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3 weeks ago

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Moto G4 Plus: Same price, different strategies

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Redmi Note 4 vs. Moto G4 Plus

Two of the best budget phones go head-to-head.

The Moto G series paved the way for affordable phones. The current-generation Moto G4 Plus offers significant upgrades from its predecessor in the form of a fingerprint sensor and a vastly improved camera, while sticking to the same pricing model.

The same holds true for the Redmi Note 4. Xiaomi's meteoric rise in recent years is because of the success of its budget Redmi series, which catapulted the manufacturer to third place in India's handset segment.

The Redmi Note series, in particular, has led the way forward for the brand, with the Redmi Note 3 becoming one of the best-selling phones in the country last year. With the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi introduced subtle improvements in the imaging and design departments, turning the device into a more compelling handset.

India is Motorola's largest global market, and as such there's a lot at stake. Read on to find out if the Moto G4 Plus can hold its own next to the Redmi Note 4.

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3 weeks ago

Huawei Mate 9: A good phone that won't sell

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Are you interested in the Huawei Mate 9? Yes? Great! It's not a bad phone! It's just I don't expect you to actually buy it. Even at a competitively priced $599, I expect it to sell… just okay. Maybe you, the person reading this article and watching this video, maybe you will buy it. You're a discerning consumer. You're prepared to go looking for a phone outside the Galaxy and iPhone consumer market. It's the normals I'm talking about. And that's too bad.

I'm Michael Fisher, AKA MrMobile, and despite the doom and gloom, I like the Mate 9. Not as much as I like Huawei's Honor 8, but I mean it when I say this is a positive review. For a positive review that actually sounds like one, check out Android Central's review by Alex Dobie.

Stay social, my friends

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3 weeks ago

OnePlus and Meizu have been cheating benchmarks for some reason

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Why are manufacturers still cheating on benchmarks?

An XDA Developers investigation in cooperation with our friends at Primate Labs, the company behind the excellent Geekbench test suite for Android, has uncovered a vast conspiracy of benchmarking infractions across thousands of Android devices.

OK, that's not entirely true, but it sounds good, right? In reality, it was discovered that, as Samsung, HTC and others were found to be doing a number of years ago, OnePlus and Meizu have been activating "performance" modes on their flagships, the OnePlus 3T and Meizu Pro 6 Plus, when entering some CPU and GPU benchmarks. From XDA:

We came to the conclusion that OnePlus must be targeting specific applications. Our hypothesis was that OnePlus was targeting these benchmarks by name, and was entering an alternate CPU scaling mode to pump up their benchmark scores.

The OnePlus 3T was looking for Geekbench, AnTuTu, Androbench, Quadrant, Vellamo, and GFXBench. As by this point we had fairly clear evidence that OnePlus was engaging in benchmark cheating.

XDA Developers worked with Primate Labs to obtain a special build of Geekbench that wouldn't trigger the cheating, and found significant performance differences and, of course, higher overall temperatures as a result. Similar results were found with the Meizu Pro 6 Plus, which isn't popular outside of China.

For its part, OnePlus says that there was no malice intended in the optimizations, and that they were meant to improve overall game performance, not benchmarks, at the expense of a bit more heat output and battery usage. A future build will remove the benchmark optimizations.

Of course, a level playing field is necessary in an industry where benchmarks, for a small number of users, inform buying decisions, but we always recommend looking at the entire device — not just the speed of its cores — as a measure for purchase.

Benchmark Cheating Strikes Back: How OnePlus and Others Got Caught Red-Handed, and What They've Done About it

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

OnePlus Amazon

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3 weeks ago

Why the Google Pixel is the best Android phone

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There's no shortage of great Android phones out there — here at Android Central we're often bouncing between different devices as we review new phones. But eventually you've got to pick one winner — the best Android phone overall. And right now, in early 2017, that's the Google Pixel, which shares the honor with its big brother the Pixel XL.

We've laid out all the reasons why the Pixel is the best of the best in our video feature. Check it out above, and be sure to hit our Pixel written review for all the details.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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3 weeks ago

Alleged Xiaomi Redmi Pro 2 leak reveals 6GB RAM, 4500mAh battery

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First Redmi Pro 2 leak gives us a look at the alleged hardware.

Xiaomi rolled out the Redmi Pro last year in China, offering an OLED display and dual cameras at the back. It looks like a new model in the series is slated to make its debut, according to a leak originating out of China. The leak suggests that the Redmi Pro 2 will feature a 5.5-inch Full HD display, single camera at the back — albeit with a better Sony IMX362 sensor with 1.4µm pixel and Dual Pixel autofocus — and a 4500mAh battery.

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3 weeks ago

Samsung sold fewer phones than Apple in Q4 2016; OPPO and Huawei see huge gains

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The latest global smartphone shipment numbers highlight the increasing dominance of Chinese manufacturers.

Apple shipped 78.3 million iPhones in Q4 2016, surpassing Samsung to take the crown as the world's number one smartphone vendor. According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung saw its shipments decline from 81.3 million in Q4 2015 to 77.5 million last quarter, largely due to the termination of the Galaxy Note 7. That said, the South Korean manufacturer shipped 309.4 million smartphones over the course of 2016, outmatching Apple's 215.4 million shipments.

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3 weeks ago

OnePlus 3 vs. OnePlus 3T: Which phone should you buy in India?

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OnePlus 3 vs. OnePlus 3T

Unable to decide between the OnePlus 3 and the newer OnePlus 3T? We're here to help.

OnePlus moved away from its usual summer release window last year by unveiling the OnePlus 3T in November — five months after the launch of the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3T is a mid-cycle refresh, offering a slightly faster SoC, 128GB storage option, larger battery, and a new front camera, accompanied by a minor price bump to the tune of $40.

OnePlus has since discontinued the older OnePlus 3 in most markets, and is now selling just the 3T. However, that isn't the case in India, where both the OnePlus 3 and 3T are up for sale on Amazon, OnePlus' exclusive sales partner in the country.

The OnePlus 3 is available for its launch price of ₹27,999 ($410), with the newer OnePlus 3T debuting for ₹29,999 ($440). The OnePlus 3 is sold in Graphite and Soft Gold color options, and the OnePlus 3T is available in a Gunmetal variant along with the Soft Gold option. Below are the major differences.

Category OnePlus 3T OnePlus 3 Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Quad-core 2.35 GHz
Adreno 530 GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Quad-core 2.2 GHz
Adreno 530 GPU Storage 64/128GB 64GB Front Camera 16MP 3P8SP, 1-micron pixels
f/2.0, fixed focus
1080p video 8MP IMX179, 1.4-micron pixels
f/2.0, fixed focus
1080p video Battery 3400 mAh
Non-removable 3000 mAh
Non-removable Colors Gunmetal
Soft gold Silver
Soft gold Price $439 (64GB)
$479 (128GB) $399 (64GB)

Newer hardware, same software

OnePlus 3 vs. OnePlus 3T

Visually, the OnePlus 3T is identical to the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3 didn't break new ground with its minimalist aluminum design, but it set the bar for other mid-range phones thanks to its execution.

The craftsmanship and premium design made the OnePlus 3 stand out in this segment, and the same holds true for the OnePlus 3T. If anything, the gunmetal color option makes the phone look even more gorgeous.

Along with hardware similarities, both phones are on the same update cadence, and run the same version of OxygenOS. Both devices have picked up the Nougat update, and the user interface is clean and devoid of any bloat.

You do get a lot of customizability in the form of gestures, a system-wide dark mode, and other additions, but for the most part, OxygenOS is uncluttered and a lot of fun to use.

Similar camera, larger battery

OnePlus 3 vs. OnePlus 3T

The back camera is the same on both the OnePlus 3 and 3T, but it's the front camera where you'll notice a difference between the two devices. The OnePlus 3T has a 16MP sensor up front, an upgrade from the 8MP unit on the OnePlus 3. Photos from the rear camera are identical on both devices, and although the front camera is of a higher resolution on the OnePlus 3T, it doesn't lead to better photos.

OnePlus 3OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3 on the left, OnePlus 3T on the right.

The 3400mAh battery on the OnePlus 3T is 13% larger than the 3000mAh unit on the OnePlus 3, and it makes a difference in day-to-day usage. There were times when the battery life on the OnePlus 3 was flaky, but the OnePlus 3T lasted a day consistently without fail.

In situations where you need to top up the phone quickly, you can turn to Dash Charge. OnePlus's proprietary charging tech is amazing, offering ridiculously-fast charging times. The only drawback is that you need to carry the OnePlus charger to use it.

Dash Charge offloads a bulk of the charging circuitry to the charger, and as a result you won't get lightning-quick charging speeds without it. That said, you can it to rejuvenate your other devices around the house, since it's backwards compatible with regular USB charging standards.

Which should you buy? OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3 vs. OnePlus 3T

If you're looking to buy a OnePlus phone, it's an easy choice: just get the OnePlus 3T. The OnePlus 3 turned out to be one of the best phones in the mid-range segment, and the updates to the OnePlus 3T make it an even more compelling device.

For under ₹30,000, there isn't a handset available today that offers as much as the OnePlus 3T. The 128GB variant is costlier at ₹34,999, and if you're one to store a lot of media locally, the higher-storage variant is a better option considering the phone doesn't have a microSD slot. Either way, you're buying the best mid-range phone available in the market today.

See at Amazon

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

OnePlus Amazon

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3 weeks ago

Best Cases for Huawei Mate 9

3

What are the best cases you can buy for the Huawei Mate 9?

The Huawei Mate 9 is a big phone, but just because it's well-made — full of precisely-machined metal and Gorilla Glass — doesn't mean it is unbreakable. If you're concerned about damaging this new-to-the-U.S. smartphone, here are some picks for the best cases you can buy right now.

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3 weeks ago

Pixel 2: A Google phone for the post-bezel generation?

161
Pixel XL

The first round of Pixel 2 rumors claim an entirely predictable array of upgrades. What's going to make the next-gen Googlephones exciting?

Google's first Pixel phones are barely 3 months old, but already we're starting to hear the first rumors of what the next generation of Pixels will bring. Reports from 9to5 point to (entirely unsurprising) improvements to the camera and CPU, along with a slight price bump and possible water resistance.

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3 weeks ago

How to enable lock screen notifications on the Huawei Mate 9

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Here's how to add app notifications to the Huawei Mate 9 lock screen and fix one of the phone's biggest out-of-the-box issues.

I really like the Huawei Mate 9. It's a great phone with a lot of things going for it. But one of the things that, by default, is missing from the phone is lock screen notifications — those incredibly useful cards that let you know, when you turn on the display, what's coming through.

By default, most apps have their notifications disabled in EMUI 5.0, as Huawei aims to keep the lock screen clean and to force people to unlock their device to see exactly what's happening with their notifications. If you want to change that, and I suggest you do, you'll need to enable lock screen notifications manually for each app you want to see.

Here's how to do it.

How to enable lock screen notifications on the Huawei Mate 9

  1. Swipe down on the notification shade from the home screen.
  2. Tap on the Settings icon.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Apps.

     Swipe down to reveal the notification shade, tap the settings button, tap Apps

  4. Select the app you want to change from the list.
  5. Tap on Notifications.
  6. Enable Display on the lock screen.

    Tap the app you want to change, tap notifications, tap Display on the lock screen

That's it! There's one more thing you can do to customize the experience: If you want the notification on the lock screen without the actual information, you can enable the confusingly titled "When locked", right underneath the toggle above to hide the content until the phone is unlocked.

Huawei Mate 9

Jet.com Amazon

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3 weeks ago

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Redmi Note 3: Should you upgrade?

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Redmi Note 3

The Redmi Note 3 was one of the best-selling phones of 2016 in India. Can the Redmi Note 4 carry on the momentum for Xiaomi?

Xiaomi saw a revival in its fortunes in 2016 on the back of the Redmi Note 3. The phone made its debut at the start of last year for a compelling ₹9,999 for the base variant and sold over 3.6 million units in just over 10 months.

For 2017, Xiaomi is betting on the Redmi Note 4 to drive sales in the budget segment. The phone offers similar specs, but eschews the 28nm Snapdragon 650 for a more energy-efficient 14nm Snapdragon 625. Xiaomi is also offering a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for the first time, and the base variant retains the ₹9,999 price tag, while offering 32GB of onboard memory.

Xiaomi is essentially competing with itself in this segment. The Redmi Note 3 offered unmatched value for money, and Xiaomi was always going to have a difficult time coming up with a successor that outdid its best-selling phone of 2016. To that effect, Xiaomi didn't change a lot with the Redmi Note 4 in terms of the specs, instead making improvements in other areas. As such, the notable changes on the Redmi Note 4 include a better camera and polished design. Read on to find out if the changes make the Redmi Note 4 a worthy successor.

Hardware

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Redmi Note 3

There are minor design variations between the Redmi Note 3 and the Redmi Note 4. Both phones offer great metal designs with excellent build quality, but the overall finish is more polished on the newer device. The Redmi Note 3 has a matte back, while its successor sports a smoother texture. The back of the Redmi Note 4 is contoured as well, resulting in a better in-hand feel.

The Redmi Note 4 has great hardware and a premium design.

Both phones look very similar from the back, with the camera sensor, LED flash, and the fingerprint sensor aligned in a straight line. The major difference is the position of the speaker, which is located at the bottom of the Redmi Note 4.

Xiaomi has speaker grilles on either side of the microUSB port, but the phone comes with a single speaker. The grille on the left is purely for aesthetic reasons. The position of the speaker means that you can hear incoming calls, and there's a noticeable improvement in audio quality as well. The speaker gets very loud, and audio isn't distorted at high volumes.

The Redmi Note 3 has a small indent below the speaker grille to prevent the sound from getting muffled when the phone is placed on a surface, but it doesn't work in practice. With the Redmi Note 4, that particular issue has been resolved.

Category Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Operating System MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Display 5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density 5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650
Two Cortex A72 cores at 1.8GHz
Four Cortex A53 cores at 1.4GHz
28nm GPU Adreno 506 Adreno 510 RAM 2GB/3GB/4GB RAM 2GB/3GB RAM Storage 32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB 16GB/32GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB Rear camera 13MP
dual LED flash
PDAF 16MP
dual LED flash
PDAF Front shooter 5MP
1080p video recording 5MP
1080p video recording Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack Battery 4100mAh battery 4050mAh battery Fingerprint Rear fingerprint sensor Rear fingerprint sensor Dimensions 151 x 76 x 8.5mm 150 x 76 x 8.7mm Weight 175g 164g Colors Silver, Gold, Black Silver, Gold, Dark Grey


The Redmi Note 3 is offered in two storage variants — a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage for ₹9,999, and a version with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage for ₹11,999. Meanwhile, the Redmi Note 4 is sold in three configurations:

Both phones offer decent panels, with the Redmi Note 4 outmatching its predecessor in terms of overall contrast. Sunlight legibility is also better on the Redmi Note 4, and the phone does an admirable job of turning down brightness at night.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review

Xiaomi offers the ability to change color temperature and contrast levels for both phones, and you also get a blue-light filter mode and the ability to adjust font size. The Redmi Note 4 has an added trick in the form of double tap to wake, which is missing from its predecessor.

Benchmarks

Redmi Note 4 vs Redmi Note 3 benchmarks

A lot has been written about the SoC of choice on the Redmi Note 4 and how it isn't as powerful as the Snapdragon 650 on the Redmi Note 3. The issue stems from the fact that the Snapdragon 625 does not have the newer Cortex A72 cores, instead offering eight first-gen Cortex A53 cores.

The GPU is also a point of contention, with the Adreno 506 on the Redmi Note 4 said to be a downgrade from the Redmi Note 3's Adreno 510. Synthetic benchmarks also show that the Redmi Note 3 is faster both at GPU and CPU computing. That said, you won't notice any difference in day-to-day usage between the Redmi Note 3 and Redmi Note 4, with both phones offering similar performance in visually-demanding titles.

Camera

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Redmi Note 3

One of the main areas of focus for Xiaomi with the Redmi Note 4 is the camera quality. The Redmi Note 4 has a 13-megapixel camera sensor that's sourced from Samsung and Sony, while the Redmi Note 3 offers a 16MP camera. Although the resolution is less, the camera sensor is of a higher quality on the Redmi Note 4, leading to much better images.

The Redmi Note 4 wins out over its predecessor in camera quality.

Both phones have PDAF and dual-tone LED flash and are limited to 1080p video. On the front, both sport 5MP shooters.

Images from the Redmi Note 3 are washed out and lack accurate colors, and in this regard, the Redmi Note 4 fares much better. Focusing is also an issue on the Redmi Note 3, as the autofocus tends to take a while to dial in on a subject. The situation is even worse in low-light conditions, with images coming out lacking detail and full of noise.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Redmi Note 3 on the left, Redmi Note 4 on the right. Images shot in auto mode with HDR off.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 camera sampleXiaomi Redmi Note 4 camera sample

Thankfully, Xiaomi's efforts in this area have paid off, with the Redmi Note 4 excelling in brightly lit conditions and low-light scenarios. Overall, the camera on the Redmi Note 4 is a considerable upgrade from that of the Redmi Note 3, and the phone holds its own in the budget segment.

Software

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Redmi Note 3

Both the Redmi Note 4 and Redmi Note 3 run a Marshmallow-based build of MIUI 8, which continues to be highly customizable. While there are niggles on both phones, the feature-rich interface overshadows the few drawbacks.

You get a host of features including Dual Apps, Second Space, scrolling screenshot, built-in video editor, currency converter, and so much more. Xiaomi has done a great job of rolling out monthly updates, with the Redmi Note 4 on the December patch and the Redmi Note 3 on the November update. The fast release cadence of MIUI updates allows the manufacturer to bundle security patches with maintenance fixes.

Both phones run MIUI 8, but the Redmi Note 4 will receive Nougat first.

There isn't much to differentiate between either device when it comes to the software, but that changes when we talk about the update situation. The Redmi Note 4 is slated to pick up the Nougat update shortly, with Xiaomi offering a preview build for download. The Nougat update is based on MIUI 8, and as such there won't be a lot of difference visually over what's already available. That said, the update will include a retooled notification area with inline replies, multi-window mode, and mush more.

The Redmi Note 3 should also pick up the update in the coming months, but as of now there's no mention as to when it will be available for the device.

Battery life

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Redmi Note 3

Battery life on both phones is stellar on account of the large batteries and MIUI's aggressive memory management. You'll easily get a day's worth of battery on either handset, and overall, the Redmi Note 4 has a slight edge over its predecessor due to the larger 4,100mAh battery (versus 4,050mAh) and the 14nm SoC.

It isn't hard to get over 7 hours of screen-on-time on the Redmi Note 4, and if your usage involves a few hours of browsing and streaming videos, you'll easily be able to eke out two days' worth of usage from a full charge. The downside is that you don't get any fast charging options. Both phones top out at 5V/2A, which is equivalent to Quick Charge 1.0 speeds. As such, it takes up to 2 hours to fully charge either phone.

Which should you buy? Redmi Note 4

The Redmi Note 4 comes out as the clear favorite over its predecessor, thanks to the vastly improved camera, premium design, and increased battery life.

If you already have a Redmi Note 3, then it doesn't make a lot of sense to get the Redmi Note 4, unless camera quality is your primary consideration. The Redmi Note 3 has aged very well and continues to be one of the best bargains in this segment a full year and a half after its unveiling.

If you're looking to buy a new phone for under ₹15,000, the Redmi Note 4 should be high on your list. The variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage costs ₹12,999, and you'll have enough left over to pick up a few accessories.

See at Flipkart

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3 weeks ago

Let's talk about the Galaxy S8 and weird usability issues

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Seriously? They put the fingerprint scanner there???

The leak of the first live images of the Samsung Galaxy S8 has given us lots to talk about. Despite obvious family traits, the Galaxy S8 represents the biggest design overhaul since the GS6 — with a wacky new, math-defying aspect ratio (18.5:9!), no clicky home button, and talk of the new Bixby AI assistant getting its own special key on the side.

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4 weeks ago

Best Android Phone Under $100

It's possible to get a decent Android experience, even on a shoestring — and unsurprisingly Motorola dominates this field.

Best overall

Moto G Play (with ads)

See at Amazon

The Amazon-exclusive Moto G Play is a $150 phone reduced to $100. The catch? You'll get ads and offers from the retail giant on your lock screen, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on how you like to use your phone. (We've got a good breakdown of what it means here).

Otherwise, you're getting a decent entry-level Android phone for not a lot of money at all. The Moto G Play (a.k.a. Moto G4 Play) packs the same soft-touch polycarbonate body as its big brother, the Moto G4, and runs a Snapdragon 410 processor, which has plenty of power to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow on a 5-inch 720p display. There's a reasonable 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD, and an 8-megapixel camera that handles the basics well.

Bottom line: Putting up with lock screen ads allows you to get a $150 phone for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than you'd otherwise get for the cash.

One more thing: It's unlocked, so you can use it on any carrier of your choice. And if you know where to look, there are some places on the Internet that'll help you take care of those pesky ads.

Why the Moto G Play is best

Amazon plugs the price gap with offers on your lock screen.

With ads from Amazon, or without ads from Verizon, the Moto G Play gets you a great core Android experience — fast software, thanks to Motorola's hands-off approach towards customization, and decent specs all-round.

It's not the flashiest or showiest smartphone, with a relatively generic design, but you don't expect pizzaz when you're paying less than a Benjamin for a full-featured smartphone. Same deal with bonus features like water resistance and swappable backs, like you might get from last year's Moto G (third generation).

Instead, the Moto G Play is just a solid all-round phone for not a lot of cash.

Best ad-free

Moto E LTE

See at Amazon

The unlocked Moto E LTE can be used on any supported network, and doesn't come with any of the bloatware you'd expect from the U.S. carriers. And better still, it's only $81. It's powered by the same Snapdragon 410 chip that's inside the Moto G Play, however you do lose a few important features compared to that phone — a smaller 4.5-inch screen with a less impressive qHD (960x540) display. And there's only 8GB of storage, so an SD card will be an essential purchase.

Bottom line: You're getting less phone than a Moto G Play, but also at a lower price without bloatware, carrier locks or ads.

One more thing: You'll definitely want to snap up a microSD card.

Best on Verizon

Moto G Play Droid

See at Verizon

If you're settled on Verizon as your carrier of choice, you can get the Moto G Play (Droid) for $85 without the need to see any ads on your lock screen. Droid branding aside, this is the same phone as the Amazon version, just running on Verizon's network with the expected loadout of pre-installed bloatware apps. On paper it's close to last year's third-gen Moto G, with a Snapdragon 410 processor, a 5-inch 720p display and 16GB of storage.

The main trade-offs between last year's G: Lack of water resistance and a less spectacular camera. The Moto G Play is splash-resistant however, which means you won't need to worry about using it out in the rain.

Bottom line: Trading ads for bloatware gets you Moto's best super-cheap phone for less — if you're on Verizon.

One more thing: Don't expect software updates to be as quick as the unlocked version.

Best on AT&T

Samsung Galaxy Express Prime (GoPhone)

See at AT&T

In AT&T's GoPhone range, the somewhat ridiculously named Samsung Galaxy Express Prime stands out as offering the best bang for your buck. You'll get Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz UI on a 5-inch 720p SuperAMOLED display, powered by Samsung's own Exynos quad-core processor. And an ample 2,600mAh battery should be enough to see you through the day.

The Galaxy Express Prime also looks a little more eye-catching than other devices in this range, appearing like a shrunken-down Galaxy S5. Other specs aren't the greatest — only 1.5GB of RAM and a mere 5-megapixel camera, but at least there's a reasonable 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD.

Bottom line: Probably the best Samsung phone you're gonna find for under a hundred bucks.

One more thing: Don't expect an update to Android Nougat anytime soon, if ever.

Best on T-Mobile

Samsung Galaxy On5

See at T-Mobile

A distant cousin of the AT&T Express Prime, T-Mobile's Galaxy On5 packs in the essentials for a good deal less than $100. Once again you're dealing with Samsung's own Exynos 3475 Quad processor and 1.5GB of RAM and a similar style of chassis.

The biggest difference is the network — if you're in a great location for T-Mobile coverage, you'll get largely the same experience as the AT&T GoPhone offering, only for less cash on a network that might suit you better.

Bottom line: The Galaxy On5 is about a year old at this point, but still a decent buy for the money.

One more thing: You'll need to buy a refill pack to get the On5 for this price, which nudges the price a little over $100 in total.

Best on Sprint

Virgin Mobile Moto G (third gen.)

See at Virgin Mobile

The third-generation Moto G is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it's still a fantastic budget phone, and for under $100 on Virgin Mobile, well worth considering. For starters, it's the only phone on this list boasting water resistance, and Motorola's swappable back covers let you easily add some flair to the device.

On the inside, you're looking at a Snapdragon 410 processor and 2GB of RAM, along with 16GB of storage — all standard entry-level stuff. The display is a passable but not spectacular 5-inch 720p panel, while around the back you've got a surprisingly good 13-megapixel shooter.

Storage-wise, there's 16GB internally, with the option to expand via microSD.

Bottom line: The Moto G has aged well, runs great on Marshmallow and is definitely worth a hundred bucks, even in late 2016.

One more thing: The Moto G is now more than a year old, so don't hold out for timely updates to future Android versions.

Conclusion

You'll need to put up with the occasional ad, but Amazon's offer of a Moto G Play for under $100 is really hard to beat.

Best overall

Moto G Play

See at Amazon

The Amazon-exclusive Moto G Play is a $150 phone reduced to $100. The catch? You'll get ads and offers from the retail giant on your lock screen, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on how you like to use your phone. (We've got a good breakdown of what it means here).

Otherwise, you're getting a decent entry-level Android phone for not a lot of money at all. The Moto G Play (a.k.a. Moto G4 Play) packs the same soft-touch polycarbonate body as its big brother, the Moto G4, and runs a Snapdragon 410 processor, which has plenty of power to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow on a 5-inch 720p display. There's a reasonable 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD, and an 8-megapixel camera that handles the basics well.

Bottom line: Putting up with lock screen ads allows you to get a $150 phone for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than you'd otherwise get for the cash.

One more thing: It's unlocked, so you can use it on any carrier of your choice. And if you know where to look, there are some places on the Internet that'll help you take care of those pesky ads.

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4 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor roundup

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Samsung phones sign

After the catastrophe of the Galaxy Note 7, what can fans look forward to in the next Samsung flagship?

2016 started as a promising year for Samsung, with the Galaxy S7 series earning critical acclaim and commercial success. But the contrast with where we are now couldn't be starker. Battery fires and a bungled recall process led to the cancellation of the Galaxy Note 7, making it the most calamitous smartphone launch ever, by a wide margin.

Samsung will already be looking ahead to its next flagship, the Galaxy S8, to pull it out of this quagmire and rebuild consumer trust. So what can we expect from such a crucial product? Let's take a look at what we know so far.

Update, January 27: We have the latest info on the Galaxy S8, including the first live photo and information about a rumored desktop dock.

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4 weeks ago

LG G6 rumor roundup

320

LG has a lot at stake with the G6. What do they need to do to succeed?

It's safe to say that LG didn't take the world by storm with the G5 in 2016. The phone had a lot of things going for it, but the Korean company, whose mobile division has been in Samsung's shadow for the past half decade, emphasized its modular ambitions a bit too much without supporting it with actual accessories worth buying.

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