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1 month ago

Honor 8 Pro review: Killer flagship

79
Honor 8 Pro

The quick take

Honor's biggest, highest-end handset is a supersized, supercharged version of one of our favorite affordable flagships of the past year, offering a gorgeous design, speedy performance and legendary battery life for less money than you'd expect to pay.

The Good

  • Speedy performance
  • Slim, stylish metal chassis
  • Epic battery life
  • Good value at £475 price point

The Bad

  • EMUI will still be too customized for some
  • No on-contract buying options

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1 month ago

Honor 8 Pro is official: 5.7-inch display, giant-ass battery, Kirin 960

7
Honor 8 Pro

Honor's latest phone for Europe is a beast, and it'll cost £475 in the UK.

Huawei's Honor brand has taken the wraps off its latest high-end handset, which just happens to be the biggest, highest-specced Honor phone to date.

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1 month ago

Honor 8 Pro specs

9
Honor 8 Pro

High-end Honor handset has hearty Huawei hardware.

Honor has just announced its latest flagship-tier handset for Europe, the Honor 8 Pro. We've got a full review ready for you right now. But if you'd prefer to take a quick glance down the spec sheet so you know what you're in for, look no further than the table below.

Behold! Numbers, acronyms and more!

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1 month ago

Surprise: Galaxy S8 has the 'best smartphone display'

53
Galaxy S8 Plus

Improved color gamut, smarter always-on display and extremely high peak brightness are among the highlights, according to DisplayMate.

I got some face time with the Galaxy S8 and S8+'s screens last week, and I can tell you they look good. What I can't tell you is exactly how good, and that's where DisplayMate, a longstanding expert in display technologies, comes in.

The publication has gotten its hands on early Galaxy S8 samples, putting the them through a rigorous suite of tests covering just about every aspect of the displays. As you'd expect, there are significant improvements across the board, but there are also a few surprises along the way. Highlights include:

  • Contrary to pre-announcement rumblings, the GS8 uses a diamond subpixel pattern (as opposed to an RGB stripe, as was rumored.)
  • The GS8 supports subpixel rendering, where each (red, green or blue) subpixel can be addressed and rendered to, improving perceived sharpness.
  • Viewing angles have been improved, with a smaller reduction in brightness when viewed at 30 degrees.
  • The display supports 100% of DCI-P3, bringing its color gamut in line with current 4K TVs.
  • Peak brightness is a whopping 1,000 nits in high ambient light mode. (610 nits when the level is manually adjusted.)
  • As well as being certified for Mobile HDR Premium, there's also an Expanded Dynamic Range mode to upscale non-HDR content on the phone.
  • There's an ambient light sensor on the back of the GS8, to give a more accurate reading of environmental light levels.
  • The core functionality of the Always-On Display mode is reportedly now handled by hardware, as opposed to the app itself. This won't affect the user experience, but should save power.
  • Display power consumption is comparable to that of the Galaxy S7, only with a wider color gamut, this making it more efficient overall.

The verdict?

The Galaxy S8 is the first in a new generation of OLED Smartphones that have a Full Screen Display design. It has many major and important state-of-the-art display performance enhancements, features and functions, with mobile OLED display technology now advancing faster than ever. The Galaxy S8 is the most innovative and high performance Smartphone display that we have ever lab tested. So the Galaxy S8 becomes the Best Performing Smartphone Display, earning DisplayMate's highest ever A+ grade.

DisplayMate's write-up goes into great detail on all aspects of the Galaxy S8 and S8+'s displays, so be sure to take a look if you want to pour through all the technical details.

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

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S6: It's time to upgrade

85
Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S6

Two years on, it's a great time to consider moving to the newest Galaxy S.

Holding over from the days of two-year phone contracts, most people choose to upgrade their phone on the same path today, even though financing plans have made it even simpler to move on to the latest devices every 12 months. The Galaxy S6 just had its second birthday, and while its hardware actually still feels quite modern, there are many parts of it that likely haven't aged well and will have longtime owners looking for an upgrade.

The question is, will you make the jump from a Galaxy S6 to a new Galaxy S8 and keep it in the Samsung family? We've put the phones side by side and have the information you should keep in mind when considering the move.

Hardware, specs and features

For all of the gripes about some of the internal spec choices on the Galaxy S6, you can't argue that its hardware design has held up nicely over two years. That metal and glass exterior was a complete change of direction for Samsung in 2015, and you can clearly see its influence in the Galaxy S8 today. Of course, some things have changed and for the better: The Galaxy S8 has small bezels to fit even more display in a compact frame, the body has been rounded off to be easier to use, and the camera bump on the back has been eliminated. Samsung also moved to waterproofing and reintroduced the SD card slot right after the Galaxy S6, which were key differentiators in 2016.

You can see the GS6's legacy in the GS8, but big improvements have been made in 2 years.

The Galaxy S6's 5.1-inch QHD AMOLED display actually still looks great today, but display technology has continued to advance and Samsung has done an even better job on the Galaxy S8. What hasn't changed are the characteristics of its AMOLED displays — they're crisp, low on glare, great in bright sunlight, and exhibit punchier colors than the competition. If you have the Galaxy S6 and not the S6 edge you may be worried about the curved screen on the Galaxy S8, but there's reason to look at this with fresh eyes as Samsung has nicely tweaked the design since 2015.

More: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ preview

After two years of increasingly heavy apps and a few software updates the internal specs on the Galaxy S6 don't seem quite as state-of-the-art as they did in 2015. The Galaxy S8's new processor (a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895) will beat the GS6's chip, and the extra gigabyte of RAM helps with multitasking. Perhaps the biggest spec jump is the battery, which was a critical flaw of the GS6 — the Galaxy S8's 3,000mAh cell, partnered with a more efficient processor and display, will outlast the GS6's 2,550mAh.

The camera is another key differentiator in the hardware. The Galaxy S6's 16-megapixel camera with an f/1.9 lens was a huge step up from anything the company had done before, but just like the rest of the hardware, that formula has now been applied to more modern components with improved results. The Galaxy S8's 12MP sensor has a better auto focus mechanism, larger pixels, and sits behind a faster f/1.7 lens. If you like what the Galaxy S6's camera can do (and it definitely still takes great photos), you'll love what the GS8 can do with the same ideas applied to new hardware.

Software and experience

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S6

If your Galaxy S6 has been updated to Android 7.0 Nougat, you're actually getting a great feel for the software experience on the Galaxy S8. While Samsung may take a long time to get its big platform updates out, it does do a pretty good job of bringing all of the new software design and features (within reason) back to older models with an update.

Sure, the Galaxy S8 has a few tricks up its sleeve with the camera interface, new icons, and a redesigned launcher, but the core Nougat experience is very similar between an updated Galaxy S6 and a brand new Galaxy S8. While that means you won't have to upgrade just to see an updated interface, it also gives you the comfort to know you can get a new phone and not have to re-learn how to use its core features.

Software updates are important for security and features, and the GS6 isn't going to get many more.

The thing is, even though you may be happy with what Nougat has brought to your Galaxy S6, there's a good chance that that's the last big update the phone will ever receive. At two years old, the Galaxy S6 is hitting the age where Samsung is going to cut it loose from major platform updates and perhaps only support it for a while longer with security patches. That means that going forward, if you want to stay on Samsung's radar for updates, you're best making the jump to the newest phone.

Moving to the Galaxy S8, you'll also get to check out Samsung's latest features that won't be coming back to other phones via updates. The Bixby voice assistant is all new for the Galaxy S8, as is the new DeX desktop dock that lets you turn your GS8 into something approximating a light workstation with a keyboard, mouse and monitor. You may not be entirely sold on these features, but if you want to give them a try you'll be going to the latest phone to get them.

Bottom line

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S6

After two years using a Galaxy S6, you know it's about time to upgrade — the only question is whether or not you want to stick with Samsung or move elsewhere. There are definite synergies in moving to the Galaxy S8, including familiarity with the software, consistency with the services if you've been using anything tied to a Samsung Account, and of course just brand loyalty. Chances are if you kept your Galaxy S6 for two years, you actually like what it offers.

It's time to update from the GS6 — the only question is whether you want to stick with Samsung.

If you move from the Galaxy S6 up to the Galaxy S8, you're going to get that same high-quality metal and glass build you're used to, now caressed into a more ergonomic curved shell with a much larger display in not much more body. You're also getting up to speed with Samsung's new default features, like an SD card slot and waterproofing, while also keeping wireless charging, fast charging, and a high-resolution AMOLED display. The camera has also notably improved since the Galaxy S6, with a real emphasis on being able to take great low-light photos.

Moving to a Galaxy S8 gives you the familiarity of staying with a Samsung phone, while also bringing you up into the future in terms of battery life, performance, hardware features, and of course future software updates. This is a great move to make, so long as you're happy with Samsung and want to stay on that path.

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

T-Mobile now offers free roadside assistance with its SyncUp connected car solution

19

Flat tire? Harrowing highway repair? T-Mobile has you covered.

Last November, T-Mobile did what a lot of wireless carriers are doing: it got into the connected car game. But it did so cautiously, launching a small tool called SyncUp Drive in partnership with ZTE and Mojio that plugs into the OBD-II port of any car made after 1996.

The idea is to not only give its connected users a way to monitor their car's health, but to provide a 4G LTE hotspot to passengers, along with other useful information. Multiple cars in a family can talk to one another to provide updates on whereabouts without having to text or make an unsafe call, while drivers also get a readout of potentially dangerous behavior and speeding alerts.

Now, T-Mobile says that after demand was double its initial forecasts, it is launching free roadside assistance with Allstate Motor Club. Anyone who buys a SyncUp Drive and at least 2GB of data per month on a 2-year plan gets the roadside assistance included. T-Mobile says that the addition was the biggest request from existing customers. The SyncUp Drive product itself is also down to $48 from $150.

To receive free roadside assistance, existing customers just need to update the SyncUp Drive app in the Play Store.

Do you use SyncUp Drive? If so, how do you like it? Let us know in the comments!

See at T-Mobile

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1 month ago

Sony's impressive Xperia XZs is available Apr. 5, but you should wait for the Premium

20

Sony has a new phone out tomorrow, but you may want to wait for the real upgrade.

Sony makes a lot of phones, and many of them aren't particularly noteworthy in the U.S. Thanks to a long-term contract with Verizon that isn't set to expire until next year, Sony can't sell phones with fingerprint sensors in the country, making them more of a difficult proposition than they otherwise would be.

This week, the Xperia XZs is going on sale at Amazon and other online retailers for $700, a steep price to pay for any phone, never mind one that doesn't include the latest and greatest technology. The XZs was one of four phones that company announced during MWC 2017, and while it is an impressive handset in every way, it doesn't stand up to the competition.

Sony Xperia XZs specs

The phone is, for all intents and purposes, a repackaging of the Xperia XZ released in September, swapping out the 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage for 4GB and 64GB, respectively. It also has a Snapdragon 820 processor, which is unchanged from the XZ, along with a 2,900mAh battery. The major difference, aside from the bump in memory, is the new 19MP Motion Eye camera, which reportedly brings a new camera sensor that's better in low light and faster to autofocus.

For $700, the above sounds like a pretty lousy deal, especially with no fingerprint sensor. Sure, Sony's got some great software in there — the phone ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat — but if you're really into the whole "I need a Sony" thing, you can get your fix in a couple of months with the gorgeous, far-more-impressive Xperia XZ Premium, which bumps up the spec sheet considerably, sporting a 4K HDR-ready display and a Snapdragon 835 platform.

If you're not into waiting, though, you can get the Xperia XZs starting April 5 at Amazon.

See at Amazon

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1 month ago

Grab an unlocked LG V20 for just $450 from Newegg today!

58

Here's a great deal on a great phone.

In our comparison between the LG V20 and Huawei Mate 9, I said both phones are fairly comparable in terms of performance, while the V20 has the edge in the camera department and the Mate 9 tops the battery tests. But my conclusion was that, if you are buying the phone outright, the $599.99 Mate 9 is the way to go, since the V20 costs around $200 more.

But not today: the unlocked LG V20 is down to $449.99 at Newegg right now with promo code EMCSRERD5, which is an excellent price for a great phone. Specifically, this is the Titan (silver) unlocked model compatible with both GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile, and CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint. Good deal!

The V20 may be the last great phone released with a removable battery, so if that's your thing, head to the source link!

See at Newegg

LG V20

AT&T T-Mobile Sprint B&H

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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.

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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+

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

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

16
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+

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

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

8
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+

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

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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