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2 weeks ago

OnePlus 5 rumor roundup

41

Everything we know about the OnePlus 5.

OnePlus has had a pretty good year, what with the success of its OnePlus 3 and 3T phones and some massive overhauls internally that, against all odds, led to improvements to its Oxygen OS software, with more frequent updates.

Now we're seeing the first signs that a sequel is in the company's future and that OnePlus is skipping the "4" name altogether and readying flagship successor, the OnePlus 5. Here's everything we know so far.

What will it be called?

After previously confirming the OnePlus 5 name to Android Central, OnePlus has since started to use the moniker on its website and in promotional materials. This one's official.

Why would OnePlus skip the OnePlus 4 name? One thought is because in Chinese culture, the number four is considered bad luck when attached to a product. And besides, the OnePlus 3T is sort of a fourth OnePlus phone, so there's that angle, too.

When will it be available?

The OnePlus 5 will be unveiled on June 20, as OnePlus announced an online launch event for that day at 12:00 p.m. ET. This is just a week later than the OnePlus 3 launched last year.

OnePlus has planned nearly a dozen pop-up events on both June 20 and 21 to let fans get an early look at the phone and even buy one on site. We don't yet know if online sales will open on launch day, but considering the company's previous launches it would make sense to at least take pre-orders right after launch.

What are the specs?

The specs of the OnePlus 5 aren't clear just yet, but there are a few elements we know and a couple others, based on leaks, we can pretty accurately guess.

Here's what we know so far:

Category spec Operating System Oxygen OS based on Android 7.1.2 Display 5.5-inch AMOLED
2560x1440 pixel Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Adreno 540 GPU RAM 6GB LPDDR4 (8GB in some markets) Storage 64GB storage (128GB in some markets)
Non-expandable Rear Camera Dual 12MP Front Camera TBD Audio 3.5 mm headphone jack Battery ~3600mAh
Non-removable Charging USB-C
Dash Charge Water resistance TBD Wireless charging No Security Front one-touch fingerprint sensor Dimensions TBD Weight TBD

I wouldn't be so sure about an 8GB RAM version for North America.

Breaking it down a little more, there are a few variables to keep in mind. We know that the phone will launch with a Snapdragon 835 processor, because of course it will — OnePlus' CEO even confirmed it. OnePlus has launched all four of its flagships with that year's canonical Qualcomm SoC, and this year will likely be no exception. The OnePlus 3 had 6GB of RAM, so you can expect that same number in the OnePlus 5; it also came standard with 64GB of internal storage, so you can expect that, too. I wouldn't put too much credence in the idea that it will ship with 128GB standard, nor that it will come with 8GB of RAM. We're not there yet, and OnePlus gains little from offering those in a base configuration.

We've heard that there may be an 8GB/128GB variant of the OnePlus 5 for China, specifically, which makes a lot of sense since that country is obsessed with maxing out what's possible in a phone, but I wouldn't count on it coming to North America. It's possible OnePlus will, instead, offer a 6GB/128GB or even a 6GB/256GB model in North America for $50 or so more.

On the screen front, we're hearing that OnePlus will keep its 5.5-inch display size and that, while the screen will do away with as much of the top and bottom bezels as possible, it will keep the front fingerprint sensor, and may also maintain the OnePlus 3 series' 1080p resolution. From a battery-saving perspective, it would make sense to keep the OnePlus 5 at 1080p, especially if the AMOLED panel used is of very high quality — even devices like the Huawei Mate 9 have fantastic screens despite relatively low pixel densities — but given that most competing phones have upgraded to 2560x1440 or an equivalent QHD resolution at various aspect ratios, it would make sense for OnePlus to do the same.

A dual camera setup on the OnePlus 5 could be its most exciting feature.

At either resolution, we'll likely see the OnePlus 5 support Google's Daydream VR platform, which will make for another popular handset in the category.

Finally, another big upgrade is to the battery. While the OnePlus 3T already saw an improved capacity, from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh, the OnePlus 5 is expected to pack a 3,580 to 3,600mAh cell. That could translate, along with the more-efficient Snapdragon 835, to much better battery life.

What about performance?

Pete Lau, OnePlus' CEO said in a blog post that the phone will not only run a Snapdragon 835, the fastest chip on the market to date, but it will also be optimized for touch latency and RAM management, two areas where the OnePlus 3 and 3T were heavily criticized. He said this in a post on the company's forums:

But choosing the right components is only the first step. You also have to optimize performance to create the best user experience. When we began developing the OnePlus 5, we envisioned a smartphone with flawlessly smooth performance. To illustrate how we made it happen, we'd like to share a bit about our process.

One of the main areas we wanted to improve was touch latency. Our engineers tested why scrolling occasionally differed between phones. There wasn't a lot of precedent for them to work with – no benchmarks, no industry case studies to learn from. So we used a special high-speed camera to track screen movements and measure input speeds. As a result, apps respond quickly to your touch for a seamless user experience.

We also wanted to improve the overall feeling of smoothness. To achieve this, our engineers added a feature to OxygenOS to better manage the way your apps perform. The apps you use most are ready to go when you turn on the OnePlus 5. Apps you rarely use are deprioritized and kept from affecting performance.

That's really good news, considering that even now, after a few updates, the OnePlus 3 and 3T have excellent touch latency and, while still not great, much improved RAM management.

A few odds and ends

  • Despite rumors to the contrary, there's no reason to think that OnePlus will drop the headphone jack from this year's unit.
  • We haven't heard whether OnePlus will add waterproofing to this year's flagship, but the company would be doing itself a huge disservice by going another year without it.
  • Wireless charging? Not likely, since it looks like OnePlus will stick with a metal back again.
  • Renders show that OnePlus is likely to keep its physical mute switch on the side of the phone.
  • Dual speakers? Not this year.
  • Removable battery? gtfo.

What will it look like?

As mentioned above, the OnePlus 5 is probably not going to look too different from its predecessor — don't expect the same jump that we saw from the OnePlus 2 to the OnePlus 3. Instead, you can be sure that OnePlus is going to go out of its way to shrink the phone as much as possible without sacrificing usability. Front-facing fingerprint sensor? Definitely, but you'll probably also see space-savings elsewhere on the device.

Our most reputable look at the phone, shown above, comes from Android Police and shows a more rounded look, with dual cameras on the back and a more pronounced "2.5D" glass front. It's hard to get a sense of scale from the render, though. Part of the render was confirmed by a teaser photo sent out by OnePlus itself, showing a smooth back, rounded corners and a dual camera setup in the top-left corner.

So it will have a fingerprint sensor on the front?

Yep, the company's CEO confirmed as much to GizChina in an interview, which means that it will still likely have a 16:9 aspect ratio and optional capacitive buttons on either side of it.

Have you heard anything about the camera?

The camera on the OnePlus 5 is expected to be cameras. OnePlus is expected to be adopting the dual camera trend, with two identical 12-megapixel rear sensors. It's unclear at this point whether the lenses will be of different focal lengths, but either way you can expect some cool camera tricks and an overall improved photo taking experience.

What would be cool is to see a OnePlus 5 with the same wide-angle lens as the LG G6, since I think a lot more people would be interested in that than the "telephoto" distance of something like the iPhone 7 Plus. An improved front-facing camera, likely with auto focus, is also in the cards.

We do know that OnePlus is teaming up with popular camera benchmark company, DxO, to optimize and "enhance" its cameras.

We're happy to announce that we have teamed up with DxO to enhance your photography experience with our upcoming flagship, the OnePlus 5. DxO is perhaps most well-known for creating the defining photography benchmark, the DxOMark. They've got years of imaging experience and expertise, both for professional cameras and for smartphones.

Working alongside DxO, we're confident the OnePlus 5 will be capable of capturing some of the clearest photos around.

What about the software?

Expect another iteration of Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 5, launched with a slightly updated version of what we currently have on the OnePlus 3 and 3T, running Android 7.1.2. The phone will launch long before Android O is public.

Oxygen OS has turned into quite the capable piece of Android software, and while it's unclear whether the OnePlus 5 will have any distinctive hardware elements that change up the software experience, what is clear is the company's desire to keep Android as simple and fast as possible, while relegating the gimmicks to the background.

And software updates?

OnePlus doesn't have a great track record of maintaining updates for longer than a year or so — the OnePlus 2 still doesn't have Nougat despite a number of promises — but the OnePlus 3 and 3T are still getting regular updates well into their lifespans, and after a somewhat close call on a promise to get Android 7.0 by the end of 2016, the phones are now seeing new software regularly.

In other words, we don't know. Hopefully, OnePlus will keep the OnePlus 5 updated long into its lifespan, but we have more confidence in its ability to do just that than we did a year ago.

What will it cost?

Judging from the minor price bump between the OnePlus 3 and 3T, coupled with rising component costs throughout the world, the OnePlus 5 may cost somewhere between $449 and $499, which puts it creepingly close, but still a step below, the flagships that it's competing against. At $399, the OnePlus 3 was a serious contender for "amazingly cheap"; at $439, the OnePlus 3T is just "inexpensive." A OnePlus 5 at $469 or so would be close to "Should I spend the extra money on another phone?" Still approachable, and maybe even affordable, but losing its pricing edge.

Color me impressed!

Oh right, colors! Almost forgot! OnePlus has teased four color options for the OnePlus 5, including black, red, gold and what looks to be a multi-colored gradient extravaganza. Fun!

Will I still be able to buy a OnePlus 3T for a little bit less?

Nope! The OnePlus 5 will completely replace the 3T, according to the company. Too bad, since we really like the OnePlus 3T and think it could be a great buy at $100 less than its current $439 price tag. But you also have to understand that OnePlus is interested in getting people up to date with its latest hardware.

Anything else?

We'll have lots more on the OnePlus 5 when it's unveiled in "early summer," which is getting here sooner than later! In the meantime, check out our OnePlus 3T coverage and let us know what you want in OnePlus's new flagship!

OnePlus is doing everything right lately

Update June 7, 2017: This post has been updated with the latest rumors of what to expect with the OnePlus 5, including new renders of the device.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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2 weeks ago

4G in India: Everything you need to know

24

4G is finally going mainstream in India.

India's mobile market has seen a meteoric rise in the last few years, and it doesn't look like the growth will abate anytime soon. A key part of that vision is 4G connectivity, which has been rolling out in phases since 2012. One of the key stories in the country's digital transformation in 2016 was the launch of Reliance Jio.

Jio made its debut late last year, offering affordable tariffs and a robust network that's built entirely on 4G. The fact that the carrier gave away huge amounts of data for free for everyone for the first six months allowed it to climb up the ranks in a short time, amassing over 100 million subscribers already. When it comes to 4G, Jio is in the lead by a huge margin. Here's what you need to know about the state of 4G in India.

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2 weeks ago

OnePlus 5 is launching in India on June 22

2

OnePlus is planning a major launch event for the OnePlus 5 in India.

The OnePlus 5 will make its way to India on June 22, just two days after its global unveil. OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau will oversee the launch, and as this is the first time the company has hosted a major event in the country, it is opening the gates to its fan community.

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2 weeks ago

U.S. has some of the best LTE coverage in the world, but still lags behind in speed

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OnePlus 3 mobile network settings

The U.S. has made strides in LTE, but still isn't close to the top in many metrics.

OpenSignal has released the latest version of its "State of LTE" report, which combines data on LTE networks in 75 countries around the world to give us insightful metrics into how countries are performing and compare to one another. OpenSignal compiles this data from over 550,000 users of its mobile app, which calculates network speed and availability in real-world settings rather than theoretical or controlled tests — this report is based on nearly 20 billion data points collected in the first three months of 2017.

In order to rank countries, OpenSignal focuses on two metrics that are important to the way we use devices: LTE network availability across the country (not just geography covered, but actual real-world data availability), and the average speeds you can get when connected.

A plot of network availability and speed

A plot of network availability and speed.

LTE availability worldwide has taken a solid jump thanks to Jio's emergence in India — 16 monitored countries now have 80%+ LTE availability, and just 19 have less than 60%. When it comes to speed, some of the top performers continue to impress: Singapore, South Korea, Hungary and Norway all average over 40 mbps download speeds, while 15 countries average over 30 mbps.

Network speeds around the world

Network speeds around the world.

U.S. average network speeds continue to be weak on the world stage.

Looking at the U.S. in particular, improvements have been made but the country is still behind many. Since the November 2016 report, the U.S. has moved up six spots in LTE availability across the country, landing in 4th place with LTE being available to users 86.5% of the time — that's just barely above Hong Kong, but underneath Norway (86.96%), Japan (93.48%) and South Korea (96.38%). The biggest gulf remains in LTE download speeds, where the U.S. averages just 15 mbps — that's in the bottom quarter of the list, and just one-third the speed of the leader, Singapore.

The U.S. (86.5%) bests its neighbors Canada (81.1%) and Mexico (69.04%) in terms of LTE availability, but comes in well behind both countries in terms of average LTE speeds: Canada averages 30.58 mbps, while Mexico averages 22.36 mbps, on the download.

If you're at all interested in how these networks operate around the world, be sure to read the full State of LTE report from OpenSignal — it's filled with troves of great insight into how people around the world are staying connected using LTE.

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2 weeks ago

Best legal add-ons for Kodi

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Kodi has a ton of quality — and legal — content available.

Update June 2017: Added info on the Plex add-on for Kodi.

Kodi is one of the easiest ways to cut the cord and say adios to your monthly cable bill. Formerly XMBC, Kodi is a front end that streams media. It's also super easy to install on just about anything that runs Android. Even if it's Android in name only, like Fire OS on the Amazon Fire TV stick. If it can install and run Android apps, you can install Kodi.

Installing Kodi is only the first step, though. A media streamer doesn't do much without media to stream. Setting up your own storage space and connecting it to your Kodi install is easy, but there's a whole internet out there filled with media to stream. You just have to know where to start.

YouTube

Of course, YouTube is on our best list. YouTube is a free service where anyone can upload media. That means some of it is the worst media you can imagine, but there are also plenty of gems you can stream to your TV using the YouTube Addon. And installing it is simple.

  • Open the settings and click the icon labeled Add-ons.
  • Depending on the version of Kodi you're running, you'll see an icon that says Install from repository or Get add-ons. Click it.
  • Choose the Kodi Add-on repository
  • Under Video Add-ons you'll see YouTube listed. Click it to install.

Twitch

I love Twitch. I don't know why, but watching interesting people stream interesting games or other non-gaming content is almost as fun as playing them. And the Twitch add-on for Kodi is a great way to watch them.

It's easy to navigate and use, even with a remote if you don't have a keyboard. It also supports your account login and you can chat and spam Kappa just like you can from a PC. Though you might want a keyboard for that. But seriously, check out Paul and the gang from Windows Central on Twitch and tell them kappa sent you!

Installing Twitch is done the same way as the YouTube add-on above. Just search "Twitch" instead of "YouTube."

The master list

Instead of writing out hundreds of great add-ons through the official Kodi repository, I'll direct you to the master list. You'll find names you know like Hulu and Netflix as well as networks and programming you have never heard of. Every one of these add-ons is also 100% legal and above the board — nobody from your ISP is going to be sending you a nastygram.

You'll install any of them the same way, right through the settings app on your Kodi box.

Official Kodi Video Add-ons

Our next three add-ons either aren't listed in the official Kodi repository or are updated so often it's better to get them from another source that's quicker to add the new content. We'll be using SuperRepo to install them.

Not everything at SuperRepo can make our legal list, but these are fine.

SuperRepo has tons of add-ons for Kodi. Some, like these, are completely on the level. Others fall into that gray murky area where ownership and copyright aren't clear. That means you need to be careful and not just install every add-on that catches your eye if you want to comply with rules and laws.

And you really should comply with laws. Following even stupid laws you hate is a great way to stay out of trouble. But if you do dive in where words like legal don't apply, use a VPN. Comcast or Time Warner or whoever you get your internet from is watching you.

To install the SuperRepo repository:

  • In the System category, open the File Manager.
  • Click the Add source icon.
  • Click the list (it might say "none") to open a text box where you can add a new source.
  • Type http://srp.nu in the text box, and give it the name SuperRepo. Click Done.

Now you'll see Super Repo in your file manager. The files you see will all install an add-on just by clicking on them.

USTVNow

This is the first one to find in your new SuperRepo source. USTVNow is an online version of the cable channels you'll find through your cable company. CNN, NBC, Cartoon Network and a ton more are available and you'll always be able to find something to watch. You'll also find USTVNow in the official Kodi repository, but for faster updates and all-around better service, we recommend using the SuperRepo source.

USTVNow (the name is a clue) is for people in the U.S. only and requires an account. You can set that up, as well as stream to your computer, at USTVNow.com.

FilmOn TV

FilmOn TV is a service that offers both free and premium content. Good, current content. Whether you're looking for UFC matches, catch up on your favorite cable show or watch a-list movies you'll find them at FilmOn TV. You can also watch over 600 live TV channels or set up a recording to watch a show at your leisure. Paired with USTVNow, FilmON TV makes cord-cutting easy.

You will need to set up an account at FilmOn.com.

Dbmc (Dropbox)

Dbmc isn't a full Dropbox client. It's a way to view or listen to stuff in your Dropbox. You can be boring and productive while looking at TPS reports or you can watch any video you have collected and uploaded into Dropbox. It's also a great way to build a slideshow of your photos on the big screen.

Dbmc is also available through the official Kodi repository, but we've found the SuperRepo version to be quicker on the updates.

Of course, you need a Dropbox account.

Plex for Kodi

Plex is often viewed as a Kodi competitor, offering a great way to organize and watch your favorite content whenever and however you please with apps available for nearly all your devices. If you want the conveniences of a Plex Media Server but if you're already quite comfortable using Kodi's interface as your ultimate home theater media center you can combine the two services.

Plex Pass subscribers are able to preview a custom Plex add-on for Kodi that allows you enjoy all the features and customization that Kodi provides with the convenience and simplicity of using Plex to organize all your media. It truly is the best of both worlds.

Learn more at Plex.tv

What are your favorite Kodi add-ons?

If you're using Kodi and have a favorite of your own that's not on our list, shout out in the comments so everyone can check it out!

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2 weeks ago

How to set up and use Kodi on your Android device

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Getting Kodi set up on Android might take some time initially, but it's worth it in the long run.

Update June 2017: Updated the section on using Kodi with Chromecast.

Kodi is a powerful open source media center, which is available across a multitude of operating systems, but its continued rise to prominence has come in large part due to its Android version thanks to "Kodi boxes" — essentially cheap Android TV boxes sold with the Kodi app pre-installed. This has garnered Kodi a lot of press and attention lately, because its open source add-on feature can be used for media piracy purposes.

But it's an unfair situation because the piracy add-ons are unofficial, unsupported, and the Kodi box industry is unwelcome, according to the Kodi developers. The base app is perfectly legal, and what you do get is one of the best experiences for organizing and streaming media onto any device — even your phone. Bring your own content like you would with Plex — or even link to your Plex server within Kodi if you've already got one set up.

It's entirely customizable, so let's walk you through the basic setup.

Kodi is optimized for Android

Previously, when you downloaded Kodi on your Android device, you would be required to go into the Appearance setting and swap over to a more touchscreen-friendly skin. With the latest update for Android, the developers have swapped over to a much more user-friendly skin by default, so you'll be able to just load it up and go.

Download Kodi from the Google Play Store

Once you've loaded Kodi up, you'll find the navigation menu on the lefthand side with categories for Movies, TV Shows, Music, Pictures, Add-ons, and more.

Importing your media files

With Kodi, you can keep all your media organized and accessible in one place — from pictures and music to videos, sorted by movies and TV shows. It's quick and easy to import your media into Kodi and simply a matter of setting a source for the media from your phone's internal storage or a microSD card if your phone supports expandable storage.

  1. Tap the type of media you wish to add. We'll use Pictures for this example.
  2. Tap Add pictures….

  3. Tap Browse.
  4. Find the folder containing the media you wish to add then tap OK.

Now when you tap the category from the main screen, you'll find your source available with all your photos, music, or videos organized. If you've ripped your favorite TV box sets onto your computer and transferred them to a microSD card, they will be organized by season within Kodi.

Diving into Add-ons

Beyond your own media, you can also install a variety of handy add-ons from the built-in add-on browser or by adding them from remote add-on repositories. For now, we'll look at what's available from right within Kodi.

When you tap the Add-ons menu from the main menu of Kodi, you may find that all your Android apps have been automatically linked and displayed within Kodi. While it's somewhat convenient to be able to jump right into another app from within Kodi, I've found it to be somewhat buggy and it's caused Kodi to crash on more than one occasion.

You want to get to the add-on menu with all the different add-on types listed along the left side of the screen. There you'll be able to tap the button to browse through the available add-ons.

You can find video add-ons for over 100 different TV channels' online streaming catalogs and media sharing websites such as YouTube and Reddit, along with many international options. To install an add-on and see what it has to offer, simply select it and tap Install.

Along with the add-ons found within the included Add-ons browser, you can go into the add-on settings and install from an online repository. Since those are often hosting add-ons that promote piracy, you're on your own if you choose to go that route.

Using Kodi with Chromecast

Watching Kodi on a tablet or phone when you're on the go is alright, but the best part is the way you can switch over to your Chromecast-enabled TV when you get home. While Kodi doesn't support Chromecast directly, but you can cast your phone's screen to the TV, you're able to use your phone's screencasting ability for a quick workaround or use LocalCast.

LocalCast is a great app for streaming content from your phone to a Chromecast, but it takes a few extra steps to get things working smoothly with Kodi. All you need to do is download and move an XML file into a Kodi folder on your device, and the next time you load a video in Kodi, LocalCast should launch giving you casting options to available Chromecasts.

Of course, there's nothing stopping you from adding Kodi to a NVIDIA Shield or downloading Kodi for your PC or Mac and streaming your content that way from home. Simply put, Kodi gives you all the customization tools for Android to make it fit into TV setups around your home.

Questions?

Let me know in the comments below!

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 currently on sale for $499, keyboard cover just $65

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This is a steep discount, and we don't know how long it'll be around.

Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S3 hasn't been out for long, but there's a big sale on right now across multiple retailers that has dropped its price to $499 (or a tad less in some cases). Amazon, Best Buy, Samsung and more all have the Galaxy Tab S3 for at least $100 off the original price, with Amazon posting the lowest price at $491.22.

Adding to the fun, Samsung has also cut the price of the keyboard cover in half to a far more manageable $65. That means you could pick up the tablet and keyboard for just $556 ... which we have to say is a great deal.

See at Amazon
See at Best Buy
See at Samsung

As one of the only high-end Android tablets that's actually new, many may be taking a look at the Galaxy Tab S3 at this new lower price. At an original price of $729 for the tablet and keyboard it was a tough sell for many, but this may get it down into the range where it's easier to justify picking one up.

More: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

Though the Galaxy Tab S3 isn't perfect, it's a really solid big tablet that offers good hardware, a great screen, some nice tablet software features from Samsung and a respectable keyboard case. We have no idea how long this deal will be around, but considering it's available across so many retailers it seems as though Samsung is trying to make a nice early-summer push with its newest tablet.

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2 weeks ago

Great new OnePlus 5 render shows off a bit more style, dual rear cameras

61

This is our best look yet at the OnePlus 5's hardware.

Landing right after the OnePlus 5 launch day announcement, we have our first great look at the phone thanks to a solid render offered up by Android Police. The render only shows us roughly the top half of the phone, but gives a few hints of what to expect while also discrediting some previous (admittedly weak-looking) renders.

We see a much more crafted and curved body with larger rounded corners, not unlike an iPhone 7 if we're being honest, that seems to have a near-flat back and more sculpted 2.5D curved glass on the front. Dual cameras peek out on the back, expected to be 12MP units, and the physical mute switch remains on the left side above the volume rocker.

Assuming this OnePlus 5 leak is legit (and it seems to be), we're still looking at a phone that will have pretty large bezels on the top and bottom of the display — though the side bezels seem to have shrunk down. It also lends weight to the idea that OnePlus will adopt a black color at launch, rather than holding it for a special edition as it did with the OnePlus 3T.

We won't have to wait too terribly long before we see everything when OnePlus releases the phone on June 20.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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2 weeks ago

Where to buy the HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap

Where to buy the HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap

Can I buy the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap?

The HTC Vive's Deluxe Audio strap delivers a significantly different VR experience, both in how the Vive fits on your head and how everything connects together to deliver sound. Now that the new strap has hit the market, you might be wondering exactly where you can pick one up.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 weeks ago

Best Buy already offering open-box unlocked Galaxy S8 for $638, GS8+ for $726

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A nice discount on a great phone.

There are legitimate questions surrounding whether or not you should go with a U.S. unlocked Galaxy S8, but for those who are all-in on the unlocked bandwagon this is a great deal. Just a week after the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S8 and S8+ went on sale, Best Buy is already offering "open-box excellent" condition Galaxy S8s for nearly $100 off — setting you back just $637.99. The open-box Galaxy S8+ is $725.99, also nearly $100 off.

See at Best Buy

What does "open-box excellent" mean? Well, Best Buy describes it as "Product looks brand new and includes all original parts and accessories." That means we're basically talking about phones that were purchased (perhaps as a gift), and then returned within their return window. Since Best Buy can't technically sell it as "new" anymore, it has to drop the price and sell as an open-box deal — even though the phone shows no signs of use.

This is effectively a brand new phone for nearly $100 off.

There are apparently enough of these open-box models that Best Buy is even selling them online, so you don't have to go to a local store and hunt down the deal. Rather than the free two-day shipping that Best Buy offers on its new products, these open-box units are free "standard" shipping — but hey, you're also saving a good chunk of change on the phone.

Is anyone tempted by the thought of saving $100 on the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S8 or S8+ just by snagging an open-box unit? 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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2 weeks ago

Best microSD Cards for Amazon Fire Tablet

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Fire Tablet

The Amazon Fire Tablet is a great investment, but it tends to run out of space quickly. Here are some ways to expand it without breaking the bank.

Updated June, 2017: Updated some pricing and added note of new models beginning to ship. These are still the best microSD cards for your Fire tablet!

Whether you have a Fire Tablet for yourself or your kids, you've probably noticed that the internal storage doesn't go very far. You can easily fill it up with some games, a few apps, and media, which is a bit disappointing. Instead of trying to figure out what to delete, and how to better manage the storage, why not make things easier and add a microSD card so it can hold more?

There are tons of great microSD cards out there, and not all of them are expensive. Depending on your needs, you can get cards with as little as 8GB or as much as 200GB. Whether you are waiting for your brand new Amazon Fire tablet to arrive, or are using the previous generation, here are some great options you will want to consider.

SanDisk 64GB microSD

SanDisk is a well-known brand when it comes to portable storage, and its cards are almost always highly recommended. The company offers a bunch of different cards in different storage capacities, and this one is specifically made for the Fire Tablets and Fire TV. For most of what you will do with your Fire Tablet, the microSDXC UHS-I will be fast enough to meet your needs. It may take a few minutes longer for the initial transfer of information to the card, but after that, you won't notice much of a difference.

With 64GB of extra storage, you'll easily be able to install a ton of new apps, save music and movies locally to access whenever you want, and much more. Priced at around $20, it's hard to find a much better value than this microSD card.

See at Amazon

Samsung 32GB microSD

Samsung has been making storage products for quite some time and has been offering extremely affordable microSD cards as well. You won't find the smaller sizes, like 8GB or 16GB from Samsung, but from 32GB all the way up to 256GB, you'll find great deals. This high-performance card offers transfer speeds of up to 80MB/s, and they're built to last. These cards are water-, temperature-, magnetic-, and even X-ray-proof.

All of these good things must mean that it is on the pricey side, right? Wrong. A 32GB card will only set you back around $18, which is less than many people pay to go see a movie.

See at Amazon

Kingston Digital 64GB microSD

Kingston's 64GB microSD offers slightly higher read speeds than the others, at around 90MBps, and read speeds of 45MB per second. While these differences may be small, and only a few seconds each time, that can add up over the months and years that you use the tablet. Another great feature of the cards is the included SD adapter which allows you to put the microSD card in your computer, camera or anything else that takes a full sized SD card.

Coming in at just over $30 it is more expensive than some of the competition, but the included adapter and faster speeds help make up for the price difference.

See at Amazon

PNY Elite 128GB microSD

If you are looking for more storage, PNY may make the card for you. The company makes a variety of different sizes at different price points, and the 128GB sits at a pretty sweet spot. It may be more than you need initially, but having extra space is never really a bad thing. With it you can load tons of movies, endless amounts of apps and pictures, and have to worry very little about filling it up.

Of course, the more storage you get the more it will cost. PNY is quite reasonable with pricing, having this card listed at around $70 right now.

See at Amazon

SanDisk 200GB microSD

200GB is the largest capacity that the Fire Tablet is meant to use, and you may just want to purchase a microSD of that size to put in and forget that it is there. Sure, 200GB is a lot of space to have, but do you want to have to worry about storage ever again? A few years ago it would have cost a fortune to put that much storage inside your tablet, but now it is totally affordable.

You can usually find a pretty good deal on this card, making it run anywhere from $65 to $80, which is a great price for how much it can hold. If you don't want to worry about what you have on the tablet or deleting one thing to install another, you'll want to get one of these right now!

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

Do you have a favorite microSD card that isn't listed here? If so, be sure to drop a link and brief description of why you like that one so others can check it out as well!

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2 weeks ago

If you're buying Beauty and the Beast, make sure to connect Disney Movies Anywhere

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

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

Before you go buy Beauty and the Beast, please download Disney Movies Anywhere. You will not be disappointed.

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2 weeks ago

Merge VR launches $1 million fund to fuel VR and AR developers

0

There are a lot of great ideas out there — they just need the resources to make them happen.

Hoping to spur VR and AR development to grow the platforms even further, Merge VR has announced it is launching a $1 million fund for developers who build for Merge platforms. Several studios are participating in the Merge VR Developer Fund, including React VRX, Draw & Code, Steelehouse Productions and Chicken Waffle.

Marge already offers up its Cube Dev Kits at no cost, and hundreds have already been delivered around the world. But if you want to try and take your VR or AR idea to the next level, you can also apply to get funding from the Merge VR Developer Fund.

As an applicant you'll obviously need to offer up a proposal of your app or game experience, a breakdown of your budget needs, information on your team, and a portfolio of previous work. If you think you have what it takes and could use the funding to get your ideas out there, hit up the Merge VR Developer Fund page to learn more.

Press release:

June 6, 2017 - San Antonio, TX — Merge VR today announced it has created a one-million-dollar Merge Developer Fund to support the AR/VR developer community building apps for the Merge platforms, including the award-winning Merge Cube.

Launched in 2015, the company's VR Goggles are compatible with both iPhone and Android devices to experience VR apps, 360 video, 3D movies and more. The team is currently gearing up for the widespread launch of its newest product, the Merge Cube, that allows users to hold and interact with holograms. Merge first unveiled it at CES 2017 where it won the award for "Most Unique Product."

Merge is openly inviting developers all over the world to join them in shaping the future of AR. "We created the Merge Developer Fund to broaden our support of the dev community," says Jeremy Kenisky, Merge VP of Creative. "The Merge Cube introduces an entirely new experience to the world, and the developer fund provides an awesome opportunity for devs to get creative and be ambitious."

Studios already participating in the Merge Developer Fund include React VRX, Draw & Code, Steelehouse Productions and Chicken Waffle.

"When a kid can pick up a physical object and see it turn into something else in the palm of their hand — then play with it, it's magic," says Chad Lee, CEO of React VRX. "Developing products that create this magic is exciting for us. We can design so many interesting things around the cube and hope to partner with Merge to make it 'Toy of the Year'!"

"As soon as we encountered Merge VR and their vision to open up immersive technology to a younger audience, we were inspired," says John Keefe, Co-founder of Draw & Code. "Now, the Merge Cube is quite literally putting this exciting tech into the hands of the next generation."

As the only VR goggles rated ages 10 and up, the marshmallow-soft Merge VR Goggles have become a favorite among younger VR explorers and educational institutions. Since first releasing the goggles in the US, retail distribution has expanded to more than 5,000 stores in 13 countries and is rapidly growing.

Merge Cube Dev Kits are available at no cost, and more than 400 have already been delivered to developers around the world including museums, schools and Hollywood studios. Developers interested in learning more or applying for funding can visit dev.mergevr.com/fund.

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2 weeks ago

Skip your Starbucks run and try Vtin's Bluetooth headphones for just $7

1

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a set of Bluetooth headphones you'll want to instantly impulse purchase!

These days you can find Bluetooth headphones starting around $20 up to as much as $500, but picking the right pair can be a hard task. Is there a benefit to dropping a large sum of money on a set of headphones, or will the basic ones do just fine? This is a question that is easier to answer by trying the cheaper ones and seeing how they work for you. Vtin is currently offering its Bluetooth sports headphones for just $6.99 with coupon code TPQZL422. This is a savings of $9 from the regular price and drops them down into total impulse purchase territory.

  • QY8 Upgraded Version. Featuring latest Bluetooth CSR4.1 and built-in gold-plated antenna design, the signal is two times stronger than the common one, supporting 33ft(10meters) working range. It also allows pairing with two devices simultaneously.
  • High-Quality Sound. CVC6.0 noise-isolation technology can filter the majority of ambient noise to ensure crystal clear sound. APT-X audio decode tech provides you high stereo music experience with deep bass. Built-in HD mic makes it can be used as a hands-free kit.
  • Long Battery Life. Adopted high-performance polymer lithium battery, the Swan series sports headphone allows about 7hours playing time and 175 hours standby time. The remaining battery life of the earphones can be display on the IOS status bar.
  • Unique Design. With a buckle, you can adjust the cable length as you like, gaining better sound experience while exercising.
  • Stylish Appearance. With UV process, they are sleek, in black with silver detail. Ergonomic in-ear design offers you snug and stable fit. Ideal for exercising, running, cycling, walking and all kinds of indoor or outdoor activities.

Sure, you won't get top of the line audio quality, and they may not last for years to come, but they are $7. Think about the things you spend that on daily, like coffee, fast food, snacks, and more. Cut back on those extras for just one day and try out these headphones that you'll be able to use for the months to come. Your future self will thank you.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 weeks ago

The OnePlus 5 will be unveiled on June 20, pop-up events will sell the phone right away

37

Get ready for the launch event.

OnePlus has announced that it will unveil its new OnePlus 5 via an event on June 20. The online event is set for 12:00 p.m. ET.

After the online event is over, OnePlus will be hosting a handful of satellite events in major cities on June 20 and 21 to give fans an opportunity to see the OnePlus 5, get free swag and be one of the first to actually buy the phone. You can see full details on the launch page, but here's the gist:

  • New York (Meatpacking District): 7 p.m. ET June 20
  • Paris (Colette store): 11:00 a.m. June 21
  • Copenhagen (3 store): 4:00 p.m. June 21
  • Berlin (LNFA Conceptstore): 6:00 p.m. June 21
  • Amsterdam (Daily Paper): 6:00 p.m. June 21
  • London (details soon)
  • Helsinki (Elisa): 5:00 p.m. June 21
  • Oulu (Elisa): 5:00 p.m. June 21
  • Tampere (Elisa): 5:00 p.m. June 21
  • Turku (Elisa): 5:00 p.m. June 21

You can get your brain going on what you want to see by checking out its launch page and then set yourself a reminder for June 20.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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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