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3 months ago

If you're buying The Lion King, make sure to connect Disney Movies Anywhere

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In the jungle, the mighty jungle the Lion King sleeps tonight...

Most digital copies are a letdown. Disney's are not.

We've all seen it: buy the movie before it's out on Blu-ray, and you don't get any special features, and your copy is stuck in one store forever. It sucks, right? WRONG! Disney has a digital system that makes buying the movie early an actually tempting thing to do, and it all has to do with connecting digital stores and awesome app implementation.

Before you go buy The Lion King, please download Disney Movies Anywhere. You will not be disappointed.

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3 months ago

What are Adaptive Icons and why do I want them?

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Android icons have always been a mess. Adaptive icons want to fix that.

Android is an open system, and it's a diverse system, especially when it comes to its apps and their icons. Some icons are lifted straight from the iOS versions of the same app. Some icons have unique and fun shapes. Some icons are completely flat, while others have deep drop shadows. Your app drawer on Android can look like a bit of a design style melting pot, and with Android Oreo's Adaptive Icons, Google wants to fix it — again.

This is the second year in a row that Google has refocused efforts to standardize and fix app icons in a new version of Android, but what exactly are these new Adaptive Icons? And will this succeed where previous efforts have failed?

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3 months ago

Mint SIM vs. Project Fi: Which is better for you?

It's Mint SIM vs. Project Fi in this head-to-head comparison.

Mint SIM and Project Fi are "alternative carriers" or mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). They're not the Big Four (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile), but they lease coverage from those networks and resell it to you for less. Plans are often prepaid and fixed contracts are few and far between.

Let's compare Mint SIM and Project Fi to see how they stack up against one another.

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Mint SIM background

Who owns it? Ultra Mobile

Which network does it use? T-Mobile 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 2016

Tethering allowed? No.

Cheapest plan: $45 for 3 months: 2GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and 2G data

Project Fi background

Who owns it? Google

Which network does it use? Sprint CDMA and LTE, T-Mobile 4G LTE, U.S. Cellular CDMA and LTE

How long has it been around? Since 2015

Tethering allowed? Yes

Cheapest plan: $20/month: Unlimited nationwide talk and text, unlimited international text

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Mint SIM plans

Mint SIM doesn't operate with traditional contracts. You pay up front for your term, which can be 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months, with "buying in bulk" saving you more money in the long run. All plans include unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data, though you only get so much 4G LTE per month. Unlimited international texting is included in all plans.

Duration Small (2GB LTE) Medium (5GB LTE) Large (10GB LTE) 3 months $15/month ($45 upfront) $20/month ($60 upfront) $25/month ($75 upfront) 6 months $18/month ($108 upfront) $24/month ($144 upfront) $30/month ($180 upfront) 12 months $15/month ($180 upfront) $20/month ($240 upfront) $25/month ($300 upfront)

Add-ons

As far as add-ons are concerned, Mint SIM's selection is very slim:

Extra data:

  • 1GB/month: $10
  • 3GB/month: $20

International credit:

Mint SIM's plans contain no international calling, though unlimited international texting is included. You can add international calling credit to your account in $5, $10, or $20 increments.

You can see a list of international rates here.

Mint SIM also offers a 7-day money back guarantee on service plans.

Mint SIM phones

Mint SIM uses T-Mobile's nationwide network. Any phone built for T-Mobile will work with Mint SIM's LTE network and Wi-Fi calling options. For Unlocked phones, the network requirements are:

  • Phones supporting only 1900 MHZ and 850 MHz will be able to use the service, but won't be able to access the high-speed network in many parts of the U.S.
  • A fully compatible phone is one that supports the AWS bands (1700/2100 MHz), the 1900 MHz and 850 MHz bands and Band 12 (700 MHz).

If you're not sure the phone you have will work, give Mint a call at 844-646-8746 (6-6 PT Mon-Fri, 8-5 PT on Saturday) or you can chat with a specialist at the Mint SIM website.

Project Fi plans

Project Fi offers two types of plans: family and single line. What you get with each plan is the same, but you'll save money on each additional family plan line (up to 5 lines).

The Basics 1GB LTE Price $20/month $10/month Free Extras Unlimited international texting
Call and text from any Android or iPhone

Family Plan

The Basics 1GB LTE Primary line price $20/month $10/month Secondary lines (up to 5) $15/month $10/month Free Extras Unlimited international texting
Call and text from any Android or iPhone

Note: Google calls the base Project Fi plan "The Basics." No data is included and must be purchased at the rate of $10/GB. Data is not shared between lines on a family plan. Each line pays the same $10 per GB of data (domestic and international in 135 countries) with the cost of any unused data refunded at the end of each month

Add-ons

Data-only SIM:

Google offers a data-only SIM card to use in any compatible LTE device, It shares data with the primary line at the same $10/GB rate. You need to have at least one line of service and purchase a minimum of 1GB of data to use the data-only SIM card.

Data pricing:

  • 1GB of 4G LTE: $10/month

Phone Insurance:

$5 per month per device covers accidental damages and device malfunctions. You can make one in a 12-month period. Deductibles are $79 for Pixel, $99 for Pixel XL, $69 for Nexus 5X, $99 for Nexus 6P. When you make a claim Google will ship out a replacement device the next business day.

International add-ons:

International cellular calls cost $0.20 per minute.

Google Wi-Fi services:

Your Project Fi phone service includes Wi-Fi calling and texting anywhere in the world. In addition, Google VPN services are available and allow you to connect to open Wi-Fi hotspots safely and securely.

Project Fi and Google Hangouts apps:

The Project Fi app is tied to your Google account and can be installed on any Android or iPhone. You can pay your bill, check account balances and talk to customer service through the app at no cost. The Google Hangouts app allows calls and texts using your Project Fi number on any Android or iPhone.

Project Fi phones

Project Fi only supports phones from Google. That means your selection is currently limited to:

  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus 6P
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL

Note: While it's possible to enable Project Fi on unsupported phones, this is against the Project Fi terms of service.

A data-only SIM is available and can be used in any compatible LTE device as long as at least one line of Fi service is active.

Which should I go with?

Google's Project Fi refunds you for any unused data every month, but the $10/GB baseline means it will always be the more expensive option when buying data. From a pure price perspective, Mint SIM is the better bargain.

That being said, if you aren't using a lot of data every month or can take advantage of the Google VPN Wi-Fi offloading, Project Fi's options and services can be compelling. Google is a bit more forward thinking than most other carriers and services like the free VPN that connects you to open WI-Fi hotspots and free international texting from any Android or iPhone can't be ignored. Nor can the excellent coverage map Project Fi offers through the combined network of T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular and Wi-Fi services.

The final thing to consider is phone choice. Your new Samsung Galaxy S8 or iPhone isn't supported on Project Fi, which only officially supports phones from Google. Both, as well as many other unlocked models, are supported by Mint SIM.

Both carriers are a great way to break free of the shackles of the Big Four carriers, but your usage will determine which is best for you.

Update August 2017: with new plan pricing and terms.

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

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3 months ago

How to find your lost Android phone

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How to track an Android phone

How do I track my Android phone? There are quite a few tools at your disposal.

Worried about misplacing your phone or (worse yet) having it stolen? Ease your fears and set up a tracking system before your worst case scenario strikes. For best locating results, your phone should be connected to a Wi-Fi signal, but GPS and mobile networks will still manage to pinpoint a fairly accurate location. You must also have a Google account for virtually all of the tracking services available, whether they are built in or downloaded.

How to locate your phone using Google

Most Android phones now come with Find My Device (formerly Android Device Manager) built in. This service will automatically track your phone's location, so if it ever goes missing you can hop on your laptop or a friend's phone and find it's last known location, ring your phone if it's near by and you need a hint, or lock and/or erase your phone if you fear it has been stolen.

The most important thing you can do is make sure your phone is set up to be found before it goes missing. Otherwise, you're basically on your own.

How to enable Find My Device on your phone

In newer Android phones, the Find My Device service is already located conveniently in your Settings app, but if you can't find it you can always download Find My Device from the Google Play Store. This locating service has essentially amalgamated with Google to make finding your phone easier. There are just a couple of things you'll need to activate.

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap Security.
  3. Tap Device Administration.

    Launch Settings, tap Security, tap Device Administration

  4. Tap Find My Device so that a checkmark appears in the checkbox.
  5. Tap the back button in the top left corner of your screen.
  6. Tap the back button again in the top left corner to return to the main Settings menu.

    Tap Find My Device, tap top left arrow, tap left arrow again

  7. Tap Location in the main Settings menu.
  8. Tap the switch beside Location at the top of the screen so that it turns on.
  9. Tap Mode.

    Tap Location, tap the switch beside Location so that it turns on, tap Mode

  10. Tap High accuracy so the circle is filled in.
  11. Tap the back button in the top left corner.
  12. Tap Google Location History.

    Tap High accuracy, tap top left arrow, tap Google Location History

  13. Tap the switch beneath Location History so that it turns on.
  14. Tap the switch beside your device so that it turns on.

    Toggle on and make sure device is toggled on

How to locate your phone with Google

Should you happen to lose your phone, you can locate its whereabouts by logging into your Google account from any computer or even from another phone.

  1. Launch a web browser from a phone, tablet, or computer.
  2. Navigate to Google if it is not your default search engine or home page.
  3. Type find my phone android in the Google search bar.

    Launch web browser, navigate to google, type find my phone android

  4. Tap on Find My Device (usually the first option in the search).
  5. Enter your email address and password just as though you were checking your email. If you have 2-step verification set up on your Google account (and you most certainly should), you'll need to complete that process as well.

    Tap the first Android Device Manger option, enter your email and password

When your phone is located, you have three options to choose from:

  • You can Ring your phone so that it makes noise (even if you had it on silent). This feature is helpful if the map indicates that the phone is within earshot and you simply can't see it.
  • You can Lock your phone so that the finder can't access your home screen. This feature is most helpful if your phone wasn't previously secured with a passcode or a fingerprint sensor.
  • You can Erase your phone. This is the best option if you know for certain that you aren't likely to retrieve your phone.

    Choose to ring, lock, or erase phone when located

If you are trying to locate your phone with Find My Device and it doesn't seem to be working, the most likely cause is that your phone is not currently connected to Wi-Fi or an available network. In this case, it's important to keep trying; the moment your phone does make that connection, it will appear on the map.

If you want to download a tracking app for fear of a missing phone crisis, there are a number of options to choose from, and we're highlighting some choice picks for you.

Find your phone with third-party apps

While Google's built-in option is definitely your best bet, there are some third-party options you might want to consider. We've broken down the best third-party apps for finding your phone below.

Family Locator

Family Locator app

The Family Locator app by Life360 is essentially a GPS tracker for phones but is especially useful for families with multiple phones in use. Your family members become a "Circle", the app's name for a closed group of people who consent to having their phones tracked in real time. Your family members will appear on live maps within the app as little icons so that you can see where everyone is at any given moment.

The app also allows you to chat with people in your Circle or broadcast a meeting time and location. And, of course, if a phone from within your Circle is ever lost or stolen, the app will track it on the map.

Download: Family Locator (Free with in-app purchases)

Cerberus anti theft

Cerberus anti theft app

This locator app from Cerberus offers an impressive array of remote control features if you find your phone has been lost or stolen. You'll still be able to lock, ring, or erase your phone, but you'll also be able to remotely access your camera or sound a loud alarm from your phone, even if it was on silent mode when you lost it.

The advanced features allow you to hide Cerberus in your app drawer so that it can't be detected if and when your phone is found or stolen. Your missing phone will transmit data to you via the Cerberus website or via SMS text from another phone with the Cerberus app installed.

Download: Cerberus anti theft (Free with in-app purchases)

Prey Anti Theft

Prey Anti Theft app

The Prey Anti Theft app is impressive in that three different devices can be protected through one download. You'll have the ability to sound an alarm from your missing phone, take screenshots if it's in use, and lock down the device the moment you realize it's missing.

Once you've downloaded the app, it will walk you through a series of tutorials to show you how to use your Prey Account to track your phone. The app itself is free and doesn't require additional purchases in order to access the high-end features.

Download: Prey Anti Theft (Free)

Lost Android

Lost Android app

Lost Android will allow you to have remote access to your missing phone via their website. Here, you'll be able to erase sensitive information if you fear that your phone may never be returned, or send messages to your phone in the hopes of someone finding and returning it.

Additionally, you can choose to remotely forward any calls you may be missing to another number and record a running list of any calls or messages made or photos taken with your phone.

Download: Lost Android (Free with in-app purchases)

Where's My Droid

Wheres My Droid app

The basic features of the Where's My Droid app allow you to ring your phone if you misplace it, locate it via GPS on Google Maps, and use a passcode to prevent unauthorized changes to apps on your Android phone. Stealth Mode also prevents anyone who finds your phone from seeing your incoming text messages; instead, they'll see a customizable attention word that alerts them of the phone's lost or stolen status.

The Pro version of the app, which you pay to use, lets you remotely wipe data from your phone, use a landline to access your phone, and remotely lock the device.

Download: Where's My Droid (Free with in-app purchases)

The best solution

Google's phone location tools are your best bet — as long as you've gone through the process of setting things up ahead of time. Really, this should be something you set up on any device you care about or that will have sensitive data stored on it, especially with how easy Google has made it to locate your device should you lose it.

Of course, one of the benefits of Android is having the freedom to customize your experience as you see fit. If for whatever reason Google's offering just doesn't cut it for you, you should consider the third-party options we've highlighted above, as they include some clever features that might give you some added peace of mind if your device goes missing.

If your phone is stolen or found and it's then factory reset, you will not be able to rely on any apps or services to find it; a factory reset will wipe out any of the original data, accounts, or passwords that are needed to remotely find your Android phone.

As always, exercise caution when retrieving a lost or stolen phone. If you have any concerns about it being lost or stolen, it's best to set up and test your preferred tracking system as soon as you buy it, and contact the police. It can be a bit of extra front-end work to register some apps, but it will be more work trying to locate a missing phone if no safety nets are in place at all.

How do you track?

What app do you use to track your Android phone, if any at all? Let us know in the comments section below!

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3 months ago

Where to buy the Moto Z2 Force

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A new phone is only as good as how easy it is to buy.

In the year since the original Moto Z launched, Motorola made big improvements to its launch strategy. Not only is the Moto Z2 Force available on most big U.S. carriers, but retailers like Best Buy and even Motorola.com are getting in on the fun.

U.S. carriers

Complete U.S. carrier support, you say? Absolutely, take your pick of the top five.

Verizon

Verizon has the best pricing at launch, with a total retail price of $756 but also a really great deal if you choose to finance the phone. Customers with unlimited data plans can get the Z2 Force for just $15 per month, or $360 in total, assuming they finance over the course of two years and get an Unlimited plan. Buyers get a free Insta-Share Projector Mod with each purchase.`

You can pick from black or gold at Verizon.

See at Verizon


AT&T

AT&T has quoted a price of $27 per month for the Moto Z2 Force, but on its 30-month installment plan, which adds up to a hefty $810 in total.

As is the case most other places you buy it, if you buy the Z2 Force from AT&T the carrier will offer a free Insta-Share Projector Mod (a $299 value) — the offer stands until October 6.

See at AT&T


T-Mobile

T-Mobile has set its price at $30 down and $30 per month for 24 months, or a total of $750 outright. Those with JUMP plans will pay $0 down and $34 a month for 18 months. T-Mobile has an exclusive Lunar Grey color of the Z2 Force.

On top of the free Insta-Share Projector Mod, T-Mobile is also running a limited time buy-one, get-one deal where you'll receive a $750 prepaid card after buying two Moto Z2 Forces with a second line.

See at T-Mobile


Sprint

Sprint's pricing breaks down to $792, with options for financing or an 18-month lease at $33 per month. You can get it in black or gold, and get in on that free Projector Mod as well.

See at Sprint


Best Buy

As is typical, Best Buy is offering carrier versions of the Z2 Force but with some pricing incentives. It's worth checking out Best Buy's deals to see if they can undercut going directly to the carrier of your choice.

See at Best Buy

Motorola.com

Motorola.com isn't selling the Moto Z2 Force unlocked — likely because the deal with the carriers necessitated that — but it is discounting some of the phones to $720 even. You can grab the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile versions for slightly less than you would get it on the carriers' websites — Verizon comes in a little cheaper with the account credit.

Interested? The Moto version is only available in black.

See at Motorola

International

Motorola's official line on international availability of the Moto Z2 Force is that it will start hitting more countries "later this summer," though no time table is offered. This is typically because each country (or even specific retailers) is likely to announce its own date independently. You can count on availability in select countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and Motorola specifically names Mexico and Brazil as launch countries as well.

Moto Z2 Force

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Best Buy

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3 months ago

ProTip: Set your games to auto-update so you don't miss anything!

Don't be stuck waiting for loading screens!

We've all been there: at the end of a long day, we go home, turn on our gaming system... and instead of sweet gaming freedom we get to watch a progress bar meander across the screen at the speed of a slug. Fortunately, you can set your system up to automatically update your games, which will not only help you avoid this problem, but will also make sure you're playing the newest version of your game.

Read more at VRHeads

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3 months ago

Keep your screen on in Pokémon Go (or any app) with Tasker

13
Crank it up

The moment your screen goes unexpectedly black is gut-wrenching.

You're getting to the juiciest details of an e-book when the story cuts to black. You're looking at some breath-taking artwork and a wet blanket of darkness kills the mood. You're trying to find an elusive Pokémon before its spawn window ends and your screen times out just as an outline appears. Sure, this horror is momentary, and a simple press of the power button ends your blackout, but its effects can be devastating, and we don't need our screen timeout cranked up all the time; cranking it up for specific apps can let us fight back against the darkness.

This is also a great way to introduce yourself to Tasker.

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3 months ago

Best Places to Buy a Used Phone

16

Buying a used phone doesn't have to be overly complicated or stressful.

The used phone market is an iceberg; you can only see the tip sticking out of the water, but it goes far deeper than you can imagine. This bears out in a recent Deloitte report that claims the used phone market grew to 120 million units in 2016, generating $17 billion for their owners. That number is only going to get bigger faster, too: IDC believes that by 2020, over 220 million used devices will be sold or traded in annually.

That's a lot of gear, and similar to how a new car loses its value once it's driven off the lot, phones immediately become cheaper once they're removed from the plastic wrapping. For a seller — even one who treats his or her phone with the utmost care — that can be problematic. For a buyer, though, that becomes an opportunity to pick up a gently-used device for a great deal.

Things to consider before you buy a used phone

We've already written of the most important considerations you need to take into account when buying a new phone — do a visual inspection if possible; always purchase from a reputable seller; be patient; be aware of carrier locks or other roadblocks; look into insurance, especially if the phone is out of warranty — but there are a few other things to think about.

The first is what kind of used phone you're looking to buy:

  • A used phone purchased directly from a seller (eg. Craigslist)
  • A used phone purchased through an intermediary that has verified its condition (eg. Gazelle)
  • A refurbished phone that has been through a "touch-up" directly from the manufacturer or a partner (eg. Samsung)

Know what kind of used phone buying experience you want before you start shopping around.

You can probably get the best deal buying directly from someone else because there is no intermediary taking a fee, but you also run the risk of the phone having issues that the naked eye can't see. If you know exactly what you want and know what to look for, you're probably going to be comfortable buying a used phone from a direct marketplace like Craiglist, Swappa or one of many buy/sell forums.

If you don't want to take any chances with the quality, but still don't mind a bit of wear and tear, buying through an intermediary marketplace like Gazelle could work really well. The phones often come with (admittedly limited) warranties and money-back guarantees which, as a buyer, offers considerably more peace of mind than the average "meet up at the nearby 7-Eleven and hand over a wad of cash" type deal.

Finally, buying a certified refurbished phone is your safest bet, but comes with the least discount over a new product. Both Samsung and Apple sell refurbished phones directly on their websites, and though the savings are not substantial, they're at least guaranteed to work, and well properly. For example, Samsung sells an AT&T-locked 32GB Galaxy S6 for $399. The same phone can be had for between $239 and $309 at Gazelle, which inspects but doesn't refurbish the products, and between $130 and $225 at Swappa, which merely connects buyers and sellers. But Samsung sells its refurbished models with a 12-month warranty, a charger and cable, and brand new headphones. Gazelle throws in a charger but no headphones, and Swappa just ensures a clean exchange (for a small fee).

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The best places to buy a used phone

This is not an exhaustive list. There are innumerable places to buy a used phone on the internet, and depending on your country, this list may not be as applicable (though we tried to highlight international marketplaces as much as possible).

Craigslist

Craigslist tends to set up "meet up at the nearby 7-Eleven and hand over a wad of cash" type phone deals, which can be hit-or-miss depending on how adept you are at identifying scams — of which there are many.

The main thing Craigslist has going for it is size and scale — it's practically everywhere, and has communities for almost every city in the world. You will be able to find a used phone on Craigslist, that's not the problem; the problem is sifting through the thousands of listings to find something worth pursuing and ensuring that the phone you decide on does not have underlying damage or, worse, that its IMEI (a unique number that helps identify individual devices) hasn't been blocked due to theft.

  • Good Good prices, excellent availability, and plenty of choice, with the option of buying local to check condition
  • Bad Hard to verify sellers or the quality of the phones

Learn more at Craigslist

eBay

eBay is enormous, and today continues to be one of the top places to purchase a used phone. It has the advantages of Craigslist, scale, with few of the disadvantages, especially since it uses PayPal to ensure that payments can be recalled should there be a problem.

For buyers, eBay has a robust filtering system, allowing you to search for exactly what you want, with filters for price, carrier — even color. Of course, eBay still has its roots as an auction house, and that is how some used phones are still sold, but far more of them are sold at set prices. eBay charges sellers, not buyers, to host their listings, so all you need to do is find the right listing and you're off to the races.

eBay's best feature is its Money Back Guarantee which, combined with the extensive seller profiles, make it easy to buy with confidence. If there's an issue with the device, or the shipment, you can apply to get your money back and, within reason, eBay will either cancel the PayPal transaction or, if it's already gone through, refund you. And seller profiles let you filter potential purchases based on trusted sellers that have been around the block once, ten, or ten thousand times.

  • Good Lots of selection with verifiable sellers with a money back guarantee.
  • Bad Potentially high cost of shipping, and you won't be able to see the device before buying

Learn more at eBay

Swappa

Swappa began its life as a small Android-based phone buying and selling community, but it's since expanded to include all mobile devices like iPhones, as well as tablets, Chromebooks and MacBooks.

Swappa works on a set fee structure that's very different to most other platforms, and this is important: the buyer pays the fee. Most will pay under $20 for the privilege, and all payments are done over PayPal, which is incredibly convenient and secure. Why is a buyer fee better for both buyers and sellers? Because it encourages sellers to list their products on Swappa, adding inventory to a service that relies heavily on participation.

Swappa does not physically inspect devices, but it does do a few things to make sure the buyer is getting what he or she pays for: all listings are verified by a human, who ensures that the IMEI is valid and can be activated. All listings must have good quality photos that clearly show any damage, and the quality (fair/good/excellent) should match the photos. And the cost of shipping is included in the price of the listing, which should prevent post-sale price gouging. And because Swappa uses PayPal, all listings are protected, so if a device doesn't arrive as advertised, buyers have recourse to get their money back.

Finally, Swappa's prices tend to be lower than many curated services since, aside from the flat fee, the seller sets the price.

  • Good Plenty of listings with clear quality guidelines and good prices
  • Bad Buyer pays fee, no warranty or accessories

Learn more at Swappa

Gazelle

Gazelle uses an interesting model: it buys phones from sellers and resells some of them on its website just like a regular e-commerce store (the rest are either recycled or sold to third parties). The advantage is that once Gazelle receives the device it performs a so-called "30-point inspection process" to ensure that it is in working order, and puts a SIM card in it to make sure it can properly connect to a network.

As a buyer, that means you may pay slightly more than Swappa for the equivalent model, but you get a phone that is guaranteed to work, either unlocked on a number of carriers or the one that it is advertised to be locked to, and there is a 30-day return policy if you're not completely satisfied.

Gazelle also offers financing options, which allows it to compete with carriers by offering flexible payment plans that don't require a lot of money up front. At the same time, Gazelle doesn't accept every type of Android phone because its inspection system is only optimized for a handful of models — all popular Galaxys are accepted, but it only recently started buying (and selling) the Google Pixel — which ensures a higher-quality buying experience.

  • Good Seamless buying experience with plenty of choice, all phones come with a charger and are guaranteed to work, 30-day money back return policy
  • Bad Doesn't sell every type of phone, could be more expensive than other options

Learn more at Gazelle

Glyde

Glyde has an interesting business model, somewhere between Swappa and Gazelle. Like Swappa, it's a user-to-user e-commerce portal but, like Gazelle, it asserts some control over the potential exchange by forcing the seller to use its secure shipping container, and doesn't release payment to the seller until the buyer receives it. It also promises to refund a disappointed buyer within 72-hours.

All phones, from iPhones to Galaxys to Windows phones, are available to purchase on Glyde, and buyers pay no additional fee beyond what is shown on the site.

  • Good Lots of choice and buyers have leverage if unhappy with a sale
  • Bad Phones are not inspected beforehand so what you see may not be what you get

Learn more at Glyde

Your choices

What are your favorite places to buy used phones? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 months ago

Common LG G6 problems and how to fix them

37
LG G6

Having issues with your LG G6? We're here to help.

The LG G6 is a solid phone, and LG has regularly used the word "reliable" to describe its construction. But no phone is entirely immune to issues once people load it up with apps and data — and you may be running into issues with yours. Fear not! No matter the issue you're having, there's a good chance you aren't alone and there are ways to fix it.

Here are some tips to help solve some of the most common LG G6 problems.

Bad battery life

LG G6 battery info screen

Most people will be totally fine with the 3300mAh battery in the LG G6, but if someone offers you more you'd take it. If your battery isn't holding up, try these tips:

  • Battery saver mode can help you get the most out of your battery — you can turn it on at any time from the settings, or you can set it to come on automatically at 15% or 5% battery. When enabled, battery saver mode will reduce brightness and vibration, and limit apps from running in the background.
  • Sometimes it's simply an app or two running unnecessarily in the background that's draining your battery. To check for battery-draining apps, head into the settings, then "battery & power saving" and tap on "battery usage" to see if any apps are using a considerable amount without reason. You'll want to uninstall any apps that are using a lot of battery when you're not actually using them.
  • Along those same lines, you should uninstall unused apps that may be running without your knowledge. If you have unused apps the G6 should be "optimizing" them to not run in the background, but the best way to guarantee that is to uninstall them.
  • It looks great, but you can turn off Always-on display to save a notable amount of battery over the course of the day. You can turn it on or off from the display settings, or you can choose to do a "daily timeout" and have always-on display only turn on for a specified period of the day which may work as a nice middle ground.

More: How to fix LG G6 battery life problems

Running out of storage

While some areas of the world get an LG G6 with 64GB of storage, if you have a model with just 32GB you may be feeling the squeeze a bit once you have your usual set of apps and media loaded on your phone.

  • The quickest way to fix storage woes is to get an SD card. There are lots of great SD cards out there to strike whatever balance you need between capacity, speed and price. Pop it in your LG G6 and start to use it for files like photos, videos and music — just remember you won't be able to move most apps to the SD card.
  • Offload photos to a cloud management service like Google Photos. Google Photos offers unlimited high-quality backup of your photos (or you can pay to upload full-quality images), and once they're uploaded you can safely delete local copies if you need to save space. It's always a good idea to back them up somewhere else, too, though!
  • Delete unused apps. Chances are you have a dozen or more apps that you installed thinking you'd use them one day and never do. Big culprits can be games, which can be gigabytes in size each. Remember, you can always download them from Google Play again if you decide you want them back.

Home screen launcher isn't right for you

LG G6 home screen icon settings

We would say that LG's home screen launcher is an acquired taste. If you don't like what your LG G6's home screen looks like right out of the box, there are a couple things you can do to tweak it.

  • Turn on the app drawer by long-pressing on your home screen and tapping on "home screen settings" — tap on "select home" and choose "home & app drawer." This will switch the home screen to a more typical layout that puts all of your apps in an app drawer and lets you choose what's on the screens themselves.
  • If you don't find it useful, turn off Smart Bulletin on the launcher. This is the leftmost home screen that gives you questionably useful information from your calendar and accounts, along with lots of fluff from LG. Swipe over to Smart Bulletin, tap the gear icon in the top-right corner and tap the toggle to turn it off.
  • Maybe you don't like the odd frames that LG puts on every icon — you can turn off the icon frames. Head into the phone's settings, then "home screen" and tap on "icon shape" to change this. Unless you have some strong affinity for squircles, chances are you'll prefer the "original" setting where icons can just be whatever the app itself decided they should be. (Note: some carriers may tweak or remove this setting entirely.)
  • If these tips don't help, you can consider a new launcher altogether. There are dozens of great launchers in the Google Play Store, and if you give a few a try you may find one that has the features and design that you like. Most of them are very customizable so you can find exactly the look you desire. Need help finding one? We've got you covered!

Read: The best Android launchers

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS problems

Issues with wireless radios on your phone can be some of the most frustrating, but also tough to diagnose, problems. There are so many variables at play here that your issues may not be related to the phone itself — but if you're having trouble these tips may be able to help.

  1. Make sure you turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, wait a few seconds and turn it back on. If that doesn't fix the problem, head to the next step.
  2. Restart your phone. Sometimes all that's needed a quick kick to the reset button and you're good to go.
  3. If Wi-Fi problems persist, try forgetting the network by long pressing on the network name and tapping Forget network. Then tap the network again to re-enter the password and re-connect.
  4. If Bluetooth problems persist, try unpairing the device from your phone and re-pairing. To do that, tap on the cog icon next to the product's name and hit Unpair. Put the device you're connecting to in pairing mode and connect again.
  5. If you're worried you may have tweaked settings inadvertently and want to start over, go to Backup & reset, Network settings reset and then tap Reset settings to start fresh

If the problems persist at this point, chances are they are related to something else in the chain, like the wireless router or Bluetooth accessory you're trying to use. Follow troubleshooting steps for those devices and start fresh.

How to factory reset the LG G6

Sometimes an issue — or confluence of several issues — just can't be solved, and the only solution is to factory reset your phone and start over. It's annoying to go through that, but sometimes it's your only hope. Back up any data you want to save, then follow these steps:

  1. Open your phone's Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Backup & reset.
  3. Tap Factory data reset.
  4. Tap Reset phone.
  5. Enter your PIN/pattern/password and confirm.

When your phone restarts, it will be as if you just took it out of the box for the first time. Start fresh, be judicious about the apps you install and see if you can remedy your issues.

Other issues

What are your main issues with the LG G6? We'll keep this article updated as new information becomes available, and you can also find help in our forums!

Update August 2017: Article kept up to date with the latest information on how to fix common LG G6 problems.

LG G6

Verizon Sprint T-Mobile AT&T B&H

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3 months ago

How to change the language and speaking style of Bixby Voice

9

How do I change the language or speaking style of Bixby?

Bixby Voice responds to your queries as a virtual assistant that lives in your pocket. Some folks might not want to listen to the Bixby voice "Stephanie" or you might be hoping to switch those responses to another language. This is a pretty simple process from within the settings of the Bixby app, and it should only take you a few moments to do.

Get the details here!

How to change the language of Bixby Voice

  1. Launch the Bixby app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button in the upper right corner of your screen. (It looks like three vertical dots).
  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Tap Language and speaking style.
  5. Tap Languages.
  6. Tap the language you want Bixby to speak in.

How to change the speaking style of Bixby Voice

  1. Launch the Bixby app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button in the upper right corner of your screen. (It looks like three vertical dots).
  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Tap Language and speaking style.
  5. Tap on the Bixby icon next to the speaking style you want Bixby to use.

Questions?

Do you still have questions about changing the language or speaking style of Bixby? Do you prefer one speaking style over another? Be sure to drop us a comment and let us know about it!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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 months ago

Best Places To Buy A Refurbished Phone

5
Android phones

Phones are expensive, but they don't have to be that expensive.

Everyone wants a high-end phone, but the problem is bringing yourself to actually pay the high prices required for one. Some people are happy to pay retail, but others are looking for a deal — and one of the ways to find discounts is to look for refurbished phones.

But as you'd expect, buying a refurbished phone isn't as simple as walking into a store and asking for one — it takes a bit more research and understanding. To help you navigate it, we have all of the information you need right here to make a good choice in buying a refurbished phone.

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What does 'refurbished' mean?

Even though we see "refurbished" thrown around a lot, that doesn't mean it's necessarily a standardized term. You may often see it used interchangeably with "recertified," "reconditioned" or just "open box" or "pre-owned" as well. No matter the exact word, in general it means it's a product that was manufactured to sell as new, but for whatever reason was returned to the manufacturer — either by a store, reseller or customer — and is now ready to be sold again. They're sold at a discount, and that's why people are interested in them.

The terminology changes, but the idea is the same.

Refurbished devices could have simply been opened and returned to a store, but could have also been returned to the manufacturer for a malfunction that was then fixed before selling again. Most of the time, depending on the country where you're shopping, a product that was been purchased and opened — and possibly not even removed from the packaging or powered on — can no longer be sold as "new" and must be sold as refurbished instead. Stores, resellers or companies themselves then have to discount the device because it technically isn't new-in-box and therefore can't command the same price as a new phone.

Unfortunately, it's hard to know when shopping for a refurbished phone why exactly the phone has made its way to refurbished status or what was done to the phone to then certify that it was refurbished.

What to look for when shopping refurbished

The issue with refurbished phones is that you don't necessarily know which of the possible pathways it took to be refurbished in the first place. And the truth is, you may never know even after you have the phone in your hands. But there are some good tips to follow when shopping for a refurbished phone.

  • Buy from the original company or reputable store whenever possible. They do the best refurbishing process, and can actually offer some sort of guarantee that the phone is in good, working condition.
  • See what warranty, if any, is offered for the refurbished phones. Some manufacturers will offer a full warranty for refurbished phones, while third parties typically won't.
  • Read the fine print on the sale — even though it may be hard to find. Most refurbished or open-box phones are sold "as is" with little or no option for returns or refunds.
  • Keep in mind the age of the device you're looking to buy. Sometimes companies won't be selling refurbished versions of the latest phones, but instead a model or two older. It may be nicely discounted, but much of that discount is likely due to it just being old.
  • If the price is too good to be true ... then it probably is! If you see a retailer selling a late-model "refurbished" phone for something like half the retail price or less, there's likely some sort of catch you've yet to find. Refurbished phones will be cheap, but they won't be a steal.

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Where to buy refurbished

If you're doing your researched and are ready to buy refurbished, here are some great places to look that often have refurbished, recertified, pre-owned or open-box phones.

  • Best Buy sells refurbished, pre-owned and open-box phones from a variety of companies at discounts ranging from 10-30%. Open-box deals in particular are great because they're typically devices that have just been purchased, opened and returned, not even used. Because of this, you can typically find the latest models of phones for sale, rather than just old models.
  • Samsung sells certified pre-owned devices, typically at least one model year old, at solid but not substantial discounts. The upside here is getting a full one-year warranty as if you bought it new.
  • Gazelle refurbishes and sells phones it buys from consumers, and typically offers up popular devices from Samsung that it can turn the biggest profits on. This means there's a small selection, and it may not always offer the latest devices, but has some great prices.
  • Verizon has certified pre-owned devices, but the selection is small and isn't always the best deal. Buying certified from the carrier gives you a bit of security, though, as Verizon will guarantee you're getting a working device.
  • T-Mobile also sells certified pre-owned devices at deep discounts, generally limited to the most popular models out there from Samsung. The carrier will also offer similar support to that of a brand new device, so you do have a safety net there.
  • AT&T technically has certified pre-owned phones, but they're only available online and at any given time you may find just one or two models. You're likely better off buying an unlocked refurbished phone elsewhere.
  • Sprint lands in the same situation as AT&T, having certified pre-owned phones in theory but often have just one or maybe no phones available depending when you look.

Do your research, pick the right store and compare prices before buying, and you're likely to come away with a good phone at a better price than you would ever find on a new-in-box phone.

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3 months ago

Boost Mobile Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know!

4

See what Boost Mobile has to offer!

Boost Mobile is an alternative carrier, or Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), that's owned under the same corporate umbrella as Sprint. So it's no surprise that Boost Mobile offers support for phones that operate on Sprint's CDMA and LTE-based nationwide network.

Boost Mobile offers no-contract plans for individuals on 30-day refills that start at $35 as well as unlimited data plans and family plans. Service plans and phones are available at the Boost Mobile website, and it's also possible to bring your own device as long as it's on the company's very minimal list of approved devices. Boost focuses mainly on selling budget devices but you can still pick out the outstanding Samsung Galaxy S8.

Phone selection aside, Boost Mobile does offer attractive plans and nationwide service, so read on and find a plan that works for you!

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Best Individual Plans

Boost Mobile offers prepaid 30-day plans for individuals. There are no contract commitments required and you pay in advance for a month's worth of service. It offers really competitive wireless plans that include unlimited talk, text, and 3G data for as low as $35 for 30 days of service.

The $35 plan includes 3GB of high-speed data (limited time offer, normally 2GB) at 4G LTE speeds if your phone is compatible. If you need a bit more data, you can get the $50 plan that includes unlimited high-speed data. Just like the talk and text, data is always unlimited but you'll notice a distinct speed drop down to 3G until you refill your account if you go over your monthly allotment. You're able to renew your service online from Boost Mobile. You also have the option to save a few bucks and sign up for the auto-refill option, which you can opt out of at any time with no cancellation fees incurred.

Boost offers a $35 30-day plan that includes unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data with 3GB of high-speed data.

Boost Mobile is rather generous with its high-speed data rates, and since it operates on Sprint's existing infrastructure and equipment it's able to pass along great savings while still offering outstanding coverage from coast to coast.

Boost also offers add-ons for international calling. Starting at $5 per month, plans for calls and texts to Mexico and Canada can be added to any plans, and per-minute bundles for most other countries start at $3.

Boost also offers several extras for all customers. Unlimited Music Streaming offers the ability to stream music for free without it counting towards your data limit. This is available through services like iHeartRatio, Spotify, Pandora, Napster, 8Tracks and Slacker. BoostTV offers 24/7 access to premium live and on-demand video content, and packages start at $10 per month. Additional LTE data can be purchased at $5 per 1GB.

Boost's unlimited plan streams video at 480p by default. A $20 add-on offers unlimited HD video streaming. The $50 unlimited plan also includes unlimited calls and texts to & from Mexico, and up to 8GB of data roaming in Mexico (this is a limited time offer).

Here's what it looks like in summary:

  • $35: Unlimited nationwide calling / text, 3GB of LTE data (limited time only, normally 2GB)
  • $50: Unlimited nationwide calling / text / LTE data (after 23GB you data may be slowed depending on network conditions), unlimited calling / text to and from Mexico, 8GB of data roaming in Mexico

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Best Phones

Boost Mobile offers a wide selection of low-budget Android phones alongside the usual Apple devices, but you can still get the latest and greatest from Samsung, the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Phones are available to be purchased outright at Boost's web site. Of course, you can also stop in at your local Boost Mobile store or kiosk and see what's available in-store.

Best Boost Mobile Phones

Beyond the Galaxy S8, you will also find older models such as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S6, along with a slew of budget phone options for Android. You also have the option to Bring Your Own Device. To start, you'll want to head to the Boost Mobile website and confirm whether your phone is compatible (the list is very limited), then it's simply a matter of ordering a monthly plan.

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Making sure your phone is compatible

Boost is a Sprint property. If you decide to buy your phone directly from Boost mobile, you'll have no compatibility issues, but if you decide to use your existing unlocked phone, things are very limited.

That's because Sprint-branded phones are ineligible and the BYOD list for unlocked phones is as follows:

  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Special Edition
  • Moto G4
  • Moto G4 Plus
  • Moto G5 Plus

Not all unlocked models will be compatible. You can check your phone at the Boost Mobile site.

Start here to check your phone's compatibility

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How to cancel Straight Talk

Since Boost Mobile exclusively offers prepaid plans with no contracts to sign, you're free to stop using Boost by simply not refilling your account by the end of your current term.

There is also a 7-day guarantee for phones purchased through Boost Mobile.

Finding another MVNO

If you're not happy with Boost Mobile for one reason or another, there are plenty of alternative carriers to choose from.

Learn more

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

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3 months ago

How to disable Bixby Voice

37

You can disable Bixby Voice with just a few taps!

Bixby Voice lets you ask questions to your Galaxy S8, or Galaxy Note 8 and receive answers vocally. While this is handy for some people, not everybody wants to have Bixby answering questions for them. By turning off Bixby Voice, holding the Bixby button will now launch the app instead of a speech bubble. Turning Bixby Off — or back on — only takes a few moments, and we've got the details for you here!

How to turn off Bixby Voice

  1. Launch the Bixby app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button in the upper right corner of your screen. (It looks like three vertical dots.)
  3. Tap on settings.

    Launch the Bixby app on your phone, Tap the menu button, Tap on Settings.

  4. Tap the toggle next to Bixby Voice.
  5. Tap Turn Off.

    Tap the toggle next to Bixby Voice, Tap Turn Off.

Questions?

Do you have questions about turning off Bixby Voice? Do you prefer leaving Bixby Voice turned off? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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3 months ago

Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S8 in the U.S.

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Here's where you can buy Samsung's latest phones.

Samsung will sell you a Galaxy S8 and S8+ from just about anywhere you want. Every carrier, retailer and online store you can think of has these phones, and for the most part they each offer the same colors and plan options as well. We've rounded up the top places you'll be looking to buy, and you can find all of the info you need right here.

U.S. carriers

All of the U.S. carriers are offering both the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which come with 64GB of storage and in three different colors: black, orchid grey and silver.

Verizon

Verizon comes in at a pretty standard price for the Galaxy S8 at $756, though now and then you can find a discount or promotion that'll knock some money off. Spend just $84 more, and you can have the larger Galaxy S8+.

See at Verizon

AT&T

AT&T's pricing is set at $749 for the Galaxy S8 and $849 for the Galaxy S8+, and offers the longest financing option of 30 months — which spreads out the prices to $25 per month for the GS8 and $28 per month for the GS8+.

See at AT&T

T-Mobile

T-Mobile pegs prices at $750 for the Galaxy S8 and $850 for the Galaxy S8+. If you want to finance your purchase, it breaks down to $30 up front and $30 per month for 24 months for the GS8, or $130 up front and $30 per month for 24 months for the GS8+.

See at T-Mobile

Sprint

Sprint continues to offer the most confusing pricing scheme for its Galaxy phones. The big numbers you see it push are its leasing plans, which are cheap per month but involve returning the phone after 18 months to then pay to get a new one. The Galaxy S8 on an 18 month lease is $31.25 per month, or you can pay that same price per month over 24 months to buy it in full — the full price is then $750. The Galaxy S8+ comes in at $35.42 per month on that 18 month lease, or you can continue to pay the same price over 24 months to pay the full retail price of $850. Those financing deals also mark a $30 discount when ordered online.

See at Sprint

MetroPCS

T-Mobile's low-cost subsidiary MetroPCS is selling just the standard Galaxy S8 and not the S8+. Its pricing is great, at $729, and the carrier often has incentives if you port over your number.

See at MetroPCS

Cricket

The AT&T-owned prepaid carrier is offering up just the Galaxy S8 and not the GS8+ at the moment. You can get it in one color, midnight black, and it'll cost you $699 out the door.

See at Cricket

Retailers

Big retailers like Best Buy and Walmart are selling the Galaxy S8 and S8+, typically tied to a carrier with many of the same perks as the carriers offer directly. Historically these retailers have offered slight discounts in the form of gift cards or accessory incentives, so take a look to see which one is offering the best deal.

Best Buy

Best Buy has both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ on all four major U.S. carriers. Pricing matches that of ordering directly from the carriers, for the most part, with some special deals depending on when you go to order.

See at Best Buy

Walmart

Walmart will let you order the Galaxy S8 and S8+ online, but only if you want it as a prepaid phone from Total Wireless or Straight Talk. If so, the prices are great: $659 for the Galaxy S8, and $759 for the Galaxy S8+ — color choices are limited, though, with some models only offering one or two to choose from.

See at Walmart

If you want to buy from Walmart for one of the big carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular — you'll have to do so in store, at least right now. Prices and availability of different models and carriers may vary depending on your region. You have to use the Walmart "store finder" to get an idea of what you can get.

See at Walmart

Unlocked models

Several weeks after the launch of the carrier-sanctioned versions of the phones, Samsung started making proper U.S. unlocked models available. You can get them from some of the major retailers, as well as Samsung itself.

Best Buy

Right now, Best Buy is the only place that wants to say it is selling an official U.S. unlocked Galaxy S8 or S8+. Pricing is set at $725 for the Galaxy S8 and $825 for the Galaxy S8+.

See at Best Buy

Amazon

You can get the same U.S. unlocked model from Amazon as you can elsewhere. Just be careful that you buy the right one and not some international model that's imported and doesn't have the proper U.S. warranty you likely want.

See at Amazon

Samsung

Why not buy your unlocked Samsung phone directly from Samsung? Its own online store doesn't always have the lowest prices, but is worth considering for some limited-time deals that can crop up. It also offers 24-month financing even when you buy unlocked.

See at Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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3 months ago

5 Important Considerations When Buying a Used Phone

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Buying a used phone can be a heck of a deal, but you need to know what to look out for!

When it's time to upgrade your phone, most of us will go to our carriers and see what deals they have to offer — but don't forget about the bustling used smartphone market. You can find your next great phone at a discounted price by buying used, but we've got some tips to consider before hopping on Craigslist and buying the first phone that pops up.

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Always inspect the phone in person — if possible

It sounds obvious, but turn on the phone and see that it works. Don't get screwed.

Honest folks will properly photograph and report any and all damage on the phone in their online ad, but if you're buying a used phone from a local seller you'll want to do a full inspection before sealing the deal. If you're buying from a local seller and are planning to meet up in public (always choose a public location for in-person meetups), be sure to take the time to look over the device thoroughly.

Look for all signs of wear, but especially any dents along the side or chips around the edge of the screen. Since it's very likely the phone will not be under warranty, you don't want to end up buying a phone that's on its dying legs or on the verge of some serious issues. Also always make sure the phone powers on properly and that it doesn't have any security locks — a telltale sign that someone's trying to sell you a stolen phone.

Look beyond Craigslist and eBay

While you might instinctively search Craigslist or other local swap sites for used phones being sold in your city, or eBay to try and snag an excellent deal, there's an inherent risk involved with both services that you might get ripped off.

That's why you should check out the reputable phone reselling sites out there, which acts as a third-party intermediary between the seller and the buyer while also verifying the condition and value of the phone. You've got two main options to choose from.

Gazelle sells certified pre-owned devices that go through a rigorous inspection process to check for any functionality or cosmetic issues. Gazelle also ensures that all devices are reset prior to shipment and include a USB charger and charging cable for your phone. With unlocked phones as well as models locked to specific carriers available, you can save some money and get a new (to you) phone at a steep discount.

Swappa is the other site worthy of your attention. Swappa relies on PayPal for all transactions, allowing you to pay the seller directly while keeping you protected by PayPal's outstanding buyer protection policy. Swappa offers more comprehensive information about the market prices for phones, too, so you can see how the average price has fallen over time.

Orchard is another service we recommend you check out. The company just expanded to selling Android phones, and every device it sells has gone through a thorough diagnostic to make sure everything is in working order.

No matter which service you go with, make sure you've done your research and know exactly what you're buying.

It pays to be patient

If you're in no immediate hurry to buy a used phone, it might be well worth waiting for the next big phone launch before buying a phone. Consider that the average price of a used Samsung Galaxy S7 edge on Swappa has dropped by around $100 since March 2017 — the Galaxy S8 was released in April, so you can see how the trend works.

So the lesson here is to be strategic. Wait for the next big phone release and watch the market for a flood of last year's device. The next big Android release will be the Galaxy Note 8, so you should expect to see the value of older phones drop a bit on the resale market.

Be aware of any carrier locks

Put your SIM card in it. Make a phone call.

Typically, you're going to find the better deals on a phone that are locked to a specific carrier. This is fine, as long as you buy the right phone for your carrier. While certified sellers will absolutely include whether a phone is carrier locked in the posting title or description, Chuck from across town might be oblivious to this and think he's selling an unlocked phone when it's actually from AT&T.

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To save yourself a headache, if you're buying in person try inserting your SIM card in the phone and powering it on. If you get any network lock notifications, that's an immediate red flag, especially if it was advertised as being unlocked. Ask for an unlock code or walk away.

Alternatively, with sites like Swappa or Gazelle you're typically going to pay a premium for an unlocked phone, so if you can find the phone you want that's available on the carrier you're with go for it. If you have no intentions of switching carriers anytime soon, you can save some serious cash.

Use some of your savings to protect your purchase

Around these parts, we always recommend getting a case or screen protector for your new phone. This advice goes double when you're buying a used phone because you can't be too sure what hell a phone may have gone through before it got into your hands.

I've had phones take a drop and appear to be fine, only to have the screen crack weeks or months later because the structural integrity of the phone had been compromised. The thing is, you just never know for sure with a used phone so it's best to err on the side of caution. Besides, you're already going to be saving a ton of money by buying used, whats $10 or $20 for some accessories that will extend the life of your phone?

The best insurance policies for your phone

What are your tips?

Have you bought used phones before? What was your experience like? Got any tips to add to our list? Share them in the comments below!

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