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3 weeks ago

Best MetroPCS phones

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Best MetroPCS Phones

MetroPCS offers some great phones to go along with its affordable plans, and we're going to find the one that best suits your needs.

MetroPCS gives you the opportunity to not break the bank when buying a phone without a contract, but most of its phones are mid- to low-end when considering specs. They do offer some high-end phones, which we've featured on this list. Coupled with their affordable plans, you might not be able to pass them up.

We'll be updating this list regularly to keep current with new phones!

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

MetroPCS brings you Samsung's latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S7 — a surefire choice for anyone looking to upgrade or anyone just stepping foot into the smartphone game. Enjoy the latest from Android with 6.0 Marshmallow, and shoot photos to your heart's content with a 12MP Dual-Pixel camera. The Galaxy S7 is able to charge wirelessly, and has 32GB internal storage you can upgrade to 200GB with a microSD card.

Color options are limited with MetroPCS: the Galaxy S7 comes in Onyx Black only.

If you're thinking about going with the Galaxy S7 but want to learn more, check out our review:

More: Samsung Galaxy S7 review

See at MetroPCS

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung's previous flagship, the Galaxy S6, was released in 2015 and received stellar reviews. Its 16MP camera with image stabilization is a great feature for anyone who loves to shoot photos, and features a brilliant display that compliments Samsung's first effort towards unibody design for their flagship brand.

MetroPCS gives you gold and white color options when choosing your Galaxy S6.

More: Samsung Galaxy S6 review

See at MetroPCS

LG Stylo 2 Plus

Need a bigger screen? You might want to try the 5.7-inch Stylo 2 Plus, one of LG's budget phablet devices. The phone is slim, offers decent battery life, and features a removable battery and expandable storage. And if drawing or penning notes is your thing, there's a stowable stylus that comes with a suite of compatible apps. Just bear in mind that while the phone's Snapdragon 430 processor is capable enough for everyday tasks, it's not exactly a gaming powerhouse.

See at MetroPCS

Bring your own device

If you don't want to shell out the money for a Galaxy S6 or S7 and don't want to settle for a lesser phone, MetroPCS allows you to bring your own phone to their service. Before you pull the trigger have a look at MetroPCS's restrictions when it comes to using your own device with their service.

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3 weeks ago

What you need to know about U.S. carrier plans and subsidies

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Can I still buy a smartphone with a carrier subsidy?

I forgot what it's like to actually buy a smartphone. I've been living in a bubble because of my privileged position as a former smartphone reviewer and I missed out on the fact that carrier subsidies aren't really a thing anymore.

Back in the day—that is to say, a mere two years ago—you could purchase the latest smartphone at a significant discount after signing on for another two years of service. But in the last year, U.S. carriers have effectively changed their policies so that their customers have to either finance or lease their smartphones, or just buy them outright.

Are there any major carriers still offering subsidies? The answer is, not really. But that doesn't mean that purchasing your next smartphone has to be a daunting experience. Here's what the four major U.S. carriers are offering in terms of upgrades.

Tip: Most of the major carriers have special offers throughout the year that could save you some cash on your next device. For instance, Verizon offers up to $300 trade-in value for your old smartphone when you upgrade or add a line on select devices. These deals change from time to time, but like buying a car, if you can wait to upgrade until the next promotion, it could afford you some major savings.

Verizon Wireless

At present, Verizon only offers two smartphone buying options: Financing the phone with monthly payments, or buying the phone outright. By default, Big Red will allow you to pay for your phone over the course of 24 months, or two years from your purchase date. For instance, if you wanted to buy the 32GB Samsung Galaxy S7, you'd be paying $28 a month until you reach the $672 retail price. Alternatively, you could also put some money down, like $200, and only pay $19.67 per month for 24 months. Unfortunately, you can't pay extra towards the balance of the phone each month after the fact, though you can choose to pay it off entirely at any time if you have the funds.

Big Red will allow you to pay for your phone over the course of 24 months.

Long time customers have a little more luck. Verizon stopped offering subsidies to new customers late last summer, but if you were on contract at that time and you're only now considering an upgrade, you can still buy your next smartphone at a discount until Verizon decides otherwise.

AT&T

Like Verizon, AT&T allows you to pay for your smartphone over time or in one lump sum. There are is an option if you're aching to upgrade early on, however, and depending on your credit, you might even have the luxury of paying off your phone slowly, up to 30 months after initial purchase.

AT&T Next is a bit more flexible than Verizon's offering.

AT&T's financing plan is called AT&T Next, and it's a bit more flexible than Verizon's offerings. For example, if you're looking to upgrade to the 32GB Galaxy S7 edge and you have a good credit score, you can choose to put nothing down and pay $36.50 a month for 30 months. You could also lower your monthly rate by adding on an optional down payment and then choose to pay off your device over 24, 18, or 12 months if you qualify.

AT&T also offers a Next Every Year program, which makes you eligible for a discount on a new phone with a trade-in, but only after your current device is halfway paid off (this takes roughly one year). And if you cancel your service in the middle of paying off the device, you'll have to pay it in full before you can leave.

Sprint

If you're a Sprint subscriber, you can choose to lease your phone, buy it outright, or pay for it in monthly installments.

Sprint's leasing program works similarly to leasing a car. You choose almost any phone you want and then pay for it over the period of 24 months. At the end of the lease, you can choose to pay off the remaining balance on the device, trade it in for a new model, or continue paying month-to-month until you figure out what you want. There's also a $5 monthly Early Upgrade option, though you'll have to have paid toward your device for 12 consecutive months before you can upgrade to a new phone. And if you're crazy for every new Samsung device, you can sign up for the Galaxy Forever leasing program.

Sprint's leasing program is a bit problematic. You don't actually own the device unless you choose the purchase option and should something major happen to the device in your care before it's paid off, you'll be liable for the Damaged Device Fee unless you're enrolled in the Total Equipment Protection plan, which also costs a monthly fee.

Sprint's leasing program is problematic in that you don't actually own the device.

At the end of it all, Sprint's leasing program doesn't sound like the best deal. You'll have to pile on program fees just to ensure you're not paying up the wazoo at the end of the lease, and if you decide to keep the phone, you'll actually be paying more than the current value of the device at the end of the leasing terms. The full terms of Sprint's leasing program are here.

It's also unclear if Sprint has done away with subsidies. On its cell phone upgrades page, Sprint says, "If you have completed a 2-year commitment, you can upgrade to another discounted device if you enter into a new 2-year Service Agreement." This applies only to those customers that are paying at least $40 a month for their bill.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile's Jump program costs $10 a month and includes device insurance. Once you're signed up, you'll pay for the device in monthly installments, and after it's halfway paid off, you can trade it in for a new one.

T-Mobile will let you pay for your phone outright or in 24 month installments.

Like Verizon, T-Mobile will also let you pay for your phone outright, or in installments over 24 months, though you may have to fork over a down payment depending on your credit score. At the very least, that down payment goes towards the full price of the phone. You can also choose to pay extra each month so that your phone is paid off sooner, though you'll have to file that separately from your monthly bill so that it's registered in the system as a device payment.

Lastly, T-Mobile offers a leasing program called Jump! On Demand, which is great for smartphone enthusiasts who are keen on having the latest and greatest but don't necessarily want to commit to shelling out all the cash at once. You'll essentially be making monthly payments to use the phone, though you'll never actually own it. The upside you can walk into any T-Mobile store and trade your months-old phone in for a new one, up to three times in a year. But it also means that you can't get too attached to your daily driver.

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3 weeks ago

India's civil aviation ministry also advises against using the Note 7 in-flight

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India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the latest to advocate against using the Note 7 in-flight.

As Samsung proceeds with the Note 7 global recall, India's civil aviation ministry has issued a public notice advising users to not use the phone in-flight. The move follows similar statements from the FAA, and several Australian airlines as governments and carriers work to prevent any untoward incidents.

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3 weeks ago

Is the Galaxy Note name ruined?

320

The internet never forgets. But it does forgive.

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has a bit of an image problem. It should be under close scrutiny right now.

You can't ignore that the Note 7 can catch on fire or explode because of an issue with the battery, or that Samsung thinks everyone who bought one should return it for a replacement or refund. That's like a giant blinking sign that the elephant in the room carries around. Even the FAA is getting involved (as they should) which keeps people talking about it — which is also a good thing. We need to keep talking about it until everyone who bought a Note 7 knows. It's completely understandable that there is legitimate concern about this phone in particular and Samsung phones in general — that's just how people are. Caution is hardwired into us as a survival mechanism.

But will this whole exploding Note 7 thing ever go away or has the Galaxy Note line been sullied forever?

Samsung will keep selling millions of phones. Some of them will be Galaxy Notes.

While this is a bit more severe, I can't help but think about the iPhone 4 and its antenna "issue." While no phones were destroyed and nobody was put at any immediate risk, it was still a thing that affected the tens of millions of devices sold and continues to affect the millions of people still using it in 2016. And it certainly caused a ruckus — one that was compounded when the late Steve Jobs suggested that owners were holding it wrong. The original issue was frustrating, and Apple's response even more so. Folks couldn't stop talking about it and how horrible Apple was and all manner of nonsense about how the iPhone name is tainted filled the internet. Eventually, things had to be settled in court. Fast forward to 2016 and iPhone sales have hit the one billion mark because, in the end, we either forgot or just didn't care.

I'm not trying to say the Note 7 has, ever will have the same popularity that the iPhone enjoys. But this does give us some insight into how much we're willing to tolerate and how soon we will forget things — even if they were never made right. I think for most people the same thing will happen with the Galaxy Note.

Plenty of people will return their Note 7 for a refund, and buy something else. Plenty of others will not buy a Note 7 simply because of concerns about the battery, or being unsure whether they're buying a "new" model. Samsung is certainly going to miss their target for projected sales. But plenty of people will buy or replace their Note 7, and once the dust settles we'll all have moved on to the next object of internet concern and/or outrage. And when the Note 8 comes around, jokes will be made and the noise level will go up a notch, but the people who love the Galaxy Note will still love them, and still buy them.

Samsung needs to make things right, and they will. We need to keep reminding them until that happens.

Samsung will be OK, and the millions of dollars they may lose because of the Note 7 recall will just come out of the billions they earned from the rest of their mobile products and washing machines and components and self-propelled armored 155mm howitzer artillery pieces. They will keep doing what they do best and will sell phones by the millions. Some of them will be Galaxy Notes.

The Galaxy Note 7's image may be a little tarnished, and perhaps rightfully so. But that doesn't mean it is going away or that it ceases to be a damn good phone. We're still going to care about it and so will plenty of other people. Expect to see it given the full treatment that it deserves here at Android Central, but also expect us to also hold Samsung's feet to the fire until everything is taken care of, and folks aren't at risk from a bad phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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3 weeks ago

BB-8 now comes in a battle-damaged Special Edition with Force Band!

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It still won't give you a thumbs up, though.

BB-8 is adorable, fun to play with, and without a doubt one of the most successful Star Wars toys to arrive with The Force Awakens last year. Sphero, the company behind this clever robot ball, promised several updates to BB-8 over time and so far has delivered in big ways. BB-8 will sit with you and watch The Force Awakens now, and holographic projection messaging has improved several times over the last year.

The biggest update to BB-8 is coming in the form of a wristband that will control the bot instead of your phone. It's being cleverly dubbed Force Band based on how you move your body to control BB-8, and to celebrate its launch Sphero is releasing a battle-damaged special edition of BB-8 with one of these bands in the box.

While you can absolutely buy the BB-8 Force Band without a new robot attached, the updated visuals on the Special Edition reflect BB-8's journey in The Force Awakens. Spoiler alert, this little robot has seen some shit and his outer shell absolutely reflects this by the end of the movie. If you never got around to picking up a BB-8, this could be the perfect way to get everything in one box. If you already own a BB-8 and can't help yourself, that's cool too. No judgement here, just happy little bloops and smiles as this robot rolls on by.

See at Amazon

Sphero BB-8

Amazon Best Buy

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3 weeks ago

How is the iPhone 7 Plus dual camera different from Android cameras?

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iPhone 7 Plus

Android manufacturers say they had dual-camera phones first. Technically they're correct. But Apple's doing things very differently.

For those of us who live and breathe smartphones, it's fun to poke Apple when it "invents" a feature we've been seeing in the Android space for years. Like when it "invented" bigger phones in 2014, or "invented" split-screen multitasking on the iPad Pro.

Sometimes the snark is justified. Other times, not so much. (And for what it's worth, Apple rarely claims to be first with features.) In my view, the clamoring over the iPhone 7 Plus's new dual-camera setup fits somewhere in the middle. Sure, in the Android world dual cameras aren't new. But there's a lot Apple's doing that is new and important.

Let's take a look at how Android's been doing dual cameras over the past two and a half years, and how it differs to Apple's new stuff.

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3 weeks ago

Galaxy S8: New report points to twin edge-screen flagships for 2017

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GS7 edge

5.1 and 5.5-inch edge screen Galaxy S8 models on the way, according to reports from Korean.

After introducing a more subtle edge screen in the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung might be doing away with completely flat screens altogether in its next-gen Galaxy S phone. According to a new report from The Korea Herald, both Galaxy S8 models might feature curved screens, at the same 5.1- and 5.5-inch sizes as the GS7.

Sources said the company has already started securing display panels in two sizes — 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch -- from its own display-making unit Samsung Display, the world's sole producer of double-edged screens.

An improvement in yield rates of the hard-to-make curved displays is a key factor, the outlet says.

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3 weeks ago

Huawei P9 second opinion: A well-rounded smartphone with a brilliant camera

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The quick take

The latest flagship smartphone from Huawei, the P9, has a lot of things going for it in tandem to offer a great Android smartphone experience, along with arguably the best mobile photography credibility a smartphone has offered yet.

The Good

  • Brilliant camera
  • Excellent fingerprint sensor
  • Good display
  • Elegant design and build quality

The Bad

  • Not cheap
  • EMUI is overwhelming
  • Occasional lags
  • Single SIM only

Huawei P9 Full Review

Huawei does a lot of things right. It's made some great hardware for the past couple of years, like the Nexus 6P and the P8. Then there's the Honor sub-brand that has offered some very capable and nice-looking smartphones for customers on a budget. It took the Nexus 6P, obviously aided by the Google branding, to make a lot of people aware about the company's research, engineering, and design capabilities.

The Huawei P9 with Dual Leica Lens is an engineering marvel on paper, and has much improved EMUI software – the biggest showstopper for Huawei phones till date. Let's see how the P9 fares against the flagship smartphones and the value-for-money flagship killers — because it sits right on the fence between the two.

About this review

I used the Indian retail variant of the Huawei P9 (EVA-L09) that ran EMUI 4.1 running on top of Android Marshmallow 6.0 out of the box. For most of the time, I used it with an Airtel 4G SIM in Delhi NCR. There is another higher spec'd variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage that is on sale in some markets. This 32GB variant had about 25 gigs of storage available out of the box.

Huawei P9 Design

The Huawei P9 has an industrial design that is consistent with the company's design ethos, yet the metallic unibody construction gives it an elegant look. It's solidly built and the craftsmanship with the chamfered edges and the nicely milled aluminum is impressive.

Because of the smaller screen size, the overall footprint is compact and it is a delight to use with one hand – something which is a thing of the past when it comes to the current trend in flagship smartphones. At 144 grams, it is light and easy to handle, and yet doesn't feel flimsy because the weight is evenly spread across the surface area of the device. With less than 7mm of thickness and curved edges, it feels great to grip the P9 in your hand and you'd not want to reach for your pocket or bag to put it away all the time.

The back sports the camera unit which, despite the advanced optics, does not have a bump like the Nexus 6P had. Of course, there's the Leica branding next to it which is something definitely worth flashing.

There's no doubt the P8 and P9 are part of the same lineage, which isn't a bad thing. The Huawei P8 was a well-designed smartphone, and the P9 is a nice evolution of the same. There's nothing flashy about the Huawei P9 and yet it is one of the best designed smartphones on the market – not just in looks but in ease of use as well.

Huawei P9 Hardware

Category Features Operating system Android Marshmallow 6.0 with EMUI 4.1 Display 5.2 Inch Full HD (1080 x 1920) IPS LCD | 423ppi Processor 2.5GHz Huawei Kirin 955 Quad-core RAM 3 GB Internal Storage 32 GB; expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card Battery 3000mAh Rear Camera Dual 12MP (color & monochrome) | ƒ/2.2 lens | Co-engineered with Leica Front Camera 8MP Dimensions 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm Weight 144 grams

Powered by Huawei's home-brewed octa-core Kirin 955 chipset with four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz, the P9 packs in 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

The Kirin 955 packs in enough muscle for being a daily driver without breaking a sweat, and it's a shame that many question Huawei's decision to opt for its own chipset instead of going with a Qualcomm one without taking it for a spin in the real world. From multi-tabbed browsing to Full HD video playback to playing graphic-intensive games, the P9 handles everything thrown at it smoothly. It does tend to get a little hot when playing games for an extended period.

It's not all hunky-dory though. While there's a lot of memory management optimizations under the hood, I did run into occasional lags with the P9. It's not a showstopper, but one wonders if packing in 3GB of RAM (or having a lower spec'd variant for India) was a wrong decision by Huawei. Overall though, the Kirin 955 does well to offer a fluid Android experience with a lot of tweaks for the camera experience.

The fingerprint sensor on the P9 is one of the fastest in the business and supports 360-degree recognition. You can also configure the fingerprint sensor for additional functionality like answering calls or taking phones et al. Also, the EMUI offers several gestures in conjunction with the fingerprint sensor for extended functionality — like swiping down on the sensor to bring down the notifications shade or double-tapping it to clear the notifications. One of the more useful gestures is the ability to swipe left or right on the sensor to browse photos without your finger blocking the view over the display.

Interestingly, the Huawei P9 has a single nanoSIM card slot that supports 4G LTE instead of the common hybrid Dual SIM slot – surprising considering the trend in the Indian market. So if you use two SIMs on an everyday basis or on your frequent travels, the P9 is a no go for you.

Huawei P9 Display

The Huawei P9 features a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD. Unless you're a fan of the 6-inch-and-around display sizes, the display on the P9 is just about perfect for most people. Huawei steers clear of the temptation for boundary-pushing 4K or even a Quad HD display, and the 1080p screen makes absolute sense on a 5.2-inch display. Anything higher would only drain the battery faster.

In any case, the display on P9 is extremely good and with a pixel density of around 423ppi, the P9's panel makes images look incredible and the text crisp. The 2.5D curved glass looks beautiful and accentuates the display. The viewing angles are great and the color reproduction is pretty accurate. You can also adjust the color temperature of the display from the settings to make it warmer or cooler as you'd prefer.

The sunlight legibility is just good enough, though slightly marred by the reflective glass. Overall, the display is sharp, and watching a movie or viewing your photos is a treat.

Huawei P9 Software

Emotion UI, or EMUI, is Huawei's custom UI layer running on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Far from just a skin, it adds a ton of features to the operating system including a variety of gesture controls. The number of features can actually be intimidating, so you may need to spend a couple of weeks moving things around to make everything work for you.

Like most of the proprietary UIs from Chinese brands, the EMUI lacks an app drawer. There's a one-hand UI with shifting keyboard (not sure why you'd need it on a compact smartphone like the P9 though) as well as a simple UI mode for basic users and for those who are visually impaired. There's the 'Phone Manager' app that gives easy access to, well, phone management options like system optimizations, memory clean-up, traffic manager, battery manager, as well as a harassment filter for blocking unwanted calls and messages.

The EMUI 4.1 is thankfully a good progression and takes care of some annoyances of the past. It's a very usable user interface with a host of customization options. Once you get a hang of it, it becomes clear that EMUI 4.1 is the best version of the EMUI yet, and as powerful as any other launcher. Of course, if you don't like what Huawei has done with the EMUI, you can switch to your favorite launcher just fine.

Huawei P9 Battery life

The Huawei P9 includes a respectable 3,000mAh non-removable battery, and big props to Huawei for packing a battery of that size into the slim form-factor of the P9. With average usage, the P9 easily lasts a day. The lack of Quad HD or 4K panel is a definite factor here, as well as the power-efficient optimizations of the Kirin 955 processor. You can squeeze out even more juice with the useful 'ROG power saving' mode which reduces the phone's resolution to 720p — further knocking down the battery consumption.

Overall, the battery life on the P9 is pretty good — not stellar — and since it supports fast charging, you can charge it up to two-thirds in less than 30 minutes. Trouble is, the supplied charger is the normal 5V/2A charger and takes over two hours to charge the phone from empty to 100%.

Huawei P9 Camera

Of course, the highlight of the Huawei P9 is the camera — co-engineered with Leica, the legendary optics enterprise from Germany. It's obviously less of a hardware partnership and more of a branding collaboration, similar to the Dolby Atmos or Beats tie-ups we've seen in the past for audio component.

Yet, imaging is a critical aspect of a smartphone experience today, and the collaboration with Leica and the execution is impressive, and so let me just say it outright. The photos clicked with the Huawei P9 are some of the best photos clicked with smartphones – the flagships included. Shots from the 12-megapixel rear camera offer a lot of details with impressive color reproduction.

The rear camera on the P9 packs in two sensors – RGB and Monochrome – with 27mm focal length and an f2.2 aperture, assisted laser AF as well as a dual-tone LED flash. The smartphones that boasted dual camera sensors in the past typically used them for 3D effect or for sensing depth of field, and hence never made a big impression. For Huawei, the dual camera sensors allow you to snap outstanding pictures using the two sensors, which work in unison with the RGB sensor capturing the colors and the monochrome sensor capturing the details. Despite sporting a smaller sensor as compared to the Samsung Galaxy S7 for example, the P9 has terrific low-light performance because of that monochrome sensor.

The P9 also includes a dedicated depth sensor which allows users to mimic depth of field just like shooting with DSLRs. Several other phone cameras with similar attempts end up clicking pictures that look unnatural. But the P9 excels here, allowing for bokeh effects that are pleasant to look at and look real.

Just as the marketing pitch of Huawei proposes, snapping monochrome photos on the P9 is an indulgence in itself. The monochrome mode captures photos with the monochrome sensor – unlike other smartphones where the photos are taken with an RGB sensor and then desaturated to look like a black-and-white photo. Nah, not the same thing! The monochrome photos with the P9 are brighter with more details. If you're like me and love monochrome or B&W photos, you'll end up shooting random things using the monochrome mode on the P9 all day for the sheer delight of the results.

On the front, there's an 8-megapixel camera with a f/2.4 aperture. It does well for those selfies outdoors, and even in low light although they are a tad darker in the latter case. There's also the functional beauty mode if vanity is your thing.

The brilliant results the P9 camera manages to offer are not just due to the optics hardware, but also the under-the-hood processing as well as the stock camera app. The latter may be intimidating as there is a lot going on here. There are almost too many options and features baked in, including 14 modes for clicking pictures and the option to shoot in RAW or the manual mode to granularly adjust ISO value, exposure, shutter speed, and focus.

At the end of the day, this is still a smartphone camera. It will not replace your DSLR (no smartphone can make such a claim at the moment) like some hyperbole headlines would suggest, but it's a darn nice camera with tons of options to get the photos you want for those likes and shares.

The video recording tops out at 1080p and 60fps and the P9, despite all its camera credentials, doesn't shoot in 4K. Frankly, like most people, I don't care about 4K, but it's a dent on the specifications sheet. Even on other flagships that support 4K recording, I record only 1080p to save storage space. You still get manual controls, and an option of standard, smooth, and vivid colors for video – but not the star monochrome option here. There's no optical image stabilization as well. So, yeah, you can shoot decent videos on the P9 but nothing fantastic or extraordinary like the stills it manages to capture.

Huawei P9 Bottom line

After the Nexus 6P, which probably isn't a Huawei phone in absolute terms, the Huawei P9 is the best smartphone from the Chinese brand. As Phil NIckinson says, the P9 is the "best mainstream phone Huawei has made." It's one of those smartphones that can't be judged on mere specifications and impresses you when you hold it in your hand and start using it.

The EMUI is in its best avatar on the P9, and although a little overpowering, it offers what the best in business offer feature-by-feature. It's got powerful internals with a well-executed dual-camera setup encased in a beautiful chassis with understated elegance. There are misses, too. Like the underwhelming RAM — in number or in memory performance. With all the camera hype, expert videographers and photographers — not me — would point at the lack of 4K recording and the just about average f2.2. aperture. And there's no dual SIM variant, mind you.

Should you buy it? Yes

The Huawei P9 is a top-notch smartphone, but alas, it's not a 'value for money' device like the Xiaomi Mi5 or OnePlus 3. At ₹39,999, the P9 is expensive but also a really impressive smartphone, and Huawei is within its rights to charge the premium for it.

Go ahead and buy it if you love mobile photography (who doesn't?) or like a stylish-looking slab that fits snuggly in your hand.

See at Flipkart

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3 weeks ago

FAA 'strongly advises' against Galaxy Note 7 use, charging on planes

67

The Note 7 recall saga continues, with government agencies now getting involved.

As Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 recall picks up speed, with retailers and carriers taking in and replacing phones, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has officially recommended that travelers not use or charge Note 7s on flights. Going a step further, the FAA says that you shouldn't put a Note 7 in your checked luggage either — bring it with you on board, but turn it off, is the message.

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3 weeks ago

Shoot for the moon with these lunar wallpapers

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Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars...

The stars might be too far away to dream of visiting, but the moon is so close. It's right up there in the sky, almost every night. It's taunting us as it twirls around the Earth in its near-monthly rotation. And even though most of us will never see it up-close, we'll continue to reach for it every day... as the wallpaper on our phone!

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3 weeks ago

BlackBerry brings whole productivity app suite to more Android phones

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Last month, BlackBerry announced they would be bringing their Android apps such as the BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, and Password Keeper to even more Android users through a new subscription offering called Hub+.

Now, they have announced an expansion of that access adding even more of the productivity apps to the mix.

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3 weeks ago

Here's what the new S Pen can do on the Galaxy Note 7

93

Learn what you can do with the S Pen and the Galaxy Note 7

Samsung's flagship releases for 2016, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7, are arguably the top-class smartphones of the year. While there are a number of similarities in terms of design and features between the two phones, the most marked difference is the Note 7's S Pen, which adds a host of awesome features.

From tools to keep you productive and organized to instant translations and animated gifs, the S Pen will be at the center of your experience with the Note 7 if you embrace it. Here are the core features that use the S Pen and how they work.

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3 weeks ago

5 things I learned traveling with the Honor 8

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Honor 8 travel

Travel lessons from a week with the Honor 8 at IFA.

If you're a frequent traveler, you'll know that nothing taxes a phone like dragging it halfway across a continent, through airport security bins, onto planes and back again. So whenever I take a phone with me on a trip — as I did with the Galaxy S7 edge earlier this year — it's fun to reflect on the lessons learned.

This time around my phone of choice was the Huawei-built Honor 8, and the venue was IFA 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Read on to find out how it fared.

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3 weeks ago

Best Chromebook

Dell Chromebook 13

The Dell Chromebook 13 is the best Chromebook you can buy today.

Best overall

Dell Chromebook 13

Dell Chromebook 13

See at Dell

I can just come right out and say it — Dell has made the best non-Pixel Chromebook to date with the new Chromebook 13. This 13.3-inch Chromebook has a great metal build coated in durable soft touch material, along with a great backlit keyboard and a big glass-covered trackpad.

The bottom line: For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, and values getting extra performance and hardware quality at an added price, Dell has made the Chromebook for you.

Why the Dell Chromebook 13 is the best

Dell has made the Chromebook for you.

The display on the Dell Chromebook 13 is a 1920x1080 IPS panel that looks great in the non-touch matte version, but there are also models with a Gorilla Glass-covered touchscreen of the same resolution.

At its lowest configuration — starting at $429 — you'll be getting a new Intel Celeron processor that's plenty capable when paired with 4GB of RAM, but if you have a specific reason for higher specs Dell will oblige and sell you one of a few different higher configurations. You can add a touch screen, up to 8GB of RAM and a Core i3 processor, all of which together add $200 more to the MSRP — but it could be worth it if you're looking for something higher end that doesn't say "Pixel" on it.

The Chromebook 13 offers fantastic battery life, is built super well and really checks all of the boxes aside from being a bit heavy at 3.23 pounds. If you're okay spending a little extra money to get something better than your standard cheap plastic Chromebook, this is the model to get — just make sure you choose the right configuration that works for your needs and budget.

The real question is which Chromebook 13 model you should choose. Dell doesn't have complete build-to-order configuration here but does offer plenty of different models, and I recommend you consider one of the first three. At minimum you'll want the Celeron model with 4GB of RAM, and optionally you could go for a higher model with a Core i3, 32GB of storage and a touchscreen for $629. Anything above that and it starts to be less of a great value, so be sure to weigh the features against the price before you buy.

Best on a budget

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C100)

ASUS Chromebook Flip

See at Amazon

The ASUS Chromebook Flip was rather unassuming and a little confusing when it was first unveiled, but has turned into a mini revelation. This little laptop with its 10.1-inch display and folding design that turns it into a pseudo-tablet is the go-to choice for anyone that wants a good, inexpensive and hyper-portable Chromebook.

For less than $300 you're getting a 1080p touch screen, a metal build, great battery life and solid performance out of a MediaTek processor and 2 or 4GB of RAM (do choose 4GB if possible). It's one of the first Chromebooks to receive initial Google Play Android app support, showing Google's confidence in this little device. On a budget and looking for a great Chromebook, you can't do much better than this.

Bottom line: The Chromebook Flip is also one of the first models slated to pick up Android app compatibility through the Google Play Store, which could tip the scales a bit for folks looking to be ready for the new feature addition.

Best for the future

Acer Chromebook R13

Acer Chromebook R13

See at Acer

Looking to the future, the Acer Chromebook R13 was just announced in September as the new mid-range offering from the company. The R13 represents the future of Chromebooks, carrying on from the ASUS Chromebook Flip. It has a 1080p IPS touch screen for interaction with Android apps, can fold back into various modes for an all-touch experience, and charges using the new USB-C standard rather than an older connector.

Beyond that, the Chromebook R13 offers a lot for its higher-than-average price. It has a solid metal build and nice-looking screen, with a solid (but quite standard) keyboard and trackpad. It isn't particularly light, but that's partially because of its large battery. The only real concern here is performance and configurability, as you're getting a MediaTek ARM processor and can only choose to get 16, 32 or 64GB of storage — there's no choice to get a higher-end processor or more RAM.

Bottom line: If you're happy with the base configuration and don't need something that's hyper-portable, this is going to be a great all-around choice to experience the future of Chrome OS.

Best to configure

HP Chromebook 13 G1

HP Chromebook 13 G1

See at HP

The HP Chromebook 13 G1 is nominally designed for the enterprise, but that's why it offers so much for a Chromebook enthusiast. No matter what model you get you're going to be using a full-metal laptop that comes in under three pounds, a crazy 3200x1800 touch screen, a backlit keyboard, and it charges up over USB-C (there's an additional USB-C port as well).

But here's the thing: you don't have to settle for the base model at $499. If you want more, you can have more — you can configure the Chromebook 13 G1 with up to 16GB of RAM and a top-end Intel Core m7 processor if you really need more performance.

The downside? Price. The base model at $499 is pretty good, but the whole idea behind getting the Chromebook 13 G1, for some people, is the configuration — and if you spec it up, this laptop will push over $1000. That's a lot of money to spend on a Chromebook, even when it's as nice as the HP is. The spec bumps when you configure it just lead to seemingly disproportionate increases in price.

Bottom line: If you have the money to spend, you're getting a great Chromebook here — but value-conscious buyers can choose better.

Conclusion

There's a Chromebook to satisfy most any need that you may have. Whether you're buying for yourself, as a gift, or giving guidance to someone else for their own purchase, be sure to start here before making a buying decision. For most people, though, most of the time, Dell Chromebook 13 is the overall best bet.

Best overall

Dell Chromebook 13

Dell Chromebook 13

See at Dell

I can just come right out and say it — Dell has made the best non-Pixel Chromebook to date with the new Chromebook 13. This 13.3-inch Chromebook has a great metal build coated in durable soft touch material, along with a great backlit keyboard and a big glass-covered trackpad.

The bottom line: For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, and values getting extra performance and hardware quality at an added price, Dell has made the Chromebook for you.

Chromebooks

Android Marshmallow

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3 weeks ago

How to disable auto Bluetooth audio streaming on Samsung Galaxy phones

21

Are you bothered by your music playing every time your Galaxy phone connects to your vehicle's Bluetooth? Here's how to fix it.

Owning a Bluetooth-enabled car stereo makes life easier in many ways. Once paired to your Samsung Galaxy phone, you'll be able to quickly connect your phone every time you get in your car and receive phone calls and text messages hands-free while you drive.

It also enables you to play music from your phone on demand, and by default you may notice it automatically playing the tracks stored on your Galaxy phone as soon as you turn on the vehicle. If you find autoplay to be more of a nuisance than a useful feature, here's how you can toggle media audio from playing in your Bluetooth car stereo.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to pull down the Notification shade.
  2. Tap the Settings icon.
  3. Tap Connections.
  1. Tap Bluetooth
  2. Tap the Settings icon next to the paired device you're having issues with.
  3. Tap the Media audio toggle switch to turn it off.

This will turn off all audio media from playing via Bluetooth in your car — an admittedly extreme option for fixing autoplay issues. When you decide you want to play music through your car stereo, you'll have to go back into your phone's Bluetooth settings and re-enable media audio.

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