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22 hours ago

Are those cheap VR headsets worth it?

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What's the harm in buying the cheapest VR headset you can find?

The absolute coolest thing Google has done with VR is make it something truly accessible to everyone. Earlier this year, Hallmark started building Google Cardboard headset into some of its premium cards, just to give you an idea of just how accessible this simple bit of immersive technology is now. While $13 and tax is a little much for a greeting card, it's right on par with some of the cheapest VR headsets you can buy today, and that level of accessibility is amazing.

That having been said, just because you can buy a VR headset for less than an average movie ticket doesn't always mean you should. Here's what you gain and lose by looking at the cheapest form of VR as your default purchase option.

The cost of immersion

Good VR isn't cheap, but cheap VR can be pretty good.

There are two big things that make VR interesting, and they both have to do with that sense of immersion. A successful VR experience tricks you into thinking, if only for a moment, that you are actually a part of the thing you're watching or interacting with. Immersion is a lot easier with the big Desktop VR headsets, with motion controllers and the ability to walk around in the virtual environment. With portable viewers like Google Cardboard, those moments of true immersion rely on your ability to shut out the world around you for a moment.

A big part of this can be resolved with audio. A set of decent headphones connected to your phone can make you feel more present and immersed in any VR experience. The other thing is comfort, which is often difficult to accomplish when holding an actual cardboard box to your face with both of your hands.

While it can be helpful for a VR headset to have a head strap and headphones built in, so you can just put the headset on and have your arms resting at your side, it's not a requirement by any means. It ultimately comes down to personal comfort, which for some people means not having anything tightly secured to your face but still able to fill your field of view with the experience playing out on your phone.

Inexpensive and cheap aren't always the same thing

There are inexpensive VR headsets worth taking a look at to see if the experience provided is enough for you to appreciate the immersion, but they're often a little unusually designed when compared to the traditional Google Cardboard experience. Some headset offer a rigid plastic shell to hold the phone and strap to your head, but several others fold up like prescription glasses and can actually be carried your wallet when not in use. There's no one answer here for the "right" kind of mobile VR headset, because comfort is a very personal thing. This is a big part of why Google Cardboard is so open to new designs and concepts, because accessibility is the most important part of this particular experience.

It's important to remember Google Cardboard apps were never meant to be the kind of thing you enjoyed for more than a few minutes at a time. Those little bursts of immersion are enough to make you say "wow let me share this" and pass the headset around a group of friends. If your goal is to put this headset on and wear it for an hour or more, you really should start looking at Google Daydream and not too far beneath that level of build quality and immersion.

More: Samsung Gear VR (2017) review

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22 hours ago

YouTube's new VR180 format makes virtual reality easy to create

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YouTube's new VR180 video format bridges the gap between 2D and VR, and it's going to be a big deal.

At VidCon 2017, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced some big things for the platform, including a mind-blowing statistic: 1.5 billion people watch YouTube videos monthly.

But one of the bigger topics discussed at the show was an upcoming video format called VR180, which combines virtual reality and regular old flat 2D content into a single video. Using new cameras that will be available from Lenovo, Yi and LG later this year, videos are shot in 180-degrees, so not the completely 360-degree notion of what we think of as traditional VR, but can also be watched on a flat phone or computer screen with ostensibly no loss in quality.

The idea behind VR180 is that, right now, traditional VR scenes must be filmed using either expensive proprietary cameras or lower-quality consumer hardware, like the Gear 360, and there's very little incentive for someone to watch that film in 2D since it wasn't designed for such a thing. VR180 aims to keep the qualities of both, and "this format delivers 3-D video while capturing 180-degrees around you. Creators only have to worry about recording what's in front of them while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset, or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video."

YouTube already has some VR180 films uploaded using prototype cameras, and you can watch the one above (which is pretty amazing even on this 13-inch laptop screen) in VR as well.

There were some other big announcements on the YouTube front, too:

  • The YouTube app for Android will adjust properly to videos shot in portrait, or in square formats.
  • YouTube's sharing features that launched earlier this year in Canada are expanding to Latin America and the U.S.
  • YouTube TV is getting ten new markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.
  • YouTube Red is getting some new original programming, raising the number to 37 altogether.

YouTube TV vs. Sling TV: Which one is worth your money?

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23 hours ago

Leap into a new adventure in Flipping Legend! [Best New Games for Android]

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What are the latest games worth checking out in the Google Play Store?

Updated June 23, 2017: How far can you make it as a Flipping Legend? Check out the beta release of South Park: Phone Destroyer! Sega Forever plans to bring your favorite games to Android, starting with Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, Kid Chameleon, Altered Beast, and Comix Zone!

There are thousands and thousands of games available in the Google Play Store, with more being added every month. With so much content hitting the app store, it can be damn near impossible to keep up with all the latest releases and determine which games are worth your time.

Here at Android Central, we want to help. We'll be using this space to let you know about the latest gaming releases for Android that we think deserve your attention. We'll be checking in and updating this page weekly as new games are released, so refresh often!

Flipping Legend

Flipping Legend is a casual, retro-styled endless runner developed by Hiding Spot Games and published by the fine folks at Noodlecake Studios. Choose your hero and set off on a journey to discover faraway lands — dispatching enemies and avoiding deadly traps as you go.

You start with three characters to choose from — Ninja, Archer, and Warlock — with five other characters unlockable by completing in-game challenges. You control your hero by tapping the left or right side of the screen to make them flip forward diagonally (ind of like a checker piece) and you're able to jump off one edge and crossover to the other. Each character has a skill tree which you can upgrade as you collect XP.

You collect chests every six seconds as you play which can be unlocked by watching a short ad and gift you gold, XP bonuses, and new skins for your heroes. You can also buy chests via in-app purchases if you choose, or pay to remove ads.

For a casual adventure game with a good sense of speed and rhythm (and a sweet soundtrack to boot), check out Flipping Legend!

Download: Flipping Legend (Free w/IAPs)

South Park: Phone Destroyer (Early Access)

South Park games of late have been pretty awesome. Combine the show's notoriously basic animation style and the advanced specs of modern consoles and phones and you get games that really feel like you're controlling the action in an episode.

At E3 2017, Ubisoft unveiled new details for two new South Park games: a new game for consoles and South Park: Phone Destroyer, a free-to-play real-time battling game featuring all the crazy characters from the show that's currently available to play in early beta release for Canadians.

Now most fans will remember that the show lampooned freemium games on mobile pretty savagely a few seasons back. While it might seem a little two-faced to later release a freemium-style game for South Park, it's worth listening to Matt Stone and Trey Parker's commentary track from that episode where they talked pretty candidly about their thoughts on the freemium games released for other animated series like Family Guy and The Simpsons.

Phone Destroyer is different than those city-building titles. Instead, it offers the card-cast battling action similar to Clash Royale and frames it in a story where all the kids of South Park are playing an epic game of Cowboys and Indians (and pirates… and space aliens…). The core gameplay is actually pretty good, with a single player campaign and PvP game modes available. The show's raunchy humor comes through in the character design and dialog (presented as an ongoing group chat with the kids), and while some of the jokes come across way more crass in a text as opposed to being delivered by Cartman himself this is still an absolute must-play for any South Park fan.

Download: South Park: Phone Destroyer (Free w/IAPs)

Sega Forever

In what I can only hope becomes a trend with amongst all video game publishers, Sega is releasing a new app called Sega Forever as part of a new initiative to release classic Sega games from across all their old consoles on a bi-weekly basis — BOOYAH!

All these games are free to download with ads (or you can pay $2 to get rid of them) and offer Bluetooth controller support so you can play these games how they were meant to be played, except on the go! You're also able to save your progress and play offline or connect to the online leaderboard to see how you compare with gamers around the world.

While the Sega Forever app hasn't gone live in the Google Play Store yet, Sega has re-released five classic games at launch. They are:

Emulators exist in a legal gray area — except when it's the companies who own the intellectual property emulating their own content, so here's hoping Sega keeps this up until all our favorite games are available on Android.

Also, how sweet would it be if Nintendo, Sony, and other developers/publishers get in on this?

Learn More about Sega Forever

Android Gaming

Best action games for Android

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23 hours ago

Google Home coming to Canada June 26, some pre-orders get a free Chromecast

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"OK Google... when the heck are you coming to Canada?!"

Update, June 23: If you're looking for a Google Home deal in Canada, Best Buy is offering a free Chromecast with every pre-order until June 25. The product is coming out June 26.

Google Home has been out in the United States since November, it's been out in England since spring, and Google promised to bring it to five more countries, including Canada, with the ever-vague "this summer", but not concrete release date. Well, we've got that release date, and open pre-orders to go with it.

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1 day ago

What is Project Fi, how does it work and why do I want it?

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Google's own carrier offering definitely has some appeal.

If you're an Android enthusiast, you've likely already heard of Project Fi. But that doesn't mean you necessarily know everything about it, so we're here to give you the high-level look at the carrier option that comes directly from Google. Namely, just what the heck it is, how it works compared to other carriers and maybe a few reasons why you'd want to try it.

If you're interested in checking out phone service from Google, be sure to follow along with some of the high points below and get acquainted with Project Fi.

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1 day ago

Every Voice Command you can use in Star Trek: Bridge Crew

It's like Google Assistant, only with torpedoes.

Ubisoft and Intel have partnered up to add voice commands to Star Trek: Bridge Crew, which means you can control your AI crewmates with your voice and actually get results when you get tired of shouting at humans who probably aren't listening very well.

This update works for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR all the same way, so we've assembled this quick little guide to show you how to issue commands and the complete list of commands you can issue to really complete the Bridge Crew experience. Enjoy!

Read More at VR Heads!

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1 day ago

Upcoming WhatsApp update will let you share any type of file

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WhatsApp will soon let you share any file you want, as long as it's under 128MB.

Currently, you can share photos, audio and video files, and PDF documents on WhatsApp, but the Facebook-owned messaging platform will soon allow you to share any type of file. As noted by WABetaInfo, the update is being tested with a small subset of users, and should be rolling out to WhatsApp's 1.2 billion customers shortly.

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1 day ago

Two years on, the original Huawei Watch is still one of the best Android wearables

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Huawei Watch

If you don't want LTE — and let's be honest, you don't want LTE — Huawei's original Android watch remains a fantastic option.

Android Wear is kind of all over the place right now. All the watches released in the past few months have either been ridiculously huge — hi there LG Watch Sport and Huawei Watch 2 — or underwhelming for other reasons — sup LG Watch Style, with sub-24-hour battery life. Even outside of the Android Wear world, the smartwatches of 2017 seem dead set on pushing superfluous features like LTE connectivity at the cost of aesthetics — whaddup Samsung Gear S3. And maybe I'm just weird, but the first thing I want from a watch is for it to look good. The functionality I seek from a wrist computer is relatively basic — show me notifications and keep the cruft to a minimum.

You'd think that wouldn't be too much to ask. And yet it's been surprisingly difficult to find a modern watch that delivers on those basic requirements, without complicating things too much.

For that reason, I've found myself turning to the previous generation of wearables as they're updated to the new Android Wear 2.0, and my current favorite is a device I've used on and off for the past couple of years — the original Huawei Watch.

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1 day ago

Find My Device: The ultimate guide to finding your lost phone

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Find My Device

Find My Device lets you remotely track, lock, and erase the data on a lost or stolen phone.

Android Device Manager has picked up its first major update in two years, bringing a new visual layout and a new name: Find My Device. The app's functionality isn't changing — you'll still be able to remotely track, lock, and erase the data on a lost or stolen phone — but the interface has picked up much-needed polish.

With the rebranding, Find My Device is now a part of Google Play Protect, a suite of services designed to protect your phone from malicious content. Google is leveraging its machine learning expertise to scan and verify the apps installed on your phone, and while the Verify Apps feature has existed since the Jelly Bean era, Google is making the process much more visible to users.

With Find My Device, you'll also be able to see the battery life remaining on your phone and the Wi-Fi network it is connected to. Here's what you need to know about Find My Device, and how you can set it up on your phone.

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1 day ago

Indian government calls Google Maps unreliable, wants citizens to use its own mapping solution instead

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The Indian government launches its latest salvo in a long-running fight with Google over mapping data.

The Indian government doesn't have a high opinion of Google Maps, and it conveyed that sentiment today by saying that the service is "not authenticated" and calling into question its reliability.

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1 day ago

HTC U11 in solar red now available in the UK

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HTC U11 red

Dual-SIM red U11 launches via HTC's online store, priced £649.

Just a few days after its launch in the U.S., HTC has announced that the vibrant "solar red" version of its U11 flagship is now available to pre-order in the UK.

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1 day ago

TYLT Energi Pro review: MrMobile's favorite battery backpack

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I knew I needed to review the TYLT Energi Pro when I first saw Daniel Bader rocking one on an overseas trip a few months back – and even though he's beaten me to the official take with his own excellent review, I've gathered some followup thoughts on the backpack in the weeks since. See, the TYLT Energi Pro isn't just any old backpack. It's a bag with a built-in 20,100 mAh battery beefy enough to recharge your tablets, phones, and even some laptops – and with 12+ compartments, it's big enough to hold all of that gadgetry, too. Combine that with water resistance, internal cable routing and enough comfort gel to keep your shoulders padded even with 20 lbs of cargo aboard, and you've got yourself a battery backpack that lives up to its high price tag (even though it's a stretch).

Click on through to MrMobile's TYLT Energi Pro review to see the best battery backpack of 2017 – or if you want to save some coin, check out some of the runner-ups below!

Featured Products

Stay social, my friends

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1 day ago

Everything you need to know about Bixby Voice

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We have early access to the Galaxy S8's built-in Bixby Voice. Here's another look at what's coming to a Galaxy S8 near you.

We've already written plenty about the Galaxy S8's Bixby functionality, but what we haven't touched on is what to expect with Bixby Voice — ostensibly the main reason there's an extra button on the flagship device in the first place.

Up until the latest preview, all we knew about the Bixby is that it enabled you to press a button to control the phone with your voice. Well, now that we've had some time with it, we can confirm that Bixby Voice really is all about talking to the Galaxy S8. It's not the same as Google Assistant, though, as Bixby is more conversational and apologetic when it messes up. This is a voice-activated virtual assistant that aims to please.

Note: At present, you can only set up Bixby if you're part of the Early Access Preview, which is currently limited to the United States. There's no word yet on when Bixby will go live.

Setting it up

After you've updated all the apps in your Galaxy Apps queue, you can click over to the Hello Bixby panel to start the prompt for setting up Bixby Voice. At present, only American English and Korean are the available languages for the virtual assistant.

Bixby will walk you through a rather storied setup process. You'll need to first agree to a long list of terms and then continue on to update any Bixby Voice-compatible apps, as well as any third-party apps that have access to experimental features from the Bixby Labs. The entire onboarding process is pretty straightforward, and it even starts you off gently by having Bixby dictate the sequence. In the English-speaking version, Bixby is a sprite young female, though you can choose from male or female for the Korean variant.

How to access the Bixby Voice settings menu.

Once Bixby Voice is raring to go, you should be able to press and hold the Bixby button to give it a command from any screen. If you start on the Home screen, you can ask Bixby to open an app and then perform an action. If you're already in an app, however, you can press the button to instruct Bixby on what to do within that app. I tried it first with the Gallery app to crop a photo, and then in the browser to navigate to a web page; Bixby worked effortlessly in both situations.

"Hey Bixby"

Like Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, you can call out to Samsung's Bixby in your time of need. The virtual assistant will help you set up the ability to wake up the phone with a voice command from the get-go; you'll be asked to record yourself saying "Hey, Bixby" about three times, and then you'll be asked to recite a few commands so that the software can learn the different intonations in your voice. When it's finished, you can actually play back what you recorded to ensure it sounds exactly the way Bixby would hear you every time.

Like Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, you can call out to Samsung's Bixby in your time of need.

I have to admit: part of the reason I didn't use Google Assistant much until the Google Home came into my life is that my phones would often struggle to hear me or understand my commands. But Bixby has the opposite problem, as it understands me so well that I was triggering it even while podcasting in a nearby room in my house. I guess there are plenty of words out there that sound like Bixby, so naturally, Bixby thought I was speaking to it.

You don't have to really say a particular phrase to get Bixby to listen, either. I've said both "Hey, Bixby" and "Okay, Bixby" with the Galaxy S8's screen both on and off and it worked remarkably well. I also just shouted "BIXBY!" a few times and that seemed to work, too, despite the fact that I was being antagonistic. Sorry, Bixby.

Of course, if Bixby doesn't understand what you said — which will happen, as it happened to me plenty of times — it will ask that you let it know it didn't perform so well before offers for you to retry your command. You can skip all that if you don't care to do it, though, and simply tap the Bixby icon or press and hold the side button to continue engaging.

What can you do with Bixby?

bixby

What is the meaning of life? Sorry, Bixby can't help you with that.

I'm still figuring out all that's possible with Samsung Bixby. It's like Google Assistant in that it can assist you with even the most basic of smartphone commands, but it doesn't appear to be explicitly tied to a search engine in the same manner.

When you do ask Bixby the kind of question you'd ask Google Assistant — like "What's the meaning of life?" for example because apparently, I had to make this as existential as possible — Bixby will reply quietly in the main home screen. When you ask it to help with doing something, however, it's much more responsive.

Samsung's Bixby works a bit differently than Google Assistant in that it'll require you to be very specific with your commands. The result can be more effective, however, if you consider that you can do things like crop an image with just your voice.

Perhaps the best example for showing Bixby's abilities is the crop-and-post example. For instance, I asked Bixby to open up the gallery and select the latest photo. From there, I pressed the Bixby button and asked it to first crop the photo and then, crop the photo in 4 by 3. The Gallery app then cropped the photo as I asked it to, though it waited for me to choose where the crop placement should go before it continued.

Once again, I pressed the Bixby button and asked it to save the image and share it, and from there it popped up Android's sharing dialog window.

I also used Bixby to launch the Gmail app and dictate a message. It was strikingly easy, and I was impressed by the way Bixby seemed to move forward with what it figured I'd ask it to do next.

There is certainly more that you can do with Bixby, and the commands change whenever you're inside another app. With this preview mode, the trick is to test what it can do and take it from there.

About that extra button

Let's talk about that extra button on the side of the Galaxy S8.

There's good news for those of who you've managed to either successfully remap the Bixby button or just aren't interested in the push-the-talk action of Bixby Voice. The app doesn't actually require you use the added hardware to interact with your assistant. Rather, it's there to help in times of need, like when the environment is too loud for the phone to pick up on your command. Bixby pops up an on-screen indicator to let you know it's working hard, and there's a quick toggle shortcut in the Hello Bixby app.

Admittedly, using the Galaxy S8's built-in Bixby button feels a bit strange as it's not something that I'm accustomed to. I've been long using Google Assistant — or Google Now, as it were — to do my bidding and that merely requires I utter "Okay, Google" or tap on an icon.

Regardless, the push-to-talk ability is a nice alternative when you're in situations where it'll come in handy, though it would be nice to be able to officially remap the Bixby button when the situation calls for it.

Bixby's Home screen

Bixby's home screen reminds me quite a bit of Apple's Siri because of its black-to-purple ombre background, but besides the similarities of the female voice, it's really quite different. For one, you can type in your command to Bixby if talking to it isn't a possibility (that's coming soon to iOS 11 for Siri users), or you can cycle through some of your past commands. There's even an easy screenshot toggle if proving your friend right requires photo evidence, and you can individually adjust the sound of Bixby Voice.

Bixby Voice's home screen.

If you're inside an app and you conjure up the Bixby home screen, the app will offer up a bevy of suggestions for commands you can use specifically within that app. It's helpful to have this resource to learn what it is you can control with just your voice, though you might find that it's simply easier to go by trial and error. After all, the best way to learn something is to practice it (as my math tutor told me all those years) and with Bixby, you'll have to learn how to be really specific without being long-winded.

Bixby points system

bixby

Bixby requires quite a bit of validation to ensure it's properly operating. But the upside is that each positive interaction earns you "points" towards leveling up your Bixby experience.

Bixby will improve itself over time, though it relies quite a bit on feedback to steer itself in the right direction. Each time you command Bixby, you'll rack up points towards your overall Bixby Level. If your interaction is less than stellar, however, you can let Bixby know that it needs improvement over a particular subset of commands, and the virtual assistant will do its best to accommodate you during the next round.

Take a gander at what Bixby's point system looks like.

If you're curious to see where you're at on the points scale, tap on "My Bixby" in the main Hello Bixby overflow menu. This will reveal all of your growth stats. There's also a counter that keeps privy to how many conversations you've had with Bixby, and you'll see how many times you've given it props and when you've told it that it could have done a better job.

Frankly, Bixby's "level up" screen looks akin to the dashboard you'd find in a roleplaying game — all it's missing is a counter for the hit points. But that's sort of the point of this page existing in the first place. The "experience points" you can procure to effectively level up Bixby were clearly added in an effort to encourage users to play on by gamifying the experiences with the virtual assistant. I'm curious to see what I'll unlock the more I interact with it; I'm close to unlocking more background colors, for example, and I wonder what other little treats are hidden in the interface.

What you can change

Bixby Voice's settings panel seems limited in its beta state.

The Bixby Voice settings aren't as customizable as Google Assistant, but there are some extra features you can enable to make the virtual assistant more robust. In addition to the ability to enable constantly, always-on voice command capabilities, you can also choose Bixby's feedback style. If you prefer quick, terse answers, you can choose to keep Bixby's responses short. Or if you're really aching to connect with it, you can opt to have the assistant talk to you in full sentences.

Bixby also offers a helpful dictation featurette, which I found to be just as useful as the ability in Google Keyboard. This ability doesn't require that you tap on a microphone icon when the keyboard app is up, however; rather, you'll want to toggle on the Dictation on keyboard capability to enable the ability to start the dictation mode by pressing and holding the Bixby key while the Samsung Keyboard is open. This means you'll have to actively use the Samsung Keyboard, but the dictation ability appears to work just as accurately as Google when it comes to forming sentences.

It's still just a preview

Bixby

There is still plenty to discover about Samsung's Bixby Voice.

Bear in mind that all that we've experienced with Bixby thus far has been entirely a preview. The kinks have yet to be worked out, not to mention the fact that there are very few people using the service at present. Bixby's overall purpose in the industry has yet to materialize, too, and we won't know where it fits into the virtual assistant space until the software is ready to go live to everyone with a Galaxy S8 in their hands. It's not meant as a replacement assistant for Google, either, so I'll be curious to see what it's like using the two assistant suites in tandem in my day-to-day.

We'll be updating this page once Bixby is ready for primetime. If you have any questions until it's ready for the stage, however, leave us a comment and we'll investigate for you in the interim.

And if you're in the preview, how is Bixby treating you? What command do you like to use with it? Are you finding it's a better way of interacting with your Galaxy S8 or S8+ than, say, simply tapping around?

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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1 day ago

Flip phones are making a comeback

38

With the announcement of Samsung's Galaxy Folder 2 flip phone in South Korea, it's a wonder if we're backtracking through time to when phones were simpler things.

I can't believe I'm writing about a flip phone in 2017, but lo and behold, here we are.

What you see here is Samsung's Galaxy Folder 2, a flip phone with a 3.8-inch display that's sandwiched in between a large keypad and an outward-facing metal shell. There are also separate shortcut buttons for quickly accessing contacts, text messages, social channels, and the camera app — just like on the flip phones or yore — in addition to physical Android navigation buttons.

Inside, the Galaxy Folder 2 is a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Fret not about the limited storage space, however, as there's an additional expansion slot along with a 1950mah battery powering the entire thing.

Unfortunately, even if you wanted to buy this thing for a giggle, you'd have to contend with its year-old, outdated software. The Galaxy Folder 2 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is so old. It's also equipped with 15 special ringtones that, according to a translation of the Korean-written press release, "focus on the audible spectrum of the middle-aged people."

The Galaxy Folder 2 is only available in South Korea at present. However, it got us thinking: is what's happening overseas an indication of what's coming to the mainstream phone market? Are we due for a resurgence of cellphones past? Has nostalgia officially caught up enough that it's affecting technology, too? What do you think?

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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1 day ago

Beginner's guide to Plex

66
Plex

Plex is an amazing tool to access your media content on all your devices. Here's a quick beginners guide to getting up and running.

Plex is one of those services that has been around for some time but many of us might have passed over for some reason, be it a lack of understanding of what it actually does, thinking it couldn't possibly be useful to you, or something else entirely. The truth is, Plex could be just what you're looking for to help you manage your media collection.

Setting up a media server sounds daunting, but Plex makes it super simple — and dare we say, enjoyable. You just need to know where to begin, which is where we come in.

This is our beginner's guide to Plex.

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