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2 weeks ago

ASUS video showcases ZenFone 3 Laser's insanely fast laser autofocus

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ASUS has posted a new video which showcases the insane speeds of the laser autofocus in the ZenFone 3 Laser. Much like on the ZenFone 2 line, ASUS makes the Laser line stand out with its lightning-fast auto-focus to improve the quality of the pictures that you can capture with the phone. The ZenFone 3 line was first debuted back at Computex, and not much has been said about them since.

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2 weeks ago

The LG V20 will be the first phone with a 32 bit Quad DAC

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The LG V20 not only will be the first phone to run Android 7.0, but news from Seoul tells us it will also be the first smartphone to feature a Quad DAC.

While the actual model isn't yet revealed, we do know LG is once again partnering with ESS to bring premium audio to the V20. ESS also provided the excellent 32bit DAC in the V10, which received pretty rave reviews for its audio performance.

Higher quality audio is simply the natural evolution of the smartphone, as the industry moves toward a more holistic multimedia consumption experience. — Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company.

LG says that they know users are now looking for more than a fast processor and a big display when they buy a high-end phone, and they aim to provide it with the V20. We'll know more — and hopefully get to put our hands on a V20 — on September 6 when LG unveils the whole package in San Francisco. In the meantime, we can read the press releases. This one is below.

LG V20, WORLD'S FIRST SMARTPHONE WITH QUAD DAC FOR BEST IN CLASS AUDIO

LG and ESS Technology Collaborate to Deliver One-of-a-Kind Audio Experience

SEOUL, Aug. 11, 2016 ― LG Electronics (LG) announced that its forthcoming flagship smartphone, LG V20, will be the first smartphone in the industry to feature 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (digital to analog converter) capabilities, bringing a superior audio experience to mobile for the very first time.

A Quad DAC delivers a crisp and clear sound that comes closest to a live performance when using compatible wired headphones. The sound is superior to that produced by a traditional DAC as it can reduce up to 50 percent of ambient noise levels. Videos taken with the V20 are accompanied by a soundtrack that can capture the roaring sound of waves crashing on a beach or conversations among two individuals at a noisy party.

LG worked closely with ESS Technology, a leader in high-performance analog and audio devices, to ensure that the Quad DAC, delivered the best audio experience for owners of the LG V20. The Quad DAC is the lynchpin of the many cutting-edge multimedia features included in the LG V20. ESS Technology previously provided its 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC in the V10, LG V20's predecessor.

"As smartphones mature, we're seeing more and more customers looking beyond just fast processors and big displays in their devices," said Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company. "Higher quality audio is simply the natural evolution of the smartphone, as the industry moves toward a more holistic multimedia consumption experience. We're pleased to continue this long-term partnership with ESS and bring best in class audio to LG V20 users."

"We are extremely excited that our Quad DAC technology will be featured in the V20, LG's latest flagship smartphone for consumers who demand the best media experience," said Robert Blair, president and chief executive officer of ESS Technology. "As a technology more typically available in high-end audio equipment, Quad DAC on the V20 will make users feel as if they are carrying around a professional home-audio system on their smartphone."

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2 weeks ago

Coolpad unveils Coolpad Mega, a nicely designed budget smartphone for India

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Coolpad has unveiled the Coolpad Mega, its latest budget smartphone for India.

In a press conference in New Delhi today, Coolpad unveiled the Coolpad Mega, a lightweight, nicely designed affordable smartphone. Powered by the latest CoolUI 8.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the Coolpad Mega supports dual SIM dual standby with VoLTE support and offers 4G LTE network.

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2 weeks ago

Kyocera Duraforce PRO doubles as a wide-angle action camera

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The new Duraforce PRO is a unique waterproof phone with a wide-angle action camera!

Kyocera has announced the Duraforce PRO, its latest rugged phone that has a built-in wide view action camera. Mainly known for its waterproof and shockproof devices, this will be the first time that Kyocera adds an action camera into its phone to combine the best of two worlds into one. Sporting a 5-inch 1080p display, the Duraforce PRO features 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. On the back you've got a 13MP camera, and the front has a 5MP shooter for capturing those selfies. The rear camera features a number of new modes, such as underwater mode, sports mode, slow motion, time-lapse and other camera filters/applications.

With its 3420mAh battery, you should get all-day battery life and solid recording time on the action camera. The phone will be available later this fall, but no word on pricing yet.

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2 weeks ago

The Canadian Galaxy Note 7 runs a Snapdragon 820 chip, not Exynos

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In a reversal in strategy from its Galaxy S7 and S7 edge counterpart, Android Central has learned that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor in Canada instead of the Exynos 8890 that powered all Galaxy S7 variants outside the U.S.

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2 weeks ago

Will there be a 6GB Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with 128GB of storage?

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Galaxy Note 7

Looks like China's getting a tricked-out Note 7 with more RAM and internal storage. So what does that mean for the rest of us?

Over the past year there's been growing chatter among Android fans as to whether Samsung's Galaxy Note line has become just another smartphone. It started back with last year's Note 5, which on the inside was essentially a Galaxy S6 with an extra gig of RAM and a slightly bigger battery — a baby step forward compared to the huge leap we'd seen from Galaxy S5 to Galaxy Note 4.

And there are even more striking similarities between the Galaxy S7 series and the new Note 7: Same processor, same RAM, a small bump in internal storage, USB-C and a new iris scanner feature of questionable value. Notably absent was Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 821. And as smaller rivals like ASUS and OnePlus pushed forward to 6GB of RAM, Samsung stayed at four.

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2 weeks ago

Best Android phones of 2016

The Galaxy S7 is the best phone you can buy today. It's compact, powerful, beautiful and has a fantastic camera. The only decision to make is which size you want and what color fits your style.

Note: This post was last updated on August 28, 2016, adding the Galaxy Note 7 to the list.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

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

The Galaxy S7 rocks a beautiful metal-and-glass design that's waterproof while also holding a solid battery, top-end internals and a microSD card expansion slot. Around front you'll find an industry-leading 5.1-inch QHD SuperAMOLED display that's beautiful in every situation, and around back you can capture fantastic photos with the 12MP camera.

The software may take some getting used to if you haven't used a Samsung phone before, but that's hardly a reason to look away from all of the fantastic features that the Galaxy S7 has to offer. It's compact, powerful, easy to use and takes wonderful photos — it really is the complete package in the Android world.

Bottom line: If you want the best phone with minimal compromise, the Galaxy S7 is the choice.

One more thing: If you don't want to buy from a carrier, Samsung offers a U.S. unlocked model of the Galaxy S7 for a cleaner experience.

Why the Galaxy S7 is the best

A compact, yet powerful, phone with all of the features everyone is asking for.

Ask anyone to list all of the features they're looking for in a phone today, and you'll fill up slots with what the Galaxy S7 has to offer. Great hardware inside and out is accentuated by an awesome screen, fast software, quick and high-quality camera, and nice-to-have features like a fingerprint sensor, waterproofing and an SD card slot.

The experience starts off with the well-crafted exterior that leverages both metal and glass in the right places to give you something you're proud to be using while also keeping the phone compact so it's easy to use every day. But the hardware steps aside when you turn on the fantastic screen, which is easily the best you can get in a phone today, and use all of your apps without hiccup thanks to the high-end specs. Battery life from the 3000 mAh battery is good for a full day, but if you push things particularly hard you'll find the integrated wireless charging and Quick Charge 2.0 support to help in that respect.

Our own Phil Nickinson summed it up well in our Galaxy S7 review:

It's the best design Samsung has brought to bear, big without being bulky, with a mix of specs and usability you'd expect in a phone of this caliber. Combine with that an outstanding camera and you've got a phone that will serve just about anyone.

Perhaps the best thing about the Galaxy S7 is that it isn't reliant on gimmicks or unnecessary features in order to try and grab headlines or coax people into buying it. It just does everything that people are looking for in a top-end phone, and doesn't muddy the waters with anything else. Though you can give Samsung a small knock for having somewhat-cumbersome software that duplicates what Google offers, it's a very small hinderance to what is otherwise the best Samsung phone to date, and at this point very much the best Android phone currently available.

Best at any price

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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

The Galaxy S7 with its smaller size and (slightly) lower price will appeal to a wider audience, but when price is no option and you want to get the best big phone out there all eyes turn to the Galaxy Note 7.

More of a continuation of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge line than a whole different track, the Note 7 takes all of the GS7's great features like waterproofing, an awesome camera, top-end display, metal-and-glass hardware and an SD card slot and scales them up. You get a 5.7-inch display with subtle curves that help it fit in you hand, and of course you get the S Pen stylus for fine writing input and a few extra neat features.

The Note 7 will also offer you longer battery life with a 3500 mAh battery capacity, as well as a forward-looking USB-C port on the bottom and double the internal storage at 64GB.

Bottom-line: It's expensive, but the Note 7 is absolutely great if you like the Galaxy S7's features but want a bigger display.

One more thing: Remember, the new USB-C port will require new accessories or the use of adapters to work with Micro-USB plugs you already have.

Best for a budget

OnePlus 3

See at OnePlus

After releasing a few phones that were tantalizing but not quite complete products, OnePlus has really hit the mark with the OnePlus 3. This high-end device checks just about every box you're looking for, from top-end specs to a great screen, solid camera, fast software and long battery life.

Best of all, it'll only set you back $399, which is easily $200 less than the other flagships out there. You don't get a few of the nice-to-have features like waterproofing, and its screen is a few notches below the Galaxy S7, but for the whole experience it's hard to get something nicer than what the OnePlus 3 offers — especially at this price.

Bottom-line: Though it doesn't have some of the fringe features you'll find elsewhere, the OnePlus 3 offers the best value in a high-end Android phone today.

One more thing: The OnePlus 3's Dash Charge fast charging solution isn't compatible with any other quick charging standards, so you'll need to invest in new chargers if you want to top up quickly.

Best for fanatics

Nexus 6P

Huawei Nexus 6P

See at Amazon

In years past we would recommend the latest Nexus phones with large caveats, usually pertaining to hardware quality, missing features and especially the camera. Thankfully, that isn't the case anymore with the Nexus 6P.

It's rather large with its 5.7-inch screen and dual front-facing speakers, but that's really worth it when you see everything that you get inside: top-end internals, a solid build and a easily the best camera on a Nexus phone to date. That's all just backing up the awesome pure Google software experience, which is kept up to date every single month with security patches and is first in line for major platform updates as well.

As we near one year since the launch of this phone it's important to note that new Nexus phones are on the horizon. For that reason, you should only consider the Nexus 6P if you find it at its newly reduced price of $399 and are okay in turn with being a generation behind. If you are, you'll still be greeted by Android 7.0 Nougat when it arrives.

Bottom-line: If you have to have a pure Google phone experience, the Nexus 6P should be your only consideration.

One more thing: Since you're buying a Nexus, consider Google's own Project Fi phone service as well — it's inexpensive and is available only for Nexus phones.

Best for productivity

BlackBerry Priv

BlackBerry Priv

See at AT&T

BlackBerry is a legend in the smartphone arena. The question is whether it's a relic. The Priv hopes to stave off that title, promising privacy and privilege — and it's certainly a privilege to use. This is the best physical keyboard ever seen on an Android phone to date — though it's been a long time since anyone's actually attempted one — with the rest of the hardware matching up to the rest of the smartphone elite.

Plus it's got a gorgeous high-resolution screen, excellent battery life, good camera and a mostly Google Android experience, enhanced in places with BlackBerry's own apps and services. And BlackBerry is among the best in pushing monthly security updates.

If you can find it at its oft-reduced price of $399, the Priv is worth considering. Look elsewhere if a store tries to charge you the full $649 price, though.

Bottom-line: If you're still tied to the idea of a hardware keyboard on your phone, this is really your only choice.

One more thing: Keep an eye out for price drops on the Priv.

Conclusion

For the best possible Android experience at any price, the Galaxy S7 is the way to go. It offers all of the top-end features you expect, wraps them up in a great waterproof body and does everything you ask with the highest speed. It isn't going to be perfect for everyone, and that's why we offer other choices here, but it's the best choice for a majority of people looking for a high-end Android today.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

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

The Galaxy S7 rocks a beautiful metal-and-glass design that's waterproof while also holding a solid battery, top-end internals and a microSD card expansion slot. Around front you'll find an industry-leading 5.1-inch QHD SuperAMOLED display that's beautiful in every situation, and around back you can capture fantastic photos with the 12MP camera.

The software may take some getting used to if you haven't used a Samsung phone before, but that's hardly a reason to look away from all of the fantastic features that the Galaxy S7 has to offer. It's compact, powerful, easy to use and takes wonderful photos — it really is the complete package in the Android world.

Bottom line: If you want the best phone with minimal compromise, the Galaxy S7 is the choice.

One more thing: If you don't want to buy from a carrier, Samsung offers a U.S. unlocked model of the Galaxy S7 for a cleaner experience.

*/

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2 weeks ago

LG's V20 could be another modular phone

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It looks like LG's not done with modular phones — even after the shaky reception to the G5 — as revealed by new render leak.

LG may be set to continue its modular experiment if freshly leaked renders of the upcoming V20 are any indicator. The CAD renders of the phone, given by Steve Hemmerstoffer (a.k.a @onleaks) to Android Authority show a design that's largely a mash-up of G5 and V10 elements.

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2 weeks ago

Google confirms 'Verify Apps' can block apps using QuadRooter vulnerabilities

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Nexus 6P security

Latest exploit is roadblocked on 90% of Android devices, thanks to security feature enabled in Android 4.2.

QuadRooter is the latest big Android security scare — a collection of 4 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm-based Android gadgets that could allow a malicious app to gain root access, allowing it to do basically anything on an affected device.

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2 weeks ago

Buy an HTC 10, get a pair of $199 JBL USB-C headphones for free until Aug 31

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HTC 10

HTC wants to get you into the USB-C audio future with this great promotion.

Now that the luster of the HTC 10 launch has worn off, HTC's running a pretty fantastic promotion that'll get you a pair of headphones and an additional $100 accessory credit when you buy an HTC 10 from its website. The headphones on offer here aren't some cheapo pair, either — they're the JBL Reflect Aware C headphones that were announced back with the phone and retail for $199.

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2 weeks ago

QuadRooter vulnerability: 5 things to know about this Android security scare

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Android security

New Qualcomm-targeted Android security bug is reported to put '900 million' devices at risk. Here's what you need to know.

Once again, it's Android security scare season. This morning news broke of the latest collection of vulnerabilities, discovered by security firm Check Point and grouped together under the catchy monicker "QuadRooter." As usual, most of the reporting has focused on worst-case scenarios and a shockingly huge number of potentially vulnerable devices — in this case, an estimated 900 million.

We're going to break down exactly what's going on, and just how vulnerable you're likely to be. Read on.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs. Note 5: Should you upgrade?

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Should I upgrade from the Galaxy Note 5 to the Galaxy Note 7?

The argument for upgrading from a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to a Galaxy Note 7 is fairly straightforward: considerably more power and a larger battery in a smaller body, an improved camera, and an S Pen with twice the pressure sensitivity, and twice the features. The upgrade speaks for itself.

But here I am holding both a Galaxy Note 5 and a Galaxy Note 7 in each hand, and the justification for upgrading becomes much less convincing. The Note 5 has been out less than 12 months at the time of writing, and feels just as modern — and new — as it did back in 2015. With Samsung maintaining the Note 5 on shelves as its cheaper S Pen-enhanced variant, should you be thinking about upgrading to the Note 7 from the Note 5? Let's dig into it a bit.

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3 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 edge: What does a curvy Note 7 mean for next year's flagships?

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Will the Galaxy S8 have a flat display, or is Samsung going all-in on the edge?

Update: We're revisiting this article following recent reports that Samsung may indeed go all-edge in the Galaxy S8 line.

Unless the past several weeks of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leakage have been part of some elaborate trolling campaign, it's looking like the next member of Samsung's popular Galaxy Note family will feature a curved "edge screen," like the Galaxy S7 edge.

If that happens, it raises an interesting question about the future of the Galaxy S line: Is Samsung going all-in on edge? Could this year's regular Galaxy S7 be the last flat flagship?

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3 weeks ago

Galaxy Note 7 ordering: Everything you need to know is in the forums

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be available — as in, sitting on a shelf where you can go trade money for one — in the U.S. on August 19. That's right around the corner. But many a smartphone enthusiast, as well as people who just want or need a new phone, aren't about to wait until then to start the buying process.

Pre-orders have started across the country (folks in Europe have to wait another week) and different places are offering different reasons and incentives to buy from them. Should you order your Note 7 direct from your carrier? What about a big-box store? Or a pseudo-warehouse? If you have questions, the AC forums has the answers.

Of course, there are more discussions to be had about the Note 7, and you'll find the forums filled with them. You owe it to yourself to have a look!

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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3 weeks ago

Verizon is taking online orders for the HTC Desire 530

6

Verizon Wireless is the latest carrier in the U.S. to sell the HTC Desire 530. Orders are being taken at Verizon's website and the phone will also be available in its retail stores starting on August 11.

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