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1 month ago

The Moto Z doesn't have a headphone jack

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When you build a phone that's a hair over 5mm thick, it's hard to find a spot for everything.

One of the drawbacks when you make a phone that's razor thin (the Moto Z is only 5.19 mm thick) is that you have a harder time finding room for things like a big battery — or a 3.5mm headphone jack.

We're at the table with the Moto Z in our hands, and the talk we're all hearing on the internet is true — the Moto Z has no 3.5mm headphone jack. That doesn't mean you can't use headphones with it, only that you can't plug in a pair the "regular" way.

The Z does have a USB Type-C port, which does an excellent job of outputting digital audio. Our own Michael Fisher has confirmed that the Moto Z comes with a USB-C headphone adapter, which should convert the audio into analog so you can plug in the headphones you already have to listen to music or watch a movie or even talk on (or to) your phone.

There is also the wireless option, and Bluetooth headsets and stereo headphones should work just fine. We'll also be seeing more and more USB-C headphones as the port becomes more popular, and we expect the availability to go up while the pricing goes down on those.

Does this affect your decision to buy a Moto Z? Hit the comments and shout out.

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Motorola Verizon

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1 month ago

Google has changed the name of Project Tango to . . . Tango

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During Lenovo's press conference today, Google announced that their Project Tango division, which is making 3D sensing smartphone technology, is now just called Tango.

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1 month ago

Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be Verizon exclusives through this fall

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Speaking at Lenovo Tech World, Lenovo revealed that the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be exclusive to Verizon upon launch.

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1 month ago

Moto Mod Developer Kit will launch this summer; one mod maker could win $1 million

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Motorola has announced plans to launch the Moto Mod Developer Kit this summer. It will allow smaller hardware makers to create snap-in modules for the company's upcoming lineup of Moto Z smartphones.

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1 month ago

The Moto Z Force is the Moto Z's tougher twin brother

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Alongside the announcement of the Moto Z, Lenovo has announced a second phone, the Moto Z Force. In many ways identical to the Z, the Z Force also features a Shatter Shield display to survive tough impacts, along with faster charging, being able to charge to 50% in 30 minutes.

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1 month ago

Moto Z Droid Edition + Moto Z Force Droid Edition specs

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Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Full hardware specs for Moto and Verizon's latest Droids.

Moto and Verizon have taken the wraps off their latest round of Droid handsets, bringing two new models to market on the U.S.'s biggest network. Both Droids bring top-level internals to the table, but there are a few significant differences to note. The regular Moto Z Droid Edition packs a 13-megapixel OIS camera and a 2,600mAh battery, while the Moto Z Force Droid Edition (gasp) ups the camera to 21 megapixels and the battery to an ample 3,500mAh. And as the name suggests, Force owners will also benefit from Moto's ShatterShield technology to protect from drops and scrapes.

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1 month ago

This is the Moto Z, Lenovo's next flagship Android phone

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During Lenovo's Tech World keynote, Motorola announced the Moto Z, its latest global flagship.

While the device is notably thinner and lighter than any previous Moto X flagship, featuring a combination of aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel, it features some powerful hardware.

On the outside, a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2560x1440 pixel) display has thin bezels that are surrounded by a body that looks like a combination of the new Moto G and last year's Moto X Pure Edition. Below the display, a square fingerprint sensor makes unlocking the phone much faster, the first on a Moto flagship (and the second after the new Moto G line); on top, a 5MP front-facing shooter with LED flash, something the company maintained from the Pure Edition, too.

Around back, Lenovo has kept with the industry trend by lowering the sensor size to 13MP from last year's 21MP shooter, along with a dual-LED flash in a module that pays homage to the "flat tire" of the Moto 360 smartwatch.

Inside, a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM, along with 32GB of internal storage and room for expansion through microSD, keep things along a relatively sure path when it comes to 2016 flagships. However, Lenovo saw fit to update the phone's connector to USB Type-C, replete with Turbo Charging capabilities that boosts the 2,600mAh cell with eight hours of power in 15 minutes.

The phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the requisite "soft" Moto skin, featuring namestays like Moto Display and Moto Voice.

Of course, the pièce de résistance of the Moto Z line is its modular future, with snap-in accessories called Moto Mods. From a speaker-battery combination to a pico projector, Moto Mods are ambitious and, in this market, perhaps foolhardy, but the feature is a natural extension of Lenovo's experimental legacy. More mods will come through partnerships with other brands, along with a pending Moto Mod Development Kit (MDK).

We'll have more on the Moto Z's pricing and availability as they become available.

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Motorola Verizon

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1 month ago

Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro will be available nationwide at Lowe's later this year

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Lowe's has announced that it will be selling Lenovo's PHAB 2 Pro nationwide in its retail stores later this year. In addition, the home improvement chain will be releasing a Tango app to Google Play to make redesigning rooms even easier. That's right, you'll be able to purchase the unlocked version of the PHAB 2 Pro right from your local Lowes store this holiday season.

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1 month ago

Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro Tango preview: Consider our minds blown

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Tango on your phone?! It's less crazy than it sounds.

We know exactly two things about Google's Tango (which recently dropped "Project" from its name) — that it is incredibly cool and that we have no idea how most folks would find day-to-day use in the technology. While having the ultimate Augmented Reality tablet is amazing, and the ideas Google has developed for using the tech is phenomenal, a tablet or phone with computer vision and spatial awareness isn't yet a daily necessity for much of anyone. Lenovo is the first of what Google is hoping will be several partners over the next year releasing hardware to change that.

The most impressive of the three new Lenovo PHAB phones headed to the U.S. this year, the PHAB 2 Pro, is equipped with everything you'd find in the Tango developer tablet, plus a few extras. We sat down recently with a mostly finished version of the PHAB 2 Pro to get a feel for what Tango is all about on a phone, and walked away more than a little impressed.

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1 month ago

Lenovo PHAB 2 family specs

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Wondering what the difference between the various PHAB 2 models are that Lenovo recently announced? All of the models come with a rather massive 6.4-inch display, but internally there are some differences that set them apart. Each screen has a different number of pixels per inch, each gains more memory as you move up the line, and much more.

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1 month ago

Lenovo announces the PHAB 2 family of phones

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Lenovo has announced the PHAB 2 family of phones, which consists of three different models for you to decide between. The entry model is the PHAB 2, which comes with a 6.4-inch IPS display, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. With the PHAB 2 Plus the memory bumps up to 3GB, and an 8MP front-facing camera instead of 5MP in the base model.

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1 month ago

Lenovo shows off insanely flexible phone and tablet concepts

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On stage at Lenovo Tech World today, Lenovo gave a quick demonstration of some prototype flexible tech that it is working on.

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1 month ago

How to buy an unlocked Android phone in Canada

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Moto G4 Plus

There are many reasons to buy an unlocked smartphone, and some reasons not to.

Unlocked phones are all the rage, but what does the term mean, and when is the right time to make the investment?

What is an unlocked phone?

An unlocked phone is one that has no restrictions on which carrier it can be used. Most Canadian carriers, in exchange for providing a handsome subsidy, sell handsets that are locked to their networks, making it more likely that you will purchase, and continue using, their service. Popping a SIM card from, say, Bell into a Rogers-locked device will throw an error and won't connect. Put a Rogers SIM card back in that phone, and it starts working again.

When a phone is unlocked, you are free to shop around for the best monthly plan — one that is not tied to the sale of a handset. Most carriers, in fact, offer monthly discounts for bringing an unlocked phone to their network, since they don't have to sell a subsidized phone — money that comes out of their bottom line — to sell a service plan.

Should you buy an unlocked phone?

These days, you hear a lot about "buying unlocked" and how it's so much better. But, like all things, it's not that simple. Whether you should buy an unlocked depends on a lot of things, but thankfully it's easier than ever to make that decision; the number of ways to obtain one has risen dramatically over the past few years.

But should you? There are several reasons to buy an unlocked phone:

  • Carriers often give meaningful discounts to customers who buy an unlocked phone beforehand and purchase service.
  • Unlocked phones are often less encumbered with carrier-related software, often known as bloatware.
  • Unlocked devices can be used on any carrier whose wireless bands are supported on the handset. These days, most unlocked phones sold throughout the world work on the major Canadian carriers.
  • Unlocked devices can be used internationally, with local SIM cards, that avoid often-expensive roaming plans.
  • Unlocked phones are not beholden to carriers' often-slow update schedules. They are usually updated directly from the manufacturer, which means they arrive more often and more quickly.

Are there any downsides to buying an unlocked phone?

They are typically more expensive, since they are purchased at their full retail price, with no carrier subsidy. Fortunately, there are dozens of unlocked Android smartphones in the $200 to $500 price range that are worth considering. Devices like the Moto G4 Plus, ZTE Axon 7, OnePlus 3, and many others, are primarily sold unlocked, and rival many hero devices like the HTC 10 that are nearly double the cost.

Where to get one?

Many Canadian retailers, both land and virtual, sell unlocked phones, namely Staples, Newegg, Canada Computers, NCIX, London Drugs, and many others.

Some Android OEMs sell their devices directly to consumers, too: HTC sells the One A9 and HTC 10 from its web store; Alcatel sells the Idol 3 4.7" (and soon its successor, the Idol 4 and 4S) on its website; and Google sells the Nexus 5X and 6P from the Google Store.

If you're looking to buy a second-hand unlocked phone, make sure that its IMEI — a unique identifier that differentiates one phone for another — has not been blacklisted by the CWTA. Before buying a used phone, make sure to ask the seller the IMEI and run the number through the database, which is shared with other agencies throughout the world. If the IMEI is blacklisted, the phone may be stolen, and will likely not work on any Canadian carrier.

Unlocking an existing phone

It's fairly easy to unlock an existing phone, if you want to go that route. To do so, you'll need to come at the problem in one of two ways:

  • If you purchased it directly from your carrier, call them and pay a fee for them to unlock it. That fee is usually $35 to $50, depending on the provider, and may only be possible when the device is fully paid off, or the account is in good standing.
  • If you purchased it from someone else (who presumably got it from a carrier), websites like cellunlocker.net have proven reliable and inexpensive.

Will an unlocked phone work on your carrier?

I can't answer that for you specifically, but chances are, yes. Handsets sold in the last couple of years usually have some, if not all, the requisite hardware to support most Canadian carriers.

If you're looking to purchase an unlocked phone, make sure it has at least one of the following compatible LTE bands. (Not sure what a "band" is? Read up on our Guide to LTE in Canada.)

  • Band 4 (All carriers)
  • Band 7 (Bell / Rogers)
  • Band 12/17 (All carriers)
  • Band 13 (All carriers)
  • Band 2 (Bell / Telus)
  • Band 5 (Bell / Telus)

More: The best unlocked Android phones in Canada

Was there anything we forgot? Let us know in the comments.

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1 month ago

Best Verizon prepaid phones

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Best Verizon prepaid phones

Not one for contracts? Go prepaid with Verizon and pick the right phone.

If you're going prepaid, you can certainly try to bring your own device to Verizon, but it's pretty strict about which phones it'll allow (many unlocked phones aren't even compatible with the network).

Otherwise, Verizon has a selection of prepaid phones that you can purchase directly, which may make for less of a headache in the long run. Here are a few that you should consider first.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is Verizon's best prepaid option. You have the option of 32GB for $696 or 64GB for $792. In the Note 5 you have a BIG phone that's easy to hold, thanks to its curved edges, and its glass and metal design is both functional and gorgeous.

If you yearn for the days when hand-writing was a thing, then you'll find solace in the Note 5's S Pen, which lets you write notes by hand and converts them to text for you, a feature made sweeter by a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen that offers a resolution of 2560x1440.

You've also got the Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, which makes for a phone that's nimble and responsive and quite powerful for a prepaid option. The battery is a whopping 3,000 mAh, which will probably last you at least a full day, depending on your habits.

If your battery is running low, you have the advantage of wireless fast-charging, which can bring your phone from 0 to 100% up to 50 minutes faster than standard charging. Verizon's Note 5 comes only in Black Sapphire, but it will pair well with any case you choose!

The one downside is the Note 5 lacks a microSD card slot, so you're limited to the 32GB or 64GB.

This is definitely the best prepaid phone you can get from Verizon, so if you can afford it, do it up.

For more information on the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, you can check out our review!

See at Verizon

HTC One M9

HTC One M9

In Silver Gold, the HTC One M9 isn't just a pretty face. You've got a 5-inch 1920x1080 display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 under the hood, 32GB of storage, and a microSD card that allows for up to 128GB of expansion.

If you're someone who likes to fill their phone with photos and videos, then expandable storage is a godsend, especially since you'll be using the M9's camera all the time.

The front-facing camera is 4MP, while the rear-facing camera offers a whopping 20MP and the ability to shoot 4K video. The HTC One M9's rear-facing camera using HTC's "Ultrapixel" technology, which is a five dollar term for larger pixels. That does mean, however, that each pixel is able to let in more light, making for more vivid and accurate photos.

Quick-charge 2.0 will have your 2,840 mAh battery up and running in no time, and it'll probably last you all day, depending on your usage. You can customize your Home screen with tons of great themes, so your HTC One experience can be truly unique.

Keep in mind that this phone is a generation old at this point, and the newer HTC 10 is a massive improvement, but if you're stuck with prepaid, then the M9 will do fine.

Check out our review for more!

See at Verizon

LG G4

LG G4

LG's 2015 flagship redefined LG smartphones and brought together a beautiful, 5.5-inch Quad HD display, a large, 3,000 mAh battery, and a great camera, which made it one of the best Android phones of 2015. You almost can't do better for a prepaid phone, and LG G4 is well-worth the $456 from Verizon.

Unfortunately, you don't get the beautiful leather-backed edition from Verizon, so you will have to settle for a Metallic Gray plastic back. This phone isn't much to look at, but it more than makes up for it in performance.

32GB of internal storage is expandable, thanks to the G4's microSD slot, which allows for up to 2TB (even though the biggest microSD card on the market is only 200GB). You can fill this puppy up with photos, videos, apps, and more without worrying about running out of space any time soon.

If you're after a powerful phone with a great camera and virtually endless expandable storage, then pick up the LG G4 for your prepaid plan.

Though the G4 is a generation old and nowhere near the phone that the LG G5 is, it'll do just nicely is Verizon prepaid is your only option.

Check out our review for more!

See at Verizon

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

Of course, you can always go the iPhone route with Verizon's prepaid plans, and you can actually get the newest iPhone, the SE. At 16GB and with no expandable memory, this is for those of you that want a simple iPhone to be used for no more than making calls and texts, playing games, and taking the odd photo. Otherwise, you'll have to be backing your photos up constantly, since 16GB fills up quite rapidly.

That being said, the iPhone SE offers the same A9 processor that's available in the 6s, but in a compact 4-inch package. Yup, 4 inches. Remember when phones were that small 2 years ago? Me neither.

Along with that rockin' processor, you still have Apple's great fingerprint sensor, which allows you to easily secure your iPhone SE and truly personalize it. Verizon's also generous in terms of look for the SE, since the Space Gray, Rose Gold, and silver options are all available to you, for $400 each.

Running on the latest version of iOS also means you'll be up-to-date, so all of your Apple devices will work together in perfect harmony.

If you want a phone that's compact and easy to use on the go, then consider the iPhone SE. It may be small, but it's powerful and more than capable to handle your day-to-day.

Check out iMore's review for more!

See at Verizon

Bring your own device

Verizon does have a fairly limited selection of phones that you can bring to the prepaid fold, but there are a couple rules:

  1. The phone must be a Verizon phone.
  2. The phone must be compatible. You can check compatibility here.

If it's compatible, you can just order the SIM activation kit and away you go.

If you do not find your Verizon phone in the list, then you may want to give them a call and they'll tell you whether or not you can use it with their prepaid plans.

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1 month ago

Grab a 32GB Nexus 5X for just $270 at DailySteals

5

DailySteals is currently selling the black 32GB version of Google's Nexus 5X for just $269.99, well below its normal price of $399.

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