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2 weeks ago

LG G6 reportedly enjoys strong early sales in Korea

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LG G6

30,000 units sold in launch weekend, according to Korean press.

Western consumers may have to wait another few weeks to get their hands on the LG G6, but the new phone is already on sale in LG's home market of South Korea — and, according to report from the local press, doing rather well.

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2 weeks ago

Everything you need to know about the LG G6's cameras

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LG G6

LG is super proud of its dual cameras, and is putting even more focus on them with the G6.

Photography has become one of the leading factors in choosing a phone today, with so many companies putting out great choices. LG has been near the top of the pack for the past few generations of its G and V series of phones, and it is hoping subtle tweaks to its formula can keep it in the conversation with the LG G6.

Dual rear cameras are very much the focal point here, with the wide-angle camera getting a much-needed boost of attention as LG finds that nearly half of its users use that as their primary shooter. At the same time, the wide-angle front-facing camera stands alone as your only camera choice up front, making sure you fit as much as possible in your selfie.

Here's the full breakdown of what to expect in the LG G6's camera setup.

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2 weeks ago

What is an APN, and how do I change it?

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Having the right mobile network settings makes a difference. Here's how to change them if you need to!

Updated March 2017: Up-to-date information and changes.

Unlocked phones and alternative carriers are more popular now than ever before. Most every company makes an unlocked model or two that you can buy directly from their website or a retailer like Amazon with the necessary parts and software to use it on any GSM network around the world. And when you don't have a phone that's tied to a carrier through financing you're free to try other carriers and see who offers what's best for you.

Shifting things around and trying someone new for phone service is pretty simple and pain-free, but you might need to know how to set the APN on your phone. Let's take a look at what an APN is and how you go about changing or adding one.

What is an APN?

The Access Point Name (APN) is the name for the settings your phone reads to set up a connection to the gateway between your carrier's cellular network and the public Internet.

You carrier reads these settings, then does things like determine the correct IP address, connect to the correct secure gateway, and see if you need a private network like a VPN. All the heavy lifting is done on the carrier side, but we need to make sure the right settings are in place to get on the network we need, in the way we need to connect.

An APN has the network settings your phone needs to connect to your provider.

Depending on how your carrier's network is structured, different settings are mandatory. The rest can be slightly altered to change some of the parameters, but for most of us, we will need to use the exact settings provided by our carrier.

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The good news is that most of the time, your phone has several "default" APN settings and one will work for phone calls automatically. Very handy if you need to call for help because unless you're using one of the Big Four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) nothing else will work correctly and you'll need to add an APN yourself.

The bad news is that carriers can customize the software on any phone they sell, and that includes blocking the ability to change the APN. Even if your phone is unlocked. You might be able to find a workaround posted on the internet, but there is also a good chance that you're just not going to be able to use any other network. We suggest buying your next phone from someone else.

How to change your APN

The first thing you'll need to do is find the right APN settings for the network you want to use. You'll be able to find these at the support pages at the carrier website. The settings will look like this example for Mint SIM:

  • Name - Ultra
  • APN - Wholesale
  • Proxy - (leave blank)
  • Port - 8080
  • Username & Password - (leave blank)
  • Server - (leave blank)
  • MMSC - http://wholesale.mmsmvno.com/mms/wapenc
  • MMS Proxy - (leave blank)
  • MMS Port - (leave blank)
  • MNC - 260
  • Authentication Type - (leave blank)
  • APN Type - default,supl,mms
  • MCC - 310

These are the settings you'll need to enter for a new APN that can use Mint SIM's service for data and MMS. Now we just need to find where to enter it.

This is going to be different depending on who made your phone, but it's always going to be in the Wireless & networks section of the settings. You're looking for a setting for Access Point Names and it might be nested in another setting like Cellular Networks. That's where you'll find it on the Pixel or Moto Z, and it should be similar to your phone. Don't worry, you can't mess anything up by tapping the settings and looking inside. Just try not to make any changes while you're looking.

Once you've found the "Access Point Names" section. Tap to open it.

You should see a list with at least one APN on it. If things aren't working with the current APN, you need to add another. Don't modify or delete the one you see, instead make a new one and we can choose it when we're done. At the top of the page, or possibly in a menu if your phone has a menu button, press the plus sign to bring up the "Edit access point" screen.

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This is where you will enter the settings you got from your carrier's website. Two very important things here:

  1. Not every setting in the "Edit access point" screen will need to be filled in. Only fill in the items your carrier provides, and leave the rest as-is.
  2. Be sure to type in everything exactly as provided by your carrier. For example, default,supl,hipri is different than default, supl, hipri because of the white space between items. Your carrier's system is set up to read an expected set of values, and any changes — no matter how minor — can and will break things.

Once you have the settings provided by your carrier entered, you need to save the APN. You do that by pressing the three dots in the upper right (or the menu key if your phone has one) and selecting the "Save" option.

Once your APN information is saved, go back one screen to the list we saw earlier. On this screen, tap the new APN settings you just entered to make them active. Your phone will lose its data connection for a little while as it connects to the new network using the new network settings. If you can't get a connection after a few minutes, you might need to restart your phone.

And that's it! Now your phone should work for calls, SMS, MMS and data. Now be sure to set up any Data Saver or warning settings your phone might have to monitor how much data you use and if you are getting close to your allotment.

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2 weeks ago

The LG G6 has turned me into a monster, and I'm OK with that

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The LG G6 is a great phone that has had a terrible influence on me. Or maybe I'm just defective.

For the past week, I've been committing a huge sin, and I feel really terrible about myself. Every time I look at my phone, I wonder what has happened to me.

See, I've been using an LG G6 as my daily driver — tl;dr it's an amazing phone and you should probably buy one — and it's been a pretty good experience overall. But the phone is tall, and it's narrow, which is exactly what LG talks about when it claims its flagship to be one hand-friendly.

So I've enabled LG's on-screen navigation shortcut to quickly drop down the notification shade. While I hate how it looks, I think there's a practical reason most people should consider this, especially as tall, narrow phones with odd aspect ratios become more commonplace in the market.

A history of messing with notifications

Ever since the introduction of on-screen navigation buttons in 2011, Android manufacturers have found ways to pervert Google's original intentions. From changes to the designs (which were, during the Holo era, admittedly terrible across the board) to the addition of superfluous options, companies like LG and Huawei made it very easy to make that on-screen navigation era look terrible.

LG has offered the ability to augment the nav bar with notification shortcuts and quick access to its near-useless QSlide memo utility for a number of years, and it's always been possible to place them in any orientation one desires. If you want the notification shortcut on the left side, so be it on. On the right? You're an animal (or left-handed), but sure.

Enter G6

With the G6, LG made a phone that is usable in one hand but still too tall for the average thumb.

I've never really cared for changing the on-screen navigation buttons. Google has a reason the home button is in the middle, and the back button on the far left. Samsung has gone out of its way (and appears to be poised to continue doing so, at least by default) to do exactly the opposite of what Google intended, but at least it's been consistent in that particular area since the days of the first Galaxy devices in 2010.

But with the G6, something happened. LG released a phone that was usable in one hand, thanks to its narrow frame, but too tall to actually access the notification shade without some hand gymnastics. So in lieu of a "Mini Me" mode (which I don't miss), I decided to try my hand, or thumb, at using that much-maligned nav shortcut — on the left side, no less.

And by gosh, the damn thing worked. Not only does it reorient the regular navigation buttons slightly to the right, allowing me to more easily tap the back or home buttons without shifting my thumb, but the notification shortcut has proven considerably more useful than I initially gave it credit for. You don't realize how much time you spend merely swiping down to check notifications during the day until you take stock of your behavior. The upside is that I can easily open and close the notification shade without shifting my hand and interrupting what I am doing.

What about gestures?

I was scolded by my coworkers, and rightfully so, for polluting the sanctity of the navigation area, mainly because they believe I can accomplish the same thing using gestures. Specifically, many launchers, such as Action and Nova, allow for the setting of a home screen shortcut to quickly access notifications. And other apps purport to allow the same using overlays, so the notification shade can be accessed from any app, not just the home screen.

I tried all of these alternatives, and none have proven as usable, and as functional, as the Quad Blight.

The ugly truth

I'm getting older. I don't take the same care of myself as I used to. I prefer function to aesthetic. I don't care if I walk the dog in dog-eaten sneakers. I catch myself staring at clouds.

I'm also looking for ways to make the thing I use more than anything else a bit more functional, even at the expense of tradition, and symmetry. I can't promise that I'll continue using the LG G6 in this manner — my snob brain curdles at the thought — but for now, it's fine.

This is fine.

LG G6

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2 weeks ago

LG G6 vs. LG V20: Is the flagship's camera worth the extra cash?

49

How does the LG G6's camera compare against its sibling, the V20? That's what we're going to find out.

The dual camera setup featured on the LG G6 isn't new. This particular configuration was first introduced in LG's V10, which was released under the guise of being the content creator's ultimate camera smartphone. It's a great phone, though not necessarily aimed at the mainstream, with camera modes to appease the casual photography all the way to the serious videographer. But which one is worth buying?

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2 weeks ago

Honor's impressive V9 may launch next month in Europe as the Honor 8 Pro

8

Honor's 2017 flagship could be heading to Europe on April 5.

Huawei sub-brand Honor sent out media invites to an event on April 5, with current rumors suggesting the launch event could turn out to be the European debut of the Honor V9. The phone was unveiled in China late last month, and offers exciting specs for the equivalent of $435 in the country.

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2 weeks ago

How to set up the always-on display on the LG G6

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Get quick stats on what's going on with your smartphone by enabling this feature.

I love being able to glance over at my smartphone display to check up on the time or any messages I might have without having to actually reach over and turn it on. You can take advantage of this helpful ability on the LG G6 by enabling the always-on display. Here's how to set it up.

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2 weeks ago

The OnePlus 3T is now up for sale directly from OnePlus in India

0

Pick up the OnePlus 3T and get a case for free.

After two years of exclusively offering its phones on Amazon India, OnePlus is now selling the OnePlus 3T on its own store. To incentivize the launch, OnePlus is giving away a free case with all orders.

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2 weeks ago

Unlocked Moto Z Play is now picking up the Nougat update

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Android 7.0 Nougat is hitting unlocked units of the Moto Z Play.

The Nougat update started hitting the Verizon edition of the Moto Z Play earlier this week, and now the unlocked models are also receiving the update. The update switches the firmware version to NPN25.137-24-1, which is similar to that of Verizon's NPN25.137-24-1-2.

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2 weeks ago

LG starts promoting the G6 in Australia ahead of Mar. 28 launch

3

Australia will be the first market outside Korea to receive the LG G6.

LG announced last week that it would launch the LG G6 in Australia on March 28, and the manufacturer is now hyping up the handset ahead of its debut in the country. Telstra will be the exclusive carrier partner for the phone, but as of now there's no mention of pricing.

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2 weeks ago

Don't buy an LG G6 without a microSD card

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LG G6

Western markets are only getting a 32GB G6, so it's time to break out a microSD for photos and music.

The LG G6 is a great phone. But what's definitely not great is the way certain features, like the Quad DAC, wireless charging and 64GB storage model, are confined to a handful of specific regions. Of the three, the storage capacity restrictions imposed on Western G6 buyers is probably the most irksome. 32GB is only barely enough to include in a flagship phone in 2017. (I've laid out all the reasons against buying a 32GB phone here.)

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2 weeks ago

Make a Samsung Galaxy S6 your next phone for just $265

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time scoring you a Galaxy S6 at a huge discount.

Samsung's Galaxy S6 may not be the latest or greatest option from the company, but at just $264.99 it is hard to pass up. Through a trusted eBay seller you can pick up a Verizon or AT&T variant of the 64GB Galaxy S6 in your choice of white, gold, or black at a huge discount. Whether you are looking for a great backup phone or something new for the kids, the Galaxy S6 still has a very capable camera and with 64GB of internal storage you'll be able to load it up with music and videos without worrying.

Considering the Galaxy S6 has glass on both the front and back of it, you may want to consider ordering a protective case for it to avoid it getting damaged easily. There is only a limited quantity of these remaining, so be sure to grab one now if you are interested.

See at eBay

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

Samsung Galaxy S6

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2 weeks ago

Google says some Pixels have defective microphones and need to be replaced under warranty

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Some Google Pixel and Pixel XL units have been affected by a microphone hardware issue. This is what you need to do.

Google can't seem to figure out its Pixel problem. Not only does the best phone of 2016 (and beyond) have some major inventory problems, but when it's not working properly, it's really not working properly. Take the latest issue the company is dealing with. Since the phone's release, an increasing number of people have been complaining about the microphone issues — one day it will be able to make calls and record audio, the next day, nothing.

Turns out that in "under 1% of devices," a tiny crack in the solder connecting the audio codec chip to the main motherboard causes the phone to lose audio processing abilities. More frustrating is that, according to Google employee Brian Rakowski, some users were intermittently getting microphone use back, since the solder, depending on whether conditions and the severity of the crack, would occasionally re-establish a connection.

Based on temperature changes or the way you hold the phone, the connection may be temporarily restored and the problems may go away. This is especially frustrating as a user because, just when you think you've got it fixed, the problem randomly comes back. We believe this problem is occurring << 1% of phones and often happens after a few months of use (it could be triggered by dropping the phone that may not cause any visible external damage).

Rakowski also says that a very small number of units just have defective microphones. Either way, the phone needs to be replaced under warranty, either by Google or the carrier/retailer from which it was purchased. Google says it is honoring all warranty claims for this particular problem.

The Google employee goes on to reassure users that all Pixels sold after January won't have the audio disconnection issue because the solder has been reinforced during manufacturing.

Does your Pixel have this issue, or have you experienced any other hardware-related problems that needed to be fixed under warranty?

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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2 weeks ago

Motorola is testing upcoming Moto Z 2017 flagship in plain sight

30

Motorola is showing off its Moto Z 2017 flagship, and Sprint is using it to show off its upcoming Gigabit LTE service.

Motorola isn't being particularly secretive about its upcoming Moto Z flagship, largely because, thanks to restrictions in its size and shape due to the company's commitment to Moto Mods, we basically know what it will look like.

The first clue was at the company's recent MWC press conference, where the phone was basically shown off during a tease of upcoming Moto Mods. Recall the following photo of the forthcoming Gamepad Moto Mod. That's no Moto G5, nor is it a mistake; it's the Moto Z 2017, newly-shaped fingerprint sensor and all.

And this week, Sprint and Motorola teamed up to show off the network's upcoming Gigabit LTE service in the New Orleans area. During a New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors basketball game (which my home team won, btw!), the carrier showed off the service to select analysts on a Motorola device running the upcoming Gigabit LTE-capable Snapdragon 835 chipset.

As you can tell, the Motorola phone has no particular shape in that photo, as its aesthetic is being constrained by a boxy cover and tapes around the edges. A Sprint release also acknowledges the collaboration:

Motorola showcased the blazing-fast, high-bandwidth capability of a forthcoming flagship smartphone based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, supporting Gigabit Class LTE.

Sprint says that it used a combination of "three-channel carrier aggregation and 60 MHz of Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum in combination with 4X4 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and 256-QAM higher order modulation to achieve incredible Category 16 LTE download data speeds on a TDD network." In other words, the carrier is finally making good use of its extensive high-band spectrum — the same stuff is tried to make work on WiMAX a few years ago — for what is potentially the fastest live network performance in the U.S. right now.

Sprint says that by working with Qualcomm it plans to increase the capacity on its existing LTE network "to build a strong foundation for 5G by densifying its network with the addition of small cells and smart antennas." That's because 2.5Ghz spectrum doesn't penetrate through walls very well, and needs to be amplified using such small cells and beam-forming antennas to provide optimal performance in places like stadiums, parks and in dense urban areas.

The carrier rightly claims that it has the most spectrum of any big network in the U.S., though the vast majority is in that upper-tier area that's relatively difficult to utilize for high-speed mobility. In its press release, the company took a jab at T-Mobile's plan to augment its network capacity with unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz space, claiming that "Sprint has more licensed spectrum capacity to deploy Gigabit Class LTE than any other U.S. carrier. Use of licensed spectrum offers Sprint LTE Plus customers a more reliable and sustainable quality experience by not relying on unlicensed resources that might be available at some times and not at others."

Whatever the case, one thing is relatively clear: this year's Moto Z flagship won't be a Verizon exclusive, and Sprint is racing to ensure that it stays competitive with T-Mobile, AT&T and Big Red in the network speed game.

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

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2 weeks ago

Get 20% off high-speed 4G data service! [Best deal for LTE]

24

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