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4 weeks ago

LG G5 owners, how's the Nougat update treating you?

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LG G5

Running Nougat on LG's smaller flagship? We want to know what you think!

The LG G5 wasn't exactly a smash hit, nor did its modular "friends" ecosystem take off. But it's a solid phone in itself, and one of the few released in 2016 to offer a removable battery. It's also lightning fast, with one of the best phone cameras to date, in the form of a 16-megapixel main camera and 8-megapixel wide angle shooter.

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4 weeks ago

Honor 8 to get Nougat and EMUI 5.0 in Feb 2017

20

Something Nougat this way comes.

Android 7.0 Nougat and EMUI 5.0 will come to the Honor 8 in February 2017, according to parent company Huawei.

The popular 5.2-inch Android phone, which emerged this summer with some great specs, nice looks and excellent reviews, shipped with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and EMUI 4.1, and will gain the same feature set as the larger Mate 9, which begins shipping this month in some parts of Europe (and in the U.S. next January).

We've played with EMUI 5.0 on the Mate 9 and it's a huge step in the right direction for Huawei, and based on early feedback from the Nougat beta on the Honor 8, it translates well to less powerful hardware and smaller screen sizes.

One major addition to the Honor 8 with EMUI 5.0 will be the addition of an app drawer in the launcher which, though it sounds like a fairly small detail, will appease many U.S. owners of the device. The Honor 8 will also benefit from EMUI 5.0's machine learning algorithms which, according to Huawei, "dynamically optimize processing resources by analyzing the user's behaviour over time and prioritizing frequently used apps."

While it's unclear whether the update will arrive at the beginning or end of February, at least now Honor 8 owners have a general sense of when they can expect it.

Honor 8

Amazon HonorBest BuyNeweggB&H

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4 weeks ago

HTC 10 owners, how's the Nougat update treating you?

66
HTC 10

While others wait, the U.S. unlocked HTC 10 has Android 7.0.

The HTC 10 was one of the more underappreciated phones of the past year. HTC's 2016 flagship didn't flash about too many gimmicky features — instead, it just focused on being a great all-around phone. And the '10 has gotten even better recently, at least for some owners, with the arrival of Android 7.0 Nougat for the U.S. unlocked version.

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4 weeks ago

The LG V20's Second Screen is a gimmick that actually works

46

Is the LG V20's second screen a reason to buy the phone?

The LG V20 is a big phone with a twist — a second "ticker" display just above the main LCD panel that LG calls the "Second Screen." In reality, it is just a small extension of the main display, but thanks to improvements in battery efficiency and some software smarts, it is able to stay on all the time.

But is the Second Screen a gimmick? And what exactly can you do with that extra space? Let's break it down.

What is the Second Screen?

It's exactly what it sounds like: a place for displaying additional information and quick settings that aren't always in the foreground on a typical Android phones. Its resolution is 1040x160 pixels, which isn't quite as wide as the full width of the 2560x1440 display since it needs to leave room for the front-facing camera and proximity sensors.

LG has seven built-in panels that can be swiped through horizontally:

  • Quick Tools (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
  • App shortcuts (specific apps)
  • Recent apps
  • Quick contacts
  • Music controls
  • Signature (By default your name)
  • Upcoming plans

Some of these are considerably more useful than others, and I tend only to leave three — quick tools, app shortcuts, and media controls — enabled while the screen is on. The rest merely duplicate existing functionality.

Is it useful?

That's the big question. Andrew Martonik, in his review, dismissed the Second Screen, saying that it doesn't really add much to the experience. Here are his words:

Much like I found with the "edge screen" on the Galaxy S7 edge (and Note 7), the second screen doesn't really do much other than duplicate functions I can already do very quickly elsewhere on the phone. Just as easily as getting to the quick tools I can swipe down the notification shade. Just as quickly as swiping and then tapping on a recent app in the second screen I could just hit the Recents button in the navigation bar ... and so on and so forth. Add to that the fact that the second screen is at the top of an extremely tall phone, and it makes it (literally) a bit less accessible than the same functions elsewhere on the phone.

Now, I agree with most of that, but after using the LG V20 as my main phone for a month, going back to a phone without the second screen feels like it's missing something. Here's why: by default, the second screen shows notifications that would have popped over existing content; you can expand it to create the "real" notification overlay, but generally the second screen version suffices.

The second screen also works when the main one is off, showing notifications when they appear while at other times offering the same quick tools as when the display is on. It's a system that works most of the time, and unlike the edge display on the Galaxy Note Edge, I never find this one intrusive or frustrating to use.

The best use cases

For me, the best use cases are the simplest.

For me, the best use cases are the simplest: tapping on my most-used apps to quickly get to Slack, 1Password, Todoist, Spotify or Instagram, or quickly toggling Wi-Fi without having to swipe down on the notification shade.

I think LG understands the second screen is there to augment the first, and not to intrude on the primary experience of using Android. That the phone runs Android 7.0, which has an inherently better notification system than anything before it, also helps, since I often find myself relying on inline replies to communicate rather than entering the app itself. The second screen makes it easy to decide whether I should actually take action on a particular notification, since there's a small arrow to the right of the message that lets you expand it to its normal size. Think of it as notification triage.

The other part of the second screen that really works is media control. Having a permanent Spotify toast at the top of the display is just great, and it blends nicely into the rest of the Android experience. Yes, you can just swipe down the notification shade to access he same controls, but this is better.

A reason to buy the V20?

The second screen is one of many features that make the V20 compelling, and while alone it isn't enough to warrant a buy, it's definitely one of those features that impresses passersby and improves the phone's general desirability. Along with its removable battery, the second screen is certainly a check box on a list that includes a great big screen, a fast processor, plenty of storage, two awesome cameras, and a version of Android 7.0 that I've grown to appreciate, if not admire.

That's kind of the confusing aspect of the LG V20. It has so many gimmicky-sounding features on the surface, but they consolidate into something much better than their individual components. The second screen is something special: a gimmick that works, and improves, the whole.

LG V20

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1 month ago

LG announces five new phones you probably won't care about

38

Get ready for the K10, K8, K4, K3, and the Stylus 3.

*/ /*-->*/

Ahead of CES, LG has announced four new phones in the K series — the K10, K8, K4, and K3 — that will make their debut at the trade show. LG will also showcase the Stylus 3, which offers an "improved writing experience" that mimics the "feel and feedback of an actual pen."

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1 month ago

Porsche Design Mate 9: $1500 Worth of Smartphone?

31

The Porsche Design Mate 9 phone won't make you feel like you're bombing down the Autobahn with a Swedish supermodel, blasting electronica and whipping around curves at 160km/h. At this price, you might really want to buy it if that's your kind of lifestyle already. If you're a jet-setting yacht-owning gadabout, dip your silver spoon into this review.

MrMobile gets into the infinity pool on this one, and takes a lap around what works well, and what should turn your nose up. With Michael Fisher's jeweler's eye, you'll know if you've got a diamond or a cubic zirconia. It's the Porsche Design Mate 9, this week on MrMobile.

Stay social, my friends

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1 month ago

Audio distortion on the Google Pixel: What you need to know

35

The good news is your Pixel isn't broken.

Shortly after the launch of Google's Pixel and Pixel XL, a handful of users started complaining about audio distortion issues through the speaker when the media volume is set to maximum, or close to it. While it was originally difficult to reproduce, and the issue was dismissed as a hardware issue affecting a small number of phones, it turns out there's a real audio problem with these phones. Before you go asking Google or Verizon to replace your Pixel in hopes of getting one that isn't affected, there's a few things you need to know.

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1 month ago

Reddit user's Galaxy S6 edge+ battery ruptured and scorched his nightstand

110

It's not just the Note 7.

Reddit user ReturnThroughAether reported this morning that his AT&T-brand Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ caught fire on his nightstand as it was charging using the company's first-party AC adapter, scorching his nightstand and giving him quite a scare. He writes:

Woke up this morning (yesterday technically. 12/20) just in time to get ready for work and looked over to find my phone has exploded. Luckily I don't keep it on my bed, as you can see it scorched my night stand. I've talked to Samsung and my carrier. The phone had no problems before, no overheating. I think I'm done with Samsung for a while, really gonna miss the photos I had from Africa in the fall. Dammit Samsung, I was still in your corner after the Note 7 stuff too.

Images credit: /u/ReturnThroughAether

He goes on to say that he previously had a Galaxy S6 edge that, while its battery stayed intact, had experienced battery performance problems before.

Before, during and after the Galaxy Note 7 incident, we heard myriad incidents of Samsung devices rendered useless by ruptured batteries. This is yet another example. While this isn't cause for alarm and a recall of past Samsung products, it is yet another reminder that our phones, which increasingly contain our entire lives, should be treated with caution and charged in places that have little chance of injuring people. Thankfully this situation didn't lead to any personal injuries, but that nightstand is going to need some TLC.

We've reached out to Samsung for comment.

Samsung Galaxy S6

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1 month ago

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9: The $1500 phone unboxing

34

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 is a smaller, curvier version of the new Huawei flagship. It's based on the Mate 9 Pro, which is sold in Huawei's home market of China, and is supercharged with a whopping 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage to augment the already high-end specs of the regular Mate 9. Oh, and it'll sell for €1395 in Europe when it launches in January — that's around $1500 at the current exchange rate.

So what do you get for such a hefty investment? Check out our unboxing video to find out, and be sure to hit up our Mate 9 written review for more on the new Huawei flagship and its insanely pricey sibling!

More from Android Central

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1 month ago

Grab a Nextbit Robin for just $145 — yes, really

36

This is easily the best deal we've seen on the Nextbit Robin.

After hovering around in the mid-$200 range for a while, and regularly receiving small price drops, you can now pick up the exceptionally solid Nextbit Robin for just $145 on Amazon. It's available in both Mint and Midnight color options, in the standard configuration of 32GB of storage with the addition of 100GB of cloud storage.

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1 month ago

Android 7.0 Nougat comes to Moto Z in Canada

21

Yummy Nougat comes to the Great White North.

Android 7.0 Nougat has come to the Moto Z in Canada. Our own device received the update early this morning, and we're getting similar reports from a few people around the internet.

The upside? Some great new features, including inline replies, multi-window support, and new display scaling, which fits more on the Moto Z's QHD display.

There's also Daydream support, which makes the Moto Z the first device outside of Google's own Pixels to support the burgeoning VR platform.

Our own Russell Holly, when evaluating the Nougat update on the Verizon Moto Z, called it "life by a thousand improvements."

Nougat the phone absolutely screams. It's as though every ounce of performance has been squeezed out of the Snapdragon 820 underneath this glass. Some of that is Nougat optimizations and what happens when you fully wipe a phone before installing a major system update, but everything from checking notifications to launching apps is not only faster but noticeably smoother. Nougat's number one feature is polish, and that is plainly evident on the Moto Z.

The build number on the Canadian Moto Z is NPL25.86-15 with a security patch date of November 1, 2016 (unfortunately).

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

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1 month ago

Grab an unlocked LG V10 for just $259 right now!

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DailySteals is now offering an unlocked AT&T variant of the LG V10 for just $259. This is a brand new 64GB unit that comes in the retail packaging, which means you are saving around $200 compared to listings at other retailers. You'll have your choice between the Black and Opal Blue variants, so you can pick the one that matches your style.

This deal is only good for a few days, so if you are looking for a new phone for yourself or someone you know, you'll want to act quickly.

See at DailySteals

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1 month ago

Nexus owners, how's the Android 7.1.1 update treating you?

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Android 7.1.1 Nexus 6P

After a few issues with the 7.0 update, Nexus owners are right up to date with the new 7.1.1 release.

With the arrival of the Google Pixel phones, Nexus phones like last year's 5X and 6P were left in the unusual position of being out-of-step with the latest Android software. Google's phones had a monopoly on Android 7.1 for their first couple of months on the market, with a finalized version of 7.1.1 not arriving for other devices until recent weeks.

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1 month ago

ZUK Edge unveiled in China with 86.4% screen-to-body ratio, Snapdragon 821, 6GB RAM

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Thin bezels, great hardware, and a low price.

Lenovo's sub-brand ZUK has unveiled the ZUK Edge in China, a mid-range phone with an 86.4% screen-to-body ratio and Snapdragon 821. The phone is similar to Xiaomi's Mi Mix in that it cuts down on the bezels, although its overall design isn't as radical. Another factor in its favor is the software, with the ZUK Edge running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.

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1 month ago

Nougat update now hitting LG G5 units in Canada

5

Bell and Telus customers are receiving the update right now.

LG kicked off the Nougat update for the LG G5 last month in South Korea, and the Android 7.0 update is now rolling out to Canadian units. LG G5 customers on Bell and Telus are receiving the OTA right now, with Rogers' community page listing December 21 as the date for the rollout.

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