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1 day ago

Nextbit plans battery life boost for Robin in future OS update

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Nextbit has revealed its plans to release an OS update for its Robin smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2016 that will offer owners better battery life.

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1 day ago

The best unlocked phones

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Best Unlocked Android Phones

Unlocked phones — outside the shackles of the carriers and able to work on any GSM operator worldwide — are finally starting to have their moment in the sun.

And we're not just talking more expensive versions of top-shelf phones. There are a number of mid-range unlocked phones that will serve you very well — and not burn a hole in your wallet. Let's take a look.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

All that and a bag of chips, (and a microSD card slot)

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Excellent camera
  • Amazing display

Cons

  • Samsung software leaves a little to be desired
  • A little bit slippery to hold

We can't have a best of Android phone list and not include Samsung's twin flagships for 2016: the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Samsung chose to refine the best features of last year's flagships and make them better.

Both phones feature Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, great for watching YouTube videos or streaming Netflix, and both have larger batteries than their predecessors, great for keeping them alive for a full day's use.

In keeping with Samsung's reputation for making superior cameras, both phones have excellent ones, with improvements made for taking better low-light shots.

LTE connectivity means that you'll be able to surf the web and stream content without annoying load times, and yes, the microSD card slot is back, so you're not stuck with just the storage capacity they come with.

If you're looking for an all-around superior unlocked phone, you can't go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge.

Want more information? Read our Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge reviews.

See at Amazon

Nexus 6P

Nexus 6P

Nexus and unlocked go together like PB&J

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Excellent camera
  • Pure Google software

Cons

  • It's pretty big
  • Lacks wireless charging
  • A little bit slippery to hold

In the Android world, one brand should always come to mind when thinking unlocked: Nexus. For the Nexus phones aren't just a way to get the latest and greatest software from Google. They're also a way to get a good phone at a good price and stay away from a new contract. Of the two current Nexus phones, the 6P is the one to get.

We've previously had to recommend a Nexus phone with a rather large caveat — and that's usually had to do with the camera. Not so with the Nexus 6P, manufactured by Huawei.

It's got a camera that doesn't make us want to carry around a second shooter, just in case. It's got the design and build quality that stands up against any other phone. And perhaps most important is that it's going to always be updated to the latest version of Android, and that goes for the monthly security updates, too.

Read our Nexus 6P review

See at Amazon

LG G5

LG G5

You've got friends

Pros

  • Removable battery
  • Excellent camera
  • Innovative modular design

Cons

  • Display can be dark on auto-mode
  • Modules are a bit scant at the moment

The LG G5 is one of the most attractive phones available – sleek and glossy. Coupled with LG's innovative Friends ecosystem and the phone's modular design, it's a top-notch flagship phone.

The LG G5 comes with a 5.3-inch Quad HD quantum display, great for watching videos and playing games. Its 4GB of RAM helps with multi-tasking, and its Snapdragon 820 processor gives you plenty of power too.

Another benefit of the LG G5 is its ability to take amazing photos. It has two cameras in the back — a 16 megapixel main camera and an 8 megapixel wide-angle camera — so you can capture beautiful pictures wherever you are. Of course, it's got an 8 megapixel front camera for those selfies.

If you want a phone with an innovative design that snaps great pictures and has a lot of future appeal, look no further than the LG G5.

Read our LG G5 review

see at Amazon

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

Finally all grown up

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Good camera
  • Fast, smooth software
  • Invite-free

Cons

  • Slippery body
  • Real concern over timely updates
  • Weak vibration motor

After releasing a few phones that were tantilizing but not quite complete products, OnePlus has really hit the mark with the OnePlus 3. This high-end device checks just about every box you're looking for, from top-end specs to a great screen, solid camera, fast software and long battery life.

Best of all, it'll only set you back $399, which is easily $200 less than the other flagships out there. You don't get a few of the nice-to-have features like waterproofing, but for the whole experience it's hard to get something nicer than what the OnePlus 3 offers. You no longer need an invite to get it, either — just buy it online.

More: Read our full OnePlus 3 review

See at OnePlus

HTC 10

HTC 10

Premium sound in a stylish package

Pros

  • Great audio
  • Snappy performance
  • Aluminum unibody

Cons

  • Display has issues in sunlight
  • Inconsistent battery life

The HTC 10, the latest offering from HTC, is a solid phone with a stylish aesthetic and great audio.

Its aluminum body is beautiful and modern, while design elements such as the curved back and the wide chamfer make it comfortable to hold.

While its 5.2-inch Quad HD SuperLCD5 display has some problems in bright sunlight, its vibrant colors and sharp picture make it ideal for watching videos, whether they're from YouTube or Hulu.

Where the HTC 10 really shines is in its audio output — its got a tweeter for high frequency sounds in the earpiece and a down-facing woofer along its bottom for low frequency sounds, giving you amazing Hi-Fi audio right from the phone's speakers, and the sound from the headphone jack is even better, pushing out sound at 1V for a powerful audio experience.

If you want a solidly performing phone with amazing high quality audio, the HTC 10 is the one for you.

Read our HTC 10 review

see at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Yes, its big, but you can write on it

Pros

  • Top notch S Pen
  • Great new design
  • Awesome camera

Cons

  • Speaker isn't great
  • Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is a beast of a phone and is unique in the mobile space because of its accompanying stylus, the S Pen.

Running an Exynos 7420 octa-core at 2.1GHz quad + 1.5GHz quad and 4GB of RAM, its capable of running multiple apps at the same time and running even the most graphics-intense mobile game with nary a stutter.

Its 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display is one of the best around, and with that much screen real estate, you're sure to enjoy watching movies or playing games on this phone.

If you're looking for a phone with a large screen and a handy stylus, check out the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. It doesn't get much better than this.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review

see at Amazon

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Moto G

Still one of the best value phones around

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • No manufacturer bloatware
  • MicroSD card slot

Cons

  • No NFC
  • Only a single speaker compared to previous model
  • No quickcharge or wireless charging

Motorola is arguably responsible for reinventing the budget phone space when it tore up the rule book with the original Moto G. Now three generations in and it's no more difficult to recommend to anyone looking for the best on a budget. And without a contract.

The hardware is more than ample for the price and Motorola's signature software experience of value added to stock Android remains. The camera is improved on its predecessor, Moto Maker allows for some customization on the color schemes and all-in-all the essence of what made this phone great hasn't gone away. And we'd definitely recommend the 16GB/2GB RAM model. It's worth the extra.

The Moto G isn't just a good phone for its price, it's a good phone, period.

Read our Moto G review

See at Amazon

Huawei Honor 5X

Honor 5X

Honor lands Stateside

Pros

  • Premium design and construction
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Good quality display

Cons

  • EMUI still broken in places
  • Sluggish at times
  • Launched on Android 5.1

The Honor 5X is a perfect example of where the $200 price point smartphone market is headed. For a remarkably good $199, the first Honor phone to officially launch in the U.S. packs a metal body, decent screen and fingerprint sensor. The hardware certainly feels worthy of a higher price point.

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

Android 6.0 Marshmallow is on the horizon, but overall the Honor 5X proves you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good looking, well built, carrier free phone.

Read our Honor 5X review

See at Amazon

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1 day ago

Google Cardboard apps work great on your Gear VR now!

It's real, and it's awesome.

Samsung gear VR owners can now use Google Cardboard apps through their preferred headset, instead of having to switch back and forth between a Cardboard viewer and something else. It's pretty easy to set up, and our friends over at VRHeads have everything you need to get started with every version of the Gear VR. Enjoy!

Take me to the article!

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1 day ago

How to customize your Chromebook launcher

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Make your Chromebook look the way you like it with these tips.

If you're using a Chromebook that has Google Play, you might be downloading a bunch of Android apps. If you don't yet have Google Play on your Chromebook, you're probably thinking of Android apps you want to install when it comes. With all those apps — and your Chrome apps — you'll probably want to tidy things up a bit. Here's how you can do it.

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1 day ago

Coolpad is launching Cool VR 1x in India for an immersive 3D experience

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Coolpad, the Chinese smartphone maker, will release its visual reality gear for Coolpad devices, the Cool VR 1x, tomorrow in India.

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1 day ago

When will Android N be released?

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Android N

We don't yet know exactly when the next version of Android will land, but Google's development timetable provides a few clues.

For about as long as Android has existed, a major new platform version has dropped every fall. And starting with 2014's Lollipop release, Google has preceded that with developer preview builds designed to help devs get their apps ready for new Android releases. This year, that process kicked off a couple of months earlier than expected, with an initial Android N preview in early March.

That's one of the many signs pointing to a slightly earlier release of "N" than in years past. So when exactly will Android N be finalized by Google and unleashed as a stable release? And when will we learn the version number and nickname of the next version of Android? Well, Google's timetable offers a few clues.

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1 day ago

BioLite's PizzaDome will let you charge your phone while you cook a pizza

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BioLite, which makes, among other things, camping stoves that can charge your phone, has introduced the PizzaDome, a new accessory for its larger BaseCamp stove. With the PizzaDome, you can easily cook pizza, flatbread, and more, all while your phone charges using the stove's heat.

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2 days ago

T-Mobile will let you enjoy your unlimited data plans in Europe this summer

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T-Mobile has announced those who are planning to travel to Europe this summer will be able to use their unlimited data while abroad. Not only that, but T-Mobile has added Belize to Simple Global. This means that customers with appropriate plans will be able to enjoy unlimited data and texting all across the Americas and beyond.

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2 days ago

How to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK

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BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer's regional locking may scupper your attempts to view the Beeb's output when you're abroad. Here are a few handy workarounds.

BBC iPlayer has evolved into one of the best streaming services in the UK — free to use, with high-definition streaming and download support across multiple platforms. But if you're travelling outside the UK, you'll likely run into problems accessing iPlayer. That's because, being a UK-only service, access is blocked from outside the country.

Fortunately there are a few workarounds, all of which are relatively simple.

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2 days ago

HTC is sending out invitations for a closed Sense Home 8 beta on non-HTC phones

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HTC has been decoupling its apps for some time, and the vendor is now sending out invitations for beta testers to try out Sense 8 Home — the launcher on the HTC 10 — on non-HTC phones. The requirements for the closed beta include a non-HTC Android phone that's running Android 4.4 KitKat and above.

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2 days ago

Bought the OnePlus 3 in India? You'll have to manually activate the 12-month accidental damage cover

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The OnePlus 3 is now on sale from Amazon India for ₹27,999. OnePlus and Amazon have rolled out several launch day offers for the handset, including a free 12-month accidental damage protection plan, which is handled by Servify. However, it looks like you'll have to manually activate the plan, or stand the risk of losing out on free service should the phone get damaged.

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2 days ago

Instagram is adding a text translation feature

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After announcing that it has over 500 million users, Instagram has shared that it is working on a text translation feature that will go live next month. Once enabled, you'll see a "See Translation" button that automatically translates text in posts, comments or bios to your preferred language. At launch, 24 languages will be supported, and while there isn't a clear-cut timeline, the feature will be rolling out to all users globally within a month.

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2 days ago

Google Fiber is acquiring gigabit internet provider Webpass

13

Google Fiber is acquiring San Francisco-based gigabit internet provider Webpass for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2003, Webpass is focused on providing businesses — along with select residential markets — with gigabit internet connectivity, and its acquisition will aid Google Fiber's expansion. The acquisition is expected to close this summer following regulatory approvals.

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2 days ago

Confirmed: Huawei gearing up to launch EMUI 5.0 this Fall with a major redesign

8

Huawei's EMUI received a significant boost with version 4.1, which made its debut on the Huawei P9. It looks like the vendor is working to bring the UI closer to stock Android, with version 5.0 said to offer an interface that resembles vanilla Android while offering a lot of customizability.

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2 days ago

6 tips to improve battery life on the Nexus 5X

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Nexus 5X

How do I improve battery life in the Nexus 5X?

While the 2,700mAh battery in LG's Nexus 5X can get you through the day on a single charge, depending on usage, we think you can probably get a little bit more out of it by making a few simple changes.

1. Turn off Ambient Display

Ambient Display is a feature that sends notifications to your screen when it's locked. It's useful to see what's going without having to unlock your phone's screen, but it does consume battery power.

To turn this feature off, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen, the app drawer, or the Notification Shade.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Toggle the Ambient Display switch to off.

2. Mind your Bluetooth

Smartwatches are great and we love them, but you should be aware that they consume more battery than Ambient Display does. If you know that you need extra power, leave your smartwatch at home that day.

The same goes for fitness trackers, speakers, car audio systems, and just about anything else with a Bluetooth connection. When in doubt, disable Bluetooth!.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen, the app drawer, or the Notification Shade
  2. Tap Bluetooth
  3. Toggle the Bluetooth switch to off.

3. Lower your screen's brightness setting

The Nexus 5X has a beautiful 5.2-inch inch full HD LCD display that hits that sweet spot for size but is one of the most battery-intensive features of the phone.

Dial down how much battery your Nexus 5X's screen draws by decreasing the brightness level a few notches:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen, the app drawer, or the Notification Shade.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Tap on Brightness level.
  4. Tap and drag the brightness bar to your desired level.

Alternatively, you can let Adaptive brightness manage the brightness level of your screen based on the amount of ambient light available:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen, the app drawer, or the Notification Shade.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Toggle the Adaptive brightness switch to on.

4. Limit or turn off Location Services

Google's Location Services is useful for helping you get around town and some apps, such as Foursquare and Twitter, use it to determine your location as well. However helpful Location Services is, it can take a huge chunk out of your battery, especially when using GPS.

Location Services has three modes: High accuracy, Battery saving, and Device only. High accuracy uses GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile network information to find your position, Power saving uses just Wi-Fi and mobile network information, while Device only uses only GPS. Of the three, the most power hungry modes are High accuracy and Device only.

If you need some form of location services on, choose Battery saving — it won't be as accurate, but it will save on battery. For the most power savings, turn off Location Services altogether. If you choose to turn off Location Services, some apps that rely on it may not function properly — just something to be aware of.

You can find all of these settings under Location in your Nexus 5X's Settings menu:

  1. Tap Location.
  2. Tap Mode to pull up the Location mode screen. From there tap the option of your choice:
    • High accuracy
    • Battery saving
    • Device only

To turn Location Services off, simply toggle the switch to off at the top of the screen.

5. Check apps' battery usage

Android keeps tabs on how much battery every app on your phone consumes and it's simple to check:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen, the app drawer, or the Notification Shade.
  2. Tap Battery.

Here you'll see a breakdown by app of how much battery they consume as a percentage of total battery use.

Video streaming services and games naturally will use more battery than others, but if something else is hogging the battery when it shouldn't be, you'll see it here.

6. Avoid streaming video

The Nexus 5X loses power more quickly when streaming video. If you can, download any video content you plan to watch to your device and watch it locally.

Here's how you can download content for offline viewing in Google Play.

  1. Launch the Google Play Movies and TV app from your Home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the Menu button. It looks like this ☰.
  3. Tap My library.
  4. Tap the Download button next to the content you'd like to watch offline.

That's it. Now the content will download to your device and be available to watch any time you'd like, no internet connection necessary.

How about you?

We've given you some tips on how you can eek out a few more hours of life from your Nexus 5X's battery, but what about you? What do you do to make your battery last longer? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Want more information on the LG Nexus 5X? Have a peek at our review.

Nexus 5X

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