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2 weeks ago

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review: Setting the benchmark for the budget segment

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 India

Xiaomi's Redmi Note 3 was one of the best-selling devices of 2016 in India. With its successor, the company is looking to continue the momentum.

Quick take:

It's hard to follow up on the Redmi Note 3, but Xiaomi has managed to deliver a great successor in the Redmi Note 4. The phone now comes with more memory and storage, and the design changes make the device feel upmarket. Battery life has also received a boost thanks to the Snapdragon 625 SoC, and the camera is also better than what we saw last year. In short, this is the phone to beat in the budget segment.

The good

  • Class-leading performance
  • Premium design
  • Great battery life

The bad

  • MIUI quirks
  • Fast charging limited to 5V/2A

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2 weeks ago

Best Android Phone For Long Battery Life

Update, 7 February 2017: We've replaced our previous pick, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, with a slightly larger and longer-lasting phone, the Huawei Mate 9.

Best overall

Huawei Mate 9

See at Amazon

With a massive 5.9-inch display, you'd think that the Huawei Mate 9 wouldn't be able to last a whole day — but you'd be dead wrong. That screen is helped along by a 4,000mAh battery — one of the biggest in its class — pushing the Mate 9 to a staggering 2-day average uptime. Huawei's flagship device also has some Machine Learning chops that learn what apps you use most and least, in order to optimize them for battery usage.

Bottom line: A huge 4,000mAh cell plus software optimizations make the Huawei Mate 9 the best phone for battery life.

One more thing: Sometimes the Mate 9 can push battery optimizations a bit too far, so be sure to tweak your app settings when appropriate.

Why the Mate 9 is the best

An underrated performer in the U.S. because it doesn't have carrier support, but the Huawei Mate 9 is a serious worker.

Huawei has come a long way since its days of questionable software and China-only releases. The Mate 9 is now officially available in the U.S., and you get a lot with its $599 price tag, including a 4,000mAh battery that has to be one of the best out there. The company's homegrown Kirin 960 chip is not only fast, but its 16nm manufacturing process makes it extremely efficient.

Combined with the power-sipping 1080p LCD panel, the Mate 9 seemingly lasts forever; there wasn't a single day that reviewer Alex Dobie worried about it dying by the afternoon:

The phone never failed to get us through a full day of mixed use on LTE and Wi-Fi, often with more than 50% in the tank by the evening. Even pushing the phone really hard with lots of photography and a little wireless tethering, we never came close to experiencing battery anxiety.

Other than battery life, the Mate 9 is just an all-around great phone, and Huawei has committed to updating it with Alexa support in the coming months.

Best for sleekness

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

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

Battery life is subjective, of course, but having a bigger battery cell certainly helps. That, coupled with efficient software, is the recipe for all-day battery, and sometimes longer.

The Galaxy S7 edge has 3,600mAh cell that rivals much larger phones. It's amazing how slim and light the phone is considering how much juice they were able to fit into the device. Samsung also employs some software optimizations to ensure the phone keeps chugging along all day, too, including a very smart Power saving mode, and a last-resort Ultra power saving mode, which many other companies have since copied.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S7 edge does everything you want it to — speed, beauty, and camera quality — but if you're looking for all-day battery life, it's especially worth considering.

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 less

Moto Z Play

See at Motorola

The Moto Z Play starts quickly and keeps going. It's actually quite amazing to witness. Thanks in part to the super-efficient Snapdragon 625 processor, which is built on a new 14nm process, the phone rarely gets hot, and with eight cores, works smarter, not harder.

With a 3,510mAh battery inside, along with software that feels as light as a feather, the Moto Z Play is the longest-lasting $400 phone we've used. It's also a pretty great smartphone, featuring a bright 5.5-inch display, a great 16MP camera, and support for Moto Mods.

Bottom-line: The Moto Z Play doesn't sacrifice much from its more expensive, much thinner Moto Z sibling. If you can deal with the added girth, and a slight hit to processing abilities, you get one of the best, longest-lasting Android phones around.

One more thing: Pair the Moto Z Play with Incipio's 2,220mAh OffGrid battery pack, and you have a whopping 5,730mAh combination that should last two full days, or longer!

Best for smaller hands

Honor 8

See at Honor

You wouldn't necessarily think of the Honor 8 as a phone with a long-lasting battery — it is quite a small device, after all — but Huawei, Honor's parent company, packed a 3,000mAh cell in there, along with a number of software optimizations to ensure it sips battery throughout the day.

Moreover, the Honor 8's Kirin 950 processor, built in-house by Huawei itself, finds the right balance between speed and efficiency. Couple that with the rest of the phone's excellent hardware — dual 12MP cameras, a bright, sharp 5.2-inch display, and plenty of storage — and you have a recipe for one of the best all-round Android phones on the market today.

Bottom-line: The Honor 8 is a great phone for anyone looking for at a smaller device without having to sacrifice battery life.

One more thing: You can buy the Honor 8 unlocked from a number of places, but Honor's website offers three months of screen protection warranty.


Most phones claim to have "all-day battery life," but few actually make it to bedtime. The Huawei Mate 9 actually backs up its claims, and does so while excelling in almost every other area.

Best overall

Huawei Mate 9

See at Amazon

With a massive 5.9-inch display, you'd think that the Huawei Mate 9 wouldn't be able to last a whole day — but you'd be dead wrong. That screen is helped along by a 4,000mAh battery, one of the biggest in its class, pushing the Mate 9 to a staggering 2-day average uptime. Huawei's flagship device also has some Machine Learning chops that learn what apps you use most and least, in order to optimize them for battery usage.

Bottom line: A huge 4,000mAh cell plus software optimizations make the Huawei Mate 9 the best phone for battery life.

One more thing: Sometimes the Mate 9 can push battery optimizations a bit too far, so be sure to tweak your app settings when appropriate.

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2 weeks ago

Best rugged cases for the Galaxy S7 edge

Best Rugged Cases for Galaxy S7 Edge

Keep your S7 edge looking beautiful by protecting it with a tough case!

There are few worse feelings than the moment after you drop your phone, screen down. You gasp. Maybe you curse. You reach for it and hope you don't see spiderwebs when you flip that screen upward. And with an all-glass phone like the Galaxy S7 edge, there are two sides you could be breaking.

There's one really easy way to avoid this awful screen-shatter lottery — by protecting your new Galaxy S7 edge with a suitably rugged case. Here are a few of our top picks.

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3 weeks ago

Best ASUS Phones


This is the best that ASUS has to offer.

While ASUS has been making phones for years, it wasn't until the ZenFone 2 that the company was recognized internationally for its good work. Now that we're nearly two years out from that device, ASUS has even more great stuff on the horizon.

Though some models are region-specific, they all have signature ASUS quirks. So which one do you choose? We've done the hard work for you; this is the current list of the best ASUS phones you need to know about.

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3 weeks ago

Mobile World Congress 2017: The Android Central preview

Fira Barcelona

The biggest phone show of the year is about to kick off in Barcelona. Here's what to expect...

Mobile World Congress, held each February (or sometimes early March) in Barcelona, Spain, is usually the event which kicks off flagship phone launch season. For the past two years, Samsung has unveiled its new flagship Galaxy S phone ahead of MWC, and although we'll need to wait a few more months for this year's Galaxy S8, there's still a ton of Android goodness to look forward to.

The show itself takes place at the purpose-built Fira Barcelona in the south of the city, however this is preceded by a couple of days of action-packed launch events around Barcelona. This year the Android Central, Windows Central and CrackBerry teams will be on the ground from Thursday, February 23. Most of the big press events take place on February 25 and 26. And the show officially kicks off on February 27, running until March 2.

In addition to tapas, cervezas and some unmatched scenery, we can predict the following for Mobile World Congress 2017...

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3 weeks ago

ASUS launches ZenFone 3s Max in India with 5000mAh battery


The ZenFone 3s Max doubles up as a power bank.

ASUS launched the ZenFone 3 Max in India last November, and is now rolling out an updated variant dubbed the ZenFone 3s Max (ZC521TL) with a larger 5000mAh battery and Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. The phone retails for ₹14,999 ($220), and will be available online and offline stores starting today in Black and Sand Gold color options.

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3 weeks ago

LG G6 invite teases bezel-less 'Full Vision' display


Get ready for a Full Vision display.

LG has been teasing the launch of the LG G6 by revealing details of the device ahead of its unveil at Mobile World Congress on February 26. In the press invite for the launch event, LG is touting the bezel-less nature of the 5.7-inch display with the tagline, "Big Screen That Fits."

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3 weeks ago

ZTE's Axon 7 flagship gets Nougat, Daydream support


The ZTE Axon 7 is set to receive Android 7.0 Nougat, and users of the popular unlocked flagship are in for a Daydream upgrade! 🎉

Nougat is an elusive piece of software for many smartphone owners, including those with the world's most popular Android phones on earth, the Galaxy S7.

But China's ZTE, which claims to be the fourth largest manufacturer by sales volume in the U.S., and second in the unlocked space, can now claim that its flagship is among those few beneficiaries of Google's latest features, including improved notifications, more advanced Doze, and proper multi-window support. The company's Axon 7 flagship is set to receive Android 7.0 Nougat beginning February 7, bringing Daydream support along with it.

As part of the release, ZTE says that users will see a simplified interface that doesn't detract from Google's original intentions, along with numerous bug fixes and performance improvements in its so-called MiFavor interface. The company is also teaming up with Hiya, a platform that helps weed out spam and robocalls before they come through to the user. Available as a third-party app to all Android users, Hiya will be integrated directly into ZTE's dialler app, a first for both companies.

The full change log for the update is below:

  • Android OS Upgraded from 6.0.1 to 7.0
  • Axon 7 2017U is Now Daydream Ready! Get a Daydream View to experience VR today.
  • Camera RAW Implemented in Manual Mode and Enhanced Auto-Focus for Camera.
  • Google Security Patch Updated to December 2016
  • Various Device Stability and Security Improvements.
  • Hiya Caller ID/Blocking added to default dialer.
  • Miscellaneous Performance Improvements and other Enhancements.

What's your experience been with the Nougat update? Let us know in the comments!

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3 weeks ago

Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus 3D renders offer clearest look yet at upcoming flagships


3D renders of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus detail Samsung's design choices for its flagships.

We've seen the first live photo of the Galaxy S8 late last month, which pointed to a bezel-less display with an 83% screen-to-body ratio, along with a fingerprint sensor located next to the camera module at the back. Noted leaker OnLeaks has now published detailed 3D renders of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus on GearIndia, revealing additional details regarding the design of Samsung's 2017 flagships.

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3 weeks ago

Best T-Mobile Phones

The best phone options available through T-Mobile.

Whether you're a long-time T-Mobile subscriber looking to upgrade your phone or you're switching and want to find out what's available at a glance, we're here to help.

We've broken down the best devices available to buy through T-Mobile. Check out our reviews to learn more about each of these and if you're ready to take the plunge, we've included links to buy directly from T-Mobile.

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3 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy A5 + A3 launch in the UK: Flagship features come to an affordable price point

Galaxy A5 + A3

Glass construction, water resistance, and latest Samsung UI arrive in new 4.7 and 5.2-inch handsets.

Samsung has unleashed the latest devices in its mid-priced A series on the UK, with the arrival of the 2017 variants of the Galaxy A3 and A5. As in previous years, Samsung has brought a smattering of high-end features to a more affordable price point through the pint-sized 4.7-inch A3, and the larger 5.2-inch A5.

Both phones share a similar glass and metal construction, much like Samsung's higher-end offerings, along with the IP68-rated water and dust resistance that comes as standard with the Galaxy S7. In fact, aside from a few differences in port and button placement, the A5 is the spitting image of its more expensive sibling. (In fact, it one-ups the GS7 in one small but notable area, shipping with a more up-to-date USB-C port.)

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3 weeks ago

Our favorite Android devices through the years


Looking back, everyone has a point where they started loving Android. Often those products became sentimental favorites. These are some of them as told by the AC editors.

Android is quite amazing. Not only is it nearing its 10 year anniversary, but the platform has dwarfed any reasonable expectation of success the founders must have had when developing the software.

It's also why, and how, many of the writers on Android Central got their start in the industry — by trialling new phones and tablets and offering their opinions online. We asked them to highlight some of their most memorable devices — not necessarily the best (as you'll see) but ones that had the most impact.

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3 weeks ago

Pick up an unlocked HTC One A9 for just $249 today only!


Brought to you by the Thrifter team

Right now you can pick up a 32GB HTC One A9 for just $249 at Newegg, a savings of $250 from its regular price. Featuring a 5-inch 1080p display, the One A9 comes equipped with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a microSD card. This is an unlocked variant of the smartphone in the topaz gold color, so it will work on any U.S. GSM carrier, like AT&T, T-Mobile, Tracfone, and others. HTC has also already pushed the Android Nougat update to the phone which brings a number of great new features to it.

Newegg is offering free 3-day shipping with all purchases right now. This deal is only good for today, February 3, so be sure to act quickly if you are interested!

See at Newegg

For more great deals on tech, home goods, everyday essentials, fashion and everything in-between, head over to Thrifter now!

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3 weeks ago

Best Android 7.0 Nougat features for the Samsung Galaxy S7!


One of the best Android phones of the past year is getting its biggest software update yet. Android 7.0 Nougat for the Samsung Galaxy S7 overhauls the phone's UI, and adds new features which offer some hints at the direction in which Samsung is heading for the Galaxy S8. A new, lighter UI is joined by a revamped Settings app, redesigned quick settings and a host of other useful features.

Whether you're just getting started with Nougat on your GS7, or you're still waiting on the update, we've got a full rundown of what's new in the latest firmware in our video feature.

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3 weeks ago

Best Budget Phone in India

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Update, 03 February 2017: The Redmi Note 4 is now our top budget pick in India.

Best overall

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

See at Flipkart

The Redmi Note 4 is the phone to beat in the budget segment. It offers a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 2.5D curved glass, a premium design with an all-metal chassis and contoured edges, and class-leading battery life.

For the first time, Xiaomi is offering a variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage in this segment, making the device an even more enticing option. The Redmi Note 4 is available in three configurations, with the base version coming with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage for just ₹9,999. The Redmi Note 4 has a hybrid SIM card slot, so if you want to use two SIM cards, you should get the 64GB version.

The phone runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box, with Xiaomi rolling out software updates with stability fixes once every two weeks. If you're new to the MIUI ecosystem, there's plenty to explore.

The camera has received a sizeable upgrade as well, and it now takes great images in daylight conditions. Overall, you're getting a phone that offers an incredible amount of features for not a whole lot of money.

Bottom line: A premium aluminum design, great battery life, decent camera, and attractive pricing make the Redmi Note 4 the standout device in this category. For its retail price, it's bordering on illegal to ask for more.

One more thing: Xiaomi is testing the Nougat update for the phone. It's in preview right now, but a stable build should be available shortly.

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