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1 month ago

Should you buy an unlocked phone in the UK?

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Phone boxes

Want to break free from upfront fees and network subsidies? Welcome to the world of unlocked phones

When it's time to buy a new phone, most of us turn to the four major UK networks operators, or one of the many smaller networks that piggyback on them. But as cheaper smartphones become better and better, and the urge to upgrade to the latest and greatest handsets grows, you may have been considering the alternative — simply buying a phone unlocked and popping in your SIM.

Unlike other parts of the world, buying a new, unlocked smartphone isn't a new concept for British consumers. But if you're thinking of taking the plunge, there are a few factors worth considering. Check past the break for a quick primer on buying an unlocked phone in the UK.

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1 month ago

Samsung Smart Switch makes it easy to get your old stuff on your new phone

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Smart Switch is easy to use. Here's everything you need to know.

The worst part of getting a new phone is moving all your content from your old phone over. If you went to a store and bought a new Galaxy S7, there's a good chance someone there had a gadget that helps them do it for you, but nowadays a lot of us shop online to make buying a phone a little more hassle-free. If that sounds like you, Samsung Smart Switch is something you need to take a look at.

It's built into the Galaxy S7 settings (look under the Backup and Restore section) and it works if your old phone was running Android, iOS or BlackBerry. It's really simple to use and the app walks you through the whole thing no matter which phone you're coming from. All your photos, music, videos, call logs and messages get moved over in one quick and easy process. If you're coming from another Samsung Android phone, it can even move Galaxy Apps and their data over, just like using Samsung Kies from a computer to do the swap. Even if you breezed past the restore settings when you first setup your Galaxy S7, you can still fire up Smart Switch and have a go with it.

Here are a few tips to get you started

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1 month ago

Best Buy and B&H Photo are offering gift cards in addition to the $50 Nexus 5X and 6P savings

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If you are looking for a deal on the Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P and want to buy it somewhere you can pick it up the same day, you may want to check out these deals from Best Buy and B&H Photo. In addition to the $50 discount, both retailers are offering gift cards with the purchase as well. B&H is offering a $25 gift card with the Nexus 5X and $50 with the Nexus 6P. Best Buy is only offering a $50 card with the Nexus 6P, and nothing with the Nexus 5X.

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1 month ago

UK Galaxy S7s updated with Wi-Fi calling, touchscreen fix and April security patch

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Galaxy S7 edge

The first major update for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge is now rolling out in the UK — and it's a big one.

An over-the-air update going out today brings a number of changes and fixes for British Galaxy S7 owners. The update, which has been appearing in other parts of the world for the past week, has landed this morning on unlocked UK versions of the phones. The new firmware versions — G930FXXU1APD3 and G935FXXU1APD3 — include tweaks to the touchscreen software to help avoid unintentional taps on the edges of the S7 edge, while also eliminating phantom touch events sometimes caused by scrolling.

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1 month ago

Wind Mobile inches closer to being a national carrier

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One step at a time.

This week, Wind Mobile is launching two new plans that, at first glance, are not particularly impressive. But it signals a move by the now Shaw-owned company that it intends to be seen by Canadians as a national carrier, and is building the infrastructure, both physically and through its strengthening brand, to foster that perception.

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1 month ago

Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are $50 off at the Google Store through May 6

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If you still haven't picked up a Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P, and have been waiting for them to go on sale again, here is your chance. The Google Store is again offering $50 off the purchase of either phone now through May 6. This means that you can pick up the Nexus 5X starting at $299, or the Nexus 6P for $450.

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1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy S7 versus Nexus 5X: Same size, different audiences

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Samsung Galaxy S7 versus Nexus 5X

When it comes to getting a 'compact' phone, your options are a bit limited. These phones do it, but for very different prices.

A good number of smartphone fans were excited to see that with the latest generation of Galaxy S phones, Samsung decided to keep its flagship a very modest size. The Galaxy S7 has just a 5.1-inch screen, which is pretty small for today's standards and is even notably smaller than its sibling devices the Galaxy S7 edge.

Much the same story played out late last year with Google's Nexus device release, where it resurrected the spirit of the Nexus 5 in the brand new Nexus 5X. The screen size jumped just a tad, but this is very much a "smaller" phone at 5.2-inches diagonal screen size and generally with small dimensions compared to the big 'ol Nexus 6P.

But even though both of these phones have the same appeal to those who want something a bit more compact to carry around every day, they each target different audiences beyond that. Right off the start pricing is a huge differentiator, and the phones have divergent takes on hardware and software. Despite the differences, we want to see how these two phones compare head-to-head. Here's a look at the Galaxy S7 and the Nexus 5X.

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1 month ago

Be sure to check out our LG G5 video review!

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We've got a plethora of new and awesome Android phones available — or soon to be available. And that means we're knee deep in reviews for all sorts of things.

One of our more recent reviews is the LG G5. As you've no doubt heard by now — from us as well as others — is that it's an unconventional phone. That's not to say it's a bad one. But different doesn't always work. There are some things about the G5 that are spot on and are excellent reasons for picking one up. And there are some things about it that are a cause for concern — or are at least a reason to do some serious thinking before parting with your hard-earned cash.

There's a lot going on with this phone, and we've got the broad strokes in our official LG G5 video review. And when you're done with that, be sure to check out our full written LG G5 review as well.

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1 month ago

LG G5 second opinion — at least the camera is nice?

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LG G5

A stellar camera and capable processor aren't enough to make me recommend this phone to most people.

LG has had a fascinating journey over the last couple of G-series releases. Their phones have a tendency to stick out as uniquely LG, but those hardware decisions don't usually add or take away from just how good the phones are. This year things are a little different. LG has made the shift to metal with the G5, but made sure to keep the removable battery and expandable storage that helped the G4 stand out last year. Unfortunately that transition comes off a clumsy and awkward, with a host of fairly bland accessories standing almost as an attempt to distract from what LG has assembled.

We've already written a full review of the LG G5, and Phil's thoughts on this experience do a great job focusing on the whole picture LG is trying to assemble this year. As someone who only has the G5, and who isn't really interested the "Friends" that dock in the bottom of this phone, the picture is a lot smaller. It's also not quite as clear as what LG has offered in the past, making the overall experience less than great.

But, hey, at least the camera is nice.

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1 month ago

Grab an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5 for $159 at Amazon

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Amazon's Deal of the Day scores you some sweet savings on a refurbished unlocked 16GB Galaxy S5. If you act today, you can grab it in either black or white for just $160, a huge savings from its original price. Whether you are looking for a backup to have around that is waterproof, or your kids first phone, you won't want to miss out on this deal.

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1 month ago

HTC 10 versus Galaxy S7: A grown-up rivalry

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No better rivalry out there today.

It's no mistake that the Galaxy S7 seems to be everywhere right now. Say what you will about Samsung's past mistakes, because that's largely what they are; this is a company iterating at the top of its game, and based on early sales reports, enjoying the fruits of that patience.

HTC, on the other hand, can't seem to catch a break. Admittedly a much smaller company, it has recently diversified its product lineup to include partnerships with Under Armour in fitness, and Valve in VR. But can it still make a decent smartphone?

In many ways, the HTC 10 mirrors the Galaxy S7 in its acknowledgement of past mistakes, moving to correct what was wrong with the M8 and M9. It's also a damn fine smartphone.

But how does it hold up to the best Android has to offer? We're taking a gander at the HTC 10 versus the Galaxy S7.

Hardware

The HTC 10 feels familiar in the hand because despite its slightly wider body it is, like its M9 predecessor, machined from a single block of aluminum. Solid and hefty, there are no seams or joints to weaken, nor any glass to crack. Even though it is ever so slightly too wide for my hands, preventing it from being used comfortably with a single thumb, it attempts to find good balance between screen size and overall dimensions. This is perhaps even more pertinent because the phone does away with the bottom front-facing speaker that represented HTC's unique BoomSound solution since the M9. Instead, it moves the second speaker to the device's underside, going with a front-facing fingerprint sensor in its place.

There is something mature and confident about the HTC 10 — even if it is just another black rectangle.

Around back, the iPhone-like camera bump of the A9 has been replaced by something more familiar for HTC fans. But it's also on the back where you get a sense of the precision taken to mold the HTC 10 into its current state: an angled bevel that shimmers in the light, appearing smooth or textured depending on the environment.

There is something mature and confident about the HTC 10. Even if it is just another black rectangle, HTC has reason to celebrate what is easily its best, and best-looking, phone to date. From the screen quality to the camera, this is HTC making the best use of the resources available to it. Unfortunately for it, though, when compared to the industry leader, Samsung, some proverbial seams do show through.

The Galaxy S7 is Samsung, too, at the top of its game. And this year, the drastically altered metal-and-glass design language meets Samsung's cool maturity. Sure, the S7 is immediately recognizable as a Galaxy, but everything from the curved glass back to the matte finish on the aluminum sides represents the company well. And the fact that Samsung was willing to thicken its main phone in order to squeeze a larger battery and waterproofing finds successfully placating its power users while attracting new users.

At the same time, the S7 is not the S7 edge, which is bigger, curvier and altogether more interesting. Instead, the S7 is just another great phone — kind of like the HTC 10 — which presents a problem at the more expensive end of the Android market. When every $700 phone is great, it's hard to know which one to buy. No one is going to be disappointed with either device, since the feature variation between the two is a matter of degree, and the stylistic differences a matter of taste. Welcome to Android in 2016.

Specs

Both the HTC 10 and the Galaxy S7 are tremendously well-equipped for an early-to-mid 2016 flagship. Each one bears the latest processor —in the U.S., both run Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chip; in Canada and Europe, the S7 runs Samsung's Exynos 8890 — along with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 12MP rear cameras, 5MP front cameras, and a variety of value-added options.

There are some subtle things about the S7 that immediately stand out. For starters, it is IP68 waterproof, which allows it to be submerged in up to one meter of water for an hour. It can also be charged wirelessly, using either the Qi or PMA standard. The former feature is something many people care about, and it's an engineering feat in itself that Samsung was able to close off all the ports and protect the internals without unsightly covers or obvious gaskets.

On the other hand, the HTC 10 has a USB Type-C port with USB 3.1 transfer speeds, which future proofs it for many years to come. Samsung, in order to ensure backwards compatibility with the increasingly-important Gear VR, maintained a microUSB port with USB 2.0 transfer speeds. Not a huge deal, but certainly something to think about.

The GS7 also has the edge in terms of screen technology. While the HTC 10 has one of the best LCDs on the market today — the company called it the fifth generation Super LCD — it is trounced in terms of vibrance, viewing angles and brightness by the Galaxy S7's Super AMOLED panel. Slightly better screen density aside, the Galaxy S7's screen just looks better in more instances, especially outdoors, where it has traditionally been difficult to crank brightness to adequate levels.

The GS7 has the edge in terms of screen technology.

Both devices have fingerprint scanners on the front, but it could be argued (and I'd agree with said arguer) that HTC's implementation is superior. Not only is the HTC 10's home button more capacitive than physical, which prevents mechanical problems down the road, the device can be unlocked without turning the screen on. This inevitably affects battery life, by constantly polling the fingerprint scanner, but it's likely no more disruptive than Samsung's on-by-default Always-On Display. Pick your poison, I guess. Oh, and HTC's fingerprint scanner seems a tad bit faster.

Speaking of battery life, both devices are equipped with 3,000mAh non-removable cells. That should equal roughly the same battery life, but in our early tests, the HTC 10 doesn't stand up to Samsung's latest flagship. I'm not willing to say that the S7 has demonstrably better uptime, since I've only had HTC's latest for about a week, but it appears that both the camera and the LTE connection engage the battery much more readily than on the S7. It's possible software updates could fix these issues in the future, but we have to review what we have now (and I'm using a retail version of the S7 that has yet to receive a single patch).

Category HTC 10 Galaxy S7 Operating System Android 6.0.1 Android 6.0.1 CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
64-bit Kryo quad-core Snapdragon 820 quad-core or
Exynos 8890 octa-core RAM 4GB 4GB Display 5.2-inch QHD (2560x1440, 565 ppi)Super LCD 5 5.1-inch QHD (2560x1440, 576 ppi) Super AMOLED Rear Camera 12MP Ultrapixel + OIS, f/1.8 lens
4K video, 120fps slow motion 12MP + OIS, f/1.7 lens
4K video, 240fps slow motion Front Camera 5MP Ultrapixel + OIS, f/1.8 5MP, f/1.7 Storage 32GB + microSD 32GB + microSD Charging USB Type-C
Quick Charge 3.0 microUSB
Quick Charge 2.0 + wireless Qi & PMA Battery 3,000mAh 3,000mAh SIM nanoSIM nanoSIM Waterproofing No IP68 waterproofing Audio HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition
Two speakers Downward-facing mono speaker Dimensions 145.9 x 71.9 x 9.0mm 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm Weight 161g 152g

Software

In years past, I'd say that comparing the software between an HTC and Samsung device would be akin to difference between biting your lip and pulling a large chunk of leg hair. Both are painful in competing ways.

Today, running Android 6.0.1, both companies have largely resolved their design foibles, likely by the stern-but-fair hand of Google. HTC's software, which is still lightly glancingly referred to as Sense but has little resemblance to its predecessors, maintains some of what made the M7 to the M9 great, but recalls the promise of the A9 to defer to Google's first-party services whenever possible. This means as little app and service duplication as we've seen outside of a Moto X — no separate browser or gallery, and very few preloads.

I really like this HTC. It's careful not to overload users with features.

There are some lingering areas of concern, though: HTC has struck deals with Facebook to pre-install its core app, plus Messenger and Instagram, along with the of-dubious-quality News Republic, and its own Boost+ optimization app. None of these are particularly egregious, and we haven't had the privilege of seeing how badly T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint will mess things up, but based on the bloatware found on the S7, anything is possible.

I really like this HTC. It is careful not to overload with features, but retains some of the more useful power user shortcuts, such as Motion Gestures and quick music streaming. Its default theme has some of the nicest icons I've seen on an Android device, and features like Personal Audio Profile, which optimizes sound output for your specific headphones, are welcome.

When we turn to the Galaxy S7, it's clear Samsung tried to tone down its service duplication, but lacked the same commitment as its Taiwanese competitor. There is still a heck of a lot of doubling, from Samsung's own browser to its own app market, but somehow this is more forgivable this year because it all coheres.

Camera

Even though both the HTC 10 and Galaxy S7 sport 12MP camera sensors, the experience of using them is very different. This is an area HTC has struggled in previous years, and while the fundamentals are dramatically improved, it hasn't yet caught up to the industry leader just yet.

First, while HTC has revamped its camera app to be both more intuitive for novices and pro users alike, it still can't capture great images with the consistency of the Galaxy S7. Whether in bright daylight or lowlight, the Galaxy S7 is able to focus, expose and shoot with very little compromise. But when you blow up the S7's photos, you see Samsung's subtle manipulations: it abundantly applies sharpening and noise reduction to make photos look cleaner on a smaller screen. HTC, despite having a more difficult time finding the correct exposure, often captures a scene more true to life. This is a technique Apple has employed with the iPhone, and it has both fans and detractors, depending on where you stand on how smartphone photos are meant to be shared.

See HTC 10 initial photos and video samples

Both those arguments are moot, though, when you refer to the phones' professional modes, which allow for manual tweaking of shutter speed, focus, exposure and light sensitivity. With a bit of tweaking, the HTC 10's slightly larger pixels — 1.55 microns to the S7's 1.4 — produce cleaner shots that, especially in low light, are more readily editable in post-production.

Both the HTC 10 and Galaxy S7 are tremendous products, but it's clear that Samsung has the... edge.

On the selfie side, the HTC 10 boasts a 5MP sensor with optical image stabilization, a first in the industry. While that alone is unlikely to have much of an impact on photo quality, it negates having to use the (gasp!) front-facing flash that Samsung was eager to steal from the iPhone. In sufficient light, both phones produce competent shots with the selfie cam, and that's all that needs to be said about that.

Conclusion

Both the HTC 10 and Galaxy S7 are tremendous products, but it's clear that Samsung, even without the aesthetically-arresting edge, has the... well, you get it. Both devices are as fast as a flagship should feel in mid-2016, but Samsung has the edge in screen quality, camera experience, and value-added features like waterproofing.

The HTC 10, though, shouldn't be dismissed: its combination of superb design, painstaking machining, pared-down software, and pro-friendly camera options helps it appeal once again to the hardcore users who would at one time only consider an HTC product, and today likely migrate towards a Nexus.

HTC 10

HTC Verizon

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

img { width: 100%; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 20px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 59px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video, .devicebox h3 + p { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 20px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 59px; } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p, .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 month ago

We're answering all your HTC 10 questions in the Android Central forums!

HTC 10

We've been using the HTC 10 — so hit the forums and ask us questions!

If you've read our extensive HTC 10 Preview and still have burning questions, then fear not. Though our full review is still a few days away, you'll want to head on over to the Android Central forums, where I — along with Editor-in-Chief Phil Nickinson, Canadian editor Dan Bader — will be answering your questions on HTC's 2016 flagship.

The phone doesn't go on sale until early May, but we've been using it for the past week, and so we've had plenty of time to form some early opinions.

Hit the link below and get ready for some Q&A!

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1 month ago

HTC 10 initial photo and video samples

107
HTC 10 camera

An early look at the HTC 10's photographic capabilities

After years of ho-hum cameras, HTC's newly-announced 2016 flagship, the HTC 10, promises a significant bump in photographic capabilities. There's a new 12-megapixel "UltraPixel 2" camera around the back, paired with dual-tone flash and laser autofocus, behind an f/1.8 lens. And with large 1.55-micron pixel paired and optical image stabilization (OIS), the rear camera should be better than ever at night photography — a major differentiator in mobile photography right now. Around the front, HTC brings us the first selfie camera with OIS, with a stabilized 5-megapixel sensor, also behind an f/1.8 lens.

Our full review of the HTC 10 is on the way soon, with much more on the phone's photographic capabilities and its redesigned camera app. In the meantime, we invite you to see for yourself — continue below for a handful of photos and video shot on the HTC 10.

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1 month ago

Oppo F1 Plus unboxing and first impressions: Promise it's not an iPhone

24

We know what you're all thinking.

This is the Oppo F1 Plus, a beefed up version of its recent, camera focused F1. And if you read the slogan on the box, this phone is a "selfie expert."

That would be because the signature feature of this phone is its whopping 16MP front facing camera.

Sixteen. Megapixels. Those are going to be some high-resolution selfies.

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1 month ago

HTC changes course, confirms plans to bring the HTC 10 to India

2

HTC has reversed its decision regarding the launch of the HTC 10 launch in India, with the vendor now listing the Snapdragon 820 variant on its official website. Earlier this week, it was the Snapdragon 652-based HTC 10 Lifestyle that was listed in its place, which led to consternation among the local audience over the Taiwanese vendor's decision to not bring its "true flagship" to the country.

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