Recent Articles | Android Central

Shop: Insanely Cheap Wireless Plans | Chromebooks: Asus Flip | Acer R13

Headlines

1 month ago

Snapdragon 835 will debut on the Galaxy S8, LG G6 to use Snapdragon 821 instead

83

You'll wait to wait a while longer to get your hands on a phone powered by the Snapdragon 835.

According to a report from Forbes, Samsung is getting the first batch of Qualcomm's 10nm Snapdragon 835 chips for its Galaxy S8, which according to the publication will make its debut on April 14. Qualcomm partnered with Samsung's foundry to build the 10nm chip, and while Samsung's chip division and phone unit are separate entities, the South Korean manufacturer is getting "first dibs" on the Snapdragon 835.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Samsung expects AI and flexible displays to drive smartphone growth in 2017

14

Samsung made over $45 billion in revenue last quarter, and that was without the Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung's mobile division, despite the ignominious death of the Galaxy Note 7, performed well enough in the fourth quarter to buoy the company's results to its best in over three years.

While much of the $7.92 billion USD equivalent in profit (9.22 trillion KRW) was due to success of Samsung's less public divisions, such as V-NAND memory and OLED displays, strong sales of the Galaxy S7 series and higher margins for its Galaxy A and Galaxy J series, played a role.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

LG G6 breaks cover in fresh leak, offers great look at tiny bezels

58

It seems like we learn something new about this phone every day.

LG's continued strategy of letting plenty of details out ahead of its phone launches is well under way for the new LG G6, but now we also have a solid render of the front of the phone courtesy of The Verge. LG will be officially releasing the G6 at MWC 2017 in just over a month, but this render gives us plenty to talk about in the meantime.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Samsung's Note 7 apology was heavy on battery science, light on admitting its own failures

121

Samsung must now pick up and move on from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, but we can learn a lot about the company through its recent investigation.

The Galaxy Note 7 may be dead, but the experience of the incident has clearly reverberated throughout the company, from headquarters in Korea to much smaller markets like Canada. A press conference early Monday morning in Seoul began solemnly, as Samsung's president of mobile, DJ Koh, took responsibility for the company's recent troubles.

"I deeply apologize to all of our customers, carriers, retail and distribution partners, and all of our business partners," he said. "We thank you for your patience and continuous support. We believe that as a first step to regain your trust, it is important to provide you with a thorough understanding of the cause of the Galaxy Note 7 incident and to implement a comprehensive plan to take preventative measures."

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Android Oreo: What we want from the next version of Android

199

It's never too early to start thinking ahead.

We're getting used to the changes that came with Android Nougat, but we still have a wish list for Android O. We'll start guessing the name soon, I'm sure.

Android is a far different animal than it used to be, and major platform updates don't actually look very major on the surface. The jump from Marshmallow to Nougat is a good example — large portions of the underlying code changed how things are done but other than a few features like multi-window, much of it looks and feels the same. We may want something that looks exciting, but big shifts in the way things look and operate usually break plenty of other things, so slow and gradual adjustments are the norm.

Refinements not replacements.

And that's good. Doze, for example, was refined in Android 7. When it works, it's pretty great. A good path to follow would be to find out why it doesn't always work and see what's needed to fix Android and third party apps so everyone can enjoy the benefits. Making changes so apps like the camera don't need to try and open when they're not needed is great for overall performance. Extend those ideas to other system-level apps to make even more gains. That's the sort of thing that we're sure Google is working on with Android O.

But there are things we really want from Google going forward, and some of them are related to their mobile services. Have a read and see our list.

Make Google Assistant smarter and friendlier

Now that we know other companies can have Assistant, by the time Android O comes around most flagship phones will have it or have access to it through the Play Store. Google knows it has to spread outside of their own phones if they want to get the sugar-sweet data that it can create.

Make sure it's amazing by then.

We like (and I speak for everyone here) Google Assistant and think it works pretty well. But right now there are some things that can't be done without a convoluted scheme through a third party. There are things we want it to do and other stuff we want it to work with. SmartThings is pretty awesome, but other companies still exist. And while you're at it, make things a little more natural and friendly. Instead of saying "I'm sorry, that's not supported," tell us your "thought process" and help us reach a command that does work. A friendly Assistant should talk to us instead of saying no and shutting down when it can't figure out the question.

Right now Assistant is definitely worth using and better than expected in some ways. But you can make us all say "Wow!" here. Give us that robot butler we always wanted.

There's a big world out there

Google wants every person in every country to use all of their services. Laws and regulations don't make that as easy as we think it is, though.

But that can't be an excuse. Android O will also have some awesome new Google feature to go along with it, and that feature needs to come to everyone right away — not just Americans. Other companies are able to do whatever deals or magic is needed to have services work in many places at once, so we should expect Google to do the same.

Security, security, security

Having monthly patches for security exploits — both existing and potential — is great. Listing everything that was updated and linking to the changes themselves is great, too. Doing as much as they can to prevent them in the first place is even better because sometimes those updates don't trickle down through the companies who make Android phones.

We know Google cares about Android's security, and they have a lot of mechanisms in place to prevent unknowns from doing much damage, as well as cleaning things up if it does happen. They need to continue to focus on how your phone boots up and how changes for critical system files are monitored.

These are the things that make it harder to get admin permissions. Keep doing them and give us a proper admin account. Android needs something like Sudo to be safer than the way it is now where we lose encryption and have to unlock the bootloader to have full access to the file system.

Better tools for desktop management

Samsung, LG and everyone else has their own programs for your computer to make things like transferring files and backing up your things easier. They have to do it because Google doesn't offer anything.

Yes, Android is a cloud-centric OS. That doesn't matter because it's obvious that some folks want to manage their stuff locally. You can still design everything around being connected and have it all done through the phone itself but take the time and money to write desktop software for the people who need it. You sell very expensive high-end phones now, and pretending that the people buying them won't have access to a computer isn't the best position to take. Especially when your competitors don't.

Android Studio has a great interface and communicates with your phone the same way an app like this would. Take what works there and make an optional gTunes program.

Themes

I like the brighter colors we've seen in the past few versions of Android. A lot of other people do, too. But an equal number of people don't.

You fix that and make everyone happy by adding a theme engine. Developers and Google Play would quickly fill out an Android themes section. Crazy fonts and all.

The status bar needs some love

My lock screen has a clock. There's a pretty slick clock widget or two in Google Play (as well as one included on almost every phone). Not to mention those watches you want us to buy and their primary feature. Why would I want a clock that can't be removed in the status bar?

The same goes for the rest of the icons up there. They offer useful information, but plenty of other ways to get that information are available. System UI tuner is good for the people who can use it or find it. Make it a little friendlier when it comes to the language it uses, then pull it out of where it's buried so people know it's there.

A certified accessories program

No, not like Apple's, but with the same goals — get companies excited to make things that work with Android.

Make it free. Publish papers and guidelines that help anyone wanting to participate. Encourage and incentivize partners to build great products. Showcase those great products on the Google Store. This will make it easier for people to recognize products built to work best with Android, and reward companies that do so. Everyone wins.

Curated sections of Google Play for more things would be awesome

Let everyone download all the things, but also give people a place to look for specific apps. Expand from sections like Android Wear apps or apps for kids into apps that are great for some of the most popular models. People know where to look in the Galaxy App Store to find what works great with an S Pen. They should be able to do the same in Google Play, right from the Play Store app. I would download every app from a section titled "Games that use Google's backup service so you don't lose your progress and IAPs."

You're the king of search, so you know the current system based on keywords is broken. Fix it.

Tailor Android for better hardware

Everyone in an emerging market deserves a well-built low-cost phone with access to Google Play. Everyone who spends $1,000 on a phone with the highest specs available deserves software built to take advantage of it. Having an OS that melds these two things is hard, and doing so means not everything available works well on every phone.

Make use of the horsepower in our $1,000 phone.

A few changes that let phones with plenty of GPU and CPU power take full advantage of it without trying to be backward compatible so it can be used elsewhere could be easier than the one-size-fits-all solution. Keep the core APIs the same, keep the features the same, but differentiate the way developers can interface with them.

I want an Android One phone to be lean and functional. I want apps to work well on it. But I also want whatever we see next from the folks who push hardware limits to be able to harness what the hardware can do. Fragmentation be damned — expand on what NVIDIA has done and give us a better way for apps and games and a UI to use all that horsepower that will be in our next high-end Android. Just make sure that it still has the same base Android features available to everyone.

Don't forget AOSP

This ties in with the first thing on our list as well as the one above. Things you do that make Android better need to live in AOSP (the open-source version of Android). Having your own services is fine, but don't neglect Android itself in favor of them. Anyone who has built Android 7 without Google's services knows that it's a fully functional OS for a phone that's missing everything that makes Android compelling to use.

Give the world an open-source front-end for Gmail or for Google Movies and TV and all the other things that make Android great. You know that someone would be able to take the code and do a great job with it if you let them have a way to access things properly and a fully detailed set of rules to follow while doing it.

If you didn't know that, download Carbon or Falcon Pro and compare them to Twitter for Android.

Android has reached a point where major shifts aren't needed. Refining what's already there and adding a few well thought out services and features to Android, and the Google ecosystem itself will be a good way to add some polish and keep things from getting stale.

We'll think of plenty more changes we want to see, and I'm sure everyone has their own list of wants and needs. Some will be valid, some will be silly and some might even happen. But it's always fun to think about how things could (or should) change.

This article was originally published in October 2016. It was updated in January 2017 with most recent information post-Nougat.

Android Nougat

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .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 { 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: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .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:nth-child(n+3), .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 { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Samsung confirms Galaxy Note 8 exists, but Galaxy S8 will skip MWC

53
Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy S8 launch hinted for 'next 90 days' — but not in Barcelona in late February.

In separate interviews, Samsung's mobile chief DJ Koh has revealed the first on-the-record information about firm's next two major smartphone launches. The Galaxy S8 will skip Mobile World Congress at the end of February, as widely rumored, while the Galaxy Note 8 will arrive later this year. The latter point should nip in the bud speculation that Samsung would kill off the Note series after last year's unpleasantness.

It's official: The Note brand will live on.

Speaking to CNET ahead of last night's Galaxy Note 7 investigation announcements, Koh directly addressed the fate of the Note series.

"I will bring back a better, safer and very innovative Note 8," he said, adding 'We found through the investigative process, we knew there are lots and lots of loyal Note customers."

Koh's remarks show Samsung belief that there's still an audience for the Note as a product, but also that the brand itself still holds value, even after battery fires and two bungled recalls.

DJ Koh

DJ Koh also sat down with Reuters to talk Note 7, and reportedly confirmed that the Galaxy S8 would not be coming at Mobile World Congress in late February. That trade show has been the launch platform for the past two generations of Galaxy S phones, though recent rumors have pointed to an April arrival instead.

As for exactly when we can expect Samsung's next big thing, Samsung isn't saying. But in an interview with Android Central, coming later today, Paul Brannen, EVP of Mobile Solutions for Samsung Canada, hinted at new phones coming within three months.

"If I look at the fourth quarter, we had one of our best fourth quarters in many years," Brannen told AC Managing Editor Daniel Bader, "The S7 and S7 edge are still incredibly popular products in the marketplace, and as we add new products to the portfolio in the next 90 days, we'll continue to build on that momentum."

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

The real reason(s) the Note 7 caught fire

176

The information is in, and we know why the Galaxy Note 7 caught on fire.

Samsung has announced the official results of its Galaxy Note 7 fire investigation and, as expected — since the recalls in September and October, respectively — the phone's battery was to blame.

The company compiled 200,000 phones and 30,000 separate batteries, employing 700 people dedicated to the cause, and found that neither the phone's fast charging feature, nor its waterproofing, had any correlation to the likelihood of conflagration. According to DJ Koh, Samsung's president of mobile, the incidents were caused by the battery cell and no outlying piece of hardware and software. "We provided the target for the battery specifications for the innovative Note7, and we are taking responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues arising out of battery design and manufacturing process prior to the launch of the Note7," he said in a statement to Android Central.

As reported last week, the batteries built by Samsung SDI, referred to as Battery A, had a defect in the top right of the lithium ion grouping, and in some cells, caused fire through repeated charge and discharge. The batteries from Amperex, the Hong Kong-based facility that built the batteries for the second group of Note 7s, referred to as Battery B, had a defect in the top left portion of the cell that caused short circuits in a small number of units. In addition, Samsung says some of these batteries didn't have the necessary insulation to protect overheating from spreading to the rest of the battery in a short circuit scenario.

Through the investigation, Samsung worked with a number of independent organizations, including UL, Exponent, and TUV Rheinland, to build an eight-step battery safety check that will be implemented throughout the company's manufacturing processes in the future in order to prevent any such problems from happening again.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .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 { 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: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .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:nth-child(n+3), .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 { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

Honor 6X review: Setting the standard for budget phones

30
Honor 6X,

The Honor 6X is proof that an affordable device doesn't have to be a disappointing buy.

The bottom line

Cheap is cheap, but it doesn't have to be a waste of money. The Honor 6X may be cheap and at times cheap out, but it's definitely worth its $250 price point. In fact, if all you're looking for is the most basic smartphone in a societally acceptable package, the Honor 6X is it.

That an affordable device doesn't have to be disappointing is what Huawei hopes to rely on to sell its new Honor 6X in the United States. Unfortunately, it's going to have a heck of a time getting the word out without a comprehensive marketing strategy, and without the crutch of a carrier partnership there is no entity on the ground actively evangelizing for the brand. It's really too bad, because the Honor 6X is so much better than what the carriers typically offer in the affordable tier.

The Honor 6X is a really decent package. It features a good mid-range processor, a big battery, 1080p display, and a camera that takes photos worth sharing. Granted, it isn't particularly distinguishable when you compare it to the other dispensable devices saturating the market, but the Honor 6X does set an example for how budget smartphones should be sold to money-conscious customers.

See at Amazon

The Good

  • The camera actually works in a variety of lighting conditions
  • The battery will get you through the day
  • You really can't tell how cheap it is

The Bad

  • Micro-USB in 2017???
  • It ships with Android 6.0 and EMUI 4.1 👎
  • Over time, it probably will feel like a cheap phone
Width Height Thickness 5.94
150.9 mm
3.00 in
76.2mm
0.32 in
8.2mm
  • Display:
    • 5.5-inches
    • 1080x1920 resolution (403 ppi)
  • Camera:
    • 12MP + 2MP
    • ƒ/2.2, 1080p
    • 8MP front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3340 mAh
    • Micro-USB
  • Chips:
    • Huawei Kirin 655
    • Octa-core 4x 2.1 GHz + 4x 1.7 GHz
    • 3GB RAM
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD slot

About this review

I, Florence Ion, began testing the Honor 6X for this review on January 11, 2017. The phone was running Android 6.0 Marshmallow underneath the veil of EMUI 4.1.

Honor 6X Hardware

I like the look of and feel of this thing. Whereas most smartphones under $300 feel like bottom-of-the-barrel clearance bin finds, the Honor 6X's solid construction tricks you into thinking you actually paid more for it. Of course, once you start using it, you'll realize that you didn't.

Most smartphones under $300 feel like bottom-of-the-barrel clearance bin finds but the Honor 6X's solid construction tricks you into thinking you actually paid more for it.

The Honor 6X comes in three colors: gray, gold, and silver. The black and aluminum model featured here is a bit bland compared to its siblings, though the other two variants are worth hunting down if you're considering purchasing one. Be forewarned, however, that the Honor 6X still employs Micro-USB. That might be favorable for those of you who've yet to upgrade to the new standard, but why would you choose not to? Especially when the Axon 7 Mini costs about the same and is equipped with USB Type-C! Join the club, Honor!

Let's talk about that processor for a second. The Huawei-made Kirin 655 octa-core processor is capable enough to run Snapchat, Instagram, and a heavy load of mobile Chrome tabs just fine. Games like Solitairica and Reigns ran fine, too, though there was occasional stuttering in between scenes. Loading times were also longer than usual, and occasionally there were touchscreen delays, but the jury's still out on whether it's a software or hardware issue.

Playing Reigns.

The battery life on the Honor 6X is extremely impressive. It's a giant battery pack coupled with a lower resolution high definition display, so you'll get the energy savings though you won't have the most stellar 5.2-inch display on the block. That's okay! The battery life is worth it. The Honor 6X managed about eight and a half hours in a PCMark battery rundown test with the screen set just above 200 nits. As long as you don't use the Honor 6X at the highest screen brightness — you won't, because it becomes almost too bright — you'll likely experience similar results.

Take my picture.

Honor 6X Cameras

The cameras are the best part of the Honor 6X.

The cameras are the best part of the Honor 6X — and I didn't think I'd be saying that about a budget device. The Honor 6X is equipped with dual rear-facing 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras, both of which offer a wide aperture range (actual aperture is f/2.2) and can shoot 1080p video.

While you're not getting flagship quality photography here, the Honor 6X does perform well in low light situations and comes equipped with a manual shooting mode that lets you hold the shutter open for up to eight seconds. That's more than you'll get with other phones at this price.

Of course, budget phones come with their compromises. The camera will produce blown-out, overexposed outdoor scenes and blurry indoor candids from time to time, so when you get frustrated with that part of using a $250 smartphone, you can employ any of the Honor 6X's 16 different camera modes to cheer you up.

It's nice to see that Honor is honoring its users on a budget by not forcing them to compromise.

Take a chance at light painting (samples of which you can peep in the gallery above), set up a time-lapse, or get up close with the wide aperture mode, which allows you to shoot photos with a shallow depth of field (you can also sample that in the gallery above). There aren't many smartphones at this tier that offer such a range of camera modes, so it's nice to see that Honor is honoring its users on a budget by not forcing them to compromise.

Honor also takes great pride in its abilities to market to the youth of the world, which is why it didn't skimp on the front-facing camera. The Honor 6X boasts an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, which looks good! I'm still not a fan of the beauty mode, though, because I feel like it's too intense at times. But I finally figured out how to use that makeup mode and it can be convincing if you stick to the natural looks. The augmented reality couldn't keep up with my facial expressions, though:

Bad makeup selfie.

Overall, I'm pleased with the Honor 6X's camera performance, and while it's more consistent at pointing-and-shooting than the Axon 7 Mini, it doesn't offer as much dynamic range.

Honor 6X Software

The Honor 6X comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow buried underneath Huawei's rickety EMUI 4.1.

There's not much to say about an Android smartphone that ships with 2015's operating system in 2017. The Honor 6X comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow buried underneath Huawei's rickety EMUI 4.1. I don't like an interface without an app drawer and my heart palpitates at the mere thought of having to unlock the 6X and witness its cramped home screen.

Thankfully, EMUI 5.0 is en route to deliver the Nougat update, as well as the ability to hide those oft-used apps in a drawer of their own. For now, you can rest easy knowing that the Honor 6X has some of the same features your Pixel and Galaxy S7-wielding brethren, like a night mode that yellows out the screen so that it's not migraine-inducing, and fingerprint gestures that are a cinch to set up.

Honor 6X The Bottom Line

A budget smartphone doesn't have to be a compromise. Rather than bundle in extraneous features, Honor paid attention to how the general populace uses their mobile devices and built around that, so that even if you're dropping a mere $250, you're still using something that can keep the pace with everyone else.

The execution of the Honor 6X is certainly promising, but I'm still doubtful about whether it will have any major traction with its sale numbers. Until Huawei gets a carrier in the bag, it's left floundering for buyers on Amazon, and that's really too bad. I would love to see more U.S. carriers push the purchase of a device like the Honor 6X over the LG K3, for example. People who are "on a budget" deserve smartphones that work well.

The Honor 6X isn't the perfect implementation, but it is paving the path.

See at Amazon

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

Common Galaxy S7 problems and how to fix them

31

The Galaxy S7 is an awesome phone, but it's not without its problems. Here are some of the most common issues and how to fix them.

Back in March of last year (has it been that long already?!), the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge launched to outstanding reviews and plenty of plaudits for both its hardware and software. But given that the phone is approaching its one-year anniversary, it's not surprising that some issues — both hardware and software — have arisen in that time.

Samsung has been generally good about correcting the major ones through software updates, but there are some big issues that users can address on their own.

Battery life problems

The Galaxy S7 suffers from battery issues more so than the larger Galaxy S7 edge — the former has a 3000mAh batter to the edge's 3600mAh cell — but they're both prone to getting beaten by the daily grind.

  • The first thing you're going to want to do is eliminate any errant battery-sucking apps that you've downloaded from the play store. Facebook and Facebook Messenger continue to be two that are repeatedly brought up by members of the AC community as being the worst battery offenders. Facebook can be accessed from the mobile web, and Facebook Messenger, well — just get WhatsApp and call it a day.

  • To check whether an app is using an unreasonable amount of battery, dive into Settings --> Battery --> Battery usage to isolate the misbehaving entity.

  • These potentially problematic apps extend to bloatware installed by your carrier. If you use a Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T model, in particular, you'll benefit from deleting or disabling some or all of the pre-installed apps on the phone.

  • You can also disable the always-on display by going to Settings --> Display --> Always-on display and turning everything off. The feature was added to the Galaxy S7 for its convenience, and because the phone uses an efficient SuperAMOLED panel, but just because it's efficient doesn't mean it doesn't help to disable it.

How to fix Galaxy S7 battery life problems

  • Finally, if you're running Nougat — and you soon should be, if you're not already — you'll notice that battery should improve just by doing the upgrade. Why? Because Samsung has made a change to the default resolution of the Galaxy S7 that uses less energy. It's not magic, but you'll probably benefit from a couple extra hours of uptime as a result. Win!

Slow performance

This is a big category, and pretty hard to pin down, but we'll go through some of the most common solutions. Obviously, slow performance can be indicative of an errant app that may also be sucking up battery life, so dealing with this may help the other. Phones are known to slow down over time as people add more and do more with them.

Free up internal storage

The Galaxy S7 has 32GB of internal storage, and once you fill that up, the phone may begin to chug. The system will alert you when you get really close to the edge, but even before then, deleting some of those larger apps and games may do the trick.

It may also be a good idea to upload your photos to Google Photos so you can delete them locally. Google Photos offers unlimited free high-quality backups, along with at least 15GB of full-quality backups, on any phone, including the Galaxy S7. It's also likely pre-installed on your device — just look for it in the Google folder on your home screen, or in the app drawer.

How to use Google Photos on Android and the web

Change launchers

On the surface, changing launchers may not seem like it will do anything, but it does: Samsung's TouchWIZ launcher is notoriously slow, especially with all the features enabled (like Flipboard Briefing, which you should probably turn off).

To fix that, you may want to change launchers to something a bit more lightweight and performant. May we suggest one of the following?

The best Android launchers

Factory reset your phone

There are myriad reasons your phone may be bogged down, and merely deleting apps, changing launchers or disabling some features may not do enough.

If you're running into a virtual brick wall, back up everything in Google Drive, Google Photos, Dropbox, or wherever else you tend to store your virtual goods, and start over.

How do you do that on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge?

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Backup and reset.
  3. Scroll down and top on Factory data reset.
  4. Tap on Reset Device.

Once you reset, you'll have to log in again to your various accounts and apps, but your apps should download automatically once you log into your Google account.

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth issues

Among the most common problems on a smartphone today, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth problems can be caused by a number of factors, many of which are outside of your control.

When troubleshooting these wireless connections, it's important to establish whether the issue is indeed your phone or the object(s) you're connecting to, and the fastest way to determine that is to use another phone or tablet to connect. If that other product has no connectivity issues, then it's worth pursuing a fix on the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge itself.

  1. Make sure you turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, wait a few seconds and turn it back on. If that doesn't fix the problem, head to the next step.
  2. Restart your phone. Sometimes all that's needed a quick kick to the reset button and you're good to go.
  3. If Wi-Fi problems persist, try forgetting the network by holding down on the SSID (name) and tapping Forget network. Then re-enter the password.
  4. If Bluetooth problems persist, try unpairing the object from your phone and re-pairing. To do that, tap on the little cog icon next to the product's name and hit Unpair. Put the speaker or whatever you're connecting to in pairing mode and connect again.

How to fix Wi-Fi problems on the Galaxy S7

Random restarts and boot loops

A common occurrence, especially in more recent months, has been Galaxy S7 units randomly freezing while in use, restarting, or what's known as boot looping, which finds the phone stuck in a cycle where it attempts to boot into Android but somehow gets stuck and performs the process all over again.

Like with all the above issues, there are a number of potential issues causing this, from errant apps causing overheating to problems with an Android update to a corroded or damaged mainboard.

To troubleshoot, work from easiest solution to most difficult.

  1. If your phone boots into Android but is randomly restarting, it may be overheating or have a problematic app. Follow the instructions above to isolate the malefactor.
  2. If deleting all potentially problematic apps doesn't work, reboot into the recovery and clear the cache partition.
  3. If that doesn't work, it may be time to reset the phone completely. If you can't get into the phone, follow the instructions to factory reset the phone from the recovery menu.

Other issues

What are your main issues with the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge? We'll keep this article updated as new information becomes available!

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .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 { 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: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .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:nth-child(n+3), .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 { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

The Galaxy Note 7 had two separate battery defects 🔥

76

Samsung will reveal that the Note 7 went through two separate battery problems on its way to the dustbin.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which reportedly obtained the report Samsung will reveal and elaborate on at a press conference in Seoul this Monday (Sunday evening in North America), the Korean giant suffered two major yet separate issues with the batteries in the Galaxy Note 7.

The report, which was generated by three independent analysis firms, states that the problems with the initial batch of batteries, built by Samsung SDI, were physically too big for the Note 7 chassis, causing a small number of them to overheat and catch fire.

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

Best Wall Chargers for Android Phones

14
Chargers

The best charger for your Android depends on which phone you have.

Real talk: Android phone quick-charging standards are kind of a mess. Sure, just about anything which can supply power over USB will juice up your phone to full power, given enough time. But identifying the thing that'll let you charge your phone as fast as possible — even if it's packaged with your phone in the box — isn't always easy. Sometimes you need a special charger. Sometimes a special cable. Sometimes both!

Fortunately, we've rounded up a handful of the best go-to chargers for some of the most popular brands. Reads on to find out how to power up as fast as humanly possible.

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

The Pixel is selling out because Google finally got its ads right

130

The Pixel is off to a good, if not great, start.

Google's Pixels made up 12.3% of activations at Verizon stores during the holiday quarter, a number that should make both companies very happy in the quest to unseat the dominance of Samsung and Apple.

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

Google Pixel, three months later: Still going strong, still the best

168
Google Pixel

Oh my, how time flies.

Somehow it has already been three months since we published our Google Pixel and Pixel XL review. Not only has time simply passed since we wrote that review, but I've also been actively using the Pixel as a primary phone since the review period. That gives a ton of extra perspective on a phone that's at the top of people's minds nowadays, regardless of whether they're enthusiasts or just casual buyers.

Even three months after it became commercially available the Pixel (and XL in particular) is often still out of stock or not available in all configurations, showing that demand is at least strong enough to force supply constraints through some combination of factors. Google's first in-house designed and sold phones are popular, it seems.

And as we know, companies don't just sell phones in the first quarter after introduction — they count on sales throughout a full year after release. So now with the Pixel hitting its stride for the period that should bring the most rapid sales over its life, does it still stand up in the same way it did when it we first reviewed it? Here are some of my thoughts after three months using the Google Pixel.

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

How to change the default launcher on the Huawei Mate 9 and EMUI 5.0

2

How do I get rid of the launcher on my EMUI 5.0 phone? Easily!

The Huawei Mate 9 comes with its own pretty good launcher — though it helps to add an app drawer — but if you prefer something different, as many people do, it's easy to change.

The phone ships with EMUI 5.0, which is a big update over what shipped on older Huawei devices, but there are still too many menus. In particular, it's still too difficult to change the default launcher. But with these steps, you can do it in a snap.

Read more and comment

 
2 months ago

Android One in the U.S. could signal the rebirth of 'Nexus'

77
Nexus 5X

Glitzier mid-range Android One phones for the U.S. might be 'Nexuses' in all but name.

Android One is supposedly coming to the U.S. this summer, according to a report from The Information. On the face of it, that doesn't seem all too exciting. Android One — the range of low-cost phones from less-known brands, aimed at emerging markets — hasn't been a huge success. So who cares about a handful of low-specced, plasticky, entirely forgettable telephones arriving on U.S. shores, even if they do run stock Android and come with fast updates and do other nerdy things.

The U.S. market, though, is nothing like the countries Google has targeted with Android One thus far. India, for instance, is much more price-conscious, with dual-SIM and FM Radio seen as a necessity. The U.S. is less focused on super, super-cheap handsets, and to move phones in any meaningful number, you need to play within the carrier system and back it up with marketing money. (You'd also imagine Project Fi would range the phones, since Google will eventually need something less expensive to replace the Nexus 5X/6P in that lineup.)

The U.S. market, though, is nothing like the countries Google has targeted with Android One thus far.

According to The Information's report, Google is indeed planning to spend serious dough selling Android One when it arrives in the U.S. Like existing Android One devices, the U.S.-bound models will almost certainly be co-branded (LG is a rumored partner), even if Google has final say on internal hardware and control over the software.

So what do we have so far, then...

  • A co-branded phone from Google and a manufacturer partner.
  • Stock Android, with updates straight from Google.
  • Prices likely to be "affordable" for the U.S. market — so perhaps between $250-400 outright.
  • Probably some kind of limited carrier tie-in, complementing direct sales via the Google Store and Project Fi.

Well toast my marshmallows if that doesn't sound an awful lot like a Nexus.

That's not to say Google will resurrect the moribund (but fondly remembered) brand name. Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer himself said there were no plans for any new Nexus devices, in interviews given around the time of the Pixel announcement. Let's assume that's still the case — these new phones could still turn out to be Nexuses in all but name.

With LG rumored to be involved, a mid-range Android One phone could emerge as a modern successor to the Nexus 5X.

They wouldn't necessarily be Nexus 6P-level "Nexuses" — or even anything high-end enough to tread on the toes of the Pixel range. Instead, imagine a series led by modern re-interpretation of the Nexus 5 or 5X, perhaps powered by one of the promising mid-level Qualcomm chips like the 625, or the rumored 660. That could be complemented by Moto G/Honor 6X-level competitors at a lower price point.

This kind of approach would have a few important benefits for Google. Just as it used the Nexus series to guide the Android ecosystem, it could use Android One to influence the (currently rather sorry) state of mid-to-entry-level Android phones, as sold through carrier stores. If it's willing to spend the effort and money required to get Android One phones on store shelves alongside — let's just pick one at random herethe LG X Power, it could nudge everyone in this "affordable" segment towards doing a better job on software.

That's how Google will cater Android One to the U.S. market, not by selling dirt-cheap Android phones directly to consumers. (As an aside, you also don't spend serious marketing money, as Google will reportedly do, on phones like the current crop of low, low end Android One devices. Android One phones for the U.S. will have to be different.)

Not a Nexus 6P mini

Huawei would be a natural Android One partner for the U.S.

I also want to mention Huawei here, because I'm almost certain the Chinese manufacturer will be an important player in Android One in the United States. In fact, I'll just go and call it: I predict Huawei will release an Android One phone in the U.S. before the end of 2017.

Huawei, if you remember, was originally in talks to build the Pixels, before it found out there'd be no co-branding opportunity. That opportunity would surely exist for an Android One handset, and Huawei is still desperate for an inroad into the U.S. market. (Sure, it's released the Mate 9 SIM-free and unlocked, but it lacks the carrier partners necessary to shift the phone in large numbers.) Through Google and Android One, Huawei could get Huawei phones on carrier store shelves — which could be the key to the brand establishing an American foothold.

And look no further than the Honor 6X and Nova for examples of Huawei making compelling hardware at less expensive price points.

Whatever brand name the resulting phones bear, the core experience will have a lot in common with Nexus. At one time, that series of phones was all about affordability and a clean, fast software experience. By bringing Android One to the U.S., Google and LG (or Huawei) will be able to push for mass market sales via carrier stores, while also providing a less expensive upgrade path for folks using a Nexus 5 or 5X.

Will any of that actually happen? Stay tuned in the months ahead!

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages