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1 month ago

Pixel and Pixel XL will get guaranteed updates until Oct. 2018, security patches through Oct. 2019

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Pixels will receive at least two platform updates.

Last year, Google provided a timeline for when the Nexus 6P and 5X will stop receiving guaranteed updates. The company is now doing the same for the Pixel and Pixel XL. Like the Nexus devices, the Pixels will pick up guaranteed platform updates until October 2018, which will be two years from their release date. The phones will continue to receive software patches through October 2019.

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1 month ago

BlackBerry KEYone retail unboxing!

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Today is the global launch day for the BlackBerry KEYone, as the phone makes its debut at London's high-end Selfridges department store, more than a week ahead of the official UK launch date of May 5. It's available for £499 unlocked, which gets you a well-built, metal-clad, rubber-backed handset powered by one of our most favorite efficient SoCs, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625. That's backed up by 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and BlackBerrys, software suite, based on Android 7.1.

We picked one up at Selfridges today, so be sure to check out our retail unboxing above! Hit up CrackBerry Kevin for more on why a physical keyboard on your phone might not be as crazy as it sounds.

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1 month ago

Understanding the Galaxy S8's display resolution options

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Galaxy S8 Plus

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ default to 'Full HD+' resolution, but it's easy to go higher or lower. Here's why you might want to do that.

The Galaxy S8's Quad HD+ SuperAMOLED panel is one of its standout features. Indeed, that big, almost bezel-free display features heavily in Samsung's ads for the phone. By default, though, it's not set to run at its full, native resolution of 2960x1440, instead it's downsampled to "Full HD+," or 2220x1080. And if you want, you can set it to go even lower, down to "HD+" — 1480x720.

Let's take a look at the Galaxy S8's resolution options, and examine which level you might want to pick.

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2 months ago

LG is learning from its past mistakes in India, but there's a long way to go

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LG has finally figured out how to launch a flagship phone in India.

To say that LG hasn't fared well in India would be an understatement. The South Korean manufacturer failed to make a dent in the highly competitive budget segment, and its efforts in the high-end segment were steamrolled by the likes of Samsung and Apple. The company is languishing in tenth place in the Indian market, a position that's "shamefully poor" according to LG India's MD Kim Ki-Wan.

LG's mobile woes are in stark contrast to the company's overall success in India, where it leads the field for TVs and home appliances. LG is now looking to turn things around for its mobile unit, and has stated that its goal in 2017 would be to break into the top three brands in the country. That'll be a gargantuan task considering Samsung's continued growth and the steady rise of OPPO, Vivo, and Lenovo.

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2 months ago

BlackBerry KEYone gets exclusive launch at London's Selfridges

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BlackBerry KEYone launch

BlackBerry Mobile's new QWERTY slab will be available for a limited time from the high-end Oxford Street department store.

BlackBerry Mobile has announced that its new KEYone smartphone has gone on sale exclusively, for a limited time, at London's Selfridges department store on Oxford Road. Today's launch means QWERTY fans can pick up the phone more than a week early at the store, ahead of its nationwide launch at Carphone Warehouse on May 5. In Europe, the KEYone will launch on "the majority" of major carriers, the company says.

Selfridges is selling the KEYone for the standard retail price of £499, which gets you a phone with classic BlackBerry design influences, a full QWERTY keyboard and BlackBerry's security and productivity-focused software, atop Android 7.1 Nougat

Speaking at the BlackBerry KEYone launch event at Selfridges, Johnathan Young, UK Country Manager for BlackBerry Mobile said "We are delighted to launch the BlackBerry KEYone first in the UK with Selfridges. Selfridges, voted world's best department store three times consecutively have been a longtime supporter of BlackBerry. Our retail strategy is to be where our customers are and, as a multichannel retailer dealing in the premium end of the market, Selfridges reflects BlackBerry KEYone's identity in the smartphone market."

"We want to congratulate BlackBerry Mobile on the UK launch of the BlackBerry KEYone." said Bosse Myhr, Selfridges Director of Technology, Home and Menswear "We are thrilled to be the first UK retailer to offer customers the BlackBerry KEYone at our flagship Oxford Street store and provide them with a premium smartphone that aligns with their unique and discerning style."

Today's London launch marks the global debut of the KEYone, which is expected to hit other markets in May.

More: BlackBerry KEYone hands-on preview

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2 months ago

Xiaomi Mi 6 hands-on: Two steps forward, one step back

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Xiaomi Mi 6

Xiaomi once again sets the bar for value, but the decision to remove the 3.5mm jack could backfire.

Over the course of the last year, we've seen phones in the mid-range segment close the gap on flagships from Samsung, LG, and HTC. The likes of OnePlus 3T, Honor 8, and Xiaomi's Mi 5 showed that you don't necessarily have to spend big to get access to high-end internals and dual camera tech.

Xiaomi has built its entire business model on selling phones that offer great value for money. The manufacturer doesn't make much profit from initial sales, but gets a bigger cut over the lifecycle of a handset as component costs come down. The strategy has worked very well for the Chinese company over the last three years, and the Mi 6 represents its boldest move yet.

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2 months ago

Moto X Pure Edition, one of our favorite phones of 2015, is getting Nougat

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The Moto X Pure Edition was big and curvy and didn't have a great camera, but we loved it anyway. And now it's getting an update to Nougat.

Android 7.0 is rolling out to one of our favorite devices of 2015, the Moto X Pure Edition, also known as the Moto X Style in some parts of the world.

Motorola's parent company Lenovo promised the update way back in October of last year, but has been prioritizing its 2016 lineup that includes the Moto Z, Moto Z Force, Moto Z Play, and Moto G4.

The Moto X Pure Edition was sold directly through Motorola back in 2015, as well as at various carriers in the U.S., but it's unclear whether the Nougat update is aimed specifically at the unlocked model. Motorola says that the update "improves your mobile experience with new multitasking features, more efficient notification controls and improved data saver and battery features."

Of course, the rollout will begin slowly, so if you're still running the Pure Edition it may take a few days to a few weeks to reach you.

At the time, the Moto X Pure Edition was one of our favorite devices, and only got better after being updated to Marshmallow. Now that it's at Nougat, likely the last of its major updates, we're hoping the phone holds up to performance scrutiny — we may have to dust it off to see!

Moto X Style (Pure Edition)

Motorola Best Buy Amazon

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2 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs. Galaxy S8+: Total recall

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The Note 7 may be the butt of every bad joke right now, but ignoring it altogether leaves a huge gap in the history of Samsung's design language. Many of the design traits that make the Galaxy S8+ — the company's latest big-screened superphone — so great, can be traced back to its explosively flawed predecessor. Though it'll forever be associated with faulty batteries and an embarrassing global recall, the Note 7 was the first to showcase a true symmetrical glass and metal design, and organic curves that went a step beyond the "edge" phones of old.

The same is true on the software side, with the Note 7 debuting the "Grace" UX — a significantly refined interface that paved the way for the clean lines, rounded rectangles and brilliant whites we see on the S8+. And as the last Samsung flagship to feature traditional physical home keys and a 16:9 display, it's an interesting stepping stone between the old and the new.

Check out our video comparison above, as Russell takes a look at Samsung's most infamous phone next to its latest and greatest.

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2 months ago

Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 could go on sale in South Korea in June

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Refurbished Note 7 will be $250 more affordable than the original.

Samsung announced at the end of last month that it would bring back the Note 7 as a refurbished device in select markets. The refurbished model was spotted undergoing Wi-Fi certification earlier this week, and a report out of South Korea suggests the phone will be available at the end of June.

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2 months ago

Galaxy S8 camera tips and tricks

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Here's a look at the Galaxy S8's camera app, what it can do, and how it can inspire you to be a little more silly with your smartphone.

Samsung's smartphones have had a pretty consistent track record over the past few years when it comes to shooting photos. And though Samsung's had a storied past of overdoing it on the extra features, the companion camera apps as of late have come equipped with some genuinely fun-to-use features and abilities. This year's Galaxy S8, in particular, is well-equipped for inspiring creativity — and not just because it offers knockoff Snapchat filters.

For a full look at the Galaxy S8's camera capabilities, check out the full review of the flagship device. Or, read on for a rundown on the Galaxy S8's camera and what it can do.

Update, April 26: This post has been updated with additional tips, tricks and formatting fixes.

Meet the new camera app

The Galaxy S8's camera app interface.

The camera app on the Galaxy S8 hasn't been mega overhauled by any means, but it's definitely been tweaked a tad so that it's more user-friendly. The new layout also puts the most important features of the device's camera abilities up front. For instance, now when you go to snap a photo, you can zoom in and out by simply sliding the shutter button from left to right. It's one-touch access to the two most important features of the camera: shooting a photo and zooming around.

What each camera mode can do

Galaxy S8 camera modes

The Galaxy S8's various camera modes.

Swipe to the right in the same area of the interface to choose between camera modes. You can choose between the following:

Auto: This is the automatic shooting mode and it's pretty self-explanatory. This is likely the way you'll be shooting a majority of the time with the Galaxy S8 or S8+.

Pro: This is Samsung's manual mode. From here, you can choose the ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and exposure level. You can also take advantage of a manual focus option, which helps in macro shooting situations. There's an option to choose the focus area, as well as options for the metering mode.

Panorama: A feature that's standard on most smartphones. The Galaxy S8's Panorama mode is no different from others, though it will require you to scan the scene from right to left.

Selective focus. Selective focus.

A preview of the Galaxy S8's Selective focus.

Selective focus: Sadly, this is not the iPhone's portrait mode, but it is the closest you'll get when the macro mode or general bokeh effect isn't showing up in your smartphone photography. The Selective focus functionality will take several pictures at once, and then you'll have to head back into the Gallery to choose the style of focus you like before saving the photo. The result is typically some neat close up shots. The mode is available for the front-facing camera, too.

Slow motion: This mode switches you into the video recording ability. Once you've made your video, tap on it in the gallery app to select when in the video timeline to transform it into slow motion.

Hyperlapse: Set up the Galaxy S8 on a mobile tripod of sorts and leave it facing the window to shoot the sunset. Come back to it after an hour to see how you've captured the changing light, and then share it to Instagram.

Food: This is like portrait mode, but for food. Snap a photo of your spaghetti or whatever other culinary monstrosities you have laying out in front of you. You can move the circle in the viewfinder to adjust the blur of the background and then tap the shutter button to take the picture. Note that this only works on objects that are up close.

Virtual shot: Samsung's virtual shot is always sort of hard to explain to others. Basically, the Galaxy S8 takes a few rapid photos in succession as you physically orient yourself around an object from either side. It then compiles those shots into an animated file of sorts. You can share the virtual shot as a video or GIF image file on social media. Note that it can be hard to make this shot if your subject isn't standing still.

Bixby in the camera app

There is quite a bit of nuance when we're talking about Bixby, the Galaxy S8's native virtual assistant. Unfortunately, it's pretty half-baked in its current implementation, but the one part that does work is Bixby Vision, which utilizes the camera.

Tap the Bixby button. You can point the camera at an object or landscape, and then Bixby will retrieve relevant images and shopping links -- unless you're on Verizon, which weirdly doesn't offer shopping links to Galaxy S8 users at the moment, though you can still look up images. Bixby Vision works on a variety of objects, including clearly labeled beauty products and branded electronics. And sometimes, it'll confuse things, too, which makes for a hilarious turn of events at times when you're seeking a little simple humor in life.

The Bixby Vision button.

The Bixby Vision button lives on the camera app and looks like an eye.

Anyway, Bixby is baked into the camera app as a way to encourage you to use the feature's camera abilities, just as there's a dedicated hardware button for using its voice-activated features. And perhaps, if you find it useful to compare what's on display at the store with what you can find online, you can quickly access this feature by enabling Quick launch in the camera app settings and then tapping the Bixby button. But again, you can't do this if you're on Verizon.

Tips and tricks for the Galaxy S8 camera

Use focus peaking

Attempting to master the bokeh effect with the Galaxy S8? Head into the manual settings by swiping to the left on the camera shutter button area and selecting the Pro mode. From here, tap the Manual Focus option and then slide the cursor to zoom in and out of the picture until you achieve the desired effect. You'll see green lines utilized in the view finder to denote what's being focused on. Snap the photo and then share it online to impress your friends.

Use focus peaking to focus your image in the Galaxy S8's manual mode.

Enable Quick launch

By default, Quick launch is already enabled, but you have to unlock it for the Galaxy S8 to officially alert you that you're using it. Double press the power button on the right side of the chassis in rapid succession to launch the camera app. You can use this shortcut whether the screen is on or off. And if you accidentally disable for whatever reason, the option is available back in the camera's settings panel.

The Galaxy S8's camera settings.

Add a floating camera button

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have much bigger displays than you're likely used to, but I found the floating camera button to be helpful when the screen feels too big to bear. You can enable the ability in the settings app, two options below the Quick launch ability. Once it's turned on, the camera interface will offer a floating camera button that you can move anywhere on the camera app.

Take a video before a photo

This is a great feature to enable on vacation. Also in the settings menu, enable Motion photo to record a short video clip of what's happening in the photo before it shoots the photo.

Quickly change cameras

If you want to change cameras, the option is available at the top of the interface. However, you can also simply swipe up on the viewfinder to change cameras, which is an immensely easier shortcut if you're using the Galaxy S8 one handed!

Galaxy s8 built in photo filtersGalaxy S8 face options

The Galaxy S8 has built-in photo filters (left) a variety of face-smoothing features (right).

Use a photo filter

Swipe to the left on the bottom shutter button area to head into the effects, though you could also get here from the Face Masks menu. There are a variety of different filters to choose from and they seem to be separated between the ones work for landscape shots and the ones that work for selfies.

Smooth out your face

The Galaxy S8 is equipped with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that's pretty capable. It shoots at an aperture of f/1.7 and features autofocus, so you can confidently use it at the bar to snap a selfie of your and friends. But if you're not feeling so confident, you can utilize the beauty modes that come built into the camera app to hide your imperfections. Tap on the icon that looks like a person with long hair to bring up the different "beauty" options, like smoothing out your face, adding fake lighting, and even brightening your eyes.

It may horrify you how effective the Galaxy S8's beauty modes are.

Take a wide-angle selfie

You can snap a wide-angle selfie by swiping right on the shutter area in the front-facing camera mode, the same way you would to bring up the filters with the rear-facing camera. The wide-angle selfie mode works a lot like the panorama feature for the rear camera; just pan it from left to right to compose the photo.

Use Face Masks

Samsung bundled in a face masks feature in the Galaxy S8 — not to be confused Snapchat filters, though they work almost identically. You can use them with the front-facing camera on yourself, or the rear-facing camera with a friend. Annoyingly, you can't use them in tandem with the other effects, which means you can apply a filter on top of a filter. It's one filter at a time here, people. Don't get hasty.

Tap into the mode by selecting the itty bitty bear icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the interface. Once you've chosen your mask, tap back on the viewfinder to resurface the shutter button. Say cheese! Some masks have audio effects and animations, while all masks will be sure to delight those you love most in your life. You can snap a photo or record a video with the masks on, as well as easily remove the effect if it just becomes too much. It even works with a friend.

The face masks can be exported into other applications.

Download more effects

Crazy about the face masks feature? Or perhaps you're looking to make animated GIFs with the camera app? You can find these features, and more, in the Galaxy Apps store, including additional stamps, filters, and face masks. You can download them from the included Galaxy Apps app, or by going into the effects mode of the camera, choosing the effect you want to add to, and then tapping on the plus sign in the lower corner of the viewfinder. Express yourself.

From left to right: The Galaxy S8's camera decoration mode; Additional camera decoration modes available in the Galaxy Apps store; Downloadable camera modes from the Galaxy Apps store.

Need more guidance?

Aching for more customization over your Galaxy S8's photo-taking abilities? There are plenty of third-party apps that can help facilitate that, though you can also download extra filters and abilities for your Galaxy S8 camera from the Galaxy Apps store.

Need more advice? Leave us a comment and tell us what you've discovered about the Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved 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.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. 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 a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 months ago

OnePlus 5 render shows off dual cameras and metal body

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OnePlus' upcoming flagship is rumored to sport dual rear cameras.

OnePlus is getting ready to launch its 2017 flagship, which will allegedly be called the OnePlus 5. Tetraphobia — the fear of the number 4 — is a common superstition in Asian countries, and in Chinese culture the number is considered unlucky as it sounds similar to the Mandarin word for "death." Anyway, it looks like OnePlus doesn't want to jinx its upcoming phone, so it's skipping a number.

As for the device itself, a render leaked by India Today suggests the phone will have a dual camera setup at the back along with a brushed aluminum body similar to what we've seen on the OnePlus 3T.

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2 months ago

Best Large Android Phone

Updated April, 2017: Galaxy S8+ is the new king of large phones.

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S8+

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

In the wake of the Note 7 debacle, Samsung needed to deliver a great big-screened Android experience in the larger of the two Galaxy S8 models. The new 18.5:9 aspect ratio, combined with a 6.2-inch display size (6.1 inches excluding the rounded corners) makes the Galaxy S8+ big but not impossible to hold. And the extra height of that beautiful Quad HD+ SuperAMOLED panel means you'll fit more on screen, too.

The design work Samsung started back with the Note 7 can be seen coming to fruition in the GS8+, with an almost completely symmetrical metal and glass chassis that complements the big screen. And Samsung nails the fundamentals of the smartphone experience too, with fast performance and a great camera, improved from the GS7 thanks to new processing tricks. On the software side, Samsung's UI feels more polished and mature than ever, with a new sci-fi aesthetic that's slick and unique but not overbearing.

Bottom line: It's expensive for sure, but the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is by far the best in its class. Between the display, performance, camera, and feature set, there's no better "phablet" out there.

One more thing: The Galaxy S8+'s fingerprint scanner is in kind of an awkward place, around the back and next to the camera lens. But at least you've got face unlock and iris scanning to fall back on.

Why the Galaxy S8+ is the best

The Galaxy S8+ packs an enormous, beautiful display into a small package and excels at just about everything.

Samsung's latest big-screened handset steps out from the shadow of the Note 7, excelling across the board. That huge SuperAMOLED display looks fantastic, with the best daylight visibility we've seen in a phone and bright, vibrant colors. And the phone itself is beautiful, with a symmetrical design that shows off the its epic display.

What's more, the S8+ has everything you could ask for in a high-end handset with a top-tier camera, software that's differentiated but not overbearing, and speedy performance.

Best for battery life

Huawei Mate 9

See at Jet

Huawei has made great progress over the past year, and its latest flagship, the Mate 9, stands out as the best big phone for buyers outside the United States. That's largely thanks to Huawei's much improved EMUI 5 software experience, based on Android Nougat. But the Mate 9 also benefits from a massive 5.9-inch 1080p screen in a body the same size as last year's 5.7-inch Nexus 6P.

Beyond its size and software, the Mate 9 nails the fundamentals of a great Android experience, with quick performance, an ample 64GB of storage as standard, plus microSD expansion, and a capable dual camera setup. Unlike LG, Huawei combines two cameras with the same focal length, but with one OIS (optical image stabilization) 12MP camera capturing colors, and the other, a 20MP monochrome sensor, picking up fine detail. The result is a camera setup that often goes toe-to-toe with the best out there, and can produce some interesting creative effects thanks to its second sensor.

Bottom line: Huawei's much-improved software — together with great build quality, performance and dependable cameras — makes for a fantastic big-screened experience.

One more thing: The Huawei Mate 9 isn't currently available through any U.S. carriers — instead you'll have to buy the unlocked version, which works on T-Mobile and AT&T (and their MVNOs), as well as just about every global LTE network.

Best for less

LG V20

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

LG needed to raise its game after the modular mess that was the G5, and that's exactly what Samsung's local rival did with the V20. LG's 5.7-incher gets you the same guts as the G5, without any of the modular nonsense, and with much improved build quality and some unique features thanks to the second display. As before, you can use the secondary ticker above the main screen to see app shortcuts, show a personal message or view notifications.

And the removable battery option is back, with the V20's 3,200mAh swappable cell living behind a metal back panel, which pops off when you hit the release switch.

On the camera side — where the phone really shines — the V20 is every bit as good as the G5, with a main 16-megapixel sensor behind an f/1.8 lens, and a secondary wide-angle camera for fitting in more detail. LG's also packed in new autofocus and stabilization technologies not present in that phone for even smoother video.

The V20 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, too, so you'll benefit from a mostly up-to-date software experience.

Bottom line: The V20 is a great overall package. You get the proven cameras of the G5, along with Android Nougat and a solid metal chassis, plus the rarity of a removable battery.

One more thing: The LG V20 isn't available in most European countries.

Conclusion

If you want the best Android has to offer in a big-screened phone, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S8+. The size of Samsung's 6.2-incher is both a strength and a weakness — thanks to the new 18.5:9 aspect ratio, this is a very tall phone. But if that's what you're after, Samsung does a great job of showcasing an enormous, bright display and backing up a great physical design with good-looking software.

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S8+

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

In the wake of the Note 7 debacle, Samsung needed to deliver a great big-screened Android experience in the larger of the two Galaxy S8 models. The new 18.5:9 aspect ratio, combined with a 6.2-inch display size (6.1 inches excluding the rounded corners) makes the Galaxy S8+ big but not impossible to hold. And the extra height of that beautiful Quad HD+ SuperAMOLED panel means you'll fit more on screen, too.

The design work Samsung started back with the Note 7 can be seen coming to fruition in the GS8+, with an almost completely symmetrical metal and glass chassis that complements the big screen. And Samsung nails the fundamentals of the smartphone experience too, with fast performance and a great camera, improved from the GS7 thanks to new processing tricks. On the software side, Samsung's UI feels more polished and mature than ever, with a new sci-fi aesthetic that's slick and unique but not overbearing.

Bottom line: It's expensive for sure, but the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is by far the best in its class. Between the display, performance, camera, and feature set, there's no better "phablet" out there.

One more thing: The Galaxy S8+'s fingerprint scanner is in kind of an awkward place, around the back and next to the camera lens. But at least you've got face unlock and iris scanning to fall back on.

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2 months ago

The Galaxy S8's quick launch camera setting isn't available globally

25

The ability to quickly launch the camera with the power button is missing on a few Galaxy S8 units.

Double tapping the home button was the fastest way to launch the camera on the Galaxy S6 and S7. But with the Galaxy S8 eschewing the home button, Samsung had to come up with a new way to quickly launch the camera, and the company turned to the power button. Pressing on the power button twice in quick succession opens the camera by default on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but that option isn't available on all units.

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2 months ago

Samsung issues 'urgent update' to fix Device Quality Agent error

52

Samsung is releasing a patch for an annoying bug that kept people from enjoying their Galaxy S8s.

Samsung has issued an "urgent new software update" to fix a problem some of its Galaxy S8 customers were experiencing with a software component called Device Quality Agent, or DQA.

After downloading a day-one software update, many Galaxy S8 owners in the U.S. and Canada began seeing an error every 30-seconds to a minute with the notice that "DQA keeps stopping." DQA is that Device Quality Agent, and it keeps tabs on Wi-Fi quality throughout the device. The temporary fix was to Force Close the DQA app itself, or to disable Wi-Fi, but neither were long-term solutions. Thankfully, Samsung issued the small urgent update through its Galaxy Apps store starting April 24, and it should roll out to all Galaxy S8 owners in due time to fix the issue.

This is the second time in a week that Samsung has had to deal with a small but vocal minority of customers complaining that a bug had beset their new smartphone. Previously, Samsung announced that it would issue a software update to correct a red tint problem on some of its AMOLED displays.

Did you experience the "DQA keeps stopping" bug? Let us know if the update fixed the problem!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved 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.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. 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 a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 months ago

Six things you need to do immediately after getting the Galaxy S8

59

Take some time to make your Galaxy S8 yours.

There's a lot going on inside the Galaxy S8. From the new design, which does away with much of the front bezels, to the relocation of the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, the S8 is all new. But there are some holdovers from previous versions of the Galaxy lineup, including a number of software features that were present in previous iterations, updated and brought over to the S8.

To make the transition to the Galaxy S8 an easy experience, here's a list of six things you should do right after getting the phone and turning it on.

1. Make sure the navigation buttons are to your liking

If you're coming from another Galaxy phone, you may not feel the need to change the order of the virtual home buttons, but anyone else may be confused and irritated by the fact that the back button is to the right of the home key on the Galaxy S8.

The good news is that you can change where those buttons live just by going straight into the settings and making a quick switch. While you're there, be sure to pick a background color for your new virtual home and check 'Unlock with Home button' if you want to make unlocking the phone much easier.

How to switch the position of the navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8

2. Set up your preferred unlock method

There are a ridiculous number of ways to unlock your Galaxy S8, and you should take some time after setting it up to try them all out and discover which one works best for you.

Because the Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone, it may be difficult to reach for some people and requires the phone to be picked up from a table to unlock it. So it's a good idea to experiment with two new unlocking features — facial recognition and iris scanning — to see whether or not they suit your needs.

Of course, if neither of them do the trick, a simple wearable should suffice, but either way we'd recommend trying to get face recognition working, since it's nearly as fast and accurate as a fingerprint — and you don't even need to touch the phone.

Oh, and while you're in there setting up the face unlock or iris scanner, do yourself a favor and enable the feature that starts scanning immediately after the screen turns on. It's called "Iris unlock when screen turns on" or "Face unlock when screen turns on" in their respective setup areas.

The difference between iris scanning and face unlocking on the Galaxy S8

3. Enable 'Secure Startup'

It's great to have myriad ways to unlock your Galaxy S8, but great security is your responsibility, especially since, increasingly, your phone is your life and your lifeline.

One way to prevent unwanted hands or eyes on your data — even the notifications on your lock screen — is to enable Secure Startup, which requires a PIN or pattern before you even reach the Android lock screen. This ensures that if your phone is stolen or lost while it's off, no one will be able to see any personal information, since the phone's content is completely encrypted until after the secure unlock code is entered.

Understanding Direct Boot on Android

4. Tame that TouchWIZ launcher

The launcher on the Galaxy S8 is actually pretty darn good, but it can get better pretty quickly. The first way is to give yourself one of Samsung's beautiful Infinity Wallpapers, which shift and luxuriate as you move through the various screens. But unlike other live wallpapers, the Infinity Wallpapers also extend to your lock screen and always-on display, which makes spending some time choosing the right one even more essential.

The TouchWIZ Home launcher is also pretty customizable: You can enable an app drawer button if you'd prefer not to swipe up or down to get to your list of apps, and you can change the home screen grid to 5x5 to fit more on the screen at once. Finally, you can hold down on any home screen to align the icons to the top left or bottom right — or leave them strewn all over the place — to suit your desire for order or lack thereof.

5. Learn your gestures

There must be some advantage to moving the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone, right? Well, Samsung allows you to use it to activate the notification shade by swiping down on that fingerprint sensor. The feature isn't enabled by default, so you're going to want to head to the phone's settings and go to Advanced features and enable Finger sensor gestures.

It seems like a nothing add-on, but once you enable it you'll realize how convenient it is to be able to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to check notifications, especially right after unlocking the screen.

More: How to quickly get to the GS8 camera with the power button

6. Don't waste that screen space

The Galaxy S8 has a new, taller screen, and some apps don't support that extra vertical space out of the box. But it's easy to force them to — just head to the settings, go to Display and Full screen apps and check off the ones you want to force to fill the whole screen.

Some apps don't look perfect when stretched, but we haven't noticed any that look downright wrong, and that's all we can really ask for, at least until developers build in support for this new, taller format.

In an 18:9 world, we need a new way to quantify screen size

Your turn

What are some of your essential out-of-the-box Galaxy S8 tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved 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.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. 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 a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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