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3 weeks ago

Galaxy Note 7 benchmarks and the nerds who love to hate them

159

Does the Note 7 have a performance problem?

Despite going through a massive recall at the moment, the Galaxy Note 7 is still one of the top phones on the market. And there's something deep in the heart of every smartphone nerd that twinkles every time they own a phone that someone with any measure of authority calls "the best" and defends that statement in a way they agree with.

Note 7 fans had that feeling taken away from them recently by the smart folks at XDA-Developers. Through a combination of "real world" tests, benchmarks, and system monitoring tools the XDA writers told a tale of stuttering performance that seemed to demonstrate this shiny new phone was, in some ways, not deserving the space at the top of the heap so many tech reviewers has placed it.

It's a fun read, especially if you only kind of understand what you're reading. Before you consider flinging your Note 7 back into the store it came from with that homemade catapult, there's a few things you should know about benchmarks and "real world" tests.

Benchmark apps are pointless

If you use a benchmark app to tell you how great or terrible your phone performs, you're not getting anything anywhere near a complete picture. Benchmark apps used to be great for troubleshooting, existing so you could see if there had been some kind of performance loss over time or damage to your equipment. Today, many manufacturers implement special code that forces that hardware to perform above the typical thresholds when a benchmark app is being used, which irreparably alters the results. You're measuring a version of the hardware your phone otherwise never lets you have access to, so you gain nothing but an attempt at the highest score when you run benchmark apps today.

If you see a Note 7 performing anywhere near as smoothly as a Nexus 6P, consider how many more things that Note 7 is doing.

Those performance altering software changes lead to a much bigger issue. When you are comparing a Galaxy Note 7 to a Moto Z Droid Edition and a Nexus 6P, you're comparing three different experiences that will never be doing the same thing at the same time. Samsung and Lenovo both have background tasks that can't be replicated on the Nexus 6P. Features that can't be disabled to get a 1:1 compare of the software performance. If you see a Note 7 performing anywhere near as smoothly as a Nexus 6P, consider how many more things that Note 7 is doing. Better yet, take a look at the immeasurably more thorough Anandtech review of the Note 7 performance as it compares to all other high performing phones, and see how it regularly outpaces the Nexus 6P.

There's value in testing for things like dropped frames, and reporting on those dropped frames in context is an important thing to do when your goal is to educate and inform potential buyers. It's hard to say that's what happened with the presentation from XDA, given the lack of context or proper comparison. Does the Note 7 drop more or less frames than the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge? Could this be an issue exclusive to the Snapdragon variant of this model? Is this happening because Samsung's new Grace UI was rushed out and could be fixed in a future update? None of these questions are answered, because the goal wasn't to inform.

Cherry picking in the "real world"

Not long after XDA published their findings, a post from The Verge's Vlad Savov attempted to apply some reality to the initial Internet explosion. In this Vladitorial, it was pointed out that some of the findings on XDA weren't really findings. Specifically, claiming that a 200ms difference in launching apps was an example of "embarrassing performance" is silly and not representative of how people actually use smartphones. XDA fired back with more data, trying to fortify their position. The counter argument, that a 200ms delay would add up over time to a phone in such a way that a Note 7 user would grab a Nexus 6P and be amazed at how much faster it "feels" is enforced by GIFs demonstrating those performance differences.

What's fascinating about this demonstration is the cherry picking. Samsung's software is far from perfect; in fact, after uninstalling 13 apps from my shiny new Verizon Note 7 and finding eight more that I can't disable I kind of want to smash mine with a hammer right now. Sitting that phone next to my freshly Nougat-filled Nexus 6P, there are absolutely aspects of this Note 7 that are demonstrably faster. The camera, for example, routinely launches a full second faster. It wouldn't be difficult to cherry pick half a dozen examples, GIF them up, and write something that looks like evidence of how superior the Note 7 is to the Nexus 6P.

The thing is, that's not how real world testing works. The point of real world testing, as the name suggests, is to offer performance examples of how the whole phone functions as though an "average" user is going to use the phone. Using that data to compare one experience to another is tricky, instead of offering a 1:1 compare of software as it functions you're offering a 1:1 compare of the experience, what using the phones feels like. Showing how a share menu loads, especially when those phones are clearly not set up the same way with the same apps, doesn't really fit that description. Unless, of course, you're pushing a different narrative.

Better tools and actual analysis

The real flaw in all of this is a mistaken assumption that Samsung's Note 7 and Google's Nexus 6P are built for the same purpose. Plain and simple, they aren't. Google's Nexus experience has evolved from clean Developer Kit to a demonstration of the Android Open Source Project with a handful of extras. Samsung's phones haven't started with AOSP in a long time, and there's no reason for the company to consider another path right now.

Samsung phones are Android-based, not Android.

Samsung phones are Android-based, not Android. As a result, Samsung phones are optimized in whatever way they deem most important. Right now those optimizations are for delivering unique Samsung features, like Samsung's camera, Samsung Pay and the unique S Pen functions. Android, by which I mean the OS, doesn't place priority on those things. In recent releases there's been a focus on things like battery consumption when you aren't using the phone, security at all times, and a consistent 60FPS user interface. It's difficult to argue that any of these things aren't important, but neither Samsung's Android nor Google's Android places a priority on all of these things.

Really, what this comes down to is what you as the user place priority. If you want the most secure phone with a slick, unburdened interface, you probably want the thing Google and HTC are going to be announcing soon. If you care about a great camera and software built to offer you a ton of feature you may or may not use, Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 is tough to beat right now. Trying to claim the Note 7 is somehow underperforming because it doesn't behave like a phone it wasn't built to behave like is ridiculous, no matter how you tightly you try to wrap that narrative in benchmarks.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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3 weeks ago

The Lenovo Yoga Book is too cool for a keyboard

44

Every once in a while, a piece of technology comes along that looks more at home on the set of a sci-fi film than on a store shelf in 2016. The Lenovo Yoga Book is one such device.

It's more than lightweight and super-thin; it ditches the conventional keyboard for a flat black slab, with touch-sensitive keys that illuminate only when the "Halo Keyboard" is enabled. Toggle it off and you activate a Wacom digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, converting the keyboard into a drawing tablet for the included stylus. And odds are you can do those doodles in your preferred artistry app, because the Yoga Book runs either Android or Windows depending on which model you get.

I've been waiting literally six months to show you this sucker, so tune in for my early impressions on the highs and the lows of the Lenovo Yoga Book – and stay tuned for MrMobile's full review, coming later this year!

Connect with MrMobile!

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3 weeks ago

How to back up the data on your Galaxy Note 7 before returning it for recall

43

You'll need to switch phones when you turn in your recalled Note 7, but you can still keep your stuff.

If you're going to be taking advantage of Samsung's voluntary recall for the Note 7 (and you should) you probably want to keep a few things stored on it. Besides the obvious — things like your address book or email — you likely have pictures, music, and other important stuff on the thing. You don't have to lose it when you get a new phone.

The first thing to remember is that your Note 7 runs Android with Google's services. That means a lot of your data can be backed up to your Google account in the cloud. This is how Android was designed to work — it's a cloud-based operating system.

Email, contacts, and calendar

If you're using Gmail, your email is already backed up. Google's Contacts and Calendar work the same way. If you are signed into any of these services and use them, you can pick up right where you left off on any device, anywhere by signing in with the same account.

If you're using another online-based email service, like Yahoo! or Microsoft's Outlook.com, it sill works the same way. The data isn't tied to your Google account, of course, but once you sign back in with the same login you'll have access to everything again. This is true for email, address book, and calendar with most online services.

If you're syncing a POP email account (like the one from your internet provider) you will need to check the settings on your email account itself to see how message syncing is done. The people who provide you the service can help if you have any questions. For any local (read: not online) address book or calendar apps, you'll need to check the app settings and see if there is an export feature.

Finally, if you have your work email, contacts and calendar on your Note 7 you need to ask your friendly IT person what to do.

Your media

Chances are you are using the Note 7 camera to take a picture or two, and you want to keep them. You might have a handful of music files and a video or two on there as well. Luckily, backing media files up is easy.

You can store pictures on your computer and transfer them via a USB cable, or you can store them in the cloud. If you were to ask my recommendation, I'd point you towards Google Photos. But there are other services like Dropbox that work, too.

How to back up photos and video to your computer or the cloud

If you have a computer, backing photos up is easy. There's an advantage to using your own local storage to keep photos — there is no image loss or resizing involved. Hit the link above to see all your options and how to get started.

Music files work mostly the same way. Services like Google Play Music or Amazon Music let you use the cloud, or you can plug into your computer and copy between phone and PC at will. One advantage of using a cloud service is being able to stream your songs from any device, but the files may take a hit on quality. If your music is stored in a lossless format or a very high bitrate Mp3 make sure to keep a copy on your computer. Click the link below to see your options and how they work.

How to back up your music files to your computer or online storage

Samsung Smart Switch

If you're going to stick with the Note 7 or use any other Samsung Galaxy phone, you can use a service from Samsung called Smart Switch.

Using the cable that came in your box (and the adapter if you need it) you can copy all the data from all your apps, the apps themselves, all your accounts and all of your media files / SD card content from your Note 7 to a computer or another Galaxy phone. The program is easy to use and does a pretty good job.

How to use Samsung Smart Switch to back up your Galaxy phone

There are a couple things to keep in mind here.

  • Smart Switch is only an option if the phone you're putting the data on is a Samsung Galaxy phone. Smart Switch can pull the data off of any Android or iOS phone, but it can only copy it back to a Galaxy model.
  • If you're going to be using a really old Galaxy phone — something like the Galaxy S3 or Note 2 — you might have issues with apps and their data. Things have changed a lot in the past couple of years.
  • Any loaner you get from your carrier might not be compatible with Smart Switch. Your carrier isn't going to be handing out brand new Samsung phones like candy. Expect something that they wouldn't care about losing.

And remember — if you're returning your phone through your carrier or a Samsung store, they can help make sure you keep everything that's yours and help you get it on a new phone. It's OK to ask for help!

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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3 weeks ago

Best alternatives to the Chromebook Pixel

38

With the Chromebook Pixel heading off into the super high-resolution sunset — at least for now — something has to take its place as king of the Chromebook hill.

For a lot of people, the Chromebook Pixel didn't make any sense. Our company stance here at Android Central was that it was too expensive and didn't bring anything more to the table than a lot of other models, so you were better off passing. Personally, I think it's the best damn laptop I've ever had and worth the money. It's OK to have different opinions. In any case, none of that matters now that Google has stopped selling it and hasn't announced a replacement. It's Google Reader all over again. Not really.

I am pretty certain another Chromebook Pixel will be released, but this gives us an opportunity to look at other tier-one level models. These are the Chromebooks you would buy if you couldn't stomach the price tag but still wanted something a little more "premium" than the average cheap Chromebook.

Don't think we're bashing cheap Chromebooks, though. They are the important models because a $200 Chromebook is perfect for plenty of folks. A cheap gateway to the internet that's safe and easy. Plenty of people are using something like the Acer C720 and still completely satisfied because it still does the things they bought it to do. But if you're someone who wants to spend a little more money for nicer hardware or just want to go all in on the Chrome experience, here are the best available right now.

The best Chromebook you can buy: Dell Chromebook 13

The fully-specced Dell Chromebook 13 ticks most every box to be at the top of the heap now. The $650 model offers a beautiful 1080p touch screen display, aluminum chassis, glass trackpad and an Intel Core i3 processor. It doesn't stop there, either. You have USB 3.0 onboard, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity, a backlit keyboard and 32GB of storage. In the coming weeks, the Dell Chromebook 13 is also slated to get access to Google Play and Android apps.

Honestly, this is still a bit of overkill for many folks. The Intel Celeron model is also plenty capable and priced about $200 less. You'll have the same premium build, minus the touchscreen. It's still a very solid choice.

I love the battery life and how well the Chromebook 13 is put together, and everything you want to do is responsive and enjoyable — this thing is fast! It was always a true high-end laptop, but the Chromebook Pixel's exit makes it the best Chromebook you can buy in September 2016.

See at Dell

Something a little lighter: Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)

Checking in at 2.9 pounds, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 can still deliver a top-of-the line experience without the extra two pounds of the Dell hanging off of your shoulder. Anyone who has to carry their mobile office in a bag or satchel every day can appreciate the weight reduction.

The best part is the Toshiba is still more than able to do all things Chrome OS smoothly and quick. When compared to the Dell, the biggest drawbacks are lack of a touch screen and a maximum storage capacity of only 16GB. The Core i3 model checks in around $450 while an Intel Celeron mode will save you $150.

If the lighter weight is worth the trade-off of losing the touch screen and cutting the storage in half — and for a lot of us it will be — Toshiba has your high-end Chromebook needs covered.

See at Amazon

A new player appears: Acer Chromebook 14

If you need something a little bigger but still want that high-end feel and specs that deliver, the Acer Chromebook 14 is for you.

The 1080p display has extra-wide viewing angles and uses a proper high-quality IPS panel. the Intel Celeron drives Chrome OS to its full potential and 32GB of space is a big plus when Android apps and Google Play appear this fall. You also get two USB 3.0 ports and 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi — all for around $300.

The aluminum build isn't quite as thick feeling as the Dell, which is why the larger display Acer weighs about the same as the 13-inch Dell. The trackpad isn't quite as smooth and the keyboard lacks the backlighting, but you're also saving about $350.

Some of us want a Chromebook with a larger screen and the Acer Chromebook 14 is my pick for the best in the 14-inch category.

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Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { 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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3 weeks ago

The Chromebook R13 could be Acer's best Chromebook yet

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Acer Chromebook 13

One of the leaders in the Chromebook space is pushing the category again with its new Chromebook R13.

Acer's brand new 13.3-inch "convertible" (i.e., it folds backward) Chromebook R13, unveiled at IFA 2016, is clearly a step beyond the quality on offer from the Chromebook 14 that was released back in March, but of course it also has a higher starting price at $399.

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3 weeks ago

Best wallet cases for the Galaxy Note 7

33

What are the best wallet cases for my Galaxy Note 7?

Not everyone loves a wallet case for their phone, but those that do love the convenience of having practically everything they need — money, ID, and smartphone — all in one package when they're on the go.

Given the beautiful design of the Galaxy Note 7, if you're going to cover it entirely with a wallet case, you'll want your case to look classy in it's own right. So we've broken down the best wallet case options that combine stylish design with functionality.

Story Leather Aspen

The Galaxy Note 7 is a premium device. That fact is reflected in the build quality and the price. If you want a case to match that premium quality, look no further than the offerings from Story Leather. They actually offer a range of wallet and other leather-backed cases for the Note 7 which are all custom made to order, but we'll specifically recommend the Aspen wallet case for it's stylish-yet-simplistic design.

Made with premium genuine leather and personalizable with a monogram or corporate logo, this case is perfect for the fashionable consumer. You can choose from over 50 different leather colours to truly make it your own. On the inside, the case features slots for three cards as well as a side pocket for holding cash. It's all built around a sturdy polycarbonate shell that will protect your phone.

With a production lead time of 25-30 days and prices starting around $100, this is not the case to buy if you're looking for a quick cover to protect your new phone. But the handmade quality you receive in return will be well worth the money spent for some folks.

See at Story Leather

Spigen Wallet S Leather Case

Spigen is a trusted name for phone accessories, and their Wallet S case for the Galaxy Note 7 is one of the most versatile cases you can buy to protect your Note 7.

Made of faux leather, the Wallet S looks good without costing an arm and a leg. It features a magnetic strap that's reversible — it will securely hold the cover open and closed. The Note 7 securely snaps into the polycarbonate shell on the inside, which also features three slots for your credit cards and ID, as well as a pocket for money or other valuable items. The case also folds over into itself to create a horizontal kickstand for hands-free media viewing.

You have to be consciously aware of how you insert your cards in the case, because the placement of the magnet strap could wreck the magnetic strip on a credit card. Other than that design flaw, which is addressed in a leaflet included with the case, the Wallet S does a great job of combining a wallet and phone case into a stylish option for travelling or enjoying a night out on the town — and all at a reasonable price.

See at Amazon

Incipio Stowaway Credit Card Case

If you want a case that will store your ID, cash and a credit card, but want something a bit more inconspicuous than a fold-over wallet case, there's the Incipio Stowaway Credit Card Case.

At a glance, this case just looks like a sturdy and smooth polycarbonate outer shell to protect your phone — until you notice the compartments on the back. Open the bigger one and you'll find room for three cards (or an ID card and some cash), which are held down with a little lip that make sure they don't pop out if the case takes a hard fall. The smaller compartment reveals a kickstand which, admittedly, is probably not worth using. But the main stowaway compartment will be extremely convenient for travellers or folks that don't like taking their whole wallet or purse to the bar.

Incipio also includes a rear protective film for the back of your phone, so that it isn't scuffed or scratched by any of your cards — a little detail that goes to show phone protection is the top priority here. Best of all, it still mostly preserves the look of the Galaxy Note 7's sleek design and curves.

See at Amazon

J&D Wallet Stand Slim Fit

This wallet case option from J&D is quite similar to the Spigen Wallet S, but separates itself from the pack with a few small but important details.

It features three card slots and a pocket for cash, a magnetic strap to keep things secure, and can be folded over into a horizontal kickstand for media viewing. But we love the clear sleeve for the first card slot, making it the ideal spot to store your ID. Then there's the removable wrist strap which provides added security when you're carrying it around with you. And finally, it's available in four colours (aqua, black, brown, and red) as well as white Dog and Cat versions, that feature a cute graphic on the back. Starting at around $11, it's also one of the most affordable wallet cases you'll find.

See at Amazon

What's your favourite wallet case?

As we're still early into the Galaxy Note 7's product life, there will no doubt be more wallet cases coming out in the future. We'll add them as we find them, so let us know if there's anything we missed in the comments.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { 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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3 weeks ago

How your phone can help before and during a hurricane

43

Hurricane season is upon us, and your smartphone is now one of the most important tools in your preparedness kit.

You don't want to be caught unawares when a hurricane hits, and as we've learned recently, they can arrive unexpectedly, and in unexpected places. There's no better time than now to bone up on some of the best ways to keep current on what's out there, and how to stay safe if a storm comes your way.

And just like with everything else, our smartphones now play an integral part with that.

I've lived on the Gulf Coast my entire life. I've been through storms. God willing, I'll never go through another. But either way, I'll be ready. Let's take a look at a few ways you can be, too.

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3 weeks ago

Has my Galaxy Note 7 been recalled?

90
Samsung Galaxy Note 7

How do I know if my Note 7 has been recalled?

When it comes to product recalls, there's usually a process for finding out just which units have been recalled. In the case of the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung has announced that every phone sold has been recalled, removing any questions you may have had as to whether or not your phone is headed back to the manufacturer.

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3 weeks ago

How to download and manage apps from the Google Play Store

32

How do I download and manage apps and games through the Google Play Store? {.intro}

Whether this is your first smartphone or just your first using Android, there's a lot to love here, and it all starts with finding some apps to fill that new phone (or tablet) with. Google Play is the app store that Google runs, and it's also an important piece of Android's security as it scans apps before and after they're downloaded and monitors them for unusual activity. It can be a bit overwhelming when you first open up Google Play, but don't worry, we're here to help you get started!

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3 weeks ago

Turing promises the moon with the 2017 Cadenza: dual Snapdragon 830, 60MP camera, 12GB RAM

84

The Sailfish OS-based Turing Phone offers secure software combined with a proprietary liquid-metal alloy chassis that's touted to be stronger than aluminum and steel. The phone was initially slated to launch last year, but ran into significant delays, with the first wave of pre-orders going out in July. Turing Robotic Industries, the company behind the phone, has detailed plans for its 2017 handset, the Cadenza. The company is looking to integrate artificial intelligence to "dramatically improve our day to day mobile communication," promising specs that sound far too good to be true.

According to Turing CEO Steve Chao, the Cadenza will feature a 5.8-inch QHD display, two Snapdragon 830 SoCs with a total of 16 Kryo CPU cores, a 60MP "iMAX 6K Quad Rear Camera with Triplet Lens/T1.2", 20MP front camera, 12GB of LPDDR4X RAM (2 x 6GB modules), four SIM card slots, and a staggering 1TB of storage.

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3 weeks ago

Samsung announces global Galaxy Note 7 recall following battery explosions

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7

All Note 7s sold to be recalled and European launch delayed as Samsung tackles defective batteries.

Following reports of explosions due to defective batteries in some units, Samsung has announced a global recall of Galaxy Note 7 handsets.

Samsung says that due to a "battery cell issue," 35 "cases" (of overheating, fire or explosions) have been noted so far, adding "we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market."

More: Everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 7 recall

All Note 7s sold to consumers will be replaced "over the coming weeks," Samsung says and NPR's Elise Hu reports that unsold units will also be recalled. Gizmodo Australia reports that the number in consumers hands right now makes up 1 million of the 2.5 million units produced. The only exception is China, where Samsung uses a different battery supplier.

In the meantime, Samsung has halted sales of the phone. Samsung U.S. says it's working with carrier partners to announce details of a product exchange program "as soon as today."

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3 weeks ago

Google reportedly launching new phones, 4K Chromecast, and Daydream VR headset on Oct. 4

103

Get ready for new hardware next month.

With Google dropping the Nexus branding from its handsets, we're starting to see the biggest shift in the company's strategy for its Android handsets since the program started in 2009. According to a new report from Android Police, Google will unveil its phones along with a Chromecast capable of 4K playback, Google Home, and Daydream VR headset on October 4.

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3 weeks ago

Lenovo's beautiful Yoga Book should run Chrome OS, not Android

85

Lenovo's best convertible ever would be even better with Chrome OS.

Lenovo's new Yoga Books are simply beautiful. If you haven't yet seen what I'm talking about, take a minute, scroll down and watch our hands-on video — really, you need to see it. With a full size (10.1-inches) touch screen keyboard that doubles as a drawing surface, 64GB of storage and modest but adequate internals (Intel Atom, 4GB RAM) it flips all the switches that tell me to buy it. Except one. It should be running Chrome OS.

Lenovo was smart enough to make two versions — one runs Windows 10 and one runs Android — so potential buyers have a choice. Unless you're an ultra power user of some sort, the Windows version should be able to handle anything you need while away from your desk, and the Android version gives the mobile experience for folks that prefer it. We still get to make a choice, but either can be a sleek Yoga Book with a sexy Halo Keyboard. It remains to be seen how well the fancy keyboard and drawing surface actually works for people who need or want to use either input method. I can't see myself fiddling around in the back-end of AC at 60 words per minute too often while typing on glass, but it's so damn pretty I want to try the Windows version.

All this gushing (dare I say excitement?) is echoed by most people talking about the Yoga Book, so Lenovo is probably happy. Yet every time I watch that video or read the words someone had to say about it, the Android model is still just an Android tablet. There's plenty you can do with an Android tablet, and some things are even better than they are on other platforms — watching YouTube or Google Play Movies, for example. But when it comes to using it on the internet through a browser, nothing is better than a Chromebook. I'll say it — a Yoga Book running Chrome OS would be better for folks who primarily work or play through the browser than both the Windows and Android models. Chromebooks are faster, more secure and maintenance free. Plus, they run Android apps. All the Android apps.

A Chromebook can run all the Android apps as well as the very best web experience.

That's the kicker. A Yoga Chromebook could have been done exactly like the ASUS Flip. It runs Chrome OS, which includes a complete Android subsystem and everything from the Google Play Store(s). Any app you can use on the Android model would also run — exactly the same — on a Chrome model. And when it comes time to hit the web, Facebook or Google Docs or any other website is better on a desktop browser with full extension support than it is on anything built for Android. This is a no-brainer. Nothing is lost, and for all of us who would primarily use the thing on the web, things just got a whole helluva lot better.

The Yoga Book is both innovative and beautiful. And I really do want to try the Windows 10 version and see if it could be a MacBook Air replacement or if the keyboard just doesn't cut it. If nothing else, I could use it to draw cartoons of me being frustrated at the keyboard. But I have no desire to buy the Android model. I already have a Pixel C and Google's folio keyboard, and the pretty factor doesn't sweeten the deal enough for me to spend my hard-earned dollars. And honestly, with an ASUS Flip in my bag I couldn't go back to using something only half as good.

Unless there is a third model coming later in the year, I haven't found the Flip replacement I've been looking for. Sorry, Lenovo.

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { 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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3 weeks ago

Best cases for HTC 10

35
HTC 10 Ice View

HTC's new flagship is handsomely designed. Protect it from bumps and scratches.

Like any responsible phone owner, you're probably considering a case for your HTC 10. It's a brand new phone and you want to keep it as pristine as possible for as long as possible.

With a new phone, it can be hard to find a good case because not everyone is jumping onboard the new phone train, so reviews are limited. For the most part, we're seeing TPU cases galore, but there are a few rubber and wallet cases and there'll likely be many more to come upon the phone's release.

We've rounded up the best cases (so far) for your gorgeous new HTC 10 that'll hopefully keep it looking like new until the HTC 11 comes out!

HTC Ice View

HTC Ice View

We'll start with the coolest case you can buy for your HTC 10, which is HTC's own Ice View. With the One M9, HTC had the Dot View to give us a peek at what's happening on the phone. Ice View adds more detail to match the 10's cleaned-up design.

The flip cover allows you to interact with your phone in so many ways that some people might not even need to lift it. You can take photos, read texts, control volume and music, turn on the flashlight, and tons more. Plus, the Ice View supports third party notifications like Instagram, Google+, and more.

If you struggle with covering up such a pretty phone but still want it protected, you might as well cover it up with a case that's super cool and offer a ton of functionality on top of that protection.

See at Amazon


Cimo Premium Slim Fit

Cimo Premium Slim Fit

A great standard for anyone who wants a simple, minimalist case that offers solid protection without breaking the bank, Cimo does it again. It's got a tactile, satisfyingly grippy feeling and leaves all the essential ports open.

The beveled front edge leaves you worry free when leaving your HTC 10 face-down and the slim design means no unnecessary bulk in your pocket. If you're looking for a case just because you know it's the right thing to do, then Cimo is a solid place to start.

See at Amazon


Spigen Neo Hybrid

Spigen Neo Hybrid

Spigen makes great phone cases. That's just a fact. The Neo Hybrid is no exception, with it's flexible TPU shell and hard polycarbonate bumper, it protects the most fragile points on your HTC 10 – those corners.

Some folks reported issues with previous versions of the Neo Hybrid, notably a loose polycarbonate bumper that was weak around the buttons. But Spigen has upgraded the design for the HTC 10 and now everything should fit snugly and feels sturdy in your hand. This is an excellent blend of protection and a slim form factor, since it really doesn't add a ton of bulk to your HTC 10. It's by no means a "slim fit" case, but it's also not heavy, nor is it too thick.

If you like a great-fitting case and having your phone truly feel like it's protected (without the extra weight), then go for Spigen's Neo Hybrid.

The PC bumper comes in champagne gold, gunmetal, and Satin Silver.

See at Amazon

SUPCASE Full-body Rugged Holster

SUPCASE

The HTC 10 is a solidly built aluminum phone that feels sturdy and strong in your hand, even without a case. That being said, it's still fragile and if you lead a fairly active lifestyle, a rugged case is a great investment.

SUPCASE's Full-body Rugged Holster is designed to protect your phone from some pretty harsh stuff. It's made of hard polycarbonate and soft TPU, so it's shock-absorbent and protects against bumps, scratches, and drops. Despite being a rugged case, the Full-body Rugged Holster is relatively slim, covering all of your HTC 10 except the screen. Even the earpiece is protected.

And if you're not one for carrying your phone in the pocket, this case comes with a belt clip, so you can wear it on your hip for easy access and a bit of extra stability.

You have your choice of black-on-black or black-on-blue.

See at Amazon


Diztronic full matte TPU series

Diztronic

This case from Diztronic is made entirely of flexible TPU, which means extra bouncy shock-absorption all around for your HTC 10.

The matte finish resists fingerprints and gives the case an overall grippy feel, so you know your phone isn't slipping out of your hand. The buttons are covered, but the TPU over them is very responsive and you can feel the click, so if you're controlling volume or shutting off an alert while it's in your pocket, you'll know you're hitting a button.

You have your choice of black, charcoal gray, or a very lovely navy blue.

See at Amazon


Love Ying Crystal Clear Ultra

Love Ying Crystal Clear Ultra

Another great TPU cover that offers minimal bulk with cushioned shock absorbency is the Love Ying Crystal Clear. Like Tauri, Love Ying offers as view different colors to match your style; theirs are a little more vibrant and playful.

The cover is raised both on the front and the back, so you're not putting your HTC 10 down right on its screen or right on the camera lens, which is a nice feature if you happen to drop it flat. It's dust and scratch resistant and fits like a glove.

As with other TPU cases, just be aware that your case may yellow over time thanks to the Sun. Also be careful putting it on your HTC 10 and taking it off too much, since it might stretch and stop fitting so well. Other than that, it's a great way to protect your phone without adding a ton of bulk or breaking the bank.

See at Amazon

What do you think?

When you get your HTC 10, let us know which case is your favorite by sounding off in the comments below!

HTC 10

HTC Best Buy Verizon Sprint

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3 weeks ago

Samsung expected to recall Galaxy Note 7s over battery quality concerns [Updated]

201

Samsung seems to be taking the proper cautious approach to quality control standards.

Update: Samsung has announced that it will halt sales of the Note 7 and issue a recall for up to 1 million phones that could be at risk.

Reports have surfaced indicating that the Galaxy Note 7 launch has been delayed in parts of Europe — Germany in particular — as sales were set to commence this week. The news lands corresponding with multiple reports coming out of Korea that Samsung has plans to issue recalls for phones — anywhere from just some Exynos variants up to all Galaxy Note 7s that have been sold.

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