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2 weeks ago

Verizon buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

 Everything you need to know

Which Verizon plan fits your needs best?

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

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

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

Individual plans

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

Talk, text, and data plans

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

Small gets 2GB of 4G LTE for $35/month, Medium gets 4GB for $50/month, Large gets 8GB for $70/month. There are two types of Unlimited plans, and while they have no data caps, there are rules about throttling speeds when the network is congested. Some Unlimited plans also feature tethering and service in Mexico and Canada. See below for more information about unlimited plans.

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

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Unlimited plans

Verizon has two unlimited plans: Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. The differences between them are video streaming quality and hotspot data speeds. Here is an overview of each plan, with pricing for individual lines and family plans.

Go Unlimited

  • One line: $75/month
  • Two lines: $65 per line/month
  • Three lines: $50 per line/month
  • Four or more lines lines: $40 per line/month

Paper-free billing and AutoPay discounts apply.

The Go Unlimited plan offers unlimited LTE data, but you're subject to reduced speeds (throttling) when the network is congested. How much (or how little) data you have used in the current billing period doesn't matter here.

Additionally, video streaming is capped at 480p on phones and 720p on tablets. And while the Go Unlimited plans offer unlimited data through mobile hotspot (tethering), the speed is hard capped at 600kbps.

Beyond Unlimited

  • One line: $85/month
  • Two lines: $80 per line/month
  • Three lines: $60 per line/month
  • Four or more lines: $50 per line/month

Paper-free billing and AutoPay discounts apply.

The Beyond Unlimited plan offers unlimited LTE data, but you're subject to reduced speeds (throttling) at times of network congestion if you exceed 22GB in a billing cycle.

Additionally, video streaming is capped by default at 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets. Mobile hotspot use is unlimited, with 15GB of LTE data in each billing cycle. Laptops or other devices used through the hotspot have a 1080p hard cap for streaming video.

For a fee of $10 per month, per line, video throttling can be lifted and you can stream video at any resolution, including 4K. Lines must be suscribed to the Beyond Unlimited plan to disable the throttling.

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Verizon prepaid

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

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

There's also an Unlimited Prepaid plan for $80 per month, which offers the same limitations as Go Unlimited but adds roaming in Canada and Mexico.

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Best Verizon phones

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

Google Pixel 2

The Google Pixel 2 is the best Android phone around and the best money can buy. Featuring Google's "pure" Android software and timely updates to keep your personal data secure, the Pixel line of phones reshaped the Android landscape.

The Pixel 2 has a metal body that feels well-made in the hand, and the software experience is clean and straightforward. The Pixel 2 also has the best Android phone camera available and you'll love the photos you can take.

You can get a Pixel 2 starting at $27.08/month from Verizon.


Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Galaxy S8+

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

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

LG V20

LG V20

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

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

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


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Best deals on Verizon

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

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

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How to cancel Verizon

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

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

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

How to unlock a Verizon Wireless phone

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

From Verizon's site:

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

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

Finding an alternative carrier that uses Verizon's service

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

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

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

Update October 2017: Added information on video throttling buyout plans and added Pixel 2 pricing and information.

Complete list of Verizon MVNOs

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3 weeks ago

Should you buy a phone from a carrier in 2017?

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There are plenty of reasons for doing it!

Everyone loves getting a new phone, but buying one can be stressful. You'll see deals from third-parties for unlocked phones, promos from the manufacturer if you buy through them, and options from a carrier that sound too good to be true. It should be fun to buy a new phone just like it is when you're using it! You can cut most of the confusion out of the picture by deciding if you should buy your phone from your carrier or if you should buy it elsewhere from whichever company has the best deal or the best freebies.

More: Smartphone Buyer's Guide

Financing models can also hide the real cost of a phone because it wants you to upgrade to a new phone every year or two.

The U.S. is finally moving away from the carrier subsidy model. That's great because it really only hid the true cost of buying a phone and didn't really save us money. Its replacement is a mix of different financing options or lease programs designed to do the same thing — disguise how much you're really spending.

And they can be tempting; even when you're not spending any extra money and getting a phone at the list price with no interest a carrier wants you to buy through them. It locks you in and keeps you paying for service unless you hand over the balance, which puts you right back at the beginning where you could have paid in full from any company. Getting you interested in financing or leasing is just as important as the subsidy model was, so the offers need to be enticing.

A carrier phone also means bloatware and a middleman between you and the manufacturer if there are any warranty issues. Everyone hates bloatware and there's not much we can say about it that's good, but having a warranty through a carrier might not be too terrible. Sure, talking to the company who built it when you have problems is great but remember, it's very important to keep you happy and paying for service every month to your carrier. They will often go the extra mile.

Your carrier is a business and businesses need to make money. Don't hate them for it.

Your phone carrier isn't evil. It's a business and it needs to make money. We want them to make money and be successful because we enjoy the service they offer. For the most part, all the information about all the ways to buy a new phone is available and representatives will do their best to answer your questions. What's important is that you go into it knowing it's a business deal that benefits them as much as you: you get a new phone, they get a monthly fee for their service. Quid pro quo and all that.

So buying your phone through a carrier is a bad idea, right? Wrong. There are a handful of reasons to buy your phone from the people who provide the service you'll be using.

  • Carrier optimizations. Every carrier does things like VoLTE (Voice over LTE) or Carrier Aggregation a little differently. And while we imagine sometimes there's a business decision involved, there are also technical limitations why a single model can't be made to support the advanced network features of every carrier. And the way network frequencies and wireless spectrum are distributed means it will probably remain this way for a while. these advanced features are pretty great, too. Who doesn't love faster network speeds or clearer voice calls, right?

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  • Getting more than your money's worth. Sometimes you'll find a carrier offering a new phone at a ridiculously low price or even offering a buy-one-get-one offer. Getting two Galaxy S8 or LG G6 phones from T-Mobile and only paying for one was worth jumping through a few hoops. There will be hoops you can jump through the next time you buy a phone if you want a spare or one to sell. And in Europe, you'll often find the difference in contract price between a SIM-only plan and one that includes a phone is so small that you're better off taking the phone and selling it to offset the costs.
  • Carrier services. Like advanced network features, a mix of business practices and technical details can keep things like voicemail or Wi-Fi from calling unless you buy your phone through the carrier you're going to use it with. Some extras can also need a pre-installed app to properly work while the version in the Play Store can have features removed.
  • Exclusive colors or versions. This makes us really sad, but companies who make phones are more than happy to make a deal where some colors only go to certain carriers. These same contracts can happen for special editions with audio enhancements or wireless charging. This is why we can't have nice things.

More like this, please. But not tied to one carrier!

Finally, there are the leasing programs. You make a monthly payment every month and you get a new iPhone every year or can swap phones every 30 days or whatever carriers dream up next. While horrible from a financial point of view (you never stop paying for a thing you never get to own) the idea of getting a new phone without worrying about a down payment or changing any monthly fees is less horrible. Samsung or Best Buy aren't going to offer this option and most of us don't have the money to just run out and get a new phone whenever we feel like it.

We can all say that programs like T-Mobile Jump on demand aren't financially sound, but they are the only way to switch phones a lot without buying them outright. That makes them great for some of us.

So what should we do?

This is more of an opinion that a recommendation based on something more. That's because there are good reasons to buy your phone through your carrier and good reasons to buy it elsewhere. The way things work now means that if you're looking to pick up a new flagship phone from any of the popular brands, you're better off buying it through your carrier.

For now you need to buy from a carrier to use all of its features unless you buy an iPhone.

The biggest reason is the network optimizations you could be missing out on if you don't. Faster data speeds are always great, but network optimizations also can mean using less battery, having clearer calls and just staying connected better while moving from tower to tower. A phone isn't nearly as fun to use if you have no service, so anything that makes for better service is pretty important. Of course, the other reasons like special colors or BOGO deals aren't bad, either.

The exception here is the iPhone. There are a couple different models of iPhone that have carrier optimizations in place, but they are also unlocked and can be bought directly from Apple and used almost anywhere. Android phones like the Pixel series also have some network optimizations in place as well and, hopefully, this can continue until others can offer unlocked models with the very same features as carrier versions on every carrier.

Carriers

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3 weeks ago

Get cute this Halloween with an adorable jack-o-lantern theme

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Do you know what I want when I trick or treat?

This is Halloween. This is Halloween! Pumpkins scream in the dead of night!!

The holiday of candy, costumes, and crazily scaring people is upon us, and while not all of us still get to go trick-or-treating, that's no excuse for not dressing up your phone. There are lots of ways to dress up a phone without getting tacky cases, and that's why we're bringing you a sweet and simple theme that reminds us that not only is Halloween here, but it's for more than just horror shows.

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3 weeks ago

T-Mobile Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

 Everything you need to know

Check out what T-Mobile has to offers.

T-Mobile is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 70 million subscribers. It provides nationwide voice and data coverage using GSM and LTE technology, primarily on bands 2, 4, 12, 66, and 71.

T-Mobile offers unlimited talk, text, and data plans for individuals and families and carries all of the latest phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, as well as the LG V30. Since T-Mobile only offers one kind of postpaid plan, things are a bit pricey, but T-Mobile's got solid coverage and decent extras that make it worth it for you to switch.

Here's what T-Mobile has to offer.

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Postpaid unlimited plans

T-Mobile has just one postpaid plan: T-Mobile ONE. The carrier does not offer plans with tiered amounts of data, nor does it offer a true "family" plan; instead, every plan features unlimited talk, text, and data, free Netflix (for accounts with two lines or more), and the only difference in price depends on how many lines you have on your account.

Note: T-Mobile claims that you have unlimited 4G LTE data, but a small percentage of users, once they hit 50GB per month, will be throttled to slower speeds, and even then it's only likely to happen during times of congestion.

For a single line, it's $70 per month; two lines is $120 per month ($60/line); three lines is $140 per month ($47.50/line); and four lines is $160 per month ($40/line).

This includes tax on all lines, but doesn't include monthly payments on devices.

Everything you need to know about T-Mobile's unlimited plan


Prepaid plans

Keeping things ever-simple, T-Mobile offers only a few prepaid plans: $45/month for 4GB of 4G LTE, unlimited talk and text, and unlimited 2G data, as well as $55/month for up to 6GB of 4G LTE. Each plan also gets Music Unlimited, which lets you stream as much music as you want without eating into your 4G LTE allotment.

There's also a version of the T-Mobile ONE plan for prepaid for $75, which gives unlimited data along with all the benefits above. Unfortunately, with that plan, tethering is limited to 3G speeds and videos are capped at 480p with no option to disable the Data Saver.

T-Mobile also has a T-Mobile ONE family prepaid plan, which offers a single line for $75, two lines for $110, three lines for $155, and four lines for $180. Each additional line is then $25 per person. The stipulation with this particular program is that though there is no credit check, account holders must put down a deposit upon signing up that will be repaid when the account is closed.

Learn more

Bring your own device to T-Mobile

T-Mobile makes it incredibly easy to bring your own phone over, since just about any unlocked phone will work with the network. Before making the switch, you should just double-check it will work on T-Mobile's network.


Best phones

If you don't have a phone to bring over to T-Mobile, you can purchase the latest and greatest devices straight through the carrier.

Here are the best phones T-Mobile has to offer:

Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ & Note 8

Samsung's newest flagships are the among the best Android phones on the market, with their slick design, featuring minimal bezel, curved screens, a new aspect ratio, and industry-leading displays. These phones have huge displays, but they don't feel huge, thanks to the fact that they're thinner than other big phones. All three devices have amazing cameras, and the Note 8, with its large 6.3-inch display, has an improved S Pen for jotting notes or drawing.

Learn more


LG V30

The LG V30 builds on what made the G6 so good, with a focus on an amazing camera experience and industry-leading sound quality from the Quad DAC and powerful amplifier.

The glass back is slick and beautiful, and it also allows for wireless charging, a first for the V series. Add to that a 3300mAh for sensational battery life, water resistance, and a whole lot more, and the V30 is a device to covet!

Learn more


Best deals on T-Mobile

Right now, T-Mobile has the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge on sale for only $20 per month with $0 down. The total price of the phone is only $480, down from $600.

Learn more

The LG G6 is on sale for $500, down from $650. You put $20 down and then pay only $20/month. Plus, you receive a free LG G Pad X, LG's stylish tablet.

Learn more

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How to cancel T-Mobile

The easiest way to cancel T-Mobile, like any carrier, is to simply switch carriers and have your number ported over. Then you're not having to deal with customer service reps who try to sweet-talk you into staying.

Just remember that you'll have to pay out anything you owe on devices you bought from T-Mobile. If you don't want to just switch carriers, then try this:

  • Call T-Mobile customer service at 1-877-746-0909 or dial 611 on your T-Mobile phone.
  • Head into a T-mobile store near you and chat with a rep.

Learn more

How to unlock a T-Mobile phone

To unlock your T-Mobile phone, you'll first have to make sure it meets eligibility requirements. Your account will have to be in good standing; the phone can't be reported as lost or stolen, and you can't have requested more than two unlocks per line of service in the past year.

After that, you can use T-Mobile's Device Unlock app to unlock your phone. Keep in mind that fees may apply.

Learn more

Finding an alternative carrier that uses T-Mobile's network

If you like T-Mobile's coverage but aren't thrilled about it's lack of plan options or prices, then you may want to consider a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) or "alternative carrier". These carriers lease coverage from the big carriers and then sell it to you for less. You'll still get 4G LTE coverage, as well as calling and texting coverage, but you'll probably find that you'll pay a lot less.

There are roughly 26 MVNOs that piggyback on T-Mobile's network, so you have a wide range of options and should shop around to find out which one will cover you and fit your needs the best.

Learn more

Updated October 2017: This article was updated with the most recent information on T-Mobile's ONE plans.

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3 weeks ago

How to enable Now Playing on your Google Pixel 2

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You'll be able to name that song title with Now Playing enabled on your Pixel 2.

Google's Pixel 2 has arrived, bringing with it some awesome new features to take advantage of. One of the new additions is Now Playing: a function that will detect what song is playing on nearby speakers and show the artist and song title on your screen. We've got the details on how to enable it here!

Enable Now Playing

While some features like to hide deep inside settings, enabling Now Playing is a pretty easy task. You can find it under the "Setting up your Pixel" section of Settings. Now Playing works offline and doesn't send this information to Google but it is worth noting that there's currently only a catalog of about 10,000 songs it can recognize and detect for you.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Sound.
  3. Tap the arrow next to Advanced Settings.

    Open Settings, Tap Sound, Tap the arrow next to Advanced Settings.

  4. Tap Now Playing.
  5. Tap the toggle to enable Now Playing.

    Tap Now Playing, Tap the toggle to enable Now Playing.

Are you listening?

Now Playing is an awesome feature for anyone who enjoys easily discerning what you are listening to. Easy to enable, and with a pretty sizeable catalog it can recognize, it's an awesome feature and one many of us didn't even know we needed. Will you be using Now Playing? Is this a feature you're excited about? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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3 weeks ago

How to get the latest version of Android 8.1 Oreo on your Pixel or Nexus

1

Get the latest version of Android on your phone on your own terms.

Now that we're well in the swing with Android Oreo, Pixel and Nexus owners are clamoring to get the latest updates to Android 8.1 as soon as possible. But Google doesn't always push these over-the-air updates as soon as people would like, which is where this guide comes in. Using the tips below, you can sign up for the Android beta program, sideload factory images, or OTA updates to your Nexus or Pixel device as soon as they are available.

These phones aren't just bought by developers. If there's a single reason for consumers to buy a Pixel or keep using a Nexus device, it's this: the newest software first. Period.

The easiest way

If you don't want to mess with unlocking your bootloader or the command line, you will get an update to Android 8.1 if you're part of the Android Beta program. That means that if you have one of the eligible devices, you can simply visit the Android Beta portal and opt-in to the beta, which will then prompt Google to send your phone or tablet an over-the-air update. If you're already in the public beta, you will receive an over-the-air update to the final version of Android Oreo shortly.

  1. Head to Android Beta program portal on your Pixel or Nexus phone or tablet.
  2. Sign into the Google account associated with that phone.
  3. Scroll down to Your eligible devices.
  4. Find the device you want to enrol in the Beta program and tap Enrol device.
  5. Follow the prompts to accept the over-the-air download.

Note: To leave the beta program, simply press the button on the Android Beta program page to unenroll. Your phone will receive an over-the-air update to return to the stable version of Android 8.0 Oreo, but your phone will be wiped clean upon rebooting, so back up your stuff.

Which devices are eligible for the Android beta program?

The preview is supported on the following phones and tablets:

  • Pixel 2
  • Pixel 2 XL
  • Pixel
  • Pixel XL
  • Pixel C
  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus 5X

If you can't wait

If you simply can't wait for the Android beta, flashing the new version of Android is going to be your best bet.

But before we go into the steps of sideloading Android updates, it is strongly recommended that you have previous knowledge of working with the Android SDK (software development kit) and Terminal (OS X or Linux) or Command Prompt (Windows), as it is possible to harm your device if something were to go wrong in the following process.

If you need to download the Android SDK you can grab it from the Android Development website and follow their instructions on how to install it correctly. For the following process, all you will need is the adb and fastboot files which are located in the Platform Tools folder.

Additionally, all the following commands are written as they would be in Terminal on a Linux or OS X platform. If you are following this guide and using a Windows machine, you will not need to use the "./" seen in the guide.

Enable developer settings and USB debugging

  1. Go to your Settings and scroll down to About Phone/Tablet
  2. Tap on the Build number seven times until the dialog box says you are now a developer
  3. Go back to the Settings menu and you should find a new option called Developer options. Click into the Developer options
  4. Make sure that the developer options are turned on and that USB debugging is checked on
  5. If you're upgrading a device running Lollipop or higher, make sure Enable OEM unlock is checked
  6. Plug your device into your computer and click "OK" on the dialog box asking you to Allow USB debugging while connected to the computer. You can also select to always allow access on that computer

If done correctly, this will be everything you will need to do on your phone or tablet for the moment.

Unlocking your bootloader

Nexus devices and Pixel phones bought from Google directly have a bootloader you can unlock. If you want to manually flash software, you'll need to do this.

To do this you must first boot into your bootloader. You can either manually turn off your phone or tablet and hold down the power button and the volume down button to enter your device's Bootloader Menu or you can enter the following commands into your terminal or command prompt.

Run the following command to make sure your device is properly connected to your computer. If it returns a string of characters it means that you are all set to start updating your device.

./adb devices

Now to enter into the Bootloader menu just run the following command.

./adb reboot bootloader

At the bottom of the screen, there will be several things listed including the lock state of the device. This should say locked unless you have unlocked your bootloader in the past and never went back and locked it again.

To unlock your bootloader, which is required only when flashing a stock firmware image (not sideloading and update, which we'll get to soon), you must enter the following commands. Remember that when unlocking your Nexus' bootloader it will factory reset your device, so you will lose everything stored on it. If you have not yet backed up anything important on your device you can hit the power button while Start is highlighted in the Bootloader menu and this will boot you back into your device like normal. Now back to unlocking your bootloader.

On older devices (pre-Marshmallow), you used:

./fastboot oem unlock

On newer devices you'll use:

./fastboot flashing unlock

A dialog will appear on the device asking if you are sure about unlocking. Again this will factory reset your device, so if you want to back out of the process you just need to select no with the power button. If you are ready to unlock your bootloader you press the volume up button and then the power button to confirm that you wish to unlock your bootloader.

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

It is recommended to reboot the bootloader just to give itself a check to make sure everything is working correctly before moving onto the next step.

Flashing the stock firmware image

Now that your bootloader is unlocked, it's time to flash the new firmware. To find the system images, head on over to the Factory Images page, find your device, and download the latest factory image available. It is easiest to then uncompress the file in the Platform Tools folder where the adb and fastboot files are so that you don't have to type the path to the different files when flashing the firmware. (Or if you know that you can drag a file into a terminal window to copy the path, just do that.)

To begin, make sure you are still in the bootloader menu on your device and double check that your bootloader is in fact unlocked.

First, make sure that your computer is communicating correctly with your phone or tablet. As long as your device's serial number comes back as a connected device you are ready to begin updating your device.

./fastboot devices

Now it is time to flash the updated bootloader with the following command.

./fastboot flash bootloader [bootloader file].img

You will not see anything on the screen of your device but there should be a dialog in your terminal or command prompt. When it is done flashing the bootloader you should reboot back into the bootloader as to make sure everything is still working correctly.

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

Next you flash the updated radios. This step is only necessary if you are updating the firmware of a phone or tablet that has cellular radios built into it.

./fastboot flash radio [radio file].img

./fastboot reboot-bootloader

Finally, it's time to flash the actual system image to your phone or tablet.

Warning: The following line of code will wipe your device. If you do **not* want your device to be wiped, remove the "-w" from the command. The update should still take just fine, and it will not wipe your user data.

./fastboot -w update [image file].zip

When this is done, your phone will restart itself and boot up normally. As this process clears all data from your device, it will take slightly longer for your device to boot up for the first time. Once you have been greeted with the device setup walkthrough process, you know you have successfully flashed a new version of the firmware.

If you do not want to enter the commands manually there are scripts included inside the compressed folder containing the system image that will do most but not all of the heavy lifting for you. The flash-all script files will automate the flashing of the bootloader, radios (if needed), and the system image. The problem with this process is that you must first make sure that your phone is in the bootloader menu and its bootloader must be unlocked before starting the script. Of course, if these are not already done the script will fail to run and nothing will happen.

Flashing an OTA update image

If you don't want to unlock your bootloader, you can sideload an OTA update. That is, you're going to download to a computer the update file your phone normally would grab itself over the air (thus OTA), and then push it over via the command line.

It used to be that we'd have to hunt for the OTA file location when a phone would download it, and use that to pull the file from Google's servers. And we can still do that if we want. (Though it's not quite as easy as it used to be.) But Google now provides OTA images for download. (You can find them here. The only real difference is that these aren't "delta" updates, containing just the changes from the previous update. So the files are a good bit larger.

Just as is the case with the factory image update, put the OTA file in the Platform Tools directory to simplify the process of sending the file to your phone.

First, make sure that your computer is communicating correctly with your phone or tablet. As long as your device's serial number comes back as a connected device you are ready to begin updating your device.

./adb devices

Next, put your device into the bootloader menu by either the following command or by holding down the power button and the volume down button while it is turned off.

./adb reboot bootloader

Now use the volume down button twice until you have scrolled to Recovery mode, and press the power button to select it. It will look like your phone is restarting itself but an image of an Android with a red exclamation mark over it will appear. Next hold down the power button and press the volume up button, and you will be in recovery mode.

Now that you are in the Android system recovery, use the volume down button to highlight apply update from ADB and press the power button to select it. The text on your Nexus' screen will now say that you can send the OTA to the device using adb.

./adb sideload [OTA file].zip

In your terminal or command prompt you will see a dialog that shows you the progress of transferring the update to your phone or tablet and once it has been completely transferred you can read what is happening with the update live on screen. Again, once the process is done your phone will restart itself and attempt to boot normally. You have successfully updated!

Getting the newest software updates on your Nexus or Pixel is easy to do but understandably difficult the first time. Once you've gone through this process several times it will become second nature to you, so don't be discouraged. Luckily Nexus devices are extremely easy to get back into working order if something gets installed wrong or flashed incorrectly — so don't be alarmed if you've pressed the wrong button.

If you have any trouble along the way, be sure to hop into the forums and ask for help!

Update, October 2017: This post was updated with current links and references to Android Oreo.

Android Oreo

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3 weeks ago

What color Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL should you buy: Black, White, or Kinda Blue?

51
Google Pixel 2

Which Pixel 2 color will you pick?

Before you buy a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, you need to make a very important decision — what color should you get? With options for both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, there are definitely a few things to consider before you make your final decision. We aren't here to make that decision for you, but we have laid out the details of each of these colors.

There are three colors to choose from with the Pixel 2, and two choices if you opt for the Pixel 2 XL, and we've got the details on all of them for you here!

Pixel 2 in Clearly White

The Pixel 2 is going back to the color scheme of the original Pixel with its Clearly White coloring. It's a gorgeous white, with a slightly darker top third on the back. The white color catches the light and makes for a gorgeous color for your phone. It should be noted that the Clearly White model does have a black front, which can be less distracting when using the AMOLED display — definitely a bonus.

Who is it for?

The Pixel 2 in Clearly White is definitely for those who like to make a statement when they pull their phone out, and like a classier look for their pocket computer. It does pick up scratches and buffs more noticeably, which is something to remember, but it also looks great in transparent cases.

Pixel 2 in Just Black

When it comes to colors for your phone, it's hard to go wrong with black — clean, and simple. Just like the Pixel, the Pixel 2 comes in a black variant that gives the phone a sleek profile. While the upper third is glossy and noticeably darker than the rest of the phone, which is a lighter matte, the entire design blends together in a gorgeous finish.

Who is it for?

If you're clumsy, or you aren't particularly attached to a specific color, then black is definitely a solid choice. Black means that minor scuffs or scratches won't show up quite so easily, and matching your case to your phone is a simple process. This also means that this is the best color to go for if you don't plan on snagging a case at all.

Pixel 2 in Kinda Blue

The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is a toned-down version of last year's Very Blue Pixel. It's a nice mellow pale blue that also has hints of grey and silver in it. It's also the most color you'll see on a Pixel 2 at release — especially with its very cool light blue power button.

Who is it for?

If you like to make a statement with your phone, but you prefer something a bit more toned down, then this is definitely the right choice. The pale grey-blue color isn't you other folks are going to be used to seeing, although any scratches or buffs are definitely going to be noticeable. It lets you stand out in a world filled with black or white phones, but it's also subtle enough that you can keep it from drawing attention at all by throwing a case onto it.

Pixel 2 XL in Just Black

The Pixel 2 XL in Just Black is sleek, simple, and utilitarian. Black is always a solid color, and it works well for the Pixel 2 XL giving it a low profile that won't look too flashy, especially since the front bezels are smaller than that of the Pixel 2.

Who is it for?

The Pixel 2 XL is definitely for those who like a professional look when they pull out their phones, or for those who know that they don't plan to get a case. Just Black is definitely best color for hiding scuffs and scratches on your phone and is easily the most understated color available.

Pixel 2 XL in Black and White

The Pixel 2 XL in Black and White takes the best of both black and white worlds and brings them together. It's got a black front, stretched around to the top third of the back of the phone, and the rest of the phone is white — a "dunk of chocolate". It offers a great contrast and color that you aren't likely to see elsewhere. Oh, and that orange power button is going to be very divisive.

Who is it for?

The Black and White Pixel 2 XL is going to be a very popular option, mainly because of that orange power button and its two-toned color scheme. It's for people who want to stand out without shouting that fact, and is going to appeal to anyone who can't decide whether black or white is the right way to go.



Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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3 weeks ago

The state of smartphone audio: DAC, codecs, and other terms you need to know

39

What you need to know when all the audio chatter starts.

It's awesome to see smartphone audio starting to get some attention. Companies like LG and HTC are stepping up and putting specialized audio components into their phones, Sony is still pushing things forward with software optimizations, and new high-resolution Bluetooth codecs have even stubborn audiophiles like me interested in what they can do. This is also important stuff because the way we listen to our music will eventually be changing, as the trusty 3.5 mm headphone jack slowly but surely becomes a thing of the past.

But not everyone is into audio, and there are so many odd-sounding words and abbreviations and secret codes getting thrown around. You don't have to know what any of them mean to enjoy the music, but we all want to know what we're reading or hearing. So let's dig in and check out what some of the most common things you'll hear actually mean!

General terms you need to know

There are a few terms you'll see in every audio discussion. And like every other audio term, they really don't mean what it seems like they should mean sometimes. Here are the basics to get you started so you can keep up with just about any audio talk.

  • Bitrate is the number of bits of data that are processed per unit of time. When talking about audio, that rate of time is usually measured in seconds as bps (bits per second). Standard SI prefixes apply (not Binary Prefixes), so kbps (kilobits per second) = 1,000 bps, Mbps (megabits per second) = 1,000 kbps and Gbps (gigabits per second) = 1,000 Mbps. A higher number means more data is being processed so audio will sound better.
  • -bit is the way audio bit depth is written. Bit depth is the number of bits of information included in each individual sample (see Hz below). CD audio uses 16-bits per sample while DVD audio uses 24-bits per sample. Hi-resolution audio players will also be able to play 32-bit audio, and this includes some phones like the LG V30.
  • Container A container is a metafile format that controls and describes how multiple types of data exists inside a single computer file. A good example of this difficult idea is an MP4 file. An MP4 file can hold encoded audio, encoded video, metadata like subtitles or lyrics and album art in any combination. A container doesn't decide how its data is encoded, so you might be able to open an MP4 file and not be able to playback any of the data without the proper codecs. Yeah, it's kind of a mess and impossible to describe without using computer-speak. All you need to know is that audio containers hold encoded files and you'll need the proper codec installed to play any of them.
  • Codec A codec is software (we'll leave hardware codecs for another day) used to encode and decode digital data. Codec is short for coder-decoder. The coder encodes data and gets it ready for some sort of transmission, and at the other end, the decoder reverses the encoding. MP3 is a popular audio codec. Applications like Audacity can use an MP3 coder to encode music into a .mp3 file and your favorite audio player uses an MP3 decoder to turn it back the way it was and play it.
  • Compression Popular codecs compress an audio file while encoding it to make it smaller and easier to transmit. This is the same concept a .zip file uses to crunch down the contents of a folder. Ideally, you want an uncompressed file to be a bit-by-bit copy of the original, but most compression algorithms discard data that won't drastically change the way the audio sounds. Or at least they try to.
  • DAC A DAC is a Digital to Analog Converter that turns computer bits (the digital) into sounds (the analog) that can come through a pair of headphones. Every device that can play digital music has a DAC, as does every pair of Bluetooth headphones. Some just have a better DAC than others and are able to create cleaner analog audio from the digital source.

More: What is a DAC and why should I care about having a good one?

  • Dolby A company that specializes in noise reduction and audio encoding. Dolby licenses its tech to several phone manufacturers.
  • Hz or kHz Hz is the abbreviation for Hertz. When talking about digital audio you'll usually see it measured in kHz (kilohertz) and it designates the sampling frequency — the number of times the audio is sampled (analyzed and recorded) per second. Landline phone audio is 8kHz. VoIP telephones are 16kHz. Audio CDs are 44.1kHz. This continues all the way up to 5,644.8kHz which is Philips and Sony's Double-Rate DSD (Direct Stream Digital) format and absolutely insane. Generally, the higher the sample rate the better the audio will sound, but there are diminishing returns once you pass 192kHz that many people aren't going to be able to hear.
  • Lossless Lossless is a type of audio compression that can create an exact copy of the original when a file is uncompressed. FLAC and ALAC files are lossless.
  • Lossy Lossy is a type of audio compression that rebuilds an "approximation of the original data" but compresses the data into a smaller file. MP3 files are lossy.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth has its own slew of audio-related terms and they will be more important as we see more and more phones without a headphone jack. It gets its own section so we can break a few things down.

Bluetooth Profiles

Bluetooth profiles are a set of specifications that both the source (the device sending the audio like your phone) and the destination (the device that receives the audio like your favorite headphones) know what each other can do and how to work together and stream audio to your ears. Even the Bluetooth earbud of old needs a Bluetooth profile to connect, and this is the only way to make everything work.

  • HSP (Headset Profile) The HSP profile is required for basic headset operation. It has very limited remote control capabilities and the audio quality is 64 kbps (mono) maximum.
  • HFP (Handsfree Profile) HFP is an advanced version of HSP that's also designed for headsets (not headphones). It provides redialing and voice dialing through remote control. HFP version 1.6 uses a mono configuration of the standard SBC codec. See the codecs section below for details.
  • A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) This profile was designed for stereo audio for things like multimedia. This is the profile your headphones (not a headset) need to use.
  • AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) AVRCP is used with A2DP to provide remote control for things like play/pause or track skipping. Versions 1.4 allow for full volume control of both devices, while lower versions control the volume of the headset only and not the source.

If you want to use a Bluetooth earbud or the like to take calls and don't care about other audio, you need a device that uses HSP, but you want a device that uses HFP so you have more control.

If you want to also listen to music through a stereo Bluetooth device — headset, headphones, portable speaker, etc. — you want both A2DP and AVRCP for the best experience.

Bluetooth audio codecs

Bluetooth audio codecs don't have to be Bluetooth only. They are encoding and decoding instructions that the right coder and decoder use to take raw audio, turn it into something better for transmission, then turn it back into raw audio once it reaches your headphones. You can't play any audio without the right coder and decoder, so support for audio codecs is pretty important.

You'll usually find information about what codecs a pair of headphones can use in the box they came in, and you'll find information about the codecs your phone can use in the manual or on the manufacturer's website.

  • SBC (Subband Coding) This is the default A2DP codec and the minimum required for stereo audio. Every stereo Bluetooth device must support SBC because it's the failsafe fallback if no other codec matches both the source and destination hardware. It provides an uncompressed stereo audio stream up to 328kpbs at 44.1 kHz. Because it's not compressed there is no need for the target (your headphones) to decompress it. It does tax Bluetooth's limited bandwidth and is subject to skipping or buffering (depending on your source) when conditions aren't ideal. There are several "levels" of SBC (low, medium, and high) and the quality is determined by the source device.
  • AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) This is the same AAC encoding you'll find for music that's not streamed wirelessly, and is what iTunes uses. It provides better audio than MP3 compression at the same bitrates and can rival lossless files in quality. Most headphones don't include AAC, but high-end models designed for use with the iPhone or iPod will, and they transfer data at 250 kbps.
  • aptX aptX is a proprietary audio codec developed in 2010 by APT (hence the name) to provide higher quality audio than SBC can deliver. It encodes a CD-like quality (16-bit / 44.1kHz) audio stream using more efficient audio encoding (compression, much like the .mp3 codec) and a higher data transfer rates of 352kbps. aptX is not required for stereo audio, and you'll find a lot of equipment doesn't include it.
  • aptX LL This is a version of the aptX codec designed for especially low latency. It's used in devices like gaming headsets that value low latency over quality, but still provides audio comparable to SBC. aptX LL can transmit stereo audio with latency as low as 32 milliseconds, which is faster than we can process so it appears to be latency-free.
  • aptX HD This is a version of the aptX codec that uses newer and better compression methods and higher data transfer rates (576kbps) to deliver 24-bit / 48kHz stereo audio. the compression algorithms have been designed to inject very little noise, and aptX HD streams approach lossless hi-resolution audio in quality. aptX HD is fairly new and not very many devices support it, though this will most certainly change.

More: aptX versus aptX HD: What's the difference?

  • LDAC LDAC is an audio codec designed by Sony to deliver "true hi-resolution" audio over Bluetooth. It can transmit audio at a maximum of 24-bit / 96kHz at speeds up to 990kbps. Like SBC, it has three settings: low (330kbps transfer speeds), medium (660kbps transfer speeds), and high (990kbps transfer speeds). Sony claims LDAC can transmit audio playback up to 24-bit / 96kHz without any downsampling (lowering the sample rate in Hertz) at the source. LDAC is very new, and while Android Oreo supports the codec very few peripherals do right now.

Audio file types

There are hundreds of audio coding formats. Some are specialized, like aptX for Bluetooth or ATRAC for the PlayStation or Walkman, but there are a handful of standards you'll find on portable devices like your phone. Most of the time the format defines the file type — MP3 format audio uses a .mp3 file extension, AAC audio uses a .m4a file extension and so on. Audio coding formats need to be supported by the player software, not your device itself, but for many your device must have a license to use them.

  • AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) This format is also a standard Bluetooth audio codec, though not very popularly supported. It supports audio compression with little data loss so audio sounds clearer than MP3 but still has comparable bitrates. This is the native format your old iPod uses and some audio players can play it through an MP4 container with the .m4a file extension.
  • ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) Developed by Apple as a lossless audio compression format, ALAC is now open source and royalty free. It delivers 8 channels of audio at 16, 20, 24 and 32-bit depth, with a maximum 384kHz sample rate. ALAC is also stored in an MP4 container with a .m4a file extension, but it's not the same lossy compression used with AAC.
  • FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) FLAC is an open and royalty free audio codec that supports 4 to 24-bit audio at any sampling rate between 1 Hz to 655.35kHz on 8 channels. FLAC is capable of compression an audio file by 60% and still have an exact copy when uncompressed. Files using the FLAC coding format have a .flac extension.
  • MP3 (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III) MP3 is a lossy codec that can shrink CD quality (1411.2kbps) audio by up to 95% and provide comparable quality when uncompressed at playback. There are various sampling and playback rates and the higher the number the better it will sound. The MP3 codec intelligently reads audio files and discards data that we won't be able to hear during compression and encoding. You'll find .mp3 files just about everywhere and most any player can play them back.
  • Vorbis/Ogg Ogg is an open source container format that can multiplex independent streams for audio, video, text (subtitles and lyrics), and metadata. It can house numerous audio coding formats, but the most popular one you'll see on your phone is Vorbis. Vorbis is an open source audio format that can encode source material from 8kHz to 192kHz with a maximum of 255 channels and create output files between 45 and 500kbps. Files with the extension .ogg are native to Android and play through the systems default player or any number of third-party players.
  • WMA (Windows Media Audio) WMA is an audio codec that's actually four separate audio codecs: WMA, WMA Pro, WMA Lossless, and WMA Voice. WMA was developed by Microsoft to compete with MP3 and covers the spectrum from single-channel mono audio with WMA Voice (it's actually important to handle this type of audio in a special way) to 24-bit / 96kHz using 6 discrete channels. The compression ratio for music varies between 1.7:1 and 3:1. All WMA-encoded files carry the .wma extension and are supported by third-party players.

The most important part

You don't need to know any of this to enjoy listening to your music through your favorite headphones, and that's what really matters. Like everything else, some people will care and will debate about individual products until the end of time, and that's because they enjoy the underlying tech and how it works. Neither group is right or wrong, so don't feel left out if this just isn't your thing.

Just know that audio from our phones is getting better, the companies who make headphones are making better ones, and the music you love today will sound just as good, if not better tomorrow.

Rock on!

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4 weeks ago

Chrome Remote Desktop: Everything you need to know

12
Chromebook

Chrome Remote Desktop is a great, free way to remotely access a computer.

I have an unusual computer setup: I have a super powerful desktop at home and I carry a Chromebook with me when I'm out and about. The system has served me well over the past year, but there are times when I'm on the go and I need to tap into my extra power at home. This is where Chrome Remote Desktop comes into play — I can connect to my home computer from anywhere, so long as I have an Internet connection. If you'd like to do this, follow along!

Install the Chrome Remote Desktop host on the machine you want to access

Before using Chrome Remote Desktop, the machine you'd like to access needs to be running the Chrome browser and the Chrome Remote Desktop host. Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that need to be accessed can skip this section since the necessary pieces are already built into Chrome OS.

  1. If you have not done so, download the Chrome browser.
  2. Sign into the browser by clicking the picture icon in the upper-right corner of the browser.

  3. Once you're signed in, download the Chrome Remote Desktop application.
  4. After downloading the app, you will see the Chrome app page. If not, enter chrome://apps into the search bar. Click the Chrome Remote Desktop icon.
  5. Under the "My Computers" section, click the "Get started" button.

  6. Click "Enable remote connections."
  7. A window will pop up asking you to install the Chrome Remote Desktop Host. Click accept and install.
  8. The host tool will appear in your taskbar. Click to run the tool. If your computer requires an administrative account for installations, the administrator will need to enter their password.

  9. Once the installer is done, you will be asked to create a PIN code to keep bad people from accessing your system without your knowledge. The PIN can only be numbers, no letters and must be at least six digits long. And with that, we're done with setup!

Accessing the desktop from another device

So long as both devices have an Internet connection, you'll be able to remote in and access the computer you've set up. Now it's time to get connected.

  1. Download and install the Chrome Remote Desktop application from Google Play, the Chrome Web Store or the iOS App Store.
  2. If necessary, sign into the application with the same Google account used above.
  3. Under "My Computers", you should see the computer set up before. Click the computer name.
  4. Enter the PIN you created. If you'd like, you can tell the software to not ask for a PIN when connecting from this specific device. And that's it! You're connected to your home machine.

Another great use of Chrome Remote Desktop is providing support to other users. With this, I don't have to drive two hours just to get my mother's bookmarks bar to reappear. If you want to remotely help a user, have them install the Chrome Remote Desktop Host using the steps above.

  1. Have the user open Chrome Remote Desktop on their device ,
  2. Click the green "Share" button.
  3. Chrome Remote Desktop will generate a code for this session. Have that person tell you the code.
  4. On your machine, open Chrome Remote Desktop, then click the "Access" button. Enter the code the person gave you, and they will need to allow you to access the system. That's it!

A couple things to keep in mind here: you'll need a fast internet connection for this, and ping times are very important, since you'll be connecting in real time. If you're on LTE, make sure that your signal is strong.

Do you use Chrome Remote Desktop? Let us know down below!

Chromebooks

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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4 weeks ago

Where to buy the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google's new phones are available for pre-order now.

The second-generation Google Pixel phones are now available to order from the Google Store and select carriers. The bottom line is that while the Pixel 2 mirrors that price of its predecessor at $649 in the United States, the $849 starting price for the Pixel 2 XL is $100 more expensive than last year.

Verizon Wireless is the exclusive carrier partner in the U.S., and both phones will be sold on EE in the UK.

Here's how they break down by country and carrier.

United States

Google Store

The Google Store is probably your best bet if you want the plain jane Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, unlocked and ready to go on any of the major U.S. carriers.

In the U.S., a 64GB Pixel 2 will set you back $649 outright, or $27.04 monthly when purchased through Google's financing program. That raises to $749 for a 128GB model ($31.21 per month on financing) if you want 128GB of storage.

The Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 with 64GB of storage ($35.38/month on financing), or $949 for 128GB ($39.54/month on financing).

The Pixel 2 is available in three colors: Kinda Blue, Just Black, or Clearly White. The Pixel 2 XL is available in Just Black, and Black & White.

See at Google Store

Verizon

Verizon is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Pixel 2 series, and the pricing is fairly similar to that of the Google Store.

You can get the Pixel 2 in all three colors starting at $27.08 per month for 24 months with zero down. You can only get the Pixel 2 in 64GB — which costs $649.99 outright.

See at Verizon

The Pixel 2 XL comes in both colors and both storage sizes, and starts at $35.41 per month for 24 months with zero down for 64GB, rising to $39.58 per month for 128GB. It's $849.99/$949.99 outright.

See at Verizon

Anyone who ordered the Pixel 2 or 2 XL before October 18 got a free Google Home Mini shipped within 2-4 weeks from the time of purchase. Verizon is also offering up to $300 back when trading in one of several relatively new phones, including the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8. Not a great deal, but it's there. These deals must be done through the My Verizon app.

The Pixel 2 ships on October 19; the Pixel 2 XL ships on November 1.

Project Fi

The Pixel 2 is also available through Project Fi, which offers both phones at the same monthly prices as the Google Store.

The nice thing about ordering through Project Fi is that the Pixel 2's embedded eSIM allows the phone to be activated without purchasing a separate SIM card — it just works once you sign on. As far as we know, you can buy the phone from Google directly and sign up for Fi later, but when buying from Fi the phone comes pre-loaded with the proper software.

See at Project Fi



UK

Google Store

In the UK, pricing breaks down to £629 for the base model 64GB Pixel 2, or £799 for the XL. Add an extra £100 for the 128GB model.

See at Google

EE

EE has both the Pixel models available. The Pixel 2 starts at £9.99 up front and £47.99 a month with an 8GB plan, while the Pixel 2 XL starts at £9.99 up front and £62.99 per month with an 8GB plan.

Both models are offered in their respective colors, and come with a free Google Home Mini. They ship within 14 and 27 days, respectively.

See at EE

India

The new Pixels are now available in India, with Google once again partnering with Flipkart. The 64GB Pixel 2 starts off at ₹61,000 ($940), going all the way up to ₹83,000 ($1,260) for the 128GB Pixel 2 XL. Here's the breakdown on pricing:

In addition to Flipkart, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be sold at thousands of retail stores across the country.

See at Flipkart

Canada

In Canada, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available through Google and most major carriers, as well as big retailers like The Source and Best Buy.

Google Store

The Pixel 2 is available for $899 and $1029 for the 64GB and 128GB versions. The Pixel 2 XL is available for $1159 and $1289 for the 64GB and 128GB models, respectively.

See at Google

Telus

Telus is selling the 64GB Pixel 2 for $200 on a 2-year contract with a minimum plan of $95 per month, and $400 with an $85 plan. The phone is $905 outright. The 128GB model adds $130 to that price, bringing it to $330, $530 and $1035 respectively.

The 64GB Pixel 2 XL starts at $450, $650 and $1160 for the above breakdowns, while the 128GB model goes for $580, $780 and $1290.

The Pixel 2 is available now, while the Pixel 2 XL ships in mid-November.

See at Telus

Rogers

Rogers is selling the 64GB Pixel 2 for $199 on a 2-year contract Share Everything Premium+ Tab plan, and $399 on a 2-year Premium Tab plan. The phone is $899 outright. The 128GB model adds $130 to that price, bringing it to $329, $529 and $1029 respectively.

The 64GB Pixel 2 XL starts at $449, $649 and $1159 for the above breakdowns, while the 128GB model goes for $579, $779 and $1289.

The Pixel 2 is available now, while the Pixel 2 XL ships in mid-November.

See at Rogers

The phones are also available from Fido, Rogers' flanker brand, for similar prices.

Bell

Bell is selling the 64GB Pixel 2 for $199 on a 2-year contract with a 1GB plan and a minimum of $70 monthly spend, and $399 with a 1GB plan and a minimum of $60 monthly spend. The phone is $999.99 outright. There is no 128GB option for the Pixel 2.

The 64GB Pixel 2 XL starts at $449, $649 and $1299 for the above breakdowns, while the 128GB model goes for $579, $779 and $1429.

The Pixel 2 is available now, while the Pixel 2 XL ships in mid-November.

See at Bell

Videotron

Videotron is stocking the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in both 64GB and 128GB models. The Pixel 2 starts at $179.95 with a minimum $89.95 plan for 24 months; add an extra $120 on top of that cost for the 128GB version.

The Pixel 2 XL starts at $399.95 with a minimum $89.95 plan for 24 months; add an extra $100 on top of that cost for the 128GB version.

Only the black and white versions are available at Freedom Mobile.

See at Freedom Mobile

Freedom Mobile

The Pixel 2 is available at Freedom Mobile starting at $60 with a $35 per month financing plan (MyTab Boost), or $900 outright. Add $130 for the 128GB Pixel 2. The phone is $900 and $1030, respectively.

The Pixel 2 XL is available for $320 and $450 on financing, or $1160 and $1290 outright, for the 64GB and 128GB models.

It's only possible to get the "Kinda Blue" version in the 64GB size — it's black or white for the others.

See at Freedom Mobile

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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4 weeks ago

Gmail: Boost your productivity with these tips and tricks

24

Master your inbox with these Gmail tips and tricks.

We covered the basics of Gmail for Android in our beginner's guide, and now it's time to take a look at features that extend the functionality of the email client. Whether it's creating labels to categorize your email or using filters to automatically sort incoming mail, Gmail offers a variety of tools aimed at managing your inbox clutter.

If you haven't already, you should enable two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. Two-factor authentication works by combining something you know (a password) with something you have (your phone), effectively doubling your account's security.

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1 month ago

Metal vs. plastic vs. glass: Which is the best phone material?

92

One day phones will be made from stardust and unicorns. For now, though, we have three choices.

Phones all look the same once you scrape away a few details. They're rectangles designed to fit (mostly) into one's hand and a display where we can tap and poke the things we see to find other things poke and tap. You can even make phone calls with them!

It's those details, though, that makes the difference. Speakers, bevels, buttons and the physical size are the things that make a Galaxy Note different from a Moto E4. They also are a big part of the price and what we use to decide which one is better for our own uses. One of those details that's always a point of discussion and sometimes a point of detraction is what the body of a phone is made of. Oddities like wood or gold phones aside, you'll find three different materials are being used to make phones is all sizes: metal, plastic, and glass.

Which one is best?

Metal

Metal, done very well.

Plenty of phones use a metal band or a faux-metal finish over plastic trim, but there are also plenty that are made of metal. Usually, that means some manner of aluminum alloy that's very thin and light because the buying public is in love with thin and light. Nobody wants a 3-pound phone built from cold forged steel to lug around all day.

Metal screams premium.

For many, metal equals premium. Seeing an aluminum phone polished or anodized with a crisp finish does make a phone look good, so naturally, a lot of people associate them with high-quality, even if only subconsciously. But this isn't always the case as aluminum can actually be cheaper than other materials. Blame our perception here.

A metal phone can be a great phone. It can also be a poor phone. Let's look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • That premium look. As mentioned, a phone that's well built will always look good with a metal design. Metal is beautiful and we can't help but feel that anything beautiful is automatically premium. For many, having a premium phone is important.
  • It's "modern". Metal is a big part of the industrial design school of thought. Minimal markings and no extraneous parts to take away from a single piece of metal with a certain shape is a complete design aesthetic, and it often ties in well with a premium look. There are plenty of fans of this type of design.
  • Heat transfer. That way a cold metal phone feels when you first pick it up provokes a thought. It doesn't have to be a good thought, but if you ever noticed that your phone felt cold you were thinking about it. Touch is one of our senses, and it's an important one.

All of these "pros" work together to give the impression that the small metal object you're holding is simply a superior product. Some people feel differently, but most people can't say a phone like a Pixel or ZTE Axon Pro felt bad or was built poorly.

Cons

  • Bends and dents. Metal deforms fairly easily — especially light, malleable metal like aluminum —and tends to keep its new shape, at least the types used to build phones. We're not talking about people on YouTube bending phones for a living; we're talking about sitting on your phone and bending it or dropping it and putting a big dent in that premium shell. (Buy a case?)
  • RF transmission. This means your LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth signals. Radio frequencies of the safe variety have a tough time transmitting through dense material. This can mean your phone needs to have antenna lines or glass cutouts for the antennas and probably won't support wireless charging if it's made of metal.
  • Heat transfer. The same thing that makes a metal phone feel solid and cold when you first pick it up will also make it feel hotter after you've used it for a while. Heat sinks and heat pipes (also made of metal) try to offset this, but a metal phone will always have a hot spot where the chipset is. And sometimes they can get uncomfortably hot.

The same material that can make a phone feel premium can also stop it from having premium features, like smooth lines without antenna bands or wireless charging. And they look a lot less premium when you dent or bend them.

Plastic

Moto Maker was awesome.

Plastic comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Man-made materials have that advantage. That means plastic can also come with a number of different finishes, and phones can feel slimy or even soft when made of plastic. Plastic is also cheap and very workable which means curves and design elements can be used with plastic that isn't feasible with other materials.

Any shape and any color, and tough as nails.

Some plastic phones look and feel great. Of course, others don't. Consumers can be influenced by their experience enough to think all plastic phones are a slippery, glossy, slimy mess even when they're not and the general perception is that Plastic phones are cheap. But a plastic phone can be great, too.

Pros

  • Cost. Not the cost to the consumer, but the costs of making the phone from beginning to end. Using plastic means manufacturing equipment is easier to tool, which means designers have more freedom to work with the shape, which means phones don't always have to look like a flat slab and still be reasonably priced. We love things that look nice and things that are reasonably priced. We love it more when they are both.
  • Resilliance. Plastic is tough. Like football helmet tough. You might be able to break plastic but it will take a lot more abuse than metal or glass, and for the most part, it will snap right back into shape if it gets bent or dinged.
  • RF transmission. Plastic can be designed to be tough but still allow radio waves to pass through with very little signal loss. When you're building or using a phone, this is important.
  • Millions of colors. You can make plastic that's any color imaginable. Companies like Nokia (the Nokia of old, R.I.P.) and Sony have put this to the test and orange, lime, pink, yellow and even brown phones have all been offered and had their fans. Black is also a color for folks who like to keep things tamer.

Plastic gives a manufacturer the freedom to build a phone that's tough and beautiful. And we've seen some very high-end phones from almost every manufacturer that were plastic, and nobody complained that they were plastic.

Cons

  • They feel bad. At least, they can. One of our favorite phones was LG's G2. One of the phones we always complained about when it came to the finish of materials was the LG G2. It was the phone that coined our use of slimy when talking about bad plastic. Don't even get us started on the Galaxy S III.
  • They can stain. The plastic on the phone can be stained by a colorful case or spending too much time in a cup holder in Florida-style weather, and some plastic finishes can stain you or your clothes. Remember the orange red Nexus 5? It did both.
  • They look cheap. Not all of them, of course. HTC, as well as that Nokia of old, built some gorgeous phones that were plastic. The LG Optimus 3D was not my favorite phone. Not even close. But it was plastic and the body, the build, and the finish were stunning. But for every good plastic phone you can buy there will be four or five bad plastic phones in equally bad plastic clamshells on a hook at Walmart. That makes people equate plastic with cheap.

All the plastic phones that were tough, looked good and came in a plethora of colors have to compete with the bottom-of-the-barrel plastics used in phones that have none of those qualities. It's not fair to compare things this way, but you usually won't find a phone you think is plain ugly or that feels slimy that's not made of plastic. Stereotypes are real.

Glass

Everybody into the pool!

We started seeing glass phones with the iPhone 4 and Nexus 4. They aren't completely glass, of course, but there are plenty of phones with full glass backs to go with the full glass front. They can be beautiful and give a look that compliments a great design. They can also be fragile; phone screens break all too often and so do glass backs.

It only looks wet.

Using glass also adds to a phone's price. Cheap pieces of soda-lime glass you may find at the hardware store aren't suitable for a phone. Instead, specially made ultra-clear low-expansion glass and composites like Gorilla Glass are used and can add a lot to the final price. Exotic materials like synthetic sapphire can be exceptionally clear for the wavelengths of light a person can see, and very scratch-resistant. They are even more expensive, often prohibitively so.

Pros

  • RF transmission. Glass is dense, but still allows for radio waves to pass through fairly easily. This means your LTE signal, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth will be stronger without any long antenna cutouts.
  • They look great. Phones with a glass back can have a feeling of depth if anything is under the glass. Glass can also shimmer and give the illusion of being wet. Both of these effects together can make for a stunning look. Samsung is a total pro at this, and its recent glass-backed Galaxy phones are simply beautiful.
  • They feel good in your hand. Glass can be polished until it's very smooth. Because it's inert it will also feel solid and cold like metal does. When you hold a glass-backed phone in your hand it just feels like a luxury product. Everyone loves luxury products, even if it's only an illusion.

Cons

  • Glass breaks. There is nothing any company can do to make thin glass unbreakable. That means when you drop your phone (and you will) you have to worry about breaking both sides.
  • Glass scratches. Everything will scratch, but glass seems to be the best at doing it. No matter what a company tells us about the Mohs scale or hardened polymers, glass will scratch. Scratches on a phone with the wet and deep illusion like a Galaxy S8 look terrible when they have a big scratch across the back.
  • Glass is slippery. When your hands are damp holding a glass phone is like squeezing an ice cube. It can pop right out of your grip and when you consider that glass breaks and glass scratches, you have a recipe for disaster.

Glass-backed phones can look amazing. That silky wet look of a Galaxy S8 or the disco ball look of the Nexus 4 makes for a beautiful looking piece of gear. We want our expensive things to be beautiful.

Unfortunately, glass is also a really risky material to use in a phone. It needs to be thin (glass is heavy!) so when you use hardened treated materials like Gorilla Glass the risk of breaking increases because hardened glass is more brittle. It's a catch-22 situation that we gladly put ourselves in because of how great it looks.

So which is the best?

That depends on just who you ask.

If you were to ask me, I would say that glass is the best. I like the way it looks and I like the way it feels. I know it will break or scratch easily, and I'll take that risk. I'd also tell you that plastic is probably the real best because it is more workable, more resilient, and is better for radio transmission. And good plastic can both look good and feel good. But I like glass better.

Glass is best. No, wait. Metal. Or Plastic.

While there is no one winner here, there is a loser. Metal. Metal looks and feels good, but it's a horrible material to build a phone with. It's easy to bend, it's easy to dent, and radio waves hate it. But there are plenty of people to tell me I'm wrong.

That's OK. The important thing is that you buy what you like, and because so many different companies build Android phones there's a good chance it's out there. I might be on team glass and you might be on team metal but you don't have to use my phone and vice-versa!

Your take

Which team are you on? Do metal or glass look so good that their shortcomings are forgivable? Or do you just love plastic and the range of colors or the soft feel of a quality finish?

Get into the comments and let us all know which you like and why. Then be happy we have more to choose from than a single phone or its plus version.

Continue the conversation in the forums

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1 month ago

Gmail: Everything you need to know

42

It's time to take control of Gmail.

With over a billion monthly active users, Gmail is one of the most popular email clients around. The service has come a long way from its inception in 2004, and is continually adding new features and better spam prevention. If you're new to Android, or if you're just are looking for ways to get the best out of Gmail on the platform, read on.

Gmail is a part of Google Mobile Services, a collection of apps and APIs that are pre-installed on every Android phone certified by Google. If you have an Android phone that has the Play Store pre-installed, you'll also find Chrome, YouTube, Maps, Photos, Hangouts, and Play Music and Movies available out of the box.

Before we begin, you should enable two-factor authentication for your Google account if you haven't done so already. Security breaches are inevitable, and having an added layer of protection for your email account makes all the difference in the world. Already set up two-factor authentication? Let's take a look at what Gmail has to offer on Android.

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1 month ago

These are the router makers that have patched KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi flaws

58

Is your router receiving the attention it needs in light of the KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi hack?

An exploit that has taken the "protected" out of Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) means that your wireless network is likely not as safe as you once thought. What security researcher Mathy Vanhoef is calling "KRACK" attacks the handshake portion of the WPA2 protocol. Mobile Nations Senior Editor Jerry Hildenbrand put together a comprehensive guide on exactly how the exploit works and how you can protect yourself, also mentioning some information on patches containing a fix. To help you stay on top of which vendors are patching the vulnerability, we rounded them up here.

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1 month ago

Best Microsoft apps for Android

135
Best Microsoft apps for Android

Microsoft apps have come a long way on Android.

Microsoft essentially shunned Android and iOS for several years, but with Satya Nadella taking the helm in 2014 and adopting a mobile-first stance, the company has turned its attention to bringing its apps and services to rival platforms. From heavy-hitters like Office to side projects developed by employees in their free time under the Microsoft Garage label, Microsoft has a lot to offer on Android.

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