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2 weeks ago

What's in Alex's 2017 gear bag?

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Alex Gear bag

Find out what I pack when it's time to go places and do things!

I'm skipping CES this year, but that doesn't mean I'm staying put entirely. Throughout most of 2016 — and into the new year — I've been back and forth to events and product launches on the other side of the Atlantic.

And just like the rest of the AC team, when it's time to hit the road, I have my own preferred loadout of gear. Some of this stuff will be making way for newer, upgraded equipment in the run up to Mobile World Congress this February, but for the moment, here's what I'm using.

Behold, my gear bag, and the technology which lurks within.

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2 weeks ago

Honor 6X faces an uphill battle in India's competitive budget segment

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Honor wants a piece of the budget market in India.

Huawei sub-brand Honor unveiled the Honor 6X late last night at CES, and the handset will make its way to India before the end of the month. The phone will go up for sale in the fiercely-contested budget segment as Huawei looks to increase its presence in the country.

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2 weeks ago

New Android 7.1.1 builds bring Jan security patch to Pixel, Nexus devices

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New month means new Android 7.1.1 builds for Nexus and Pixel devices!

Google has released new Android 7.1.1 builds for the two Pixel models and several Nexus devices, including the Nexus 6P, 5X, 9, Player and Pixel C.

The new builds bring the requisite bug fixes that we all know and love, along with nearly 50 security updates bundled in the January 2017 (happy new year!) security patch. Pixel owners should look for Build NMF26U or NMF26V depending on the variant ("V" is for Verizon), while Nexus and Pixel C users can look for N4F26J or N4F26I.

As always, the updates are available in factory images or OTA updates, the latter of which can be easily sideloaded using ADB.

The January 2017 Security Bulletin details a number of vulnerabilities that have been patched, both within Android itself and from third-party vendors like Qualcomm and NVIDIA.

How to download and install Nougat on your Pixel or Nexus right now

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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2 weeks ago

Honor 6X specs: Kirin 655 processor, 3GB RAM and 5.5-inch display

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The Honor 6X definitely isn't a powerhouse.

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As you'd expect for an inexpensive unlocked phone — starting at just $249 — the Honor 6X doesn't exactly push the envelope with its internal specs. Just like the Honor 5X that came before it you get a mix of newer mid-range chips and a few older components, which overall line up to get the job done but won't wow you.

That means you get a mid-range processor, just a 1080p display, Micro-USB for charging and no extra bells and whistles, but in exchange you get an ample 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, as well as a fingerprint sensor and a large 3340 mAh battery. Read on for the full list of Honor 6X specs.

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2 weeks ago

Honor 6X vs. Honor 5X vs. Honor 8: What's the difference?

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Honor 6X vs. Honor 8

A new budget offering takes a step up from the Honor 5X, but slots comfortably underneath the Honor 8.

Honor carved out a nice little niche for itself when it came to the U.S. officially with the Honor 5X, and then followed it up with a much higher-end device in the Honor 8. Now a full year on from the Honor 5X launch we have a proper successor, the Honor 6X. So how does the new Honor 6X compare to both its predecessor the 5X and the mid-range anchor the 8? Here's a quick breakdown.

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2 weeks ago

Honor 6X hands-on preview: Great hardware desperately waiting for a software update

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Honor is still attempting to make strides in the U.S., but is the 6X compelling enough?

You really have to hand it to Honor. Huawei's millennial-focused offshoot is still spitting out smartphones despite the relatively tepid reception of its previous two devices in the U.S. Remember, Honor has no carrier backing stateside, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the brood. It's unlikely that the launch of the Honor 6X, the smartphone announced at this year's CES, will do much to move the needle either.

Regardless, that's not a reason to write it off. The Honor 6X is a compelling device, even though it's not as sparkly and showy as its flagship sibling, the Honor 8. Pricing has yet to be finalized, but what we've previewed of the Honor 6X is a fair reminder of what Huawei's capable of when it throws a device into the ring — and that's offering major bang for your buck. This midrange device may run on middle-of-the-road hardware, but it really does offer more than the average smartphone in its price point (sub-$250). Now, if it only the company had the marketing to get that point across.

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2 weeks ago

Will my phone get updated to Android 7.x Nougat?

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Jerry looks into his crystal ball and asks: Will your phone get an Android 7.x update?

It's time for a new version of Android, and that means I also get to make my yearly predictions about updates. Fun times!

Now, to be sure, unless a manufacturer has already committed to updating an existing phone, these are simply (mostly) educated guesses. We base them on a company's track record, the capabilities of the phone itself, and the number of phones a company makes. It's sort of like a blogger version of reading tea leaves and calling the bookmakers. And it's fun. Even when we get it wrong it's fun.

Since we're here because we are interested in Android, and most of us like to have a little fun, let's jump right in and answer the million dollar question — will my phone get updated to Android 7.x Nougat?

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2 weeks ago

New BlackBerry with hardware keyboard to launch during CES

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A new BlackBerry is coming.

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We knew it was coming, but BlackBerry's long-awaited 'Mercury' handset is set to be announced at CES.

A teaser of the keyboard-sporting BlackBerry handset, which is now designed, overseen and built by TCL, Alcatel's parent company, was shown by Steve Cistulli, President of TCL, prior to the start of CES.

In mid-December, BlackBerry and TCL formalized their relationship, officially making the Canadian outfit a software company. TCL will still release BlackBerry-branded handsets, for which the former telecom giant will build the Android software.

According to previous rumors, the new keyboarded "Mercury" will feature an unusual 1620x1080 resolution with a 420 ppi pixel density, which works out to a 4.63-inch display size. There's also expected to be a Snapdragon processor of some sort (perhaps the 625), 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage.

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2 weeks ago

Best Cases for LG V20

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What are the best cases for the LG V20?

Life is full of unfortunate surprises, which is why you want to be prepared in case you drop your sparkling clean LG V20 onto the ground. Protect your new smartphone with one of these affordable insurance plans.

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2 weeks ago

With Nougat update, OnePlus 3T finally feels like a complete thought

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OnePlus 3T Nougat

OnePlus's new flagship shines with Android 7.0 — a phone that's almost as good as the Pixel for a whole lot less cash.

I have a confession to make: I've had a OnePlus 3T for the past month or so, but for most of that time it's been collecting dust on my desk. The main reason for that has been software; I've been spoiled by phones like the Google Pixel and Huawei Mate 9, which have shipped with the new Android 7.0 Nougat, while the 3T arrived running the increasingly dated Marshmallow.

The new version of Android is, in essence, a collection of smaller upgrades which combine to form an experience greater than the sum of its parts. In a phone that I'm going to use as a daily driver, a lot of this has to do with information density — I much, much prefer Nougat's more compact, bundled notifications, and the ability to scale the entire UI to a size of my choosing, letting me see more on screen. Then there are added features like split-screen multi-window, which I don't use every day, but are immensely useful on phones with larger displays.

And the lack of all this stuff was what made using the 3T really difficult for me — until now.

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2 weeks ago

ASUS' upcoming ZenFone will be powered by the Snapdragon 835, launching at CES

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ASUS' upcoming phone will feature the Snapdragon 835 and dual cameras.

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Ahead of CES, ASUS is teasing an upcoming phone in the ZenFone series that will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC. In a tweet, the company revealed that it will unveil a phone powered by the 10nm SoC later this week.

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2 weeks ago

Vivo's upcoming phone in India will offer dual front cameras

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Get ready to raise your selfie game.

Vivo launched the V5 in India late last year, and the company is now getting ready to introduce the V5 Plus in the country on January 23. The invite sent out to the media contains the tagline, "Block your date for the biggest selfie camera revolution," and an accompanying image suggests we'll see a dual camera setup at the front.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung unveils Galaxy A 2017 series, adds water resistance and 16MP cameras

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New models bring a slew of new features to Samsung's mid-range series.

Samsung has unveiled the 2017 refresh of the Galaxy A series. The Galaxy A3 2017, A5 2017, and A7 2017 will be up for sale in Russia and select Asian markets starting later this month, followed by availability in Europe in February. There are a lot of interesting additions in this year's refresh, but three features stand out: IP68 water resistance, USB-C connectivity, and 16MP front and rear cameras.

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2 weeks ago

Best Xiaomi Phones

The manufacturer you may have rarely heard of is making some great devices.

Xiaomi is a smartphone manufacturer that is growing in stature day-by-day, despite having virtually no physical presence outside of Asia. Sales of its phones in territories including India and its native China have propelled the relatively young company into the top five smartphone manufacturers in the world. Impressive, certainly, and it seems Xiaomi is set to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the higher reaches of the smartphone market.

And yet while so many may have heard the name, the phones are still relatively alien to many in the West. Xiaomi has a reputation for building devices that are an extremely good value without cutting corners in the process. If you're interested in picking up a Xiaomi phone or just interested in the brand, these are the phones you'll need to know about.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung concludes Note 7 investigation, will share its findings this month

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We'll finally get to know why the Note 7 blew up.

Shortly after discontinuing the Note 7 in October, Samsung launched an investigation to identify the root cause behind the fires. Samsung initially thought the battery was at fault, which is why it recalled the initial batch of Note 7 units and restarted sales with batteries from another supplier. When those phones also started to explode, the company had to discontinue the device altogether.

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