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1 month ago

LG V20 available online at Verizon October 20 at a pretty reasonable price

122

The pricing saga of the LG V20 continues. After hearing from AT&T and T-Mobile on pricing ($830 and $769, respectively) and then from various retailers on the unlocked availability ($799), we now have Verizon's offer, which is not only more reasonable, but available a week earlier than the rest of the country.

Starting October 20, the V20 will be sold on Verizon.com for $28 per month on a payment plan, or $672 retail, and even at that considerably more reasonable price Big Red is offering some promotions. It will be available in stores a week later, October 27, a day before its carrier rivals. In Verizon's words:

  • For a limited time only, get up to $300 back when you buy the LG V20 on device payment and trade in select smartphones.
  • Get a free pair of premium H3 earphones by B&O Play ($149 value) when you purchase a new LG V20 on device payment plan.
  • Starting October 20, if you buy an LG V20 on device payment you can get an LG Stylo 2 V for $1 a month for 24 months on device payment.

The B&O H3 headphones are included with all carrier models so far, and the cash back is a Verizon mainstay, so those deals aren't particularly tantalizing, but they're nice to haves. The carrier is also announcing, as seen above, that the LG Stylo 2 V, a 5.7-inch midrange device with an included passive stylus, will be very inexpensive when purchased alongside the V20.

It's also worth pointing out that all Verizon phones come SIM-unlocked, and have the correct bands to work with T-Mobile and AT&T.

So, is Verizon the right carrier to get the V20 from, or is it worth it to spend the extra $100 or so on the unlocked model? Let us know in the comments!

See at Verizon

LG V20

AT&T T-Mobile Sprint B&H

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1 month ago

HTC Bolt may debut with a QHD display, Nougat, and Snapdragon 810

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The HTC Bolt will likely be the first phone from the Taiwanese manufacturer to offer Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. The phone follows the same design language as the HTC 10, but is expected to feature a larger 5.5-inch QHD display. Leaked specs suggest an 18MP camera, 3GB of RAM, 64GB storage along with an microSD card, and a new report from reliable HTC leaker LlabTooFer indicates the phone will be powered by last year's Snapdragon 810 and not the newer Snapdragon 820 or 821.

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1 month ago

Xiaomi sells 1 million phones in India in 18 days

9

After selling 500,000 phones in just three days at the start of the month, it was just a matter of time before Xiaomi hit the million mark during the festive season. The company has now announced that it sold 1 million phones in 18 days in India, setting yet another milestone in the country.

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1 month ago

The Pixel's secret weapon: 24/7 support

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Call or chat, any time — and it's included.

The Pixel and Pixel XL aren't designed just for the hardcore Android enthusiast. Google has been moving that direction since the release of the Galaxy Nexus, and last year's Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X were developer phones in name only. Besides a brand change, Google's new phones are no longer built for the people who know how to flash them or like to tinker with things that go beep. They'll still be able to flash all the things for those of us who want to go there, but the design and features are aimed squarely at the consumer market. That means customer support is an area where Google has to improve. A lot.

Enter 24/7 live support.

If you have a Pixel, you'll find a tab in the phone settings that has only one function — a way to get help when you need help. Available all the time through a phone call or a chat, someone from Google is there to answer your questions when things go wrong or you need help figuring out something. Android can be a bit daunting for folks used to something much simpler. It doesn't stop there, either.

Support is one of the areas Google has to improve if they want to sell a phone to everyone.

A Google support agent will be able to walk you through most any issue and get you on the right track. But if they can't, you'll be able to share your screen with them so they can see exactly what you're seeing and be better able to help you. You have to agree to share some data with Google to use the support features, and you have to accept any request to share your screen — nothing is automatic here. We all have been in a situation where seeing was the best way to be doing.

As mentioned, support is one of the areas Google has to improve if they want to sell a phone to everyone. Ask around and talk to people who have had to contact support for problems with their Nexus phone, and you'll soon find more than a handful of horror stories mixed in with the satisfied customers. Sending your mom to a Python-powered web page and having her go through a long list of questions to get help with the Hangouts app is as bad of an idea as it sounds. Most folks don't want to be bothered and just want their phone to work.

Having a live person to answer all of your questions is a great way to garner brand loyalty.

Google's not the first company to offer something like this. Amazon does it for their Fire HD tablet and the now-defunct Fire phone, and it was one of the highlights of the product line. Giving your customers a real live person to talk to anytime they need some help is a great selling point for a large segment of the people looking to buy a new phone. How you treat your customers after the sale is a big part of any decision to buy from you again. Google's 24/7 support method looks great, and if the support they offer through it is good they'll gain plenty of repeat customers.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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1 month ago

Google Pixel: Best Canadian deals and offers

13

What's the best Canadian deal for the Pixel or Pixel XL?

If you're a Canadian looking to buy one of Google's latest phone, the Pixel or Pixel XL, you're definitely going to want to take advantage of some of the deals being offered by carriers and other authorized sellers. These are premium devices, with prices starting at $899 for the 5-inch Pixel and a whopping $1,049 for the 5.5-inch Pixel XL.

Your best bet is to buy through a carrier and finance your purchase through a wireless plan. Here's the best deals available from the major Canadian carriers.

Refresh often! This page is constantly being updated as we discover new Pixel deals. Check back soon!

Pixel

Interested in the smaller of the two Pixels but not interested in buying it outright at full price? You're going to have to settle for signing up for a 2-year plan with one of the major carriers to bring that price down, along with likely settling for the 32GB model. There have been a few preorder deals that you might still be able to get in on, but you'll have to act very fast. Here's the breakdown of the best contract deals available from the major carriers.

  • Best Buy is offering a $100 gift card if you pre-order your Pixel XL through them, and activate it on a plan with Rogers, Telus or Bell.
  • Rogers is offering 2GB of bonus data for 12 months, $50 worth of Google Play Store credit (credits expire December 30th, 2016), and a free Google Chromecast when you buy the 32GB Pixel for $199.99 on a two-year Share Everything Plus plan (offer expires Oct. 19).
  • Bell is offering the 32GB Pixel for $399.99 when you sign up for a 2-year plan starting at $50 per month. If you're a new customer, you might be able to get additional discounts against the cost of your new phone if you inquire in-store.
  • Telus) is offering the 32GB Pixel for $200 on a 2-year Premium Plus plan starting at $90 per month, or $400 on a 2-year Premium smartphone plan starting at $80 per month.
  • Fido is offering the 32GB Pixel starting as low as $400 on a two-year plan. They're also one of the few Canadian retailers to offer the 128GB Pixel, which starts at $560 on a two-year plan.

Pixel XL

Go big or go home. If you're after the Pixel XL, you know you're going to be paying a little extra compared to the 5-inch Pixel. With the pre-order deals quickly expiring, if you don't want to pay full price outright for your new phone you're going to have to settle for signing up for a 2-year plan with one of the major carriers to bring that price down, along with settling likely settling for the 32GB model. There may still be time to get in on a pre-order deal before the phone launches Oct. 20, but you'll have to act very fast.

  • Best Buy is offering a $100 gift card if you preorder your Pixel XL through them, and activate it on a plan with Rogers, Telus or Bell.
  • Rogers is offering 2GB of bonus data for 12 months, $50 worth of Google Play Store credit (credits expire December 30th, 2016), and a free Google Chromecast when you buy the 32GB Pixel XL for $349.99 on a two-year Share Everything Plus plan (offer expires Oct. 19.)
  • Bell is offering the 32GB Pixel XL for $549.99 when you sign up for a 2-year plan starting at $50 per month. If you're a new customer, you might be able to get additional discounts against the cost of your new phone if you inquire in-store.
  • Telus is offering the 32GB Pixel XL for $350 on a 2-year Premium Plus plan starting at $90 per month, or $550 on a 2-year Premium smartphone plan starting at $80 per month.
  • Fido is offering the 32GB Pixel XL starting as low as $550 on a two-year plan. They're also one of the few Canadian carriers to offer the 128GB Pixel XL, which starts at $680 on a two-year plan.

Other deals?

Have you noticed any other deals on the Pixel or Pixel XL? If so, be sure to drop a line in the comments letting us know where the deal is and why other people may be interested.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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1 month ago

The Pixel's secret weapon: Google Assistant

52

Google Assistant becomes more than a chatbot on the Google Pixel.

Google seems really excited about Google Assistant. We get it. What started as an amazing online knowledge base has transformed from the information pipeline that was Google Now into an intelligent, fully-fledged AI assistant. It certainly took Google long enough — Siri and Cortana have been "friendlier" since their beginnings, though some say they could use a bit of work in the "intelligent" part.

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1 month ago

Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective

166
Google Pixel XL

This is the best phone ever to wear the Google brand.

Though Google's "Pixel" brand has existed since 2013, generating two Chromebooks and a tablet in that time, Google's announcement of two phones under the Pixel umbrella was its real coming out party. So few have used a Pixel computer or tablet up to this point that the phones will be most people's first interaction with the brand. The Pixel name stands for Google's in-house developed hardware designed specifically to leverage its software and services to the fullest, and a phone offers a unique opportunity to take that formula to the fullest with the most personal of devices.

The new Pixel and Pixel XL are magnificently built, include high-end specs and put Google's latest software and features on display in meticulous fashion. Wearing no more than the Google "G" logo on the back, they're clearly a separate line from Nexuses of the past — and Google has much larger ambitions for the Pixel phones. They're high-end and for the mass market, particularly in the case of the $769 Pixel XL.

In the U.S., the significance of the Pixel and Pixel XL is magnified by Google's renewed confidence in being able to work with Verizon to launch them. After having what could be described as a checkered past working with the U.S. carriers, Google's at it again — doing things both bigger and better than before, with substantial ad spending from itself and Verizon.

But no matter how big Google goes with Verizon, there's the feeling that it's going to have to do even more to sell a considerable number of Pixels in the U.S. where a majority still rely on their carrier to sell them a phone. Unlocked availability and band compatibility with the other three major carriers will help some, as will the growing feature list and brand awareness of Project Fi, but does Google have enough happening here to sell tens of millions of Pixels in the U.S.? We're here to discuss just that, and tell you where to Pixel XL fits in the U.S. smartphone world.

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1 month ago

Watch our Google Pixel video review!

33

The review you've been waiting for is here!

The Pixel is not just Google's first built-from-scratch Android phone, but it's also one of the best phones released this year. It's beautiful, fast, and has some features that truly separate it from the pack: flawless performance, an awesome camera, and Google Assistant.

When you're finished the video, read our epic review for a more nuanced take on the "Google phones" and see how the two devices stack up against one another. And if you're looking for a more U.S.-centric take on the whole thing, you can find our review of the Google Pixel XL from a U.S. perspective.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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1 month ago

Google Pixel + Pixel XL review

350

OK Google, make me a phone.

The quick take

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL deliver what we've always wanted from a Google Android experience: an attractive design, lightning-fast performance and unique Google features you won't find on any other phone. Meanwhile the Pixel nails the essentials, with good "all-day" battery life, cameras that go toe-to-toe with the high-end competition, and update support unrivaled in the Android space. Though expensive, and lacking water resistance, these are great phones with a long life ahead of them.

The Good

  • Speedy performance
  • Latest Android, with fast updates and thoughtful software additions
  • Excellent build quality
  • Great, fast camera that excels in video

The Bad

  • No water resistance
  • Eye-watering SIM-free price
  • Google Assistant is still learning
  • Back glass prone to scratching

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1 month ago

Daily Briefing: LG V20 and AXON 7 Mini preorders are coming soon, Cuba gets the Chrome Web Store

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Your daily dose of Android goodness in one ready-to-serve package. It's delicious!

Happy Monday everyone!

We're at the tail end of phone season here in Android land, but there are still some to look out for. The LG V20 is almost ready to appear on shelves and hands, and we've got a smaller sibling to the well-received AXON 7 from ZTE on its way. Not to mention Google's Pixel which is due to hit mailboxes in just a few days.

That means we can all take a deep breath and have time to look at the other things that make the Android ecosystem so awesome — Android Wear has some changes coming and we'll be digging through the developer previews and the same goes for Android 7.1 which should be rolling out in preview form for the Nexus 6P and 5X before the end of the month. That's followed closely by Google Home and Google WiFi, new Chromecasts, and, well forget what I said about taking a deep breath!

Here's what's going on today to keep all of us busy!

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1 month ago

The Pixel's secret weapon: Unlimited full-resolution camera backups

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When you buy a Pixel Google lets you back up all the pictures and video you shoot for free, at full resolution. That's a pretty big deal.

Google has made much fuss about the camera on the Pixel and Pixel XL (they share the same specs). A hearty endorsement from DXOMark, samples from the camera development team, and even some 4K footage with image stabilization have people interested because a great camera is one of those things we want the new phone we buy to have.

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1 month ago

Save up to 25% on select unlocked Sony phones today only!

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Today you can score up to 25% off a variety of unlocked Sony phones at Amazon. Included in the deal is the Sony Xperia XA, Xperia X, Xperia X Performance and others in a variety of colors, so be sure to check them out before the savings are gone. Whether you are looking for a fun color or just like a good deal, you won't want to miss out on this one. The Xperia XA is down to just $199 unlocked, and it is the U.S. version of the phone so it comes with a warranty as well.

These discounts of up to 25% will only be available for today, October 17, so don't wait too long to make your purchase. There are a variety of models and colors available, so be sure to check them out now and pick one up before the price jumps up again.

See at Amazon

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1 month ago

Moto Z Play review: The best phone you'll probably overlook

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The Moto Z Play does way more right than it does wrong, but it's nestled in a very competitive category of $400 smartphones. Can it rise above?

The quick take

It's hard out there for an OEM. Companies are forced to innovate relentlessly, to reinvent the way we use phones or risk being labelled old news.

When the Moto Z debuted earlier this summer, first as a Verizon exclusive and subsequently as an unlocked model available for AT&T and T-Mobile customers, the market didn't know what to think. Here's this phone, thin, light, well-made, with up-to-date specs and a whole lot of innovation thrown in there — and an ecosystem of modular components that can attach to the back to augment the core functionality. To me, it was one of the more exciting announcements of the year, and I still think the phone is an overlooked gem, albeit one with a few critical flaws for the price.

So then Moto Z Play debuts in late August, with an early September release date, and the reaction is... muted. I was a bit stunned, to be honest — I thought the prospect of taking a Moto Z, giving it some extra battery and muddling the spec sheet just enough to bring down the cost by close to half would be enough to make people stand up and notice it. Alas.

The Good

  • Incredible battery life
  • Great performance for the price
  • Consistently good daylight camera quality
  • Moto Mods support

The Bad

  • Some undesirable bloat on the Verizon model
  • Camera isn't great in low light
  • Fingerprint sensor is distracting

Moto Z Play About this review

This review was written after spending two weeks with the Verizon version of the Moto Z Play Droid on both Verizon's network in the States and Bell's network up in Canada.

I then transitioned to an unlocked Canadian Moto Z Play meant for the local market, which was better tuned for Bell, the network on which it remained for the balance of the testing.

Moto Z Play Hardware

If you've used the Moto Z or Z Force you know what to expect here: a slab of aluminum with a big 5.5-inch display. Solid. Dependable. Ford.

But I digress: the Z Play does make some drastic changes from its thinner, more expensive counterpart: its back is all glass, instead of a fusion of glass and metal; and it is quite a bit thicker, owing to the 3,510mAh battery inside. There are, of course, Motorola's 16 pins for attaching a Moto Mod accessory or, at the very least, a Style Shell cover to protect the glass.

The phone feels incredibly well made, easily on par with the OnePlus 3 or Honor 8. Buttons are properly calibrated and clicky, and there's even a headphone jack for those who aren't living the future.

More: Moto Z Play specs

Like the Moto Z, the Play has a USB-C port to charge with — a TurboPower adapter is in the box, because you're not an animal — and there's a squarish fingerprint sensor on the front, just below the 1080p AMOLED screen. It's not my favorite implementation of the feature; in fact compared to Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google, Honor, LG, Sony -- practically any other OEM -- I think it's pretty horrid. Why? Because it's small, and very close to the virtual home button. That said, it does the job.

And, even though I know Motorola thinks it is being helpful here, pressing down on it for a second turns off the screen. Normally that would be great, except that I end up doing just that when logging into apps that use the fingerprint sensor itself. Moto seems to have forgotten it's a system-wide setting that cannot be disabled.

That 1080p display is fine, on par with the OnePlus 3, and not much of a downgrade from the higher density AMOLED screen on the Moto Z.

That 1080p display is fine. It's certainly on par with the OnePlus 3, with which the Play shares a number of philosophical similarities, and it's not much of a downgrade from the higher density AMOLED screen on the Moto Z. Of course, the Play has something important over the OnePlus 3, and any other phone: Moto Display. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you value notifications — and if you're using an Android phone, you likely do — Motorola's screen-off implementation is the best there is.

When comparing the phone to the OnePlus 3 or ZTE Axon 7, the Play's Snapdragon 625 processor is likely to be compared negatively to their Snapdragon 820, but don't let the numbers fool you: unless your intention is to spend your days playing graphics-intensive games, you won't likely notice a difference. Qualcomm hit a home run with this chip, the successor to the ubiquitous Snapdragon 615 from a couple of years ago, except that this one is actually good.

It's also much more efficient, which gives the Play its two-day battery life. I'm incredibly impressed with the longevity of this phone, and if battery life is a priority it is by far the best mid-range option on the market right now. Let me give you some use cases: I used the Moto Z Play as my main device for two weeks straight, going through my daily routine — email, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — without actively stressing it. It lasted two days.

I then used the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot for my other devices, and it lasted 13 hours. I taxed it and taxed it, and it wouldn't die, and then I when its battery eventually depleted I charged it quickly using the TurboPower adapter, or I used the Incipio Moto Mod that has become an almost-permanent attachment to this incredible phone.

I have to say a few words about this combination of Moto Z Play and Incipio OffGrid power pack: with a combined 5,720mAh capacity, the two add up to so much more than their individual parts. Not only does the OffGrid add wireless charging capabilities to the Z Play, but it intelligently charges the phone using the customizable Moto Mod software.

I'm incredibly impressed with the longevity of this phone, and if battery life is a priority it is the best mid-range option on the market right now.

The experience is seamless and absolutely intuitive, and so, so useful for travel. Together, they add up to a not-so-svelte 13.2mm thickness and 250 grams, but a rounded design and textured back make it much more comfortable to pocket, and hold, than those numbers belie.

Moto Z Play Software

I love Motorola's take on Android. But for the Nexus (and now Pixel) line, I don't think any company interprets Google's original vision for Android — taking the core code and improving upon it without adulterating its emphasis on speed and simplicity — better than the Chicago-based company. Of course, it helps that this ethos was born while Motorola was a Google company, and has thankfully not been ruined under Lenovo, but I just think the Moto Z Play's software advantage is worth far more than the perceived (or lack thereof) performance differences between a Snapdragon 820 and a 625.

Except for the Nexus line, I don't think any company interprets Google's original vision for Android better than Motorola.

Of course, some will point out that you get most of what I'm talking about, plus a Snapdragon 820, on the OnePlus 3, and those people will be right. The difference, to me, is Moto Display, which no other Android maker, not even Google with its Ambient Mode, successfully emulates. It's not even close. I just hope that Motorola brings Nougat to the Moto Z Play as quickly as possible.

Moto Display brings me back to Motorola phones in a way no other software feature lures; it has workflow advantages, battery advantages, and aesthetic advantages. It's the original smartwatch. Being able quickly check notifications by bringing a hand close to the screen or picking up the phone is incredibly useful.

Elsewhere, the various gestures embedded as Moto Actions — double-twist to open the camera; double-chop to turn on a flashlight — are just as useful as ever, but no longer unique, as they're much more easily to recreate than Moto Display.

The real advantage to Motorola's adherence to what we know as "stock" Android — albeit with a fairly sizeable delay in updates; the Play is on currently on Android 6.0.1 with September 1st security update — is that it generally feels fluid, even months or years after its release. I occasionally bust out my original Moto X from 2013 to see how it's doing, and it works as well as it did the day I got it. You just can't say that about many Android devices after three and a half years.

As much as I like the Moto Z, I'd be tempted to buy a Play and a couple of Mods with that extra money.

I also have to commend Motorola on the seamless integration with the growing ecosystem of Moto Mods that I have had the pleasure of using over the past few weeks. I disagree with my colleague Russell Holly in a number of ways when it comes to Motorola's latest series of releases, impressed that all three devices — Moto Z, Moto Z Force, Moto Z Play — are compatible with the same adds-ons. The Play, especially, arguably benefits more from each of these products given its lower asking price. As much as I like the Moto Z, I'd be tempted to buy a Play and a couple of Mods with that extra money.

Moto Z Play Camera

The 16MP camera on the Moto Z Play is comparable to many in its $400-ish range: good in daylight, with fast autofocus and vivid colors, eking plenty of detail; and mediocre in low light.

I have to commend Motorola for vastly improving its camera app; it has doubled down on simplicity, but added the manual settings and easy-access controls that many enthusiasts covet.

One area the Snapdragon 625 chip does lag behind the 820 found in many other $400 phones today is camera IQ: the shutter isn't quite as instant as the OnePlus 3, and the 4K video capture isn't as smooth. Still, it's an imperceptible difference in most cases, and I'm pretty amazed that the sequel to the maligned Snapdragon 615 produces footage this good.

The phone also has a pretty great selfie camera, along with a front-facing flash for those times you need to be well-lit indoors. The only real knock I'd give against the camera is that it defaults to a 16:9 aspect ratio, which lowers the overall resolution to 11.9 megapixels in exchange for a fuller viewfinder. Motorola makes so many smart decisions elsewhere in its software; I wish it would wise up to this one, too.

Moto Z Play Odds and ends

As I said, I used two different versions of the Moto Z Play, the Verizon-exclusive Droid and an unlocked version of the Canadian SKU. Both of them held solid connections to the various networks I attached them to, and the front-facing headpiece, which pulls double duty as a speaker and earpiece, sounded pretty great in almost every situation except the most challenging — a loud room.

Learn about Moto Mods

Moto Mods are some of the most interesting and unique add-ons you can buy for your Moto Z Play. From a projector to a speaker to a battery add-on, there are so many interesting things you can do.

Read our overview of the Moto Mods ecosystem in our Moto Z review

As Phil mentioned in his review, you're getting some gnarly bloatware on the Droid version of this phone, much of which isn't removable. For more on that, you can check the preview I wrote when the phone was first announced, but the upside is this: you can disable most of it. On the Canadian variant, there was no bloatware to speak of, and while that may not be indicative of the retail version, I've never been offended by apps installed by Canadian carriers. They just tend to respect their customers more in that regard.

The Play supports Category-7 LTE through the Snapdragon 625 processor, and that's good for download speeds of 300Mbps and upload speeds of 150Mbps. You won't get close to that unless it's the middle of the night and no one else in your neighborhood is using the network, but it's nice to know you're not stuck with a phone that isn't futureproof.

Speaking of future proofing, the combination of 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, plus microSD expansion, should suffice for most people. Again, I noticed no major performance difference between this and the Moto Z, and that should speak volumes to both Qualcomm's and Motorola's commitment to optimization.

The bottom line

Moto Z Play Buy it

I love this phone. I think it does everything right, and sacrifices little on the way. Moto Mods are terrific additions to the Moto Z ecosystem, but I cannot say emphasize this enough: they are not necessary to enjoy this phone.

Of course, it's battery life that brings you in the door here. I haven't ever felt this confident about leaving my phone unplugged overnight, and if you're a heavy user, or just wants a bit of breathing room, the Moto Z Play is the phone for you. Heck, spend an extra $60 and get the 2,220mAh Incipio Moto Mod and unplug for half a week if you're sparing. You just can't say that about another phone on the market today.

See at Motorola Canada

From the vivid AMOLED screen to the ultra-efficient and performant Snapdragon 625, to the considerate software additions and promise of faster-than-the-non-Google-competition updates, this phone is almost certain to get overlooked in a sea of competitors — but it shouldn't. It's just that good.

Even better — it will soon be available directly from Motorola for $450, unlocked and compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. Until then, it's slightly cheaper at Verizon at $408.

See at Verizon

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1 month ago

Best BlackBerry Phone

Looking for the best BlackBerry phone to buy? Right now, it's the Priv, which is still the best phone with a physical keyboard.

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1 month ago

Best Phone For Gamers

Mobile gaming has come a long way from the days of playing Snake on your Nokia 3310. These days, with the right phone in your hand, there's no reason to compromise gaming quality for mobility.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

Samsung's 2016 flagship isn't just a great gaming phone right now, it's a stepping stone to being a great gaming platform in the future.

Featuring a brilliant 5.5-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, the S7 will have your games looking great and running smooth as butter no matter how much of a resource hog they happen to be. With 64GB of on-board storage and a dedicated microSD slot you should easily be able to load up all your favorite games. Not only will current games run will on this phone, but Samsung's decision to jump ahead of Google in supporting Vulkan APIs for higher quality gameplay means your phone will be among the first to user in a new wave of graphically superior mobile games.

On top of all the standard features that make the S7 an outstanding device, Samsung's software has built-in features that make gaming both fun and social. If you're a serious gamer, you'll definitely want to dive into the advanced settings and turn on the Game Launcher and Game Tools. They help to optimize the phone for gaming so you never feel bogged down or distracted from your game, and let you share that game with others through live streaming.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer's best friend, from the top-tier hardware to its convenient software tools for gaming.

One more thing: The Samsung Galaxy S7 recently won our smartphone camera showdown, which means it's also amazing for Augmented Reality games!

Why the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the best

Gamer mode is a real gamechanger.

As we already mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has all physical components required to handle pretty much any game you toss at it. It delivers exactly what you'd expect from a top-of-the-line flagship device in 2016.

But what really separates the S7 from the rest of the pack is Samsung's two gaming features: Game Launcher and Game Tools.

Game Launcher compiles all the games on your phone into one place, allowing you to keep your home screen uncluttered while still having all your favorite games just a tap away. Admittedly it's nothing too earth-shattering, but it does include options for optimizing battery life and turning off distracting alerts during your game.

But the real hero is Game Tools, a discreet floating icon that pops up every time you launch a game. A quick tap of the Game Tools icon pops up with a host of important settings to improve your gaming session. Getting annoyed by all your notifications? You can quickly toggle a do not disturb mode that blocks all alerts for as long as you're in the game. Sick of accidentally touching the Back or Recent keys and being taken out of your game? You get a quick option to disable the Recent and Back keys. You're also able to use the menu to minimize the game, which keeps a floating icon on your screen so you can quickly check your messages or other notifications while your game stays running in the background.

If you're the type that likes to stream as you game, you get built-in screen recorder tools, which even allow you to use the front-facing camera and record commentary as you play, so you can share your favorite moments like a pro.

Best for battery life

Moto Z Play

See at Motorola

We've also dealt with the battery drain of extended gaming sessions when you're gaming on the go. There's nothing worse than getting all caught up in the heat of the action, only to have a low battery warning ruin things. If you suffer from battery anxiety when gaming off charger, the Moto Z Play Droid is the perfect device to alleviate that stress.

The latest in Motorola's modular lineup, the Moto Z Play comes with a massive 3,510 mAh battery that's optimized by a more efficient processor and a lower-resolution display. Granted this your display won't get quite as bright as other UHD displays, but the color calibration and viewing angles remain great. You'll definitely enjoy the outstanding extended battery life you'll get in exchange. When it's time to top up, you'll be able to give your phone up to 9 hours of charge in just 15 minutes with Motorola's TurboPower wall charger.

Still not enough power? Take advantage of the Moto Z Play's modular design and slap on the Incipio offGRID Power Pack and add an extra 2,260 mAh battery to your phone, along with charging efficiency and the added ability to wirelessly charge both the pack and your phone.

All this battery life business would be pointless if the Moto Z Play was a pain to use, but fortunately that's not the case. As AC's Daniel Bader wrote in his Moto Z Play preview, if you're a fan of the Motorola's past offerings — including their handy gesture and voice controls — you'll be happy to know they're all present in the Moto Z Play:

For anyone who has used a Motorola phone over the past three years, the software experience is a known quantity. [...] I like it because it's fast and fluid all the time, even with 3GB of RAM and a low-cost processor, and has truly useful add-ons that improve my life.

Bottom line: Starting at just over $400, the Moto Z Play is the perfect companion for the mobile gamer with battery anxiety.

One more thing: Other awesome Moto Mods available for the Moto Z Play include a JBL Soundboost speaker, Hassleblad True Zoom camera mod and the Moto InstaShare Projector.

Best for touch responsiveness

HTC 10

See at HTC

Serious gamers know that input lag is simply unacceptable. Any amount of lag can have a devastating effect whether it's a coming down to a photo finish, or a frantic deathmatch shootout. While traditional gaming allows for full controller customization (whether we're talking keyboard and mouse or controller), mobile gaming on a touch screen ultimately relies on the touch responsiveness of the sensors on the phone.

In that regard, there's no better phone than the HTC 10. With their 2016 flagship, HTC boasts the 10 has the lowest touch latency of any smartphone on the market — iPhones included. While that's not typically a frequently touted spec in 2016, it does make a difference for gaming.

Beyond touch responsiveness, as mentioned in our official review the HTC 10 is a fairly impressive phone that features outstanding high-definition audio output, a capable 12 megapixel camera, and fast performance thanks to the Quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. It's all wrapped up in an aluminum unibody design with a curved back that's ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.

Bottom line: Never blame your poor performances on lag again with the super responsive HTC 10.

One more thing: The beautifully designed HTC 10 is available in three stylish colours: Carbon Gray, Glacier Silver, and Topaz Gold.

Conclusion

For the best Android gaming experience, look no further than the Galaxy S7. It's got all the top-end specs you need to any game in the Google Play Store at the highest settings, and that's not going to change anytime soon. If battery life is your biggest concern, the Moto Z Play is your best bet, especially with an optional Moto Mod to expand that battery life further. If you think lag is a real drag, the HTC 10's touch responsiveness is what you want.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

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Samsung's 2016 flagship isn't just a great gaming phone right now, it's a stepping stone to being a great gaming platform in the future.

Featuring a brilliant 5.5-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, the S7 will have your games looking great and running smooth as butter no matter how much of a resource hog they happen to be. With 64GB of on-board storage and a dedicated microSD slot you should easily be able to load up all your favorite games. Not only will current games run will on this phone, but Samsung's decision to jump ahead of Google in supporting Vulkan APIs for higher quality gameplay means your phone will be among the first to user in a new wave of graphically superior mobile games.

On top of all the standard features that make the S7 an outstanding device, Samsung's software has built-in features that make gaming both fun and social. If you're a serious gamer, you'll definitely want to dive into the advanced settings and turn on the Game Launcher and Game Tools. They help to optimize the phone for gaming so you never feel bogged down or distracted from your game, and let you share that game with others through live streaming.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer's best friend, from the top-tier hardware to its convenient software tools for gaming.

One more thing: The Samsung Galaxy S7 recently won our smartphone camera showdown, which means it's also amazing for Augmented Reality games!

Android Gaming

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