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1 week ago

Best Cases For Honor 8

17

What are the best cases you can buy today for the Honor 8?

Updated May 2017: The Vinve and Dwaybox cases mentioned previously were swapped out for the Spigen and Sparin options.

The Honor 8, as made by Huawei, is one of the most attractive budget smartphones available right now. Take care of it by housing it in one of these recommended cases.

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1 week ago

Best Medium-Sized Android Phone

Update, May 2017: The Galaxy S8 is now our favorite medium-sized phone, and we've added the LG G6 to the list.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

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

The Galaxy S8 is an easy pick for best medium-sized phone, because it's currently our favorite phone and the one that is most likely going to feel substantial while remaining easy to use in one hand. That's owed to the beautiful, extra-tall 18.5:9 screen that delivers some of the best visuals we've ever seen on a phone.

Add to that a whip-fast Snapdragon 835 chip and plenty of specs to keep early adopters happy and you have some of nicest hardware on the market today. More surprising (in a good way) is Samsung's software, which continues to improve year over year, even if it does stuff a million and one features in the settings.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 does most things right so even its negatives are easily to overlook.

One more thing: If you've got the extra room in your pocket or hands, the Galaxy S8+ is a nice size boost over the S8.

Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

You get more for your money with the GS8.

Everyone has their preference, but I think most people would agree that the Galaxy S8 is one of the best-looking phones on the market today. The way the curved glass meets the aluminum sides — 👌. But here's the thing: if it were just aesthetic, the Galaxy S8 wouldn't be on this list. For all of its quirks — the displacement of the fingerprint sensor to the back, and the unreliable face unlock that replaces it — the phone is rock solid in almost every other respect.

Great touch response; amazing color accuracy; incredible camera; awesome battery life. And the Galaxy S8 manages to pack in 64GB of internal storage as standard, which is more than the iPhone and the LG G6, along with wireless charging and water resistance. There aren't a lot of things this phone can't do. It also manages to stay pretty easy to use in one hand, thanks to its taller-yet-narrower 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

Best for simplicity

Google Pixel XL

See at Google See at Verizon

While the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a number of additional software features, in addition to sporting expandable storage and water resistance, the Pixel XL makes up for those shortcomings with the potent combination of speed, battery life, screen quality and camera performance. In fact, the Pixel XL still takes some of the best low-light photos we've ever seen in a phone.

And because Google engineers Android itself, the Pixel is all but guaranteed the quickest software updates, with the latest features. Right now, Android 7.1 boasts improvements to notifications, multitasking and the home screen, with features that make a meaningful difference to users' lives, and it will be the first to get Android O later this year.

Bottom line: The Google Pixel XL is one of the best phones you can buy today — if you can find it. Not only is the camera incredible, the software simple-but-powerful, and the performance unparalleled, but Google's 24/7 support and quick software updates are unmatched in the Android ecosystem.

One more thing: The Pixel XL also has a smaller sibling, the Pixel, which shaves some screen size and resolution for some one-handed love.

Best for camera buffs

LG G6

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

This list wouldn't be complete without the Comeback King of 2017, the LG G6. This phone makes up in almost every way for the misfire of the G5, and once again positions LG as the main competition with its South Korean rival, Samsung. The G6 may not have the fastest chip on the market — it ships with the Snapdragon 821 — but everything else, from the software to the camera setup, is completely modern.

Indeed, the camera setup may be a good reason to pick this over the Galaxy S8; its dual cameras offer both a "normal" field of view as well as an ultra-wide lens that makes for incredible landscape photos. A beefy manual mode and excellent sound capture round out the G6's excellent optical pedigree, though the phone is fundamentally sound in other ways, too. Its 18:9 aspect ratio screen is nearly as good as the S8's, as its fingerprint sensor is much easier to reach.

Bottom line: The G6 keeps up with the Galaxy S8 in almost every way, and surpasses it in the camera department.

One more thing: The North American G6 comes with wireless charging, which is a bonus, but all models are waterproof.

Best on a budget

OnePlus 3T

See at OnePlus

The OnePlus 3T does everything well — that's what you need to know first. At $439, you get a lot for your money — it's a nice little boost over the still-excellent OnePlus 3 — and its all-metal chassis doesn't feel overly large despite the ample 5.5-inch screen size. And that's what you're looking for in a big phone: one that doesn't feel like a brick in your hand.

OnePlus did a great job improving the internals in the OnePlus 3T: the 5.5-inch Full HD display is vivid and bright, and the quad-core Snapdragon 821 paired with 6GB of RAM makes the phone a formidable performer — even more so when you consider the $439 price point. While it lacks the little things that add up to justify the S8's extra cost — water resistance, expandable storage, and a high-quality QHD display — the OnePlus 3T is without compromises, which is something we're really happy to see at this price tier.

Bottom-line: With a big, bright 5.5-inch screen, a great camera, excellent build quality, and loads of nice software touches, the OnePlus 3T is one of the best smartphone deals you can find today.

One more thing: The OnePlus 3T runs Android 7.1.1, which is newer than the software that ships on the Galaxy S8 and LG G6.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S8 may not seem like a medium-sized phone, but that's because its tall screen is deceptive. In fact, this phone is easy to use in one hand (and has a great one-handed mode to make it even easier) along with a spec sheet for days. While the Pixel XL is still our favorite for simplicity, the G6 takes some amazing photos, and the OnePlus 3T is a perfect budget option, the S8 does more than all, and most things better.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

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

The Galaxy S8 is an easy pick for best medium-sized phone, because it's currently our favorite phone and the one that is most likely going to feel substantial while remaining easy to use in one hand. That's owed to the beautiful, extra-tall 18.5:9 screen that delivers some of the best visuals we've ever seen on a phone. Add to that a whip-fast Snapdragon 835 chip and plenty of specs to keep early adopters happy and you have some of nicest hardware on the market today. More surprising (in a good way) is Samsung's software, which continues to improve year over year, even if it does stuff a million and one features in the settings.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 does most things right, and even its negatives are easily to overlook.

One more thing: If you've got the extra room in your pocket or hands, the Galaxy S8+ is a nice size boost over the S8.

Note: This list is of medium-sized phones, mainly between 5.3 inches and 5.8 inches. We also have a list of the best small phones, and the best large phones.

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1 week ago

Huawei Mate 9 gets two new colors in China

6

New 'Agate Red' and 'Topaz Blue' hues make the Mate 9 more colorful.

Huawei's Mate 9, now six months old, has stood the test of time well, continuing to rank among the best big-screened Android phones you can buy. Today the Chinese firm has launched two new Mate 9 colors in its home market — Agate Red and Topaz Blue. It's not unusual for Huawei to roll out new colors to refresh a product mid-cycle, and the push towards more vibrant hues echoes what we've seen from the P10, which has its own broad color palette.

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1 week ago

Best Unlimited Data Plan

79

Unlimited plans are back, but which one is the best?

All four major U.S. carriers offer an unlimited data plan again. After years of hearing how they were unable to provide unlimited data to every customer and maintain the quality of service they wanted, new technology and a more competitive market means an 180-degree turnaround was in order and here we are.

We've previously written about how most people just don't need unlimited data, and you should have a look if you have any questions about how much you should spend or how much data you need. But if you're sure you need all the data you can get each and every month, let's look at which company you should give your business to. We'll start with a quick look at what each company has to offer and what it will cost you.

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AT&T

Feature Cost Price for single line $90 for Unlimited Plus
$60 for Unlimited Choice (data speeds are capped at 3M/s) Price for two lines $145 for Unlimited Plus
$115 for Unlimited Choice Additional lines $20 each (wearables are $10)

AT&T's more expensive Unlimited Plus plan comes with some extra features that are definitely worth mentioning:

  • Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico
  • Advanced messaging between compatible phones on the AT&T network
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico with the free "Roam North America" feature
  • $25 monthly credit for DirecTV services
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)

Like most carriers, the monthly fees don't include tax or regulatory fees and you may have other costs if you get your phone from AT&T.

Sprint

Feature Cost Price for single line $50 Price for two lines $90 Additional lines Free (with the current promotion) for phones
Tablets are $25 per month

Sprint's Unlimited Freedom plan also comes with these extras included in the monthly bill:

  • Unlimited data for streaming video up to 1080p
  • Unlimited data for gaming up to 8Mbps
  • Unlimited data for streaming music up to 1.5Mbps
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)

Again, you'll need to pay taxes and fees on top of these prices and equipment fees aren't included.

T-Mobile

Feature Cost Price for single line $70 Price for two lines $100 Additional lines $40 for the third line
$20 each for more

T-Mobile has a lot of feature fine print that goes with their T-Mobile ONE plan, and it might make a difference:

  • 200MB of roaming data per month
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
  • One hour of free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi and unlimited texting on enabled flights
  • Unlimited data and texting in over 140 locations at 2x speed (264kbps) (limited time offer)
  • Unlimited music and HD video streaming (limited time offer, applies only in the U.S.)
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (limited time offer)

As of May 2017, T-Mobile has a deal where you can add a third line for free if you have two or more lines on an account. There is no word when this promo or any other features listed as limited time offers will end. One big thing with T-Mobile is that you pay the price listed above each month — the taxes and fees are built into the plan price.

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Verizon

Feature Cost Price for single line $80 Price for two lines $140 Additional lines $162 for three phones
$180 for four phones
Tablets are $20 per month
Other connected devices are $5 per month

Here's what else you get for your money each month on Verizon plans:

  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)
  • Unlimited "HD" (optimized for lower data usage) streaming video (see Verizon's Video Optimization Deployment page)
  • Unlimited calling and texting to and from Canada and Mexico

As with most other carriers, you're paying taxes and fees each month on top of the list price and equipment fees aren't built into these prices.

The best unlimited wireless plan

There are a few things in common with all four carriers: The listed prices in all advertisements are for customers who use autopay for their monthly bill. Each carrier slows down your data to 3G speeds once you hit a cap on data, which is right around 20GB per line. And no carrier guarantees great coverage, no matter what their coverage maps might say.

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited plan in the U.S.

Overall, T-Mobile has the best unlimited plan you can buy. We considered price, coverage, and features equally and while we can't say T-Mobile will work for everyone, it's where you should look first. Here's how we reached the decision.

  • Which companies offer the coverage you need? Having a cheap cell phone bill isn't so great if your phone doesn't work where you need it to work. There are large areas of the U.S. where T-Mobile has no coverage at all but for the most part these are rural areas. While we think rural areas are awesome, we can't ignore that T-Mobile does offer coverage where most people live. If total coverage is your main criteria when buying an unlimited plan, you should have a look at Verizon.

  • How much are your monthly taxes and fees going to be? In some places, these extra fees will add up. When you add upwards of $30 (or more) to each month's bill, T-Mobile bundling them into the plan price might make a difference. Once you add in all the fees that find their way into your monthly bill, there probably won't be much difference between Sprint and T-Mobile unless you have three or more lines. Sprint is cheaper, but T-Mobile picking up the tab for those fees makes a big difference.

  • Do you need any of the other services that come with a particular plan? If you have to pay extra for things like texting or calling people in other countries be sure to add those costs into the price unless it's included in the plan. T-Mobile offers roaming data, calls, texts and data in all of North America as well as texting and data in 140 other places around the world. They even offer free in-flight Wi-Fi with Gogo. This is a great set of useful extras.

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The best news is that everything here is subject to change at any time! Because the market has become so competitive for unlimited data, companies will constantly be adjusting prices and features. When one company makes a move the rest will soon follow with their own new pricing or other offers.

We'll keep things updated here as changes happen and maybe next month we'll be recommending a different company.

See at T-Mobile

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1 week ago

Video: Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S8's camera

6

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has taken some heat for not changing much in its cameras compared to last year's S7. But if you only focus the hardware, you miss the big picture on this phone.

The S8's camera has a ton of software features, plus new image processing chops thanks to Samsung's "multi-frame" photography. Bottom line: There's a lot you can do lot this camera, but it's easy to miss some of these features if you don't know where to look.

That's why we're here to give you a rundown of everything you can do with the Samsung Galaxy S8's cameras. Check out our video guide to get the most out of your GS8's camera arsenal, and be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the latest Android reviews and opinions as they land!

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2 weeks ago

Most Secure Android Phone

Update, May 2017: The BlackBerry KEYone makes its appearance on the list.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel is the most secure Android phone you can buy, and one of the most secure phones of any available today.

Without disabling any security protections, the Pixel and Pixel XL are updated to keep you protected against known public security exploits and remote installations are monitored by Google's scanning software which blocks potential malicious content. While security and privacy are two very different things, when you decide you want private things to stay private you need to make sure your phone is secure to keep them that way.

Bottom line: The open-source nature of Android and the dedicated Android security team work in tandem to make the Pixel and Pixel XL the best phones when it comes to security and privacy.

One more thing: The Pixel and Pixel XL also show us that a secure phone that's great to use is a reality.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

A phone you want to use can also keep your data safe — and it comes in two sizes to fit everyone.

Every device that can connect to the internet has exploits available that break the default security configuration. If your phone isn't getting timely updates to combat them, you're simply not secure. We keep a vast amount of private — and priceless — data on our phones, and we all should care about keeping it safe from outside attacks. After you read all the agreements and decide what you're willing to give away, you should expect the remainder to stay private.

The Pixel phones are updated directly from Google with the latest version of Android. Outside of any new features that may come with, the device security model has been updated and strengthened by a dedicated team who regularly audits and enhances the code used to build Android. On top of this, Google releases updates to the security model at the beginning of every month for the people who build Android phones to apply to its software. These are important. More important than any other update. the Nexus 6P will get every one of them for its lifespan.

Equally important, but often overlooked, is transparency. You shouldn't have to trust a company when it says something is secure or updated, and the Android code for both the platform version and all updates is available for anyone to take a look at. Plenty of people do, and despite any opinions to the contrary, Android, as written, has proven to be a very secure platform. A phone like a Pixel is the embodiment of this.

Most important of all is that both Pixel phones are not only secure but are also phones that you'll want to use. No compromise is needed and the 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL both share the same fast processor and other internal components. A great — and secure — experience is available for fans of both sizes.

Best for typing

BlackBerry KEYone

See at BlackBerry Mobile

BlackBerry is legendary when it comes to mobile device management and security, and follows that trend when using Android to power its phones. With the KEYone, you also get the keyboard experience that only BlackBerry can offer. The KEYone is a great way to enjoy Android for people who still want a physical keyboard on their phone, and peace of mind that knowing a company is concerned about security.

Bottom line: BlackBerry continues its reputation of excellent mobile security and having a great keyboard with the KEYone.

One more thing: The BlackBerry is usually the first phone to get the monthly Android Security update — often hours before Google releases the bulletin itself!

Best for simplicity

BlackBerry DTEK60

See at BlackBerry

BlackBerry says the DTEK60 is the world's most secure Android phone.

The DTEK60 adds an enhanced version of the DTEK software tool to monitor application and system use to warn you when something isn't playing nicely. While this software is available as an update for the Priv, the out-of-the-box experience on the DTEK60 lets BlackBerry claim the "most secure Android "title. It's also pretty nice to use, too.

Bottom line:The DTEK60 is a welcome addition for many users and IT managers.

One more thing: Scott Wenger, VP of design and devices for BlackBerry says DTEK stands for "Detection."

Conclusion

Media outlets like to give Android a bad reputation when it comes to security, and it's difficult to blame them. Old, outdated software from manufacturers with no real concern for your security or privacy are the norm when it comes to phones running Android. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The Google Pixel delivers a great smartphone experience that ticks all the boxes for reviewers and users alike, and with no modifications, your personal data is very safe. A team of security professionals and engineers are dedicated to keeping it that way. Any of the phones on our list will do a great job when it comes to security, but the overall experience makes the Google Pixel the best.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel is the most secure Android phone you can buy, and one of the most secure phones of any available today.

Without disabling any security protections, the Pixel and Pixel XL are updated to keep you protected against known public security exploits and remote installations are monitored by Google's scanning software which blocks potential malicious content. While security and privacy are two very different things, when you decide you want private things to stay private you need to make sure your phone is secure to keep them that way.

Bottom line: The open-source nature of Android and the dedicated Android security team work in tandem to make the Pixel and Pixel XL the best phones when it comes to security and privacy.

One more thing: The Pixel and Pixel XL also show us that a secure phone that's great to use is a reality.

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2 weeks ago

Huawei Nova 2 could arrive later in May

6

New mid-ranger tipped for May 26 unveiling in China.

The Huawei Nova series landed in late 2016, bringing metal-clad designs, long battery life and dependable cameras to a price point below the premium Huawei P series. And although the Nova and Nova Plus haven't yet reached their first birthday, it appears successors may already be on their way.

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2 weeks ago

Verizon buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

 Everything you need to know

Which Verizon plan fits your needs best?

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 145 million subscribers. It offers nationwide Voice and LTE data coverage on its network, using GSM, LTE, and CDMA technology.

Verizon offers unlimited talk and text wireless plans for individuals and families and it has deals on the latest smartphone, including the Samsung Galaxy S8. If you're thinking of switching to Verizon or you're about to renew your plan, you might be wondering which plan best suits your usage habits and needs on a monthly basis. Do you really need unlimited data? Are you signing up for multiple lines?

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If you have questions about which Verizon plan is best for you, we have answers. Check these out and see if they work for you.

Individual plans

Verizon offers two types of plans: talk, text, and data and prepaid.

Talk, text, and data plans

For individual lines, Verizon essentially offers one plan with four tiers: Small, Medium, Large, and Unlimited. Each plan features unlimited nationwide talk and text, unlimited 2G data, and rollover data (data you don't use in a month is available until the end of the next month). The amount of 4G LTE data is all that really changes between each plan.

Small gets 2GB of 4G LTE for $35/month, Medium gets 4GB for $50/month, Large gets 8GB for $70/month, and Unlimited get 22GB for $80/month. Unlimited plans also feature tethering, HD video streaming, and service in Mexico and Canada.

Keep in mind that the above-mentioned prices don't include any monthly payments you have to make if you decide to purchase a phone through Verizon.

Learn more

Verizon prepaid

If you don't want to sign up for a contract of any kind, then you can go month-to-month with Verizon on its prepaid plans. The best prepaid plan is the $50/month plan, which features 5GB of 4G LTE data (1GB more than Verizon's Medium plan), unlimited domestic talk and text, and unlimited texting to over 200 countries.

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The other positive aspect of this plan is that any data you don't use rolls over to your next month. You also still get unlimited 2G data speeds after you use up your 4G LTE allotment.

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Best family plan

If you're wondering if a family plan is right for you, consider this: You really only save money on three lines or more. Most Americans don't use more than 3GB or 4GB of 4G LTE data per month, so to sign up two lines on the unlimited plan, for $70 per line isn't really worth it. However, once you sign up a third line, each line drops to $54 per month. That's a great savings, since the individual 4GB plans are $50/month. Instead, each line gets up to 22GB of 4G LTE for $54/month.

You can sign up up to 10 lines, and at that point each line is only $30/month. These prices are with the $10/month Auto Pay and paper-free billing discount (not per line).

Verizon's unlimited plan comes with 22GB of 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text, HD video streaming, tethering, and service in Mexico and Canada.

Learn more

Best Verizon phones

Verizon doesn't really play nice with the whole "bring your own device" (BYOD) thing. In fact, it doesn't really play at all. Unless you have an inactive Verizon phone lying around, you can't bring your own phone. If you're not bringing your own phone to Verizon, these are the best ones you can purchase from the carrier.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Galaxy S8+

Samsung's newest flagships are the best Android phones on the market, with their slick design, featuring minimal bezel, curved screens, a new aspect ratio, and industry-leading displays. These phones have huge displays, but they don't feel huge, thanks to the fact that they're thinner than other big phones. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also have phenomenal cameras, both rear and front, offering excellent image quality, thanks to updated processors.

You can get the Galaxy S8 starting at $31.50/month and the Galaxy S8+ starting at $35.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Before it was dethroned by the Galaxy S8, the Google Pixel was the best Android phone around and still is one of the best money can buy. Featuring Google's "pure" Android software and being the first Android phone with Google Assistant, the Pixel reshaped the Android landscape.

The Pixel has a metal body that feels well-made in the hand, and the software experience is clean and straightforward. The Pixel's camera is definitely one of the best Android phone cameras available and still competes with the other top options.

You can get a Pixel starting at $27.08/month from Verizon.

LG V20

LG V20

If you'd like a large phone, then check out LG's V20. It has a gorgeous 5.7-inch QHD display, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage, making it an excellent phone for power users. It features a removable battery, two rear cameras, and Second Screen notifications, as well as easy-to-reach shortcuts (which are super important if you're using a big phone and have smaller hands).

Each of the V20's two rear cameras has its own focal length, which can help you create some stunning effects, making this the perfect phone for avid photographers who don't feel like lugging around their DSLR.

You can get the LG V20 starting at $24/month from Verizon.

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Best deals on Verizon

Verizon's best deal right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8 for as little as $15/month or the Galaxy S8+ for as little as $20/month. To be eligible, you need to port in your number from another carrier, sign up for Verizon's Unlimited plan, and trade in an eligible phone.

Learn more

If you're not in for a premium device and just want a phone that you can surf the web with, and you aren't concerned with performance or cameras or anything like that, then Verizon has a range of budget smartphones that you can get for free or $5/month.

Learn more

How to cancel Verizon

The absolute easiest way to cancel Verizon is to switch providers and have your new carrier port your number over. That's really it. Depending on your plan, Verizon may charge you an early termination fee. You may also have to buy out any devices for which you still owe.

Verizon like to make things a bit difficult on you if you're trying to cancel, but if you'd rather speak with a service rep you can do one of the following:

  • Call Verizon's customer service line at 1-800-837-4966
  • Talk to someone in person at a Verizon store near you.

How to unlock a Verizon Wireless phone

Looking to leave Verizon but want to take your phone with you? Well, Verizon may not let you bring your own phone (or makes it very hard to, anyway), but you can definitely take your phone with you.

From Verizon's site:

We do not lock most phones or tablets that are activated with our postpay service, either during or after the term of your service contract or Edge installment sales agreement. We do not lock our 4G LTE devices, and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier.

So you should be able to take just about any phone you have from Verizon and use it with another carrier, though you'll want to check eligibility with the other carrier before signing up.

Finding an alternative carrier that uses Verizon's service

Alternative carriers or mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are carriers that lease coverage from the Big Four carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile). Verizon doesn't have too many MVNOs under its belt, but if you enjoy Verizon's coverage and are perhaps seeking cheaper plans, then you should consider switching to an MVNO.

Big players in the alternative carrier market that use Verizon's network are Credo Mobile, Straight Talk, and Tracfone, but there are a few others to consider.

Just keep in mind that many alternative carriers lease coverage from multiple networks, so depending on your plan you may not actually be connected to Verizon's network.

Complete list of Verizon MVNOs

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2 weeks ago

Best Small Android Phone

Update, May 2017: The Google Pixel is still the best small phone you can buy, if you can find it, so we've added the Moto G5 and Huawei P10 to the list to offer more choice.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

Like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google's Pixel comes in two sizes: Really Big and Just Right. The latter is the Google Pixel with a 5-inch Full HD display that fits comfortably in the palm of any hand.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. Its 2770mAh battery might not seem like much compared to other phones its size, but with its 1080p display and Nougat's revamped Doze mode, you'll likely be seeing a little bit more on-screen time than other devices in its class. The Pixel's 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also still really impressive, even when compared to the abilities of the newer Galaxy S8.

Bottom line: If you're looking for Google's Android in a compact size, the Pixel is it.

One more thing: It's pretty difficult to find the Pixel right now, which Google is aware of. In the event you can't find stock, we heartily recommend the Galaxy S7.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

It's Google in a handheld smartphone.

Google's Nexus devices feel like a relic of the past compared to its new Pixel lineup. The 5-inch Pixel is a particularly attractive package for anyone looking for a premium Android experience without all the extra software fluff. And so what if it sort of looks like the iPhone? It also comes in a really attractive Really Blue color.

Its performance is impressive, too, especially for a stock Android device. Its rear-facing camera produces some impressive photos and you can easily back them up with unlimited Google Photo storage. What's more: Google Assistant baked into the operating system is still impressive, not to mention it's become quite robust overtime.

Best alternative

Samsung Galaxy S7

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

Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you know that the Galaxy S7 is one of the biggest hits of the year. The flagship smartphone features a stunning metal-and-glass unibody design that's both water resistant and comfortable to wield. On the inside, it's fueled by top-end internals, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers solid battery life and an impressive rear-facing camera that you can confidently utilize as your primary shooter. Best of all, the Galaxy S7's screen is a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, so even though it's a smaller screen, you'll still get stunning, TV-like quality from the dullest of YouTube videos.

Bottom line: If you're looking to adopt one of the best compact smartphones available, get the Galaxy S7.

One More thing: This highly-rated device is available at all four major carriers in the U.S., but if you'd rather live dangerously and contract-free, Samsung offers an unlocked model that also works overseas.

Best for camera buffs

Huawei P10

See at Amazon

Not feeling what Samsung and Google have to offer? Try the Huawei P10 instead. This 5.1-inch device comes packed with a whole host of goodies, including 64GB of storage, Android 7.0, and a dual camera that's made in partnership with Leica. The P10 also boasts a new portrait mode, which works a lot like what you see produced by your friends who utilize it on the iPhone 7 Plus, and it's equipped with optical image stabilization, too. All this runs on Huawei's own Kirin 960 processor and 3200mAh of all-day battery.

Bottom-line: The Huawei P10 is a worthy choice if a good camera and all-day battery life are you main concern.

One more thing: The Huawei P10 will only work with GSM carriers. Verizon and Sprint are not compatible with this phone.

Best affordable phone

Moto G5

See at Amazon

Have you heard? Motorola's gone full metal and it's covered its budget line in metal, too. The Moto G5 is a 5-inch device with smooth performance and decent 13-megapixel camera hardware. It comes with Android 7.0 right out of the box, too, and a removable battery. It's sold unlocked, so you can use it with any T-Mobile or AT&T SIM in the U.S., as well as overseas with other networks.

Bottom-line: The Moto G5 is an excellent choice if you're looking for an affordable unlocked phone in a compact size.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the Moto G5 isn't equipped with NFC, so you can't use Android Pay for wireless payments.

Best "really tiny" phone

Xperia X Compact

See at Amazon

Bet you didn't think we'd offer up a Sony smartphone as a choice, but the Xperia X Compact is worth the consideration—especially if you're looking for something that's under five inches. Inside, the Xperia X Compact runs on mid-range Snapdragon 650, 3GB of RAM, and a 2,700mAh battery. It's equipped with a 720p IPS display, though that's all you really need from a 4.6-inch screen. It also supports Quick Charge 3.0, so that you can quickly charge it up during your layover, and it offers a solid 23-megapixel rear-facing camera with laser autofocus.

Bottom-line: The Xperia X Compact is great for anyone who's been grumbling that smartphones are just too big in this day and age.

One more thing: Sony's got a pretty good legacy of smartphone updates, even on older devices.

Conclusion

Folks, if you're looking for a compact smartphone that's got as much power and capability as the laptop on your desk, the Pixel is the way to go. It's the perfect representation of the way Google wants you to use Android. And it's a mere 5 inches, which makes it comfortable enough for a variety of hand sizes. It's also got Google Assistant, which is quickly morphing into something more than just a cool trick to show your friends.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

Like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google's Pixel comes in two sizes: Really Big and Just Right. The latter is the Google Pixel with a 5-inch Full HD display that fits comfortably in the palm of any hand.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. Its 2770mAh battery might not seem like much compared to other phones its size, but with its 1080p display and Nougat's revamped Doze mode, you'll likely be seeing a little bit more on-screen time than other devices in its class. The Pixel's 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also still really impressive, even when compared to the abilities of the newer Galaxy S8.

Bottom line: If you're looking for Google's Android in a compact size, the Pixel is it.

One more thing: It's pretty difficult to find the Pixel right now, which Google is aware of. In the event you can't find stock, we heartily recommend the Galaxy S7.

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2 weeks ago

BlackBerry KEYone one-week challenge: Can it be a daily driver?

66

The KEYone isn't just another Android phone; it's a BlackBerry lover's dream phone and, for many younger people, a completely new way to input text on a phone. That's why we tasked our newest reviewer, Jacklyn Dallas, with using the KEYone for a week as her daily driver to see how it stacked up. Her results were... interesting.

Follow Jacklyn as she explores the BlackBerry KEYone from unboxing to uncovering all of its nuances! And then go say hi and welcome her in the comments!

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2 weeks ago

128GB OnePlus 3T goes out of stock as OnePlus 5 teasers emerge [Update]

40

OnePlus shifts focus to its 2017 flagship.

The 128GB version of the OnePlus 3T is seeing supply shortages globally, and according to Dutch publication Tweakers, it is because the variant is discontinued by the Chinese manufacturer. The reasoning behind the move could be a simple one: Samsung ended production of the 128GB UFS 2.0 storage module used in the device, prompting OnePlus to discontinue the model.

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2 weeks ago

Best Samsung Galaxy S8 Deals for May 2017

37

Where is the best place to buy a Galaxy S8 right now? Let's find out!

Updated May, 2017: Samsung is also offering 6 months of Netflix and a 64GB microSD card for a limited time.

Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are the company's latest smartphones, and as of right now they haven't even hit the market. If you're the type that likes to stay on the breaking edge of technology, you're probably looking to get your order in sooner than later, so that you can have one when it becomes available. Whether the smaller one is what interests you, or the larger display that pushes the limits even further speaks to you, the last thing you want to do is not find the best deal to buy one.

Pre-orders are available already at a number of retailers and carriers, so let's take a look at who is offering what, so you know where to go to when you're ready to place your order. Currently, Samsung's big promotion is a free Gear VR & Oculus Controller, but some retailers are offering other incentives as well.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Your favorite deals?

Have you come across any deals that aren't listed here? If so, be sure to drop a note in the comments with a link to the deal so others can check it out as well!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

OnePlus 5 rumor roundup

11

Everything we know about the OnePlus 5.

OnePlus has had a pretty good year, what with the success of its OnePlus 3 and 3T phones and some massive overhauls internally that, against all odds, led to improvements to its Oxygen OS software, with more frequent updates.

Now we're seeing the first signs that a sequel is in the company's future and that OnePlus is skipping the "4" name altogether and readying flagship successor, the OnePlus 5. Here's everything we know so far.

What will it be called?

The one thing we know without a doubt is the phone's name: OnePlus confirmed to Android Central that its next phone will be called OnePlus 5. We've also seen a promotional photo (above) from the company's CEO, Pete Lau, teasing the name.

Why would OnePlus skip the OnePlus 4 name? Because in Chinese culture, the number four is considered bad luck when attached to a product — and besides, the OnePlus 3T is sort of a fourth OnePlus, so there's that angle, too.

When will it be available?

The OnePlus 5 will be available some time in the "early summer", according to the company, which confirmed that approximate timeframe to Android Central. While that could mean as early as late May, we're thinking it's likely going to be closer to early to mid-June, which would align with last year's June 14th OnePlus 3 announcement.

OnePlus, because it doesn't have much overhead, selling the majority of its devices through its e-commerce store, may put the OnePlus 5 on sale the same day it is announced, which would give its early adopters something to look forward to.

What are the specs?

The specs of the OnePlus 5 aren't clear just yet, but there are a few elements we know and a couple others, based on leaks, we can pretty accurately guess.

Here's what we know so far:

Category spec Operating System Oxygen OS based on Android 7.1.2 Display 5.5-inch AMOLED
2560x1440 pixel Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Adreno 540 GPU RAM 6GB LPDDR4 (8GB in some markets) Storage 64GB storage (128GB in some markets) Expandable No Rear Camera Dual 12MP camera sensors Front Camera TBD Audio 3.5 mm headphone Battery ~3600 mAh
Non-removable Charging USB-C
Dash Charge Water resistance TBD (probably not) Wireless charging TBD (probably not) Security Front fingerprint sensor Dimensions TBD Weight TBD

I wouldn't be so sure about an 8GB version for North America.

Breaking it down a little more, there are a few variables to keep in mind. We know that the phone will launch with a Snapdragon 835 processor, because of course it will. OnePlus has launched all four of its flagships with that year's canonical Qualcomm SoC, and this year will likely be no exception. The OnePlus 3 had 6GB of RAM, so you can expect that same number in the OnePlus 5; it also came standard with 64GB of internal storage, so you can expect that, too. I wouldn't put too much credence in the idea that it will ship with 128GB standard, nor that it will come with 8GB of RAM. We're not there yet, and OnePlus gains little from offering those in a base configuration.

We've heard that there may be an 8GB/128GB variant of the OnePlus 5 for China, specifically, which makes a lot of sense since that country is obsessed with maxing out what's possible in a phone, but I wouldn't count on it coming to North America. It's possible OnePlus will, instead, offer a 6GB/128GB or even a 6GB/256GB model in North America for $50 or so more.

On the screen front, we're hearing that OnePlus will keep its 5.5-inch display size and that, while the screen will do away with as much of the top and bottom bezels as possible, it will keep the front fingerprint sensor, and may also maintain the OnePlus 3 series' 1080p resolution. From a battery-saving perspective, it would make sense to keep the OnePlus 5 at 1080p, especially if the AMOLED panel used is of very high quality — even devices like the Huawei Mate 9 have fantastic screens despite relatively low pixel densities — but given that most competing phones have upgraded to 2560x1440 or an equivalent QHD resolution at various aspect ratios, it would make sense for OnePlus to do the same.

A dual camera setup on the OnePlus 5 could be its most exciting feature.

At either resolution, we'll likely see the OnePlus 5 support Google's Daydream VR platform, which will make for another popular handset in the category.

The camera on the OnePlus 5 is expected to be cameras. OnePlus is rumored to be adopting the popular dual camera trend, with two identical 12-megapixel rear sensors. It's unclear at this point whether the lenses will be of different focal lengths, but either way you can expect some cool camera tricks and an overall improved photo taking experience. What would be cool is to see a OnePlus 5 with the same wide-angle lens as the LG G6, since I think a lot more people would be interested in that than the "telephoto" distance of something like the iPhone 7 Plus. An improved front-facing camera, likely with autofocus, is also in the cards.

Finally, another big upgrade is to the battery. While the OnePlus 3T already saw an improved capacity, from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh, the OnePlus 5 is expected to pack a 3,580 to 3,600mAh cell. That could translate, along with the more-efficient Snapdragon 835, to much better battery life.

A few odds and ends

  • Despite rumors to the contrary, there's no reason to think that OnePlus will drop the headphone jack from this year's unit.
  • We haven't heard whether OnePlus will add waterproofing to this year's flagship, but the company would be doing itself a huge disservice by going another year without it.
  • Wireless charging? Not likely, especially if the metal design from the OnePlus 3 series shows up again, which we think it will.
  • There's no reason to think that the mute switch will disappear, given that it's become a sort-of OnePlus signature, and it has a lot of very loyal fans.
  • Dual speakers? Not this year.
  • Removable battery? gtfo

What will it look like?

As mentioned above, the OnePlus 5 is probably not going to look too different from its predecessor — don't expect the same jump that we saw from the OnePlus 2 to the OnePlus 3. Instead, you can be sure that OP is going to go out of its way to shrink the phone as much as possible without sacrificing usability. Front-facing fingerprint sensor? Sure, but you'll probably see space-savings elsewhere on the device.

You can probably take for granted that the popular Midnight Black color will make a return with the OnePlus 5, even though it may not be offered as a launch color.

What about the software?

Expect another iteration of Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 5, launched with a slightly updated version of what we currently have on the OnePlus 3 and 3T, running Android 7.1.2. The phone will launch long before Android O is public.

Oxygen OS has turned into quite the capable piece of Android software, and while it's unclear whether the OnePlus 5 will have any distinctive hardware elements that change up the software experience, what is clear is the company's desire to keep Android as simple and fast as possible, while relegating the gimmicks to the background.

What about software updates?

OnePlus doesn't have a great track record of maintaining updates for longer than a year or so — the OnePlus 2 still doesn't have Nougat despite a number of promises — but the OnePlus 3 and 3T are still getting regular updates well into their lifespans, and after a somewhat close call on a promise to get Android 7.0 by the end of 2016, the phones are now seeing new software regularly.

In other words, we don't know. Hopefully, OnePlus will keep the OnePlus 5 updated long into its lifespan, but we have more confidence in its ability to do just that than we did a year ago.

What will it cost?

Judging from the minor price bump between the OnePlus 3 and 3T, coupled with rising component costs throughout the world, the OnePlus 5 may cost somewhere between $449 and $469, which puts it creepingly close, but still far below, the flagships that it's competing against. At $399, the OnePlus 3 was a serious contender for "amazingly cheap"; at $439, the OnePlus 3T is just "inexpensive". A OnePlus 5 at $469 would be close to "Should I spend the extra money on another phone?" Still approachable, and maybe even affordable, but losing its pricing edge.

Anything else?

We'll have lots more on the OnePlus 5 when it's unveiled in "early summer," which is getting here sooner than later! In the meantime, check out our OnePlus 3T coverage and let us know what you want in OnePlus's new flagship!

OnePlus is doing everything right lately

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

OnePlus Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Galaxy S8 gets red screen fix in the UK

9
GS8 red screen

426MB update likely contains other minor fixes.

After Canada and the U.S., Samsung's "fix" for the red screen tint issue affecting some Galaxy S8 owners is now rolling out to unlocked handsets in the UK. The update to software version G950FOXM1AQDG and G955FOXM1AQDG, for the S8 and S8+ respectively, started rolling out on unlocked S8 models this morning. The update weighs in at 426MB, so it's likely Samsung has bundled other minor fixes into the OTA.

According to Samsung's official changelog, the update brings "improved color optimization and convenient color adjustment" — which translates to a fix for whatever was causing some S8 displays to show a reddish hue, and an easier way to tweak the overall color balance in the Display Settings menu.

For what it's worth, the Android security patch level remains unchanged on 1 April 2017 — no sign of that May security patch yet.

And it's worth remembering that carrier-branded Galaxy S8 phones will likely lag behind today's unlocked rollout by a few days or weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

Samsung is selling the Galaxy C7 Pro for ₹25,990 for Amazon Prime members

0

Prime subscribers in India can pick up the Galaxy C7 Pro for a ₹2,000 discount.

Samsung is aggressively promoting its latest mid-range device in India, the Galaxy C7 Pro. The phone made its debut in the country last month for ₹27,990, with availability exclusive to Amazon India. Samsung is now rolling out an offer where Amazon Prime members can get the phone for ₹25,990, a discount of ₹2,000 from its launch price.

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