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1 day ago

Best minimalist cases for the Galaxy S7

21
Best minimalist cases for the Galaxy S7

Protect my phone, fine, but don't bulk it up!

Aside from the edge, the Galaxy S7 is Samsung's thinnest offer right now. Sure, you want to protect it, but you definitely don't want any of the bulk that comes along with some of the heavy duty cases.

We've rounded up some of the best minimalist cases for your S7; just remember that toning down the thickness of the case may make your phone a little more vulnerable when dropped from on high.

REDShield gel skin case

REDShield gel skin case

If you want minimal, you've got it with REDShield. This case is so thin, you can't even really see it in photos. Clear is a great way to go if you want to protect your phone while making it seem like your phone is naked. If clear is what you're after, we've rounded up the best clear cases for the Galaxy S7 just for you.

The RedShield gel skin case has a rubberized matte finish, so grip won't be an issue and there won't be any glare off the back of your phone. Your volume and power buttons are left easily accessible, so it's really like your phone is wearing nothing at all (stupid, sexy Flanders!).

See at Amazon


Cimo Premium Slim Fit

Cimo Premium Slim Fit

This is the little black dress of phone cases, offering sleek protection in the form of soft TPU. The benefit of having a case made out of black TPU as opposed to clear TPU is that the black stuff won't yellow over time due to sunlight.

Though this one is quite form-fitting, there is still a touch of a lip (0.8 mm) on the front, so when you place your phone face-down, it's not sitting on the screen. The non-slip TPU feels grippy in your hand and it's dust-resistance helps with an all-black case. If you couldn't care less about goofy designs or bling, then pick up a slim, black case and be done with it.

See at Amazon


Maxboost Vibrance Series Protective Slider

Maxboost Vibrance Series Protective Slider

If you're looking something with a little more pizzazz, but don't want any bulk, then the Maxboost Protective Slider is a solid choice, combining just enough protection with some cool colors to give you just what you want: slim sexiness.

This line isn't called the "Vibrance Series" for nothing; these cases come in two color combinations: turquoise and "Champagne Gold" or "Italian Rose" and "Champagne gold." It comes in black, too, but I don't see how that's very "vibrant."

It's got a soft interior to protect from scratches and a grippy exterior, so you're styling and protected with minimal bulk.

See at Amazon


Caseology Skyfall Series

Caseology Skyfall Series

You just know that a case with a James Bond-related name is going to be sleek, sexy, and slim. The Caseology Skyfall Series case is a two-piece with a rubberized cover and harder wraparound edge piece. This case is best for those of you who chose the gold S7, since that outer edging is gold. So, you'll have a seemingly 100 percent clear case.

There are air pockets in each corner of the Caseology Skyfall, so if you drop your S7 from a reasonable height, you probably won't shatter the entire outer layer of your phone.

That harder polycarbonate edging won't impede buttons, since it wraps around your phone behind the buttons.

See at Amazon


Samsung Galaxy S7 Clear Protective Cover

Samsung Galaxy S7 Clear Protective Cover

Some folks are brand-loyal all the way to their accessories, so we've included Samsung's minimalist offering, since it's a great choice.

This one covers less of your phone than any of the other cases we've discussed, but that doesn't mean your GS7 is any less protected. There are full openings for the buttons, so that you're guaranteed to be unimpeded when pressing them.

Protection-wise this would only be a vulnerability if you were to drop your phone on the edge of something like a table or a curb. It is a harder plastic, which some folks might not trust, but it is a great choice if you're looking for something less bulky.

See at Amazon


Bear Motion

Bear Motion

Looking for customizable minimalism? Then get going with Bear Motion. These cases come in nine colors, with a matte finish, which give them an excellently grippy feel, so you know your phone is protected and won't be slip-sliding out of your hands.

At only 0.3 ounces, these Bear Motion cases add no real bulk to your phone, but protect it from drops while leaving the necessary ports, buttons, and sensors open for easy use.

Starting around $6, there's no reason not to give Bear Motion a try, especially if you're after a very thin case that feels great in your hand, looks great on your phone, and adds a splash of color to your S7.

See at Amazon

Sick of cases altogether?

If you just plain hate cases, but still feel like your phone is naked and vulnerable, you may want to consider a skin, like the ones Dbrand makes.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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1 day ago

Former Motorola leader Rick Osterloh heads back to Google to lead hardware projects

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Former Motorola president Rick Osterloh has returned to Google. Osterloh will be in charge of Google's hardware teams, including Nexus, Chromecast and Google Glass.

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1 day ago

A love letter to the LG G5 and its wide-angle camera

71

The LG G5 is better than you think it is. Here's why.

I was desperate to find something about the LG G5 that hasn't been said already. But the internet is already full of smart things about the phone, which is not only LG's latest flagship smartphone, but its acknowledgement that its existing strategies haven't been working.

I have a dirty secret, though: I really like the G5. From its metal chassis to its well-placed rear power button-fingerprint sensor combination, LG got a lot right when it comes to the G5's design. Assessed as a standalone product — that is, without the use of LG's optional Friends — there is an argument to be made that the G5 is up there with the best smartphones on the market right now.

Even its software, aside from the questionable choice to get rid of its launcher's app drawer, has a lot to like.

LG has been struggling. It still sells upwards of 30 million smartphones every year, and has even eked small profits from its high-margin smartphone business in a couple of quarters over the past few years, but there is no question it's extremely difficult to make money in the mobile space. That was likely the impetus behind LG's Friends strategy: offer the phone for less than the competition — the G5 is about $100 less than the Galaxy S7 — and prop up those margins with modules, like a camera grip or high-quality DAC.

It's too early to assess whether the strategy is working, but early reviews have not been overly kind to LG's overarching ideas. Some lamented the move away from a design language many considered successful — and in a market with very little originality — unique, with the G4. Others found the implementation of the modules to be clunky, with selection both limited and overpriced.

But after using the G5 for a couple of weeks, I have fallen for its manageable size, its zip-fast performance and, most of all, its camera.

The fundamentals

Most people I've spoken to about the G5, including our own Phil Nickinson and Russell Holly, rightfully took issue with LG's decision to create a seam just below the display components to facilitate the removal of the battery. To an untrained eye, the G5's battery seam looks like it could be an antenna line, or something else equally innocuous. But keep extracting the battery and it becomes clear that, like a casement window loses its seal over time, LG can't overcome the consequences of physics.

Let's assume, though, that most people won't be regularly removing the G5's battery, that the Cam Plus grip won't become a permanent fixture on the bottom of the phone. LG has done an admirable job with the G5's design, from the glass display's concave curve to the intelligent placement of the rear power button.

Internally, the G5 is what you'd expect from a $650 smartphone: all Qualcomm 820 and 4GB RAM, 32GB storage and a fashionably high-megapixel rear shooter. The QHD screen, while lacking the same capacity for brightness as the Galaxy S7, is respectably sharp and vibrant, and I'm thankful to say that both of my retail units (one from Bell, the other from Rogers) are without backlight bleeding, a problem that plagued some pre-production models.

The 2,800mAh battery has served me well, with uptime that rivals that of the slightly more capacious Galaxy S7. And that it charges with reversible a USB Type-C cord is, after squabbling with Micro-USB for so many years, an absolute dream. I doubt I will ever purchase a secondary battery, nor purchase a coffin in which to charge it, but it's nice to have a fallback should I need one.

All of these things are fine and good, and bare necessities for a smartphone at this price. But what really impresses me about the G5 is what many dismissed as a gimmick when it was announced at Mobile World Congress: its second, 8MP wide-angle camera.

A 135-degree love story

I've always loved landscapes. They're less tempestuous than photographing people, and aren't liable to blink at the last second. While traveling, I tend to bring an 18mm or 24mm lens with me to capture cities at their most expansive.

But in recent years, as DSLRs have given way to the ubiquity of smartphone cameras, I find myself using those wide-angle lenses less and less. This is why the G5's second lens's near-fisheye field of view has proven so essential to me, especially given how carefully it has been integrated with the main camera.

A single icon transitions between the two sensors, allowing you to easily note the differences. While the main 16MP shooter has a still-wide 28mm equivalent focal length, the 8MP sensor is tuned closer to 18mm, with barrel distortion at the edges and a host of imperfections that just make it more fun to use.

No one should take the quality of the optics too seriously from the second camera: the 8MP sensor isn't particularly noteworthy, and the f/2.4 aperture on the wide-angle lens is practically useless in the dark. But that's what LG's main 16MP, f/1.8 lens is for, and why I had so much fun switching between the two. It fostered my most creative moments in smartphone photography, natively enabling something for which I'd typically need bulging accessories or adapters.

I'm not one to overly scrutinize the minute differences between smartphone cameras. I think most flagships have reached a point of core competency that rivals many point-and-shoots, and then some. The Galaxy S7 is the clear winner in the Android space, and potentially the entire smartphone space, with devices like the G5, iPhone 6s Plus and HTC 10 not far behind. But each has their quirks, and as we move closer to the end of the decade it is increasingly apparent that the tension between sensor size and companies' willingness to thicken their phones is the main barrier to improving smartphone cameras.

While the G5's second camera is not used to augment the first, companies like Huawei, with the P9, are taking that approach, and we should see more of those ideas implemented relatively soon.

Consider this

Consider this: if you're a photography buff, get the LG G5 over the Galaxy S7. Even though the latter has slightly finer fundamentals, I posit that the G5 is more fun to use, and with a bit of tweaking through Manual mode, can produce better photos. Moreover, LG's Cam Plus, while expensive at $69, adds a two-stage camera button, zoom controls and a battery boost for those who want to spend more time taking photos and video.

I'm a big fan of the Galaxy S7, but I find my hands wandering to the G5 when it's time to take photos.

LG G5

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top: 59px; } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox p img, div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox p, div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) and (min-width: 501px) { div *:not(:last-of-type):not(div) + .devicebox a.buy-link:before, div .netshelter-ad + .devicebox:not(:nth-last-of-type(3)) a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } @media all and (max-width: 660px), all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px) { div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } div :last-of-type ~ .devicebox ul, div :last-of-type ~ .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 660px) and (min-width: 501px), all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px) { div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link { margin: 0 5px 8px 0; width: calc((100% / 3) - 7px); } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):nth-last-child(odd), div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):nth-last-child(n+3) { margin-right: 0; } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n+1):nth-last-of-type(2), div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n+1):nth-last-of-type(2) ~ a, div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n+1):nth-last-of-type(4), div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n+1):nth-last-of-type(4) ~ a { width: calc(50% - 5px); } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n+1):nth-last-of-type(2) ~ a:nth-last-of-type(odd), div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n+1):nth-last-of-type(4) ~ a:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin-right: 0; } div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-child(odd):last-child { display: inline-block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { div *:last-of-type ~ .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox, div *:not(:last-of-type):not(div) + .devicebox, div .netshelter-ad + .devicebox:not(:nth-last-of-type(3)) { float: none; margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 day ago

Show your Team Android support with this limited edition t-shirt!

4

Looking to show off your Team Android support even more than just by using the phones and tablets? How about if you could proudly wear it front and center on a t-shirt or hoodie? Well, for a limited time you can, but don't wait too long this special edition t-shirt won't be available for long. Across the front of the shirt, you have Team Android in a classy script with the infamous bugdroid transformed into a baseball.

For a limited time, you can pick up a t-shirt, hoodie, raglan baseball shirt or even a sticker. This is special edition apparel, meaning if you want to get in on this limited print-run you will want to act quickly. Your order will help support the efforts of Android Central and we greatly appreciate it!

See at TeeSpring

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1 day ago

Podcasts in Google Play Music: It's better than nothing

65
Podcasts in Google Play Music

After more than 3 years, podcasts are back on Google's radar. So why did it launch with so much room for improvement?

Once upon a time Google had a little app for listening to podcasts. It was called Google Listen, and it lived alongside other podcast apps during a time of great peace and prosperity. But Google Listen died an untimely death, killed off in one of Google's infamous "Spring Cleanings" after months and months of neglect.

Podcasts, of course, survived the death of Google Listen. And a good many other podcast apps rose to power during that dark time. (In fact, we've got a handy list of the best podcast apps for Android.)

Today, podcasts are more popular than ever. Especially this one. There are others, too. But you definitely should subscribe to this one. And that link there goes to the listing for the Android Central Podcast in Google Play Music.

Yes, after more than 40 months away, Google is now back in the podcast business. And it's a good time to be back, riding on the backside of the wave that was Serial. Or on the continued success or This American Life or WTF with Marc Maron or The Nerdist or The Joe Rogan Experience. And, of course, the Android Central Podcast. There's something out there for everyone.

But are podcasts in Google Play Music any good? We can narrow down podcast app features to three categories of importance — discoverability, playback, and what's good for the podcasters themselves. So let's take a look at this second coming of podcasts for Google and see what the fuss is all about — or whether you're better off sticking with some other app.

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1 day ago

Fiat Chrysler reportedly in talks to partner with Google's self-driving car group

13

Google's self-driving car division may be getting some extra backing from established auto industry player Fiat Chrysler.

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1 day ago

Machine learning, AI, post-mobile search lead 2016 Google Founders' Letter

2

Alphabet CEO gives Google's chief a huge megaphone, as he lays the current and future vision of both companies.

The Founders Letter is a powerful statement for Google. Start with the original "Don't be evil" mission of 2004, to last year's opus that formed Alphabet and marked a major restructuring of Google. Today, in a 2016 Founders' Letter, Alphabet CEO Larry Page hands the virtual pen to Google CEO Sundar Pichai for an update.

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1 day ago

Samsung Gear VR users have watched over 2 million hours of virtual reality content

15

It turns out we're wearing these virtual reality headsets a lot.

Samsung is putting plenty of weight behind virtual reality, and is building a full-stack solution from 360-degree video capture to the associated software to a headset that can view it all. And as it turns out, the system is working.

Speaking at SDC 2016 in San Francisco, Samsung's John Pleasants, executive VP of Media Solutions, dropped a pretty crazy metric on us: Gear VR owners have already watched over two million hours of virtual reality content to date. To put that into perspective, that's over 228 years of time spent in the Gear VR experience.

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1 day ago

Google OnHub gets a home automation boost with IFTTT integration

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If you own one of Google's OnHub routers, you'll now be able to leverage If This, Then That (IFTTT) to program some cool automated tasks.

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1 day ago

LG G5 versus Samsung Galaxy S7: Grasping at refinement

42

This year has been about refinement for LG and Samsung's top phones.

These crazy little pocket computers on which we rely every day seem to grow more capable each time we blink, and there aren't many examples of this more profound than the latest flagships from LG and Samsung. These aren't phones: they're entertainment powerhouses with incredibly capable cameras, and each one can be connected to a unique headset for even more incredible experiences. How cool is that?

As is often the case with two phones of such high quality, lots of folks want to know which is more deserving of their money. To help answer that question, we're going to compare the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7.

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1 day ago

Fenix resolves Twitter issues, makes its return to Google Play

12

Popular third-party Twitter client Fenix has made a triumphant return to the Google Play Store after being pulled earlier this week. The app had run afoul of Twitter's token limit, but it seems that those issues have been resolved.

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1 day ago

The $499 HP Chromebook 13 is a sleek, all-metal workhorse

22

HP has just announced the Chromebook 13, an all-metal machine for the business crowd due in May for the starting price of $499. High-end specs include hardware such as a 6th-generation Intel Core M processor, support for up to 16GB of RAM and more.

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1 day ago

Google Photos makes hunting for images easier with dedicated search bar

3

A new update is rolling out to the Google Photos app on Android, bringing a number of changes that should make finding and managing your photos a bit easier.

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1 day ago

Angry Birds Action! pinball-style game ties into the upcoming movie

2

Rovio has released Angry Birds Action!, the latest entry in its long-running series. This game, which features pinball-style destruction gameplay, ties into the upcoming Angry Birds Movie.

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1 day ago

Samsung's developer pitch is all about Tizen, but that shouldn't worry Android fans

16

New year, same story from Samsung when targeting the developer community.

Anyone following along with Samsung's Developer Conference (or any trade show where Samsung is represented, actually) is seeing a lot of the word "Tizen" mentioned — TVs, cars, appliances and the whole Internet of Things are running on it. As faithful Android observers, we sometimes have a visceral negative reaction to the word, as if Samsung saying "Tizen" automatically means that Android is no longer in the picture.

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