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1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs. Galaxy S7 edge: Should you upgrade?

71

Do you really need all the latest and greatest Galaxy S8+? Or will last year's model suffice?

It's that time of year again. Spring has sprung and so has Samsung unearthed its new flagship smartphones. This year, the Galaxy S8+ was announced as the larger sibling of the Galaxy S8 for those who like to wield bigger smartphones. It's also the follow-up to last year's Galaxy S7 edge.

You might be wondering: Is it worth upgrading to the Galaxy S8+ if the Galaxy S7 edge is already on sale everywhere else? Well, that depends entirely on how big you like your display.

Hardware, specs and features

The Galaxy S8+ will undoubtedly remind of you the fabled Galaxy Note 7. But after you've shed a couple of tears for what could have been, wipe them away with your shirt sleeve and give the Galaxy S8+ a good once over. Notice its smooth edges, stunning chassis color, and recessed camera lens. This is an improved smartphone, and although the S7 edge is a looker in its own right, there's something inherently more polished about the design of the Galaxy S8+.

If you're looking for a pocket dweller, you might feel better suited with a Galaxy S7 edge.

The real question here is how big do you like the screen? The Galaxy S7 edge's Quad HD display is certainly large at 5.5-inches, but the Galaxy S8+'s 6.2-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display offers significantly more screen space for watching movies, editing documents, and taking part in brawls on social media. It also supports HDR, which Netflix and Amazon are supporting.

If you're looking for a pocket dweller, however, you might feel better suited with a Galaxy S7 edge. The Galaxy S8+ is certainly packs plenty of screen space into a thin chassis, but its tall, narrow body requires a bit of space to burrow inside a pair of pants.

GS8 fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S8+'s fingerprint sensor is on the backside, high above the area where your index finger normally rests.

Now, let's talk about specifications. The Galaxy S8+ doesn't offer anything particularly groundbreaking when pitted against its predecessor. Despite the larger screen, it is not equipped with a larger battery, nor does it offer more RAM — though you do get a faster processor and an extra 32GB of internal storage. And like the Galaxy S7 edge, it offers wireless charging, an SD card slot, and waterproofing, as well as all the other marketable bells and whistles, including Samsung Pay. Regardless of which one you choose, you're not getting too much of a difference in terms of marquee Samsung features.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ specs

Software and experience

This is a Galaxy S8 and a Galaxy S7 edge, but you get the idea.

The Galaxy S7 edge is turning into the trusty old steed that's adopting what it can to remain as capable as the fawns who've since been introduced into the barn. It has Android 7.0 Nougat now, which is great if you're considering a smartphone at a discount but are hoping to avoid regressing on software updates.

When it comes to the day-to-day, there's not much difference between the software on the Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S7 edge, and especially not if the latter is updated to Nougat. You'll get access to Samsung's lighter layout if the latter is on Android 7.0, though the Galaxy S8+ will have a couple of additions that have carried over from the Note 7's short-lived heyday.

You won't get iris scanning and facial recognition on the Galaxy S7 edge because it's not equipped with the right hardware.

Also, while the camera hardware may not have advanced much, the camera application did receive a bit of an interface trim and some silly feature additions. There's nothing particularly revolutionary that you're missing out on.

You are missing out on one software feature, however, that's possible only because of the hardware inside the Galaxy S8+. The phone features iris scanning and facial recognition to secure your files and folders. You won't get that on the Galaxy S7 edge because it's not equipped with the right hardware.

Galaxy S8+

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8+ looks great in Orchid Gray.

The Galaxy S8+ comes with Bixby, Samsung's new on-device voice assistant, which promises to help you navigate your new smartphone and keep you privy to your town's weather forecast. The chances are slim that Bixby will make it to the elder Galaxy smartphones, so if you're keen on living in the future with your favorite device maker, you'll want to get the phone with the hardware button dedicated to this feature.

The Galaxy S8+ positions itself as a better productivity machine by way of the fact that it's equipped with Samsung DeX capabilities. DeX is the Galaxy S8's hidden desktop interface, and you can unlock it by plopping the phone into the sold-separately dock. The DeX dock is a USB-C peripheral, so it's not inherently meant to work with the Galaxy S7 edge. Even if you inserted a Micro-USB to USB Type-C adapter, it's unlikely Samsung would spend much time optimizing DeX to make it compatible with older hardware.

Bottom line

New things are really nice to have, and shiny things can help attract new friends. But if it's the latest technology you're looking for, the Galaxy S8+ isn't too much of a leap forward to consider trading in a perfectly capable Galaxy S7 edge. The Galaxy S8+'s performance will be slightly better in the longer run by virtue of the fact that it's running a newer Snapdragon 835 chip, but its battery life will remain relatively the same, and the photos you take with it won't look too much different.

If you simply don't care for a larger display consider saving your money.

You aren't skimping out on any essential software features, either. Samsung DeX and Bixby are certainly interesting new offerings, but they're still in their first generation, and it'll take some time to see how each evolves.

Ultimately, whether you're looking to switch from a Galaxy S7 edge or are deciding whether to upgrade to the Galaxy S8+, consider your stance on wielding a taller phone. Smaller hands might find difficulty wielding the device one-handed, particularly if they plan to use the oddly located fingerprint sensor. The tradeoff is the Galaxy S8+'s bigger screen, which will net you more multitasking abilities in the long term.

See at Samsung

But if you simply don't care for a larger display, consider saving your money and adopting the Galaxy S7 edge.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 month ago

Phones with 'foldable' AMOLED displays may not debut until 2019

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Foldable OLED

Samsung Display pours cold water on prospect of a foldable Galaxy anytime soon.

Rumors of a foldable Samsung smartphone have been circulating for years, with the name "Galaxy X" doing the rounds recently to refer to a phone that opens like a book to transform into a larger, tablet-sized screen.

But comments by a leading engineer at Samsung Display — the arm of the Korean electronics giant responsible for making those screens — suggest such a device is still a couple of years off.

Technical challenges and strong demand for bezel-free panels are responsible for pushing back the 'foldable' phone.

The Korea Herald quotes Kim Tae-woong, Samsung Display's principal engineer, at the Display TechSalon in Seoul.

"Because the bezel-free display currently sells well," Kim says, "we still have enough time to develop foldable display. The technology is expected to be mature around 2019."

Kim notes that there were still some technical challenges to be overcome before foldable smartphone displays could ship in a retail product, the outlet reports, adding that single-sided foldable phones will likely arrive first. Double-sided foldable devices — where the entire surface area of both sides is basically a screen — should come later.

So unless the demand for bezel-free displays slows unexpectedly in the next year, don't expect a foldable Galaxy anytime soon. The idea of carrying around a single, super-slim device that can instantly double its screen area as needed remains exciting. But it's unlikely we'll see anything besides concept demonstrations from Samsung for the next couple of years.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 month ago

Moto G5 Plus for India review: This is the one to beat

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Moto G5 Plus India

Motorola has another winner on its hands with the G5 Plus.

Quick take:

The Moto G5 Plus symbolizes a bold move by Motorola to assert its dominance in this segment. It combines great hardware with unmatched software experience, culminating in a device that stands a head and shoulders above the competition. I'm not going to mince words here — if you want a capable budget phone in 2017, the Moto G5 Plus should be at the top of your list.

The good

  • Amazing camera
  • Decent hardware
  • Unmatched software
  • Great battery life

The bad

  • Base variant has 16GB storage
  • Costlier than rivals
  • Micro-USB doesn't cut it in 2017

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1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S7: Should you upgrade?

125
Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S7

The relentless march of smartphone upgrades continues.

The hot new Galaxy S8 is here, and suddenly people with perfectly good Galaxy S7s are looking longingly at the order page considering an upgrade after a year (at most) with their phone. The Galaxy S8 introduces a fresh design, new hardware features and a few pieces of altogether new software, but that doesn't mean the Galaxy S7 feels like a fossil.

Let's take a look at the Galaxy S8 and see what you're missing out on, and whether or not it make sense to make the jump to the latest version.

Hardware, specs and features

The Galaxy S8's hardware design may not be as mind-blowing revolutionary as Samsung claims, but it has definitely progressed nicely from its predecessor. The biggest changes are actually not altogether new to the Galaxy S lineup, but more so the function of Samsung is using the same design for both sizes of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. In 2016, the smaller Galaxy S7 was the "standard" or "flat" model, while the Galaxy S7 edge was curved and a bit more futuristic — now, both models adopt that future-looking design, and it makes the Galaxy S7 look a tad old by comparison.

This just reiterates that the core Galaxy S7 experience is still strong in 2017.

The Galaxy S7's display is plenty large for its body size, but the Galaxy S8 really stretches things out to give you a ton of extra display for not much extra size. The Galaxy S8, despite being taller, is the same width as the Galaxy S7 — so there aren't many usability issues with bumping up to the larger size. In return, you just get more screen to look at every day. You also get a more modern on-screen navigation bar, finally leaving behind the capacitive keys — you can even switch the order to have the back button in the "right" place ... to the left of the home button.

Speaking of display, the Galaxy S8's is definitely a step up — Samsung improves each and every year — but the Galaxy S7 could easily still be considered one of the best panels out there. Aside from the nice-looking subtle curves that give it a bezel-free look on the sides, there isn't too much to be jealous about here.

When it comes to specs and hardware features, the Galaxy S8 doesn't exactly leave its predecessor in the dust. The new phone has the same rear camera experience, same 4GB of RAM, 3000mAh battery capacity, waterproofing, SD card slot, wireless charging and single speaker. The Galaxy S8 of course has a faster and more efficient processor and 64GB of storage, along with a forward-looking USB-C port, but none of that is game-changing over the already capable Galaxy S7.

Software and experience

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S7

A year on from release, the Galaxy S7 has actually kept up with the times having just received its Android 7.0 Nougat update. When it comes to daily use and the general look-and-feel of the Galaxy S8, things haven't changed much from that latest GS7 update. There's a new launcher layout and fresh icons throughout, but the main interface hasn't changed a whole lot. You'll find a tweaked camera interface, some features brought over that were originally in the Note 7 and a bit of tidying up all around, but not much altogether new software here. There's a good chance the fresh icons and launcher could come to the Galaxy S7 in its next major update, but this isn't something you should be upgrading your phone for.

Where the Galaxy S8 steps ahead is in its handful of new headline features — though each one is part software, part hardware, meaning they can't come back to the Galaxy S7 in full with a software update. Iris scanning and facial recognition are new in the Galaxy S8, and they're tied into the new sensors as a one-two punch of quickly getting you into your phone and then providing biometric security for proper authentication in the software.

There are some big hardware-backed features, but nothing majorly new in the interface.

Then there's Bixby, the on-device voice assistant interface, is more of a forward-looking feature than one that provides immediate utility, especially as Samsung continues to expand it to the entire interface and all built-in apps. While the voice assistant could technically come back to older models like the Galaxy S7 through a software update, the chances are slim — Samsung even includes a dedicated hardware button on the GS8 for Bixby, and that's something it can't add to previous phones.

DeX is the Galaxy S8's pseudo-desktop interface that brings your phone's capabilities to a larger screen, and this is also something that's going to stay on the Galaxy S8 line. The DeX dock is a USB-C peripheral, so it's hard to see that Samsung would go through the trouble of creating a different version for the Galaxy S7 — not to mention porting back all of that advanced software — even though the Galaxy S7's hardware could likely handle such features.

Bottom line

As much as we lust after the newest devices and want to have the latest technology, there's actually a good chance that your Galaxy S7 still does what you need it to do a year into its life. If you're still happy with the performance of your Galaxy S7 and don't need any of the fringe features on offer in the Galaxy S8, you'll feel right up to date there. The Galaxy S8's performance will be a little better and it has a larger, better display, but the battery life will shape up to be similar and the rest of the hardware features and specs are nearly the same.

You may actually want to save your money this time around.

When it comes to the software, the combination of subtle interface changes aren't worth buying a new phone for. And even if you're bullish on the future prospects of Bixby and DeX, you may not see the features of either platform being important enough in the near term to warrant jumping to the Galaxy S8 right away.

The only real changes that could get you to drop your GS7 for a shiny new GS8 are in the design and size. Perhaps a year on your Galaxy S7's 5.1-inch display is feeling a bit small and you want something larger — the Galaxy S8 has you covered there, and the display is fantastic. The Galaxy S8 is also just downright beautiful and feels futuristic. There's something to be said for that weighing into your decision.

The Galaxy S8 is going to set you back a solid $750, and your Galaxy S7 is probably only worth a few hundred dollars to sell and cover some of the cost. Only you know how much these handful of subtle changes are worth — but be sure to do the calculation before you jump to the Galaxy S8 from your Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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1 month ago

HTC U: How 'Edge Sense' will work on HTC's next flagship

18

The HTC U may have a seriously cool, unique feature, and this is how it will work.

HTC is still dealing with tepid reviews of its latest device, the U Ultra, but the company has more tricks up its sleeve in 2017. We're expecting a proper flagship to debut sometime this month, likely called the HTC U, which is expected to possess one particularly noteworthy gimmick feature that will be interesting to see in person.

We've heard about the feature before, but according to Android Headlines, which received an internal document from HTC, the HTC U will sport side bezels that detect force: a short squeeze for one action and a long squeeze for another. The feature is called 'Edge Sense' and, used right, has the potential to be quite interesting — as long as app developers support it.

As you can see from a leaked on-device setup page, the idea is to program the device to be able to accept your "power of grip" so as to prevent misfires, since, well, you actually have to hold the phone on those same metal bezels. The concept isn't entirely new, but it's new to Android and to HTC, and done right has the potential to do some interesting things.

Other than Edge Sense, the HTC U looks like a pretty typical 2017 flagship at this point.

The leaked documents also talk about some camera features, including auto scene detection and the choice between super-accurate and super-3D audio recording. And the specs seem downright quotidian given what we've seen from the likes of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 this year: a 5.5-inch 2560x1440 IPS display; a Snapdragon 835 platform, 4GB of RAM in most markets, with 6GB in China; 64GB internal storage in most markets except China which gets 128GB; a 12MP rear UltraPixel camera, a 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0; Android 7.1 Nougat; and a front fingerprint sensor/home button combo.

It's unclear why HTC is shying away from removing the capacitive home button, since it was one of the first companies to go all-in on virtual buttons with the HTC One M8, but as a result the HTC U will likely be a little chunkier than other flagships this year. We'll have to wait a few weeks longer to find out, though.

HTC 10

HTC Best Buy Verizon Sprint

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1 month ago

Watch our HTC U Ultra video review!

6

Five or six years ago, HTC was a titan of the smartphone world. But the past half-decade hasn't been kind to the Taiwanese company. It's lost money, market share and several high-profile designers and executives.

Nevertheless, HTC's still here, and still making pretty good phones, both under its own brand name and for Google under the Pixel contract. The latest high-ender to come out of HTC is this, the U Ultra.

So does HTC still have some of its old magic left? Or, at US$750, is it asking too much for too little? Let's find out — this is our review of the HTC U Ultra. It's the first phablet-sized HTC flagship in more than three years, and while it's a big, bezelly beast, it also packs an impressive glass-backed design, and internals upgraded from last year's HTC 10. Check out our video to find out if that's enough to compete with the coming onslaught from Samsung and LG.

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1 month ago

Early Galaxy S8+ prototypes had dual cameras at the back

39

Samsung was working on dual rear cameras with the Galaxy S8.

Samsung decided to stick with a 12MP "Dual Pixel" rear-facing camera on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but it looks like the South Korean manufacturer dabbled with a dual-camera setup at least on the Galaxy S8+. Images of early prototypes of the Galaxy S8+ reveal dual cameras at the back along with dual LED flash and a heart rate sensor.

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1 month ago

Best External Battery Packs for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge

59
Galaxy S7 battery

Give your GS7 and GS7 edge a second life with a battery pack.

I know, camping is supposed to be a way to get away from society for a while. But some of us just can't fall asleep without crushing some candy before beddy-byes. If you're going to be on the go for a day or two and simply don't have any time to waste near a wall socket, then you should consider an external battery pack or power bank.

They're entirely portable, relatively inexpensive, and could keep your phone going when you need it most.

We've rounded up the best battery packs for your Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge — and for your lifestyle.

Updated March 2017: These are still solid options for any Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge users out there.

Aukey Portable Power Bank (10,400 mAh)

Aukey

The Aukey Portable Power Bank will charge your Galaxy S7 twice over with a little bit of gas left in the tank, just in case. It offers over-current and short circuit protection, and it won't overheat or become overcharged itself.

As a portable bank, it's a little on the thick side, at nearly two inches, but it is relatively inexpensive, often starting around $20.

This one's for those of you who just want a basic fast-charing battery pack and only need it for a day at a time. If you're having to go days without seeing a wall socket, then you'll want to consider one of the bigger battery packs below.

See at Amazon

EasyAcc Monster (20,000 mAh)

EasyAcc

Charge your Galaxy S7 and up to three other devices at the same time with the EasyAcc Monster. They're not kidding about the name. This baby has enough juice to charge your GS7 around six times over, which makes it great if you're headed out of town for a few days and aren't sure if you'll see a wall socket any time soon.

It's got a built-in flashlight and can auto-detect components and adjust the maximum output accordingly, which makes it great if you've got multiple devices on the go. Does the whole family have Galaxy S7s? Charge them all at the same time.

No need to worry about overcharging and shorting, since the EasyAcc has a built-in surge protector, which is ideal since you'll have to wait 6 hours for this one to charge fully.

See at Amazon

KMASHI (20,000 mAh)

KMASHI

KMASHI's external battery bank can charge two devices simultaneously, making this ideal for anyone who's carrying around the Galaxy S7 and tablet (because if both die on you, that's one long bus ride home from work or school). It's got one regular USB charging port, and another Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 port.

At 20,000 mAh, this bank has enough juice to charge your Galaxy S7 around 6 times, so you could go for days without seeing a wall socket and be just fine.

This battery pack comes with a flashlight for emergency situations and offers a sleek, somewhat rugged design, which means you can take it more or less anywhere with you. Size-wise, it's about average for an external battery pack of the capacity, at around 6 inches by 4 inches.

See at Amazon

Samsung Fast Charge Battery Pack (5,200 mAh)

Samsung Fast Charge Battery Pack (5,200 mAh)

If you're brand-conscious when it comes to accessories and also want a reliable battery pack, then consider the Samsung Fast Charge Battery Pack. At 5,200 mAh, it'll give you at least one full charge nice and quickly.

Samsung claims that their battery pack will take you from 0 percent to 50 in about half an hour, thanks to its Quick Charge 2.0 support. Best of all, it's sleek enough to fit in a pocket, being around the same size as a Galaxy S7 edge.

You can also match your GS7 or GS7 edge with your battery pack, since it comes in gold and silver.

See at Amazon See at ShopAndroid


Unifun 10,400 mAh Waterproof Power Bank

Unifun 10,400 mAh Waterproof Power Bank

Calling all campers! Unifun's power bank is rugged and waterproof, so you can charge your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge when you're really on the go. It's rated IP66 for water and dust resistance, while also having anti-shock and anti-skid protection.

This pack even has a strap hole, so you can attach to a belt loop or clip, which is great if you're working outside all day or constantly on the go; just run a cord to your pocket and away you go.

It's a little bulky, at 6 inches, by almost 3 inches, but you'd expect something so rugged to be a little on the bulky side.

See at Amazon

What's your favorite?

Which battery packs are you using to charge your Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge? Sound off in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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1 month ago

Samsung's Orchid Gray Galaxy S8 is a sign of more beautiful things to come

85

Android smartphones are entering a design renaissance. The color of the chassis is just the beginning of it.

It was wonderful to see Samsung adopt a fresh new color for the Galaxy S8 and S8+. The color is called Orchid Gray and it's a lilac-hued pastel that's unlike the shiny golds and reflective silver-covered phone bodies we've seen proliferating throughout the industry. This is no girly rose-gold either — Orchid Gray is indubitably gender neutral, which is exactly the way smartphone design should be.

It's nice to see that the Orchid Gray version isn't specifically being targeted at women.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are merely following a trend, however. The HTC U Ultra, released a few months ago, is a stunning smartphone in its own right. Its hardware is not particularly spectacular when compared to the competition, but the blue variant is almost worth owning just to display on a mantel. The reimagined LG G6 is also fab in its own rugged and metrosexual manner, and we've been watching Chinese smartphone brands attempt to set a stylish precedent overseas for quite some time.

We're entering into a bona fide Android smartphone renaissance, where the smartphone in your hand is not just a utility, but an expression of your individualized self. And every premium Android manufacturer wants to show off what it can do.

Why the Galaxy S8 in Orchid Gray is so great

For the past several years, typical smartphone colors have been black, white, and gray. If you were lucky, you wielded a gold phone because you held out for one. Or you're me, and you skimped out on storage space because you wanted to be one of the first people with a really blue Pixel XL.

Orchid Gray isn't a special edition color. It's part of the main lineup, though I imagine it will be sold in limited quantities compared to the other color offerings — the same way the pink LG G5 was hard to find, for instance, or the aforementioned blue Pixel XL. The Orchid Gray is particularly outstanding because it is different from the status quo, much like the blue Pixel stands out when everyone else is holding an iPhone.

Smartphone design is still prone to stereotypes, too, so it's nice to see that the Orchid Gray isn't being marketed as meant for women, though its hue is malleable enough that it could be if you wanted it to. For instance, guys with a stylish side who typically wear lighter colors could choose this variant of the Galaxy S8 so it matches their trendy threads, while gals with a wild neon side could choose it to keep the color flowing (though I personally think the Arctic Silver variant would be more fitting).

There are a couple of other special edition colors coming to market, including Coral Blue, which was first introduced on the Note 7, and Maple Gold. These extra colors feel like collector's items, and it makes me want to scope them out just so that I could be one of the few people with one in my hand. And that's the point, isn't it?

Which color Galaxy S8 should I buy?

What's next?

There's no doubt that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are a boon to smartphone design. Look at the symmetrical curvature of the chassis; the way the screen flows into the itty bit of bezel that exists. It's certainly a work of art, one that's ergonomic and comfortable to hold, despite the fact that the fingerprint sensor might be a little too high for some fingers. What's next? Is it the eventual elimination of the bezel in its entirety?

The latter half of the year will hopefully help answer that as sales reports start trickling in. I'll be curious to see if Samsung's design prowess can keep it floating at the top of the smartphone charts and whether the stylish precedent set by the Galaxy Note 7 was enough to keep people interested.

The Orchid Gray is particularly outstanding because it is different from the status quo, much like the blue Pixel stands out when everyone else is holding an iPhone.

I can't help but wonder if all this design innovation is done in vein, though. Look at the iPhone: despite its relatively unchanged chassis, people continue to buy the iPhone because they know what they're getting with every model. They trust that Apple has at least marginally improved each generation compare its predecessor, enough for them to justify to upgrade — even if that upgrade means no headphone jack. When will Android users be able to rely on that sort of consistency? At least with the Galaxy series, it looks like the answer is 'Yes'.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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

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1 month ago

Galaxy S7 review re-do: Old hotness

21

Samsung's Galaxy S8 is primed to be one of the biggest phones of the year. But at prices that reach all the way up to $850, you'd be forgiven for wanting to wait on it. That means its a good time to look at one of the hottest phones of last year, the Galaxy S7. Is it still worth putting down your hard-earned dollars for last year's leftovers?

I'm Michael Fisher, secret agent code name MrMobile, and I've spent a ton of time with the Galaxy S7. In fact, almost every handheld shot in the MrMobile YouTube library came courtesy of the Galaxy S7 edge mounted to a gyro, so you could say I know the S7 better than most phones in my library. So if you're stuck firmly on the fence when it comes to the big Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7 question, let's try to figure it out together. Watch MrMobile's Galaxy S7 review re-do!

Still unsure after that scintillating video? Hit up Android Central's coverage of the Galaxy S7. And don't forget to check out their coverage of the Galaxy S8 for all of the latest news!

Featured Products

Stay social, my friends

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1 month ago

BlackBerry KEYone has been delayed until May

33

Don't panic, but the KEYone isn't shipping in April.

At the launch of the BlackBerry KEYone, we were all told to expect hardware to ship early April. During the BlackBerry Earnings call, right around 29 minutes based on the CrackBerry recap, John Chen had some other thoughts on when the KEYone would be shipping.

The second one, that TCL announced at Mobile World Congress which is the physical keyboard on an Android, that one is not going to be slated to ship until probably the May timeframe.

To follow up, TCL's President and head of BlackBerry Mobile, Steve Cistulli, noted that the company didn't think it could meet demand for the product if it launched in April, necessitating a delay until May.

BlackBerry Mobile never gave a firm date for the launch of the KEYone, but it sounds like the launch timeframe is shifting by roughly a month. This puts the launch of this phone dangerously close to the April 21 launch of the Galaxy S8. On the other hand, the BlackBerry KEYone is going to continue offering something entirely unique in the smartphone world right now, so maybe launching in May won't be a big deal. What do you think?

BlackBerry KEYone

BlackBerry Mobile

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1 month ago

Google Pixel: Everything you need to know

138

Google's new Pixel phones have arrived — this is what you need to know.

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they're fantastic. These latest phones are the first made entirely under Google's control, following in the footsteps of the two Chromebook Pixels and the Pixel C tablet.

That makes these phones interesting from a hardware perspective, wearing just the "G" logo on the back and taking on some neat design cues, but also in terms of how the software and features are deeply integrated into these aluminum blocks. Here's everything you need to know about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

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1 month ago

In 2017, what do benchmark numbers even mean??

Numbers can mean a lot of things, but not all the things.

Update, March 2017: This post has been updated with information on the latest phones and benchmark techniques.

When it's time for Samsung to show us a new phone, talk about the hardware inevitably brings up the subject of benchmarks. The Galaxy S8, Samsung's showcase phone for 2017, is no different. And as expected, just by existing these numbers got plenty of people talking about them.

The numbers are in, but what do they mean?

Some conversation about benchmarks is just idle chatter. "Oh, cool! The Snapdragon calculates the "stuff" in a benchmark application about as well as the Exynos" is fun to talk about. it's an interesting conversation that leads to talk about how a new phone can meet or exceed our expectations because it is using state of the art hardware to do cool things. That's why most of us are here, to talk about things that run Android and how we can use them to enrich our lives.

But some folks get serious about benchmark numbers and consider them an important part of a buying decision. We all should encourage this because it's always great to have people excited about something, but we should also talk about what benchmark numbers really mean in the grand scheme of things. One way to try and put things into perspective is to compare the benchmarks of a pair of new processors that Android manufacturers will be buying to Apple's latest.

This doesn't mean that an iPhone using the A10 is automatically a better experience than a Galaxy S8 will be. There's so much more that determines which is better, and the majority of it is user preference. you like what you like and I like what I like. Numbers in a tweet won't change that and the numbers don't mean what you might think they mean.

How those numbers come to be

Benchmarks on mobile phones aren't really benchmarking any hardware, at least not the way we think they are. They don't have access to the hardware itself because they are using the operating system's application layer. They have a laundry list of things they have the phone do through the APIs exposed by the operating system, then they calculate how well it did them. There is an intermediary layer of a sort to go through to get to the "brains" behind the operating system, which is the part that controls the hardware directly. So a benchmark app is benchmarking the hardware through some software.

You might have heard iOS people talking about Metal or Android people talking about an NDK. These are ways applications can interface with the hardware, through that intermediate layer without having to go through the full software stack. Notice that the benchmark numbers for Samsung's Exynos 8895 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 are very close to each other. They both use the same software and the performance differences between them are minimized because of it.

If you buy a phone because you like to run benchmarks, you should probably buy an iPhone.

Apple's "intermediary layer" is better. Let's throw that out there right where we all can see it. Apple builds its own processor with a focus on doing certain things really well then builds software that takes advantage of it. Google has to build software that can be adapted to work with anything. It's done an amazing job and the software that powers an Android phone is a beautiful thing that's incredibly complicated. Something like a benchmarking app using Apple's interface to the hardware automatically has an advantage over Android, no matter who built it, because the interface itself is more streamlined and "faster" with iOS. That happens because the hardware and the software were designed to work with each other and nothing else.

You're benchmarking the phone as a whole, not just the processor. When it comes to crunching numbers on each CPU core the iPhone 7 Plus does it a lot better.

Let's look at those cores in Apple's A10 processor. That thing is undeniably the best consumer ARM chip ever designed when it comes to raw performance per core. That's because the hardware was designed to do just that and the software was designed to use it. We've talked about ARM architecture before, and the A10 is a great example of how you can scale ARM to do just about anything you want. So are the Qualcomm 835 and the Exynos 8895, they just were designed with different criteria in mind.

The difference in benchmark numbers isn't an accident

We compare them because they all are inside a phone, but Apple is thirsty to build one ARM processor that can power an iPhone, an iPad, and a MacBook. Qualcomm and Samsung build processors to sell to other companies for small mobile devices. Qualcomm and Samsung could build a processor that excels in the same areas as the A10 and would work great for a Windows laptop. Qualcomm is actually interested in doing it and the Snapdragon 835 is the company's first step towards that goal.

A couple years from now and we'll see a Snapdragon chip that can be worked hard enough to run a full-blown laptop and still be efficient enough to be used in a mobile device with a tiny battery. We'll also see more chips that aren't as powerful, are even more efficient when it comes to battery use and are a lot cheaper. These will be the CPUs that companies who make phones will buy.

When you take a tool designed to only do certain things in a certain order and see how "fast" they can be done, the A10 will always win. It should always win, and we should want it to always win. A CPU designed for a 13-inch MacBook needs to perform single core calculations faster than an Exynos 8895. The A10 isn't that CPU, but it is a step in that direction. And Apple is a tech company that we should want to do really cool things to drive tech forward just like we want Samsung or Google or Microsoft to do.

Qualcomm or Samsung could build an ARM processor that is as powerful as the A10, but they have no reason to do it.

The little snip of a benchmark scoreboard that has no context you see above shows the most important thing: These numbers have little bearing on how great something like a phone is to use. The user experience has little to do with the hardware because the hardware has been good enough for a while now. The innards of a Galaxy S5 or Nexus 7 or Note 4 are more than enough to do the things we expect a phone to do as long as the software is up to snuff. You don't have to take my word on that, just stumble over to XDA where people who don't want or can't afford to buy something newer have built custom software for each. We're not asking a phone to do anything complicated enough to need more processing power than these devices can deliver.

I'm convinced even mobile VR would be fine if companies cared enough to support Vulkan correctly on their older processors. We'll never know because the companies involved exist to make new things and sell them to us and that's where they focus their time and money. New chips aren't just designed to be new. They all offer small incremental increases in performance, security and efficiency and those small increases add up over time. Right now Moore's Law isn't focusing on quadrupling performance in every generation, it's focusing on using better manufacturing techniques to provide more energy efficient chips and performance gains are just natural evolution.

What we really see from these benchmarks

What we can take away from these benchmark scores is that the way a CPU core calculates things and works with GPU cores isn't broken. Numbers can be crunched a little faster with newer hardware that was designed to be more energy efficient. The way a CPU core can crunch a number is no longer the bottleneck, so these small differences and increases won't be noticed when you're not running a benchmark application. Newer hardware might be better than last year's, and one processor might be better than another. The performance increases are real, but they don't translate into a noticeable difference when you are using them and won't unless you skip a few generations. Going from a Qualcomm S4 Pro to a Qualcomm 835 brings a bump in performance that you will notice right away. Going from a Qualcomm 821 to a Qualcomm 835 doesn't.

The Galaxy S8 will bring a user experience that is better than last year's Galaxy S7. Many of us here will consider it a better experience than Apple offers with the iPhone 7 while many will feel the opposite. None of this is because of a benchmark score.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 month ago

Moto G5 in gorgeous blue goes on sale in the UK as an O2 exclusive

3

The Moto G5 gets a third color variant.

A recent leak suggested that the Moto G5 would be getting a blue color option in addition to the grey and gold color variants. The Sapphire Blue option is now official, and is already up for sale in the UK.

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1 month ago

Moto G4 Plus is finally picking up the Nougat update in the U.S.

19

Moto G4 Plus finally picks up Nougat update in the U.S.

Republic Wireless kicked off a Nougat soak test for the Moto G4 Plus a few weeks ago, and it now looks like Motorola is rolling out the update to unlocked G4 Plus (XT1644) units in the country.

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