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3 days ago

How to opt out of WhatsApp sharing your information with Facebook


How do I stop WhatsApp from sharing my information with Facebook? There are two ways!

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping $21.8 billion. WhatsApp users everywhere went, "Oh, no. This can't be good." That feeling has finally come to fruition in that WhatsApp will now start sharing your information with Facebookincluding your phone number.

If you don't want Facebook getting ahold of your WhatsApp info, you can opt out in one of two ways.

Here's how!

Note: We're approaching the 30-day limit to opt out of WhatsApp's new privacy policy, so if you haven't done so already, now is a good time to do it.

How to opt out of sharing your WhatsApp information with Facebook in the WhatsApp terms of service

When WhatsApp updates, you'll have to agree to its terms of service all over again, but before you tap agree, you can read more and opt out of sharing your information.

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the upward arrow in the bottom right corner to read more.
  3. Tap the checkbox to opt out of sharing your information with Facebook.

    Launch WhatsApp, tap the upward arrow to read more, tap the checkbox

If you go looking for the Share my account data option in your settings afterward, it won't be there, since you've already opted out.

How to opt out of sharing your WhatsApp information with Facebook if you've already agreed to the new terms of service

If you've already tapped "Agree", you can still opt out:

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the more button in the top right corner. It looks like three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Launch WhatsApp, tap the more button, tap Settings

  4. Tap Account.
  5. Tap the checkbox next to Share my account info.

    Tap Account, tap the checkbox next to Share my account info

Now you're opted out and Facebook isn't getting your phone number, and won't share any information with its parent company to influence the ads you see.


Let us know in the comments below!

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3 days ago

Which smartphone camera do YOU think is the best?


We're putting the latest and greatest smartphone cameras to the test — but this time, we want you to tell us which one you like best.

There are a lot of great smartphone cameras out there these days, no matter your preference of operating system. As is our custom, we've put together an extensive photo comparison of each of the major players, but we're doing it a little differently this year.

Instead of us snapping photos, comparing them, and telling you which we prefer, I want you to tell us which photo you like best. Below, we've snapped images with four recently-released smartphones with high-end cameras — but we're not telling you which pictures came from which phone.

The images below have been randomized for every question — and we've stripped their EXIF data, too, so no cheating. We took every picture with the phone's primary camera app and automatic settings, shooting hand-held, just like most users snap photos today.

Which smartphone takes the best photos? We want your help: Pick your favorite for each section by selecting the radio button above each image, then hit the Submit Survey button. (You can also blow up the photos to full resolution by clicking on them directly.)

Next week, we'll compile our results and announce the smartphone champion as picked by our readers — so stay tuned!

If things aren't displaying correctly for you, try accessing the survey directly.

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3 days ago

Best Android Phones 5.2 inches And Under

If you're looking at this page, it's because the right smartphone for you is the one that fits perfectly in your hand.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at AT&T See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon See at Amazon

Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you know that the Galaxy S7 is the biggest hit of the year. The flagship smartphone features a stunning metal-and-glass unibody design that's both water resistant and comfortable to wield. On the inside, it's fueled by top-end internals, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers solid battery life and an impressive rear-facing camera that you can confidently utilize as your primary shooter. Best of all, the Galaxy S7's screen is a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, so even though it's a smaller screen, you'll still get stunning, TV-like quality from the dullest of YouTube videos.

Perhaps the only drawback of the Galaxy S7 is that it doesn't run the latest version of Android just yet. Nougat has yet to be optimized for Samsung's flagship devices, but it's coming.

Bottom line: If you're looking to adopt one of the best compact smartphones available, get the Galaxy S7.

One More thing: This highly-rated device is available at all four major carriers in the U.S., but if you'd rather live dangerously and contract-free, Samsung offers an unlocked model that also works overseas.

Why the Galaxy S7 is the best

A powerful, compact, water resistant little package.

Samsung has spent generations attempting to perfect its Galaxy flagship. There's still some work to be done, but the Galaxy S7 is considered the best incarnation of Samsung's flagship smartphone yet. Just look at the features: Powerful innards that support the Vulkan API and virtual reality; a water-resistant shell for the accident prone; a fingerprint sensor for added security, an expansion slot for more media storage;, and a high-quality camera that's good enough to leave your DSLR at home. The Galaxy S7 does everything you need a smartphone to do.

Unfortunately, Samsung's version of Android also comes with a few quirks, as well as extra apps you might find redundant alongside Google's own offerings. And the Galaxy S7 often comes bundled with hoards of bloatware, depending on your carrier, and you're not always guaranteed to be running the latest version of Android. But if this is your big purchase for the year, you can be confident in the fact that you made the right decision in terms of hardware and software offerings, especially since the Galaxy S7 offers one of the best smartphone cameras on the market.

Best "Not Samsung" phone

HTC 10

See at Sprint See at Verizon See at Amazon

HTC's had a rough couple of years with its flagship line, but the HTC 10 is a step in the right direction. This aluminum, unibody device is as fashion forward as it is comfortable to hold. Its 5.2-inch Quad HD display is the right size for most hands, and it's equipped with a 12-megapixel rear-facing Ultrapixel 2 camera, as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with OIS, so your selfies will be in focus, too.

The HTC 10 also offers BoomSound Hi-Fi, which the company worked on in conjunction with Dolby, and there's even an amp built in to the headphone jack. The HTC 10's Android interface isn't bad either; HTC's Sense UI is pretty vanilla compared to years past, and you can customize the interface to your liking with themes.

Bottom-line: The HTC 10 is a viable flagship alternative for anyone who is looking for something just as capable as a Samsung device but without the chintzy software.

One more thing: Although the 10 does not have all the bells and whistles as Samsung's devices—like water resistance and wireless charging— HTC does offer Uh Oh Protection, which covers broken screens, water damage, and even switching carriers.

Best affordable phone

Nexus 5X

See at Google

If you're looking for a device that's easy to cradle, but you don't want to break the bank, consider one of Google's Nexus devices. The Nexus 5X is a pocketable, 5.2-inch device with a 1080p LCD display, a solid 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2700mAh battery. It runs on a Snapdragon 808 processor with 2GB of RAM and its rear-facing fingerprint scanner is faster to use than most smartphones that have it embedded on the front. And though the Nexus 5X doesn't sport the most forward-thinking chassis design, it does come in a seriously attractive mint blue color.

Bottom-line: The Nexus 5X is the best choice if you want a smaller Android phone that will receive consistent software updates for at least another year.

One more thing: You can purchase Nexus Protect for an extra $69 to help cover any device malfunctions and accidental damage for two years.

Best under 4.7 inches

Xperia X Compact

See at Amazon

Bet you didn't think we'd offer up a Sony smartphone as a choice, but the Xperia X Compact is worth the consideration—especially if you're looking for something that's under five inches. Inside, the Xperia X Compact runs on mid-range Snapdragon 650, 3GB of RAM, and a 2,700mAh battery. It's equipped with a 720p IPS display, though that's all you really need from a 4.6-inch screen. It also supports Quick Charge 3.0, so that you can quickly charge it up during your layover, and it offers a solid 23-megapixel rear-facing camera with laser autofocus.

Bottom-line: The Xperia X Compact is great for anyone who's been grumbling that smartphones are just too big in this day and age.

One more thing: The Xperia X Compact will officially launch in the U.S. on September 25.


Folks, if you're looking for a compact smartphone that's got as much power and capability as the laptop on your desk, the Galaxy S7 is the way to go. It has all of the latest features you want wrapped up in a water resistant shell that's somewhat impervious to life's little accidents. And it's a mere 5.1 inches, which makes it comfortable enough for a variety of hand sizes. But if you're not entirely keen on going the Samsung route because of its not-stock Android software, we've also offered up a few other choices for your consideration. We won't let you traverse this journey alone.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at AT&T See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon See at Amazon

Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you know that the Galaxy S7 is the biggest hit of the year. The flagship smartphone features a stunning metal-and-glass unibody design that's both water resistant and comfortable to wield. On the inside, it's fueled by top-end internals, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers solid battery life and an impressive rear-facing camera that you can confidently utilize as your primary shooter. Best of all, the Galaxy S7's screen is a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, so even though it's a smaller screen, you'll still get stunning, TV-like quality from the dullest of YouTube videos.

Perhaps the only drawback of the Galaxy S7 is that it doesn't run the latest version of Android just yet. Nougat has yet to be optimized for Samsung's flagship devices, but it's coming.

Bottom line: If you're looking to adopt one of the best compact smartphones available, get the Galaxy S7.

One More thing: This highly-rated device is available at all four major carriers in the U.S., but if you'd rather live dangerously and contract-free, Samsung offers an unlocked model that also works overseas.

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3 days ago

What to look for when buying a pair of Bluetooth headphones


Buying accessories like Bluetooth headphones can be frustrating, but we can help.

There are so many different Bluetooth headphone models from different companies — and of course, they all claim they are the best — and so many different opinions that it's easy to feel lost and end up buying something that doesn't work for you. And they aren't exactly cheap, which can make it a costly mistake.

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3 days ago

Sony's new Xperia XZ hitting the U.S. for $699 on Oct 2


This is unfortunately the price you're still expected to pay for a Sony phone.

Sony's latest flagship, the Xperia XZ, has made its way out in some regions around the world and is now ready to hit the U.S. as well. Starting on October 2, you'll be able to pick up an unlocked Xperia XZ for a hefty $699 from both Amazon and Best Buy, among other partnering retailers.

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3 days ago

The Uncertain brings post-apocalyptic adventure to NVIDIA Shield Android TV


"Unlike humans, we robots think logically and act rationally. Therefore, we will never destroy ourselves."

The Uncertain is a sci-fi adventure-puzzle game set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has wiped itself out and only robots remain. Developed by Russian indie game developer Comon Games, The Uncertain Episode One: The Last Quiet Day boasts pretty amazing graphics and set pieces as players explore and discover the story as they play. It officially releases today for the NVIDIA Shield Android TV, and is available from the Google Play Store for $14.99.

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3 days ago

The LG V20 is coming soon, and we have an IOU for one Android Central reader!


The LG V20 ditches its tough-feeling exterior for something a bit more svelte, and adopts most of the software experience developed for the G5. At the same time, it carries on from the V10 by keeping its larger display and removable battery, while also doubling down on robust camera capabilities, top-end audio and extra features. It is, of course, the first phone shipping with Android 7.0 Nougat as well. You can check out our preview of the LG V20, and then come back here to enter to win one before you can even buy it.

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3 days ago

Best Tempered Glass Screen Protectors For Honor 8


Protect the glass on your Honor 8 with these tempered glass screen protectors.

The Honor 8 features a crisp 1080p 5.2-inch display that you'll want to protect from scratches and drop damage. Tempered glass screen protectors are hands-down the best way to protect the glass on your phone.

The issue here, along with screen protectors for many other phones, is with the slight curve along the edge of the Honor 8's screen. You'll never quite get full screen coverage with a Tempered glass screen protector on a curved screen. Even still, investing in a $15 screen protector on day one could save you from having to shell out to replace a cracked screen sometime down the line. Silver lining to the lack of edge-to-edge protection, they should pair well with all sorts of cases for your Honor 8.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here are some of the best options for protecting your Honor 8 screen — and even a bonus protector for protecting the glass on the back!

Nillkin H+Pro Anti-Explosion Tempered Glass Screen Protector

This screen protector from Nillkin comes with everything you'll need to clean your screen and get a perfect application the first time. It advertises itself as "anti-explosion" (insert Note 7 joke here), which means that even if (or when) the screen protector shatters, the shards won't go everywhere thanks to a thin film along the surface. A good feature to have considering the precision cutouts near the top the front-facing camera and ear speaker.

With 9H hardness and 2.5D edging to provide maximum scratch protection and comfort, and an oleophobic coating to help prevent fingerprints and other dirt, this screen protector will keep your Honor 8 looking good.

See at Amazon

J&D Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Honor 8

Two screen protectors are better than one, because it's always good to have a backup in case your primary takes the brunt of a fall.

It's hard to find significant differences between screen protectors, but J&D's tempered screen protectors feature a cutout along the top that goes under the camera and ear speaker. That's either a positive or negative feature depending on your perspective — either you don't like that there's less screen coverage, or you appreciate that there isn't a tiny bridge of tempered glass around the ear speaker that will likely be the first part to break. Both protectors included here come with hydrophobic and oleophobic screen coating and the standard 9H surface hardness you'd expect from a tempered glass option. When you consider the cost and the fact you get two screen protectors for under $10, this is a great deal.

See at Amazon

Ultimate Shield Black Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Ultimate Shield's tempered glass offering for the Honor 8 features a colored border at the top and bottom especially match whichever color of the phone you own. We've linked to the black option below, but it also comes in blue and white as well. The kit includes a microfiber cloth, wet cloth, and dust stickers to ensure you get a perfect installation. Cutouts around the camera and ear speaker along with a window around the Honor logo at the bottom should help with lining things up during installation.

Based out of the UK, Ultimate Shield boasts free shipping worldwide on all orders.

See at Ultimate Shield

SANMIN Tempered Glass Back Protector

Given that the Honor 8 features glass on the front and back, you're playing with fire if you don't put a case on it. However, many people simply prefer the 'naked' look for their phone.

With the SANMIN Tempered Glass Back Protector, you can add some extra protection to the back glass of your Honor 8 without having to compromise the sleek look and feel of your phone's design. At just .33 mm thick, this is an ultra-thin sheet of glass that features cutouts around the fingerprint sensor and the cameras and flash. Just like the tempered glass protectors for the screen, this won't exactly reach to the very edge of the curved back panel of glass, but it will prevent fingerprints and dirty smudges with it's oleophobic coating. Paired with a screen protector on the other side, your Honor 8 will be secretly protected from cracks and scratches.

See at Amazon

Protecting curved screens

As we mentioned, tempered glass screen protectors can't go edge-to-edge on phones with curved glass screens. Given the choice, which do you prioritize more: sleek style, or rugged durability?

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3 days ago

This is the safe Galaxy Note 7's new green battery icon


This is what your new Note 7 will look like after the update.

Here it is, folks. As promised, after receiving a new Galaxy Note 7 yesterday — with a battery from a different supplier — Samsung is rolling out an update to all Note 7s, pre- and post-recall, separating the haves from the have-nots.

Specifically, my Note 7, the one with the new, safer battery, has a green battery indicator in place of the traditional white, which Google has forced on all manufacturers since Android 4.4 KitKat. Ironically, before then, all Samsung phones shipped with green battery icons.

Samsung received special dispensation for the change from Google itself due to extraordinary circumstances.

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3 days ago

Magnetique on Gear VR: Immerse yourself in a comic book

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be inside a comic book?

VR allows us to experience the world in a completely new fashion. Unlike the past where places you'd never traveled were available only in photographs, or movies, now you can feel like you're actually there from within VR experiences. So it makes sense that comic books aren't exempt from that. Magnetique brings you inside the comic so that you can look around and feel like you are actually inside the story instead of reading it off of a page, and we've got all the details.

Read more on VR Heads

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3 days ago

Save $100 on a Nextbit Robin for a limited time!


Get yourself a minty cloudphone on the cheap.

For a limited time, you can pick up the Nextbit Robin for just $199, a savings of $100 from its regular price. The unlocked phone has a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of local storage that is merged with 100GB of cloud storage. Why cloud storage? Well, the phone can intelligently decide which files and apps you aren't using frequently and move them to the cloud in order to save you local space for the stuff you are using and brings them right back when you need them.

Whether you are looking for a new phone for yourself or a family member or a backup to have around, you won't want to miss this deal. You can pick between the midnight and mint colors. We've seen the price jump around the past few months, and this sale brings its back to its lowest price yet.

See at Amazon

Nextbit Robin

See at Amazon

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3 days ago

AC roundtable: How the Note 7 recall has hurt Samsung's brand

Samsung's Galaxy Note series

The AC editors sound off on the Note 7 recall, and how it has hurt Samsung's brand.

We're now over three weeks into Samsung's recall of the Note 7 due to serious concerns over faulty batteries. 1 million phones in the U.S. alone were recalled, and some 2.5 million worldwide had to be replaced. While the day-to-day news of exploding phones has settled down a bit, Samsung now has to deal with the lasting effect this massive recall has on its brand.

Just how Samsung comes out of this Note 7 recall to continue to sell phones around the world will be interesting to follow, and there's certainly a chance that these cases of exploding Note 7s have a lasting effect on future flagship phone sales. To get a bit of perspective on the situation, we've rounded up responses from the editors here at Android Central to see how everyone feels Samsung will come out of this.

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3 days ago

Sony Xperia X Compact review: Size really does matter

Sony Xperia X Compact

Small phone lovers have something to get excited about with the latest in Sony's Compact line.

The quick take

The Xperia X Compact gives you everything you need in terms of screen, performance, battery life — plus a few nice additions like stereo speakers, a slick software experience and Sony's latest camera technology. But this isn't simply a flagship-level phone in a smaller size: you're getting a plastic phone that's also missing a fingerprint sensor and waterproofing. So for as great as the X Compact is, it sits in an odd area — offering you less than other phones, but still commanding a $499 price. You really have to want a small phone to spend that much on the X Compact.

The Good

  • Small, but not cheaply made
  • Solid screen, even at 720p
  • Great performance and battery life
  • Strong camera

The Bad

  • No fingerprint sensor
  • Plastic may not appeal to everyone
  • No Quick Charge charger included
  • Expensive for the size

Sony Xperia X Compact

A bit of a throwback

Sony Xperia X Compact Full review

Since roughly 2012, when Android phone screens really started to grow with no sign of stopping, the desire from a vocal group to have a "compact" phone available has strengthened. But not just any small phone, they all want a compact version of a flagship phone; one that doesn't compromise on specs or features in order to fit into a smaller size. This is the holy grail for many.

Sony has been the one manufacturer that consistently offers a range of phone sizes, regularly being the example of how to do this right with its Compact series. The common era of these phones started with the Xperia Z1 Compact, with a small 4.3-inch display. We're now nearly three years past the launch of the Z1 Compact, and we have the Xperia X Compact to carry this tiny torch.

The X Compact has gained a little screen size, now up to 4.6-inches, but it's still working with the same formula. It has nicer components and features than you usually get in a small phone today, with a few standout items like Sony's best available camera setup. At the same time, it sits very awkwardly just underneath the also-compact 5-inch Xperia X, which is moderately larger but with a higher-res screen and now lower price. And this isn't necessarily a full-on flagship phone, either, as it's missing a few high-end features. All while still charging a rather hefty $499.

So many people say they want a compact high-end phone, but few actually end up buying one. Is the Xperia X Compact the one to satisfy that thirst and rack up sales? Read on for our full review.

About this review

I (Andrew Martonik) am writing this review after just shy of a week using an unlocked Xperia X Compact, provided to Android Central for review by Sony. The phone was used on the T-Mobile network in the greater Seattle, WA area. The software was build number 34.1.A.1.198, with the June 1, 2016 security patch, and was not updated over the course of the review.

Sony Xperia X Compact

Little wonder

Sony Xperia X Compact Hardware

Ah, small phones. There's just something refreshing about picking up a phone that you can easily cradle in one hand, reaching your thumb from top to bottom and side to side without any hesitation, shifting or fear of dropping the phone. You just don't find phones this small anymore, especially as the budget segment has increased its screen sizes in order to offer even more perceived value for money. In this case, you have to pay more to get less in the Xperia X compact.

While the X Compact is true to its name in overall size, it is a bit larger than the 4.6-inch screen would lead you to believe. As is the case on most of Sony's phones, the X Compact is adorned with rather large bezels, particularly on the top and bottom of the display. The overall size isn't far off from the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7, and is similar to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, which itself is known for large bezels.

It's okay to dislike plastic, but this is really nice plastic.

Sony has continued its blocky, semi-rounded "loop surface" look from the rest of the Xperia X series, which is immediately distinguishable to phone fans as a Sony design — and I really dig it. Looking at the bottom of the phone you see a cross-section of the design that looks almost identical to the proportions of its USB-C port, with nicely rounded sides coming around to a flat front and back. The back is a single piece of plastic, which feels a bit cheap compared to the metal on the Xperia XZ but matches nicely to the ceramic-like coating around the rest of the phone. (It also means the NFC antenna is on the back, rather than the front, of the phone — I'll take it.)

The phone is a little on the slick side, but the curves are friendly to your hand and the tolerances for the joins between the materials are perfect and worthy of your appreciation. The front glass is sculpted nicely into the edges and has a couple perfect cutouts for the front-facing stereo speakers, while the buttons on the side are easier to press than they look. That recessed home button feels great, but unfortunately doesn't integrate a fingerprint sensor — a head-scratching choice for a phone with a $499 list price.

Sony Xperia X Compact

There's an amazing simplicity and quaintness to the look of the X Compact.

Looking at the spec sheet and seeing a 1280x720 display resolution (coming in at 319 ppi) immediately makes you check to see what year it is, as even low-end phones now ship with 1080p panels, but naturally those numbers don't tell the whole story. Sony has packed a phenomenal display in the X Compact — it's fantastically laminated to the glass, has great viewing angles and superb color reproduction. I never touched the display settings, choosing to leave it at the default "X-Reality for mobile" mode. Though I confess I can see the slightly rough lines on some things, I never felt it detracted from the experience of using the phone. And as I'll get to later, that lower resolution certainly helps in terms of performance and battery life.

More: Complete Xperia X Compact specs

This is decidedly not a screen for those who want to watch video on their phone more than occasionally, and you don't really realize it until you're holding up the X Compact watching YouTube. For some, that's not an issue — but if you're one to watch an episode of your favorite show on your lunch break or jump into Netflix while you're waiting for a train, the X Compact isn't likely to meet your needs.

But if you don't crave a huge screen for consuming media, there's an amazing simplicity and quaintness to the look of the Xperia X Compact, even in white as I have here but particularly in the black color that's also available. It's a simple, pure design without additional flourishes that get in the way, and that's particularly important for a small phone that just doesn't have the extra real estate for shocking design elements. There's something nice and refreshing about holding a small phone that isn't trying to act like it's a massive supercomputer.

Sony Xperia X Compact

Sony keeps it simple

Sony Xperia X Compact Software

Sony can call the likes of Moto and OnePlus company when it comes to offering clean, simple and fast software. What you're greeted by on the Xperia X Compact is not unlike a Nexus phone running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with a few subtle changes to iconography and of course the default apps. Perhaps the biggest visual change comes with the launcher and lock screen, which I quite enjoy — and importantly, none of the changes detract from or alter the core Android experience.

I picked up the X Compact and installed my typical Google Now Launcher and Google Keyboard combination, and didn't touch a single thing in the software thereafter. Everything works as I expect it to, and it didn't take a bunch of tweaking or configuration to do so. Sony still includes a handful of pre-installed apps that I didn't really care to use, but most of them can be disabled and the group is nowhere near the size I see in the app drawer on Samsung phones. Sony's styling of the dialer, photo gallery and other apps feel very native to the platform as well, keeping a consistent look and feel across the phone.

Sony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact softwareSony Xperia X Compact software

In a very nice departure from the past two Sony phones I used, the Xperia X Performance and Xperia XZ, the X Compact is ridiculously fast. Whereas those two phones were mostly quick but still chugged along slowly at times, the X Compact hasn't had a single slowdown or even as much as a stutter in a week of my typical use.

Of course this isn't that surprising considering the very capable Snapdragon 650 processor and 3GB of RAM pushing just a 720p display, but as I noted above this kind of performance isn't always a given on recent Sony phones. The X Compact performs just as well as any other high-end phone you've used recently with a late-model Snapdragon processor, and I wasn't able to do anything that made it slow down. This is what you expect to get for this kind of money, and the X Compact absolutely delivers.

Sony Xperia X Compact

Getting there

Sony Xperia X Compact Cameras

Sony's tried-and-true 23MP Exmor RS sensor is once again the core of the Sony camera experience on the X Compact, but like the Xperia XZ it was announced alongside we actually have something to get excited about here: new 5-axis image stabilization. Sony seemed pained to add OIS (optical image stabilization) to its cameras up to this point, and I'm glad it finally made the jump.

Sony Xperia X Compact camera interface

Sony's camera interface is simple enough, though its "Superior Auto" isn't all that superior anymore and still requires hopping over to Manual in order to toggle HDR or tweak even the simplest things. This wouldn't be a problem if its Auto mode were truly "superior." The X Compact's overall software performance has extended to the camera, thankfully, and is amazingly quick to open, capture and process photos — considerably faster, in fact, than the Xperia XZ and X Performance. Puzzling.

The camera shoots 8MP downsampled (4:3 or 16:9, your choice) photos by default, mostly for file size reasons, but you can quickly jump up to 23MP full-res photos if you'd like. Unless you plan on cropping in after the fact I recommend just leaving the camera to its default 8MP resolution, which saves you storage space and a little bit of processing time.

The camera is no longer a clear weak spot, but it's squarely average.

Photos are incredibly sharp, even when you zoom in to pixel peep a bit, and the colors tend to be accurate rather than over-saturated like some phones (though the look is a personal preference). When shooting in Superior Auto and using tap-to-focus the camera tended to over-expose photos and wash them out, leading me far too often to hop into Manual and just use HDR for a more balanced shot.

For low-light photos, the 5-axis stabilization is clearly in play to help the X Compact take solid and much improved, but just average photos. In dimly lit rooms it tended to go with longer-than-necessary shutter speeds (sometimes up to 1/8 second), often introducing blur, and still couldn't take crisp well-balanced photos like you get from other cameras. Low-light photos sometimes took a couple of attempts, which was a departure from the "point, click, review awesome photo" experience of daytime shots.

I'm impressed by the Xperia X Compact's camera in terms of stepping up its game considerably from Sony's previous phones. As I mentioned in my musings about the Xperia XZ, Sony's new camera setup is firmly in the "good" camp, still a few steps behind the "great" arena where Samsung plays. The camera is no longer a main downside or deal breaker here, and that's a great thing — it just isn't so great that it'll sell phones all on its own.

Sony Xperia X Compact

All day, every day

Sony Xperia X Compact Battery life

Any time you see a spec sheet that lists less than a 3000 mAh battery in a modern phone, you get a little worried about longevity. With 2700 mAh under the hood in the X Compact — a full 200 mAh less than the Xperia XZ, which itself didn't have stellar battery life — the X Compact has been a battery champion, though. The combination of just a 720p screen and a lower-powered Snapdragon 650 processor meant I never thought out battery life on the X Compact.

A battery that lasts all day, every single day.

My typical day out of the house, with three hours of "screen on" time, using LTE, keeping up with notifications, social networking, photography and listening to podcasts I would end the day with at least 25% battery left. On a lighter weekend day where the phone spent good chunks of time on a table or in my pocket, I would end the day with well over 50% battery. Unlike the Xperia XZ, I never had to enable Stamina Mode to extend the battery — in fact, I never once touched the 10% battery level on the X Compact.

For charging back up, the X Compact supports Quick Charge 3.0, letting you quickly replenish that 2700 mAh battery. The charger that ships in the box is a standard non-Quick Charge 5V/1.5A wall plug, though, which is a bit odd. Because battery life has been so great for me on the X Compact I'm not so worried about the charging times of the relatively small battery, but considering the price you're paying for this phone I would've expected a Quick Charge charger in the box with a phone that supports the tech.

Sony Xperia X Compact

Little wonder

Sony Xperia X Compact Bottom line

Going into reviewing the Xperia X Compact, I was excited to use a "small" phone again primarily from the perspective of nostalgia; watching phones get bigger and bigger, I just wanted something more compact that didn't make compromises in experience. Over a week using it, my view shifted entirely to real, legitimate enjoyment of this phone based on its merits. It's amazingly quick with fantastic battery life, has a great screen, is built very well and has a solid camera. There are even a few extra perks like stereo speakers, 32GB base storage with an SD card slot, and Quick Charge 3.0 support.

The Xperia X Compact is great for fans of small phones.

Though I have a strong desire to just recommend the Xperia X Compact outright, I have some trepidation simply because the phone isn't all roses. It commands a high price, yet lacks waterproofing, a fingerprint sensor and metal construction found in the (admittedly larger) competition; it also has a smaller, lower-resolution screen, as well as a technically slower processor and "just" 3GB of RAM. So it's missing a few line items and features that keep it from truly being a "flagship in a smaller size" — it is instead a smaller phone that does indeed have shortcomings.

At a retail price of $499, the X Compact costs $100 more than bigger, more powerful phones with more features like the OnePlus 3 and Honor 8; and at the same time is just $50-100 less than the Galaxy S7 (thanks to recent price drops), which is a better all-around phone. With these market realities, you're faced with having to justify paying more money for physically less phone — that's hard for some people to get over.

The Xperia X Compact is all about the whole package rather than simply chasing line items — though it does have most of what people are looking for in a high-end phone today. It's for those who want a smaller phone with a well-executed design, but don't want to give up on the performance, battery life, camera or base level features they've grown accustomed to in other expensive offerings. And you're going to pay a bit extra for the privilege. Those who simply look at their phone buying decision as "getting the most features and size for my money" won't see value here. But if you're immediately drawn to the smaller size of the Xperia X Compact, you'll get a fantastic phone.

See at Amazon

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3 days ago

How to change your wallpaper on an Android phone or tablet


Changing your wallpaper is as easy as a tap.

Phones have in many ways becomes the nexus of our lives. They hold our most important information, let us access the internet, and store many of the photos we take during day to day life. So it's no surprise that customizing our phones in a variety of ways is so popular. One of the easiest ways to customize your phone, is by switching up the wallpaper and we've got the details on how to do it.

Google Now Launcher, Nova Launcher and Action Launcher

Most phones use this method to change your phone's wallpaper. That makes it simple to remember, and easy to do, when you upgrade your device.

  1. Tap and hold the home screen.
  2. Tap the wallpapers icon on the bottom left of your screen.
  3. Choose from from the default wallpapers, or from your photos.
  4. Tap Set as wallpaper on the upper left corner of your screen.

Samsung Phones

Changing the wallpaper on a Samsung phone is just a little bit different than the method detailed above. That's because Samsung actually gives you a few more options than most other phones.

  1. Tap and hold on the Home screen
  2. Tap the Wallpapers icon in the bottom left corner.
  3. Choose Home screen, Lock screen, or Home and Lock screen in the upper right corner.

  4. Tap a Samsung wallpaper or choose a photo from your gallery at the bottom of your screen.
  5. Tap set as wallpaper on the bottom of your screen.

Note: This method works with Samsung phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop and above, but due to the variations in Samsung software from country to country and generation to generation, it may look slightly different on your phone.

Your turn!

What's you favorite wallpaper, and how often do you switch it around? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 days ago

Morning brief: Pixels in pools, S7 on Android 7 and Galaxy C in China

Android news

Day 2 of Allo, and we're still figuring out where the new chat app fits in.

Welcome to Thursday on Android Central! We're still just getting acquainted with Allo, Google's new, promising but still very imperfect messaging app. Harish has an excellent roundup of everything you need to know about the app — from the phone number requirement to Google Assistant — right here. So far the AC team's experience of Allo has mainly consisted of a messy group chat replete with stickers, GIANT SHOUTY TEXT and comically boring smart replies. Allo has promise, but there are many sticking points — no way to port chat histories, no multiple-device support, no web presence. Eventually these functionality gaps will be plugged, but it's clearly going to take some time.

Other goings-on: We'll have a pretty big review landing later today, so keep watching, along with more thoughts from the AC editors on the longterm impact of the Note 7 fiasco. In the meantime, on with the day's news!

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