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1 month ago

What was your first phone? Taking a walk down cell phone memory lane

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Forget the smart little powerhouses we have in our hands today. We're throwing it back to the olden days, before unlimited anything.

I've officially reached the point in my life that I can now look back nostalgically at my technology past. And since we've been talking about escapism, I thought it would be fun to start off the week with a trip down memory lane.

Lately, I've been thinking about my first cell phone, the Motorola StarTac. It was a dull, clunky flip phone with a retractable antenna. (I'm chuckling as I'm recalling it.) I tried desperately to cover it in stickers and make it look cool, but it was still relatively utilitarian-looking. I remember it was marketed more towards business folk and contractors rather than socially awkward teenagers like me. I needed something hip to fit in with the masses, like a Nokia 3310, but it wasn't offered by Verizon at the time. And anyway, the StarTac was a hand-me-down that was initially meant as a tracking device.

Via DeviantArt user Redfield-1982.

Each minute of talk cost a whopping 30 cents.

Per my parents, the StarTac was only to be used to call for a ride home. I wasn't allowed to text anyone or make phone calls without permission because the phone was on a severely limited plan. Any time I spent on the phone had to be carefully counted because each minute of talk cost a whopping 30 cents.

Eventually, I lobbied for a better deal. Rather than spend $3 for 10 minutes of talking, I argued, why not switch the plan so that I'm primarily texting instead? It's quieter for everyone at home, it's cheaper, and it was the cool new way to communicate with friends. My parents agreed to this, and it felt like the path had cleared for my ever-so-slightly burgeoning social life.

My friend's Motorola T900 2-Way Pager.

I spent a few months texting back and forth with one friend in particular. She was on a text-only device: the Motorola T900 2-Way Pager, which came with a miniature QWERTY keyboard. She was not only more thorough in her replies, but she sent longer messages, too, which counted against my allowance. I would reply to her the next day, in person, because I didn't want to scare her away with the realities of my messaging limitations. Or rather, I didn't want it to get out that was all my parents would pay for.

By my 16th birthday, I was better equipped for socializing in high school. My parents used an upgrade on their account and allowed me to pick out the phone. It was the Motorola T720 and it was the cutest little thing. It could download apps, play games, and go on the internet, in addition to making phone calls and sending text messages — and it did all this on a color display! I didn't have to cover it in stickers to make it look decent, either. Instead, I bought translucent neon face plates for it from a kiosk at the mall, like the rest of my friends did with their Nokia 3310s.

An original advertisement from 2001 for the Motorola T720.

What was your first cell phone?

For fun, I put out this question on Twitter to see what the replies might be like. I've pasted a few below, though you can view the whole thread here. Unsurprisingly, I received many replies about a Nokia cell phone being the first mobile device.

Alright, I've told you my story and a few others have told you theirs. Now it's your turn: What was your first mobile device? Tell us about it in the comments! We'll showcase some of your answers in a post later this week.

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1 month ago

Wi-Fi calling is coming soon to Pixel, Pixel XL on India's Jio

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Wi-Fi calling is coming with Android 7.1.2 Nougat to the Pixel and Pixel XL on Jio.

Google added VoLTE support for the Pixel and Pixel XL on Jio back in December, and will soon offer Wi-Fi calling via an upcoming Nougat update. The update will make it easier for customers to make calls using Wi-Fi in situations where they don't have great cellular coverage in their homes. The call will be routed through your phone number, but instead of mobile data like VoLTE, it uses your Wi-Fi connection.

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1 month ago

Watch our video review of the billionaire's phone

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For most of us, it can be tough to justify the cost of buying a brand new high-end smartphone outright, especially with so many great affordable options. But at the other end of the spectrum — far removed from your standard $700 Android flagship — there are the luxury phones, like the Vertu Constellation.

The Constellation starts at a whopping $6000 (which in the grand scheme of Vertu phones is decidedly entry-level), and for that money you'll get standard mid-2016 smartphone internals packed in extremely luxurious materials. But the price tag also gets your own Vertu concierge — as in an actual person — who's ready to assist you whenever you press the ruby button on the phone's outer frame. (And yes, being a Vertu, that's a real, actual ruby.) Whether you need to round up a Hollywood make-up artist for your music video, or just find a nice steakhouse in downtown Manhattan, Concierge can take care of things.

Check out our video review for a closer look at the Android phone for movie stars, oil barons and royalty.

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1 month ago

Samsung litters Britain with giant bezels to promote bezel-less smartphone

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Bezels

Dem Bezels

Samsung has crafted a series of 7-meter by 3-meter Galaxy S8 bezel sculptures and scattered them across picturesque parts of Great Britain.

Ironically, the enormous bezels are intended to promote the GS8's Infinity Display — famed for having bezels which are not gigantic.

Bezels can be seen in St. Ives, Cornwall, London, Stonehenge and Bournemouth, among other places, framing locations which would probably look nicer were bezels not present.

Commenting on its bezels in a Korean blog post today, Samsung said "the bezel-less design, complete with Infinity Display, blends seamlessly with the British landscape."

The real Galaxy S8, the bezels of which will not be large enough to block local beauty spots, will go on sale in the UK on April 28, with pre-orders arriving from April 20.

Here are more pictures of Samsung's giant bezels:

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

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About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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1 month ago

Foldable 'Galaxy X' could debut this year — in prototype form

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Samsung phones logo

'2,000-3,000' units will be produced in 2017, Korean press reports.

While foldable phones probably won't hit the mass market until 2019, Samsung may be prepared to unveil such a device in prototype form before the end of the year.

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1 month ago

Moto G5 Plus vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: Clash of the titans

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Near-identical hardware, vastly different software.

Motorola has enjoyed a lot of success in India following its resurgence, with the company now counting the subcontinent as its largest global market. A lot of that has to do with strong sales of the Moto G series. Motorola revealed earlier this year that it sold over 6 million Moto G devices in India since the series debuted in 2013, and last year's Moto G4 Plus certainly proved to be a hit with local customers. With the G5 Plus, Motorola is looking to continue that success.

Xiaomi is also gaining ground in India. The Redmi Note 3 turned out to be the standout phone in the budget segment last year, racking up over 3.6 million sales in under a year. The Redmi Note 4 is following in the same vein, with Xiaomi selling over 1 million units in just 45 days.

The Moto G5 Plus and Redmi Note 4 are going to be two of the most popular devices in this segment. If you're looking for a capable budget device that doesn't compromise on the basics, these two should be high on your list. But which one should you ultimately buy? Read on to find out.

Hardware

Motorola opted to go with a metal backplate with the Moto G5 Plus, a first in this series. The sides are still plastic, albeit with a metallic finish that makes them blend in seamlessly with the rest of the phone. The overall result is that the G5 Plus looks upmarket when seen next to its predecessors.

The metal back also adds some much-needed heft to the device, which at 155g weighs the same as last year's Moto G4 in spite of the smaller size. It is also thinner at 7.7mm (versus 9.8mm) while featuring the same 3000mAh battery as last year. Motorola made the design a priority on the G5 Plus, and it shows.

Xiaomi has been building metal phones for a few years now, and with the Redmi Note 4, it has refined its design aesthetic. The phone feels much more premium than its predecessor, and the black color option in particular stands out. It's similar to the Midnight Black model of the OnePlus 3T, offering a murdered-out look that seems to absorb all light.

Redmi Note 4 in black offers a matte finish that looks amazing.

There are subtle chrome accents for the antenna lines and the camera housing that serve to add a bit of flair to the design, and overall, the black variant of the Redmi Note 4 is one of the best-looking budget phones I've used. Phones in this segment don't get much better in terms of design.

As for color options on the G5 Plus, you're currently limited to either the Fine Gold or Lunar Grey variants. The Fine Gold variant has a gold front and back, which when placed next to the Redmi Note 4 looks gaudy. You're better off getting the grey option as it has a black faceplate.

Category Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Motorola Moto G5 Plus Operating System MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 7.0 Nougat Display 5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density 5.2-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
424ppi pixel density SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm GPU Adreno 506 Adreno 506 RAM 2GB/3GB/4GB RAM 3GB/4GB RAM Storage 32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB 16GB/32GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB Rear camera 13MP
dual LED flash
PDAF 12MP
dual LED flash
PDAF Front shooter 5MP
1080p video recording 5MP
1080p video recording Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack Battery 4100mAh battery 3000mAh battery Fingerprint Rear fingerprint sensor Front fingerprint sensor Dimensions 151 x 76 x 8.5mm 150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm Weight 165g 155g Colors Silver, Gold, Black Lunar Grey, Fine Gold


Xiaomi has always led the way when it comes to sheer hardware prowess, but it doesn't have that advantage anymore as both the G5 Plus and Redmi Note 4 are running the Snapdragon 625 SoC. As they're both pushing 1080p displays, the performance is at par when it comes to day-to-day usage. You won't notice any slowdowns in normal usage, but you will see a certain amount of lag in visually-demanding games.

Although the G5 Plus has a smaller 5.2-inch display when compared to the 5.5-inch screen on the Redmi Note 4, both devices are just as tall and wide thanks to the generous bezels on the G5 Plus. The bezels are necessitated by the front fingerprint sensor, which thankfully is rounded and larger than what we've seen last year. It is also much more functional, as we'll see later.

While the G5 Plus isn't as compact as you'd imagine for a 5.2-inch phone, it is comfortable to hold and use one-handed thanks to the rounded corners and arched back. The Redmi Note 4 has sloping edges that curve inward, allowing for one-handed usage. That said, the black color option is a magnet for smudges, and you'll have to clean it several times a day to make it look pristine. Thankfully, there aren't any such issues on the G5 Plus.

The G5 Plus has the same chipset as the Redmi Note 4, but it costs more.

However, like last year's G4 and G4 Plus, the G5 Plus is missing key sensors like a magnetometer. While this doesn't cause an issue when using Google Maps, the Lenovo forums are full of complaints from customers dissatisfied with how the device works with other navigation solutions, like Here. Considering how affordable the sensor is, continuing to omit it is a strange move by Motorola.

The Redmi Note 4 has no such limitations on the hardware front. Xiaomi — more than any other manufacturer — is cognizant of customer feedback, and the Redmi Note 4 has a full complement of sensors, including an IR sensor that lets you control a myriad of TVs and set-top boxes.

As we're on the subject of internal hardware, it's worth pointing out that although both phones are powered by the same chipset, they're offered in varying memory and storage configurations and price points. The Redmi Note 4 starts off with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage for just ₹9,999, whereas the variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage retails for ₹10,999. The best option is the one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, which costs ₹12,999.

The Moto G5 Plus is available in two configurations: a base variant with 3GB of RAM and measly 16GB internal storage for ₹14,999. The model with 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage costs ₹16,999, a full ₹4,000 more than the Redmi Note 4 while offering half the amount of internal storage. Motorola is counting on two factors to make up for the added cost: a 12MP camera with an f/1.7 lens and Dual Pixel autofocus, and class-leasing software.

Software

Motorola has led the way for clean and unencumbered software, and that thankfully hasn't changed under Lenovo's stewardship. If you're looking for an uncluttered user interface that sticks to Google's guidelines for Material Design, you're not going to get anything better than what's on the Moto G5 Plus, at least in this segment.

Although Motorola hasn't tweaked the UI itself, it offers several useful features through Moto Actions. You can easily launch the camera with a double twist gesture, and toggle the flashlight with a chop motion. Then there's one-handed mode, which lets you shrink the screen down for easier one-handed usage. A particularly interesting addition with the Moto G5 Plus is One Button Nav, which relies on the fingerprint sensor as an all-in-one replacement for the standard navigation keys.

The feature allows you to use gestures as the primary form of interaction. A single tap on the sensor takes you to the home screen, a right-to-left swipe corresponds to the same action as the back button, and a left-to-right swipe serves up the multitasking pane. Lenovo has debuted the feature in a few phones in India, but this is the first time the company has rolled it out in a Motorola phone.

If you want an uncluttered software experience, get the G5 Plus.

As is the case with the rest of the software, Motorola didn't go overboard with Moto Actions, instead opting to give customers a few features that augment the overall experience.

As for the Redmi Note 4, MIUI 8 is a known quantity at this stage. The user interface is loaded with customizations, and if you're getting started for the first time, there's a high learning curve. But once you get used to it, you'll love the sheer number of features on offer. From the built-in video editor to Dual Apps — which lets you run two instances of the same app simultaneously — and several features aimed at combating call and text message spam, there's a lot to explore in MIUI 8.

The G5 Plus comes with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, and while Motorola has done a great job of rolling out platform updates quickly (at least in India), the company isn't doing the same for monthly security patches. In mid-April, the G5 Plus is on the January 1, 2017 security patch.

Meanwhile, the Redmi Note 4 is still on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and while Xiaomi is offering a beta Nougat build, we're still a long way away from seeing a stable release. Security updates are also an issue, as the device is still on the December 1, 2016 patch.

Camera

The Redmi Note 4 comes with a significantly better camera than its predecessor, and the same holds true for the Moto G5 Plus as well. The end result is that you're looking at phones that offer two of the best cameras in this segment. The G5 Plus pulls ahead thanks to its f/1.7 lens and 1.4-micron pixels — the same hardware as the Galaxy S7 — and while the phone doesn't come close to the S7 in most lighting conditions, it sets the standard for the budget segment.

The G5 Plus doesn't handle low-light conditions as well as it should considering its imaging sensor, but in most other shooting conditions you'll get a great image on the first attempt.

Moto G5 Plus on the left, Redmi Note 4 on the right.

The Redmi Note 4 has a great camera, but it is overshadowed by the one in the G5 Plus. That said, Xiaomi offers more shooting modes and live filters, whereas Motorola focuses on ease of use. You get a manual mode on both phones, along with tools to edit and retouch images.

Battery

The Moto G5 Plus has a 3000mAh battery that manages to last all day. However, it doesn't match up to the massive 4100mAh battery on the Redmi Note 4. Aside from phones like Gionee's Marathon series — which usually have a battery the size of an external power bank — there isn't a phone that comes close to the Redmi Note 4 in terms of battery life.

The 14nm Snapdragon 625 combined with the 4100mAh battery and MIUI's optimization make the Redmi Note 4 a battery life champion. You'll easily get a day's worth of usage from the battery even with heavy usage, and more often than not, you'll be able to eke out two full days from a full charge.

If you do need to top up, the G5 Plus has faster charging speeds thanks to Motorola's TurboPower charging tech. The Redmi Note 4 is still limited to 5V/2A, and takes just over two hours to fully charge.

Which should you buy? Your call

The Redmi Note 4 wins out when it comes to battery life and overall design, but the G5 Plus takes the lead in imaging and software. If you value battery life above all and aren't deterred by the learning curve of MIUI 8, then the Redmi Note 4 is a great phone to get, particularly considering it costs ₹4,000 less than the G5 Plus and offers 64GB storage, double that of Motorola's offering. The downside is that you'll have to wait for the weekly sale to get your hands on one.

See at Flipkart

However, if you're looking for a phone that has a stellar camera, is easy to use and comes with the promise of quick updates, then the G5 Plus is a better choice. The ₹16,999 price tag will undoubtedly cause most potential buyers to rethink their decision, but the overall merits of the phone justify the increased cost.

See at Flipkart

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1 month ago

Sony is hedging its bets on VR to keep it chugging after smartphone slowdown

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President Kazuo Hirai spoke to the Financial Review about the company's plans for the post-smartphone era.

The Xperia XZ is an impressive phone, but it's hardly enough to move the needle Sony's stagnant smartphone business.

That doesn't seem to concern Sony, however. In Australia this week, the company's president, Kazuo Hirai, spoke to the Financial Review about the future of its mobile business and why it's focusing its efforts on experimenting in other areas — particularly virtual reality.

"Unless we can communicate with each other telepathically, there's always going to be some sort of a device and a network that is going to allow people to communicate with each other," Hirai told the Financial Review. He continued:

A paradigm shift in how we communicate with each other occurs every 10 years or so, but if we don't remain currently in the business then we don't get to play or we don't get to create the next paradigm shift of communication, we basically throw a towel in and lose all the relationships with our retailers and carriers around the world.

If we did that then whatever idea we may come up with, we're not going to be able to bring to market quickly enough.

It sounds as if Sony has reckoned with the fact that it needs to stay in the smartphone game to remain relevant in the industry, despite its inability to directly compete against its biggest players — namely Apple and Samsung.

Hirai continued that while Sony hasn't settled on what the "post-iPhone era" really is, it's hedging its bets on industries like the internet of things (IoT) and virtual reality. Of the latter, Sony is confident that it's in a particularly advantageous situation considering it's already invested heavily in PS VR. Hirai also expects virtual reality to influence other aspects of Sony's business, including movie and television production.

It's important that VR is successful, not just because it helps the video game business but in fact, the tide actually lifts all the Sony boats. We stand probably to benefit more than some of the other companies that are pursuing VR because we are involved in so many different aspects that touch the VR experience and the content creation."

In the interim, Sony is pursuing "strategic bets" through its Seed Acceleration Program (SAP), which backs ideas that could someday become a lucrative business line for the company. You can read more about that at the full article.

There are no firm global release dates for any of the experimental products Hirai mentions, however, just as there is no telling when smartphones will truly go the way of the dodo. But what's clear is that Sony is still a strong brand name, and as long as it continues to slap its name on quality products, there's no doubt consumers will continue to buy technology from the company in the years to come.

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1 month ago

Android and SD cards: The Ultimate Guide

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SD card

Everything you ever wanted to know about SD cards and your phone.

Android has supported SD cards since the G1 started it all. The overall idea is simple enough — slap an SD card in your phone and expand the storage so you have room for more stuff. While this is mostly the case, there are a few things to know about, especially before you go out and buy one.

We've rounded up everything you need to know about buying and using an SD card with your Android to try and make everything as simple as it can be.

SD card form factors

SD card sizes

Before you do anything, make sure your phone can use an SD card! Since so many different companies make Android phones in so many different models, you will run across some that don't have a slot for a card. Phones from Google are this way, and every name you recognize when it comes to making phones has made at least one model that doesn't have support for an SD card. If you're not sure, poke around the outside of your phone to see if any doors or flaps open up, or grab the manual out of the box and see what it says.

Phones use the smallest microSD card form factor.

Once you've got that sorted, you need to make sure you get the right type of SD card. For your Android phone, you're looking for the microSD form factor. SD cards come in three different sizes. An SD card is the biggest — a little larger than a postage stamp — and is used for things like standalone cameras. The Mini SD form factor is about half the size of a full SD card and they aren't very popular. Chances are you won't ever buy anything that needs a Mini SD card. The microSD card is about the size of your fingernail and the one we're looking for.

When you buy a microSD card, you often get an adapter in the package. The smaller card slides into the adapter so it can fit into something that needs a full-size card — like your computer — as well as something like your phone that needs a microSD card. Keep track of this, because it's pretty handy when transferring pictures or video from your phone to your computer.

SD card storage versions

SD cards

There is a method to the madness of all those letters you see.

The next thing you need to know is the storage version. You can buy microSD cards, microSDHC cards, and microSDXC cards. A microSD card was designed to hold up to 2GB of information, though a few 4GB versions are available that work outside of the specifications. microSDHC cards (Secure Digital High Capacity) are designed to hold up to 32GB of data. microSDXC (Secure Digital eXtra Capacity) cards are designed to hold between 32GB and 2TB of data. It's important to know what version your phone can use. Most modern phones — Android or otherwise — will be able to use a microSDHC card. Many newer phones are capable of using a microSDXC card.

There are no easy-to-see differences between a phone that can use a microSDXC card and one that can't. You'll need to consult the documentation that came with your phone or hop into the forums and ask other folks who have already found the answer. The versions are backward compatible (a microSDXC card slot can use a microSD or microSDHC card) but there is no forwards compatibility, and if your phone can't use a microSDXC card, it won't ever work.

SD card speed classes

MicroSD card

No card is going to be as fast as the listed maximum.

You need to understand the speed class ratings. Those are the numbers and letters you see printed on the card and the packaging. The short version is to never buy one with a number lower than 10 when it comes to speed class, and if you use a phone with a 4K camera, go even faster and look for a UHS class card.

We've broken down the specifics of what all this really means and which you need, and you can read that right here:

Everything you need to know about SD card speeds and your phone

Adoptable storage and you

You'll probably see people talking about adoptable storage when SD cards and Android are in the conversation. It's a really neat thing that your phone probably doesn't have and chances are you're better off for it.

The idea is to use a fast SD card and make it a permanent part of the system. Once it goes in, it never can come out or all your stuff stops working. It's also a part of the phone it came out of and nothing else will be able to use it unless you reformat it and start over.

This, and concerns about performance, is why most companies making Android phones don't let you use Adoptable storage without hacking it in yourself. On Android things that aren't phones — like the NVIDIA Shield TV for example — you can plug in USB stick drives or hard drives and "adopt" them into the system. This makes a little more sense and a 500GB USB drive is a great match for your Android TV box. We go into details at the link below.

Everything you need to know about your SD card and Adoptable storage

Should I encrypt my SD card?

This is one of those things that if you have to ask, the answer is usually no.

SD card encryption is a great way to make sure nobody can see anything you have stored on your card without being able to sign into your phone, but there are a few drawbacks:

  • It takes a little longer to read something from or write something to the SD card. Not a lot but it's a definite thing.
  • You can't take the card out and do something like transfer pictures and music from a computer.
  • If your phone dies, you've lost everything on the card because your phone is the only thing that can decrypt it.

Keep all this in mind if you decide to try it, and make sure to have a good plan to keep your data backed up somewhere else.

Quick Q&A

MicroSD card

  • How should I format my SD card? Insert it into your phone and follow the instructions in the notification you get. Since there are several different file formats an SD card can use, you should let the phone pick the one it wants. Don't worry, your card will still work in a computer to copy files.
  • Do SD cards go bad? Yes, but that's becoming less of a thing with recent cards. Your SD card has a limited amount of times it can be read from and written to before it starts to have errors. If you start to get errors when you are using it, consider buying a new one before it goes bad. As mentioned, newer cards last longer than cards from just a few years ago.
  • Is my SD card waterproof? Maybe. It will say on the packaging if it is designed to get wet. Always try to not let it get wet, but if it does, don't stick it into anything until it dries, then take a Q-tip and some 99% rubbing alcohol and clean the copper contacts on the end you plug in. Let that dry and give it a try.
  • Why does Google hate SD cards? I don't think it hates them because every Chromebook can use one. Officially, Google says SD cards are not as secure and having more than one storage drive is messy for the end user. Feel free to add your own theory here.
  • Which SD card should I buy? Only you know the answer based on how you will use it. We've done our research, and you can check out our favorites here:

Best microSD Card for Android

When it comes to using SD cards in your phone, things don't need to be confusing. After you see all the hype from companies making them, take a minute or two and read through this again, then think about what you need a card to do. It really is that simple.

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1 month ago

Which Galaxy S8 features will come to the Galaxy S7?

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The core Samsung interface, along with Bixby, should make the cut. Everything else remains up in the air.

So the Galaxy S8 has its fancy Infinity Display and iris scanners, not to mention faster processors and other upgraded specs, but when it comes to the actual feature set, it's likely the year-old Galaxy S7 will be inheriting at least some of the tricks that make the GS8 such a desirable handset.

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1 month ago

Motorola may be readying a $100 Moto C as the Moto E4 breaks cover

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Motorola could be launching a new entry-level series called the Moto C.

Motorola unveiled the Moto G5 and G5 Plus earlier this year, with the phones aimed at the $200 to $300 segment. It looks like Motorola is now turning its attention to the entry-level category, with a recent anniversary video showing off what could potentially turn out to be the Moto E4.

The low-res image gives us a few design cues, such as a rounded fingerprint sensor at the front that's similar to what we've seen on the G5 and G5 Plus, and a rear camera module that's identical to that on the G5. The Moto E line did decent numbers for Motorola in emerging markets like India and Brazil, although the company's stance on updates was disappointing.

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1 month ago

How to use the Galaxy S8 app scaling settings

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Spoiler: They don't do much. It's full screen or bust.

The Galaxy S8 has an intriguing, and tall, screen with a unique 18.5:9 aspect ratio. While most Android apps are able to easily scale up to fill that extra screen height, some are hard-coded to stay at 16:9, leaving black bars between the notification shade and the on-screen navigation keys. These are not only awkward and distracting, but they also don't have to be there!

Is there any downside to enabling fullscreen mode?

If there is, we haven't found any. Some games may not look exactly as they were meant to when forced to run in fullscreen mode, but we haven't found that to be the case with any that we play regularly.

How to enable full screen apps on the Galaxy S8

  1. Hop into Settings.
  2. Tap on Display.
  3. Tap on Full screen apps.
  4. Enable the apps that aren't highlighted by default.

From here, you can choose which apps you want to utilize the full-screen aspect ratio.

You'll know when full-screen scaling is off if there are black bars on the top and bottom of the app next time you launch it.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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1 month ago

Xiaomi is all set to unveil the Mi 6 on April 19

11

Xiaomi's 2017 flagship will be unveiled next week.

Xiaomi decided to forgo Mobile World Congress this year, with rumors suggesting that the company was delaying the launch of its 2017 flagship on account of Snapdragon 835 shortages. Later rumors hinted at a possible Snapdragon 821 version making its debut initially, followed by a model powered by the Snapdragon 835. All that speculation will be put to bed on April 19, which is when Xiaomi will unveil its next flagship.

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1 month ago

Wileyfox begins move away from Cyanogen with Swift 2X Nougat update

9
Wileyfox logo

Today's update brings Android 7.1.1 and April security patches.

Wileyfox has begun its transition away from the now-defunct CyanogenOS with the first Android Nougat updates for its devices. An update rolling out today for the Wileyfox Swift 2X moves users to a new Android 7.1.1-based OS with the latest April 2017 security patches from Google.

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1 month ago

Samsung Pay in India: Everything you need to know

1
 Everything you need to know

Samsung Pay offers an incredibly convenient way to pay for your purchases.

Samsung Pay is now live in India, and the digital payments service works at millions of retail stores across the country. With the current uptick in mobile wallets and digital payments, Samsung timed the launch of Samsung Pay in India to perfection and has partnered with leading banks and card issuers to facilitate support for millions of payment cards. Here's what you need to know about using Samsung Pay in India.

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1 month ago

Where to buy the Galaxy S8 in Canada

31

The Galaxy S8 is officially coming to Canada on April 21, but it's getting shipped to some people on April 17.

The Galaxy S8 will be available in Canada on April 21, and because it's one of the most anticipated devices of the year, it will be widely available across the country.

The phone comes in two sizes, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, with about $80 difference between them.

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Samsung

Samsung is selling both models of the Galaxy S8 directly from its website and in its Samsung Experience stores. The Galaxy S8 itself will be available outright for $1035, while the larger Galaxy S8+ will go for $1115. These are the full retail unsubsidized prices, and will come with a free Gear VR + controller bundle if pre-ordered before April 20.

The phones are available in Midnight Black or Orchid Grey.

See at Samsung Canada

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Rogers

The Galaxy S8 will be available at Rogers starting at $249 on a 2-year Premium+ Tab plan and $489 on a standard Premium Tab plan. It is $1035 outright, which is the standard amount charged by Samsung. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $319 on a 2-year Premium+ Tab plan and $559 on a Premium Tab plan. It matches Samsung at $1115 outright. It's available in Midnight Black and Orchid Grey and pre-orders will come with a free Gear VR + controller, and six months of Spotify Premium.

See at Rogers

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Telus

Telus is selling the Galaxy S8 for $250 on a 2-year contract with a minimum $90 monthly plan, or $490 with an $80 plan. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $320 on a 2-year contract with a minimum $90 plan, and $560 with an $80 plan. The company plans to give away a free Gear VR and controller with all pre-orders, and will actually begin shipping the phone four days earlier than other carriers, on April 17.

See at Telus

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Bell

Bell is selling the Galaxy S8 for $289.99 on a 2-year plan with a minimum 5GB plan per account, and $489.99 with a minimum 1GB plan per account. It's also $1034.99 outright. The Galaxy S8+ is $359.99 and $559.99 respectively for the same minimums, plus $1114.99 outright. Like the other carriers, those who pre-order get a free Gear VR and controller, and the company is shipping as early as April 18.

See at Bell

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Videotron

Videotron is selling the Galaxy S8 for $279.95 on a 2-year $90 monthly plan, or $379.95 on a 2-year $80 monthly plan. It is $1029.95 outright, which saves $5 from the retail price elsewhere. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $349.95, $449.95 and $1119.95, respectively for the same minimums. Shipments start on April 17 as well, and those who pre-order — you guessed it — get a Gear VR and controller.

See at Videotron

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Virgin Mobile

The Galaxy S8 on Virgin Mobile goes for a bit more than the other carriers because it is less subsidized; it is $489.99 on a Platinum plan, and $1034.95 outright. The Galaxy S8+ is nowhere in sight on Virgin's webpage at this point. The GS8 comes with a Gear VR and controller, too.

See at Virgin Mobile

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Koodo

Koodo is selling the Galaxy S8 for $490 on a 2-year contract and $994 outright, the cheapest of all the carriers. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $560 on a 2-year contract, and $1064 outright, also the cheapest of all the carriers. Those who pre-order get a free Gear VR and controller.

See at Koodo

Buy the Galaxy S8 from SaskTel

SaskTel is selling the Galaxy S8 for $249.99, plus $10 per month Plus Pricing, or $449.99, on a 2-year contract. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $319.99 with the same criteria. Everyone that pre-orders gets a free Gear VR and controller, too.

See at SaskTel

Buy the Galaxy S8 from MTS

MTS is offering the Galaxy S8 for a promotional $289.99 on a 2-year term with a $75/month minimum spend plus internet, and $1034.99 outright. The S8+ is $359.99 on the same 2-year term and $1,114.99 outright. Add $200 to those 2-year term prices with a $55 minimum spend and no internet bundle.

See at MTS

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Freedom Mobile

Freedom Mobile is making the Galaxy S8 available for $159 on a 2-year contract plus a $35 monthly addition to one's bill. It's available for $999 outright, which happens to be the cheapest outright cost in the country. The S8+ is available for $259 on a 2-year term and the same $35 monthly addition (for 24 months). It's $1,099 outright.

Both versions are available in Midnight Black or Orchid Gray, and come with a free Gear VR + controller combo when ordered before April 20.

See at Freedom Mobile

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Fido

The Galaxy S8 is not yet available for pre-order from Fido.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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