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1 week ago

Huawei P10 up for pre-order at Vodafone UK

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Huawei P10

On-contract prices start at £28 per month for Huawei's latest flagship.

Vodafone is the first UK network operator to open up pre-orders for the new Huawei P10. The Chinese company's latest flagship is available to pre-order in white or black (sadly not the eye-catching "dazzling blue" we've been using lately), with on-contract prices starting at £28 per month. (That's for 500MB, with a £200 upfront fee.)

Vodafone has a wide range of plans going all the way up to 30GB at the high end, which will set you back £48 per month, with a £10 upfront charge for the phone. That's bundled with unlimited calls and texts, 4GB of roaming data, and a free Spotify, Sky Sports Mobile or NowTV subscription. A similar deal at £42 gets you all of the above, but with 24GB of UK data and 2GB roaming.

Right now Vodafone doesn't appear to be offering the P10 on PAYG.

In our recent review, we found the P10 to be a solid flagship phone, with one outstanding weakness:

Huawei's mainstream flagships for 2017 don't necessarily look flashy — unless you opt for the exclusive "dazzling" color options — but they do deliver just about everything you could ask for in a modern Android phone. There's one big catch, though. The lack of oleophobic coating on the display may be a reason for discerning buyers to skip this round of Huawei phones.

Were it not for my reservations over the screen, the P10 would certainly qualify as one of the best Android phones out there. And the P10 Plus comes with that extra bit of icing on the cake — a brighter lens for some amazing low-light captures, and the option to spec it out with oodles of RAM and storage.

More: Huawei P10 review

See at Vodafone

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1 week ago

Nexus 6 owners facing Android 7.1.1 to 7.0 downgrade

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Nexus 6

Downgrade required 'to guarantee future OTA updates.'

The Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for the Nexus 6 hasn't gone entirely smoothly so far, with the most recent March 2017 security patch breaking Android Pay on the device. And now in another bizarre development, Nexus 6 owners who updated to 7.1.1 are seeing an over-the-air update back to Android 7.0. Worse still, some are reporting that the downgrade back to 7.0 has caused issues with apps upon completion.

Over on Reddit, a Nexus community manager — listed a verified Googler on the side — said that the move was made "to guarantee future OTA updates."

There was a recent OTA update for Android 7.0 that is causing confusion for some Nexus 6 users. For those of you that want to guarantee future OTA updates, you will need to get back on the 7.0 supported track. If you are experiencing issues after accepting the 7.0 update, please factory reset your device to help resolve any problems.

For any Nexus 6 users that want to continue flashing/sideloading future builds, you can stay on 7.1.1 and continue to do so.

It's not clear whether this means all updates for the N6 will be based on Android 7.0 from here onwards, or whether there'll be another 7.1.1 push at some point in the future. The second paragraph suggests more 7.1.1 builds will be forthcoming, though perhaps only available via sideload. It's also not clear why the OS downgrade itself is necessary, but it's possible it has to do with the March 2017 OTA breaking Android's SafetyNet functionality, which was the root cause of the problems with Android Pay in that build.

The Motorola-built Nexus 6, released in late 2014, is no longer supported for OS updates beyond 7.1.1, and so future builds (whichever number they carry) will just include new security patch levels.

In the meantime, Nexus 6 owners are left in the unenviable position of having to decide whether to take an OTA which not only downgrades them to an older OS, but which may also break some apps when it's done.

Android Nougat

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1 week ago

ZTE Axon 7 becomes one of the first non-Google phones to get Android 7.1.1

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A nice surprise from a company not known for its speedy software updates.

ZTE isn't the first company you think of when considering fast software updates. (Come to think of it, are there any these days?) The Chinese firm, which released its excellent Axon 7 flagship last summer, spent a good chunk of the latter part of 2016 testing Android 7.0 Nougat, delaying the upgrade well into this year.

When I asked a representative from ZTE, he said it was because the engineers needed to get Daydream support correct, and didn't want to release the software with a compromised VR experience.

Well, just over a month after that fateful day, the Axon 7 is getting yet another update — to Android 7.1.1. Available starting March 16, this marks, along with the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, one of the only devices outside of Google's own Pixel and Nexus lines to be updated to the latest version of Android.

The change log is fairly modest compared to the bump from Marshmallow to Nougat, but here are the highlights:

  • T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling support: T-Mobile Axon 7 users will now be able to send and receive both calls and text messages over Wi-Fi. Don't have service in a certain area? Don't miss a beat by connecting to a wireless network to continue talking and texting.
  • More ways to communicate: With 7.1.1, Google made all its emojis gender-equal, representing a wider range of professions for both men and women – so now you can be the astronaut you always wanted. Plus, you gain the ability to send gifs directly from your keyboard on supported apps. Go ahead, express yourself!
  • Daydream update & optimization: One of our favorite 2017 announcements was that the Axon 7 was finally Daydream-ready! With -- Android 7.1.1, we're making your virtual reality even better by updating and optimizing your experience.
  • Google security patches updates through Feb 2017 – Speaking of security, Google fixed all of its known vulnerabilities with 7.1.1. Sound boring? You may be right, but these patches are critical in keeping your information even more safe while sending emails, browsing the website, texting, or processing media files.

T-Mobile users will be happy to know that ZTE worked with the carrier to roll out Wi-Fi Calling, and it's really good to know that Daydream support will be optimized. Of course, the update brings native 7.1.1 features from Google, including a larger set of emojis, support for image keyboards, rounded icon support in the launcher, and more.

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1 week ago

Starbucks finally launches its mobile app in India

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You can now pay for your favorite beverages right from your phone.

Starbucks has rolled out its mobile app in India, allowing you to quickly see your rewards and pay using your linked Starbucks card. You have the option of managing all the cards linked to your account, adding funds to your card, and paying for coffee and other items with your phone by scanning a barcode.

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1 week ago

Google will soon sell the LG Watch Style (and maybe Watch Sport) in Canada

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The LG Watch Style is coming to Canada just in time for Spring!

Google tends to take a slow-and-steady approach to selling phone-adjacent products in its e-commerce store outside of the U.S. While the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style went on sale in early February in the United States, their expansion has been slow — until now.

Google has put up a waitlist registration page for its LG Watch Style (and, hopefully soon, the Watch Sport) on the Canadian portal, albeit with no clue as to when it will go on sale, but we do know it will cost $319 CAD, a $70 premium over the U.S. version. But this is a good start: we know the first Android Wear 2.0 watches are coming soon.

Android Wear 2.0 is a big upgrade, and will soon roll out to older hardware like the Moto 360 (2015) and Huawei Watch. It brings a redesigned interface, an emphasis on standalone apps, and more robust support for standalone cellular smartwatches.

See at Google

Thanks Puleen!

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1 week ago

WhatsApp brings back the classic Status feature after complaints about the new one

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WhatsApp is now calling status update About because Stories is actually Status. Got all that?

The new About feature is actually the old Status feature.

If you're a WhatsApp veteran you'll know that until recently the service used the passive and often unwieldy (but extremely popular) status update to give friends and family an idea of what its users were up to. That changed with the proliferating Snapchatification of all of Facebook's properties when WhatsApp added a new Status, lifting Stories straight from the popular ephemeral messaging platform.

But after considerable pushback, WhatsApp has announced that it is adding the original status update back, calling it 'About', since Status is already taken. Beta users can access the new About feature through Settings —> Profile, which will then show in the chat window just as it did before. The feature is meant to live alongside Stories Status, and only happened because thousands of people submitted complaints to the company.

Despite the complaints, WhatsApp continues to be one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with over 1.2 billion people using it every month.

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1 week ago

Developers, still need a pass to Google I/O 2017? Submit your experiment

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If you've got something interesting in the realm of Android, Chrome, or machine learning to show off, Google wants to hear about it.

Developers, Google I/O is for you, first and foremost — for the tech makers, the dreamers of apps, and the diehard fans who won't dare use anything but an Android device. And it's likely why you're here, reading Android Central.

If you're bummed you couldn't get a ticket to the annual developer's conference through its lottery process, there's another chance through Google's Experiments Challenge. You can submit your Android, Chrome, or AI experiment for a chance to receive a trip to Google I/O 2017.Three runner-ups will also receive a Pixel phone and a Daydream headset.

There are a whole host of examples to look at if you're wondering where to start or whether a project you've been concocting is worth throwing into the ring. Google will be accepting submissions until April 13.

Google I/O 2017 will be taking place May 17-19 near the company's headquarters.

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1 week ago

With Family Link, Google is finally giving parents some much-needed help

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I'm not asking Google to raise my kid. I just want all the help I can get when it comes to them learning the ins and outs of living online.

There's a tendency to look at Google's newly announced "Family Link" program and scoff. And rightly so. On one hand it's very much the sort of family account we parents have been asking for for years.

To recap: This is a legit way to get your under-13 kid some smartphone experience. These "Family Link" accounts come with parental controls in place, without having to resort to the full MDM (that's Mobile Device Management, for those of you who have never raided your company's IT department) headaches of a custom Google Apps (erm, now G Suite) account, or without having to lie about their age.

While we'll still be giving our kids actual Google accounts, we'll have control over a number of things, including:

  • Downloads and purchases.
  • What they see in search results through SafeSearch
  • App permissions that are being used.
  • Search and content filtering in YouTube Kids.
  • Account password management.
  • Screen time limits.
  • Activity settings for the account.
  • Giving account access to another family member. (Because MDM shouldn't just fall on the shoulders of the head nerd in charge!)

Why would anyone scoff at that, when it's very much giving us what we've wanted? Because (in typical Google fashion) it's actually taking aim at the future and probably not doing as much for you right now. Start with the first requirement: A phone for your kid that's running Android 7.x Nougat. Most folks don't have one of those just laying around. And for that matter, 97.2 percent of all active devices (as of last week, anyway) don't fit that bill.

Secondly is what I mentioned earlier — so many folks have just created new accounts and fudged the age listed in the profile. And Family Link only works with new accounts. (At least they'll have the option to graduate to full-blown Google accounts once the kid turns 13.)

Update: Don't rush out to delete a kid's account and start it anew with under Family Link. At least not with the same name.

Family Link won't replace actual parenting and policing of technology. But it should help.

Back to those bullet points above. Those are all good things to have, and they're things I'd previously tried hacking together through G Suite. But as anyone who's used Google Apps/G Suite knows, it's a second-class citizen when it comes to new (or even current) features within Google's products. And so after hitting one roadblock too many I put the kibosh on the custom account, rigged up something more proper but less-controlled, and have hoped for the best ever since.

And with that last sentence it's as good a time as any to remind ourselves that all the built-in parental controls in the world don't replace the ol' Mk I eyeball. I'm still going to pick up my kid's phone every now and then and flip through it. I'm still going to ask what it is they're doing on there. I'm still going to have them show me the apps that are important to them, and how they're using them to talk to their friends in ways that maybe I hadn't expected. (But, no, I'm not making my own Musical.ly account anytime soon.)

More: All you need to know on Family Link

My kids will still be able to run across all kinds of awfulness in a web browser. They'll still be able to have all all sorts of conversations without my knowing. They'll still be able to take pictures and videos and have to learn that it's just as important to know when not to do that. And they'll still be able to fork over all kinds of data without thinking through the ramifications.

Google's Family Link won't change the fact that kids are kids, and parents are parents. And the two factions absolutely have to work together to minimize the pain and damage these pocket-sized computers can do — but also to teach about how much they can add to our lives.

But it should make it a touch easier. And when it comes to helping my kids make it through this crazy world, I need all the help I can get.

Modern Dad

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1 week ago

LG is offering a free Google Home with the purchase of its new flagship

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Already considering an LG G6? Then you might as well consider adding on a Google Home for free.

The LG G6 isn't out yet, but if you're considering one, you'll probably want to take advantage of this deal. LG is offering a Google Home in tow with the pre-order of its new flagship. All you have to do is buy yours before April 30.

For the full price of the smartphone — which has yet to be announced — LG will sell you the G6 flagship along with a $129 device that is really quite something. I certainly don't regret the purchase of my personal Google Home. And if you're interested in the G6 because of its native integration with Google Assistant, then you might as well pair it with a helpful home accessory that also doubles as a speaker in a pinch.

The G6 is scheduled to launch April 7 in the U.S. and Canada. If you're interested, you can get more details by signing up here.

LG G6

Verizon Sprint T-Mobile AT&T B&H

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1 week ago

How to make sure your phone works on a prepaid alternative carrier

11

Here's how to make sure your unlocked or pre-owned phone will work with an alternative carrier.

There are a number of things to consider before moving to an alternative carrier. How much data do I really need? Am I looking for better service, or just cheaper service? And if I already have a phone, will it work on the carrier that I choose?

We're going to delve into this topic, but there are a couple of things we should get out of the way beforehand.

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An introduction

Before we talk about whether your phone will work on a particular alternative carrier, we should direct you to a few introductory posts about what exactly these companies offer, and why you should think about switching over.

Once you've read through those, there are a few more things you need to know. In the U.S., there are four major carriers with nationwide networks — AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. All four of them use generally the same technology, but there are some major differences worth noting.

  • Sprint and Verizon have 3G networks that use aging (and disappearing) CDMA technology. All phones that run on their networks must have special radios that support CDMA. Thankfully, most phones these days have some sort of CDMA support.
  • T-Mobile and AT&T use a more common HSPA+ technology for 3G service. Practically every phone you can buy today — even those designed for Verizon and Sprint — will likely work on AT&T and T-Mobile, as long as the SIM card is unlocked.

Thankfully, the days of poor interoperability between carriers are behind us, but there are some lingering issues. Even though all the major U.S. carriers have adopted what amounts to the same LTE standard as their high-speed mobile internet offering, they all use different wireless spectrum — also known as wireless bands, or frequencies — to deliver calls, text and, most importantly, data, over the air.

Unlocking the phone

Even if your phone is technically compatible with a particular network, the SIM slot still needs to be unlocked to be able to work on carriers both in the U.S. and abroad.

In the U.S., unlocking services are free as long as your account is in good standing and your phone hasn't been reported lost, stolen or involved in illegal activity. All the Big Four carriers are obligated to unlock your phone, though the process differs between them. All recent Verizon phones are unlocked out of the box.

The carriers

Let's discuss the individual carriers themselves, and why your phone — perhaps one you bought through your old carrier, or purchased unlocked from, say, Amazon — may or may not work on the network.

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Alternative carriers powered by Verizon

There aren't that many Verizon-powered alternative carriers, or MVNOs, in the U.S., so we'll start with the easy one. Companies like Total Wireless or Straight Talk, which are powered by Verizon's network, make it pretty easy to bring your own phone. They ask that you make sure your phone supports CDMA service, and offer network checkers to help you verify that your phone will indeed work on their network.

Quick trick: Open your phone's dialler and type *#06# to get its MEID number.

As we said above to work on a Verizon-based alternative carrier, your phone needs to support the following frequencies:

  • 3G: 800Mhz (BC0), 1900Mhz (BC1) 1
  • LTE: 700Mhz (Band 13), 1700/2100Mhz (Band 4), 1900Mhz (Band 2)

1 Phone must support bands on CDMA.

Many popular phones today, from the Samsung Galaxy S7 to the Google Pixel to cheaper devices like the OnePlus 3T and Moto G5 Plus, support Verizon's 3G and LTE networks. As long as you do your homework beforehand, you should be able to bring your phone over to any alternative carrier that runs on Verizon's network.

Here are the most popular alternative carriers that run on the Verizon network:

Alternative carriers powered by Sprint

Sprint is, like Verizon, a combination of CDMA-based 3G and modern LTE — though it uses different wireless frequencies. The upside is the same, though: your phone will need to support CDMA service on 3G in order to make calls and texts, and likely to register on the network entirely. Even if your phone supports Sprint's LTE bands, it won't be able to connect to Sprint's core network.

There are many alternative or prepaid carriers in the U.S. that rely on Sprint's network, including Ting, Straight Talk, and Boost Mobile. Most of these alternative carriers have online services to allow you to check whether your unlocked phone is compatible with its host network, though some — like Sprint-owned Boost Mobile — have explicit restrictions. For example, Boost Mobile customers cannot bring a Sprint-branded or Virgin-branded phone over to its network.

To use a phone on an alternative carrier that connects to the Sprint network, your phone needs to support the following frequencies:

  • 3G: 800Mhz (BC10), 1900Mhz (BC1) 1
  • LTE: 850Mhz (Band 26), 1900Mhz (Band 25), 2500Mhz (Band 41)

1 Phone must support bands on CDMA.

These are the most popular alternative carriers that run on the Sprint network:

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Alternative carriers powered by T-Mobile

Like Sprint, there are many prepaid and alternative carriers that rely on T-Mobile's network, including Mint SIM, MetroPCS and others.

The good news for those bringing their own phones to one of these networks is that there's a good chance, if it was bought in the past couple of years, that it will just work. All that you need is a SIM card and service from the new provider and you should be good to go.

That's because T-Mobile uses a combination of 3G and 4G LTE technologies that have been widely adopted throughout the world, and most phones today, from the Google Pixel to the Galaxy S7, OnePlus 3T and many others, will just work on an MVNO that runs on the T-Mobile network.

To make sure it will work, though, you have to verify your phone supports the following bands:

  • 3G: 1700/2100Mhz (Band 4), 1900Mhz (Band 2)
  • LTE: 700Mhz (Band 12), 1700/2100Mhz (Band 66), 1900Mhz (Band 2)

These are the most popular alternative carriers that run on the T-Mobile network:

Alternative carriers powered by AT&T

Like Verizon, AT&T doesn't power many smaller prepaid or alternative carriers, but it does own one: Cricket Wireless. And like T-Mobile, bringing a phone to an AT&T-powered MVNO is usually no big deal: most phones sold in the past couple of years work with AT&T. Indeed, AT&T's adoption of the worldwide HSPA+ standard for 3G, plus its standard LTE capabilities, means that even phones purchased overseas should work with Ma Bell.

After you've verified that a phone is SIM unlocked, you need to make sure that your phone has the following bands to work with an AT&T-powered alternative carrier:

  • 3G: 850Mhz (Band 5), 1900Mhz (Band 2)
  • LTE: 700Mhz (Band 12), 1700/2100Mhz (Band 4), 1900Mhz (Band 2)

These are the most popular alternative carriers that run on the AT&T network:

Alternative carriers with multiple networks

The final piece of the puzzle is a bit complicated, but let's talk it out. Some of the above providers, like Project Fi, rely on more than one host network to function properly. Others, like Consumer Cellular, connect to either AT&T or T-Mobile. This usually means that the SIM card inside your phone will choose between T-Mobile and Sprint depending on your location and signal strength. You as a user don't have to make any decisions, but your choice of phone could impact the quality of service.

As long as everything is working properly — your phone supports both networks, and you are in an area that has good coverage on at least one of them — then you don't need to think about it at all. But it's a good thing to know, since these kinds of carriers can be to your advantage if you happen to be in an area where both the host networks are strong.

Questions?

Some of this stuff is stupidly complicated, and we'd love to help. If you're having issues figuring out whether your phone will work on a particular prepaid or alternative carrier, let us know in the comments below!

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1 week ago

HTC is teasing a March 20 announcement, but don't get your hopes up

35

This is almost certainly not the HTC 11 you're looking for.

HTC is teasing an announcement on its Taiwanese Facebook page for a March 20 announcement, coinciding with the spring equinox.

2017.03.20

HTC will give you an unexpected surprise

While it's possible that the announcement will be a phone, there's almost no chance that it will be a worldwide release, and it's definitely not the rumored HTC 10 successor that is expected to be announced and released sometime in the second quarter.

What's more likely is that it is the successor to the HTC One X9, rumored to be called the One X10. We've already seen leaked photos of the Europe and Asia-only device, and its announcement is already overdue: it was expected in January or February.

The phone will sport a modest spec sheet, including a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a MediaTek P10 processor.

In the meantime, HTC's follow-up to the HTC 10 is expected to rock this year's latest spec sheet, including a Snapdragon 835, which may end up delaying its announcement and release until sometime in May or June.

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1 week ago

Best Android Tablet of 2017

Update, March 2017: The Pixel C is still the best Android tablet you can buy right now, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 may change that very soon.

Best overall

Pixel C

See at Google

We liked the Pixel C when it first arrived at the end of 2015. We thought the aluminum design was striking, even at a time where we saw aluminum and other metal devices from all the people making phones and tablets and decided the added weight (a 10.2-inch aluminum tablet can be hefty) was a fair trade for the excellent way it was designed and built. The NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor handled everything well and the 1:√2 aspect ratio was easier to get used to than anyone had guessed. We really loved the display. The 2560x1800 display was bright and crisp and represented the Pixel brand very well. But we couldn't help but feel the tablet hadn't reached its full potential.

Android 7.0 and the native multi-window display feature changed that. With either of the keyboard folio covers, multi-window turned the Pixel C from yet another Android tablet with a keyboard case into something you really could use for light work or school. We're not trying to validate any company's claim that a tablet can replace a laptop when it comes to productivity, but when you need to do it, The Pixel C is the best way to do it.

Bottom line: No tablet is perfect. Neither is Android. But when you want to combine the two, the Pixel C is the best way you can spend your money until someone else can build something better.

One more thing: Because this is a Google hardware product, the Pixel C will be among the first Android tablets to be updated with new features.

Why the Pixel C is the best

A tablet that covers every need.

The Pixel C does everything you would want a tablet to do. YouTube or anything else on the web is great on the gorgeous screen, all the apps you love work well. The NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor is a screamer when it comes to gaming. This can be said about many Android tablets. The difference really did come with the Android 7.0 update.

Working, whether it's on a presentation for your boss or a paper for your professor, is very different on a tablet than it is on a more conventional computer. Apps are designed to be more simple and easy to use with a touch screen while omitting many of the battery-hungry features you would find in their desktop counterparts. The biggest hurdle has always been finding a way to organize the things you're doing on your screen while you're doing them. Samsung has had this figured out for a while, and even those of us who don't appreciate a split-window view on a phone will see the value on a 10.2-inch screen. The Pixel C now offers a native Android solution, with arguable better hardware (and a better keyboard) and current software.

The software has finally caught up with the excellent design and build and we put the Pixel C at the top of the Android tablet hill.

Budget power

NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1

See at Amazon

The Shield Tablet is a gaming powerhouse featuring NVIDIA's cutting-edge 2.2 GHz Tegra K1 processor. Forward-facing stereo speakers offer quality sound, and the now optional stylus opens up helpful functionality for day-to-day usage. But the Shield Tablet's software is what really sets it apart. Built right into the notification tray, for example, is the ability to stream what's on your screen to Twitch. Remote access software combined with the optional hardware gamepad allow you to play games that are running on your PC.

Alternatively, the GeForce Now cloud gaming service lets you do the same with games and computers hosted by NVIDIA. The Shield Tablet K1 recently received a mild refresh over the original, changing the exterior styling a little but more importantly reducing the price by $100. You no longer get a charger or the stylus included in the box, but the savings do give you enough extra cash to pick up the cover and controller. Which you really want if you're going to use the Shield to its fullest.

Bottom line: Even for those that aren't hardcore gamers, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a powerful tablet and offers excellent value for the price.

One more thing: The Shield Tablet has also been updated to Android 7.0 so you'll have some of the same software benefits as our top pick!

Slim and sleek

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

See at Amazon

Update: The Galaxy Tab S3 is coming very, very soon, so we'd hold off buying a Tab S2 unless you absolutely need one right now. Not only will the Tab S3 have much better specs and updated software, but it comes with an S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 brings together some of the best components available. As usual, Samsung delivers a high-quality display and manages to do it in a particularly slim package. To top it all off, it's got the processing power to handle just about anything you could throw at it.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is available in two sizes, 8 inches and 9.7 inches, each only 5.6 mm thin. The display resolution comes in at 2048x1536 pixels, which is more than enough for enjoying HD movies or 3D games. Inside you'll find a 1.9 GHz processor and 3GB of RAM. An 8-megapixel camera sits on the back, and the home button doubles as a fingerprint sensor. The Galaxy Tab S2 ticks all of the boxes on hardware and while Samsung's software still divides opinion, it's packed with useful features.

Bottom line: While a bit pricier than other Android tablets, the slim design and beautiful screen are things you won't find in any other tablet.

One more thing: The Galaxy Tab S2 also has a great fingerprint sensor built into the home button.

For the enthusiast

Nexus 9

See at Amazon

Google partnered with HTC to deliver the Nexus 9 tablet as a spearhead for the Android Lollipop release. As it stands, the Nexus 9's blazing fast 64-bit 2.3 GHz processor and direct affiliation with Google provide it with a healthy degree of support, despite the fact it's over a year old. The Nexus 9 shuns the 16:9 form factor favored by so many Android tablets and instead goes for a more portrait friendly 4:3 with a 2048x1536 resolution display. So it's much nicer to hold in either orientation.

The back of the Nexus 9 has a soft touch coating available in a few different colors, but what's great about it right now is that you can find it for some bargain prices. Deals are frequent and since it's a Nexus you're getting the latest software, usually before everyone else. If you want to get some work done with the Nexus 9, there's an optional keyboard cover for it, too.

For the nerds out there who like to be on the bleeding edge (or more so, developers), the Nexus 9 is one of the early devices with access to any Android developer previews. But think twice before putting them on a daily driver.

For Android enthusiasts, the Nexus 9 is an easy pick. But if you just want a big tablet, running Android and don't want to spend too much, check it out.

Bottom line: For the Android enthusiast, the Nexus 9 is an excellent test-bed for custom software installations. It's fully unlockable and factory software is readily provided.

One more thing: The community will continue support for the Nexus 9 long after it officially ends because of its open hardware and bootloader.

Conclusion

Like most things, there is no one Android tablet that's right for everyone. That's one of the big reasons Google was able to break Apple's dominance in mobile computing — they offer a choice for just about everyone. Whether you want the stylish look and thin profile of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 or the high-powered yet low-priced NVIDIA Shield K1 — or anything in between — someone is making a tablet that will work for you.

Our pick with the Pixel C is tough to beat. Great construction, an awesome screen, and current software with all the features you hear about directly from Google make it the one tablet we can recommend to everyone.

Best overall

The Pixel C

See at Google

We liked the Pixel C when it first arrived at the end of 2015. We thought the aluminum design was striking, even at a time where we saw aluminum and other metal devices from all the people making phones and tablets and decided the added weight (a 10.2-inch aluminum tablet can be hefty) was a fair trade for the excellent way it was designed and built. The NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor handled everything well and the 1:√2 aspect ratio was easier to get used to than anyone had guessed. We really loved the display. The 2560x1800 display was bright and crisp and represented the Pixel brand very well. But we couldn't help but feel the tablet hadn't reached its full potential.

Android 7.0 and the native multi-window display feature changed that. With either of the keyboard folio covers, multi-window turned the Pixel C from yet another Android tablet with a keyboard case into something you really could use for light work or school. We're not trying to validate any company's claim that a tablet can replace a laptop when it comes to productivity, but when you need to do it, The pixel C is the best way to do it.

Bottom line: No tablet is perfect. Neither is Android. But when you want to combine the two, the Pixel C is the best way you can spend your money until someone else can build something better.

One more thing: Because this is a Google hardware product, the Pixel C will be among the first Android tablets to be updated with new features.

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1 week ago

Google Family Link finally brings broad parental controls to Android phones

12

Parents will soon have new tools to manage their child's phone access.

Google is making a huge step toward letting families manage Google accounts and phones of children in the house, moving well beyond Google Play Family Library. Family Link is Google's new system for parents to create Google accounts for minors (under 13 years old, officially) who technically can't have their own accounts, and when attached to an Android phone the parents get all sorts of great tools to manage their use.

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1 week ago

Microsoft's Arrow Launcher picks up tablet support in latest update

13

Arrow Launcher, an experimental launcher from Microsoft's Garage division, has picked up another big update.

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1 week ago

OnePlus 3T colette edition arrives in all black, only 250 made for €479

12
OnePlus 3T colette edition

It's the same phone you know, now in dramatically limited quantity.

We're all familiar with stock shortages when it comes to OnePlus phones, but this new collaboration is seriously exclusive. OnePlus has partnered with world-renowed boutique colette to create a special OnePlus 3T colette edition, which is matte black and with 128GB storage and a subtle "colette" engraving on the back.

The phones will also come with OnePlus Bullets headphones, a $20 set that are a really nice for the money.

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