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1 week ago

How to add a user to your Alexa Household

2

Share your Amazon content with your special someone with Alexa Household.

Household profiles are an option that you can use on Alexa to share certain Amazon content and purchases with another user. This means that you and your sweetie can share your Audiobooks, Music, Lists within Alexa, and plenty more. We've got all the details for you here!

What is an Alexa Household?

Alexa Households let you share content

By using Alexa Households, you can ensure that no matter which of you buys the new Stephen King audiobook, you'll both be able to listen. When you join in a Household with someone, you're essentially linking your accounts by using Alexa. This is so that purchasing content twice or having to log out and then log back in doesn't become an issue. Since many couples only purchase content on one account, this is a serious godsend for making sure you can always access the content that you shelled out dollars for!

Now it's worth mentioning that by adding someone to a Household with you, you are authorizing them to use the credit or debit card that is linked to your account. If you're worried about accidental misuse, you may want to set a verbal pin number that must be used when trying to make voice purchases.

How to add another member to your Household

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like 3 horizontal lines.
  3. Tap settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, Tap settings.

  4. Scroll down and tap Household Profile.
  5. Tap Start.

    Scroll down and tap Household Profile, Tap Start.

  6. Tap OK after passing your device to the person whose account you want to add to your Household.
  7. Enter the email address and password for the Amazon account you are adding to the Household and tap Verify Account at the bottom of the screen.
  8. Tap Join Household.

    Pass your device to the person you want to add and tap Ok, Enter the account information and tap Verify Account, Read the terms and conditions before scrolling down and tapping Join Household.

Have you added anyone?

Have you added a member to your Alexa Household? Have questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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1 week ago

Project Fi takes the guesswork out of splitting the phone bill

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Don't fight with your friends and family. Let Google be the mediator at the end of every month.

Have you ever rounded up a bunch of friends to go in on a carrier subscription in an effort to save some cash on a major family plan? I personally know people who have done this, and it's akin to the same way that I stay subscribed to my family plan to save a couple of bucks. Splitting the bill at the end of each month can be a pain, however, which is why Google wants to help in an effort to convince you to come over to Project Fi.

Project Fi now offers group plans. Per the official announcement:

To take the headache out of sharing your wireless plan, today we're introducing group repay—an easier way to split your Project Fi group plan bill. Each month, we'll calculate participating members' portion of the bill, send out payment reminders, and provide a simple way for members to repay plan owners directly through Project Fi.

How nice of Google to take on the arduous task of splitting the bill. The company will even do all the math for you based on each individual's data usage. Any Project Fi plan owner or member can set up the monthly repayment reminders, too, though the plan owner will have control over the amount. There is even a payment history tracker so that you'll always have that archived information available when the inevitable dispute comes up. And if you sign up now and add a new member to your group plan, you'll both receive a free month of Fi Basics. This promotional offer is only good for a limited time, though.

Google's working hard to push Project Fi, and why wouldn't it? It's the Android maker's own carrier offering, not to mention that every new user means that there's another person in the world using a Google-branded smartphone.

What do you think? Is this something you'd benefit from as a Project Fi user?

Google Project Fi

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1 week ago

HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap: Should you buy it?

What is this Deluxe Audio Strap all about, anyway?

The first of many accessories slated for the HTC Vive this year has shipped to those who pre-ordered, and it's all about adding audio and structure to the Vive experience. It's called the Deluxe Audio Strap, and HTC is asking $100 for this upgrade to what is already the most expensive — though also most feature complete — virtual reality kit you can buy today.

Is this new strap worth the upgrade fee? Lets break it down.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

OnePlus 5: Do you really need 8GB of RAM in a phone?

36

Nope. But it opens a lot of possibilities.

You can buy a OnePlus 5 that has 8GB of RAM on board. That's 4GB more than most other high-end Android phones (and Chromebooks and cheap Windows Laptops) have and about 6GB more than the absolute bare minimum you can get away with. We'll answer the question right here in the first paragraph: No, you do not need 8GB of RAM in a phone.

But it does mean some really cool stuff could happen.

Read our OnePlus 5 review

What your phone does with RAM

We all know that more RAM means more apps can be kept running at the same time (sort of at the same time, anyways) but that's just one thing your phone does with the RAM inside of it. In fact, a portion of that RAM gets used before Android even starts running.

Without getting too nerdy and injecting ideas like compcache into the mix, your phone uses RAM like this:

  • The kernel-space: Your Android phone runs on top of the Linux kernel. The kernel is stored in a special type of compressed file that's extracted directly into RAM during the device power-on sequence. This reserved memory holds the kernel, drivers and kernel modules that control the hardware and room to cache data in and out of the kernel.
  • A RAMdisk for virtual files: There are some folders and files in the system tree that aren't "real." They are pseudofiles written at boot and hold things like battery levels and CPU speed data. With Android, the whole /proc directory is one of these psuedofile systems. RAM is reserved so they have a place to live.
  • Network radios: Data about your IMEI and radio settings are stored in NVRAM (Non-Volatile memory that's not erased when you power off your phone), but get transferred to RAM along with the software needed to support the modem when you first turn on your phone. Space is reserved to keep this all in memory.
  • The GPU: The graphics adapter in your phone needs memory to operate. That's called VRAM, and our phones use integrated GPUs that have no stand-alone VRAM. System RAM is reserved for this.
  • Available RAM: This is what's left over, minus any extra reserved for file-system cache and minfree settings. This is what the apps you run can use.

Having 8GB of RAM means any or all of these different ways RAM is used can use a lot more of it if it needs to. Or if a person writing the operating system wants to try something new and different.

What can you do with extra RAM

I'll start by saying we're not yet sure what OnePlus is doing with the extra RAM or what plans it has for the future. We'll know more when the phones get in the right hands. At first glance, it appears that it's not doing anything different at all.

But there is one thing that OnePlus (or any custom ROM developers) can do that would be a great way to use an extra 2GB of RAM: store the entire system home launcher in it.

8GB of RAM means more could be set aside for the user interface or a game mode.

Think back to the HTC M7 if you've been around Android that long. It was the first phone that used Android and was super-responsive when you were zipping around the OS. It was because a good portion of the system RAM was "reserved" for HTC Sense and wouldn't be freed when another app asked for more memory. In the M7's case, that meant it couldn't hold as many apps open as other phones. Most companies making Android phones do something similar now and set things up so that parts of the launcher are never removed from RAM, and Android feels much better to use because of it. With 4GB of RAM, getting a balance that offers good performance without upsetting users who want to keep apps open in the background can be tough.

With 8GB of RAM, the whole user interface can not only be kept in RAM, but done with a real reserved block outside of the system memory parameters.

Writing a device driver that enables DMA (Direct Memory Access) for the user interface means RAM can be set aside for use by only the user interface. The operating system still controls the i/o, but no other application can overwrite any part of it so everything needed for "instant" scrolling and swiping is held in RAM where it's fast and ready at all times.

OnePlus may not have anything planned for the extra RAM, but I'm sure developers at XDA will.

This is a little different than the memmap kernel parameter that reserves space outside the operating system for the radios and VRAM, but it lets the OS manage the RAM so data can move in and out and a buffer can be written when you shut the phone down to prevent data loss. It's a more robust solution than using the standard Linux LMK (Low Memory Killer) system to keep important processes running. The end result is a user interface that's fluid and responsive all the time, without affecting the way other apps run or stay alive in the background.

And that's just one example I thought of without digging too deep into it all. Imagine a "game mode" that reserves more RAM for the GPU or can keep more of a 3D game in memory while you're playing it. Or even tweaked minfree settings so we can leave every app we love open in the background all of the time.

Don't forget the cool factor

The OnePlus 5 can have 8GB of RAM to do crazy stuff with the OS for better performance, but it likely has it simply because it can.

RAM isn't expensive. At least not component RAM used on a phone mainboard. Spending a few dollars more per unit (which can be a lot if you sell millions of units) to give the OnePlus 5 something the Galaxy S8 or iPhone doesn't have is a real selling point in parts of Asia and for a lot of enthusiasts. Plenty of people are obsessed about the specs of a phone because they understand how they could be used, or simply because more is always better. Double the RAM of other flagship phones makes the OnePlus 5 more futureproof.

I'm sure someone at OnePlus did the math and figured that through a combination of all these factors, it was beneficial to sell an 8GB RAM model.

We'll end this the same way we started: by saying no, you don't need 8GB of RAM in a phone. But it doesn't hurt anything, and the creative freedom it gives to Android developers, both at OnePlus and third-party devs, could very mean some cool things will be coming.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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1 week ago

Best Heavy Duty Cases for Google Pixel

14

What are the best rugged cases for the Google Pixel?

The Google Pixel is quite possibly the best phone of 2016. It's a beautifully designed phone (and rather expensive to boot). If you've got one, you'll want to make sure you keep it protected.

And therein lies the problem with any new phone — should you forgo a case and risk scratches and scuffs or keep it looking brand new with a rugged case? If you fall into the latter category, we've got some great options for you and your new phone.

Note: These are cases designed for the 5-inch Pixel, not the larger Pixel XL.

Spigen Rugged Armor

We trust the cases Spigen makes, and you should too. Spigen's durable Rugged Armor cases are typically among the best heavy duty cases you can buy for your phone. For their Pixel case, Spigen has gone an extra step in incorporating some of the unique design elements of the Pixel right into the case.

Along with the tough TPU providing edge-to-edge protection of scratches and scuffs and military-grade drop protection in the corners, the back of the case around the fingerprint scanner is designed to look like the iconic glass sheet on the top third of the Pixel. That way people in the know will recognize you're using a Pixel even when you've got it covered in a case. This is the only one-piece case on this list, so if you'd prefer the added protection of a two-piece design keep reading.

For protection that's stylin', Spigen's got what you need.

See at Amazon

OtterBox Commuter

OtterBox is another trusted name in phone cases, and their Commuter case for the Pixel is equal parts rugged and stylish.

This two-piece case features a rubber slipcover and a polycarbonate shell to offer superior protection for both drops and scratches. On the back, the case features a smart, ergonomically-designed channel to help your finger quickly find the fingerprint scanner.

Amazon provides your best deal on this case, but as of writing it is currently out of stock. If you're not patient enough to wait, you should be able to get one right away from OtterBox .

See at Amazon

SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series

SUPCASE is known for making some outstanding heavy-duty cases, and their Unicorn Beetle Pro series offer a great combination of rugged protection and easy grip for your Pixel

It's a dual layer case with a hard PC shell covering a flexible TPU sleeve that hugs tight to your phone and protects against the shock of a nasty drop. It also includes a front cover with a built-in screen protector which will keep your screen safe without affecting the touch sensitivity or clarity of the screen. There are also port covers to block out dust and debris.

All this, and the case also comes with a side mount belt clip holster. If you want a case that will keep your Pixel in pristine condition, this is it!

See at Amazon

YOUMAKER Rugged Belt Clip

If protection is your top priority, this option from YOUMAKER offers layers of full-body protection along with an included belt clip if that's your style.

With a thick TPU shell on the back, and a hard polycarbonate front plate featuring a built-in screen protector, this case is as rugged as they come. Clipped into the belt clip, your phone is fully protected from everything, making this a great option if you work on your feet and need the phone to be accessible and protected. Precise cutouts keep all the ports and buttons accessible, and the big loop around the fingerprint scanner makes it quick to find without looking. It's a great option for those looking for quality protection and features at a reasonable price.

See at Amazon

Wellci Hybrid Dual Layer Armor

Sometimes the best way to prevent your phone from suffering drop damage is to make it harder to drop. The first thing you'll notice about this case from Wellci is the pattern on the back of the polycarbonate shell, which helps to make this one of the grippier heavy duty cases you can get for your Pixel.

The shell works with the TPU slipcover to provide impact resistance and protection against scratches and scuffs. It's also the cheapest case on this list, making it a great frugal option if you're still looking for quality protection for your new Pixel.

See at Amazon

Lifeproof FRE

One of the glaring features omitted from the Pixel's design was waterproofing. Considering the latest iPhone and Samsung devices have included it, some were a little disappointed Google didn't match those specs with the Pixel.

A guide to waterproofing your Pixel

If the threat of water ruining your phone is a major concern for you, you'll want to get a Lifeproof case. Their cases are some of the best you can get if you're willing to spend top dollar to keep your phone protected. Currently, the Lifeproof FRE is not yet available for the Pixel, but you can learn about it and sign up for an email alert when it's ready to ship.

See at Lifeproof

Protection or style: What do you prioritize?

Are you the type to buy a case as soon as you get a new phone? Or do you prefer to show it off in it's full splendor? Let us know in the comments!

Update June 2017: Added the SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro to the list.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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1 week ago

MrMobile's OnePlus 5 video review

8

Almost a year ago to the day, I kicked off the MrMobile YouTube channel with a review of the OnePlus 3 – so it seems fitting that MrMobile's one-year anniversary lands alongside the debut of the next phone in the family formerly known as "flagship killers."

Like its immediate predecessor the OnePlus 3T, the OnePlus 5 is better described as a killer flagship, with top-of-the-line specs packed into a very affordable package. That's OnePlus's game, after all, and the company plays it well. But does its focus on camera quality justify the slightly higher price tag – and will you be able to tell it apart from your friends' iPhones? Hit up MrMobile's OnePlus 5 review to find out, and then hop on over to Android Central's full OnePlus 5 review to learn what it really means to "never settle."

Stay social, my friends

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1 week ago

Netflix now lets kids choose their own adventure

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Netflix is adding interactive branching stories for kids. What about big kids?

Netflix is announcing something pretty cool — interactive storytelling. Beginning with Dreamworks' Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, kids will be able to use their controller to choose the narrative direction of a particular story.

It doesn't work on Android or Chromecast yet, but it will, and by the time it does there will be another show — Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile — to peruse. Netflix says that this is as much an experiment in behavior as it is in showing off its new technology:

We've done extensive research and talked to lots of kids and parents, collecting qualitative data to better understand if this is something viewers will like. While we've gotten positive feedback (for example, parents like the fact their child has the ability to make decisions and take a seat in the director's chair, if you will), we're eager to learn how our members will engage with the experience. Which choices or storylines will be the most popular? Will the mean bears or the friendly bears be more popular? Are members more compelled to rewatch and uncover all of the different storylines?

The children's programming space was a natural place for us to start since kids are eager to "play" with their favorite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens. They also talk to their screens, as though the characters can hear them. Now, that conversation can be two-way. It's really about finding the right stories - and storytellers - that can tell these complex narratives and bring them to life in a compelling way.

You can see where this is going, too; so many of the conduits for Netflix, from the NVIDIA Shield to the Xbox One, have controllers, and it makes sense for the company to add as much "gaming" to the increasingly personalized experience as possible. As Amazon has with its X-Ray feature, which allows you to look up actors' names and bios during a movie or TV show, Netflix may start overlaying pieces of information on top of its own content.

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1 week ago

OnePlus 5 vs. OnePlus 3T vs. OnePlus 3: Spec comparison

9
 Spec comparison

A year of OnePlus phones at a glance.

In the past 12 months, OnePlus has announced, promoted, launched, released, and discontinued two flagship smartphones. The OnePlus 3 and 3T each lasted just 6 months on store shelves — which speaks not to any lack of quality but to the reality of OnePlus's fast-moving product refresh cycle.

So here we are with the OnePlus 5, the new hotness from OnePlus that takes the core experience of the 3T and slims it down, while ramping up the specs and adding a new dual-camera setup.

Let's take a look at how the new phone compares to its two immediate predecessors.

OnePlus 5 versus OnePlus 3T + 3 hardware specifications

Category OnePlus 5 OnePlus 3T OnePlus 3 Operating System Android 7.1.1 Android 7.1.1 Android 7.1.1 Display 5.5-inch AMOLED
1920x1080 (401 ppi) 5.5-inch AMOLED
1920x1080 (401 ppi) 5.5-inch AMOLED
1920x1080 (401 ppi) Glass Gorilla Glass 5 Gorilla Glass 4 Gorilla Glass 4 Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 GPU Adreno 540 Adreno 530 Adreno 530 RAM 6/8GB LPDDR4X 6GB LPDDR4 6GB LPDDR4 Storage 64/128GB
UFS 2.1 64/128GB
UFS 2.0 64GB
UFS 2.0 Expandable No No No Battery 3,300mAh 3,400mAh 3,000mAh Charging USB-C
Dash Charge USB-C
Dash Charge USB-C
Dash Charge Water resistance No No No Rear Camera 1 16MP (IMX398), ƒ/1.7, 1.12-micron pixels, EIS
Dual LED flash, 4K 30 fps / 720p 120 fps video 16MP (IMX298), 1.12-micron pixels
ƒ/2.0, OIS, EIS
PDAF, 4K video, 120fps slow-mo 16MP (IMX298), ƒ/2.0, 1.12-micron pixels PDAF, OIS
RAW, 4K video, 720p slo-mo Rear Camera 2 20MP (IMX350), ƒ/2.6, 1-micron pixels N/A N/A Front Camera 16MP (IMX371), ƒ/2.0, 1-micron pixels, EIS
1080p 30 fps video 16MP (3P8SP), 1-micron pixels
ƒ/2.0, fixed focus
1080p video 8MP (IMX179), ƒ/2.0, 1.4-micron pixels
Fixed focus, 1080p video Security One-touch fingerprint sensor One-touch fingerprint sensor One-touch fingerprint sensor SIM Dual Nano SIM Dual Nano SIM Dual Nano SIM Dimensions 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
153 g 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
158 g 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
158 g

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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1 week ago

Reviewing our first OnePlus 5 photos — primary, telephoto, and Portrait Mode

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OnePlus 5 cases

Camera performance remains one of the most important features of a modern smartphone.

OnePlus is understandably making a big deal of the camera capabilities of the new OnePlus 5. Moving to a dual-camera setup is a big move that gives the OnePlus 5 new shooting options — but at the same time, it means walking a delicate line of keeping the main camera up to speed with the competition.

Here is my first week's worth of photos from the OnePlus 5, taken with both cameras, and a little bit of analysis of where I think it stands against the other great cameras available in the Android world today.

Main camera: The meat and potatoes

OnePlus upgraded the primary camera to a newer 16-megapixel sensor and also notably improved the aperture to ƒ/1.7, but stuck with a sensor that's the same size as the OnePlus 3 and therefore with the same rather small 1.12-micron pixels. And then, there's a big loss: optical image stabilization (OIS). Even with a much faster lens and improved sensor, it's tough to get good low-light photography out of a small sensor with small pixels and no OIS.

OnePlus 5 photo

Overall, the main camera is an improvement from the OnePlus 3. It's a consistent shooter that, in most situations, can pull out a good photo with some nice colors — and the camera app is smart about engaging HDR to punch it up when necessary. In mixed lighting, not having OIS isn't typically a problem — you really notice the lack of stabilization in night shots, where a slow shutter speed just isn't possible, leaving you with a more grainy photo than other cameras.

Secondary camera: New shooting options

The "telephoto" secondary camera isn't exactly what I'd call telephoto. It's a roughly 40mm equivalent lens, compared to the main camera's 24mm. For ease of use, there's a simple "2X" button in the interface — close enough, I guess. That 20MP sensor also lacks OIS, has an ƒ/2.6 aperture and tiny 1-micron pixels.

OnePlus 5 photo

Toggling over to the long lens gives you the power to take interesting shots with a new perspective. Whether that's for a macro-style closeup or a city scene better suited to a longer lens. Photos from the secondary camera are a little grainier than the main camera, but it's not noticeable unless you start zooming in to inspect pixels.

On the other hand, you can probably guess from the specs that the secondary camera isn't really usable in low light situations. An ƒ/2.6 aperture is fine during the day, but isn't capable at night — add in the small pixels that can't take in much light, and it's a rough combination. And given that the focal length isn't that far removed from the main camera, you'll probably feel fine just using that for low light scenes.

Portrait Mode: Blur those backgrounds

Just like a few other companies, OnePlus uses the pair of cameras here to do a "Portrait Mode." It's just a swipe away in the camera app, and it works just like the others do: use the two cameras to sense the depth of a scene, select a point to be in focus, and aggressively blur the "background" behind that point.

Like all other software-based blurring, the results are mixed. If you have a subject with well-defined edges and use tap-to-focus, things are great. If you have a more ambiguous surface — like a person with long hair, or a clear/reflective facade — the algorithm struggles. Since Portrait Mode is just a swipe away and doesn't take much extra effort to use, it's a fun feature to have that sometimes gives awesome results. It doesn't feel like a necessary pillar of the camera experience on the OnePlus 5, though.

Now read the full OnePlus 5 review

The OnePlus 5's cameras are very important, but there's more to this smartphone than just the imaging experience. Be sure to read our full review to get all of the information you need about the latest from OnePlus.

OnePlus 5 review

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1 week ago

OnePlus 5 specs: Snapdragon 835, 3,300mAh battery, optional 8GB RAM and 128GB storage

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OnePlus 5

Specs! Get your specs here!

OnePlus has always played the spec game, and with the OnePlus 5, it's offering just about everything inside that people are asking for. That starts with the top-end Snapdragon 835 processor and continues to an optional 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The 3,300mAh battery is right around the industry average, and you're missing a couple things like waterproofing and an SD card slot, but on the whole OnePlus set another high bar for the specs you can fit in a single phone and not have it cost a fortune.

Perhaps most impressive of all, from a smartphone nerd standpoint, is that OnePlus has just one model for the entire world — including radio bands to be used in dozens of countries. Combine that with its dual SIM capability and you have a true world phone.

Category Spec Operating System Android 7.1.1 Nougat Display 5.5-inch AMOLED, 1920x1080 (401 ppi)
Gorilla Glass 5 Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core 2.45GHz GPU Adreno 540 RAM 6/8GB LPDDR4X Storage 64/128GB UFS 2.1 Expandable No Battery 3300mAh Charging USB-C
Dash Charge Water resistance No Rear Camera 1 16MP (IMX398), f/1.7, 1.12-micron pixels, EIS
Dual LED flash, 4K 30 fps / 720p 120 fps video Rear Camera 2 20MP (IMX350), f/2.6, 1-micron pixels Front Camera 16MP (IMX371), f/2.0, 1-micron pixels, EIS
1080p 30 fps video Connectivity LTE 3xCA, 256QAM, Cat 12
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, dual band, 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0, aptX HD
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, NFC
USB 2.0, USB OTG Security One-touch fingerprint sensor SIM Dual Nano SIM Network FDD-LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
TDD-LTE: Band 38/39/40/41
HSPA: Band 1/2/4/5/8
TD-SCDMA: Band 34/39
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: BC0 Dimensions 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
153 g Colors Slate grey, Midnight black

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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1 week ago

OnePlus 5 review: Keep doing what you do best

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OnePlus 5

OnePlus once again manages to straddle the line between quality and price, carving out a unique niche and executing perfectly.

Since the launch of the original OnePlus One, the company has been aggressively refining its strategy. With each subsequent release the goals got a bit less ambitious, the marketing became less ostentatious, and the phones consistently improved. At the same time, the idea of getting more phone for less money, without all of the extra cruft of a big company behind it, remained constant. The mid-2016 launch of the OnePlus 3 — and subsequent bump to the OnePlus 3T — best exemplified the company's maturity.

Despite rumors indicating that OnePlus would shift its strategy and go all-out with a more expensive, top-end phone in 2017, it has stuck with what has worked. The OnePlus 5 is a high-end phone that doesn't have a typical flagship price, but gives you the core experience you expect out of one and all of the specs to back it up. It is once again a perfect example of OnePlus executing on the model that it built its name on, refreshed and improved upon for 2017.

See at OnePlus.net

About this review

I (Andrew Martonik) am writing this review after 12 days using a Midnight Black OnePlus 5 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, operating on the AT&T network in the greater Seattle, WA area. The phone was updated once at the beginning of the review period to version 23_170603 on the May 1, 2017 security patch. The phone was provided to Android Central for review by OnePlus.

The short version

OnePlus 5 Video review

Our written review gets into all of the gritty details of the OnePlus 5, but if you want the concise version be sure to watch our full video review above. After you're done, read on and get all of the information you need in the complete review!

OnePlus 5

Simple as it gets

OnePlus 5 Hardware

With the exception of the OnePlus X (RIP), none of the OnePlus phones have offered particularly striking or substantial hardware designs. Part of the value proposition of OnePlus phones, particularly in the 3 and 3T, was that you're giving up a bit on the design side in order to get a great spec sheet and fantastic overall experience — not unlike a Nexus or Pixel, you might say.

The story is the same again on the OnePlus 5, though I have to give it a bit more credit in design than its direct predecessor. Yes the OnePlus 5 looks very similar to the Oppo R11, but that's basically irrelevant here — solid design is solid design, even if we've seen it before from an affiliated company.

I think the best word to describe the design progression of the OnePlus 5 is "sleek." Even though it's roughly the same dimensions as the OnePlus 3, it's smoother, more rounded and more friendly than that phone. The sharper edges, big bevels and squared-off look of the OnePlus 3 felt a bit more generic and not as welcoming, whereas the OnePlus 5's rounded features are subdued and classy — particularly in the Midnight Black finish, which is exclusive to the 8GB RAM / 128GB storage model. It all makes the phone a bit slippery to hold, though, with even less texture to the metal than the OnePlus 3 — this is a phone that will benefit from a thin OnePlus case if you're at all inclined to fumble your phone in your hand.

Simple, well-crafted materials with little excess flair.

Subtle design changes aside, this is the same basic hardware formula as before. We're looking at an anodized, barely-textured aluminum frame with 2.5D curved glass on the front flowing into the edges. It's a "standard" phone layout in that it's still a 5.5-inch 16:9 display with typical bezels and a fingerprint sensor underneath. All of the buttons are in the same spots — including the fantastic Alert Slider high on the left side — and all of the ports line up (literally, in an actual straight line) at the bottom.

OnePlus continues to ship phones with a distinct lack of extra flair — the entire back of the phone is blank and featureless save for a small shiny OnePlus logo and three cutouts for the cameras, microphone and flash. The antennas have been beautifully sculpted into the back of the phone and curved along the top and bottom to be less noticeable.

It isn't striking, and won't win any design awards, but the OnePlus 5 is a handsome phone that's built extremely well. The seams, finishes and execution of the design are on the same level as any other $650+ phone out there today, which is important if you're trying to convince people to buy this phone as a competitor to those in the next price bracket up.

A great little example of that improved quality is the vibration motor, which no longer rattles or gives a shallow feel but instead gives a full-phone force feedback as you'd expect from a top phone today. The one higher-end feature that's missing that you can't see is waterproofing; again despite rumors, OnePlus held off on an IP rating this year.

Display and speaker

For me, the one area I'm disappointed to see remain constant on the OnePlus 5 is its display. This is the same 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED panel as the OnePlus 3T, with improvements coming by way of new tuning (including a DCI-P3 calibration option) and Gorilla Glass 5 on top of it. The display remains solid, but unspectacular — colors are accurate, images are crisp enough and viewing angles are good. It gets bright, but not amazingly so like other leading displays out there — thankfully because it's AMOLED it has limited reflectivity in direct sunlight.

Seeing little improvement in the display a year on from the OnePlus 3 is disappointing.

I'm obviously not disappointed in the display itself, but at $479 (and up to $539) the OnePlus 5 is right on the line of where we would expect a QHD display — or, at the very least, a noticeable improvement in brightness or contrast while staying at 1080p. With so much staying the same or being predictable upgrades from the OnePlus 3, it's a reasonable expectation to see an upgrade in display quality here. We didn't get it.

The single down-firing speaker on the phone is super strong, and hits an acceptable volume for anything I'd need it for when it reaches about two-thirds volume. Things get a bit distorted at those high levels considering it's a single speaker, but as far as a single driver goes it passes the test of being more than competent. But don't go using the speaker all that often, okay? There's a headphone jack, too.

OnePlus 5

Android, with a little extra

OnePlus 5 Software and experience

OnePlus sees no value in adding tons of extra or duplicative features to Android, and I love its approach. The core experience of using OxygenOS on a OnePlus phone is just Android — 7.1.1 Nougat, in this case. Everything works here like it does on a Google Pixel: the home screen, notifications, settings, and core features remain unchanged. The launcher itself has even taken a step closer to the Pixel's, with a semi-transparent dock that slides up to reveal an app drawer. The "Shelf" area to the left of the main home screen remains, though, as a place where you can basically see a scrolling list of widgets and information — I would prefer the Google Now feed here, but I can also just install the Google Now Launcher (at least for now).

OnePlus 5 softwareOnePlus 5 softwareOnePlus 5 softwareOnePlus 5 softwareOnePlus 5 softwareOnePlus 5 software

So instead of changing the basic interface paradigm of Android, OnePlus continues to add value by giving you customization options and just a handful of neat features. Offering simple things like themes, a customizable status bar, new gestures and a couple tweaks throughout the interface all enhance the experience without taking away from Google's vision of Android in any way. Most importantly, you can ignore them entirely and just use the phone as it comes out of the box, too.

The experience you get here isn't far removed from a OnePlus 3 or 3T running Nougat, but there are a handful of new features that are worth highlighting:

  • Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode: Block notifications and lock the navigation buttons while playing certain games (or any other app) to keep you in the zone.
  • Customizable screen-off gestures: The typical OxygenOS gestures you can perform on your phone before the screen turns on — drawing an O, V, S, M or W — can now be customized to perform various actions or just open an app.
  • Reading Mode: Automatically changes the screen temperature and calibration for reading, adjusted to the current environment. Can be toggled on and off, or on a per-app basis automatically.
  • Auto Night Mode: The same Night Mode you know that reduces the blue light you see on the screen, now automatically toggled from sunset to sunrise based on your current location.
  • Customizable vibration feedback: Choose your vibration pattern and intensity for calls, notifications and interface interaction.

Aside from what Google ships on its own Pixel and Nexus devices, the OxygenOS has to be my favorite "customization" of Android. Subtle tweaks like this continue to be useful, thoughtful and genuinely enjoyable — and unlike many other phones they don't come with a whole heap of other crap on the phone that I don't want.

Performance

As we've come to expect from OnePlus, performance on the OnePlus 5 is fantastic. Leading up to the phone's launch OnePlus talked a lot about speed, fluidity and consistency ... but I never had any issue on these points with the OnePlus 3T to begin with. The one place where there's a truly noticeable improvement is in touch response, which was a point of emphasis for OnePlus. However it ended up being accomplished, that super-tough-to-explain "feel" of high-quality touch response is definitely here. It's noticeable in scrolling and typing in particular, and I'm glad OnePlus stepped up its game here.

This is the type of consistent performance we want to see on every phone.

The OnePlus 5 is fantastically fast and smooth in everything I use a smartphone for, right on par with my experience using a Google Pixel XL for several months now. And based on how smooth my OnePlus 3 and 3T have been over time, I don't expect this experience to slow down in the future.

Of course I'm using the model with 8GB of RAM, but this really doesn't factor into the performance at this point. The highest average memory usage I ever reached, according to the phone's settings, is 4.7GB — comfortably underneath the 5.5GB ceiling (500MB is reserved for the system) of even the standard 6GB RAM model. You may decide that you "need" the 8GB of RAM model to future proof your phone purchase, or you may just get it for free because you need 128GB of storage, but I have to say 8GB of RAM really feels unnecessary on a phone today.

Battery life

You could easily say that a Snapdragon 835 is overkill for a phone that's still running just a 1080p display, but we have to also remember the benefits of its power efficiency. OnePlus is counting on that efficiency to make up for the 100mAh reduction in battery size from the OnePlus 3T — and in the end 3300mAh is still a very industry-standard battery for a phone of this size, besting the Galaxy S8 and HTC U11 (which have the same processor) but matching the LG G6 and coming up just short of the Google Pixel XL (which have older processors).

Still a full-day battery for almost anyone, but with a tad less wiggle room than the OnePlus 3T.

Battery life has been strong, but not phenomenal, on the OnePlus 5. It's a little step up from the likes of the Galaxy S8 and HTC U11, getting me to bed with 20-25% battery left in the tank on most days. But I still had a couple of days during my review period where I was able to get down to 15%, enabling Battery Saver, just after dinnertime. Understanding that I'm using a phone with pre-release software I know there's probably some room for improvement, but interestingly it feels like battery life is perhaps a slight step down from the OnePlus 3T. Although it is a clear step up from the longevity provided by the OnePlus 3's 3000mAh battery and Snapdragon 820.

That means the OnePlus 5 is still easily a full-day phone for all but the heaviest of users, but it isn't going to give you any indication it's ready last any longer than that.

OnePlus is using the exact same 5V/4A proprietary Dash Charge quick charging standard on the OnePlus 5, and that's just fine because it's still super fast. It's backwards compatible to previous Dash Charge chargers you may have, but still has the lingering issue (if you could call it that) of having no compatibility with the more widely used Quick Charge 2.0/3.0/4.0 standard you'll find just about everywhere.

OnePlus 5

Double the fun

OnePlus 5 Cameras

Considering the relatively pedestrian hardware and familiar software, it's understandable that OnePlus is putting marketing weight behind the camera setup on the OnePlus 5. As expected, OnePlus has made the move to dual cameras — and rather than going with a second monochrome sensor like Huawei has done recently or a wide-angle camera like LG, its second camera has a longer lens and higher resolution.

We lost OIS, but gained a whole second camera instead.

The primary camera is a new 16MP sensor behind a faster f/1.7 lens with improved auto focus speed when compared to the OnePlus 3, but has the same 1.12-micron pixel size and has lost OIS in the process. In exchange, you've gained a whole second camera sitting next to it: a 20MP sensor with 1-micron pixels and an f/2.6 aperture; its focal length is roughly 1.7-times the main camera. OnePlus is calling the longer lens "telephoto" but I'd argue that its ~40 mm focal length isn't quite long enough for that designation. (The iPhone 7 Plus, for example, has a focal length of 56 mm.)

The camera samples you see below are a mix of the main camera, secondary camera and Portrait Mode shots that use both cameras together. I'm not breaking them out because switching between the three experiences is very fluid. Just like my time using the LG G6's dual cameras, I found myself constantly switching between the main and long lenses for different scenes or just to try and get a fresh look.

The main camera is a solid step up from the OnePlus 3 and 3T overall, managing to provide clear, sharp and colorful images even with small pixels and no OIS. In low light it relies on higher ISOs, though, leading to some grain and occasional blur when the shutter speed also has to be slowed down — it's in these situations that you miss having that physical stabilization. OnePlus still makes the right decision overall to leave some grain in the photos rather than aggressively over-sharpen images artificially, which never looks good.

This is an improvement from the OnePlus 3, but still short of the flagship competition.

The secondary camera is fun to use in good lighting, but that's it. With an f/2.6 aperture and 1-micron pixels it's not worth using in even mixed lighting conditions or most indoor shots — there's just too much noise and blur far too often. When the light is good, it has a similar color profile to the main camera, and the longer focal length and narrower aperture give its photos a distinct look.

Reviewing our first OnePlus 5 photos

The OnePlus 5's camera setup is perhaps its most interesting improvement from the OnePlus 3. With two cameras and new shooting modes, there's a lot to take in. For a more detailed look at our first OnePlus 5 photos — and our analysis of them — be sure to check out our camera review!

Reviewing our first OnePlus 5 photos — main, telephoto and Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode, which is the OnePlus take on what Huawei, Apple and others have been doing, effectively uses both cameras in unison to get depth information from a scene, calculate a plane at the focal distance you choose and then aggressively artificially blur the "background" behind that plane. The effect is naturally most dramatic in scenes with big, open backgrounds that would normally be in focus in a regular smartphone camera shot, but it can also work to great effect in macro shots with a very specific foreground item that the camera can easily identify.

Portrait Mode is fun and can offer stunning photos, but its processing is far from perfect.

On the downside, there are many situations in which you can see the software's limitations. A lot of my Portrait Mode shots came out soft overall, as if the camera wasn't able to figure out where edges of certain features were or couldn't decide what was near and far. The calculation involved with creating this artificial background blur is difficult, and OnePlus will no doubt improve it over time — even as-is it's good fun to switch to Portrait Mode and try a shot. I just tend to follow that up with a regular shot from one of the two cameras alone when possible.

Measuring the OnePlus 5 on its main camera alone, it's a capable shooter that improves from last year but also doesn't perfectly match up to the top-end flagships out there today that can offer better, more consistent performance in a variety of shooting conditions. The secondary camera gives a small bump to the OnePlus 5's overall camera experience, enabling new shooting options and a fun-to-play-with Portrait Mode, but it really doesn't seem like adding this second camera was worth losing OIS (and perhaps larger pixels) and the potential for better photos out of the main camera.

OnePlus 5

Keep doing what you do best

OnePlus 5 Bottom line

There are several solid improvements in the OnePlus 5 worth mentioning, but the most standout aspect of the phone is its value. Just like the models preceding it, the OnePlus 5 gives you a near-flagship experience for $150-250 less than the competition. It does so by walking the line between putting money into the aspects that matter, while keeping costs low in other areas without making the phone feel cheap or substantially lacking.

OnePlus knows exactly how to deliver a high-end phone that also feels like a great value.

You're getting a jam-packed and future-proof spec sheet, an above-average display, solid speaker, good battery life, fast charging and a well-built aluminum body. The software is slick, fast and consistent in ways that few phones can match, and doesn't include piles of features that get in your way. That combination is only going to set you back $479 — that's precisely what OnePlus is known for.

So what, then, are you missing out on by not going with the pricier competition? You're not getting groundbreaking hardware design, nor a top-notch display or waterproofing. The camera experience is good, but a step below the top-end cameras today. Those are just a few trade-offs, and ones that most people would happily take to save $200 on their phone purchase. And that's before you factor in the ways in which the OnePlus 5 actually beats the flagships from Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola and others.

Once again, OnePlus has delivered a phone that manages to offer a high-end experience, while also feeling like a great value for the money. The OnePlus 5 may have only brought predictable upgrades from its predecessor, but that's more than enough to make this a great phone and a great buy for so many people.

See at OnePlus.net

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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1 week ago

Use a 3D Printer to make yourself a stock for PlayStation's Aim controller!

You can't buy a stock for your aim controller yet, but you can make one!

The PlayStation Aim controller brings a whole new level of immersion to shooting games on PlayStation VR, but some users have found the accessory less than comfortable when blowing away arachnids on Farpoint.

That's why the internet is here, delivering a way for you create a stock to modify your Aim controller, and make it a bit more suitable for longer play sessions.

Read more at VRHeads

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1 week ago

The OnePlus 5 is official: Dual cameras, Snapdragon 835, 3300mAh battery

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The speculation ends now: the OnePlus 5 is official.

Almost exactly one year removed from the OnePlus 3, and just seven months from the 3T, OnePlus has skipped "4" to release the OnePlus 5. First, the basics that OnePlus fans want: we're looking at a Snapdragon 835 processor running the show, with a 3300 mAh battery inside — then you get a choice of 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The display remains at 5.5-inches and 1080p resolution, in a familiar 16:9 aspect ratio with a front-mounted fingerprint sensor and optional capacitive keys below the display.

In terms of physical design, the OnePlus 5 understandably has very similar dimensions to the now-discontinued OnePlus 3T. It has been smoothed, rounded and refined in its styling to be thinner and sleeker both to the eye and in the hand. The hardware hasn't added waterproofing, however.

OnePlus has made predictable improvements, and thrown in a whole new camera setup.

The big selling point OnePlus is pushing this year is in the camera experience, where the 16MP main camera (24mm focal length) is now accompanied by a 20MP camera with a longer lens (roughly 40mm). You can shoot directly with that longer lens, or use both cameras together for artificially blurred "Portrait Mode" shots. The main camera has a faster f/1.7 lens now, but has lost OIS in the process.

More: Complete OnePlus 5 specs

On the software side, OnePlus is keeping OxygenOS clean, fast and customizable. There are a handful of new features like a fresh launcher, automatic Night Mode and a new Reading Mode, but for the most part things remain unchanged from the OnePlus 3T — and that's just fine, as OnePlus has always had one of the fastest and cleanest takes on Android.

Right, so now the important part: where, when and for how much. The OnePlus 3 will be on sale in 33+ countries starting June 27, including the U.S., Canada, UK, India, China and most of Europe. U.S. pricing is set at $479 for the 6GB RAM / 64GB storage model, and $539 for 8GB / 128GB. Here's how the pricing breaks down (for both models) in a handful of popular markets:

  • U.S.: $479 / $539
  • Canada: $649 / $719
  • UK: £449 / £499
  • Europe: €499 / €559
  • Denmark: kr3,799 / kr4,299
  • Sweden: kr4,995 / kr5,495
  • Hong Kong: HK$3,688 / HK$4,188

For the early birds, OnePlus has also opened up an "early drop" website for the dedicated followers to get in an early order ahead of the global launch.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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Press release:

Say Hello to the OnePlus 5 – Dual Camera. Clearer Photos.

World's Highest Resolution Dual Camera, Up to 8 GB RAM and Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Processor Deliver Professional-level Photography and Smooth Performance in Sleek Flagship Smartphone

NEW YORK – June 20, 2017 – OnePlus today introduced the OnePlus 5, the latest in its lineup of premium flagship smartphones. With this new device, OnePlus is further demonstrating its mission to share the best technology with the world.

The OnePlus 5 features the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today for clearer photos than ever before. Dash Charge, OnePlus' industry-leading charging technology, gives users a day's power in half an hour. The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 platform, coupled with up to 8 GB of RAM, provides a smooth user experience at a lower power consumption rate. The OnePlus 5 also supports 34 GSM network bands, keeping users connected around the world.

"The OnePlus 5 showcases our obsessive attention to detail and our focus on delivering the best user experience possible," said OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau. "We have applied this approach to all aspects of the OnePlus 5. For example, the dual camera provides some of the clearest photos on the smartphone market today and gives users more control to take stunning photos in all conditions."

Attention to Design Detail

At 7.25 mm, the OnePlus 5, available in Midnight Black and Slate Gray colors, is the thinnest OnePlus flagship ever. The aluminum unibody features a continuous hard line around the edge of the phone. The Horizon Line, a key element of OnePlus design, casts one half of the phone in light and the other in shadow, offering an elegant, streamlined appearance. The minimalistic design is further reinforced by a new crescent-shaped antenna that blends seamlessly into the top and bottom edges of the phone. Rounded corners and edges makes the OnePlus 5 feel more comfortable in the hand.

Dual Camera. Clearer Photos.

The OnePlus 5 features the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today. A tailor-made 16 MP sensor is supported by a 20 MP sensor with a telephoto lens to accurately determine the distance between the sensor and objects in the environment. A large f/1.7 aperture allows for faster snaps and helps compensate for stuttering to improve image stabilization.

In Portrait Mode, the two sensors work together to create a focal separation between faces and backgrounds, while a custom software algorithm makes your subject clear and well-lit. This results in a professional depth-of-field (bokeh) effect that keeps faces sharp in front of a blurred backdrop. Smart Capture combines optical zoom with multi-frame technology to let you zoom in with greater clarity, while Fast AF uses the dual-camera system to more accurately calculate depth to speed up auto-focus by up to 40 percent.

The all-new Pro Mode gives smartphone users powerful DSLR features such as ISO, white balance, shutter-speed, focus and exposure modification, as well as an on-screen histogram and RAW image file support for complete control of post-shot editing.

A Day's Power in Half an Hour

First introduced with the OnePlus 3, Dash Charge is the fastest charging solution on the global market. A quick half-hour charge gives the OnePlus 5 enough power for the day. By carrying more current and shifting the power management from the handset to the adapter to keep the phone cooler during charging, Dash Charge can continue to fast charge the OnePlus 5 even when using GPS or playing graphically intensive games. The 3,300 mAh battery also lasts up to 20 percent longer than the OnePlus 3T.

Smooth Experience

Through a combination of powerful hardware and intelligent software, the OnePlus 5 provides a truly seamless smartphone experience.

The OnePlus 5 takes advantage of the top-of-the-line Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 platform that provides powerful performance while drawing up to 40 percent less power. With up to 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, the OnePlus 5 can run a large number of apps in the background without a single second of lag. The combination of UFS 2.1 and a new two-lane ROM results in 26 percent faster storage performance in everything from installations to loading apps and games.

OnePlus' custom operating system, OxygenOS, is designed to refine stock Android's core functionalities with features and optimizations that add value to the user experience. New updates to the OnePlus 5 include Reading Mode, which utilizes an ambient sensor and gray-scale mapping to make reading as comfortable as reading an actual book. Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode allows users to play their favorite games without being disrupted by notifications or accidental hardware button presses. With App Priority, the OnePlus 5 loads your most-used apps more quickly to further improve performance.

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1 week ago

Don't be this idiot who knifed a store demo Galaxy S8 to test its durability

34

Modern smartphones are pretty tough. The Galaxy S8 remarkably so. But don't test it using equipment that isn't yours.

There's a cottage industry of people destroying phones on camera for entertainment. From Will it blend? to drop and scratch tests, the world loves to see how far we can push the glass and metal that comprise the protective layer of our pocket computers.

But when you decide to destroy a phone, make sure it's yours.

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Targatheory 06-20-2017 04:39 AM “

Just to share regarding the S8+'s screen. Visited a local Target store where they had the S8 and S8+ on demo/display. I carry my house key (regular trapezoid/triangle type house key in the USA) on a Cold Steel Micro Recon mini keychain knife. I ABUSED THE SCREEN AS MUCH AS I COULD. I was absolutely flabbergasted by the amount of muscle force and strength and pressure I applied to this...

Reply

Respect the property of others, even if it is owned by a big corporation.

Don't be this idiot.

Continue the discussion (politely) in the forums!

Title image: JerryRigEverything YouTube channel

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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1 week ago

Enhance your Gear VR experience with the official touch controller for just $28

1

The Thrifter team is back again, this time with a deal on Samsung's latest Gear VR controller!

Alongside the announcement of a brand new Gear VR headset, Samsung also announced a new touch controller to help take your VR experience to the next level. The controller debuted with a $40 price tag, and has hovered around that price since, until just recently. Amazon currently has the controller down to just $27.98, a savings of $12 on it. This is the lowest we've seen it for and a price you definitely won't want to pass up.

Some of its features include:

  • Motion controller for more realistic interaction
  • Ability to recognize hand motion, evolving interactions and gameplay in VR
  • An ergonomic design with a trigger for natural, intuitive control
  • Unlocks even more amazing experiences in VR
  • The Gear VR controller works with Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ as well as previous VR-enabled handsets, including Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 and previous generation Gear VR headsets.

If you don't already have one, be sure to grab one now before the price jumps back up.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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