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1 month ago

Here's how the Galaxy S7 handles heat

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Phones get warmer when they do things, but do they get hot?

One of the many questions we see anytime there's a new phone out there, especially after all of the excitement last year with the Snapdragon 808 and 810 processors, is how a new phone handles heat. The Galaxy S7 is no different, and like all glass phones the first thing you'll notice about this phone is it gets a little warm during the initial setup.

Last year we saw the Galaxy S6 edge had a nasty habit of radiating quite a bit of the heat generated by its processor right next to the power button. This year, we're taking a look at the S7 and S7 edge next to the S6 edge and Note 5 to show how differently these phones deal with heat buildup and dissipation.

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1 month ago

Snag a free Moto 360 (2014) when you buy a 64GB Moto X Pure Edition or Droid Turbo 2

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1 month ago

Verizon enlists a pack of adorable puppies to unbox the LG G5

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Let's face the facts: unboxing videos are always a fun watch, and nothing in this world is cuter than a pack of rambunctious puppies. So, why not combine the two?

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1 month ago

An improved camera is just one of the features on your HTC 10 wishlist

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You let us know which features you want to see on the HTC 10.

The announcement of the HTC 10 is almost here, and on April 12th, we'll get to see HTC's newest device. As usual, folks are pouring over what has been released while talking regularly about what might be new, or changed. Phil asked what you want to see and you sure as sugar let us know.

We spent some time pouring over your comments on here, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and our Youtube channel. We have the 5 features that you guys most wanted to see, from an improved camera to having access to expandable storage.

Camera

An overwhelming majority of you told us that an improved camera was an absolute must. This isn't a surprise either. From selfies that you post to Facebook, to a carefully curated Instagram, being able to capture the moments that matter most to you is a big deal. Many people don't even bother picking up an individual camera anymore, because their phone gets the job done.

We've seen phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 that deliver absolutely gorgeous photos, so asking for an improvement shouldn't surprise much of anybody. Especially when you consider what a let down the camera quality on the M8 and M9. It's also a smart choice to continue improving their camera, since it has become a deal breaker for many people. After all, who wants to grab a new phone if the camera doesn't at least match with what you are currently using.

Bigger Battery

The second feature that you absolutely wanted to see was a larger battery. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves, and our lives. Being able to access your phone, no matter where you are, is a priority for plenty of people. Having a phone with a battery that lasts as long as you do has become less of a pipe dream and more of a reality over time. After the disappointment of the HTC A9's battery life, an improvement is almost mandatory.

Many of you are hoping for a battery with over 3000mAh, which is a possibility. Unlike in days of yore, having a bigger battery doesn't automatically mean that you'll be dealing with a bigger, bulkier phone. The new Samsung Galaxy S7 manages to pack a 3000mAh battery in it's slim frame. Whether HTC will follow in trend is still to be seen, but it's definitely a feature we may get to see.

Expandable Storage

If your entire life lives on your phone, then you had better hope you've got room to accomodate everything. From all the photos that matter, to the apps you use to access your information, to text messages from friends and loves ones. The third feature that you want to see on the HTC 10 is expandable storage, allowing you to ensure that you have room for everything that is important to you.

Including an SD slot, and the option for expandable storage is certainly something we might be seeing from HTC. Adoptable storage is baked into Android 6.0 Marshmallow. When you're holding onto your phone for several years at a time, the base of 32G of storage just doesn't cut it. Adoptable storage was available on the A9 and was a fantastic feature. While it's impossible to say for sure, it's a fair bet that they'll continue with this trend.

Better Audio

Plenty of people use their phones as their immediate point of access to the internet. It's where they get their music, their news, and where they find those awesome cat videos that distract us all. Having a phone that can project excellent audio has become important to more and more people as the way we use our phones has evolved. That's probably why the fourth feature on our list today, is better audio.

Paying attention to audio quality hasn't always been a strong point with phone manufacturers. Often we've seen phones with audio that sounds tinny, or doesn't get loud enough for sharing videos In the past HTC has opted for front facing speakers which generally give a better sound, but they were absent last year, so whether they'll be making a comeback is debatable. We will probably be seeing the return of BoomSound to optimize the sound that you're getting from the HTC 10.

Bigger Display

For some people, size really does matter. Especially when it comes to the pocket computers that we all carry around with us. Last on our feature list for the HTC 10, is a larger display. While a smaller display doesn't require as much power, it also just isn't quite as versatile as a larger phone can be. Enjoying movies, or sharing videos is just easier with a larger screen.

Last year we saw the HTC One A9 and HTC One M9 both rock a 5-inch display, but you guys want to see more. While there were plenty of suggestions, you're hoping to see at least a 5.2-inch display, if a 5.5-inch display. With HTC's propensity for smaller phones, this might just be a pipe dream for now. Everyone will just have to hope, and wait a few more days to see how it turns out.

These were the top 5 features that you, the AndroidCentral reader, told us you wanted to see on the HTC 10. Did the feature you need in your life make the list? Are you waiting anxiously for the announcement on April 12th? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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1 month ago

AT&T has made its bloatware even worse on the LG G5

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AT&T Bloatware

There's no point in pretending to be surprised about this.

Here we go again. If you caught the saga of AT&T's Galaxy S7, you probably know what's coming. Fire up the operator's version of the LG G5 and marvel in the amount of bloatware packed into a single phone.

Let's take a look at what you'll find, out of the box:

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1 month ago

AT&T will give Galaxy S7 or S7 edge buyers a free 48-inch Samsung TV with DirecTV signup

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AT&T is using its recent acquisition of DirecTV to offer customers a new deal for buying a Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. Starting April 1, those buyers can get a free Samsung 48-inch TV if they also buy a subscription to the DirecTV satellite television service.

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1 month ago

Samsung's budget Galaxy J3 2016 debuts in India with S Bike Mode for ₹8,999

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Samsung has launched the Galaxy J3 2016 in India. The phone is now available for ₹8,999, and comes with a new feature aimed at motorcyclists called S Bike Mode.

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1 month ago

Xiaomi launches the Mi 5 in India for ₹24,999

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At an event in New Delhi, Xiaomi launched the Mi 5 in the Indian market. The 32GB variant will go up for sale starting April 6 for ₹24,999.

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1 month ago

LG G5 unboxing: Bringing some 'Friends' along for the ride

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LG G5 unboxing

All things must be unboxed. And occasionally they must be filmed at the same time.

Said it before, and we'll say it again. We're generally not huge fans of the pomp and circumstance that tends to come with taking phones we've already seen out of boxes. But sometimes things are special. There was the LG Optimus Black "Unbooking" way back in 2011. Only a few months later we had the bizarre alien head that was part of a promotion for Verizon's Motorola Droid Bionic. There have been others, of course.

But LG's back again with the LG G5. It's as polarizing as it is intriguing. On its own it's a more-than capable phone. But throw in that it's got interchangeable modules and that "Friends" ecosystem of accessories — plus a new user interface , and there's a whole lot going on here.

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1 month ago

Galaxy A7 2016 review: Close, but not quite great

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Galaxy A7 2016

Samsung's mid-range warrior has what it takes to succeed, but pricing remains a sore point.

Quick take:

The Galaxy A7 2016 has features normally reserved for Samsung's flagships, such as a fingerprint scanner, Super AMOLED display, and a great 13MP camera. A fast octa-core Exynos processor combined with 3GB of RAM makes the phone breeze through everyday tasks, and a 3300mAh battery gives you a day's worth of usage even if you're a heavy user. You're not going to find all the bells and whistles that make their way onto 2015's Galaxy S6, but the Galaxy A7 is a compelling alternative if you're looking for flagship-level hardware without a heavy price tag.

The good

  • Excellent Super AMOLED display
  • Premium metal-and-glass design
  • Great camera
  • Long-lasting battery life

The bad

  • Occasional UI quirks
  • No Marshmallow yet
  • Glass back isn't durable

About this review

I (Harish Jonnalagadda) used the Galaxy A7 for over three weeks in Hyderabad, Barcelona and New York. In India, the phone was used on Airtel's 4G network, and I switched to Vodafone in Spain and T-Mobile in the U.S. An LG Watch Urbane was paired to the phone for the duration of the review.

Galaxy A7 2016

POWER!!!!!!

Galaxy A7 2016 Specs

Category Features Display 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, 401 ppi SoC Octa-core 1.6GHz Cortex A53 CPU, Mali-T720 MP2 GPU (Exynos 7580) Storage 16GB internal memory, microSD slot (up to 128GB) RAM 3GB LPDDR3 RAM Camera 13MP f/1.9 camera with LED flash, 5MP front camera Connectivity LTE Cat. 6, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, dual-SIM Battery 3300 mAh battery with Fast Adaptive Charge Software Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Dimensions 151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3mm Weight 169g Colors Black, White, Gold

Galaxy A7 2016

All the right curves

Galaxy A7 2016 Design

The first thing you notice about the Galaxy A7 2016 is how similar it is to the Galaxy S6. With the phone sharing a lot of design cues from the Galaxy S6, it looks every bit as premium as Samsung's 2015 flagship offering. There's 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 at the front and back, and the chamfered metal sides combined with the rounded edges make the phone comfortable to hold and use.

Navigation buttons are where you'd expect in a Samsung phone (which means that they still aren't in the right place), and the home button at the front now houses a fingerprint sensor. The sensor is just as fast as the one on the Galaxy S6, and you can double tap the home button in quick succession to launch the camera when the device is locked.

While the glass back adds elegance to the phone, it doesn't do anything to its rigidity. The phone took several tumbles without any issues, with the metal frame absorbing the impact. But if the phone were to fall directly on its glass, you're going to get a cracked screen. If you're anywhere as clumsy as me, you're better off using the phone with a case.

Galaxy A7 2016 back

The variant of the Galaxy A7 sold in India offers dual-SIM connectivity. The SIM card tray on the right houses the primary nano SIM and the microSD card, and there's another SIM tray at the top that can accommodate the secondary SIM card. The 3.5mm audio jack, as well as the microUSB charging port and the speaker grille are all located at the bottom. The speaker delivers sound that's loud and clear, but there's only so much you can expect from a single speaker.

The similarities with the Galaxy S6 extend to the camera bump as well, with the Galaxy A7's sensor also protruding from the body. Overall, Samsung has done an outstanding job when it comes to the design of the Galaxy A7, but you have to be wary of the glass back.

Galaxy A7 2016

No QHD, but close

Galaxy A7 2016 Display

The Galaxy A7 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD (that's 1080p) Super AMOLED display with 401 pixels per inch. Samsung has been producing stunning displays of late, and the same holds true for the screen on the Galaxy A7. It may not be a higher-resolution Quad HD display, but it offers excellent color contrast. With a maximum brightness of 536 nits in Auto, you can view the display outdoors without any issues. In Adaptive display mode, the color range and saturation are automatically adjusted, giving you punchy colors and inky blacks. Bezels along the sides of the display are slim, which gives you an edge-to-edge viewing experience when consuming media, or reading text.

One-handed mode has made its way across from the Galaxy Note 5, which shrinks the screen size to about 75 percent of the original, making it easier to access the entire contents of the screen. There are arrow keys that let you move the position of the screen to the left or right, and a button at the top that lets you switch back to full-screen mode. You can enable one-handed mode by pressing the home button thrice in quick succession.

As the device features a 5.5-inch screen, you get Multi-Window mode, which lets you use two apps at the same time. Not all apps support the split-screen view, but all of Samsung's stock apps as well as the more popular apps work just fine.

Galaxy A7 2016

Exynos FTW

Galaxy A7 2016 Hardware

The Galaxy A7 is being offered in two variants: an international model that is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC, and a version that runs the Exynos 7580 SoC. The version sold in India features the Exynos 7580. Unlike the Galaxy S6's Exynos 7420, which was built on a 14nm Low Power Early (LPE) FinFET process, the Exynos 7580 is produced on the standard 28nm node. It offers eight Cortex A53 cores (ARMv8-A) clocked at 1.6GHz and an ARM Mali-T720 MP2 GPU.

The hardware combined with 3GB of RAM means that the Galaxy A7 handles almost everything you throw at it without any issues. Only when you play the most visually-intensive games do you start noticing the occasional frame-rate issues, and that's mostly to do with the Mali-T720 MP2.

Things are not as great on the storage front, as you can quickly run through the 11GB of available storage within a few days if you're a heavy user. There's no 32GB variant available, but you can extend storage with the microSD slot, which takes in cards up to 128GB.

You get LTE Category 6 connectivity with FDD LTE bands 1 (2100MHz), 3 (1800MHz ), 5 (850MHz ), 7 (2600MHz ), 8 (900MHz ), and 20 (800MHz), and TDD LTE band 40 (2300MHz) on-board. There's also Bluetooth 4.1 and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, but no Wi-Fi ac. While Samsung Pay is not yet officially available in the country, the phone does offer NFC and MST for when the service makes its debut.

A note on connectivity: The Galaxy A7 sold in India is meant for use in the subcontinent. Taking it outside the country leads to a lot of strange behavior. That fact became very clear to me as I used the phone with a T-Mobile SIM, which led to crashes and reboots every 10 minutes. The situation was such that every time I tried to place a call, the phone would reboot. Resetting the device did not fix the issue, but as soon as I returned to India, everything started functioning normally. As the phone does not have the requisite LTE bands for international carriers, you're better off looking for other devices if you're want to use the Galaxy A7 primarily outside India.

Galaxy A7 2016 camera

Who wants 4K anyway?

Galaxy A7 2016 Camera

The Galaxy A7 comes with a 13MP camera, with this year's model featuring optical image stabilization. With an f/1.9 lens and fast autofocus, you get detailed images with accurate color reproduction in daylight conditions. There's a noticeable amount of noise with images taken during low-light conditions, but the overall camera quality is decent considering the device's price point. There's no auto-HDR, so you have to manually toggle HDR if you want more dynamic range.

The interface itself lacks features that you'd find on the Galaxy S6, such as the ability to stream live to YouTube. The Pro mode is also not as feature-rich as the one you'd find on Samsung's flagships. You have the option of choosing white balance, ISO, and exposure, and that's it. There is also a battery indicator within the camera interface that lets you quickly view the battery life left.

The most noticeable omission when it comes to the camera is the lack of 4K video recording, which is available on devices that retail for half the cost of the A7. You can shoot Full HD videos at 30fps, and that's about as exciting as video recording gets on the device.

Galaxy A7 2016

The envy of the Galaxy S6

Galaxy A7 2016 Battery life

The Galaxy A7 wins out over Samsung's flagship series when it comes to battery life. With a 3300 mAh battery powering a Full HD display, you can easily get a day's worth of battery life with heavy usage, which can be extended to two days by using the on-board power-saving features. There's Smart Manager, which monitors apps and prevents them from draining battery life in the background, and you also get Power saving mode and Ultra power saving mode. Both modes extend the battery life by throttling the CPU, reducing screen brightness, switching off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and data when the phone is locked, and even turning the screen to grayscale mode.

The phone also offers fast charging, and Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charger is included in the box. As the Galaxy A7 is targeting the mid-range segment, there's no wireless charging, but you're not missing out on much there.

Galaxy A7 2016

Where's my Marshmallow?

Galaxy A7 2016 Software

If you've used a Samsung device before, you're going to be familiar with the software on offer with the Galaxy A7. You get squarish icons, a notification shade with configurable quick toggles, Microsoft's office suite, S Health, and Samsung's Galaxy Apps. While Microsoft's apps are bundled, you'll have to head to Samsung's app store to download and install each app before you can use them.

With the phone targeted at emerging markets where cellular connectivity isn't the most reliable, Samsung is partnering with Opera to bundle its Max data-saving feature into the Galaxy A7. With Ultra Data Saver enabled, you can consume up to 40 percent less data. The feature works as advertised, and is efficient at saving data when browsing social networking and video sharing websites. Samsung isn't the first one to integrate Max into its devices, as Xiaomi also offers the same feature in MIUI 7.

There's also a theme store, through which you can customize the look and feel of the user interface. There are a few themes that are exclusive to the A series, too.

The biggest issue when it comes to the software is the availability of Marshmallow. Or, rather, the lack thereof. The phone comes with Android 5.1.1 out of the box, and as of now there's no mention as to when the Marshmallow update will be available, only that it is in the works.

Galaxy A7 2016

Should you buy it? Not at its current price

Samsung has successfully managed to offer a device that's almost as good as the Galaxy S6. However, the manufacturer is not doing itself any favors with the pricing of the handset.

The Galaxy A7 is currently retailing in the country for ₹32,000, just ₹1,000 less than the current price of the Galaxy S6. Furthermore, the base model of the Galaxy S6 offers 32GB storage, a QHD screen, and a camera that's far better at low-light shots. For the Galaxy A7 to fulfill its role as the affordable alternative to the Galaxy S6, it needs to be priced at ₹25,000. To be fair, the Galaxy A7 is a relatively new phone, and its price is bound to come down within a month or so, by which time it will be a much better recommendation.

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1 month ago

Verizon Galaxy S7 review: What to expect on America's largest carrier

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We've been using the best Android smartphone on America's largest operator for a month. Here's what we've found ...

Not every Samsung Galaxy S7 is created equal. OK, they're mostly created equal. That is, you're going to get the same hardware no matter which U.S. operator you go with. Same Snapdragon processor. Same 32GB of on-board storage. Same look and feel.

Like so many (or too many, depending on how you look at it) phones these days, it's what's on the inside that changes things. Especially when the U.S. operators get involved.

First place to start: Read our comprehensive Galaxy S7 review, which goes more in-depth with the phone itself. And we're now taking a closer look at each carrier model. I've been using Verizon Galaxy S7 (two of them, actually) for a month. Let's take a look at where Verizon's version stands out from the rest.

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1 month ago

Snag an unlocked Xperia Z3 for $250 from B&H

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If you are in the market for an unlocked smartphone, you may want to check out this deal from B&H on Sony's Xperia Z3. The water and dust-resistant phone is priced at just $250 right now, a savings of $200. Featuring a 5.2-inch IPS display, the Xperia Z3 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 processor that is paired with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage.

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1 month ago

Bell Canada tops list of telco complaints for fourth straight year

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Bell Canada has once again topped the list of telco complaints, according to a report (pdf) issued by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.

The telco, which has more than 8.2 million wireless subscribers and nearly 3.5 million internet customers, earned 1,677 complaints, or 36.8% of the total, in the period between Aug. 1, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016. The numbers, issued as part of the CCTS's mid-year report, includes complaints submitted to the publicly-funded organization pertaining to wireless, internet, local phone and long distance services — though the vast majority centre around wireless service.

While Bell's complaints dropped by 18.6% compared the same period a year ago, its main rival, Rogers, slashed its numbers nearly 200%, from 1,240 in late 2014/early 2015 to 437, or 9.6% of the total, this past year. Rogers attributes much of its success to the introduction of Roam Like Home and the consistent education of the easy-to-understand roaming package through a multi-faceted marketing campaign.

"While there is still work to be done, we've started tackling some of the industry's biggest issues head on, like roaming, by introducing services that are easy to use and save customers' time," said Deepak Khandelwal, Chief Customer Officer for Rogers.

The third incumbent provider, Telus, actually experienced an increase in issues between 2014 and 2015, rising 28% to 310 complaints, or 6.8% of the total. The company has consistently had the fewest complaints of the three big carriers, which comprise around 90% of Canadian wireless subscribers.

Despite its relatively small user base, Wind Mobile was third on the complaints list with 341 issues, or 7.5% of the total. Virgin Mobile, Bell's flanker brand, rounded out the top five with 257 issues, or 5.6%.

As in years past, most of the complaints centered around so-called "misleading information of terms" in wireless or internet contracts. Around 10% of the accepted complaints pertained to incorrect charges, most of which were resolved, according to the CCTS. Around 7% had to do with intermittent or low-quality service, though that number dropped significantly in the past year in the wireless category as the carriers rolled out service in the 700 Mhz spectrum, which penetrates thick walls and basements, and travels further in rural areas.

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1 month ago

Gionee's latest flip phone offers two 720p displays, 4GB RAM, Helio P10 SoC

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Samsung and LG aren't the only vendors making high-end flip phones, as Gionee's latest offering in this space ups the ante with 4GB of RAM and a faux leather back.

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1 month ago

AT&T begins shipping LG G5 pre-orders

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AT&T has started shipping the LG G5 out to those who pre-ordered the handset.

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