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2 weeks ago

Owlchemy Labs is now part of Google's VR family

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It's not a Job Simulation: The VR magicians at Owlchemy Labs are now part of Google.

Google and Owlchemy Labs have announced that they are joining forces and that means awesome things for fans of VR.

Owlchemy Labs are the folks who brought us Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality to the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, two great VR experiences that blend all things fun (and funny) into some seriously good times through your headset. Google has picked up this team and that means we can expect more of the same.

Today, we're thrilled to welcome Owlchemy Labs to Google. They've created award-winning games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality which have really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural. They've helped set a high bar for what engagement can be like in virtual worlds, and do it all with a great sense of humor!

Together, we'll be working to create engaging, immersive games and developing new interaction models across many different platforms to continue bringing the best VR experiences to life. There is so much more to build and learn, so stay tuned!

We're especially excited to see talk about different platforms, as products like Google Daydream and Samsung's Gear VR make VR and AR more accessible and easier. Restraints like heat and power drain make building VR for mobile a real challenge and knowing that some great talent will now be working in-house at Google we anticipate things to get even better. While this news is good for Owlchemy Labs and Google, it's even better for fans of VR at any level.

We expect to see great and silly things in the future!

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2 weeks ago

The FCC's website has been bombarded by an anti-net neutrality bot

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A bot is spreading anti-net neutrality rhetoric, and it's perfectly timed with the latest plea from John Oliver.

A bot has effectively taken over the FCC's comment system and it's repeatedly spouting anti-net neutrality prose, each time under a different name.

These comments don't appear to be in response to John Oliver's segment on Last Week Tonight, in which he asked fellow viewers to leave a comment in favor of net neutrality on the FCC's public board. According to ZDNet, the identical comments began populating right after FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced the agency's plans to repeal Title II. The comments say:

"The unprecedented regulatory power the Obama Administration imposed on the internet is smothering innovation, damaging the American economy and obstructing job creation. I urge the Federal Communications Commission to end the bureaucratic regulatory overreach of the internet known as Title II and restore the bipartisan light-touch regulatory consensus that enabled the internet to flourish for more than 20 years."

The bot appears to cycle through names in alphabetical order with postal address in tow and it's suspected that the names and addresses were grabbed from public voter registration records or an older data breach. ZDNet also contacted some of the names behind the entries and discovered that they had no idea they had left a comment for the FCC:

We reached out to two-dozen people by phone, and we left voicemails when nobody picked up. A couple of people late Tuesday called back and confirmed that they had not left any messages on the FCC's website. One of the returning callers specifically said they didn't know what net neutrality was. A third person reached in a Facebook message Tuesday also confirmed that they had not left any comments on any website.

There's no word on who is behind the bot or whether it's an organization, though ZDNet notes that the bot's comments stem from a 2010 press release by the Center for Individual Freedom, which is notably against net neutrality.

The FCC, for its part, claims that the mass of repeating anti-net neutrality comments are merely a result of a cyber attack brought on by the segment from Last Week Tonight.

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2 weeks ago

Google wants you to (what else?) use its search engine to find things to do

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Feeling droll and aching for something new to do? Ask Google.

Google doesn't want you to use a separate app or scour the depths of the internet to find something interesting to do. Instead, it wants you to give its ol' search engine a try. The latest update to the Google app and mobile website enables the search engine to tap into feeds from services like Eventbrite, Meetup, and Songkick to directly display what's happening near you.

To try it, type in a search like "art events this weekend" on your phone. You'll see variety of options, including an extended event calendar and tabs for the different days of the week. You can also type in the date or day of the week for more specific results, or "events near me" to see what's happening near your location.

The update appears to be on a slow roll out to both Android and iOS users, as the new features weren't available for me at press time. I also live in a smaller town, and it'll be interesting to ses if the lack of things happening nearby will affect this ability outright.

If you manage an event-centric site, you can check out the varying guidelines for marking up your own events so that they're more discoverable.

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2 weeks ago

Verizon buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

 Everything you need to know

Which Verizon plan fits your needs best?

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 145 million subscribers. It offers nationwide Voice and LTE data coverage on its network, using GSM, LTE, and CDMA technology.

Verizon offers unlimited talk and text wireless plans for individuals and families and it has deals on the latest smartphone, including the Samsung Galaxy S8. If you're thinking of switching to Verizon or you're about to renew your plan, you might be wondering which plan best suits your usage habits and needs on a monthly basis. Do you really need unlimited data? Are you signing up for multiple lines?

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If you have questions about which Verizon plan is best for you, we have answers. Check these out and see if they work for you.

Individual plans

Verizon offers two types of plans: talk, text, and data and prepaid.

Talk, text, and data plans

For individual lines, Verizon essentially offers one plan with four tiers: Small, Medium, Large, and Unlimited. Each plan features unlimited nationwide talk and text, unlimited 2G data, and rollover data (data you don't use in a month is available until the end of the next month). The amount of 4G LTE data is all that really changes between each plan.

Small gets 2GB of 4G LTE for $35/month, Medium gets 4GB for $50/month, Large gets 8GB for $70/month, and Unlimited get 22GB for $80/month. Unlimited plans also feature tethering, HD video streaming, and service in Mexico and Canada.

Keep in mind that the above-mentioned prices don't include any monthly payments you have to make if you decide to purchase a phone through Verizon.

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Verizon prepaid

If you don't want to sign up for a contract of any kind, then you can go month-to-month with Verizon on its prepaid plans. The best prepaid plan is the $50/month plan, which features 5GB of 4G LTE data (1GB more than Verizon's Medium plan), unlimited domestic talk and text, and unlimited texting to over 200 countries.

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The other positive aspect of this plan is that any data you don't use rolls over to your next month. You also still get unlimited 2G data speeds after you use up your 4G LTE allotment.

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Best family plan

If you're wondering if a family plan is right for you, consider this: You really only save money on three lines or more. Most Americans don't use more than 3GB or 4GB of 4G LTE data per month, so to sign up two lines on the unlimited plan, for $70 per line isn't really worth it. However, once you sign up a third line, each line drops to $54 per month. That's a great savings, since the individual 4GB plans are $50/month. Instead, each line gets up to 22GB of 4G LTE for $54/month.

You can sign up up to 10 lines, and at that point each line is only $30/month. These prices are with the $10/month Auto Pay and paper-free billing discount (not per line).

Verizon's unlimited plan comes with 22GB of 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text, HD video streaming, tethering, and service in Mexico and Canada.

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Best Verizon phones

Verizon doesn't really play nice with the whole "bring your own device" (BYOD) thing. In fact, it doesn't really play at all. Unless you have an inactive Verizon phone lying around, you can't bring your own phone. If you're not bringing your own phone to Verizon, these are the best ones you can purchase from the carrier.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Galaxy S8+

Samsung's newest flagships are the best Android phones on the market, with their slick design, featuring minimal bezel, curved screens, a new aspect ratio, and industry-leading displays. These phones have huge displays, but they don't feel huge, thanks to the fact that they're thinner than other big phones. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also have phenomenal cameras, both rear and front, offering excellent image quality, thanks to updated processors.

You can get the Galaxy S8 starting at $31.50/month and the Galaxy S8+ starting at $35.

Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Before it was dethroned by the Galaxy S8, the Google Pixel was the best Android phone around and still is one of the best money can buy. Featuring Google's "pure" Android software and being the first Android phone with Google Assistant, the Pixel reshaped the Android landscape.

The Pixel has a metal body that feels well-made in the hand, and the software experience is clean and straightforward. The Pixel's camera is definitely one of the best Android phone cameras available and still competes with the other top options.

You can get a Pixel starting at $27.08/month from Verizon.

LG V20

LG V20

If you'd like a large phone, then check out LG's V20. It has a gorgeous 5.7-inch QHD display, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage, making it an excellent phone for power users. It features a removable battery, two rear cameras, and Second Screen notifications, as well as easy-to-reach shortcuts (which are super important if you're using a big phone and have smaller hands).

Each of the V20's two rear cameras has its own focal length, which can help you create some stunning effects, making this the perfect phone for avid photographers who don't feel like lugging around their DSLR.

You can get the LG V20 starting at $24/month from Verizon.

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Best deals on Verizon

Verizon's best deal right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8 for as little as $15/month or the Galaxy S8+ for as little as $20/month. To be eligible, you need to port in your number from another carrier, sign up for Verizon's Unlimited plan, and trade in an eligible phone.

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If you're not in for a premium device and just want a phone that you can surf the web with, and you aren't concerned with performance or cameras or anything like that, then Verizon has a range of budget smartphones that you can get for free or $5/month.

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How to cancel Verizon

The absolute easiest way to cancel Verizon is to switch providers and have your new carrier port your number over. That's really it. Depending on your plan, Verizon may charge you an early termination fee. You may also have to buy out any devices for which you still owe.

Verizon like to make things a bit difficult on you if you're trying to cancel, but if you'd rather speak with a service rep you can do one of the following:

  • Call Verizon's customer service line at 1-800-837-4966
  • Talk to someone in person at a Verizon store near you.

How to unlock a Verizon Wireless phone

Looking to leave Verizon but want to take your phone with you? Well, Verizon may not let you bring your own phone (or makes it very hard to, anyway), but you can definitely take your phone with you.

From Verizon's site:

We do not lock most phones or tablets that are activated with our postpay service, either during or after the term of your service contract or Edge installment sales agreement. We do not lock our 4G LTE devices, and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier.

So you should be able to take just about any phone you have from Verizon and use it with another carrier, though you'll want to check eligibility with the other carrier before signing up.

Finding an alternative carrier that uses Verizon's service

Alternative carriers or mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are carriers that lease coverage from the Big Four carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile). Verizon doesn't have too many MVNOs under its belt, but if you enjoy Verizon's coverage and are perhaps seeking cheaper plans, then you should consider switching to an MVNO.

Big players in the alternative carrier market that use Verizon's network are Credo Mobile, Straight Talk, and Tracfone, but there are a few others to consider.

Just keep in mind that many alternative carriers lease coverage from multiple networks, so depending on your plan you may not actually be connected to Verizon's network.

Complete list of Verizon MVNOs

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2 weeks ago

These smart lights work with Amazon Alexa

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Control your home's lighting using Alexa and these smart bulbs.

Amazon offers an affordable way to start building out a voice-activated home automation system for your house or apartment with their Amazon Echo and Echo Dot powered by their A.I. assistant, Alexa. On its own, you can use Alexa to play music and find news, sports and other information. But things get really interesting when you start to connect Alexa up to smart devices, including connected LED bulbs and smart switches, around your house.

There are a number of light options compatible with Alexa. We've broken things down based on the different brands and ecosystems that each have their own compatibility with smart lights and smart switches that you'll ultimately be able to control via Alexa on your Amazon Echo.

Updated May 10: Added LIFX and TP-Link to our list

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2 weeks ago

Verizon's Wear24 Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch is finally on sale May 11

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Verizon Wear24

Just in case you were clamoring for a carrier-made smartwatch.

After quietly releasing its first Android Wear smartwatch with an expected availability of March, Verizon is finally ready to sell the Wear24 on May 11. The Wear24 is a pretty generic looking watch, but is rather sleek considering all of the features it packs. You're getting a 1.39-inch circular display, 450mAh battery, 768MB of RAM, 4GB storage and of course a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.

Naturally the Wear24 is designed to be used with Verizon's LTE network, including streaming music, using maps and making calls tied to your main phone's number. Verizon claims 18 hours of usage or 60 hours of standby (under ideal conditions, of course), which seems about right compared to the likes of the LG Watch Sport. The Wear 24 isn't small, but it's about average considering what's inside: 13.4 mm thick, 42 mm across and weighing in at 85 grams.

Having Android Wear 2.0 software means you're getting the latest from Google without much Verizon intervention — aside from a couple Verizon apps and some extra watch faces, of course.

The Wear24 comes in silver, black or rose gold color options, and prices out at an industry standard $349 — you can also pick it up for $299 with a data plan and two-year contract, or finance it for $14.58 per month for two years.

See at Verizon

Android Wear

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2 weeks ago

Win a Samsung Galaxy S8 and cases from Zizo and Android Central!

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Enter to win a prize package that includes a Samsung Galaxy S8 and three Zizo cases to keep it safe!

Everyone is in love with the new Galaxy S8, and for good reason. It's a gorgeous phone and one you'll definitely want to protect with a case, especially if you work in a tough environment, like to do outdoor activities, or are just generally a bit rough on your stuff. Let's chat about these cases a bit, and then you can enter to win a free Samsung Galaxy S8 and three cases to keep it safe!

Adding less than 1/8th of an inch to your phone, Zizo proves you don't need a case the size of a brick to protect your phone. You just need good quality materials and design. Zizo's newest collection of Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ cases are here to keep your device safe. Each of these cases have military grade drop test compliance, meaning they are dropped repeatedly on each corner and side from 5 feet to make sure they can handle falls. The flagship case in this line, the Bolt, is drop tested at 12 feet and comes with lots of extra accessories. Every case includes a Zizo Premium Full Edge to Edge Curved Tempered Glass Screen Protector, but only the Bolt comes with a belt clip and integrated kickstand.

Keep an eye on the blogs in the near future for a closer look at each of these cases. Now on to the contest!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will be taking home a brand new Samsung Galaxy S8 and three cases from Zizo Wireless! Two additional winners will each choose one case from the top 3 cases for any phone model.

THE GIVEAWAY: Head down to the widget at the bottom of this page. There are multiple ways to enter, each with varying point values. Complete all of the tasks for maximum entries and your best shot at winning! Keep in mind that all winning entries are verified and if the task was not completed or cannot be verified, a new winner will be chosen. The prize does not include service, and we cannot guarantee that the device will work on all carriers. International winners will be responsible for any customs fees incurred during shipping.

The giveaway is open until May 18th, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the close date. Good luck!

Win a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ from Zizo and Android Central!

Can't see the widget? Click the link above!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

How to use Multi Window on the Samsung Galaxy S8

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Make the most out of the Galaxy S8 screen with Multi Window mode.

Samsung has been offering a Multi Window mode for several generations now, and the Galaxy S8 with its extra-tall 18.5:9 panel takes full advantage of the feature. With a 5.8-inch panel on the S8 and a 6.2-inch screen on the S8+, there's plenty of room to scale two apps and use them side-by-side.

The feature offers significantly more functionality than what's included by default on Nougat, and although every app doesn't support Multi Window mode, you can easily see the ones that do from the multitasking pane. Here's how to set up and use Multi Window mode on the Galaxy S8.

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2 weeks ago

Knight your home screen with these Medieval wallpapers

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Hail, Lloyd, Knight of Order of Android! HAIL!

I, for one, have no interest in going back to the dark ages, but it's important to remember its history and lessons so we never repeat them. There's also a certain romanticism from that age, of knights and dragons and wizards and big, honkin' swords... and princesses locked in towers wearing amazing silken gowns. Trust me, this princess can rescue herself, but she wouldn't mind wearing a crown and a ball gown every now and then.

Onward, to battle! I mean, to wallpapers!

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2 weeks ago

Cortana now has over 141 million monthly users

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One way or another, there are a lot of people using Cortana.

On stage at BUILD today, Microsoft announced 141 million monthly active users for its Cortana assistant. This number is slightly off from the 145m rumored to be sent to prominent Alexa developers in order to lure them over for the Cortana Skill launch, which also happened today, but it's an impressive figure all the same.

141 million monthly users surpasses Amazon's Alexa by a considerable margin, considering 3 million Echo units have reportedly been sold as of last month. The big question here, which in an early briefing Microsoft was unable to answer, is how many of those monthly active users are actually speaking to Cortana. Microsoft's figures are for any kind of Cortana use, which includes text, voice, and assistant notifications based on user input. That information may prove useful for developers looking to target Cortana Skills to the largest portion of the user activity type, but for now it's not available.

Either way you look at it, Cortana's significant user base across Windows, Xbox, Android, and iOS is more than a little impressive. Microsoft expects Cortana Skills will put Cortana in a position to better compete with the whole category of digital assistants, and if that figure is enough to convince developers to give this platform a fair shake that monthly figure will likely expand even faster.

Everything you need to know about Microsoft Build

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2 weeks ago

Best Wireless Charging Pads for LG G6

5

What's the best charging bad for LG G6?

The LG G6 supports wireless charging the U.S. and Canada, and if you want to keep it conveniently charged, without having to plug it in, then you'll need a great wireless charger. Keep in mind that the LG G6 does not support fast wireless charging, so you needn't worry about the speed of any wireless charger — they'll all work just as quickly.

Here are our favorites.

Choetech wireless charger with smart lighting sensor

Choetech's wireless charging pad has roughly the footprint of a coffee mug, so it's the perfect desk or table accessory, taking up minimal room while keep your LG G6 charged. Its LED indicator has a smart sensor that dims it or shuts it down completely in the dark so that you can place your G6 on it before bed and not be kept up by its blue hue.

Choetech's pad has a 4-foot Micro-USB cable and comes with an 18-month warranty.

See at Amazon

Samsung wireless charging pad

Samsung's wireless charging pad is the most popular wireless charger on Amazon, with over 8,000 reviews, 70% of which are 4- or 5-star. This charger is stylish, with your choice of a black or white finish, and can be plugged into a wall socket or into another device via USB. As with all great wireless chargers, you can still use your phone while it charges up, and Samsung offers a 1-year warranty just in case anything goes wrong.

See at Amazon

Choetech T511 wireless rubber charging pad

Another great Choetech charger, the rubber wireless charging pad features an anti-slip surface, so you can pop your LG G6 on it and won't have to worry about it sliding off and interrupting charging. This charging pad is 3.6 inches x 3.6 inches, so it's plenty big enough to accept your LG G6 without you having to balance it precariously, but it's compact enough to not be intrusive on your desk space or coffee table.

Choetech doesn't provide a wall plug, but the one that came with your G6 will work just fine.

See at Amazon

Spigen Essential F300W wireless charging stand

If you prefer more of a stand design for your wireless charger, then check out Spigen's, which sits at an angle, so you can see your LG G6's screen while laying down. Since this charging stand has three coils, you can place your G6 vertically or horizontally and still have it receive a charge.

See at Amazon

Sojitek wireless car charger

If you like to keep your LG G6 charged up on the go, but having to plug it in and unplug it in the car, then check out Sojitek's wireless car charger and mount. You just plug the mount into your car's USB port or to a USB-12V adapter and then you can mount your G6 and unmount it as you please, charging it while you drive.

Sojitek's mount sticks to your dashboard or windshield via suction cup, so you'll want a flat dashboard for it to stay put properly. Double-check laws where you live to make sure accessories on your windshield aren't illegal (they are where I live!).

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

Do you use a wireless charger with your LG G6? Let us know which one in the comments below!

LG G6

Verizon Sprint T-Mobile AT&T B&H

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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2 weeks ago

Android Central is giving away three LG G6s over Twitter!

42

LG and Android Central are partnering to give away one of three LG G6s to three of our awesome Twitter followers!

Here's the deal: you need a new phone, and you want one of the best out there. LG has you covered, first by releasing said amazing phone (the LG G6), and second, by working with Android Central to give three of them away!

This contest is pretty easy to enter. Here's how it works.

  1. Follow us on Twitter!
  2. Reply to this tweet at @androidcentral telling us why you want to win an LG G6.
  3. Include the hashtags #LGG6 and #androidcentralG6 in your tweet.
  4. Wait for the good news! This giveaway will end Friday, May 12th, so get your tweets out!

Example Tweet: Hey @androidcentral I love the LG G6's big, beautiful display... and its dual cameras are great too! #LGG6 #androidcentralG6

There are three LG G6 units to be had here, so make sure you enter! And while this contest is only open to U.S. residents, we'll have more international contests coming your way soon.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

LG G6

Verizon Sprint T-Mobile AT&T B&H

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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2 weeks ago

The best fix for the Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor is a thin case

54
Samsung Galaxy S8 in case

It shouldn't have to come to this, but has.

As has been discussed since launch, the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is tough to use consistently. But that's not just because of its positioning — part of the issue is how it sits nearly flush to the back glass with very little separation from the camera lens. Combine these issues, and it can be really hard to distinguish where exactly the fingerprint sensor is without sliding your finger around a bit.

The fix for many is to switch to primarily using iris scanning or Smart Lock to limit the number of times per day you're reaching up to the sensor, but I have another fix: using a slim case to give the fingerprint sensor some physical separation. Now I'm not the biggest fan of cases, and usually only pop one on when I'm traveling or expect the phone to get bumped around a bit. But with the Galaxy S8, the case provides more than just protection — it's a fantastic way to make the fingerprint sensor usable.

More: Best Galaxy S8 cases

Galaxy S8 thin cases

I've been using both the Elago "minimalistic" case, which set me back $9, and the Olixar FlexiShield case, which is $10. Both aim to be extremely thin to only provide resistance to scratches rather than bumps or drops, and that's perfectly fine for me considering I really dislike bulky cases. But no matter how thin they are, they add much-needed barriers to the camera and fingerprint sensor, separating the two so you always know that you're finding the fingerprint sensor back there.

A case doesn't completely fix the problem, but makes it a whole lot better.

In using both of these cases (though I prefer the Elago case overall), I have a dramatically higher success rate with the fingerprint sensor and barely any accidental touches of the camera lens. Having this well-defined area to reach for with my index finger doesn't make the fingerprint sensor perfect by any measure — it's still far too high to reach comfortably — but at least keeps the experience from getting frustrating on a daily basis. It's all about having some consistency in using the phone.

When you're looking for a thin case that can help with the fingerprint sensor in this way, be sure to find one that actually has material between the camera lens and fingerprint sensor. Many Galaxy S8 cases offer one big cutout on the back for the camera lens, fingerprint sensor and heart rate sensor, meaning you won't get the full benefit of the case. Product images will give you a good idea of just how thick the case is and how much physical separation they provide between the camera and fingerprint sensor.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

Secure your internet connection with PureVPN for $89

How secure is your internet connection? When you're traveling or using a public network, can you guarantee that your private information will be safe from hackers and other sketchy types? Most of us jump onto public networks and never stop to think about the access we might be granting to total strangers. That includes not only your passwords but your messages and photos, too. Add to that the fact that, depending on where you're traveling, public networks may not even allow you full access to the internet you're used to; blocking certain sites isn't uncommon. How are you supposed to keep up and stay safe when you're traveling, or even just out and about in your own city, when you're spending all of your time worrying and getting frustrated?

Get a lifetime subscription to PureVPN for just $89! Learn more

What you need is a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. It allows you to become the authorized user of a network that is encrypted, meaning your data remains safer than if you just use a regular public Wi-Fi network. PureVPN is a trusted provider, with well over one million users worldwide, giving you a secure network connection even when your only choice is a public network.

You can get a lifetime subscription to PureVPN through Android Central Digital Offers for just $89, which is 85% off the original price of $597! PureVPN is supported by over 500 servers in 141 countries, so whether you're overseas on business or just down the street from your place, you'll have a secure internet connection and access to everything you need. Your subscription:

  • Keeps your web history completely out of view of potential hackers, protecting your passwords and usernames from becoming public information
  • Is ideal for travel in places where you may find sites have been blocked for some reason; you can now work around those blocks and get access to the sites you need
  • Is compatible with nearly any Smart device you may use at home or when you're away. The subscription also includes five multi logins so that you can access a server from multiple devices at once
  • Includes unlimited data transfer so you can download, browse, stream, and share as much as you like
  • Prevents unauthorized access to your messages, photos, videos, and more

Get a lifetime subscription to PureVPN for just $89! Learn more

Lifetime subscriptions to anything are expensive, but right now you can get one for PureVPN for 85% off and never have to worry about secure networks or internet roadblocks again. Get yours now!

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2 weeks ago

Best Small Android Phone

Update, May 2017: The Google Pixel is still the best small phone you can buy, if you can find it, so we've added the Moto G5 and Huawei P10 to the list to offer more choice.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

Like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google's Pixel comes in two sizes: Really Big and Just Right. The latter is the Google Pixel with a 5-inch Full HD display that fits comfortably in the palm of any hand.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. Its 2770mAh battery might not seem like much compared to other phones its size, but with its 1080p display and Nougat's revamped Doze mode, you'll likely be seeing a little bit more on-screen time than other devices in its class. The Pixel's 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also still really impressive, even when compared to the abilities of the newer Galaxy S8.

Bottom line: If you're looking for Google's Android in a compact size, the Pixel is it.

One more thing: It's pretty difficult to find the Pixel right now, which Google is aware of. In the event you can't find stock, we heartily recommend the Galaxy S7.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

It's Google in a handheld smartphone.

Google's Nexus devices feel like a relic of the past compared to its new Pixel lineup. The 5-inch Pixel is a particularly attractive package for anyone looking for a premium Android experience without all the extra software fluff. And so what if it sort of looks like the iPhone? It also comes in a really attractive Really Blue color.

Its performance is impressive, too, especially for a stock Android device. Its rear-facing camera produces some impressive photos and you can easily back them up with unlimited Google Photo storage. What's more: Google Assistant baked into the operating system is still impressive, not to mention it's become quite robust overtime.

Best alternative

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 one of the biggest hits 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.

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.

Best for camera buffs

Huawei P10

See at Amazon

Not feeling what Samsung and Google have to offer? Try the Huawei P10 instead. This 5.1-inch device comes packed with a whole host of goodies, including 64GB of storage, Android 7.0, and a dual camera that's made in partnership with Leica. The P10 also boasts a new portrait mode, which works a lot like what you see produced by your friends who utilize it on the iPhone 7 Plus, and it's equipped with optical image stabilization, too. All this runs on Huawei's own Kirin 960 processor and 3200mAh of all-day battery.

Bottom-line: The Huawei P10 is a worthy choice if a good camera and all-day battery life are you main concern.

One more thing: The Huawei P10 will only work with GSM carriers. Verizon and Sprint are not compatible with this phone.

Best affordable phone

Moto G5

See at Amazon

Have you heard? Motorola's gone full metal and it's covered its budget line in metal, too. The Moto G5 is a 5-inch device with smooth performance and decent 13-megapixel camera hardware. It comes with Android 7.0 right out of the box, too, and a removable battery. It's sold unlocked, so you can use it with any T-Mobile or AT&T SIM in the U.S., as well as overseas with other networks.

Bottom-line: The Moto G5 is an excellent choice if you're looking for an affordable unlocked phone in a compact size.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the Moto G5 isn't equipped with NFC, so you can't use Android Pay for wireless payments.

Best "really tiny" phone

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: Sony's got a pretty good legacy of smartphone updates, even on older devices.

Conclusion

Folks, if you're looking for a compact smartphone that's got as much power and capability as the laptop on your desk, the Pixel is the way to go. It's the perfect representation of the way Google wants you to use Android. And it's a mere 5 inches, which makes it comfortable enough for a variety of hand sizes. It's also got Google Assistant, which is quickly morphing into something more than just a cool trick to show your friends.

Best Overall

Google Pixel

See at Verizon See at Google Store

Like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google's Pixel comes in two sizes: Really Big and Just Right. The latter is the Google Pixel with a 5-inch Full HD display that fits comfortably in the palm of any hand.

The Pixel is packed with a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. It's available with up to 128GB of storage space. Its 2770mAh battery might not seem like much compared to other phones its size, but with its 1080p display and Nougat's revamped Doze mode, you'll likely be seeing a little bit more on-screen time than other devices in its class. The Pixel's 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also still really impressive, even when compared to the abilities of the newer Galaxy S8.

Bottom line: If you're looking for Google's Android in a compact size, the Pixel is it.

One more thing: It's pretty difficult to find the Pixel right now, which Google is aware of. In the event you can't find stock, we heartily recommend the Galaxy S7.

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