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1 week ago

Best Sprint phones

Best Sprint Phones

Sprint offers some of the best phones on the market. We've rounded them up just for you!

Sprint doesn't exactly play well with others, so the selection of unlocked phones that you can bring to its network is rather limited. If you are trying to bring your own unlocked phone to Sprint, it's best to head to the nearest location and ask if your device is compatible.

That being said, it has a relatively decent list of phones that you can buy straight from them, including some of the top Android phones available right now.

We've rounded up a quick list of the best they have to offer.

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1 week ago

Titanfall: Frontline condenses frenetic FPS action into an Android card game

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Strategically outmaneuver your opponents in Titanfall: Frontline.

Fans of Titanfall will soon get the opportunity to command their own brigade of powerful Titans, as the critically-acclaimed first-person shooter franchise leaps onto Android devices later this fall. Titanfall: Frontline will be the first in a series of strategy card games set in a extended Titanfall universe, as part of a multi-year collaborative deal between developers at Nexon, Particle City and Respawn Entertainment.

The game will be available for free from the Google Play Store. Fans are encouraged to head to the official Titanfall: Frontline website to pre-register ahead of the global launch, which should coincide with the release of Titanfall 2 for Xbox One in late October. Pre-registered players will also receive some in-game rewards to help them when starting out.

Titanfall: Frontline features hundreds of Pilots, Titans, and special ability Burn Cards, which Commanders will collect and upgrade to build out their battle deck to match their preferred style of play. For example, one might choose to build their deck around fast, light Titans and Pilots for a quick strike strategy, or opt for a more defensive deck stacked with stronger units supported by installations to wear their opponent down.

Bottling the frantic gameplay and scale of a massive console game such as Titanfall into a strategic card game for mobile devices is no small task. The developers say they've done their best to encapsulate the full Titanfall experience onto this new platform.

"We've worked hand-in-hand with Respawn to weave in card battle strategy and collectibility with the iconic gameplay elements that make Titanfall so unique and that will help evolve the genre," said Larry Pacey, co-founder of Particle City, in a press release.

"From dropping a Titan onto the field of play to turn the tide of battle to using a combination of Parkour and Rodeo Burn Cards to take a Titan down, Titanfall: Frontline is unapologetically intense and utterly Titanfall."

For more information, check out the official game website — where you can also pre-register and score some in-game rewards as you start your campaign — and like and follow Titanfall: Frontline on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

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1 week ago

The sad state of Android updates in India

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Think manufacturers are slow to roll out updates in the U.S.? The situation is far worse in India.

Android has a 97% market share in the smartphone segment in India. There are over 1,000 models that run the operating system in the country, with prices ranging from $30 all the way to $1,000. Over 50 new handsets are introduced into the market every month, and it is not uncommon to see phones debuting with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.

The sheer breadth of models in the market makes it a tough ask for companies to roll out updates to their portfolio of devices, made doubly hard for local vendors. The likes of Micromax, Intex, and Lava roll out nearly 50 new phones a year across their distribution channels, and lack of adequate engineering resources means that most of these devices never see a single update. That not only leads to fragmentation, but also renders phones open to potential software exploits.

Barring companies with huge engineering division like Samsung and the former Google-owned Motorola, manufacturers have done a terrible job of keeping their phones up-to-date in India. With Nougat on the horizon, let's see the state of Marshmallow in India.

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1 week ago

Welcome to Android Central's new digital deals store – where you can save BIG on software and courses!

Say "Hey!" to Android Central's new digital deals store – saving you a ton on the courses and software you need to be an Android hero!

It's 2016. Most people would rather learn something new in their own home, on their own time, and in their own way. So increasingly, they are turning to online courses and downloadable software. But these courses and guides can be very expensive. Unless, of course, you find the right deal. Welcome to Android Central Digital Offers!

Through our awesome partnerships, we're able to save you a ton of money on the courses you need to further your career and must-have software to make your life easier. And when we say "a ton," we mean hundreds of dollars — on every deal you buy!

Which brings us to our very first deal!

The Complete Android Developer Course

If you've ever wanted to get in on the ground floor of Android development, Rob Percival, a web developer who studied at Cambridge, has the course you need to become Android-savvy.

Through 17 sections, featuring 232 lectures (31.5 hours of content!), you'll learn everything, from the absolute basics of Android Marshmallow right up to building viable apps, studying permissions, working with Android Wear, and lots more! You'll even learn how to submit your apps to Google and get them into the Play Store for everyone to enjoy!

Here's what you'll learn and do:

  • Study Android Marshmallow coding from scratch w/ 17 sections, over 232 lectures & 31.5 hours of content!
  • Download Android Studio & build a simple Currency Converter app
  • Build a Brain Training app & a Favorite Places app
  • Create Uber & Instagram clones w/ Parse
  • Learn to submit your apps to Google Play
  • Effectively market your apps & generate revenue w/ Google Ads
  • Study the latest Android Marshmallow features: App Permissions & Android Pay
  • Take a look at Android Wear - the future of wearable computing

If you want to become an Android app mogul, then the only place to start is square one, and Rob Percival's all-encompassing course is perfect for you.

Normally, the Complete Android Developer Course would run you about $200, but right now through Android Central Digital Offers, you'll pay only $17 for lifetime access! That's not a joke – you save 91%!

We're super excited to bring you this deal and many more like it, so keep an eye on Android Central for more ways to help you learn and save like only Android Central Digital Offers can!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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1 week ago

The Xperia XZ gives me hope that Sony can turn things around in the U.S.

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Sony Xperia XZ

Quickly after the disappointing Xperia X series, the Xperia XZ gives a glimmer of positivity for the future.

Just a couple of months ago, I received a Sony Xperia X Performance for review. It was the first Sony phone I've used in well over a year, and I was excited to give it a try. Just a few days in, I was pained to write about it — it was a frustrating experience I hadn't endured in years. Our own Daniel Bader wrote a great review that encapsulated my thoughts perfectly. Sony's decisions throughout the phone didn't make sense, and the price made it irresponsible to justify.

Only a few months later, we have the new Sony Xperia XZ. It is legitimately a great phone — a flagship that outdoes Sony's phones that aren't even six months old — despite still having a couple head-scratching issues. And though that situation is annoying in myriad ways, the reality is that Sony has made something that actually has me excited about its phones again.

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1 week ago

Who do I contact when I need help with my phone?

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Finding out who to talk to and how to reach them can be tricky. We filled out all the forms and clicked all the buttons to find the phone numbers so you don't have to.

We get a lot of questions about Android and the phones that use it. People can (and should) Tweet us, or email us, or shout to us on Facebook and we will do our best to answer, even if we don't have time to get to all of them. One thing we see a lot of is that people are confused about exactly who they should talk to — and how to contact them — when they need some assistance with their Android.

That's understandable. There are countless combinations of different models from different companies sold through different channels and unlike an iPhone or a BlackBerry (or a Toyota or a Kenmore), there is no one company who takes care of them all. And that can be frustrating — when you need help the last thing you want to hear is someone saying that you need to talk to someone else. Especially after you've filled out web forms, signed up for an account or jumped through other hoops just to find the phone number you called. If you're not really sure about who you need to call or how to get in touch with them when problems arise, or you have a question about how things work, you can always come to us. But talking to the people who are there to help with the phone you have in your hands is always a great idea. Let's tally them up!

Your carrier

If you ever have a problem with the network "stuff" — data cutting in and out, calls dropping, poor signal or anything of the sort, the company you get your phone service from are the first people you should call or email. They would know about any network changes that could be affecting you, and if a problem crops up that affects a lot of their customers, they will be the ones to look into it.

Issues with your phone itself or questions about it can be a bit more complicated. Generally, if you bought your phone from your carrier's store or an authorized third party, the carrier is the company that will need to help you. Most times, a visit in-person is a quick way to resolve issues. If you would rather talk to support another way, here are the various contact details for the major U.S. companies.

AT&T

  • General customer service: 800 331 0500 (7 am to 10 p.m. your local time).
  • To ask about new service or service upgrades: 888 333 6651 (Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., weekends 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time).
  • To check the status of an order: 877 782 8870 (24-hour service).
  • Support when you're outside the U.S.: 1 916 843 4685 (24-hour service and this is a free call from your phone).
  • Support for folks with disabilities: 866 241 6568 (Voice), 866 241 6567 (TTY). These are both 24-hour numbers.
  • Support via Twitter: @attcares.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/ATT.

You can also chat with an AT&T representative using the AT&T Wireless support page.

Sprint

  • General customer service: 888 211 4727 (postpaid) 855 639 4644 (prepaid).
  • New service or equipment: 866 275 1411.
  • Support when you're outside the U.S.: 888 226 7212 (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands), 817 698 4199 (international number).
  • Support via Twitter: @sprintcare.

Para compatibilidad con el idioma español.

For online chat options visit the Sprint support pages.

T-Mobile

  • All customer service questions and issues: 611 (from your T-Mobile phone), 877 746 0909 (from another phone).
  • Support when you're outside the U.S.: 505 998 3793 (free from a T-Mobile phone).
  • TTY service for support issues: 877 296 1018 (3 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time)
  • Support via Twitter: @tmobilehelp.
  • Support via Facebook: .facebook.com/TMobile.
  • Support via Google+: +T-Mobile

For online chat options visit the T-Mobile support pages.

US Cellular

  • All customer service questions and issues: 611 (from your US Cellular phone), 888 944 9400 (from another phone), 866 872 4249 (business customers). These numbers are available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central time.
  • Support via Twitter: @uscellularcares.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/USCellular.

To message a support agent online visit the US Cellular support pages.

Verizon

  • All customer service questions and issues: 611 (from your Verizon phone), 800 922 0204 (from another phone).
  • Support via Twitter: @vzwsupport.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/verizon.
  • Support via Google+: +Verizon.

Para compatibilidad con el idioma español

For support for folks with disabilities, see Verizon's accessibility services portal.

To chat with an online representative visit the Verizon support portal.

To ask about new service or service upgrades visit the Verizon online help portal.

Who made your phone?

If you're having a problem and didn't buy your phone from a carrier store or third-party store or reseller, you'll need to contact the company who made it for troubleshooting or any warranty issues. Seeing who made your phone is usually obvious, just flip it over and see who's name is on the back. If you're using a Google phone, you should talk to Google instead of the actual company who manufactured it. Talking to support in-person is not going to be an option most of the time, Samsung and their Samsung Experience stores being the exception, so here's how to get in touch if you're in the U.S.

Google

  • Google does things a little differently for Nexus support calls. Instead of having callers stay on hold, you use an online form to queue up and they will call you. Find that form here. Alternatively, you can call support yourself at 855 836 3987.
  • For order inquiries from the Google Store: 855 836 3987 (24-hour support).
  • For support for Google Play purchases: 855 836 3987 (24-hour support).
  • The Nexus Help Center.

HTC

  • All customer support inquiries: 866 449 8358.
  • HTC Store support: 888 216 4736.
  • Support via Twitter: @htcusa.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/htcusa/.
  • Support via Google+: +HTC
  • Support via online chat: HTC Support.

HTC also has an extensive support website with plenty of options and FAQs for all of their products and apps. You can visit it here.

Huawei

  • All customer support inquiries: 888 548 2934 (English and Spanish, Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekends 10 am to 6 p.m. Central time).
  • Support via Twitter: @huaweimobile.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/huaweimobile.
  • Support via Google+: +HuaweiMobile.

Huawei has a dedicated online support web site complete with a contact form. See it here.

LG

  • All customer support inquiries: 800 243 0000.
  • Make an appointment to talk with customer support here.
  • Support via online chat: LG Support.
  • Support via Twitter: @lgus.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/LGUSA.
  • Support via Google+: +LGUSA.

LG has an extensive online portal filled with support options for phones and their software. See it here.

Motorola

  • All customer support inquiries: 800 734 5870 (Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central time).
  • Use the online troubleshooter here.
  • Support via online chat: Direct link.
  • Support via Twitter: @Moto_USA.
  • Support via Facebook: facebook.com/motorola.
  • Support via Google+: +Motorola.

See Motorola's online support web pages and community here.

Samsung

See Samsung's extensive online support portal with live chat and email options here. Help with an existing order requires a login.

As always, we're here and can try to help with any Android problems you might be having, or answer any questions you may have. Our contact information is below.

Another great way to find help for many common problems is through the forums. You'll find the specific forum for your device here or you can ask a general question without signing up here. You'll find plenty of people who know just about everything there is to know about Android and your phone and it's a wonderful resource.

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1 week ago

Samsung refutes Note 7 'remote deactivation' reports

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Galaxy Note 7

Remote disabling of recalled Notes not part of official Samsung guidance.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall saga has been gathering pace in recent days. One of the reports doing the rounds over the weekend pointed to the possibility of Samsung remotely disabling devices affected by the battery issue causing some handsets to catch fire or explode. The story goes that one French Note 7 owner on Reddit was told that every "recalled" Note 7 would be remotely deactivated by Samsung after September 30, thus ensuring that no potentially dangerous handsets could be used after this date.

However the firm's official line is that this isn't happening. We've reached out to Samsung and been told that this is not something the company has stated, and that all official guidance will be published on its website.

In a fast-moving story like this, it's easy for inaccurate info to quickly spread. True, the remote deactivation of defective phones would've been a sure-fire way to prevent any more incidents like the recent report from New York where a young boy was injured by a combusting Note 7. But it now appears a mass-deactivation is not happening anytime soon.

For more background on the Note 7 recall, hit up our guide to everything you need to know.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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1 week ago

How to sign up for Reliance Jio and get free data

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Reliance finally launched Jio earlier this month, making the 4G service available to everyone in India. Jio is offering fast data speeds and voice calls through VoLTE, but the main attraction is the Welcome Offer, through which everyone who signs up for the service gets free data until the end of 2016. Considering the SIM itself is being given away for free across retail stores across the country, you should absolutely get on the Jio bandwagon right away.

Here's how you can register for a Reliance Jio SIM and avail free data until the end of the year.

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1 week ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Seven squared

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A new iPhone 7 and a Galaxy Note 7 walk into a bar and things get a little heated.

It happens every year — Apple announces a new iPhone and the tech world comes to a halt. This year is was for the iPhone 7 — it's faster, more water resistant, and sporting better cameras than ever before. But it's also not radically different-looking than the previous iPhone and controversially has dropped the as-old-as-time headphone jack. But... it's already selling out in pre-orders world-wide and will doubtless sell in the millions and millions.

The Galaxy Note 7 recall keeps looking worse for Samsung, with the company now advising that owners turn their phones off and return them to the store immediately. Non-exploding replacements are starting to filter out, so hopefully Samsung will be able place this ordeal behind them. Needless to say, the timing couldn't be worse.

But things are burning down everywhere on the Android front — Samsung's closest competitor (in a very literal sense) rolled out their latest: the LG V20. It's big, it's bold, it sports a pair of rear cameras, a second screen, and will be the first new phone running Android 7.0 Nougat.

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1 week ago

Best T-Mobile phones

The best phone options available through T-Mobile.

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

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

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1 week ago

Android and chill: Reflection and remembrance

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Today we mark the 15 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

While it wasn't the first time terrorists targeted the innocent (it wasn't even the first time it happened in the U.S.), it stands out as something that forever changed our country and the people who live here. I think that's because the attackers were so brazen — hijacking a plane with the intention to kill yourself and as many others as possible isn't something that a sane person can ever understand — but I'll leave the reasoning and explaining to people who claim to be experts because I'm certainly not.

Most everyone who lived in New York or Washington, D.C. has a 9/11 story. And while none of them are happy, not all of them end in the same tragedy. Mine started and ended at a kitchen table.

Most people from New York or D.C. have a 9/11 story. Mine starts and ends at a kitchen table.

I had that day off, I don't remember why. I was sitting at my kitchen table talking to my wife who was making breakfast. She's the cook and I'm the dishwasher because I can burn water. My phone rang and when I answered it was clearly my mother, completely hysterical and trying to tell me about my father. When she realized that nothing she was telling me made any sense, she told me to go turn the TV on. It instantly made sense when I saw a huge hole and burning debris on the lawn of the Pentagon.

My dad worked for the government. He wasn't a spy or anything glamorous, but he was part of an "essential" team that worked in any of three different intelligence offices in the D.C. area. One of them was the Pentagon, and that's where he was when the plane hit according to the list with contact numbers he gave us every week.

Like my mother, I instantly believed the very worst thought that one could have — my dad was dead. To make matters worse, my work phone (a Nokia 5190 that I think I might still have somewhere) rang to tell me that we had people "in the air" who were headed west from Boston and we didn't know the flight numbers. It took a few minutes of digging through papers and making more phone calls to determine that they were on a flight that had left hours earlier and should be safe. It took a few days to find out where they landed and get them home to their own frantic families, but that's another story.

My mother and I had a phone number we could call and leave a message so my father could call us back if we needed to talk to him. I'm not sure what things are like now, but back then you didn't just call a receptionist and have someone paged at the Pentagon, or NRO, or Langley. That number didn't work (of course) nor did the emergency number or the number for anyone else we knew that worked for the Dept. of Defense. My wife went to get my mother and bring her over so she wasn't alone, and I sat with my face in my hands for 20 minutes absolutely certain that my old man would be counted among the victims when all was said and done. Thankfully, when my wife and my mother walked in an hour later, I found out differently.

My father did come home days later. Many other fathers did not. This is why we remember.

My father's boss was one of those important people (or thought he was, I can't tell the difference) and was able to have someone sent to my mother's house in the suburbs to let her know that dad was OK. The messenger, a nervous young man in an Air Force uniform according to my mother, was leaving just as my wife arrived. He had a long list of other folks who needed to know that their fathers (or sons, or wives, or ... ) were safe, too. I wish I had been able to meet him so I could thank him for bringing good news to my family and others exactly when we needed some good news.

It was about 40 hours before dad was able to call us. I was sitting at the same kitchen table with my wife and my mother and I'll never forget dad's answer when I asked him if he was OK — "Yeah. These boots are killing my feet. Have your mother put my sneakers and some underwear in a bag so you can drop them off at the Chantilly gate [another intelligence office that was outside the area] for me. Love you boy." That was so my dad. And I was so happy to hear it. He never got his sneakers or his underwear. But he did get to come home a few days later, when so many others didn't.

If you lost loved ones in any of the four attacks on 9/11, or any of the senseless war and violence that has happened as a result, I'm truly sorry for your loss. I can't say I know how you feel, but I can say I know what that kind of despair feels like, even if just for an hour or so.

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2 weeks ago

The best gamepad for Samsung Gear VR

There's no shortage of Bluetooth gamepads for Android, but with your eyes unable to see your fingers you should be a little pickier about what you are gripping when gaming on a Gear VR.

Russell has been covering Android since the G1, and has had his head in VR headsets since the first Oculus Rift dev kit. Managing editor at VRHeads, video and podcast host, you can follow him on Twitter @russellholly. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at [email protected]

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Best Overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

See at Amazon

The folks at SteelSeries have a long history of quality controllers for mobile platforms, and the Stratus XL kicks that up a notch. Instead of focusing on portability and pocketability like the other controllers in this product line, SteelSeries focused on comfort and capability which makes it an incredible choice for the Samsung Gear VR. It has all the quality of a major console controller, with battery life to match and no quirky software. It pairs instantly to your Samsung phone and works with dozens of Gear VR games right out of the box. Stratus XL is an all around quality gamepad, with a layout that is easy to remember when you eyes are in VR.

Bottom line: If you want the best overall gamepad for your Gear VR, SteelSeries is where you want to be.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with the Gear VR.

Why the SteelSeries Stratus XL is the best

Everything you need in a gamepad you'll be using without your eyes.

Three things matter most when it comes to a VR-friendly gamepad — comfort, battery life, and durability. SteelSeries has checked all three boxes with the Stratus XL. This is an Xbox-esque gamepad that looks and feels familiar with a button layout you will quickly become comfortable with despite not being able to look down at it while in VR. This gamepad will easily survive the occasional drop when you are spooked in VR thanks to its rugged plastic design, and the use of standard thumbsticks means the chances of breaking them on a drop is unlikely. On average this controller will get you through 30 hours of constant use, which means the only way you're charging this controller once a week is if you are really and truly invested in VR Minecraft. If you do run out of power in the middle of a game, the use of a microUSB port means just about everything can charge this controller quickly.

Best for portability

Moga Hero Power

See at Amazon

Having an Xbox-style gamepad is great for familiarity, but the Gear VR is a portable virtual reality platform and it makes sense that you'd want the gamepad to be equally as portable. That means it stows in a bag easily, and doesn't take up a ton of space. Moga's Hero Power gamepad offers this exact experience, with buttons and joysticks nearly flush with the casing and shorter palm grips that flow in line with the rest of the body. This gamepad also doubles as a more traditional phone gamepad with its foldable phone clip, so you can comfortably enjoy other forms of gameplay!

Bottom line: If you value portability above all, Moga Hero Power is what you want.

Best Value

Beboncool controller

See at Amazon

It's portable, it's plasticky, and it's way cheaper than most other Bluetooth gamepads that play nice with the Gear VR. Beboncool makes a bunch of gamepads for tablets and phones alike, but this smaller controller is perfect for portable Gear VR gameplay. The battery is rated for 12 hours of constant gameplay, but the auto-off feature ensures you'll only be using power when you're actually playing.

Bottom line: If you want a better Gear VR gameplay experience without spending a ton, Beboncool has you covered.

Conclusion

If you're looking for console-class gaming on your Gear VR, SteelSeries is where you want to spend your money. There's always a place for portability, though, and Moga has what you need if you're on the go. If all you really want is an affordable gamepad to save you from constantly tapping the side of the Gear VR while playing your games, Beboncool is a great gamepad at a reasonable price.

Best overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

See at Amazon

The folks at SteelSeries have a long history of quality controllers for mobile platforms, and the Stratus XL kicks that up a notch. Instead of focusing on portability and pocketability like the other controllers in this product line, SteelSeries focused on comfort and capability which makes it an incredible choice for the Samsung Gear VR. It has all the quality of a major console controller, with battery life to match and no quirky software. It pairs instantly to your Samsung phone and works with dozens of Gear VR games right out of the box. Stratus XL is an all around quality gamepad, with a layout that is easy to remember when you eyes are in VR.

Bottom line: If you want the best overall gamepad for your Gear VR, SteelSeries is where you want to be.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with the Gear VR.

Samsung Gear VR

Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Best cheap Android phones of 2016

If you want the best possible experience for a low price, the Nexus 5X from Project Fi is the best deal out there. It's a great phone that has direct support from Google for just $199.

Best overall

Nexus 5X (from Project Fi)

See at Project Fi

Though the Nexus 5X typically retails for a higher $349 (or $299 frequently via coupons), the way the phone makes this list is its amazingly low price of $199 when purchased through Project Fi.

At that price, you can look past the sometimes-inconsistent performance and lackluster hardware of the Nexus 5X, and instead focus on getting a great software experience, strong camera, one-touch fingerprint sensor, solid screen and continued support directly from Google. And even if you decide Project Fi isn't for you, you can simply cancel the service without penalty and keep using your Nexus 5X on another carrier.

Bottom line: Even though it's a year old, this is still Google's phone and it's slated for future updates. It offers a lot for just $200.

One more thing: New Google phones are on the way, and will be arriving in about a month. They won't likely have sub-$200 price points, but if you're worried about being left behind, it's best to wait.

Why the Nexus 5X from Project Fi is best

Even a year on, this is Google's own phone.

When the Nexus 5X first came out, it was playing second fiddle to the bigger Nexus 6P. After a few months on the market with some software updates that really improved the experience it turned into a great choice in the budget space. Nearly a year on, discounts have dropped its price to the point where it's now a fantastic value.

At its original price of $349 it was a bit harder to recommend, but when it comes to getting great bang for your buck things change a bit when it's just $199. For that price you're getting solid hardware, a fantastic one-touch fingerprint sensor, a good screen and a very powerful camera. Cheaper phones may offer you a handful of those features, but none of them hit them all at this price.

And what really makes the Nexus experience is the software — not only is it distributed directly by Google, meaning it was one of the first to get the latest Android 7.0 Nougat update, it's also fast and packed with great features. Because of this, we have a Nexus 5X a year on that's actually more powerful and capable than it was when it launched — not all phones can claim that.

If you think that 16GB will be too tight for you, you can buy a 32GB model for just $50 more, and even at that price the Nexus 5X is still a great phone.

Best outside U.S.

Moto G4

See at Amazon

The Moto G line basically created the high-value low-cost phone segment, and years on has kept making great options that start at amazingly low prices. The latest, the Moto G4, builds on the same formula. You get a 5.5-inch phone that gives you a solid screen, 13MP camera, long battery life and most of Moto's great software features.

On the downside, the Snapdragon 617 processor and 2GB of RAM can sometimes come up short if you have expectations set by more expensive phones, and the hardware doesn't exactly feel inspired. But you have to give in somewhere.

Bottom-line: You really can't go wrong with a Moto G4 — it's the inexpensive phone that all other inexpensive phones are measured by.

One more thing: If you want to endure ads on your lock screen, Amazon will sell you a Moto G4 for $50 off.

Best to be unique

Honor 5X

See at Amazon

The Honor 5X is a perfect example of where the $200 price point smartphone market is headed. For a remarkably good $195, the first Honor phone to officially launch in the U.S. packs a metal body, decent screen and fingerprint sensor. The hardware certainly feels worthy of a higher price point.

The only drawbacks to the Honor 5X come in the software. Huawei's EMUI is still an acquired taste with some questionable features and things that still don't work quite as we might hope. But, there's a lot of good stuff, too, and some really useful features baked in.

Bottom-line: The Honor 5X is still a decent buy, and has gotten a lot better with its Marshmallow update.

One more thing: You might also consider the Honor 5C, which has far less spectacular build quality but a speedier CPU.

Best under $100

Moto E LTE (2015)

See at Amazon

Motorola's second-generation Moto E adds LTE to the mix, while retaining more of the premium features from more expensive Moto phones than ever before. You're looking at a basic 4.5-inch qHD (960x540) LCD display, and a Snapdragon 410 processor running the show in the LTE model (which is the one to buy).

Beyond that, the latest Moto E is an unspectacular but solid budget offering, with a decidedly basic 5-megapixel rear shooter and chunky plastic construction. It does have Moto's excellent software experience going for it though, and has been updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. For well under $100, it's a great buy if you're on a strict budget.

Bottom-line: The Moto E LTE gets you basic smartphone functions and doesn't feel as cheap as the price tag would lead you to believe.

One more thing: Don't expect an update to Android 7.0 Nougat on the Moto E.

Best in Europe

Wileyfox Swift

See at Amazon

The Wileyfox Swift is the British company's first Android phone and has every right to be taken notice of. It cost's a ridiculously cheap £129 and packs Moto G matching hardware while undercutting it on price.

The display is nice, the battery life is pretty good, the overall appearance is on point and the software provided by Cyanogen is slick, speedy and bloat free. It's not available officially outside Europe right now, but it's absolutely one of the best cheap phones money can buy. And with recent offers dropping the price to just £99, it really is a bargain.

Bottom-line: For those in Europe looking something a little nicer than a Moto E, with a fresh software experience, the Swift is a good choice.

One more thing: Don't be tempted by the lower-end Spark or Storm. The Swift is the only one we recommend.

Conclusion

If you don't want to spend over $200 and still want a great Android phone, the Nexus 5X from Project Fi is the way to go. Google supports it directly with software updates, and the hardware and features on offer are fantastic for the price.

Best overall

Nexus 5X (from Project Fi)

See at Project Fi

Though the Nexus 5X typically retails for a higher $349 (or $299 frequently via coupons), the way the phone makes this list is its amazingly low price of $199 when purchased through Project Fi. That's right, if you are using Google's own Project Fi service, you can pick up a Nexus 5X for an absolute steal. You can even finance that $199 price over 24 months with no interest.

At that price, you can look past the sometimes-inconsistent performance and lackluster hardware of the Nexus 5X, and instead focus on getting a great software experience, strong camera, one-touch fingerprint sensor, solid screen and continued support directly from Google. And even if you decide Project Fi isn't for you, you can simply cancel the service without penalty and keep using your Nexus 5X on another carrier.

Bottom line: Even though it's a year old, this is still Google's phone and it's slated for future updates. It offers a lot for just $200.

One more thing: New Google phones are on the way, and will be arriving in about a month. They won't likely have sub-$200 price points, but if you're worried about being left behind, it's best to wait.

*/

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2 weeks ago

From the Editor's Desk: The point of no return

218
Galaxy Note 7

The Galaxy Note 7 will always be 'Samsung's exploding smartphone.'

It's not been a great week for the Galaxy Note 7, following on from Samsung's unprecedented global recall earlier in the month. The following have happened in the past seven days:

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2 weeks ago

Android Central 305: Recall me maybe

63

Audio-only stream below

This week's podcast is [insert spontaneous combustion joke here]! It also heralds the introduction of a brand new member. Join us!

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