, and it feels like it.

The DTEK50's spec sheet is largely identical to that of the Alcatel Idol 4, which means its middle-of-the-road inclusions are somewhat mired by a quickly-aging Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor and 16GB of internal storage (which is, thankfully, expandable via microSD). In its announcement, BlackBerry hedged against the naysayers by claiming that the phone's 3GB of RAM will keep things running smoothly over the long haul, but after a few minutes tapping away on the company's first-party keyboard, it's clear the phone is severely underpowered.

Finally, the DTEK50 lacks a fingerprint sensor, which was, according to BlackBerry's head of design, Scott Wenger, was more a price consideration than a security one. Surely, a fingerprint sensor cannot replace the need for a strong password (and two-factor authentication), but Android today is a far better experience with biometrics than without. But having to enter a password or pin when opening 1Password feels like a regression, and one that we've seen avoided on other devices in this price range.

Software impressions

First, the good news: the DTEK50 runs Android 6.0.1 with the very latest security patch from Google (July 5th, as of writing), which is considerably more encouraging than some upcoming phones asking twice as much.

I have gone on the record as being a fan of BlackBerry's Android apps.

If you've used the Priv, the software experience is the same: a powerful home screen that in many ways resembles a hybrid of Google Now and Action Launcher (in a good way), and a bevy of first-party apps that I can only describe as excellent. I have gone on the record as being a fan of BlackBerry's Android apps, from the Hub, which has improved considerably since last year, to its minimalist calendar and notes apps. And all of these apps are updated directly from Google Play, a means of distribution that BlackBerry has utilized often.

Then there's DTEK, the phone's branding namesake, the foundation for BlackBerry's claim of "the world's most secure Android smartphone." While the average consumer may balk at BlackBerry's intention to sell this directly through distribution channels like Amazon, the real sales volume is going to come by bundling the phone alongside BlackBerry's suite of enterprise management tools like BES 12. DTEK (the app) puts a friendly face on a narrative that BlackBerry is desperate to convey to potential customers: Android may be secure, but with this phone you'll never have to worry about being compromised again.

The Accessories

Of course, with every BlackBerry phone, there are the accessories. I got to try three cases that will be available alongside the phone when it launches on August 8: the Smart Pocket; the Smart Flip Case; and the Hard Shell. There will also be a Swivel Holster, because of course there will be.

All three cases are well-made and, between $24.99 and $34.99, in line with what you'd pay from Otterbox or Incipio.

The Bottom Line

At this point, I'm cautiously optimistic about the state of BlackBerry's device business. John Chen has said again and again that he has no qualms shutting down the whole project if it fails to turn a profit, though he stubbornly keeps pushing back that due date. And while this is certainly a BlackBerry phone in name, we're expecting a more traditional keyboard-sporting Android device by the end of the company's fiscal year, which could take us into early 2017.

As for the DTEK50 itself, it appears to be a decent phone that will likely be severely hampered by an underpowered processor. I hope to be proven wrong by the time I write the review, but I doubt it.

More: BlackBerry DTEK50 pre-orders have begun, ships August 8 for $299

See at BlackBerry

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3 days ago

5 things to know about Honor 8 in the U.S.

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Honor 8

Huawei-owned Honor set to bring its A-game to the U.S. market.

Alongside a European launch in Paris later next month, it looks like the Honor 8 is headed to the United States, with an event scheduled for Aug. 16 in San Francisco. It'll be the second Honor phone to hit the U.S., following the Honor 5X earlier in the year. That phone was a mixed bag, with sluggish performance, Android 5.1 out of the box and a smudge-prone, fingerprinty screen.

But the Honor 8 looks like a serious improvement, with flagship-class internals and build quality, backed up by a seriously improved software setup. So as launch day approaches, let's come to grips with what you need to know about the Honor 8 in the U.S.

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3 days ago

Verizon rolls out small updates to the LG G5 and V10

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Verizon has started rolling out a fresh set of updates to both the LG G5 and LG V10, bringing along some slight tweaks to both.

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3 days ago

BlackBerry DTEK50 priced £275 in the UK, launching early August

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Retailers confirm SIM-free price and release date for new Android-powered BlackBerry.

BlackBerry's new Android smartphone is called the DTEK50, because branding is hard, and how else were we going to top "Priv". Based on Alcatel Idol 4 hardware and named by a cat walking across a keyboard, the security-focused phone is scheduled land in the UK the first week of August.

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3 days ago

'Soft Gold' OnePlus 3 is now on sale in the U.S. for $399

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OnePlus has begun selling the 'Soft Gold' color version of its OnePlus 3 smartphone in the U.S. The price for the new version remains the same at $399 and it can be purchased at the company's website.

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3 days ago

BlackBerry DTEK50 specs

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What's inside the BlackBerry DTEK50?

Following on the relative success of the Priv, BlackBerry went in a slightly different direction with its second Android phone, the DTEK50. An all-touch more mid-range device, the DTEK50 quite clearly resembles that of the Alcatel Idol 4, and the specs line up as well. Here's what's inside.

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3 days ago

BlackBerry's upcoming second Android phone shown in new images

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The official BlackBerry website briefly posted new images and specifications for its second Android smartphone, "Neon", before the company took them down.

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