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1 month ago

Google Pixel: Everything you need to know

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Google's new Pixel phones have arrived — this is what you need to know.

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they're fantastic. These latest phones are the first made entirely under Google's control, following in the footsteps of the two Chromebook Pixels and the Pixel C tablet.

That makes these phones interesting from a hardware perspective, wearing just the "G" logo on the back and taking on some neat design cues, but also in terms of how the software and features are deeply integrated into these aluminum blocks. Here's everything you need to know about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

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1 month ago

Which storage size should you buy for your Google Pixel: 32GB or 128GB?

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Deciding whether to get a 32GB or 128GB Pixel comes down to two things: budget and usage habits.

One of the biggest decisions to make when ordering your new Pixel or Pixel XL is how much internal storage you want, and your options are 32GB and 128GB. Neither the Pixel or the Pixel XL support microSD expandable memory, so you're locked into whichever size you decide on.

There are a number of factors to consider before pressing that buy button, so let's break it down.

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1 month ago

Google announces Android 7.1 Developer Preview, coming late October

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When will Android 7.1 be available for your Nexus? Sooner than you think.

Google has announced Android 7.1, Nougat's first maintenance release, with a developer preview coming later this month.

According to Google, this "incremental update" builds on the strengths of Android 7.0, but adds some important new features, including Daydream support, A/B system updates, an app shortcut API for the new default launcher, and the long-awaited ability to use image keyboards.

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1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires, recall and cancellation: Everything you need to know

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Here's all the information you need about the Galaxy Note 7 fires and recall — the events that led to the phone being discontinued.

We're well over a month into the saga of the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and events have taken many different twists and turns since the beginning of September. The crux of the situation is that Samsung faced a serious issue with Galaxy Note 7 phones that have a high propensity of batteries failing, leading to personal and property damage. In the original, pre-recall Note 7, hundreds of phones worldwide have had critical failures.

The phone was recalled officially in the U.S. once, and Samsung launched exchange programs in other countries. But the new models continued to see further issues, with replacement catching on fire in early October. This led to Samsung telling Note 7 owners to stop using the phones and return them, before permanently discontinuing the Note 7. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. CPSC officially issued a second recall.

Here's everything you need to know about this unprecedented situation.

Note: Last updated October 13 with details of the second CPSC recall.

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1 month ago

Samsung permanently cancels the Galaxy Note 7

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It was always highly likely, but now it's official: The Galaxy Note 7 is dead.

Samsung has "permanently discontinued" the Galaxy Note 7, according to The Wall Street Journal. Reporting from Seoul, the outlet says that Samsung, in a filing to Korean regulators, said it would "permanently cease sales of the device." The move comes less than a day after it told all Note 7 owners (both old and new) to switch off and return their phones.

"Taking our customer's safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7," the company said.

Samsung now faces the task of collecting and disposing of the 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s in the wild, and what must be at least hundreds of thousands of unsold phones in stores and warehouses. Estimates put the overall cost of the Note 7 debacle at $17 billion; the loss in consumer trust is unquantifiable, and will surely impact Samsung's next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8.

It's unprecedented move to round off a saga dominated by extraordinary events. A reminder of how we got here:

Following worldwide reports of battery failures and fires with the Galaxy Note 7 in early September, including nearly 100 cases in the U.S. alone, Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a complete official recall of all Galaxy Note 7s in the U.S. Similar movements were made in Canada, as well as throughout Europe and Asia. Regions in which the phone had yet to launch simply postponed shipments of phones.

Weeks later, with the recall in full swing and old Note 7s being replaced by hundreds of thousands of new "safe" models, reports started to arise of the same exact failures happening with these replacement phones. With consumers quickly losing faith in the Note 7 name, carriers in early October voluntarily offered free returns and exchanges for all Note 7s, and eventually stopped selling the phone altogether.

If you still have a Galaxy Note 7, you can return it to the place of purchase for a refund or alternative Samsung phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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1 month ago

Oculus disables Gear VR functionality on Galaxy Note 7 due to fire concerns

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Oculus, the Facebook-owned company that powers the software inside Samsung's virtual reality ambitions (as well as the Oculus Rift headset, sold separately), has disabled its app from working with the Galaxy Note 7 after a number of replacement phones reportedly caught fire over the weekend.

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1 month ago

Best phone to buy if you're returning a Galaxy Note 7

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What should I get if I'm returning a Galaxy Note 7?

In light of several reports of new, "safe" replacement Note 7s catching fire, you may be thinking about returning or replacing the phone with something else. Hearing this news, coupled with some particularly violent photos of phones in various stages of burning and melting, means that we can't recommend you buy the Galaxy Note 7 anymore. If you decide to return your Note 7, here's a few suggestions for what your next phone should be!

Galaxy S7 edge

If you like the Galaxy experience, and you are ok with a Note 7-sized phone without the pen, consider the Galaxy S7 edge. This phone offers a lot of the same fantastic features found in the Galaxy Note 7, will cost you slightly less, and is available everywhere the Note 7 was. Not only are there no reports of Galaxy S7s exploding, but it's the next best thing if you're looking for one of the best smartphone experiences available to you today.

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

LG V20

The heir apparent to the outgoing Note 7, the LG V20 is coming to the U.S. by the end of October, and is primed to be the best oversized Android phone available at the carrier level. Not only will it be widely available (at all four U.S. carriers), but it promises to match the Note 7 in a number of key areas, including performance, camera quality, and unique features.

It may lack the S Pen, but the V20 packs its own differentiation, including a neat Second Screen above the main display, a second wide-angle camera lens on the back, and its own take on Android 7.0 Nougat, the first phone not from Google to ship with the new version of the OS.

See at AT&T See at T-Mobile

Google Pixel XL

The Google Pixel XL is only a millimeter taller and wider than the Note 7, and it's packing all the latest technology straight from Google. Sure, it may lack the Note 7's curves and larger 5.7-inch screen, but the Pixel XL is shaping up to be an amazing phone. From the top-rated 12MP camera to the brand-new Android 7.1 software, many former Note 7 customers may be inclined to move to Google's first smartphone.

See at Verizon See at Google

HTC 10

For those returning a Galaxy Note 7 with no interest in another Samsung phone, consider the HTC 10. This phone offers an aluminum unibody design with killer speakers and a camera that easily competes with the Note 7 in most situations. As HTC's top phone this year, it offers the same level of performance as the Galaxy Note 7, and comes in several striking colors. There's a lot to like here, especially if you're into a great music and gaming experience on your phone.

See at Amazon See at Sprint See at Verizon

OnePlus 3

Deciding to return a big expensive phone like the Note 7 may have you rethinking how much you're willing to spend on a smartphone in the first place. If that's the case, you might want to take a look at OnePlus. This is a company that has made quite a name for itself in the smartphone world by offering phones that are dangerously close to being considered some of the best experiences available today for half the cost. The OnePlus 3 is a fantastic example of this, and if well worth considering if you're not sure what to grab next.

See at OnePlus

Your turn

There's always something new and exciting right around the corner, but you've got to have a phone now. Whatever the reason, you may decide the best option is grabbing a cheap phone and waiting for something better to come along. If that's where you are, we've got a great list of cheap phones to tide you over until the next great phone arrives!

Show me the cheap phones!

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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1 month ago

UK networks weigh in on latest Note 7 battery fire reports

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Galaxy Note 7

EE and Vodafone halt Galaxy Note 7 exchanges, while O2 and Three consider options.

After a weekend of dire press for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, with reports of battery fires in replacement units in the U.S. and Asia, and Samsung apparently suspending production of the phone, the UK's major network operators have weighed in.

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1 month ago

Today only, save $50 off the Honor 8

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Today only, you can save an additional $50 on the Honor 8, bringing the total price to just $350. Unfamiliar with the Honor 8? Here's Andrew Martonik said in our review:

"Before even approaching the pricing of the Honor 8, this is a really great phone. Externally, it's slick and can grab eyes with a few subtle design features while also feeling solid and built with high tolerances. The metal and glass protect really great internal specs that can power the phone through all of your regular tasks, with a battery that lasts all day (and then some), and you can view it all on a really top-end display."

If you're looking for a great phone at a great value, today is your day. Grab the Honor 8 today and save $50. Hurry, this offer is valid for Columbus Day only!

See at Amazon

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1 month ago

Should you upgrade to the Pixel XL from the Nexus 6P?

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Google Pixel XL and Nexus 6P

How does the new Pixel XL compare to its predecessor from 2015?

The Nexus 6P is likely to be the last phone ever made with the Nexus brand, and the new Pixel XL is here to carry on as the successor. But the 6P was (and even a year on still is) a great phone, and it left big shoes to fill. The Pixel XL builds on a lot of what the Nexus 6P had, and is clearly meant to be a proper replacement — naturally, with a higher price this year.

So if you have a Nexus 6P in your pocket right now and have to make a call a year on whether or not the Pixel XL is the right phone for a replacement, we have you covered. Let's talk about upgrading.

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2 months ago

Samsung confirms it's 'adjusting' Note 7 production after new battery fire reports

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Samsung phones sign

Production change is 'to ensure quality and safety matters,' company says.

Late last night reports emerged from Korea that Samsung had "temporarily suspended" production of the Galaxy Note 7 while it investigated a growing number of battery fires in supposedly safe replacement phones.

Today the company has issued its own statement, stopping short of saying production had been halted, instead using gentler language.

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2 months ago

Samsung reportedly suspends Galaxy Note 7 production

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Galaxy Note 7

Latest development follows days of reported battery fires from new Note 7.

Samsung has "temporarily suspended" production of the Galaxy Note 7, according to Korea's Yonhap News. The outlet cites an unnamed official at one of Samsung's suppliers.

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2 months ago

From the Editor's Desk: Saying sorry

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Some Sunday thoughts from cottage country.

It's hard to say sorry. Big companies especially need to get better at it. Hell, I'm Canadian and say it all the time and still need to get better at it.

What struck me about this whole Note 7 mess is that Samsung just hasn't made people feel good enough about its response. It did all the right things — got the phones back en masse, issued new ones quickly, with sufficient (albeit strange) differentiation — but they missed the emotional impact that this recall had on people. And now, after several replacement Note 7s have reportedly exploded, the company has stayed largely silent, except to say the investigation continues. The trend is disturbing.

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2 months ago

The Galaxy Note brand is now damaged beyond repair

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Should Samsung give up on the Note brand entirely?

There's no question that the beleaguered Galaxy Note 7 is having a hard week, after a hard month. Things were looking up for the Korean giant after the recall was deemed a success, a huge undertaking from around the world that attempted to corral over two million handsets. But then an AT&T-branded Note 7 caught fire on a still-grounded Southwest flight after being powered off and things went to hell again very quickly.

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2 months ago

Should you upgrade to the Google Pixel from the Nexus 5X?

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There's a ton of hype surrounding Google's new Pixel, but should you upgrade from last year's Nexus 5X?

If you picked up the Nexus 5X last year, you were likely swayed by one reason or another — appreciation for a smaller size screen versus the Nexus 6P, or simply nostalgia for its Nexus 5 predecessor. You might also enjoy the soft-touch plastic backing which helps you maintain your grip. However, if your experience actually using the phone on a daily basis has been anywhere similar to that of the AC writers who gave their thoughts on the Nexus 5X three months on, you may share their common complaints about inconsistent performance, limited storage space and some questionable moments when using the camera.

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