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1 month ago

The best unlocked Android phones for Canada

If you want to buy contract free in Canada, we've got you covered.

Not everyone wants to be locked into a carrier contract, especially if you're the type of buyer who changes their phone more frequently than once every couple of years. There's a lot of positives to paying for a phone up front and leaving yourself much more flexibility when it comes to your cellular plan.

What you can buy unlocked, and what's worth buying unlocked, varies from market to market. Here we'll be rounding up some of your best options if you're up in Canada. This list will continually be updated as newer, more awesome phones become available.

So let's get to it.

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1 month ago

HTC 10 is now available from Sprint for as little as $21 a month

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If you are a Sprint customer who is intrigued by the HTC 10, your wait is over. That's right, you can now order one for as little as $21 a month, or $624 full retail. Sprint is only offering the glacier silver option at this time. The phone features a 5.2-inch QHD Super LCD, 32GB of internal storage, 4GB of RAM and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box.

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1 month ago

Google I/O 2016 preview: Android N, Android VR, Project Chirp, Play Store on Chromebooks and more!

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Google IO keynote

What to expect from the biggest Google conference ever.

It's Google I/O time! The 2016 installment of Google's annual developer conference kicks off Wednesday, May 18 in Mountain View, California with a two-hour opening keynote. With a new venue and the promise of announcements on the future of Android N, VR, Chrome OS and much more, it's sure to be one of the highlights of the year in mobile tech.

With just a few days to go until developers descend on Shoreline Amphitheater, we've rounded up details of what we're expecting from Google I/O 2016.

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1 month ago

CREO rolls out first update to the Mark 1 with camera fixes, data manager, and more

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CREO has rolled out its first update to the Mark 1. The vendor unveiled the handset on April 13, promising to deliver monthly updates through which the phone "runs like new." This month's update is geared at making the camera more responsive, while introducing more functionality to the vendor's Sense and Echo software-based features. The update comes in at 15MB, and will be rolling out to all Mark 1 users today.

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1 month ago

AT&T pushes May security patch to Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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AT&T has begun pushing an update for Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge users that brings the smartphones up to date with the latest May security patch.

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1 month ago

AT&T announces the $100 LG Phoenix 2

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AT&T is supposed to begin selling the LG Phoenix 2 on its website today for $99.99 without a contract under its GoPhone pre-paid brand. The phone will be sold at other retailers on Saturday, May 14 and at AT&T stores on June 10.

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1 month ago

Best rugged cases for the Galaxy S7 edge

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Best Rugged Cases for Galaxy S7 Edge

Keep your S7 edge looking beautiful by protecting it with a tough case!

There are few worse feelings than the moment after you drop your phone, screen down. You gasp. Maybe you curse. You reach for it and hope you don't see spiderwebs when you flip that screen upward. And with an all-glass phone like the Galaxy S7 edge, there are two sides you could be breaking.

There's one really easy way to avoid this awful screen-shatter lottery — by protecting your new Galaxy S7 edge with a suitably rugged case. Here are a few of our top picks.

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1 month ago

T-Mobile vs. Sprint: Best family plan

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 Best Family Plan

Comparing data, to minutes, to cost, to perks, which carrier is right for your family?

When you're shopping between T-Mobile and Sprint it's important to know how much data you need, how many devices will be on your account, and how much data you expect to use when choosing a sharing plan.

What sharing plans are available from T-Mobile and Sprint?

Sharing plans allow you to purchase one big chunk of data and divvy it up between all the phones and devices on your account.

T-Mobile doesn't really offer a true sharing plan. Instead of sharing one big chunk of data, each person on your account is given a monthly allotment of data. Once they surpass their data limit, they can still use data on their phone or tablet, but their download speeds will be slower.

Sprint used to offer something called the Family Share Pack, but have now eliminated that program in favor of a more simplified plan for individuals and families called the Better Choice plans, which allow you to share data between multiple devices, just like a familiy plan.

How many devices are allowed on a shared plan?

With both T-Mobile and Sprint you are charged for each device on your plan. Adding smartphones to your plan costs more than adding tablets or wearables, so knowing how many devices you want to share data with will impact your total bill each month.

T-Mobile cost per device

With T-Mobile you can have up to 12 devices on one account. The more devices you add, the cheaper it is per device (until you eventually bottom out at $10 each). Adding a tablet to your T-Mobile plan is only $10/device if you also have a cell phone on your plan, otherwise it's $20.

  • Phone 1, $50
  • Phone 2, $30
  • Phone 3, $10
  • Each additional phone $10
  • Each additional tablet $10 (or $20 if you don't have a phone)

Sprint cost per device

With Sprint, the price per device depends on whether you lease your phone or pay in monthly installments, or if you're on a two-year service agreement.

  • $20/month/smartphone for non-discounted phones
  • $40/month/smartphone on a two-year service agreement
  • $10/month/tablet (at least one activated phone required)
  • $10/month/mobile broadband device (at least one activated phone required)

Remember, if you're not bringing your own phone, your carrier will also charge you a monthly fee to purchase one of their phones. Costs vary, but if you want the most up-to-date phone, you'll be looking at about $25-$30 per month until the device is paid off.

How does data work on a shared plan with T-Mobile and Sprint?

This is where things get tricky. T-Mobile gives you a specific data allotment for each device, whereas Sprint gives you a big pool of data to share.

If you go over on T-Mobile your data speed slows down, but you won't have to pay more. If you go over on Sprint, you have to pay overage fees.

T-Mobile monthly data rates

  • 2 GB (included with your monthly charge for each device on your account)
  • 6 GB, $15/device
  • 10 GB, $30/device
  • Unlimited, $45/device

Overage Charges: If you go over your monthly data limit with T-Mobile your connection speed can be reduced (If you have a normal, 4G, LTE connection your speed can be reduce from between 6 and 20 Mbps to between 64 and 128 kbps which is less than a 2G network connection). Even on an unlimited plan, if you exceed 25 GB on a device in one bill cycle your speeds may be reduced. This may only happen during peak use times, or if you're lucky, not at all, but T-Mobile reserves the right to limit your speeds if you go over.

Rollover Data: T-Mobile offers a service called Data Stash which allows you to rollover any unused data in future months and will save this unused, high speed data for an entire year.

Sprint monthly data rates

  • 1 GB $20
  • 3 GB $30
  • 6 GB $45
  • 12 GB $60
  • 24 GB $80
  • 40 GB $100

Sprint also offers an unlimited plan but the pricing structure is a little different than other plans. You pay $75/month for unlimited data and a decreasing amount for each line you want to add bottoming out after your fifth linphone at $30 for each additional line added. Your data speed will be reduced after 23 GB are used in one month.

Overage Charges: All Sprint plans come with unlimited 2G data after you have used up your high speed allotment for the month. This means you will not be charged overage fees, but your data speed will slow way down if you go over your allotment.

Rollover Data: Sprint does not let you rollover your high speed data into the next billing cycle.

How do talk and text work on a shared plan on T-Mobile and Sprint?

Both T-Mobile and Sprint include unlimited talk and text with their shared plans.

T-Mobile includes unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada with any plan, no matter how much data you buy.

Sprint offers free calling to Mexico and Canada when you're in the U.S. Additionally, you can add the Open World plan to your account for free. This gives you unlimited calling and text while travelling in Mexico and Canada (as well as a few other countries) plus you get 1 GB of high-speed data while roaming.

What perks come with share plans from T-Mobile and Sprint?

Sometimes it's tough to decide between one carrier or another, so each provider will offer something to sweeten the pot and hopefully make you choose them over someone else.

T-Mobile's incentive package helps protect your high speed data, by making certain data-draining activities are exempt from your overall high speed data allotment. T-Mobile's Music Freedom allows you to stream music from popular services you already have an account with like Apple Music, Google Music, Pandora, without counting against your data. Binge On works the same way as Music Freedom, but for popular video services you have an account for like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu.

Sprint doesn't have any perks comparable to T-Mobile, but if you have family living outside of the U.S. their above-mentioned Open World plan has some advantages.

Which carrier's shared plan is right for my family?

Both T-Mobile and Sprint have a lot of room to customize their services based on the needs and budget of your household. For comparison purposes, we will look at share plans that have two phones and two tablets on them.

If you want the absolute cheapest plan, that can be built with Sprint, but you would have a very small amount of data (1GB) to share between devices.

If you want the most high speed data you can get that with T-Mobile, but even though you're buying "unlimited" high speed data, it may start to slow down after you use 25 GB on one device. Sprint offers an unlimited plan as well, but they reserve the right to reduce speeds at 23 GB. Speed reductions could happen only during peak times or, if you're lucky, not at all!

If you want the best value for your data T-Mobile lets you buy the amount of data you think you'll need for each device and won't charge you overage fees.

If you have many devices (5 or more) consider the T-Mobile plan as it's per-device account fee bottoms out at $10 for three or more devices, which is less expensive than Verizon's rates. However, if you only have one smartphone on your account and the rest are tablets or wearables, then Verizon may be a better choice.

If you want to avoid overage fees then T-Mobile is a clear winner since they only slow down your data if you go over your limit instead of charging you per GB of data.

If you're primarily concerned with talk and text from your provider, T-Mobile and Sprint are pretty equal. The only difference is if you frequently travel to Mexico or Canada, Sprint includes unlimited calls and messages plus 1 GB of data while roaming if you upgrade to their free Open World plan

If you already pay for TV service in your home neither T-Mobile or Sprint offer any kind of TV bundling services, so this won't be a deciding factor.

Keep calm and carrier on!

Ultimately choosing a shared plan for your family comes down to how many people are in your home, what devices they use, and what they use them for. T-Mobile and Sprint have slight advantages between each other depending on what category you look at.

Overall T-Mobile's plan offers the most customization and flexibility and their low data prices and lack of overage charges make them a really appealing option for data-hungry households.

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1 month ago

HTC 10 audio testing — BoomSound evolved

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The BoomSound you might remember from HTC phones of old is gone. It's been replaced by something much better.

When HTC first announced the HTC 10, we learned that the traditional audio setup we saw with the last few high-end models was gone. With a new external speaker configuration and a promise of better audio tweaks for listening through both the speakers and with headphones, we weren't quite sure what to expect. I've got some really good news — the new BoomSound is the best BoomSound. And I don't mean just the outside speaker configuration.

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1 month ago

Moto G4 and G4 Plus exclusive to Amazon in India, launch slated for May 17

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Motorola's handsets have traditionally been offered on Flipkart in India, but this year's Moto G4 and G4 Plus will be exclusive to Amazon. Motorola confirmed the same via a press release, which was followed by banter between the two companies on Twitter:

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1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 6 may be due for a mid-August release in the U.S.

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If you opted to skip the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge in favor of the next entry in the Note line, it sounds like you may get your chance in mid-August.

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1 month ago

The HTC 10 monthly security patch isn't missing — it's just hidden

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Here's how to find out whether your HTC 10 has the most up-to-date security patch.

One of the more welcome features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow was the transparency of the new monthly security patches. Starting with the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P and rolling out with updates to other phones, the "About" section in the settings menu tells the date of the most recently received security patch. It's sort of a badge of honor, really — and an important piece of transparency in the fight to keep our smartphones safe and secure.

HTC has been one of the better manufacturers when it comes to keeping its phones updated — especially when it comes to its carrier-free models. Computerworld's JR Raphael ranked HTC No. 2 (behind Google) in his latest "Android update report card," and while it focuses on major platform updates and not monthly security updates, the point stands — HTC has done pretty when when it comes to keeping current software on its phones.

That's why it's troubling, then, that HTC is hiding the monthly security patch level on the HTC 10. Especially when it's so easy to glean. Here's how you can do it.

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1 month ago

AT&T HTC One M8 and One M9 Marshmallow updates will begin rolling out on May 12

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AT&T is finally going to begin pushing Marshmallow to both the HTC One M8 and HTC One M9 on May 12. This comes after some long delays in getting the update finalized, but either way it is great to see it will be hitting phones shortly. Mo Versi, the VP of Product Management at HTC, made the announcement on Twitter.

If you own either of these phones on AT&T, be sure to keep an eye out tomorrow for the update. Odds are it won't hit every single phone tomorrow, so you may need to wait an extra day or two before you see the update on your phone. Be sure to let us know once you start receiving the notifications to update!

HTC One M9 Central

HTC One M9 Essentials

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1 month ago

Canadians deserve better than the Huawei GR5

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Why would anyone buy this phone, exactly?

Canadians attuned to the idiosyncrasies of the mobile space are well accustomed to Android devices that, while close, don't quite align with their international, or even U.S., counterparts.

One such product is the newly-released Huawei GR5, a mid-range Android device available starting this week from Rogers for $0 on a 2-year contract and $375 outright.

As far as free phones go, on paper the GR5 sounds like a satisfying prospect: big, bright 5.5-inch Full HD display; 3,000mAh battery; rear fingerprint scanner; metal body. But it's when you dig into the core of the product that you begin to see where things went rotten. And rotten is certainly an apt adjective for this product.

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1 month ago

How to cancel Verizon service

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How to cancel Verizon

Can you hear me now? No? Leave Verizon behind.

If you're not happy with Verizon's service, it's your right to cancel whenever you please. Just remember that you signed an agreement with the carrier, so you're probably not getting off scot-free.

The penalties and processes associated with canceling your Verizon service will depend on whether you're on a traditional two-year contract or in a month-to-month agreement. We'll tell you how to do both.

We'll also give you some advice when it comes to dropping lines from family plans, since canceling multiple lines at once can end in some incredibly hefty early termination fees.

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