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1 month ago

Unlocked Moto Z Play is now picking up the Nougat update

18

Android 7.0 Nougat is hitting unlocked units of the Moto Z Play.

The Nougat update started hitting the Verizon edition of the Moto Z Play earlier this week, and now the unlocked models are also receiving the update. The update switches the firmware version to NPN25.137-24-1, which is similar to that of Verizon's NPN25.137-24-1-2.

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1 month ago

LG starts promoting the G6 in Australia ahead of Mar. 28 launch

3

Australia will be the first market outside Korea to receive the LG G6.

LG announced last week that it would launch the LG G6 in Australia on March 28, and the manufacturer is now hyping up the handset ahead of its debut in the country. Telstra will be the exclusive carrier partner for the phone, but as of now there's no mention of pricing.

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1 month ago

Don't buy an LG G6 without a microSD card

79
LG G6

Western markets are only getting a 32GB G6, so it's time to break out a microSD for photos and music.

The LG G6 is a great phone. But what's definitely not great is the way certain features, like the Quad DAC, wireless charging and 64GB storage model, are confined to a handful of specific regions. Of the three, the storage capacity restrictions imposed on Western G6 buyers is probably the most irksome. 32GB is only barely enough to include in a flagship phone in 2017. (I've laid out all the reasons against buying a 32GB phone here.)

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1 month ago

Make a Samsung Galaxy S6 your next phone for just $265

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time scoring you a Galaxy S6 at a huge discount.

Samsung's Galaxy S6 may not be the latest or greatest option from the company, but at just $264.99 it is hard to pass up. Through a trusted eBay seller you can pick up a Verizon or AT&T variant of the 64GB Galaxy S6 in your choice of white, gold, or black at a huge discount. Whether you are looking for a great backup phone or something new for the kids, the Galaxy S6 still has a very capable camera and with 64GB of internal storage you'll be able to load it up with music and videos without worrying.

Considering the Galaxy S6 has glass on both the front and back of it, you may want to consider ordering a protective case for it to avoid it getting damaged easily. There is only a limited quantity of these remaining, so be sure to grab one now if you are interested.

See at eBay

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

Samsung Galaxy S6

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1 month ago

Google says some Pixels have defective microphones and need to be replaced under warranty

47

Some Google Pixel and Pixel XL units have been affected by a microphone hardware issue. This is what you need to do.

Google can't seem to figure out its Pixel problem. Not only does the best phone of 2016 (and beyond) have some major inventory problems, but when it's not working properly, it's really not working properly. Take the latest issue the company is dealing with. Since the phone's release, an increasing number of people have been complaining about the microphone issues — one day it will be able to make calls and record audio, the next day, nothing.

Turns out that in "under 1% of devices," a tiny crack in the solder connecting the audio codec chip to the main motherboard causes the phone to lose audio processing abilities. More frustrating is that, according to Google employee Brian Rakowski, some users were intermittently getting microphone use back, since the solder, depending on whether conditions and the severity of the crack, would occasionally re-establish a connection.

Based on temperature changes or the way you hold the phone, the connection may be temporarily restored and the problems may go away. This is especially frustrating as a user because, just when you think you've got it fixed, the problem randomly comes back. We believe this problem is occurring << 1% of phones and often happens after a few months of use (it could be triggered by dropping the phone that may not cause any visible external damage).

Rakowski also says that a very small number of units just have defective microphones. Either way, the phone needs to be replaced under warranty, either by Google or the carrier/retailer from which it was purchased. Google says it is honoring all warranty claims for this particular problem.

The Google employee goes on to reassure users that all Pixels sold after January won't have the audio disconnection issue because the solder has been reinforced during manufacturing.

Does your Pixel have this issue, or have you experienced any other hardware-related problems that needed to be fixed under warranty?

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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1 month ago

Motorola is testing upcoming Moto Z 2017 flagship in plain sight

30

Motorola is showing off its Moto Z 2017 flagship, and Sprint is using it to show off its upcoming Gigabit LTE service.

Motorola isn't being particularly secretive about its upcoming Moto Z flagship, largely because, thanks to restrictions in its size and shape due to the company's commitment to Moto Mods, we basically know what it will look like.

The first clue was at the company's recent MWC press conference, where the phone was basically shown off during a tease of upcoming Moto Mods. Recall the following photo of the forthcoming Gamepad Moto Mod. That's no Moto G5, nor is it a mistake; it's the Moto Z 2017, newly-shaped fingerprint sensor and all.

And this week, Sprint and Motorola teamed up to show off the network's upcoming Gigabit LTE service in the New Orleans area. During a New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors basketball game (which my home team won, btw!), the carrier showed off the service to select analysts on a Motorola device running the upcoming Gigabit LTE-capable Snapdragon 835 chipset.

As you can tell, the Motorola phone has no particular shape in that photo, as its aesthetic is being constrained by a boxy cover and tapes around the edges. A Sprint release also acknowledges the collaboration:

Motorola showcased the blazing-fast, high-bandwidth capability of a forthcoming flagship smartphone based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, supporting Gigabit Class LTE.

Sprint says that it used a combination of "three-channel carrier aggregation and 60 MHz of Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum in combination with 4X4 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and 256-QAM higher order modulation to achieve incredible Category 16 LTE download data speeds on a TDD network." In other words, the carrier is finally making good use of its extensive high-band spectrum — the same stuff is tried to make work on WiMAX a few years ago — for what is potentially the fastest live network performance in the U.S. right now.

Sprint says that by working with Qualcomm it plans to increase the capacity on its existing LTE network "to build a strong foundation for 5G by densifying its network with the addition of small cells and smart antennas." That's because 2.5Ghz spectrum doesn't penetrate through walls very well, and needs to be amplified using such small cells and beam-forming antennas to provide optimal performance in places like stadiums, parks and in dense urban areas.

The carrier rightly claims that it has the most spectrum of any big network in the U.S., though the vast majority is in that upper-tier area that's relatively difficult to utilize for high-speed mobility. In its press release, the company took a jab at T-Mobile's plan to augment its network capacity with unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz space, claiming that "Sprint has more licensed spectrum capacity to deploy Gigabit Class LTE than any other U.S. carrier. Use of licensed spectrum offers Sprint LTE Plus customers a more reliable and sustainable quality experience by not relying on unlicensed resources that might be available at some times and not at others."

Whatever the case, one thing is relatively clear: this year's Moto Z flagship won't be a Verizon exclusive, and Sprint is racing to ensure that it stays competitive with T-Mobile, AT&T and Big Red in the network speed game.

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

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1 month ago

Get 20% off high-speed 4G data service! [Best deal for LTE]

24

Android Central and Mint SIM have partnered to bring you an insanely good deal on high-speed 4G data in the United States.

That's why we're super excited about this awesome deal from Mint SIM, available exclusively to Android Central readers. For a limited time, use coupon code ACMINTSIM20 to receive 20% off any 6- or 12-month plan.

Mint SIM is an alternative carrier with one focus: offering the most consistent high-speed 4G LTE data (it runs off T-Mobile's growing network) at insanely low prices.

You'll receive unlimited talk and text, with insanely low prices on ultra-fast, reliable 4G LTE data. Here's how it breaks down after the coupon is applied:

  • 2GB of high-speed data just for $13.60 per month 1
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Choose the plan that's best for you and start saving today, with no contract required. This is a limited time offer reserved just for Android Central readers. Remember, use coupon code ACMINTSIM20 to receive 20% off any 6- or 12-month plan. The deal expires March 31, so get going!

Learn more at MintSIM.com

1. Savings based on 12-month plan. Includes regulatory recovery fee. Plan requires compatible phone. Please see mintsim.com for details.

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1 month ago

PSA: Don't remove the Huawei P10's factory-fitted screen protector

41
Fingerprint smudges

In a bizarre change from previous flagships, there's no oleophobic coating on the P10's display.

The Huawei P10, like many of the company's phones, comes with a factory-fitted screen protector out of the box. That's great if you were already planning on covering up the phone's screen to guard against scratches and other damage, and many other Chinese manufacturers like OnePlus and Oppo do the same. But the screen protector itself is made of plastic film, and that's exactly what it feels like — nowhere near as nice as the glass beneath it. So for that reason, peeling off the screen protector is usually one of the first things we do when unboxing a new Huawei phone.

In the case of the Huawei P10, however, that's a very, very bad idea.

That's because there's no oleophobic coating on the actual display of the P10 — at least on the review devices we were given in Barcelona last week. An oleophobic coating may sound obscure and technical, but it's a staple feature of all but the cheapest smartphone screens. This nanocoating, usually applied to the glass during manufacturing, repels oils — like the kind on your face and fingers — and stops the display from looking like it's been used as a pizza slice after you've been tapping, swiping and calling.

Without an oleophobic coating, a phone's display quickly starts to look like... well, the image you see above, with copious oily smudges and a generally unpleasant in-hand feel.

Usually it's only the cheapest phones which forego the oleophobic coating.

To say this is a bizarre omission in such an expensive series of phones is an understatement. Usually it's only bargain-bin models that don't use oleophobic coatings on the display, in order to save on their bill of materials. A Huawei spokesperson wasn't able to provide any further clarity on the oleophobic issue, but instead offered the following statement:

Huawei remains focused on delivering high-quality devices to provide the best consumer experience. The P10 is the world's first smartphone with capacitive under-glass fingerprint sensor for seamless navigation. For screen protection, we have used premium materials such as Gorilla Glass 5 and include a screen protector as part of the integrated product.

In the meantime, if you plan on buying a Huawei P10 (or P10 Plus), plan on using it with the preinstalled screen protector, or with an aftermarket replacement when they become available.

More: Huawei P10 hands-on

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1 month ago

Nougat update is finally rolling out to the Galaxy S6, S6 edge

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Samsung's 2015 flagships are starting to receive the Nougat update.

Samsung was scheduled to roll out the Nougat update to the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge in the UK at the end of February, but the company said in a tweet that the update would be delayed as it encountered quality issues. While Samsung didn't provide a timeline for when the Nougat update will be kicking off, it looks like Vodafone customers in the UK — along with S6 and S6 edge customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy — are picking up the update right now.

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1 month ago

Size comparison: Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy S7, S6 and iPhone 7 Plus

51

CAD renders show how Samsung's 2017 flagship may be both bigger and smaller than you were expecting.

With its super-slim bezels and the apparent shift to an extra-tall "18.5:9" aspect ratio, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is purported to pack a larger display than ever into a standard-sized body. Rumors put the display diagonal of the regular GS8 at 5.8 inches, and the larger GS8 Plus at a whopping 6.2 inches. Those are big, but the new aspect ratio makes it hard to visualize just how large they might be.

Thanks to French leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, better known as @onleaks on Twitter, we have CAD mock-ups showing how the two Galaxy S8 models measure up against Samsung's previous two flagships, as well as Apple's iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Hemmerstoffer has made a name for himself rounding up accurate CAD visuals and measurements of unannounced phones, so there's a good chance what we see here is an accurate size comparison.

A few quick takeaways from these shots:

  • The regular GS8 is narrower but taller than both of its predecessors.
  • The GS8 Plus is almost the same width as the Note 7, but a good 5.5mm taller.
  • The regular GS8 is a good deal taller than the iPhone 7, but only slightly wider — a difference of less than 1mm.
  • The GS8 Plus is noticeably narrower than the iPhone 7 Plus, but around the same height — again, less than 1mm difference.

With the move to aspect ratios around 18:9 (or 2:1) in some of 2017's flagship Android phones (and perhaps even Apple's iPhone 8), and larger screen measurements, visual comparisons like this will become even more important in showing how new, taller phones measure up to their predecessors.

Perhaps the most striking contrast in today's set of images is the iPhone 7, using a three-year-old design, fits only a 5.5-inch display into a body of comparable size to Samsung's upcoming 6.2-incher. We can surely expect the Korean company to make a great deal of noise about that at the Galaxy S8's March 29 launch event.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 may feature super-fast face recognition

30

Awkward fingerprint placement and slow iris scanner may not matter if Samsung can make facial recognition work.

One of the most common criticisms of the Galaxy S8 images we've seen so far has been the apparently awkward placement of its fingerprint scanner. It's located around the back, according to leaked photos, to the right of the main camera lens, where it's not exactly convenient to reach. At the same time, the Note 7's iris recognition system, an alternative way to unlock the phone, was widely panned in last year's phone. But Samsung could have a solution to both problems.

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1 month ago

LG G6 vs. Pixel XL camera comparison: The top choices today

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LG G6 and Pixel XL

The LG G6 is here to challenge the champ in Android smartphone cameras.

With its dual camera setup and big photography claims, the LG G6 is looking like a very good choice for mobile photographers. It of course doesn't live in a vacuum, though, and there are fantastic cameras out there, like the Google Pixel XL. After comparing their sizes and specs, the next thing to do with these two phones is to see how their cameras work and what the photos look like side by side.

Both the LG G6 and Pixel XL are doing things a bit differently from the status quo. The LG G6, for its part, is using a 13-megapixel camera sensor with surprisingly small 1.12-micron pixels but a traditional combination of a wide f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization — and then, of course, there's the wide-angle camera next to it. The Pixel XL eschews image stabilization altogether for a 12MP sensor that has really big 1.55-micron pixels and relies on intense software processing.

To see how the LG G6 and Pixel XL cameras stack up, I took them around for a few days, shooting in full auto mode — including auto HDR — just as most people do, to see how they stack up. Check out the results below.

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1 month ago

Huawei P11: Expect next year's flagship at MWC 2018

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Huawei P10

Huawei will target February trade show for future flagship announcements, exec tells Android Central.

This year's Huawei flagship announcement at Mobile World Congress in February came a couple months ahead of the usual launch window. The Huawei P10, which broke cover in Barcelona a week ago, landed well in advance of the April announcement events Huawei has hosted for the P9, P8, and previous models.

Bruce Lee, Huawei's Vice President of Handsets Product Line, told us to expect future flagship launches in a similar cadence. Speaking exclusively to Android Central ahead of the P10 announcement in Barcelona, Lee said that the company had always tried to launch devices by March or April in order to kick off sales around the Easter period in Western Europe. Huawei wasn't able to hit that mark with the P8 or P9 but did for the first time with this year's P10.

"In the future, we will probably launch the devices at Mobile World Congress," Lee told us through an interpreter.

Although Huawei's standalone launch events — usually in London — have been well-attended in previous years, MWC allows the company to ride an even bigger wave of publicity, exposing its new products to journalists and others who may not have attended a separate press conference in another part of the world.

An earlier announcement, if it's followed up by an earlier retail launch, would allow Huawei to get future flagships on store shelves around the same time — or perhaps even earlier — than its major Android rival in Europe, Samsung. And while there's no guarantee that Huawei will hit this February target with future launches such as a P11 or P12, the timely arrival of the P10 is a good sign.

More: Huawei P10 hands-on

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1 month ago

Even the Galaxy S7 Active is getting Nougat before the unlocked GS7

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The rugged Galaxy S7 Active is getting Nougat.

Another day, another carrier device getting Nougat. Heck, Nougat is up to nearly 3% of total Android devices, and we can now add the AT&T-exclusive Galaxy S7 Active to the list.

The phone is getting the same version of Android 7.0 Nougat with the February 2017 security patch as its less rugged counterparts, which includes, according to AT&T, "Samsung Cloud, Samsung Pass, and App Select enabled in Setup and Transfer". The build, NRD90M.G891AUCU2BQB2, also does away with the carrier's heinous Address Book software.

Now that it's out, you can count the AT&T Galaxy S7 Active as yet another phone to get Nougat before the unlocked versions of the core Galaxy S7 versions sold in the U.S. Not that we're keeping score or anything...

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1 month ago

The Moto G5 Plus is exclusive to Flipkart in India, launching on Mar 15

2

Moto G5 Plus is launching on Mar 15, and will be exclusive to Flipkart.

The Moto G5 Plus is all set to make its debut in India on March 15, and Motorola has now announced that the phone will be sold exclusively on Flipkart in the country. The Moto G series by itself accounts for a majority of sales in the budget segment, and as such the exclusivity arrangement is a big deal for Flipkart as it tries to counter the threat of Amazon.

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