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17 hours ago

Best Android Phones of 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

The Galaxy S8 has slick new hardware with tiny bezels that let it have a big screen in a small body, but inside it still offers everything you want: a high-end processor, lots of storage, an SD card slot, full waterproofing and a top-end camera.

Yes the fingerprint sensor is slightly awkward to use, but the GS8's iris scanner is dramatically improved to make up for it. And it only takes one look at the industry-leading display to start to forgive Samsung's decisions on the back.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming to novices, you can't argue that Samsung continues to pack in hundreds of features to a single phone, making sure there's something in here for everyone's needs. Samsung continues to take this approach of offering more more more with just a few compromises — and it continues to work.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 gives you piles of features in a beautiful body, and is a great choice for a wide range of potential buyers.

One more thing: Of course, you can always pay a little extra and get the larger Galaxy S8+ for a bit more screen and battery life.

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Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

Samsung's Galaxy S brand carries considerable weight in the mobile world, and the Galaxy S8 continues to both leverage that brand while also offering a fantastic overall smartphone experience that today's consumers want. Once again, Samsung took its core principles of great hardware, a top-end display, waterproofing, solid cameras and mounds of features and updated it all for 2017.

The result is a fresh design that shrinks down the display bezels and really smooths out all of the sharp edges to give you a sleek, thin phone with a really large display that doesn't feel that large. The extra-tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio comes in at 5.8-inches across on the Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inches on the Galaxy S8+, and in both cases feels quite a bit smaller than the numbers would lead you to believe.

The sleek body still packs in top-end specs, of course, starting with that magnificent Super AMOLED display and backing it up with a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895, 4GB of RAM, larger 64GB of storage (plus an SD card slot), a new USB-C port and locking it all down with waterproofing. The batteries are no bigger than last year's models, but battery life hasn't taken any hit. On the other side of the hardware, there's one big downside: Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to an awkward position on the back next to the camera, leaving you with the less-consistent and less-convenient face scanning and iris scanning instead.

Samsung continues to make phones with all of the design and features people are clamoring for.

The camera experience has actually changed more on the front than the back with a new 8MP unit that packs auto focus. But the 12MP rear camera is still no slouch — Samsung has improved its processing to get even more out of this setup, and it remains a competitor for the best overall smartphone camera out there.

The ongoing point of contention when it comes to Samsung phones is the software, and that's the same once again on the Galaxy S8. Samsung continues to put in a massive number of features without removing any from years prior, leaving you with lots of things to get in the way and confuse you when you're trying to get the basics done. On the other hand, it's hard to find someone who can't get done what they need to get done right out of the box on this phone. It truly is aimed at being relevant to as diverse a set of consumers as possible, and it succeeds on that point.

By putting up with a few of the out-of-the-box quirks and taking some time to set it up how you like it, the Galaxy S8 can do anything you want and get it done at a fast pace while looking great as well.

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Best Google experience

Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel XL does almost everything right. Its metal body is well-built and easy to grip, and its spec sheet is still capable, featuring a Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM powering its 5.5-inch QHD display

But the Pixel XL really makes its case because Google owns both the hardware and the software. Even the best manufacturers can't achieve what Google has with its first-party powerhouse. It's fast, clean and lovely to use with Google's apps and services. The downside is the Pixel can't match the others in terms of raw features.

Then there's the camera, which continues to be one of the best in the business, helped along by Google's exemplary electronic stabilization that gives you silky smooth video recording.

Bottom line: Google doesn't compete in the raw number of features, but offers a sleek, consistent and holistic experience that absolutely deserves praise.

One more thing: The Pixel is available unlocked through Google's store in most countries, but if you're in the U.S. we suggest considering buying through Google Fi.

Best for less

LG G6

LG G6

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at B&H

The LG G6 uses a tall 18:9 display and tiny bezels (hey, it even came out before the Galaxy S8) to give you a larger screen in a smaller body. The all-new metal-and-glass design may not be totally inspired, but it's built amazingly well and incorporates lots of little features — like waterproofing — to help it hold up over time.

All of the internal specs you expect are here, even though the battery isn't removable like its predecessors. The one downside here is regional differences: the higher-quality Quad DAC is exclusive to Asia, while wireless charging is only for the North American market.

LG's dual camera setup has returned but with a refined emphasis on the wide-angle camera so it packs the same sensor as the standard camera. The main camera takes fantastic photos to go toe-to-toe with the best of them, and the wide-angle shooter adds in something that no other phone offers.

Bottom line: This is LG's best flagship phone to date, and going a step further it's one that comes in at a notably lower price — around $500 now — than the Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel XL.

One more thing: Shop around a bit before buying, as different retailers and carriers can have varying pricing schemes.

Best alternative

HTC U11

HTC U11

See at Amazon See at HTC

HTC is back at the top competing with the big names after a few years where its flagships just weren't up to speed. The HTC U11 is a great overall phone that has followed industry trends and also executed really well on them.

When viewed from the back you get a beautiful shining glass back that's truly unique. Around front it's a bit more boring, but the 5.5-inch QHD display is a strong panel — and the fingerprint sensor is sensibly located below the screen.

The best example of HTC turning things around is its camera — the 12MP sensor gets all the hardware right, and also has the processing to take best-in-class photos.

Internally you get all of the right stuff, with a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, a big-enough 3000mAh battery and complete waterproofing. The one thing missing? A headphone jack on the bottom.

Bottom-line: The U11 is a great all-around phone at a reasonable $650 price that should definitely be considered in the same realm as other high-end options.

One more thing: This is the only phone on this list without a headphone jack — be ready to use Bluetooth or the included USB-C adaptor.

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Best for speed

OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5

See at OnePlus

OnePlus continues to iterate on its proven formula of offering a phone with top-end internal specs, great software and no obvious flaws for a really competitive price. The OnePlus 5 is blazing fast, has super-clean software and solid battery life.

At this discounted price you get hardware design that's rather simple, a good-but-not-great screen and a simply above-average camera — plus, it's missing waterproofing. OnePlus continues to do well with all of the basics, though.

Even at a slightly higher price of $479, the OnePlus 5 is a great deal in 2017 — especially for those who can't (or won't) spend $600+ on one of the flagship options.

Bottom-line: For a solid experience and future-proof specs for a lower price than the flagship competition, the OnePlus 5 is a great choice.

One more thing: Remember you won't get Verizon or Sprint compatibility on the OnePlus 5 — you'll have to stick to GSM/LTE networks.

Conclusion

For most people, the Galaxy S8 will serve as the best possible choice with its excellent design, top-end hardware, great camera and piles of software features. It's hard to go wrong with this phone, whether you're choosing the Galaxy S8 or the larger Galaxy S8+.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

The Galaxy S8 has slick new hardware with tiny bezels that let it have a big screen in a small body, but inside it still offers everything you want: a high-end processor, lots of storage, an SD card slot, full waterproofing and a top-end camera.

Yes the fingerprint sensor is slightly awkward to use, but the GS8's iris scanner is dramatically improved to make up for it. And it only takes one look at the industry-leading display to start to forgive Samsung's decisions on the back.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming to novices, you can't argue that Samsung continues to pack in hundreds of features to a single phone, making sure there's something in here for everyone's needs. Samsung continues to take this approach of offering more more more with just a few compromises — and it continues to work.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 gives you piles of features in a beautiful body, and is a great choice for a wide range of potential buyers.

One more thing: Of course, you can always pay a little extra and get the larger Galaxy S8+ for a bit more screen and battery life.

Update, June 2017: The Galaxy S8 stays at the top of the list. The OnePlus 5 replaces the OnePlus 3T, while the HTC U11 joins the list and pushes the Moto G5 Plus off.

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19 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy S8: Everything you need to know

180
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Get to know the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ from Samsung.

Samsung is an absolutely massive player in the smartphone space, and that all comes down from up high with the flagship Galaxy S line. The latest in the lineup, the Galaxy S8 and its larger partner the Galaxy S8+, build on the core features and experiences from the Galaxy S7 and bring things into the future with great new design and a few eye-catching features that are all new for 2017.

Here's everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

Galaxy S8 and S8+: The basics

The two phones, which are only differentiated by their screen size and battery capacity, come in at 5.8-inches and 6.2-inches with extra-tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio displays. That battery difference is pretty subtle: 3500mAh for the Galaxy S8+ and 3000mAh for the standard Galaxy S8. You may note that the Galaxy S8+'s battery is actually 100mAh smaller than the Galaxy S7 edge of last year, while the Galaxy S8's is the same size as the Galaxy S7 despite being a larger phone.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside — that'll be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or the Samsung Exynos 8895, depending on the region — will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM, an increase to 64GB of storage, and of course a microSD card slot. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to new software and a new ISP (image signal processor).

This is some beautiful hardware all around.

The overall design for the phones is identical on both sizes, and is still shimmering glass and metal much like the previous generation. It's punctuated by the long edges of the displays curving subtly off the side, more so like the Galaxy Note 7 than the more dramatic Galaxy S7 edge — and to that point, there is no "edge" model here, as both phones sport the curves.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S8 review

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall while staying relatively narrow. Samsung has also moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That necessitated the movement of the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7 to try and pick up the slack.

Get familiar with all of the Galaxy S8's specs

Samsung is trying to drive a narrative that we've moved beyond specs (and you can definitely argue that we have), but the enthusiasts will always want to know the details of what's powering the latest phones. You get just about everything in here that you'd expect

Category Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Display 5.8-inch AMOLED
2960x1440 (570 ppi) 6.2-inch AMOLED
2960x1440 (529 ppi) Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
or Samsung Exynos 8895 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
or Samsung Exynos 8895 Storage 64GB (UFS 2.1) 64GB (UFS 2.1) Expandable microSD up to 256GB microSD up to 256GB RAM 4GB 4GB Rear Camera 12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS 12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7
1.4-micron pixels
OIS Front Camera 8MP, f/1.7
auto focus 8MP, f/1.7
auto focus Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou
LTE Cat.16 Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC, GPS, Glonass, Galileo BeiDou
LTE Cat.16 Charging USB-C
Fast charging
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless USB-C
Fast charging
Qi wireless
Powermat wireless Battery 3000mAh 3500mAh Water resistance IP68 IP68 Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
Iris scanner
Samsung KNOX One-touch fingerprint sensor
Iris scanner
Samsung KNOX Dimensions 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm Weight 155 g 173 g

As for the two different models, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are identical internally aside from the batteries and of course screen sizes.

Notable camera improvements on the GS8

On the face of it, the spec hounds among us won't be satisfied with the fact that Samsung has stuck with the same camera specs from the Galaxy S7 in the new Galaxy S8. Yes that means we're looking at a 12MP "Dual Pixel" camera with an f/1.7 lens — but remember that the software and ISP (image signal processor) have been improved since last year, and this was arguably the best camera of 2016. On the other side, Samsung has completely revamped the front-facing camera to an 8MP unit with auto focus — all the better for your selfies of all types.

How does it all come together? Here's Daniel's take from our Galaxy S8 review:

Since the Galaxy S8 has the same fundamentals as its predecessor, it's still one of the fastest, most reliable cameras on any phone. [...] Unlike some of the other substantive hardware improvements, the Galaxy S8's rear camera is another solid effort, but not more.

Compared to the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 takes naturally sharper photos (meaning it uses less artificial sharpening), and also takes less-saturated and more accurate photos. Those are both overall quality improvements, while the GS8 also remains lightning quick with lots of extra software features to boot.

The Galaxy S8 has what it takes to capture wonderful photos with extreme reliability, but unlike this time last year it is challenged overall by the flagship competition — namely the LG G6, Google Pixel XL and HTC U11.

Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S8's cameras

All of the new software features in the Galaxy S8

As Samsung often does, we got a good sneak peak at the Galaxy S8's software experience in the form of the Android Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. But there are some changes to make note of.

What you'll find on the Galaxy S8 is very similar in terms of its design, core apps and behaviors, but you'll also find a new launcher layout, new icons, on-screen buttons and of course a bunch of new features. Not the least of which being Bixby, DeX, S Pen-styled note taking features and more.

A complete look at the Galaxy S8's software in our review

Bixby Voice is a whole new way to use your phone ... well, soon

Bixby isn't so much a head-to-head competitor with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but instead an assistant to help you on the phone phone itself. That means Bixby is designed to help you locally throughout the phone using the screen, the camera and soon also your voice. The problem is Bixby wasn't fully ready at the launch of the phones, and at the end of June just started rolling out Bixby Voice in beta. Without Voice, it only has a small set of features, limited to some intelligent information offered in "Bixby Home" on your home screen, and "Bixby Vision" for identifying objects using the camera.

Bixby is initially limited, but shows promise.

That's frustrating, but the system itself has potential. Bixby Voice can basically respond to any command and perform actions within whatever app you're using as if you tapped though the software yourself. Samsung also claims Bixby can fail more gracefully when it doesn't understand your query entirely, getting you through the answer as far as it can before asking for more information. Samsung is betting this is the next interface paradigm, and it's exciting to watch the developments on the Galaxy S8.

Everything you need to know about Bixby Voice

This is Samsung's DeX desktop dock for the Galaxy S8

Samsung DeX dock

Far on the other end of interaction from Bixby is the new "DeX" desktop docking system for the Galaxy S8. It's a little piece of hardware no larger than a wireless charger that lets you plug in your Galaxy S8, attaching it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor to transform it into a desktop-like environment. The Galaxy S8's interface scales up gracefully to fill the large monitor, and Samsung's own apps have been designed to be resized and operated with a keyboard and mouse.

Samsung has also struck deals with Adobe and Microsoft to bring their most popular apps to the big screen — the only question is how it works with other non-optimized apps, and who will invest in these docks and this setup to use DeX on a regular basis.

Samsung DeX review: This isn't a replacement for your laptop

Compare the Galaxy S8 today's hot devices

Plenty of people will just pick up the Galaxy S8 or S8+ because Samsung is the brand they know, but many of us will comparing it head to head with other leading devices. To help you make up your mind on which phone is right for you, we've compared the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ to the likes of the Pixel and Pixel XL, LG G6 and of course the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Galaxy S8 and S8+ vs. Pixel and Pixel XL: Two ways to do a flagship
Galaxy S8 vs. LG G6: Tall, skinny and very similar
Galaxy S8 vs. iPhone 7: Battle of the platforms

Which one should you buy?

So now that you have all the information, which one should you buy? You have a big phone and a bigger phone; one with a big battery and a bigger battery. There are so few differences between the Galaxy S flagships this year that it comes down to size and battery preference alone, and that may make your decision even harder.

Should you buy a Galaxy S8 or a Galaxy S8+?

Where to buy the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are now on sale. In the U.S., you'll have your choice of the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+, both in 64GB storage configuration, in one of three colors: black, silver or orchid grey. You can also pick up a proper U.S. unlocked model from Samsung or Best Buy if you don't want to bother with a carrier. Prices are in the range of $720-750 for the Galaxy S8, and $820-$850 for the Galaxy S8+.

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

Updated June 2017: Article updated with new links and information on Bixby Voice and Samsung DeX.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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21 hours ago

How to take better photos with the Huawei Mate 9

5

Are you Mate 9 photos not looking so good? Try these tips.

The Huawei Mate 9's dual rear-facing cameras are a ton of fun to shoot with, made even better by their bundled in camera modes and extra features. But maybe you're feeling a little overwhelmed by it all and you're not sure where to start — that's okay. Here's are some quick tips for putting the Mate 9's cameras to proper use.

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22 hours ago

Nougat update finally rolling out to ZenFone 3 Zoom and ZenFone 3 Laser

2

Nougat update brings much-needed features to the ZenFone 3 Zoom and ZenFone 3 Laser.

ASUS is finally rolling out Android 7.1.1 Nougat to two models in the ZenFone 3 lineup — the ZenFone 3 Zoom and the ZenFone 3 Laser. The update comes in at roughly 1GB, and increments the version number of the ZenFone 3 Zoom to V20.31.49.2 and that of the ZenFone 3 Laser to V30.41.12.1.

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22 hours ago

Vivo shows off Qualcomm's cool new under-display fingerprint tech

11

Vivo gets early access to Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint technology.

Earlier today, Qualcomm announced that it was developing an ultrasonic fingerprint technology that allows manufacturers to integrate a fingerprint sensor directly into the display of a phone. Under-display fingerprint scanning won't be ready until early 2019, but Chinese manufacturer Vivo showed off the tech in action on a prototype unit of the Xplay6 at Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

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23 hours ago

Did you buy a OnePlus 5?

108
OnePlus 5

The temptation of getting the latest thing is strong.

Even if you're not in the market for a new phone, it's easy to get caught up in the hype of a fresh new smartphone — the latest one on so many radars is the OnePlus 5. With a stacked spec sheet and a solid price, it's going to be in the running as the next phone for a lot of people, especially as it just went on sale after a short run of pre-orders.

So we want to know: with the OnePlus 5 now available, did you choose to buy one? Let us know in the comments why you did or didn't, and what phone you're upgrading from if you chose to buy!

Not everyone makes a buying decision the first day, and are maybe still on the fence. To learn more about the phone, be sure to check out all of our OnePlus 5 coverage, including our OnePlus 5 review and comparison to last year's OnePlus 3.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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1 day ago

What is an APN, and how do I change it?

Having the right mobile network settings makes a difference. Here's how to change them if you need to!

Unlocked phones and alternative carriers are more popular now than ever before. Most every company makes an unlocked model or two that you can buy directly from their website or a retailer like Amazon with the necessary parts and software to use it on any GSM network around the world. And when you don't have a phone that's tied to a carrier through financing you're free to try other carriers and see who offers what's best for you.

Shifting things around and trying someone new for phone service is pretty simple and pain-free, but you might need to know how to set the APN on your phone. Let's take a look at what an APN is and how you go about changing or adding one.

What is an APN?

The Access Point Name (APN) is the name for the settings your phone reads to set up a connection to the gateway between your carrier's cellular network and the public Internet.

You carrier reads these settings, then makes sure to determine the correct IP address, connect to the correct secure gateway, and see if you need them to connect you to a private network like a VPN. All the heavy lifting is done on the carrier side, but we need to make sure the right settings are in place to get on the network we need, in the way we need to connect.

An APN has the network settings your phone needs to connect to your provider.

Depending on how your carrier's network is structured, different settings are mandatory. The rest can be slightly altered to change some of the parameters, but for most of us, we will need to use the exact settings provided by our carrier.

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The good news is that most of the time, your phone has several "default" APN settings and one will work for phone calls automatically. Very handy if you need to call for help because unless you're using one of the Big Four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) nothing else will work correctly and you'll need to add an APN yourself.

The bad news is that carriers can customize the software on any phone they sell, and that includes blocking the ability to change the APN. Even if your phone is unlocked. You might be able to find a workaround posted on the internet, but there is also a good chance that you're just not going to be able to use any other network. We suggest buying your next phone from someone else.

How to change your APN

The first thing you'll need to do is find the right APN settings for the network you want to use. You'll be able to find these at the support pages at the carrier website. The settings will look like this example for Mint SIM:

  • Name - Ultra
  • APN - Wholesale
  • Proxy - (leave blank)
  • Port - 8080
  • Username & Password - (leave blank)
  • Server - (leave blank)
  • MMSC - http://wholesale.mmsmvno.com/mms/wapenc
  • MMS Proxy - (leave blank)
  • MMS Port - (leave blank)
  • MNC - 260
  • Authentication Type - (leave blank)
  • APN Type - default,supl,mms
  • MCC - 310

These are the settings you'll need to enter for a new APN that can use Mint SIM's service for data and MMS. Now we just need to find where to enter it.

This is going to be different depending on who made your phone, but it's always going to be in the Wireless & networks section of the settings. You're looking for a setting for Access Point Names and it might be nested in another setting like Cellular Networks. That's where you'll find it on the Pixel or Moto Z, and it should be similar to your phone. Don't worry, you can't mess anything up by tapping the settings and looking inside. Just try not to make any changes while you're looking.

Once you've found the "Access Point Names" section. Tap to open it.

You should see a list with at least one APN on it. If things aren't working with the current APN, you need to add another. Don't modify or delete the one you see, instead make a new one and we can choose it when we're done. At the top of the page, (or possibly in a menu, if your phone has a menu button) press the plus sign to bring up the "Edit access point" screen.

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This is where you will enter the settings you got from your carrier's website. Two very important things here:

  1. Not every setting in the "Edit access point" screen will need to be filled in. Only fill in the items your carrier provides, and leave the rest as-is.
  2. Be sure to type in everything exactly as provided by your carrier. For example, default,supl,hipri is different than default, supl, hipri because of the white space between items. Your carrier's system is set up to read an expected set of values, and any changes — no matter how minor — can and will break things.

Once you have the settings provided by your carrier entered, you need to save the APN. You do that by pressing the three dots in the upper right (or the menu key if your phone has one) and selecting the "Save" option.

Once your APN information is saved, go back one screen to the list we saw earlier. On this screen, tap the new APN settings you just entered to make them active. Your phone will lose its data connection for a little while as it connects to the new network using the new network settings. If you can't get a connection after a few minutes, you might need to restart your phone.

On rare occasions, your provider may have two APNs that need entering. This is because they use a separate gateway for MMS or other data that's separate from your data plan. If this is the case, you'll find a full explanation of both APN settings on your carrier's support site. Most times, one APN is all you need, though.

And that's it! Now your phone should work for calls, SMS, MMS and data. Now be sure to set up any Data Saver or warning settings your phone might have to monitor how much data you use and if you are getting close to your allotment.

Updated June 2017: We made sure to have up-to-date information and changes for the latest phones.

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1 day ago

HTC U11 review: A second opinion

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HTC U11

HTC's 2017 flagship is an excellent handset that sets the tone for the future of HTC's smartphone business.

When you can pick up a pretty good smartphone for around $400, why would you cough up the extra 250 bucks for an HTC flagship? That question has been central to the Taiwanese manufacturer's decline over the past couple of years. The company would target the likes of Apple and Samsung, miss, and get trounced by OnePlus, Huawei, Honor and others on the way back down.

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1 day ago

OnePlus 5: Which model should you buy?

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OnePlus 5 colors

Do you require 64GB or 128GB of space? And is the extra RAM really that necessary?

OnePlus has certainly figured out its formula for selling smartphones: take a no-fuss design, shove in an all-day battery along with the latest processor, and keep the Android software tweaks at a minimum. The OnePlus 5 is a great depiction of that vision as it's equipped with all the components that fit in with the company's winning smartphone strategy.

This year, OnePlus is offering two different models of its marquee device in an attempt to appeal to those stray few who might still require a bit convincing to steer clear of a phone from a better-known manufacturer. Rather than go with a bigger screen, however, OnePlus is offering more storage space and more memory for an extra $60.

We're going to help you choose the OnePlus 5 model that's right for you.

Decide how much storage you need

OnePlus 5

There isn't much of a difference between the two OnePlus 5 models. You either get 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage — and no, you can't pick and choose your RAM and storage independently. In either case, you'll get the same Snapdragon 835 processor, as well as a larger-than-average 3300mAh battery. You're also getting a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 16-megapixel rear camera, and a near-stock version of Android, which is partly what's helped make the OnePlus lineage of smartphones so attractive in the first place.

There's no SD card slot, so get the storage right from the start.

Your primary decision here is whether you'll need the full 128GB of storage — and that will depend entirely on your sort of usage. After all, there is no SD card expansion slot on OnePlus's latest, so you'll have to choose the right size from the start.

If you're stuck, try thinking of it like this: are you planning to shoot a ton of 4K video with the OnePlus 5? Perhaps you're planning a project where you document your life at a minute a day? Or maybe you expect to load up the device with movies and television shows you've purchased specifically for the long commute you endure daily? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you might want the extra space. For everyone else, 64GB of storage is probably sufficient, especially if you get into the habit of backing up your data regularly to several cloud services in tandem. On the flipside, if you're simply too lazy, or maybe life leaves you feeling a little scatterbrained at times, the bigger storage unit might be the best solution as it offers plenty of wiggle room.

What about the extra RAM?

Don't be fooled by the allure of having 8GB of RAM in the 128GB storage version of the OnePlus 5. Granted, it sounds like a good package, especially for the small additional cash, but that extra bit of RAM hardly factors into the performance of the smartphone. As explained by our own Andrew Martonik in his review:

…I'm using the model with 8GB of RAM, but this really doesn't factor into the performance at this point. The highest average memory usage I ever reached, according to the phone's settings, is 4.7GB — comfortably underneath the 5.5GB ceiling (500MB is reserved for the system) of even the standard 6GB RAM model.

You may personally decide that the added RAM is worth the price since it effectively helps future proof the phone — who knows what OnePlus may be able to do with software a year from now that uses the extra memory. That's a totally fine way of thinking; but don't expect the extra RAM to do much for overall performance in normal day-to-day usage today.

Choosing a color

OnePlus 5

Completely secondarily to internal specs that actually influence how the phone works, you'll also have to keep in mind the chassis color.

The sleek "Midnight Black" finish of the OnePlus 5 shown off in our review is available exclusively on the 8GB/128GB version. The standard 6GB/64GB model is a lighter shade called "Slate Grey" that lands somewhere between the grey and black options offered in the OnePlus 3 and 3T. If you like wielding the special thing, the extra $60 may very be worth it for the midnight black color alone. But also consider that once you option up for it and hit the $539 price point, it's not that much more money to get into the territory of buying an LG G6 or HTC U11.

Which model of the OnePlus 5 will you be picking up? Let us know in the comments!

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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1 day ago

Alcatel Idol 5S unveiled with Snapdragon 625, heads to Amazon for just $199

20

Save $80 off the retail price of an Alcatel Idol 5S by picking up a variant with lock screen ads.

Alcatel has unveiled its latest budget handset, the Idol 5S. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 625, and will go up for sale on Amazon starting July 10 for $279. If you don't mind seeing lock screen ads, you can pick up the Prime Exclusive edition right now for just $199, an $80 discount from its retail price. Alcatel is also making the A50 and A30 Plus available on Amazon for $99 and $79 respectively.

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1 day ago

Ad-subsidized Nokia 6 goes up on Amazon for $179 along with $99 Moto E4

17

Amazon's lineup of ad-subsidized phones now include the Nokia 6 and Motorola's latest entry-level phone.

Ahead of its availability in early July, the Nokia 6 is now up for pre-order on Amazon for just $179. Like the Moto G5 Plus, Amazon is offering a Prime Exclusive edition of the Nokia 6 with lock screen ads, knocking $50 off the retail price of the device. Amazon is also kicking off sales of an ad-subsidized version of the Moto E4 — which will retail for just $99 — along with the Alcatel Idol 5S, A50, and A30 Plus.

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1 day ago

OnePlus 3 and 3T to receive Android O update by end of 2017

12

Android O will be rolling out to the OnePlus 3 and 3T before December 31, 2017.

Remember when OnePlus kicked off the Nougat update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T on December 31, 2016? The company is once again committing to deliver the next platform update before the end of the year, which in this case is Android O.

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1 day ago

Honor 9 isn't coming to the U.S. anytime soon

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Honor 9

An Honor 9 release in the United States is 'not planned at this moment,' Honor exec tells Android Central.

The new Honor 9 packs impressive specs, and offers a fresh take on the design of the Honor 8, with a curved glass rear and an upgraded dual camera setup. But unlike its predecessor, the Honor 9 won't be coming to the United States when it launches in Europe this July.

At a meeting ahead of today's launch, Eva Wimmers, VP of Honor Global and president of Honor EU, told Android Central that a U.S. release for the Honor 9 is "not planned at this moment." That doesn't completely rule out the phone coming to the U.S. at some point, but it sounds like it won't be hitting American shores anytime soon.

So far this year, the Honor 6X is the only Honor phone to have graced the U.S.

Despite debuting at a glitzy San Francisco launch event last August, momentum (and presumably also sales) around the Honor 8 in the U.S. was described as "well below expectations" according to one source cited in an Android Police report in October.

The Huawei-owned brand has since launched the budget-centric Honor 6X in the U.S., but subsequent phones like the Honor 8 Pro haven't been released there.

Wimmers told us that it's still early days for Honor's efforts in the U.S., compared to Europe and Asia, where the brand is better established.

Nevertheless, it seems to us that the failure of the Honor 8 to establish a U.S. foothold has led to a re-thinking of its strategy for this notoriously tricky market. Time will tell whether the Honor 9 or Honor 8 Pro — or something else entirely — will make it to the U.S. market.

Honor 9

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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1 day ago

Honor 9 specs

1
Honor 9

Honor's latest phone has specs broadly in line with the Huawei P10.

The Honor 9 is upon us, once again bringing top-tier performance and design to a more affordable price point — in the UK, just £379. When it comes to specs, you're mostly looking at Huawei P10-level innards, with one or two exceptions.

That means you get Huawei's high-end Kirin 960 octa-core processor, with 4 or 6GB of RAM depending on where you buy, and an ample 64GB of storage. And there's a capable dual camera setup around the back — 12MP plus 20MP, with laser autofocus.

The top-level differences between the P10 and Honor 9: No OIS in the RGB sensor of the main camera, no Super Charging support — instead just regular 9V/2A quick charge — and fewer radio bands, meaning the European Honor 9 doesn't have band coverage for U.S. LTE. (Sorry, importers!)

In any case, here's your complete Honor 9 spec sheet. For more on Honor's latest phone, check out our hands-on preview!

Category Specification Operating System EMUI 5.1 / Android 7.0 Processor Kirin 960 octa-core, 4x 2.4GHz + 4x 1.8GHz RAM 4GB (6GB in some mainland European countries) Storage 64GB Display 2.5D glass front
5.15-inch 1920x1080 - 428 ppi Main Cameras 12MP RGB + 20MP monochrome, f/2.2 Front Camera 8MP Connectivity Wifi a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 4.2
Fingerprint
USB Type-C supporting USB-OTG SIM Card Dual nano SIM or nano SIM + microSD Frequency bands 4G LTE: B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B20
3G UMTS: B1/B2/B5/B8
GSM/EDGE: B2/B3/B5/B8 Battery 3,200mAh, 9V/2A quick charging Dimensions 147.3 x 70.9 x 7.45 mm Weight 155 grams Colors Glacier Grey / Sapphire Blue / Midnight Black

Honor 9

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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1 day ago

Honor 9 is official: Flagship specs + curved glass for £379

2
Honor 9

New flagship builds on the well-received Honor 8 with a refined design and spec upgrades across the board — while keeping the affordable price tag.

At a launch event in Berlin, Germany, today, Huawei's Honor brand took the wraps off a phone we've been eyeing since it launched in China a few weeks back — the Honor 9.

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