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4 weeks ago

BlackBerry rolls out the DTEK50 and DTEK60 in India

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BlackBerry's latest phones are now available in India.

BlackBerry has launched the DTEK50 and DTEK60 in the Indian market. The former will retail for ₹21,990 ($330), while the latter is debuting at ₹46,990 ($700).

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4 weeks ago

Samsung's Print Service app now supports 88 million different printers

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Printing from your Samsung Galaxy phone just got a whole lot easier.

Samsung's Print Services app — you can find it here in Google Play if it didn't come installed on your phone — has been updated to support the Mopria Print library. That means your Samsung phone can now connect to any of over 88 million printers, regardless of the brand or requirements for speciality apps.

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4 weeks ago

The T-Mobile Galaxy S7 just got a whole lot faster

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256QAM? 4x4 MIMO? All you need to know is that the T-Mobile Galaxy S7 is now way faster.

If you're running a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge on T-Mobile, today's update just made your phone a lot faster — network-wise, that is. Specifically, the second part an update promised back in September (and rolled out in October) enables connection speeds up to 256QAM for downloads and 64QAM for uploads in markets that support it.

This comes after an update was issued for the phones to enable 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), a technology that has long been used to improved throughput on wireless devices from home routers to smartphones — essentially making the phone the world's fastest, at least in theory. While most people will never experience the theoretical peak speeds of 400Mbit/s, it's nice to know that T-Mobile continues to push its mandate of being the most technologically-forward in the U.S.

There are practical benefits to this, especially for those who aren't in markets densely populated by T-Mobile towers. Because 256QAM connections rely on having a very low signal-to-noise ratio between the phones and towers, people are going to experience these faster speeds on less crowded towers, and in places where there is much less multipath — signals bouncing all over the place due to tall glass buildings and tons of interference. T-Mobile says that all of its cell sites have been updated to support 256QAM, and that 319 markets support the previously-released 4x4 MIMO. T-Mobile's LG V20 should also support both of these network improvements, but only supports 3x carrier aggregation out of the box, according to Cellular Insights.

The update should be rolling out to all T-Mobile Galaxy S7 and S7 edge customers now, and Reddit users are noting speed test increases in the realm of 10% to 25% depending on the market. What are you seeing?

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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4 weeks ago

HTC Bolt tipped for Nov 11 launch with water resistance, 'adaptive' earphones

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Bizarre new mid-ranger reportedly a Sprint exclusive in the United States.

Rumors have been swirling around the HTC Bolt in recent weeks, suggesting that the Taiwanese company will bring to market mid-priced, big-screened variant of the HTC 10 to market sometime this month.

The deck of slides obtained by TechnoBuffalo breaks down a bunch of hardware features:

  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 main camera with OIS
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • 3,200mAh battery with quick charging — 20 hours talk time with "power to last a day" in 30 minutes of charging.
  • Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
  • Amazon Assistant preloaded.
  • Water resistance, rated IP57
  • 4K video recording and 24-bit Hi-Res audio
  • Bundled with "the world's first adaptive earphones" — "HTC BoomSound Adaptive Audio." The new earphones are said to automatically measure and calibrate sound to adapt to your ears.

The HTC Bolt is also rumored to ditch the regular 3.5mm jack in favor of USB-C audio, because that's working out so well for Apple.

Bolt owners can also keep warm this winter with a toasty Snapdragon 810 processor under the hood, if earlier reports are to be believed. Joking aside, at least the relatively large battery should offset the demands of a notoriously power-hungry chip. But if the rumors are true, the choice of an almost two-year-old SoC with a dubious reputation for performance and thermals is a strange one indeed.

The slides refer to the new phone by the "Bolt," name, as opposed to the alternative "HTC 10 evo" monicker that's been doing the rounds in recent days, but we wouldn't necessarily read too much into that.

With a reported launch date set for November 11, we shouldn't have to wait long to find out more about this oddball device.

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4 weeks ago

Android Auto now runs directly on your phone, marking biggest expansion yet

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Android Auto on a phone

With an app update, Android Auto suddenly expands its reach exponentially.

Android Auto, like other advanced phone-connected in-car experiences, hasn't gotten off to too hot of a start. Car companies are notoriously slow to integrate new infotainment systems into their new models, and people don't just go out and buy new cars every year. At the same time, the offerings of third-party infotainment systems with Android Auto have been expensive and not too well received.

That's why the announcement back at Google I/O in May that Android Auto would be coming natively to Android on phones was so exciting. And now after a few extra months of development, it's finally out for everyone to use. Now by simply installing the Android Auto app, your phone can be used more safely in the car without any additional hardware in the car itself — just clip the phone into an inexpensive mount for your dashboard or windshield, and you're up and running.

Here's a quick look at the new standalone Android Auto experience.

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4 weeks ago

LG V20 camera review: Twice the fun, twice the disappointment

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Is the LG V20 worth it for its camera features? Let's find out.

The LG V20 scored particularly well in our initial review. Our own Andrew Martonik crowned the V20 as a phone that's properly equipped for power users and while that still rings true, we're shifting gears to take a closer look at its three cameras.

The V20 promises to equip you with the appropriate hardware and feature set necessary to shoot, snap, tweet, record, and everything else you need to broadcast your life to the world. And while it does manage to stay on track with its objective, don't rule out buying a dedicated camera just yet. I spent a week with the LG V20 testing its various camera features. I made Snapchat Stories, recorded video, and shot long exposure shots with its manual mode. Here's a look at what LG's not-quite-a-flagship is capable of and what you can expect from it if you were looking at the V20 as your next camera phone.

Not a substitute for the real thing

The LG V20 doesn't boast too many new camera features over its predecessor, the G5, nor is there much differentiation from the first-generation V10. The V20 heralds a similar setup: dual 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel wide-angle rear-facing cameras paired with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera equipped with a wide-angle mode. The main rear-facing camera also employs a hybrid auto focus system that combines laser, phase-detect, and contrast auto focus. There is an additional focus tracking mode available in the camera settings.

I had a mixed experience with the V20's primary 16-megapixel camera. While the camera produced photos that were high-resolution enough to crop and edit for social media, there wasn't much consistency in terms of photo quality.

While the camera produced photos that were high-resolution enough, there wasn't much consistency in terms of photo quality.

More often than not, I found myself relying more on other apps to make the V20's shots look good everywhere else and I hardly felt confident enough to directly post to the internet without some prior tweaking. The V20 also struggled to consistently expose the right parts of each scene and this was particularly frustrating because photos with blown out scenery typically don't edit so well, even with simple filter effects.

The V20 is also a finicky low light performer. Its primary camera shoots at an aperture of f/1.8, so it works fine in dark restaurants and poorly-lit bars. As you can see in the example above, if you're holding the V20 still enough, it can capture the scene with enough detail. However, like its performance in daylight, the photo quality was extremely inconsistent.

There were several instances that photos looked too grainy to lighten after the fact. It's hard to focus the V20 in darker environments without the aid of the manual focus mode and I later discovered that many of the photos that looked fine in the Gallery app were too blurry to even bother stowing away as a memory when viewed on a larger screen.

Thankfully, the V20's primary camera sensor works well with third-party apps like Snapchat and Instagram. My snaps and stories were crisp and clear each time. The only bummer is that you can't switch between cameras in third-party applications. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to use the wide-angle lens for landscape and group shots. One of the drawbacks of a dual-lensed camera phone is that it's only available to the native camera app.

LG V20 regular sensor (left) / LG V20 wide-angle sensor (right)

The 8-megapixel wide-angle lens has its drawbacks — it shoots at f/2.4, so you won't get the same low-light performance as the primary camera.

The 8-megapixel wide-angle lens has its drawbacks, too. First off, it shoots at an aperture of f/2.4, so you won't get the same low-light performance as the primary camera. Second, there's a bit of fish-eye distortion that occurs in landscape shots, thus making the photos harder to crop and edit after the fact. The wide-angle mode is fun if you're shooting action shots or streaming video, but it likely won't be your first choice if you're serious about smartphone photography.

Manual mode for the masses

In spite of its finicky low light performance, I was quite pleased with how easy it was to use the V20's manual camera mode. The on-screen controls are both responsive and identifiable. There's also an auto-exposure lock feature, which I used to "cheat" my way through manual mode. I'd tap it to automatically adjust the exposure levels, and then I'd go in and manually adjust the other settings based on how it looked in the live preview. This proved especially helpful when auto shooting mode had trouble adjusting levels, like when the sky would appear overexposed.

I also like that you can manually adjust the levels for the included library of filters. I had fun making moody scenes with the black and white filter options and turning my cat into a vintage model with sepia filters. You can also use the manual mode with the wide-angle lens though the results won't be as crisp.

As an aside, I found that because its manual focus is digital rather the optical, the setting does not pair well with a clip-on smartphone camera lens.

The V20's manual mode allows you to shoot in RAW and JPEG at the same time. If you shoot with a filter on, however, it will only save it in that manner in JPEG. That leaves you with a clean photo to take into an app like Adobe Lightroom. Don't bet on any post-processing applications to make just any photo look better, however. In the bar scene I shot above, you can see that despite my best efforts, the original picture was too noisy to tweak.

About those selfies

Beauty mode is still weird. It makes me look like an alien.

The V20's 5-megapixel front-facing camera is not as feature-packed as the back lenses, though when you switch over to it you'll still have access to all the other camera features in the app so that you're not constantly jumping around the interface. There's also a front-facing flash option, which places a background behind the viewfinder to brighten up the screen and illuminate your face. If you need to fit more friends in, there's a wide-angle shooting mode that's available, too. You can record front-facing video, Snaps, and Full HD videos, as well, and use any of the included filters to your liking.

Unfortunately, the manual options are not available for your selfies, so if you're looking for more accurate nighttime exposure, you'll have to flip the entire phone over and have someone else adjust it on the other end.

Oh—and beauty mode is still weird. I like that it blurs out any blemishes, but at full capacity it makes me look like an alien.

Shaky video, anyone?

The advertising surrounding the LG V20 makes it seem like this is the ultimate content creation tool. But after a week with the V20 as a video camera, I'm dubious about whether it's apt enough to produce a short-length feature like Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have us believe.

I much preferred the "strafing" effect of the Pixel XL's video capabilities than the V20's "shake it till you make it" motif.

The V20's 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel wide-angle cameras are fine for shooting casual video to share to the web, but like its point-and-shoot abilities, there's an element of inconsistency that's ultimately frustrating. For instance, LG hails the fact that the V20 utilizes Qualcomm's digital image stabilization system, but it's not that impressive.

Just look at how shaky the video is above. I was merely holding the V20 with my dominant hand while walking through downtown San Francisco. The device's video recording capabilities are better when it's on a tripod to stabilize it, or if you're recording while standing still or sitting down. I much preferred the "strafing" effect of the Pixel XL's video capabilities than the V20's apparent "shake it till you make it" motif.

The V20 also boasts a manual mode for video recording. The shutter speed tops out at 1/30th a second and you can use the various included filters and tune each manually to your liking. If you're really going for it, you can also pair a Bluetooth microphone and control its pickup right as you're filming, but be forewarned: the V20's microphones are incredibly sensitive. I know Bay Area Rapid Transit is loud and screechy as it is, but I was hoping that the V20 would have been able to equalize the recording on its own.

Fun stuff that's built in

I've already covered some of the LG V20's extra camera features and most of them were included in last year's LG V10. The benefit of the added features means you don't have to worry too much about downloading a third-party app that can string together video collages or trim a video.

However, I hardly think to myself, "Oh! This moment is worth shooting with the V20's Story mode!" To that end, the V20's extra camera abilities are a fun novelty at the beginning, but you'll soon find that most moments in life happen too fast for you to bother setting up one of these camera modes.

Is it worth buying?

I've always thought of LG's marketing behind the V-series as a bit of a gimmick in the sense that there are still too many limitations to smartphone camera hardware to truly consider it as an alternative to a full-size digital camera. But I also feel like LG isn't advertising this device to the right audience.

The V20 would be best suited for a teenager or young adult.

The V20 would be best suited for a teenager or young adult — a Millennial, if you will — who wants to get creative but who isn't too keen on wielding the same phone as the rest of her schoolmates. And while I appreciate that the V20's 16-megapixel rear-facing camera is higher resolution than some of its competition, I much prefer the performance of the Galaxy S7 and Pixel XL's 12-megapixel cameras.

I echo the sentiments of our original review of the device: The LG V20 offers very little "wow" factor in terms of its video and camera capabilities.

LG V20

AT&T T-Mobile Sprint B&H

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4 weeks ago

Google's Pixel phones get their first updates today

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Pixel XL

Look for Daydream improvements, along with the November security patch.

According to Verizon, today's the day Google's Pixel and Pixel XL get their first over-the-air updates. For Verizon's models, the update will bring the phones up to build NDE63X, with the official changelog detailing the following improvements:

  • Message notifications while connected to vehicle Bluetooth® systems
  • Daydream View performance
  • Adds New Mexico as a state option during Wi-Fi Calling setup

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4 weeks ago

Samsung may delay the Galaxy S8 until April

59

We may have to wait longer than usual for the Galaxy S8.

For the past three years, Samsung has unveiled its flagship in the Galaxy S series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but it looks like the company may delay the launch of the Galaxy S8 until April as it conducts extensive pre-release quality tests to ensure the device is up to the mark.

That's according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter:

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4 weeks ago

Android 7.0 Nougat beta test for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge kicks off from Nov 9

51

TouchWiz is getting some Nougat love.

Samsung offered a Marshmallow beta program for the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge last year, and the company is doing the same this year for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. The Android 7.0 Nougat beta test for both devices will kick off from November 9, and testing will continue until mid-December, which is when we can likely expect a final Nougat build.

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4 weeks ago

Samsung's own AI assistant will debut with the Galaxy S8

168

Get ready for another AI digital assistant.

Samsung was rumored to introduce a virtual assistant with the Galaxy S8, with the technology provided by Viv Labs, a company it acquired earlier this year. The South Korean manufacturer has now confirmed to Reuters that it will integrate Viv's AI assistant in "Galaxy smartphones and expand voice-assistant services to home appliances and wearable technology devices," starting with the Galaxy S8.

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4 weeks ago

From the Editor's Desk: Showmanship, branding and a $1500 smartphone

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Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design

Of course the $1500 Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 is ridiculous. That's the whole point.

Except for when things go spectacularly wrong, we don't often analyze individual launch events. But Thursday's Huawei Mate 9 shindig turned out to be an important milestone for the Chinese firm. In a lot of ways, it's now finally finding its groove. The Mate 9 itself looks to improve upon the generally solid P9, with a much-needed software overhaul and industry-leading specs. And the Munich-based press conference provided a good balance of showmanship — mainly thanks to CEO Richard Yu, who drove on stage in a Porsche 911 and kept up that level of panache throughout — and information. And it did so without being over-the-top, boring or cringey.

Aside from a somewhat anticlimactic reveal of the phones themselves, Huawei's presentation was pretty sharp and well-paced. It was a far cry from April's marathon P9 event, which dedicated almost half of a three-hour presentation to the camera, overstaying it's welcome by a good hour or so in the process. (Even a cameo by Superman couldn't stop many journos from walking before the end.)

In Munich, Huawei took aim at Apple and Samsung, the number one and number two smartphone makers, as it looks to advance up the rankings from third place. Things got a bit technical at times, but the most effective demo from a phone nerd perspective was the video showing a Mate 9 alongside a Galaxy S7 edge after a few thousand hours of simulated use. Bit rot on phones is something everyone can relate to, as is poor battery life. Without pre-empting our review, I can already say the Mate 9 nails the latter (how does eight hours of screen-on time sound?), and if it can address the former too, that's another powerful unique selling point.

Porsche Design Mate 9

As anticipated, we got two Mate 9 variants on Thursday. The big surprise came in the form of the Mate 9 Porsche Design edition, which took the place of the Mate 9 Pro we'd been expecting based on online leaks. (Who knows if that'll re-emerge at some point.)

So here's the deal with the Porsche Design edition: You basically get a Huawei-made Galaxy S7 edge lookalike with Mate 9 internals, a polished metal back, a smaller (5.5-inch 2K) display, 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. And a whole lot of Porsche branding. And a €1395 ($1550) price tag.

The Porsche Design Mate 9 is deliberately dangled just out of the reach of most consumers.

If you've followed the various Porsche Design BlackBerry phones over the years, this is very familiar territory. You're paying for the brand, of course, not the actual technology or materials. As Richard Yu said in the press conference, this is supposed to be an exclusive device, and what's going to exclude most people is the price tag. It's high for the sake of being high in order to maintain the value of the Porsche name, and dangle it just out of the reach of most consumers.

I'm not going to categorically state that the Porsche Design Mate 9 is for a certain kind of rich, middle-aged man who probably doesn't know any better when it comes to technology, but if you said that I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you. The Porsche Design model is nice, but it's not that nice. The pitch black anodized metal feels tackier than the regular Mate 9, and the oversized Porsche Design logo looks like it's trying too hard. Just about everything else can be had in the regular Mate 9 for half the price.

But again, let's not feign surprise that you'll end up paying hundreds more for the model with a major luxury brand attached. That's how brand names have always worked — it's pretty much Branding 101.

Aside from actually selling product to the few people who'll stump up the cash for a Porsche Mate 9, the purpose of this model is to build prestige by associating Huawei with a top-tier Western brand. (That's surely an important part of the Leica camera partnership too, by the way.) It's also likely that an "aspirational" model like the Porsche Design Mate 9 will create a halo effect around its more attainable sibling.

It's ridiculous and overpriced, but that's precisely the point.

Other odds and ends on a working weekend:

  • Look for a "first impressions" review piece on the Huawei Mate 9 later this week here on AC. The devices media have in-hand right now are running pre-production software, with a few bugs and glitches. We're told these will be resolved in an OTA going out to all review units in the next couple of weeks. (Any "full" reviews you see for the next week or so will be based on what Huawei itself says is non-final code.)
  • I've attended two phone launches this past week which have poked fun at the Galaxy Note 7. (First Wileyfox in London, then Huawei in Munich.) After detailing how safe and cool his company's new fast charging tech is, CEO Richard Yu quipped "no explosions!" to chuckles from attendees. Samsung's exploding smartphone is still a joke, and people are still laughing.
  • Then there's the air travel angle. All of the 10 flights I've taken in the past month (yeah... it's been an unusually busy month) have had some sort of Note 7 safety warning, either onboard the aircraft, at check-in or at the gate. Now consider that commercial airlines carry around 3 billion passengers each year. Those unmissable Note 7 announcements are likely to continue until at least the end of 2016, which means hundreds of millions of potential consumers being hammered with the "Samsung phones are unsafe" message throughout the life of this thing. It's hard to quantify that sort of impact.
  • But hey! GS7 edge in coral blue looks pretty hot.

That's it for this weekend. American friends, don't forget to vote this Tuesday!

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4 weeks ago

Understanding memory card speeds and what works best for your phone

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Buying an SD card shouldn't be difficult. Learn what those numbers all mean and how to pick what's best for you.

SD cards are a cheap way to provide extra storage for just about anything that can create or read a digital file. Most cameras use SD cards, as do audio players and recorders, digital photo frames, many laptops and a lot of phones. While we're going to focus on the how what and why of using them with an Android phone, the overall ideas are the same and you'll be just fine using this reference when buying an SD card for anything that can use one.

Buying an SD card can be a little frustrating. You need to find a reputable place to buy them if shopping online, you need to know which type you need and what the class rating means. It's OK not to know this stuff, and we're here to help you sort through it.

SD card form factors

Once you're sure your phone can use an SD card, you need to know just what type of card to buy. SD cards come in different physical sizes, have different read and write speeds and different storage sizes.

Phones use the smallest microSD card form factor.

For your Android phone, you're looking for the microSD form factor. SD cards come in three different sizes. An SD card is the biggest — a little larger than a postage stamp — and is used for things like stand-alone cameras. The Mini SD form factor is about half the size of a full SD card and they aren't very popular. Chances are you won't ever buy anything that needs a Mini SD card. The microSD card is about the size of your fingernail and the one we're looking for.

When you buy a Mini or microSD card you often get an adapter in the package. The smaller card slides into the adapter so it can fit into something that needs a full-sized card — like your computer — as well as something like your phone that needs a microSD card. This makes it pretty handy when transferring pictures or video from your phone to your computer.

SD card storage versions

There is a method to the madness of all those letters you see.

The next thing you need to know is the storage version. You can buy microSD cards, microSDHC cards, and microSDXC cards. A microSD card was designed to hold up to 2GB of information, though a few 4GB versions are available that work outside of the specifications. microSDHC cards (Secure Digital High Capacity) are designed to hold up to 32GB of data. microSDXC (Secure Digital eXtra Capacity) cards are designed to hold between 32GB and 2TB of data. It's important to know what version your phone can use. Most all modern phones — Android or otherwise — will be able to use a microSDHC card. Many newer phones are capable of using a microSDXC card.

There is no easy to see difference between a phone that can use a microSDXC card and one that can't. You'll need to consult the documentation that came with your phone or hop into the forums and ask other folks who have already found the answer. The versions are backward compatible (a microSDXC card slot can use a microSD or microSDHC card) but there is no forwards compatibility, and if your phone can't use a microSDXC card it won't ever work.

SD card speed classes

No card is going to be as fast as the listed maximum.

Finally, you need to understand the speed class ratings. There are currently five different speed classes (listed slowest to fastest) — DS (up to 12.5 MB/s), HS (up to 25 MB/s), UHS-I (up to 104 MB/s), UHS-II (up to 312 MB/s) and UHS-3 (over 312 MB/s). There are also speed "subclasses" and those are listed with a number. You'll usually see a 2,4 or 6 listed on a DS speed card. HS speed cards will have a 10 listed. UHS cards can also have a U1 to U3 rating.

These numbers are the highest speeds the card is capable of when reading data. No card is going to be as fast as the listed maximum. You'll often see an actual rated speed listed on the packaging along with the speed class rating.

Deciding what you need

Are you thoroughly confused yet? Don't be.

  • You need to know what size SD card you need. If you're buying for use in a phone, you need a microSD card.
  • You need to know what storage version your phone is compatible with. If in doubt, ask the folks who sold you the phone or others using the same phone in our forums.
  • The speed of the card you need depends on what you're going to do with it.

The first two items on the list above are pretty self-explanatory. The wrong size card isn't going to fit and anything you attach or insert into a phone needs to be compatible. The speed you're looking for isn't too difficult to suss out, either.

  • The faster, the better. You'll never run into a situation where an SD card is too fast. A UHS card isn't needed to listen to stored music or stream video you have saved, but it won't hurt anything to use it. Faster SD cards will more future-proof if you decide to shoot a lot of videos, especially in 4K.
  • Never buy a card slower than Class 10. Class 10 cards are a great compromise between price and performance. They are plenty fast enough to transfer music or pictures to a computer (or the other direction), are fast enough if your phone camera has a burst mode, and are even fast enough to store Android application data. Your phone is probably capable of copying bits and bytes faster than the 25 MB/s when doing these things, but it's not going to be able to process that data fast enough to see a noticeable difference.
  • If you shoot 4K videos, the card is never fast enough. See item one in this list.

4K video has a need for speed.

Your phone needs to be able to copy video data to the storage as fast as it can. It copies this information from the camera a lot faster than it would if it were a regular data file. There is a noticeable difference between a few minutes of 4K video shot using a Class 10 card and the same video shot when using a UHS speed class card. Video can look blurry or fuzzy, audio can be out of sync or you can even see some skipped frames. Once you see it side by side you can't unsee it, and I'll save you the trouble and tell you up front that to shoot any HD video you need a UHS speed class card. Of course, shooting video directly to the phone's internal storage is always better than straight to an SD card.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 makes for a great example here, so we're going to use it. Remember, your phone may support different speed classes.

The Galaxy S7 supports microSDXC cards using the UHS-I speed bus. UHS-II cards will work in the Galaxy S7, but the extra speed is not supported — there are two extra points of contact that are not present on the S7's card reader. To take pictures, store music or video on the card or to add some application data, any UHS-I card would work and may even be overkill. The thing to consider with the Galaxy S7 is that it has a really good camera that can take 4K videos. If you're going to shoot 4K videos, you need a UHS-I class U1 card or better. If you use anything slower, you'll see a difference in quality.

The bottom line: A faster SD card is always better

This is especially important if you're going to be shooting HD or UHD video because you need to be able to write the raw data stream to the storage as fast as you can.

Using a fast card to do "normal" things like store files or copy pictures to a computer doesn't hurt anything. It makes no sense to ever buy anything slower than an HS speed Class 10 card.

If you'd rather not know all this industry talk and just want to buy an SD card and move on, here's the skinny. Find out what version microSD card your phone supports, and buy a good brand name card from someone you can trust (there are a lot of slow cards with the wrong label being sold at places like eBay) that's as fast as you can find and you'll be fine.

More: The best microSD cards for Android

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1 month ago

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Pro unveiled in China: FHD display, Snapdragon 625, and 4100mAh battery for $135

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Xiaomi has unveiled the latest in its entry-level Redmi series, the Redmi 4, in China. The phone will be offered in three variants — a base model Redmi 4A, the standard Redmi 4, and a version called the Redmi 4 Pro with double the storage and a Full HD display.

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1 month ago

Google Pixel review: An Android for normals

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"The best Android smartphone."

It's a well-worn phrase favored by pundits and pitchmen, and one that I'm hardly immune to trying out every now and then. But in the Android world, the "best" has almost always been divided between two very different camps. For purists who wanted unadulterated software and the fastest updates, there was the Nexus line; for mainstream consumers, companies like Samsung won plaudits by packing in feature after feature (and selling phones through carriers).

So what if you combined the best of both approaches into a single product that straddled the divide? You'd have an all-new Google phone – and in some ways, a new "best Android phone." That phone is called the Pixel – and this is the MrMobile review.

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1 month ago

Google Pixel XL vs. LG V20: Opposite approaches to greatness

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Google Pixel XL versus LG V20

You have choices when you go to spend big money on a phone today, with Google and LG being near the top.

When LG introduced the V series of phones in 2015 with the V10, it was aimed at a certain small group of people that wanted every possible spec and feature without much of a consideration of size, usability or style. Now the V20 is here, and it has much broader appeal with a sleeker body — but it hasn't given up the pile of features that made the V10 so appealing to power users. On the other end of the spectrum is Google's first phone, the Pixel XL, that's all about simplicity, not specs — though it has plenty going under the hood, it misses out on a few features in exchange for a more cohesive experience.

It's two ways to attack the high-end smartphone market, arguably with different potential markets for each. But when you put them head-to-head, which one comes out on top? We're here to answer that question.

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