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6 days ago

Best Reddit app for Android

91

BaconReader is the best Reddit app for Android. Its long-established history of support, easy of use, and cutting-edge features make it a great app for all kinds of Redditors.

This post was last updated on August 18, 2016 with a new top pick.

Best overall

BaconReader

$1.99

See on Google Play

BaconReader has been around for a long, long time and users have enjoyed using it for just as long. It is one of the most-downloaded and most-reviewed Reddit apps on Google Play, and it got there by wooing users with slick features and maintaining them with stellar service and support.

BaconReader is carefully and pristinely laid out, making it easy to quickly browse and find something new and interesting to read, without stumbling around or leaving anything out. If BaconReader's beautiful design and feel seem familiar, their developer OneLouder is also the design of 1Weather, one of our favorite weather apps.

Bottom-line: BaconReader has robust features, support, and loyalty among its users. And while you can use it for free, it's more than worth upgrading to premium.

One more thing: If you ever need any help, BaconReader's subreddit is quite active and the developers are quick to answer most questions.

Why BaconReader is the best

BaconReader is one of the most well-established and most-used Reddit apps on Google Play, and it got there by being feature-rich, responsive to its users, and giving said users a lot to upvote about. It's a beautiful app with easy-to-understand settings, a highly intuitive interface, and the best damn subreddit manager I've seen.

BaconReader shows your subscribed subreddit list and lets you star important subreddits to keep them at the top of your list, handy for ones you use more often, especially those towards the end of the alphabet like r/todayilearned. You can also unsubscribe from subreddits with a simple tap of a checkbox — no going to each individual subreddit to unsubscribe, no double-taps or pop-ups to click through.

BaconReader's card view is more functional than most, showing only a part of the photo but allowing you to see more cards on a page. I wish that GIFs had the option to autoplay, as they do in the official Reddit app, but this card view is easy to browse and easier to act on than others.

In the BaconReader settings are both a charcoal-grey dark theme and an AMOLED-friendly black theme, perfect for browsing /gifs when your insomnia kicks in. You can also resize the font to best fit your device and your eyesight.

Best for long-time users

Reddit: The Official App

Free

See on Google Play

Reddit didn't have an official app for a long time. It finally debuted its official app as a beta in January and then dropped the beta tag in April. It's a clean app, it's a refreshingly simple app, great for users that don't want to hassle with pages and pages of settings.

That simplicity can also be a vice. You can't resize the text which is a shame because it's a bit on the small side. The app's dark theme and card views are just okay, but it can auto-play GIFs and videos in card view, which is amazing for GIF-centric subreddits.

Bottom-line: It's the official app, and it's off to a great start, but it's a little late and a little lacking. If you've already got your subreddit subscriptions where you want and browse a lot of GIFs, this is the app for you.

One more thing: Because of the concise feature set right now, the settings for Reddit: The Official App are wonderfully simple and easy to navigate.

Best for Beginners

Relay

$2.99

See on Google Play

This is the most beautiful of the Reddit apps and also one of the best explained. If you're new to Reddit or looking for an easy-to-navigate app, Relay has got your back with a simple layout and explainer tips the first time you use the app (or whenever you forget thanks to an option in the settings to turn it back on).

While many Reddit apps have implemented Material Design, no one has done it quite as boldly or as well as Relay. It is also one of the few apps to offer themes beyond the simple light and dark, offering pink and blue as well. GIFs may not autoplay, but the image pop-ups that appear when you tap a thumbnail beat the heck out of the image loading in a new window or in a browser, and the material transitions out of these previews are gorgeous.

Bottom-line: Colorful, highly customizable, and material to a T, Relay is a Reddit app that's it's hard to go wrong with, especially for newer Redditors and lovers of long threads.

One more thing: Relay's great for longer posts with lots of threads, like popular AMAs, because you can use navigation controls in the floating action button to skip between one thread and the next.

Best for Purists

reddit is fun

$1.99

See on Google Play

I said it two years ago and it still holds true: reddit is fun looks most like the Reddit site, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your tastes. reddit is fun has a card view, and it also has three experimental beta themes if you're bored of the traditional views. Switching views isn't a simple toggle the way other apps do it, but at least you have more options when picking a theme and layout.

reddit is fun is great for users who need to watch their data usage or are using a slower device, allowing you to skip downloading thumbnails when off Wi-Fi. While most apps can't load user flair, reddit is fun can display what the flair would be if you were on desktop, for instance: usernamehere pikachu on r/Pokemongo.

Bottom-line: It's a traditional take on a Reddit app, but reddit is fun is more than willing to experiment in order to keep users happy and give them a classic Reddit feel on Android.

One more thing: You can unsubscribe from a subreddit from the navigation page rather than having to go a separate page or menu, nice for cleaning up your subreddit list while you browse.

Best overall

BaconReader

$1.99

See on Google Play

BaconReader has been around for a long, long time and users have enjoyed using it for just as long. It is one of the most-downloaded and most-reviewed Reddit apps on Google Play, and it got there by wooing users with slick features and maintaining them with stellar service and support.

BaconReader is carefully and pristinely laid out, making it easy to quickly browse and find something new and interesting to read, without stumbling around or leaving anything out. If BaconReader's beautiful design and feel seem familiar, their developer OneLouder is also the design of 1Weather, one of our favorite weather apps.

Bottom-line: BaconReader has robust features, support, and loyalty among its users. And while you can use it for free, it's more than worth upgrading to premium.

One more thing: If you ever need any help, BaconReader's subreddit is quite active and the developers are quick to answer most questions.

*/

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6 days ago

Alcatel Idol 4S review: Getting the most from the mid-range

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Alcatel delivers its best phone ever with the Idol 4S.

Quick Take

The Alcatel Idol 4S is a 5.5-inch mid-ranger from a company that's spent the time to refine its design and hardware. You get access to a fantastic camera with manual features and Hi-Fi audio. The phone offers an excellent display, even outdoors, and provides battery life that will easily get you through the day.

Good and Bad

The Good

  • Awesome camera with plenty of features
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Great Hi-Fi audio

The Bad

  • Phone can feel slippery in your hand
  • Processor heats up after extended use

About this Review

I (Jen Karner) am writing this review after using the Alcatel Idol 4S for two weeks. It's running Android 6.0.1 with the July 1, 2016 security patch (build number 4AGB-UEB10.) It was connected to the AT&T network in Halethorpe, Md., and the great Baltimore Metropolitan area, and was connected via Bluetooth to a 2015 Honda Fit.

Alcatel Idol 4S Specs

Category Features Display 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED screen Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core CPU Storage 32GB storage, micro-SD slot RAM 3GB RAM Rear Camera 16 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash Front Camera 8MP Battery 3,000 mAh, Micro-USB port, Quick Charge 2.0 Dimensions 153.9 x 75.4 x 7 mm
149 g

Sleek and metal

Alcatel Idol 4S Hardware

The Alcatel Idol 4S has a sturdy metal and glass body that feels great from the moment as you pick it up. While the device fits comfortably in your hand, it tends to get slippery, (which means that investing in a decent case might be a good plan if you have a tendency to drop your phone regularly.)

The back is smooth glass, with minimal branding. The only thing that protrudes noticeably from the back is the rear camera lens. While there is a fingerprint sensor set into the back, there isn't any indentation. Instead, you'll be able to locate it by the metal ring that surrounds it. And it's reasonably ergonomic too, even if you have smaller hands.

The boom button lets you trigger certain actions when within apps, or when your phone is locked.

From the front, the phone looks pretty similar to many other rounded 5.5-inch handset (particularly some of Samsung's recent devices.) One of the biggest differences comes in the buttons layout. That's because along with the power button on the upper left, and volume rocker on the upper right, you'll find the "Boom" button — a circular key in the middle of the right side.

The boom button lets you trigger certain actions within apps, or when your phone is locked. This includes doing things like launching your camera when the device is locked, or triggering specific actions like a weather preview. It's a nifty feature that enhances the experience, but isn't entirely necessary and can be ignored if you so choose. It also really, really looks like a power button.

Alongside the standard Micro-USB and headphone jacks down below, you'll also find a slot for your micro SD card on the upper left corner, just underneath the power button. And at both the top and bottom of your screen you will see small discrete speaker grates for the Idol 4S's impressive audio system.

You don't need to jack up the volume all the way to get fantastic sound when listening to music, or sharing videos with friends.

Those speakers really get the job done, too, with support for Hi-Fi audio and stereo output whether the phone is facing up or down. That's right, they'll fire out the back of the phone too. Aside from that you don't need to jack up the volume all the way to get fantastic sound when listening to music, or sharing videos with friends, which is great.

The display is impressive, too, with a 2560x1140 pixel resolution that rivals some more expensive smartphones. So naturally there's plenty of pixel density to go around, and I also found it bright enough to use in outdoor conditions — although you'll need to watch out for increased battery drain at higher brightness levels.

As for general speed, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 652 processor works admirably, and I didn't notice any performance issues with the Idol 4S. It didn't matter if I'd been playing Avengers Academy for over an hour, or if I'd had to navigate my way through Baltimore City using Google Maps, this phone was always up to the task. Even when I'd been using the phone heavily for several hours, the only real issue was heat buildup — something that's by no means unique to the Idol 4S. It never started dropping apps, acting jittery, or requiring me to put it down to give it a rest. (It did start to slow down after a while, but even this was generally when the battery was quite low.)

And storage-wise, there's 32GB of internally, which can thankfully be augmented using a microSD card for plenty more storage to keep your games, photos and music loaded locally. Alcatel specifies that the slot can take cards up to 512GB.

All Google, all the way

Alcatel Idol 4S Software

For now, the Alcatel Idol 4S is reasonably up-to-date software-wise, running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow right out of the box with the July 2016 Android security patch. We're on the cusp of Android Nougat, but Marshmallow still gets the job done, and Android 6.0.1 performs really well on the Idol 4S.

While it doesn't come in bogged down in tons of bloatware, there are a fair few apps that come preloaded. Several of these revolve around VR, because the Alcatel Idol 4S comes packaged within a Google Cardboard headset. You'll find a few games, a VR launcher and a VR store where you access new virtual experiences.

Preloaded VR content helps you make the most out of the bundled 'Cardboard' headset.

An added perk is the addition of the Waves Maxaudio app. This phone has Hi-Fi audio, and the app lets you manually adjust how things sound. You can tweak stereo, bass, treble, and even set specific settings for different genres of music. You also get access to an app called Fyuse, which allows you to take seriously epic movable photos (when it works correctly, anyway).

Superbly suited

Alcatel Idol 4S Camera

Cameras have become integral to the way that many of us use our phones. Whether it's rolling through Instagram and taking selfies, or recording video of friends at parties, having a camera that works well is a necessity. Thankfully, the Alcatel Idol 4S does a great job here, with tons of software features, and cameras that do a great job capturing memorable moments.

There's a 16MP rear facing camera, and an 8MP selfie shooter. Both function quite well, though they do have a tendency to blur if you aren't holding your hands still. Usefully, you can actually open up your camera, even if your phone is locked pressing the Boom button on the side.

Alcatel gives you plenty of options with the camera as well. You've got auto, panorama, and manual modes, slow motion videos, Fyuse, and micro-video. Each one is chock full of features to let you get the best results in different situations. The Fyuse mode lets you take photos that you can actually look at from multiple angles, but it did have problems about half of the time when I tried to use it. Aside from showing people how it worked, I more or less left this function alone.

In manual mode, all of your options appear on the right side of the screen and let you adjust them on a slide bar. Panorama functions will show you a preview of your photo as you take it, and even the auto mode has basic sliders you can tweak up and at the top of your screen. So long as you can get used to having to hold very still when taking photographs, you'll be quite happy with the results that you get.

Capacity to continue

Alcatel Idol 4S Battery

The Acatel Idol 4S is equipped with a 3,000mAh non-removable battery. In my experience, it's capable of taking you through 12+ hours without needing a recharge, even with heavy use. When it does come time to fuel back up, you've got access to quick charge capabilities which means you won't be stopping for too long.

Even when I was moving between multiple games, or out for a walk playing Pokemon Go, I could count on having hours of gameplay without having to stop and let the phone recharge. When that time finally did come, I didn't need to plug it in for more than about 90 minutes because it supports Quick Charge 2.0.

Even using the Alcatel Idol 4S heavily, I never once managed to actually run completely out of juice.

Even using the Alcatel Idol 4S heavily, I never once managed to actually run completely out of juice. The lowest I got was about 5% and that was usually at the very end of my day, as I was headed to bed. For regular or light users you can expect to get through a solid 16 hours without issue, heavier users should expect 10-12 hours of use. That's about standard for a phone of this size in mid-2016.

Bottom Line

Should you buy it? Yes

This brings us to the big question with the Alcatel Idol 4S, should you buy it? Between the battery, screen, and camera you're looking at a solid phone that can easily get you through your day without ease and it doesn't have a killer price tag attached. You can pick it up from Alcatel directly for $399, which is a pretty sweet deal.

Considering that you also get a fantastic VR headset with your phone, you can go far with this phone. It isn't a flagship device, but Alcatel has worked their butts off to offer a fantastic device that is affordable for many people. Sitting as a mid-grade phone, you've got plenty of options, but the Alcatel Idol 4S is a good choice for anyone who values photo and audio quality, as well as a great overall experience.

See at Alcatel

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6 days ago

Android 7.0 Nougat likely releasing Aug 22

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Nougat statue

Both LG and Canada's Telus suggest same date for final Nougat code drop.

Nexus owners: Get ready for some Nougat. It's looking highly likely that the next version of Android will go official next Monday, August 22. That's the date given for the Android 7.0 update on Nexus 5X and 6P by Canadian operator Telus in its latest software update schedule.

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6 days ago

IFA 2016: Everything you need to know

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IFA sign

Wearables dominate a busy week of Android-related announcements in Berlin.

IFA is an annual consumer electronics show held in Berlin, Germany, which often serves as a launch event for mobile products heading into the holiday buying season and the beginning of the following year. It's one of the major events of any given year for mobile tech, right up there with the Barcelona-based Mobile World Congress.

In previous years, IFA was dominated by the Samsung Galaxy Note line, which has since relocated to early August. And so he past couple of shows have played host to a more diverse set of news in tablets, smartwatches, mid-range phones, accessories and more.

This year's event officially runs from Sept. 2-7, with the official media days leading up to it — so look for our coverage to really kick off from Aug. 31. The main venue is the enormous Messe Berlin complex in the west of the city, with other press conferences and gatherings throughout Berlin.

IFA 2016 looks like being as busy as ever for Android-powered gadgets. Let's take a look at some of the broad trends we're expecting to see.

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6 days ago

AT&T ditches monthly overages for reduced data speeds

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AT&T has announced that the carrier will be ending overage charges in favor of reduced data speeds once you've used your allotment. The carrier will offer plans ranging from 1GB to 200GB of high-speed data so you can pick the correct amount for what you use. Some customers will actually get more data in their allotment under the new plans without paying any more money. Instead of charging per gigabyte, AT&T is offering on some plans to bump up your data, like 10GB more for just $20 a month.

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6 days ago

T-Mobile gives all plans unlimited data in latest Uncarrier move

174

What is Uncarrier 12 and why is T-Mobile offering unlimited data?

T-Mobile's latest Uncarrier move is less about thanking you and more about increasing its monthly revenue.

The company has announced that it is moving all postpaid plans to a so-called T-Mobile One scheme, getting rid of data buckets in favor of a single account type that includes unlimited, calls, text, and data, along with all the other Uncarrier benefits previously announced such as low-cost roaming, weekly perks, and low-friction carrier switching.

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6 days ago

Android 7.0: Multi-window for everyone

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Android 7.0's three multi-window modes can make sure you never miss a Pokémon — even when you have other things that need doing.

Android Nougat's biggest user-facing feature has to be the new native multi-window support. The concept isn't new. Samsung's been doing it for a while, Microsoft is changing the way they do it for smaller devices and even Apple is doing it on tablets. Now it's Google's turn.

It's not an entirely new concept for Google, either. The basic Android framework has always allowed what you see on your screen to be drawn at almost any size, and the idea of having more than one view shown at a time was kicked around in more than one session at Google I/O 2011 as part of the "next-step" for Android Tablets on Honeycomb. Five years later, it's finally ready.

A good part of the reason it took longer was because baking it into Android at the system level can be tricky. Android is designed to run on just about anything with a processor. It powers microwaves, washing machines, refrigerators, sprinkler systems and more. It can even solve a Rubik's Cube with ease. The things that run Android and have a display — like your phone — also come in many different sizes. Once you change the operating system so that every app can run in a multi-window environment, it has to work everywhere.

And that's what Google did. Android 7.0 supports three types of multi-window views natively. That means any app you download can use it unless the developer of the app writes it so that it tells the system no when you try to move it to a multi-window view. And it's not just a split screen system — the other views make it even more complicated.

Android Nougat has three different types of multi-window mode.

Split-screen view is almost the same as what we see on Samsung phones right now. You can either long press a thumbnail in overview mode or long press the overview button and you'll be able to have two separate windows with separate apps running in each. You can drag and drop data between them, and the dividing line is movable so you can make one app larger than the other. Developers can optimize their apps by doing things like declaring a minimum size for the window it's in, but even if they do nothing their app will try to run in split-screen multi-window mode. Google says split-screen mode was designed for handheld devices, which means tablets and most phones.

Multi-window can also be displayed in a picture-in-picture mode. We already talked about how it works and how it will make Android TV better. When an app goes into a picture window, things like the controls and interface elements need to be hidden and the content portion shrinks to a size based on the dot pitch of the display being used. Also, apps can sprout the second view and have a picture window of one part of the app while another part of the app is in full-screen mode. The new API's support the new window view, and a developer can use it in their app without too much of a hassle. This is designed for Android TV and the people who built the actual hardware need to enable it. An app designed for picture-in-picture mode won't do anything if the user tries to put it in any other mode unless the developer has also included support for them.

Multi-window has a third view — freeform mode. So far it only officially exists in the documentation. It got hacked onto the first Android N preview, but since we haven't seen it. The Android Developer website says:

Manufacturers of larger devices can choose to enable freeform mode, in which the user can freely resize each activity. If the manufacturer enables this feature, the device offers freeform mode in addition to split-screen mode.

Notice they don't specify what a larger device is. So far it seems that this doesn't include tablets like the Pixel C, but it could be enabled on bigger devices with 12-inch screens, or Chromebooks that run Android apps. It's up to the manufacturer to decide if they want to include support.

The short time we had to play with freeform mode during the Nougat Developer Preview showed that it puts apps into floating windows than can be resized, moved around, minimized or maximized. This is just like how the software on your laptop or desktop computer works. The apps will support drag-and-drop data sharing and every app knows when it's been moved to the top layer and we're actively using it. Apps can even open in a "shrunken" view provided the developer chooses to do so. The apps each run in their own process and are independent of each other, though.

If a developer targets their app for Android 7.0 they have a few options for a multi-window view. They can define the size and the layout of the app when it's not using the full screen and make it easier to use after it's shrunk down. Because that's a real issue — some apps just don't look good or aren't very usable if they only use half of an already small display — developers can also decide to not support the feature.

If apps aren't updated, they are forced into a multi-window view by the system itself — sometimes with bad results.

If a developer doesn't update their app, it will be "forcibly resized" by the system after a dialog letting us know it's an older app that doesn't support the feature so things may be broken. If the app was written to only support a fixed size, multi-window mode is closed and that app takes the entire screen.

We already knew from hacking Samsung's Multi-Window feature that most apps just shrink down to one side or the other without much of a fuss if they aren't officially supported, and our time with the Nougat Developer Preview shows the same results. While the code used to do things is a good bit different as an Android native feature, the basic concept remains and apps that use best practices in the code look and work the same, only smaller. But not every app plays nice and we hope developers will soon update those to handle things gracefully even if they don't change anything else.

Finally, if you don't want to use multi-window on your phone, you don't have to. All Android apps will still run full screen until you tell them to change their view.

Android 7.0 Nougat

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6 days ago

Android 7.0 brings DVR features and picture-in-picture to Android TV

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Changes to the "time-shift" and multiwindow APIs for Android TV will make for a better living room.

Google didn't forget about the big-screen experience in Android 7.0, and two new features are here that are designed to enhance the experience on your Android-powered television.

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6 days ago

Galaxy Note 7 teardown reveals what's underneath the glass exterior

13

It's time to see what's underneath that Gorilla Glass 5 back.

The folks at iFixit have managed to get their hands on a brand-new Galaxy Note 7, giving us a look at the innards of Samsung's latest flagship. The Note 7 has the same Sony IMX 260 camera sensor as the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but we're treated to two camera sensors at the front — one for the front camera and the other for the new iris scanner.

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6 days ago

Best cheap cases for OnePlus 3

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Best cheap cases for OnePlus 3

What's the best cheap case for OnePlus 3?

The OnePlus 3 is an inexpensive phone, but you of course still want to protect it. That being said, you might want to match what you spent on the phone to what you'll spend on a case, relatively speaking.

So, if you're not in for the expensive, bulletproof cases, then opt for one (or all) of our favorite cheap cases for the OnePlus 3. Cheap doesn't have to mean bad!

TUDIA slim-fit Heavy Duty Extreme

TUDIA Slim-fit Heavy Duty Extreme

Even though you're opting for an inexpensive case, that's no reason to skimp on protection. The TUDIA slim-fit Heavy Duty Extreme comprises two layers: an inner layer of shock-absorbing TPU and an outer layer of hard polycarbonate.

You have raised edges around the front of your phone to protect the screen when you place it face-down, and you've got a raised edge around the camera lens so that you won't be taking photos of just cracks any time soon.

This case's cutouts are quite precise, so you won't have to worry about taking it off to charge or take photos, and it fits snugly, making that TPU inner layer more effective.

The Heavy Duty Extreme comes in matte black, metallic slate, mint, and rose, so choose one to match your style.

If you want an expensive case feel with great protection for around $13, then the TUDIA Heavy Duty Extreme is the case you want.

See at Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor

Spigen Rugged Armor

Spigen just makes great cases. I've had an used quite a few of them and they always fit just right. The Rugged Armor case is the perfect blend of solid protection and a slim fit that doesn't add much bulk or weight to the OnePlus 3.

Some cases, especially those with polycarbonate backs, can be slippery to hold, but the Spigen Rugged Armor case is made entirely of soft TPU, with a textured feel that's easy to hang on to.

The inside of the case has a spiderweb design, which disperses impact around the entire case, and each corner employs Spigen's "Air Cushion technology," which leaves a pocket of air between the phone and the case, again in order to disperse impact. If you've ever dropped a naked phone on its corner, you'll understand why this is very important.

If you're looking for solid protection and a non-slip, textured phone case, then the Spigen Rugged Armor is a great way to go.

See at Amazon

Love Ying Crystal Clear Ultra

Love Ying

If you'd like to add a little pizzazz to your OnePlus 3 — but not too much — the Love Ying Crystal Clear Ultra series of cases is a great minimalist option for something inexpensive yet effective.

These Love Ying cases are made of soft TPU and protect your OnePlus 3 from dirt, dust, scratches, and bumps. These are the most rugged cases but will protect your phone from everyday wear and tear.

Coming in mint, purple, clear, and pink, they add a lovely translucent color to your phone, so you can appreciate its design while adding a splash of personality.

Be aware that TPU can turn yellow over time, due to the way it absorbs sunlight, but that shouldn't be for quite a while, so grab a few of these cases (they're only around $7) and enjoy!

See at Amazon

OnePlus Protective Cases

One Plus Protective Case

Manufacturers may not make the coolest cases for their phones, but they at least usually fit pretty well. That being said, the OnePlus Protective cases from OnePlus are cool as hell!

You have five different case materials to choose from: Sandstone, Karbon, Black Apricot, Rosewood, and Bamboo, and they're all made from the materials after which they're named, mixed with kevlar (except sandstone – it's polycarbonate)! First off, who's ever even heard of Black Apricot, let alone had a phone case made out of it? Second, these cases are very lightweight and snap on easily, protecting the back and sides of your phone from bumps and scratches.

The top and bottom of the your OnePlus 3 are left open, so you don't have to worry about the cutouts being precise or not and removing the case is that much easier.

The cases range in price from $19.95 (Sandstone) to $24.95 (the rest), which is quite inexpensive when you consider what other phone manufacturer's charge for proprietary cases.

If you want a case that's unique, made of something other than TPU, silicone, or polycarbonate, and rather stylish, then grab one from OnePlus. It'll fit your phone well and you know people are going to ask you about it!

See at OnePlus

Cruzerlite Bugdroid Circuit case

Cruzerlite Bugdroid Circuit

Cruzerlite's Bugdroid Circuit case is a quirky and fun TPU case that features the Android Bugdroid (of course, he's Lloyd here at AC) on the back, with a sort of circuit board pattern. It's a great case for diehard Android fans and folks who are looking for a lightweight case that won't fatten up their OnePlus 3 too much.

This case comes in black, blue, clear, green, orange, red, smoke, and teal, so you'll be able to find one that matches your personal style.

As far as phone cases go, this one is a pretty run-of-the-mill TPU shell, but the design is really cool and the softer cases are better for shock absorption. Plus, they're only around $10, which is why they're one of the best cheap cases you can find for the OnePlus 3!

See at Amazon


Ringke Fusion

Ringke Fusion

The Ringke Fusion offers versatility in its design, with soft TPU around the edges and a hard polycarbonate back, expertly protecting your OnePlus 3 from all manner of scratches, scuffs, and bumps.

The clear back of the case means you get to admire the metal composition of your phone, but if you so choose, Ringke sends along a DIY template (basically a piece of cardboard) that helps you shape photos or images that you print out so that they fit perfectly in your case. Boom, you have a custom phone case design that you can switch out as often as you like!

You have your choice of two edge accents: Crystal View or Smoke Black.

The Ringke Fusion starts around $12 and is perfect for anyone looking to bridge the gap between a rugged case and a minimalist case.

See at Amazon

What's on your phone?

What inexpensive case did you pick up for your OnePlus 3? Was it worth it to go the cheap route? Sound off in the comments below!

OnePlus 3

OnePlus

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1 week ago

High-speed wireless networks are everywhere, but the U.S. is way behind on data speeds

73

The U.S. lags behind many countries in terms of data rates, but a rising tide has lifted worldwide access and speeds.

If you live in any sort of relatively populated area around the world, chances are you have access to a solid LTE or at least 3G connection. High-speed mobile networks are practically ubiquitous, but that doesn't mean the experience is anywhere near the same around the world. Data from OpenSignal's latest State of Mobile Networks report backs up this notion, showing how widespread mobile connectivity is today, as just how big of a disparity there is in terms of data speeds around the world.

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1 week ago

How to avoid a driving warning in Pokémon Go

How do I avoid that annoying driving warning in Pokémon Go?

How many times a day do you hit that "I'm a passenger" button? Too many. In an attempt to decrease the number of Pokémon Go players in the world who think it's a good idea to play while driving, Niantic's last update added a pop-up message when the GPS determines you exceeding the speeds humans are able to travel using two legs.

You can dismiss the message quickly by letting the app know you're a passenger, but there's a whole lot of people out there tired of seeing this warning pop up when they're not anywhere near a moving vehicle.

Since Pokémon Go relies heavily on GPS for most of the game's behaviors, there are ways to avoid this driving warning in many situations. Here are some quick tips!

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1 week ago

The Honor 8 is more important to the U.S. market than you think

60

The Honor 8 brings premium hardware from the Huawei-owned brand to the United States for the first time — and that's a big deal.

The Honor 8 has officially launched in the United States, bringing increased competition to the $400-level "affordable flagship" segment. Owned by Chinese tech giant Huawei, Honor intends to challenge the likes of OnePlus among younger people and tech-savvy phone buyers with an impressive glass and metal design, impressive internals and a competitive price point. Throw in some serious pomp and ceremony — and celebrity brand ambassadors like Brooklyn Beckham — and you've got a notable product launch during what is turning into a very busy summer for smartphones.

But beyond the launch-day hype and beautiful hands-on photos, what really matters about the latest from Huawei and Honor? Let's dive in with some first thoughts.

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1 week ago

Galaxy Note 7 benchmarks: Exynos vs. Snapdragon head-to-head

63

Which version of the Galaxy Note 7 is faster: the Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890 version? Benchmarks, anyone?

It's always been our opinion that benchmark apps for Android phones really only tell you how well a phone runs the benchmark apps. They give a score that, while meaningful in some ways, tend to be used as some sort of gospel about how one phone is clearly better than another when that's not really the case. And they can be confusing for some folks who aren't exactly sure what any of those scores mean. We usually forgo running any or talking about them at any length and instead focus on the user experience.

This time, we're going to venture into the benchmark waters because we have both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 version and the Exynos 8890 version of the Galaxy Note 7 here. Samsung promises that users won't see any real-world performance differences between the two — and we agree — but we wanted to see the synthetic differences from a handful of benchmark testing apps in Google Play. We're not going to read too much into any of this, and we're certainly not about to declare any winner. Both models offer the same experience while you're using them. For the folks who do care about those numbers but may not have an opportunity to get both models, here are the results.

About the tests

We tested a Samsung SM-N930F (UK model) with an Exynos 8890 CPU and a Samsung SM-N930T (U.S. T-Mobile model) with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. Both phones have the same basic configuration — a personal account, a work account, and a small handful of apps from the Play Store installed.

Nothing special was done before we tested. We used the phone normally, installed the apps, then ran the tests without restarting or clearing anything or killing any apps. We even tested in the evening after a day of normal use. None of the phone's features were disabled. Really, we treated them like we do every phone and just ran the apps we installed to benchmark them.

Geekbench 3

Geekbench 3 has several tests that aim to simulate real-world CPU performance, and can utilize all of the processor cores. The results are calculated and returned as an overall indicator of your phone's processor performance in both single core tests and multicore tests. Higher scores are better.

As expected, the Exynos clearly calculates and processes data "better" than the Snapdragon. Surprisingly, the single core scores are both much lower than leaked benchmark results from early versions. We'll attribute that to two things — fully set up devices with apps and account synchronization running, and not clearing app cache and killing off the background processes. But keep in mind that a lower multi-core score on the Snapdragon 820 is expected because it has four cores, half the number as the Exynos 8890.

Download Geekbench 3

AnTuTu 6

AnTuTu runs a series of tests of four key areas of your phone's performance — the processor, 3D graphics ability, memory, and user interface. The results are calculated and delivered as four individual scores, with a higher score being better.

The Exynos again scores better in processor performance testing, but the Snapdragon marks higher in 3D and user interface features. The RAM testing is as expected — both phones have the same memory modules and controllers, and the results are identical within an acceptable margin of error.

Download AnTuTu Benchmark

GFXBench

GFXBench measures graphics performance with a focus on long-term performance stability, render quality and power consumption. The tests use high-quality and high polygon 3D graphics, and we tested the off-screen versions of the Car Chase, both Manhattan and Manhattan 3.1, and T-Rex at 1080p.The results are the average frames per second (fps) for each test.

We are unable to compare the results of the render quality tests because our Exynos version would only return an Out Of Memory error. The Snapdragon version scored 2510 for the standard render quality test, and 3632 for the HQ render quality tests. These numbers are the PNSR (peak-to-peak signal-to-noise) values.

Download GFXBench

Hipxel's Disk Speed and Performance

This benchmark measures the read and write speeds of the internal memory in MB/s. The labels can be confusing as both tests (internal and external) are measuring the built-in internal memory and not any SD card or other attached storage.

The internal tests are the read and write speeds of the phone's application data storage partition. This is where the private data is stored and where most apps are installed. The external tests measure the speeds of the internal SD card storage, where media and some application data is stored.

The app will measure SD card performance, but we choose to pass on that test as we don't have two brand-new SD cards of the same make and model to use for a comparison. The results would be similar, and won't show any measurable differences.

Download Disk Speed/Performance Test by Hipxel

What does this mean?

Not a lot, really.

Sure, the Exynos has a "better" CPU and the Snapdragon has a "better" GPU if you go strictly by the numbers in these benchmarking apps. Both phones have the same memory and the same storage, as well as the same parts and logic to control each, and the results reflect that.

But using them will always count more than any benchmark numbers. As mentioned, we were curious and had both versions so we're sharing with people who are curious as well. Don't use these as proof of anything, and we'll call them both winners — it's like youth soccer where everyone wins a trophy because it's all good.

Feel free to do what you will with the numbers in the comments.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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1 week ago

Join the Dark Side with these awesome AMOLED-friendly wallpapers

59

There are a lot of wallpapers out there. Unfortunately, most of them are bright and busy.

That can be a problem. Maybe you want a simple wallpaper for their elegance. Maybe you want a dark wallpaper that lights up less of your screen. Maybe you want a clean wallpaper so it's easier to see what's actually on your screen instead of being overwhelmed by the wallpaper. Maybe you just like black because it goes with everything, from your shoes to your shirts to your soul. Whatever your reasons, we've got the ultra-dark wallpapers for you.

Stormtrooper

Most stormtrooper wallpapers are as white as the day is long, but this minimalist wall flips the script and shows what would be a terrifying sight to any self-respecting rebel scum: the mask of an Imperial Stormtrooper creeping out of the shadows to put you in its terribly aimed sights…

Stormtrooper

Neptune and Triton

Space. A seemingly endless void where no one can hear you scream… But there's still a serene peace to it. Even on a distant and bitterly cold planet like Neptune, we can find beauty and tranquility.

Neptune and Triton

Tron Light Cycle Wallpaper

Try and tell me you don't want a light cycle. Just try. You can't do it. They're so cool, and whatever you thought of Tron Legacy (and the threequel that got canned), the way it did light cycles was even cooler, and such a dark wallpaper meshes well with our setups, and our souls.

Tron Light Cycle Wallpaper

Batman Beyond

Okay, I take back my earlier statement. The Stormtrooper isn't that terrifying. If I was in a dark alley and all I saw were two glowing eyes and the bat symbol, I'd be scared witless, and I'm not even a criminal. Batman is a badass and the only line he won't cross is releasing you to the sweet, sweet mercy of death after breaking every bone in your body. He is a symbol of justice to the masses and a symbol of terror to those who would do wrong.

Batman Beyond

Beauty and the Beast Minimalist Wallpaper by chrisaloo

Great as the film was, there's something about musicals that can (and in many cases do) surpass the original. Musicals are where we see the awesome numbers that were cut from the film for timing. Musicals are where we can see new depth to storylines we knew and loved as a kid.

Who says princesses can't be dark? Now excuse me, I need to go belt out 'Home' in a dark tower somewhere…

Beauty and the Beast Minimalist Wallpaper by chrisaloo

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