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2 weeks ago

International Huawei P10 and P10 Plus get Android Oreo beta

3

Here's how to join.

Save for the strangely absent oleophobic coating underneath the pre-installed screen protector, the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus proved to be excellent phones in early 2017 with great cameras, long battery life, and strong hardware design. Both phones shipped with Android 7.0 Nougat, but now in January 2018, Huawei is rolling out an official Oreo beta.

Android Oreo's already arrived in a stable form to the P10 and P10 Plus in China, so this beta is for the international variant of the phones. Supported units must have software versions VTR-L09C432B180, VTR-L29C432B180, VKY-L09C432B181, or VKY-L29C432B181, and assuming you have one of the following, enrolling in the beta is quite simple.

With your P10 or P10 Plus, install the Huawei Beta app, open it and log into your account, and then go to Personal -> Join project -> Available projects. Once you do this, you'll receive an OTA update for the Oreo beta to immediately download and install onto your phone.

Huawei hasn't said when a stable version of Oreo will launch for the international P10 and P10 Plus, but seeing as how there's already a beta, our guess is that it should be here within the next few weeks.

Huawei P10 + P10 Plus review: Great phones, with one fatal flaw

Android Oreo

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2 weeks ago

What Pixel 2 color do you like the best?

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Just Black and Black & White take the cake for most buyers.

Similar to the first Pixel, the Pixel 2's design has proven to be a bit polarizing. Some people love the look of the phone, but others aren't so keen on it.

The use of glass and metal on the back certainly is unique, and one of the things that help to keep the phone looking as good as can be are the different colors that you can choose from. Between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, available colors include Just Black, Clearly White, Kinda Blue, and Black & White.

Some of our forum users recently got to talking about which color they preferred and why, and this is what they had to say:

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hallux 01-07-2018 10:15 PM “

I have a "Panda" with a clear Spigen Liquid Crystal case on it. Liking it. I haven't been a fan of white phones before because of the white bezel on the front, with this now having a black bezel I decided to take a leap...

Reply
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EMGSM 01-07-2018 05:49 PM “

I got the black one and love it. If I want a different look, I'll just put a skin on it. It's your money and your choice.

Reply
*/
Prath09 01-07-2018 06:55 PM “

I like the Black look actually. Although I have had the cement fabric case on it since I got it. The colour plus the mint button is nice ;), although id prefer it naked but i'm not risking it :p

Reply
*/
oks10 01-07-2018 07:33 PM “

I have the panda bc I just don't like black phones. My last phone was an S7 Edge. Had to get black in order to meet a promo deadline so I ended up putting a skin on it. I got a skin for my Panda one too but just for the back glass piece to keep dust/dirt from scratching it if it happened to get in the case. Like others said though, get what you like and if you don't want to trade phones then...

Reply

What about you – Which Pixel 2/2 XL color is your favorite?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

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2 weeks ago

iHome Voice is a Google Assistant-powered alarm clock that adds a dot-matrix display and buttons

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This feels like a natural expansion.

*/ /*-->*/

Google Assistant is poised to be a major talking point at CES 2018, and iHome is taking a swing at its own device running Google's AI experience. The iHome Voice is basically a wide-looking Google Home with a few extra buttons and a dot-matrix style display on the front that makes it perfectly positioned to be an alarm clock.

Just like the old iHome docks we all know, it has a set of buttons on the top to perform basic functions, but it also has this simple display on the front showing the time, upcoming alarm and volume level. This immediately makes it more appealing as an alarm clock than the all-voice Google Home and Home Mini. It also has a USB port on the back to charge your phone at night, and since it's only a 1A output it won't be useful for more than overnight charges anyway.

The rest of the experience rounds out basically like a regular Google Home. It has far-field array mics for voice commands, and a big speaker in the base for music, podcasts or news reports in the morning while you get your day started.

Pricing is set at $139, a $10 premium over the standard Google Home. That may be a slightly steep price to pay for something that's not as sleek and versatile as the Home in terms of placement, but getting an actual display and some physical buttons that make it far better as an alarm clock is probably worth the extra money if that's your plan for this kind of device.

See at iHome

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2 weeks ago

What's in Hayato Huseman's gear bag?

2

It takes a lot of gear to be a versatile and efficient tech blogger.

I do a decent amount of moving around for my job here at Android Central. When I'm writing or editing video, I usually stay home, but it can be hard to stay on task with my games and guitars sitting just a few feet away — so when I get stir-crazy, it's time to pack up and migrate to the local coffee shop. Then there's the trade shows and press events that pull me away from Indianapolis entirely for days at a time.

No matter where I am, I need to be able to carry all of my gear with me. You never know when a photo or video opportunity might arise, and there's never a bad time to write or listen to music. Here are the things I carry whenever I travel for work.

The bag: Peak Design Everyday Backpack

I've been searching for the perfect backpack for years, and I think I've finally found the one from Peak Design. The Everyday Backpack comes in two sizes — 20 liters or 30 liters — and boasts one of the cleverest designs I've ever seen in a bag.

The Everyday Backpack is clever, convenient, and weather-sealed.

The Everyday Backpack features three adjustable dividers for organizing your things, with foldable subdividers that help keep smaller items from moving around. They attach with velcro, meaning you can move the dividers around to best fit the contents of the bag. You can unzip the Everyday Backpack from the sides, making it easier to access your things at the bottom without having to take everything else out first. The top of the bag is attached by a large magnet, making it easy to attach but locking it in place to prevent unwanted access.

If backpacks aren't your style, Peak Design makes a few other bag styles, too. Andrew Martonik uses the Everyday Sling, and the company offers a number of messenger bags, totes, and pouches.

See at Amazon

The laptop: MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Late 2016)

Around this time last year, Apple released the first iteration of its new lineup of MacBook Pros ... yep, the ones with the weird Touch Bar that replaces the function row. It's usually not recommended to buy first-gen products, but my previous laptop was on its last leg, so against popular advice I ordered one as soon as it was available. While it's certainly not perfect, I'm glad I bought it — especially now that I'm regularly editing 4K video.

I've gone all-in on USB-C, so the lack of Type-A ports doesn't bother me, but a year later I'm still constantly frustrated at the omission of an SD card reader on an otherwise professional-grade laptop. Still, the specs inside are plenty capable for my workflow; a 2.6GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and an Intel HD 530 GPU.

Despite what you might've heard about the Touch Bar MacBook Pro's battery life, I've actually been really happy with how long mine lasts. When it does finally run down, I absolutely love that I can charge it with a USB-C cable, since that allows me to carry just one charger for my laptop, my phone, and pretty much everything else I use. Touch ID is super convenient as well, though it doesn't always work as well as I'd like.

The Touch Bar MacBook Pro is unconventional and often inconvenient, and if Final Cut Pro X worked on Windows I might've opted for something like a Dell XPS 15 instead, but overall I'm happy with my purchase. It handles large 4K videos seamlessly, and it's light enough that I hardly notice it in my bag.

See at Amazon

The phone: OnePlus 5T

It doesn't have the glitz of the Galaxy Note 8 or the insane camera of the Pixel 2, but the OnePlus 5T has been my phone of choice for the last few months. Before it, I carried the OnePlus 5, so I've been spending a lot of time with OxygenOS this past year. It's almost identical to stock Android, but a bit more customizable without having to go as far as flashing a custom ROM.

Face Unlock has been great for the winter.

I love the 5T's 2:1 aspect ratio, and I'm surprised at how much I've really been enjoying the new face unlock software — especially now that we're regularly dipping into subzero temperatures here in Indianapolis, and fingerprint sensors aren't exactly known to work through gloves.

The rest of the phone is stellar, too; the Snapdragon 835 and 8GB of RAM mean that it's going to take a lot to slow the 5T down, and its upcoming Oreo update will bring some nice features over from the Pixel, like picture-in-picture Google Maps and YouTube. If you're shopping for a new phone and you're sitting around a $500 budget, it's really hard to go wrong with the OnePlus 5T.

See at OnePlus

The carrier: T-Mobile

As far as the SIM card that goes into my phone, that duty belongs to the Un-carrier. Full disclaimer: I worked for T-Mobile off and on for nearly four years. While I don't get the employee pricing anymore, I do still appreciate features like free WiFi on airplanes and free international data roaming (though the speeds you'll get overseas are abysmal).

It also helps that I have a GSM carrier handy for this job, since most of the review units we handle won't work with CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint. Luckily, T-Mobile works great in most of the parts of Indianapolis and Chicago that you'll normally find me ... but I'd be lying if I said it's good everywhere. My last few visits to Manhattan and Brooklyn were full of 3G speeds. I don't want to talk about it.

The camera: Panasonic GH5

I spent every day of 2017 going back and forth between sticking with Panasonic or moving to Sony for my next camera upgrade. My Panasonic GH3 was still a great workhorse video camera, but it didn't shoot in 4K — an increasingly desirable feature these days, even if you export in 1080p. It also didn't have a lot of the software features many filmmakers today would consider essential, like focus peaking or histograms.

The GH5 is one of the most versatile cameras I've ever used.

When I started at Mobile Nations, one of my first assignments was pretty video-centric, which meant it was time to finally upgrade. It made the most financial sense for me to stick with Panasonic since I already had a fairly expensive lens for my GH3, so I finally decided on the GH5, and I'm really, really glad I did.

The GH5 has just about everything you could want on a prosumer level; 4K video at 60 frames per second, a flat color profile for more flexible grading in post, dual SD card slots for redundancy, and even USB-C so I can copy my footage to my computer without a stupid dongle. The image quality looks incredible, and with a fast enough lens, it's even pretty decent in low light.

Most of the time, I carry my GH5 with a Peak Design Slide Pro strap. It connects with small quick-release anchors attached to the camera, and the adjustment system is designed for one-handed use, which is super convenient.

See at Amazon

The lens: Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8

Yep, just one lens. I've been using Panasonic's popular 12-35 exclusively for the last couple of years now, and it's been an incredibly versatile piece of glass. With an f/2.8 aperture, it's bright and sharp, and you can really pull some great bokeh out of it under the right conditions. On top of that, it's relatively compact, and I absolutely love the built-in stabilization.

I won't lie, though — I've been eyeing Sigma's new native 16mm f/1.4 lately. Maybe it'll show up in my next bag post.

See at Amazon

The mic: RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker Kit

It's hard to beat the convenience of wireless audio. When I was with Daniel Bader and Andrew Martonik for the OnePlus 5T event a few months ago, we used Daniel's wireless lav kit from Rode for all of our audio, and it worked out great. The sound quality was excellent, and to my surprise, the wireless signal had no discernible latency, so I was still able to monitor audio directly from my GH5's onboard headphone jack.

The RodeLink lav kit comes in three parts: a receiver that attaches to the hot shoe mount on your camera, a transmitter that clips onto the talent, and of course the lavalier microphone itself. All three pieces fit pretty easily into my bag, so I never have to go anywhere without a way of capturing high-quality audio.

See at Amazon

Everything else

For the sake of versatility, I like to carry as much video gear as I can without weighing my bag down too much, and the Edelkrone SliderOne is a perfect example. It's a 6" video slider that I can use either on a table or on my tripod to get smooth movement in my shots.

Attached to the bottom is the Motion Module, which adds a bit of heft to the SliderOne but allows me to automate its movements with an app on my phone. It's a bit finicky, but this combo has helped me get some nice-looking shots in my videos, and being able to carry a slider around with me is just so damn cool.

If you have a USB-C laptop, you owe it to yourself to get a portable battery bank like this.

I also don't go anywhere without my Tylt Portable Battery 10X, which carries a whopping 20,100mAh and charges in and out with USB-C. It's a hefty battery and takes up more space in my bag than I'd sometimes like, but the massive capacity means I'm never worried about running out of juice on any of my gadgets — it even charges my 15" MacBook Pro, which has been a lifesaver for mobile video editing.

Speaking of lifesavers, Sony's newest noise-canceling headphones, the WH1000XM2, have become an essential part of my everyday life — backpack or not. Like the Bose QC35, these cans have incredible active noise-canceling, which is especially handy for working in loud coffee shops or blocking out engine noise on a plane. On top of that, they sound great, too, and the battery lasts for days at a time.

Once you try the Samsung T5, it's hard to go back to slower storage.

For storage, I carry around a 1TB Samsung T5 SSD. It's lighting fast, well-built, and it's about as small as a credit card. I was hesitant to pick one of these up because of the hefty price, but the first time I transfered a 20GB file in less than a minute ... well, it's pretty hard to go back to anything else after that. The T5 plugs in through USB-C, and comes with both a double-sided Type-C cable and an A-to-C cable.

Finally, let's touch on the loose ends. I carry a few cables around; the two cables included with the T5 SSD, and a longer USB-C cable to charge my laptop or phone with the Tylt battery bank. I also use that longer cable to plug the GH5 into my laptop for file transfers, but I also carry a Hootoo Shuttle USB-C hub with a built-in SD card reader just in case.

There are always a few spare batteries in the side compartment of my bag — two Canon LP-E6 batteries for my slider, and a Panasonic BLF19 battery for my GH5. I also carry a variable ND filter from Platinum in case I need to shoot in direct sunlight.

That's everything I carry when I'm traveling for work! Have any recommendations for new gear I should try, or how your carry might differ from mine? Spill it in the comments!

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2 weeks ago

Sony is finally selling phones in the U.S. with fingerprint sensors, starting with the XA2, XA2 Ultra and L2

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Hey look, Sony's taking things seriously in the U.S.

*/ /*-->*/

Sony's taking to CES 2018 to launch three new mid-range phones: the Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra and L2. They look like fine phones. They have solid specs for mid-range devices and a few neat features.

But let me tell you the important part up front: all three have fingerprint sensors in the U.S. They're interestingly rear-mounted fingerprint sensors, rather than the side-mounted power button variety Sony has used for years. And yes, they're actually enabled right out of the box here in the States. No importing, no hacking, nothing. Finally, our long national nightmare is over.

Left to right: Xperia XA2 Ultra, XA2 and L2

Okay, breathe. It's really happening. We have a Sony phone in the U.S. with a working fingerprint sensor. It's not a dream. Let's move on to the phones themselves.

These are totally expected and standard mid-range phones. The fingerprint sensor is what really matters here.

These three phones are refreshes of the existing Sony mid-range lineup. The XA2 and super-sized XA2 Ultra are understandably built on a similar platform — they run on a Snapdragon 630 processor with a 1920x1080 display, the same 23MP rear camera and supporting specs. The XA2 Ultra is larger, with a 6-inch display and corresponding 3580mAh battery compared to the 5.2-inch and 3300mAh of the XA2. For its extra size the XA2 Ultra adds a secondary front-facing camera with OIS, above and beyond the 8MP 120-degree wide-angle camera found on both, and also bumps up to 4GB of RAM from 3GB.

That's right, the XA2 Ultra has two front-facing cameras, and one even has OIS. Despite the fact that the rear camera doesn't have OIS. Who knows.

Sitting well below those two is the Xperia L2, with its 5.5-inch 1280x720 display, quad-core processor (the brand is unknown, but likely MediaTek), 3GB of RAM and sizable 3300mAh battery. It takes a big step down in terms of camera, with a basic 13MP shooter on the back and 8MP wide-angle on the front. The goal here, as is the case with Sony's low-end range, is to bring that unmistakeable Sony design language down to an affordable price by skimping on the specs — for a point of reference, the current Xperia L1 is just $180. The downside? You're getting Android 7.1.1 Nougat on board, whereas the others launch on Oreo as you'd expect in early 2018.

All three phones will come to the U.S. as single-SIM models in February, but pricing hasn't been announced just yet. The XA2 Ultra in particular has a shot at being pretty popular if the pricing is right, as Sony has seen surprisingly good sales of its large mid-range phones — like the XA1 Ultra at $379 — in the U.S. previously. But what really matters here is that we can expect Sony's upcoming flagships for 2018 to also have fingerprint sensors, which will finally remove the longstanding caveat that has applied every time we talk about its phones here.

Press release:

Sony unveils three new smartphones: Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra, and Xperia L2

  • Xperia XA2 and large-screen Xperia XA2 Ultra feature 23MP main camera, 8MP 120-degree super-wide-angle front-facing camera (plus second 16 MP front camera on Xperia XA2 Ultra), and a range of upgrades in a sleek, borderless design
  • Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra come equipped with Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 630 processor platform
  • Xperia L2 also announced, with a 5.5" HD display, high- capacity battery and 8MP 120-degree super-wide-angle front camera
  • All three devices feature new, always-on fingerprint sensor

Las Vegas, 8th January 2018, Sony Mobile Communications ("Sony Mobile") today unveiled Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra – the latest additions to its popular super mid-range line, with Sony camera technology, elegant designs, and powerful performance.

"Our super mid-range product strategy started out as an exciting new idea based on bringing bold technologies to this section of the market in the most accessible way possible," said Hideyuki Furumi, EVP, Global Sales & Marketing, at Sony Mobile Communications. "Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra are no different, with leading front camera technology first seen in our flagship XZ line. We're targeting 2018 as a breakthrough year, and look forward to showcasing further innovations across the entire Xperia portfolio over the coming months."

Xperia XA2 and large-screen Xperia XA2 Ultra – Sony's renowned borderless display smartphones – add 120-degree super-wide-angle lens front camera and a broad range of performance upgrades to deliver more ways to capture and share life moments with ease.

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra take the Sony borderless smartphone series to new heights by adding a host of enhancements that make these Full HD screen devices stand out even further from the competition.

Both smartphones feature a high-resolution 23MP main camera upgraded with 4K video recording and 120fps slow-motion video capture (for high- resolution and creative video shots) and much improved low-light sensitivity at ISO 12800 for capturing higher quality photos in dark or indoor conditions.

When it comes to the front-facing camera, Xperia XA2 takes a big step up with an all-new 8MP front camera with 120-degree super-wide-angle lens for fitting more scenery and people into your shots. The Xperia XA2 Ultra ups the ante even further with dual front cameras: a 16MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and display flash for blur-free night-time selfies and an all-new secondary 8MP front camera with 120-degree super-wide- angle lens.

Xperia XA2 and the large-screen Xperia XA2 Ultra deliver an extraordinary mobile viewing experience, with both smartphones featuring a stunning edge-to-edge display and reduced top and bottom bezels. Whether you're watching videos, browsing the internet, or playing the latest mobile games, the Full HD 1080p screen (5.2" on Xperia XA2; 6" on Xperia XA2 Ultra) is designed to exceed expectations for how content is viewed on a smartphone while still fitting comfortably in your hand.

Entertainment experiences on the Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra will not only look great on the screen, but they'll also sound fantastic with SmartAmp, a feature that significantly enhances the sound quality of music, videos, and games. A perfect complement to the beauty of the bezel-less display, this improved audio feature ensures you'll be more deeply immersed in your entertainment.

Narrow and stylishly sleek, Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra feature a premium look and feel with an all-new aluminum back panel, precision-edge detailing, and 2.5D curved glass, all of which give these devices a more polished look.

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra are powered by the Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 630 processor platform, which delivers 3X the upload and 2X the download speeds compared to their predecessors (i.e., Xperia XA1 and Xperia XA1 Ultra), at 150Mbps and 600Mbps respectively. These devices also come with a new, always-on fingerprint sensor* for greater peace of mind. Xperia XA2 is backed by a high-capacity 3,300 mAh battery, almost 40% larger than its predecessor, while Xperia XA2 Ultra comes with a 3,580 mAh battery, which is more than 32% larger than its predecessor. Both phones will launch on Android 8.0 OreoTM.

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra feature Sony smart charging technologies. Smart Stamina delivers extended usage during the day and night, while Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging ensure the battery stays healthy over time. Quick charging is also supported to give you hours of power with just minutes of charging (requires Quick Charger).

Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra will be available in Single SIM in the U.S. Xperia XA2 comes in four colors: Silver, Black, Blue, and Pink, while Xperia XA2 Ultra will be available in Silver, Black, Blue, and Gold.

Xperia L2 is a 5.5-inch borderless display smartphone with 120- degree super-wide-angle lens front camera, all-new metallic design, and always-on fingerprint sensor.

The Xperia L2 smartphone combines a premium camera, sophisticated design, superior performance, and long-lasting battery life in a 5.5-inch borderless HD display – all at an affordable price. Xperia L2's high-quality 13MP main camera features a fast autofocus to quickly capture sharp photos and a 3X clear image zoom to hone in on your subject from afar. The device takes a big step up with an all-new 8MP front camera with 120-degree super- wide-angle lens for fitting more scenery and people into your shots.

Xperia L2 also comes with a new, always-on fingerprint sensor for greater peace of mind and is backed by a larger capacity 3,300 mAh battery, which is more than 25% larger than its predecessor. The device is designed to last throughout the day and night thanks to its smart battery management functions, including Stamina Mode and Smart Cleaner. These battery-saving features optimize app use and activate the device's power-saving capability.

This smartphone is equipped with the Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system and increased memory at 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory storage, with an external microSD memory card slot to allow up to 256GB of additional storage. Xperia L2 is crafted in a loop-like surface with a curved back panel and metallic design that fits comfortably in your hand as you enjoy watching your videos or posting on social media.

With the all-new Xperia L2, Sony's trademark excellence in audio and visual technology and smartphone craftsmanship are all packed into a reasonably priced high-performance smartphone that's perfect for capturing and sharing a wider variety of your life moments with ease and style.

Xperia L2 will launch in Single SIM in the U.S. and come in three colors: Black, Gold, and Pink.

Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra, and Xperia L2 will all roll out in early February.

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2 weeks ago

Honor View 10 goes international Jan 8, Honor 7X announced in limited-edition red

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The first AI-centric smartphone from Huawei's more affordable brand will cost about $460 U.S.

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Honor — the affordable offshoot of Chinese manufacturer Huawei — tonight at CES announced that the new Honor View 10 will see international release starting January 8 in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Honor previously announced U.S. availability back in December, but we don't have details just yet.

The View 10, as you'll recall, is the global version of the Honor V10 that launched in China. It's Honor's first phone to launch with Android 8.0 Oreo and is powered by Huawei's Kirin 970 processor — the first with built-in AI via a Neural Processing Unit. On top of that, it's got 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, all pushing a 5.99-inch display at 2160x1080 resolution.

Read our full Honor View 10 preview

Honor also announced that the venerable Honor 7X will get a limited edition launch in red. Only 20,000 units will be available, and you'll have to snag them in either United States, Russia, India, or Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain). Honor also says the first 100 people to purchase the red model in each of those countries will get red co-branded Honor-Monster AM15 headphones as a special gift.

HONOR DELIVERS THE FUTURE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGY WITH THE AI-POWERED HONOR VIEW10

Las Vegas, United States, January 7th, 2018 – Honor, a leading smartphone e-brand, today announced, on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), that the AI-powered Honor View10 will go on sale in overseas markets from January 8th, 2018 and released a limited edition Honor 7X Red. This follows the successful launch of the Honor 7X and Honor View10 in London last month.

In 2017, Honor was the number one smartphone e-brand in China by sales, and its sales grew significantly on Black Friday in the United States and Europe.

"As a leading e-brand, Honor aims to become the most loved smartphone brand for people young and the young at heart," said Mr. George Zhao, President of Honor. "With a unique Internet-powered business model, unrivaled product and unbeatable value, we are taking our successful business model from China to the global market. Our aim is to become a top-five smartphone brand by 2020."

As part of the strategy to bring a better experience to users, Honor works with partners such as Microsoft, Monster and Snapchat to optimize applications and services for its smartphones.

Honor View10: Revolutionary AI and ultimate performance appeal to consumers worldwide

As part of a drive to make AI technology accessible to consumers worldwide, Honor is among the first to power a smartphone with a Neural-Network Processing Unit (NPU) to deliver AI features and performance that far surpasses any CPU/GPU powered architecture. Integrating with the dedicated NPU, Kirin 970 chipset enables Honor View10 to deliver up to 25 times better performance and 50 times greater efficiency.

For the Honor View10, Honor worked closely with Microsoft to optimize Microsoft Translator. The AI Accelerated Translator software in Honor View10 delivers instantaneous translation without the need for an internet connection. The new Kirin 970's powerful NPU makes the translation 500 percent faster than other smartphones running the same app. Mr. Xuedong Huang, Microsoft Technical Fellow in AI and Research said, "Microsoft is thrilled to be collaborating with Honor to bring the benefits of AI, through Microsoft Translator, to more users through the Honor View10. Together, we will continue to work towards building a more integrated and connected world."

During China's "Double 12" Shopping Festival after its launch in China for a week, the Honor View10 became the top selling smartphone product priced over RMB 3,000 (US$ 460). Consumers in India and Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain) can purchase Honor View10 starting from January 8th online at: http://www.hihonor.com/global/products/mobile-phones/honorview10/index.html. The new smartphone will also be available in Malaysia and Russia later this month.

Honor 7X: Unmatched price-performance makes it the ideal gift for the loved one

As the first smartphone to feature the Honor FullView Display, the Honor 7X 18:9 screen delivers an impressive visual experience, especially to the gamers in the midst of the action. The smartphone also doubles the efficiency and fun with its Screen Split function. The dual-lens 16MP + 2MP rear camera with large aperture (F/0.95 – F/16) and Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) ensures professional photo quality and a professional shooting experience. Users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and India have given the Honor 7X a 4.2+ star review on Amazon.com since its global launch in London on December 5th, 2017. In addition to black, blue and gold phones, a new limited edition Honor 7X Red of 20,000 units will be available for Valentine's Day in the United States, Russia, India and Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain). Honor 7X Red can be ordered soon at the Honor online store: http://www.hihonor.com/global/products/mobile-phones/honor7x/index.html.

Honor 7X Red with Honor-Monster AM15

Honor is partnering with Monster, one of the world's largest headphone manufacturers, to give the first 100 purchasers of Honor 7X Red in each country/region the red co-branded Honor-Monster AM15 headphones as a special gift. In addition, from this year, Honor is bringing the partnership with Monster to a new strategic level. More details will be announced later.

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2 weeks ago

The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 gets better, longer lasting and a ton cheaper

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Shaky smartphone videos be damned, the new DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is so cheap that almost any mobile videographer should have one.

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DJI is best known for its range of drones, but at CES 2018 the company's focus is away from the skies and into your hand. Along with a new gimbal designed for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, DJI has introduced an all-new Osmo Mobile to stabilize all your smartphone videos.

And the biggest news of all is the new price: $129. No, that's not a typo.

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2 weeks ago

Phone addiction is making me sad and anxious, but so is the idea of quitting

51

The better phones get, the easier it becomes to justify using them. But when does it become too much?

As many people do over the holidays, I tried to spend less time on my phone. I tried to be more present with the people in front of me. But occasionally, after 10 or 15 minutes sitting in the same spot, my mind wandered a bit, as did my hand, towards the phone sitting face down on the table in front of me. I'll just look —

"Dan, are you bored?" My mom, breaking from a conversation with my wife, asked me directly. I'd been scrolling through Twitter for over two minutes, but I was convinced it had only been a few seconds. I completely lost that time — time that I won't be able to get back. Was it worth it? In the moment it felt like the right thing to do, to surreptitiously pick up my phone and respond to someone on the internet who wanted my attention.

Over the past few years, I've noticed my own attention wavering more easily, even when my phone isn't nearby. Just the knowledge that there are notifications to check and people to communicate with is often enough to take me out of myself, even for a moment. My phone is the first thing I look at in the morning as it lays unassuming next to my head on the bedside table. It's the dopamine hit I need in the lulling mid-afternoon hours and the easiest way to look busy when I want to avoid that awkward conversation.

These are dangerous behaviors if left to propagate undeterred. I want to be able to use my phone as a tool, as a means to get work done or enjoy a few moments to myself, to scroll through Twitter or read an article or play a quick game or whatever one does with a smartphone. When I put my phone down, I want to feel good about what I just did. I want to avoid the feeling that I'm not in control.

And according to recent research into the topic, I'm not alone.

Have you noticed that you can't pay attention to things as well as you used to? You're not alone.

In an article published in The Globe and Mail over the weekend called "Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can't you put it down?", author Eric Andrew-Gee posits that millions of people are dealing with the negative effects of smartphone use.

What these people say – and what their research shows – is that smartphones are causing real damage to our minds and relationships, measurable in seconds shaved off the average attention span, reduced brain power, declines in work-life balance and hours less of family time.

They have impaired our ability to remember. They make it more difficult to daydream and think creatively. They make us more vulnerable to anxiety. They make parents ignore their children. And they are addictive, if not in the contested clinical sense then for all intents and purposes.

The problem is not the phones themselves. These are marvels of technology, able to instantly provide us with the tools to complete tasks we would have thought impossible with a handheld only a few years ago. The issue is with our brains, and how we respond to the constant stimuli that developers have integrated into the apps and services we use every day.

To ensure that our eyes remain firmly glued to our screens, our smartphones – and the digital worlds they connect us to – internet giants have become little virtuosos of persuasion, cajoling us into checking them again and again – and for longer than we intend. Average users look at their phones about 150 times a day, according to some estimates, and about twice as often as they think they do, according to a 2015 study by British psychologists.

These companies have persuaded us to give over so much of our lives by exploiting a handful of human frailties. One of them is called novelty bias. It means our brains are suckers for the new. That's why social media apps nag you to turn notifications on. They know that once the icons start flashing onto your lock screen, you won't be able to ignore them. It's also why Facebook switched the colour of its notifications from a mild blue to attention-grabbing red.

The more awareness we have of this physiological limitation, the better chance we have of metering our use and finding equilibrium — digital compromise — with this incredible tool. Inevitably, people will say that the problem isn't with the phone but me, my weakness, that the screen is just amplifying a tendency for distraction, for displeasure with the status quo, with myself. Yes, yes, and yes.

Phones are not inherently bad, but they bring out our brains' worst tendencies.

But what I'm quickly discovering is that this isn't a problem unique to me, nor is it something that I should be keeping to myself. Much has been made about the positive impacts of smartphones in people's lives — hell, were it not for their proliferation, I probably wouldn't have this amazing job — and as an optimist, I tend to think they're doing far more good than harm.

But here we are, ten years after the smartphone revolution, and we're finally taking stock of its negative implications, too. If such a reckoning leads to a calming of my brain, a lessening of anxiety, and higher-quality time spent with the people I love, I will see it as a success.

That's why I'm committing to doing more with less in 2018, to find a balance between dopamine and responsibility. I can't, and don't want to, stop using a smartphone every day — it's the central nervous system of my personal and professional lives — but in the moments when it's easy to escape into it, I will challenge myself to be present, and own any discomfort that comes with it.

Elsewhere, it's CES 2018 and much of the Mobile Nations crew has descended on sunny (and coming from the east coast, much warmer) Las Vegas. While there isn't a single category or company that seems destined to dominate the conversation in 2018, it's interesting that Google appears to be everywhere.

Like Microsoft and Apple, Google usually takes a hands-off approach to CES, disseminating its message through partner announcements and subtle, quirky installations. This year, there is nothing subtle about what Google is doing — and it's entirely to do with Google Assistant which, like Alexa did in previous years, is expanding in interesting and impressive ways. (Perhaps one way to use my phone less is to rely more on voice assistants.)

Don't expect too many phone announcements, either — and as Andrew said last week, keep your expectations in check when things are announced — but I think the most important Android-related volley will be from Huawei. That the Mate 10 Pro will be sold by a carrier is a big deal, and while the details aren't yet finalized, a partnership with AT&T is likely forthcoming. It's going to take a lot of education and marketing dollars for Huawei to make a peep in the U.S., and the notion of dethroning Samsung is ludicrous at this point — especially with the sorry state of EMUI — but the third-largest handset maker in the world is literally the only company that has a chance.

You can catch all of the CES 2018 announcements right here at AC, but if you want the good stuff, the weird behind-the-scenes stuff, follow us on Instagram and check out our story.

That's it from me — hope you had a safe and happy new year!

-Daniel

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2 weeks ago

Verizon raising monthly fees, lowering deductibles and adding new benefits for Total Mobile Protection plan

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There are a few changes coming to Verizon's Total Mobile Protection that you need to know about.

For a lot of us, phone insurance of one sort or another is a must-have. If your phone gets stolen or lost, or even if you bust the screen (and you will) getting a replacement at a fraction of the cost is easier on the pockets than just buying another phone or parts outright, and hey, who doesn't like easier, right?

Verizon offers a pretty good "phone insurance" program with their Total Mobile Protection. You might be able to find insurance cheaper somewhere else but generally, we hear Verizon does a good job getting you back up and running quickly and are reasonable when it comes to claims. In other words, you can do a lot worse and we think Total Mobile Protection is a good option for Verizon customers who want that safety net.

Starting January 25, there are a few small changes you need to know about.

  • Nationwide cracked screen repair: A tech will come to you in over 170 U.S. cities, you'll have another 300 authorized repair centers, or you can have repairs done by mail with a quick turnaround. Going without your phone is the worst and more options is always better. Nice.
  • Reimbursement for international cracked screen repair: Get your busted screen fixed when you need it if you're traveling outside the country, then file a claim for reimbursement. Again — less downtime.
  • $29 deductible for cracked screen repairs: Save money on repairs and you'll have some cash to buy a case or screen protector to keep it from happening the next time.
  • Total Mobile Protection goes up to $13 per month (from $11) for new customers on January 25.
  • Total Mobile Protection goes up to $13 per month (from $11) for existing customers on March 6.

Of course, there are terms and conditions you'll have to follow about which phones are covered and the fees. You'll find those listed here and you can chat up a Verizon rep over the phone or through web chat if you have other questions. And you should, because you need to know what's up and how you're covered before you need to file a claim. This stuff is complicated, not just because of Verizon's rules but because there are all sorts of consumer laws that vary from state to state. Let someone who is an expert help you suss it all out.

Verizon buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Nobody likes seeing insurance premiums go up, whether they be on your phone or your car or yourself, even when it's only two bucks difference. But we really like these new changes for screen repair options, and if you only use it once it has more than paid for itself. You owe it to yourself to at least have a look at your options if you don't have any type of coverage, and should definitely check out the changes if you're a current customer.

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2 weeks ago

Best Fitbit Tracker in 2018

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Best overall

Fitbit Charge 2

See at Fitbit

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the best Fitbit for more people (and the best fitness tracker in general) because it does almost everything well, and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Like all Fitbit products, it tracks steps, sleep and, if you want, workouts, but the Charge 2 does it in style. Not only does it improve upon its predecessor with a relatively high-density OLED display, but because it's not a touchscreen, it will operate properly when wet or sweaty. Its always-on heart rate sensor is accurate and doesn't eat into the battery, which, in our tests, lasted longer than the advertised five days. And it's relatively inexpensive at just $130.

Bottom line: The Fitbit Charge 2 strikes the right balance of style, performance, accuracy, features, and price, and is the best option for those who don't require smartwatch features.

One more thing: It may not be a smartwatch, but the Charge 2 can display incoming call and text notifications from an Android phone.

Why the Fitbit Charge 2 is the best

The best Fitbit is the one you're most likely to wear.

I've often heard that people love their Fitbits — until they break or stop working. It's often something to do with the band or the charger or both, and with the Charge 2, Fitbit is addressing those two major issues.

The Charge 2 tracks steps, sleep, workouts, and food through its excellent Android app, automatically adding them to the cloud through a sustained Bluetooth connection that, like the heart rate monitor, doesn't seem to negatively affect battery life. But the main improvements in the Charge 2 come from the replaceable straps, which range from sporty rubber to elegant leather and stainless steel, along with the much more robust claw charger — of which I was admittedly skeptical at first.

It also lasts more than the company's advertised five days of battery life, going as long as seven days in my tests. And while it's not totally waterproof, it never balked at my sweaty fingers or wrist after a workout, and a damp cloth cleaned the top and bottom of the core charger with no ill effects. And how 'bout those workouts? The Charge 2 accurately detected walking, running, and biking, and let me easily correct it when it couldn't tell my downward dog was a poor attempt at yoga.

For most people, the Charge 2 will be sufficient on its own, but for those who want to dress it up, the leather bands are lovely and not too expensive.

Best for athletes

Fitbit Ionic

See at Fitbit

The Ionic is Fitbit's first smartwatch, and it gets a lot of things right. From notifications to payments and a few apps, Ionic has a beautiful OLED touchscreen that makes navigating a breeze, and tracking workouts even breezier. At $270 it's not cheap, and Fitbit still has a long way to go to mastering the smartwatch experience, but with a GPS radio, plenty of battery life, waterproofing, and personal coaching sessions, it's an excellent value.

Bottom line: At twice the price of the Charge 2, it's not twice as good, but it's an essential tool for athletes.

One more thing: Ionic comes in three colors and has interchangeable bands for any activity or function.

Best for beginners (and swimmers)

Fitbit Flex 2

See at Amazon

The Flex 2 is Fitbit's sequel to its most popular fitness band ever, and it's a huge improvement in almost every way. It still doesn't have a display — five LEDs, now colored, convey the number of steps taken during a day — but it is waterproof, allowing (for the first time) a Fitbit to be used while swimming.

While the Flex 2 is still a tiny module that fits into a small "pouch" in a replaceable band, Fitbit has augmented the standard rubber sports bands with metal bangle and necklace options, giving the wearable an aesthetic diversity it lacked in the previous version. And then there are the standard features: step and exercise tracking; sleep tracking; reminders to move every hour; and automatic synchronization to an excellent iOS app, along with ample five-day battery. All it lacks is a heart rate monitor.

At just $60, the Flex 2 is a great way to get indoctrinated into Fitbit's excellent ecosystem and popular social network and is comfortable to wear all day. Even better, even though it supports call and text notifications (though without a screen you can't see who it is or what they're saying), it can be worn alongside another smartwatch or analog timepiece. Best of both worlds.

Bottom line: A fantastic entry into the fitness wearable world, and one of the best deals around.

One more thing: Flex 2 is the first Fitbit that's completely waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower or take it swimming.

Best for fashion

Fitbit Alta HR

See at Fitbit

The Alta HR is sleek and attractive and fits in with any outfit. That's essentially how Fitbit is marketing the tracker next to the larger, more feature-filled Charge 2. The Alta HR gets a nice boost from the original thanks to all-day heart rate monitoring, but it also lasts over five days on a charge and arrives with a bevy of strap options, from leather to glamor, that keep it both unassuming and fashionable. At $130, it's excellent value.

Bottom line: It's the same price as the Charge 2, but the Alta HR is much smaller and more attractive.

One more thing: The Alta HR's leather and metal replacement straps are of very high quality and are definitely worth a look.

Conclusion

These days, there are no bad Fitbits. The company has overcome many of the hardware quality issues and software bugginess that plagued early models, and newer hardware like the Ionic prove that Fitbit can properly compete with the Apples and Samsungs of the world when it comes to smartwatches. But fitness tracking and guidance is still Fitbit's bread and butter, and no ecosystem does it better. The best Fitbit for most people is the Charge 2 because it does most things well but doesn't overachieve -- and it's affordable. The Flex 2 is stupid simple and lasts forever, while the Ionic has an overwhelming number of features.

Best overall

Fitbit Charge 2

See at Fitbit

The Fitbit Charge 2 is the best Fitbit for more people (and the best fitness tracker in general) because it does almost everything well, and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Like all Fitbit products, it tracks steps, sleep, and, if you want, workouts, but the Charge 2 does it in style. Not only does it improve upon its predecessor with a relatively high-density OLED display, but because it's not a touchscreen, it will operate properly when wet or sweaty. Its always-on heart rate sensor is accurate and doesn't eat into the battery, which, in our tests, lasted longer than the advertised five days. And it's relatively inexpensive at just $130.

Bottom line: The Fitbit Charge 2 strikes the right balance of style, performance, accuracy, features, and price, and is the best option for those who don't require smartwatch features.

One more thing: It may not be a smartwatch, but the Charge 2 can display incoming call and text notifications from an Android phone.

Update, January 2018: These are still the best Fitbits you can buy — now with more accurate information and pricing

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2 weeks ago

Merge made a VR headset for kids and a Blaster you put your phone in

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Everyone should be able to have fun with VR and AR!

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If you like squishy foam and having fun with either VR or AR, the folks at Merge have been serving up goodness for a couple of years now. Following the success of the AR-based Merge Cube and the recent availability of the Merge VR headset in every color under the rainbow, Merge is at CES this year with two new goodies.

For the AR-focused among us, the new Merge Blaster turns your phone into a futuristic shooter for tons of new games. For VR fans, the new Merge Mini takes the original squishy VR headset and shrinks it down to be better suited for smaller heads. Here's a quick look!

Merge Blaster

This is augmented reality at its most accessible. The Blaster is, as the name suggests, a simple gun-shaped controller for feeling like you are a part of the game. Put your phone in the slot, and use your screen as your Heads-Up Display for multiple games. When you see incoming fire through the screen, dodge out of the way in the real world.

It's a simple setup, something anyone of any age can do, and super easy to feel like you are a part of the game. Merge plans to start shipping the Blaster later this summer.

Merge Mini

Take everything that makes the Merge VR headset cool, including the super-durable construction and comfortable fit on your face, and imagine it redesigned for ten year olds. The lens adjustment buttons, have been moved to make it easier for smaller hands to get the perfect fit, and the spacing is better suited for smaller faces.

Merge plans to make this headset available later this summer for $30, making it one of the more affordable VR headsets out there on top of being the only one specifically aimed at kids.

It's been clear for a while now the Merge lineup has been aimed at kids. The Merge Cube has tons of interactive and educational purposes, and has been advertised like crazy on channels like Disney over the last holiday season. Expect these new accessories to be a big hit with kids later this year.

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2 weeks ago

Why the OnePlus 5T is the best Android for Windows phone converts

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Is the OnePlus 5T the right phone for those coming from Windows phones? Yes.

Last year I reviewed the OnePlus 3T as a Windows phone user, and I called it the best Android phone for Windows phone converts. Its price, software, and design made it a no-brainer for Android newcomers, and it was a great option for those who are looking to switch from Windows phone.

But it's been almost a year, and OnePlus is now selling a new flagship: the OnePlus 5T, which improves upon the older OnePlus 3T in almost every way. This is Windows Central's OnePlus 5T review.

See at OnePlus

OnePlus 5T Specifications

Category Spec OS Android 7.1 (upgrade to 8.0 coming soon) Display six-inch Optic AMOLED, 2160 x 1080 (18:9 aspect ratio) Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core
Adreno 540 GPU Storage 64/128GB UFS 2.1 RAM 6/8GB LPDDR4X Rear camera one 16MP (IMX 398), 1.12-micron pixels, f/1.7
Dual LED flash, 4K 30 FPS, 1080p 60 FPS,, 720p 120 FPS, video Rear camera two 20MP (IMX 376k), 1-micron pixels, f/1.7 Front camera 16MP (IMX 371), 1-micron pixels, f/2.0
1080p 30 FPS, video Battery 3300mAh
Non-removable Charging USB-C
Dash Charge Water resistance No Security One-touch fingerprint sensor Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, aptX HD
USB-C (2.0), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo Network 3xCA, 256QAM, DL Cat 12, UL Cat 13
FDD-LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/ 19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
TDD-LTE Band 34/38/39/40/41
TD-SCDMA Band 34/39
HSPA Band 1/2/4/5/8 Dimensions 156.1 mm x 75 mm x 7.3 mm
162 g Colors Midnight black Price $499 (6GB/64GB)
$559 (8GB/128GB)

OnePlus 5T Design

The OnePlus 5T doesn't look or feel that different from the OnePlus 3T. A few things have changed, with the 5T looking a little more like an iPhone 8 Plus from the back, and the front featuring a more modern 18:9 aspect ratio display, trading the dedicated hardware buttons for on-screen navigation keys.

I'm a real big fan of this new 18:9 aspect ratio found on a lot of flagship phones these days. I love how it gives you more screen in a phone size that's not stupidly large. The OnePlus 5T is around the same size as the OnePlus 3T, even though the 5T is rocking a six-inch screen compared to the 3T's 5.5-inch display. The front of the device looks great, with slim bezels and a small but equally sized head and chin, which makes everything look symmetrical and nice. The display is a 2160 x 1080 OLED display, which isn't the sharpest screen in the world. For $500, though, you can't really complain.

Because of the taller display, OnePlus had to move the fingerprint reader from the front to the back of the device. I actually prefer this placement. It makes more sense in most scenarios. It's placed in the upper center of the device, which makes it easy to reach. Of course, that means you won't be able to unlock the phone with your finger if the device is laying flat on a table, but in that case you can just use your PIN or Face Unlock. On that subject, there's a new Face Unlock feature which is blazing fast. It's faster than the Face ID on an iPhone X or Windows Hello on a PC, but it's not nearly as secure.

Along the sides of the device, we find a power button and volume rocker on the right and a three-position switcher on the left. The switcher is handy, allowing you to flip between normal, Do Not Disturb mode and muted mode, kind of like on an iPhone. Not many Android phones have this switcher, so it's nice to see on the OnePlus 5T. We're also rocking a USB-C port that supports Dash Charge, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. I'm all for moving the industry forward, and in a lot of cases I use Bluetooth headphones anyway, but it's nice to have the option of using an old headphone jack when you need it.

The body of the device is aluminum, which feels premium in the hand. It wraps around the edges of the phone, which gives it that unibody appearance which I really like. Admittedly, the smooth aluminum body does make for one slippery phone. I rarely put cases or skins on my phones, but in the case of the OnePlus 5T I feel like I have to. It's just too slippery in the hand otherwise. Other than that, I really like the design of the OnePlus 5T.

OnePlus 5T Software and Performance

As I said in my OnePlus 3T review, Android is Android. It's the same OS on all Android-based smartphones, but each manufacturer does something different to the software that can sometimes alter the experience in major ways. Sometimes this is for the best, and other times it just makes for a terrible experience. In the case of OnePlus, the maker did the right thing. OxygenOS on the OnePlus 5T is a fantastic version of Android, remaining relatively stock and lightweight while offering lots of configurable and customizable features. It also isn't a Pixel, meaning not every app is tied in with Google; that's helpful if you're someone in the Microsoft ecosystem.

The phone comes with Google software pre-installed, which is fine. If you really don't need the Google stuff, you can disable or uninstall most of it. Of course, you need to have a Google account to use the Play Store, so keep that in mind. OxygenOS being relatively stock means there's so much more space for customizing the phone. You can install Microsoft's launcher, as I did, which replaces the stock OnePlus Launcher. I prefer Microsoft's launcher because of its integration with my Windows 10 PC.

Another benefit of OxygenOS being stock is that it's lightweight on CPU and RAM. This phone absolutely flies. It might even be the fastest Android phone on the market, thanks to its quick animations and super lightweight software. This also means battery life is great; I'm getting almost two days on a single charge very often. And even on days where I don't, the Dash Charger means I can charge up the 5T in about 30 minutes.

One thing I really like about OxygenOS is that it has dark and light modes, just like on Windows phone. Not every app will tap into this dark or light theme option, but some of the default system apps do. Messages, Phone and Settings do, and they all look great. There are some other nice additions, as well, including double-tap to wake and sleep, an ambient view mode that acts kind of like Glance screen, and custom gestures.

The beauty of Android is that you can also set third-party apps as defaults for select tasks. For example, I use Microsoft's Outlook app as my default email app, Microsoft Edge as my default web browser, Cortana as my default voice assistant, and OneDrive for my photos backup solution. Just like on a Windows phone. Overall, I think OnePlus's Android is the best Android you can get. It's customizable, clean, lightweight, and simple.

Using an Android in the Microsoft ecosystem

The 6GB or 8GB of RAM in the OnePlus 5T is no slouch, keeping apps open in multitasking for longer than most other smartphones. This means resuming open apps is quicker on the OnePlus 5T, and it makes the experience feel quicker overall. Devices like the iPhone like to put apps to sleep after they haven't been used for some time to free up RAM, but this means those apps take a little longer to open. This doesn't happen on the OnePlus 5T.

OnePlus 5T Camera and Sound

I'm not big on smartphone photography. I take maybe one or two photos a week. But I understand that the camera on a smartphone is a big deal for many people. The 16MP camera on the OnePlus 5T is good; not amazing but not bad either. I found the camera to be mostly quick at snapping photos, and images look crisp and clear in well lit scenarios.

In low light, the camera falls short a bit. OnePlus uses a dual-lense setup, with the second lens being a 20MP shooter designed for better low-light photography. I can't say this camera does low-light better than a Pixel or iPhone, with photos often coming out a little grainy and dull. The selfie camera also is not bad but not great either.

The camera on the OnePlus 5T is good enough for most smartphone users. If you take your smartphone photography more seriously, however, I'd suggest looking at more expensive smartphones like the Google Pixel. If you'd like a more in-depth review of that phone, make sure to check out Android Central's review.

In regards to sound, the OnePlus 5T features a single downward firing speaker. It's passable, but I'd recommend using headphones if you're planning to do any serious music listening or movie watching.

OnePlus 5T review Final Thoughts

The OnePlus 5T is the best Android for Windows phone converts. It comfortably and confidently takes that crown from its older brother. The OnePlus 3T was a great device for the price, and the OnePlus 5T brings that up to 2018 standards. It has a taller, bigger display, a better processor, and a better camera. It has the same great software and Dash Charge capabilities, too, two staple features of the 3T. And it still starts at $499, which is a very reasonable price.

If you're still using a Windows phone and looking to switch, I highly recommend the OnePlus 5T. It's affordable, the software isn't a confusing mess, and the phone feels great in the hand.

See at OnePlus

Pros:

  • Premium build quality.
  • Lots of RAM means great performance.
  • Clean, relatively stock Android.

Cons:

  • Slippery.
  • Camera is only OK.

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2 weeks ago

Google is also running customer surveys inside Android Messages — and not just on Pixels

44

User feedback or user annoyance?

A few days ago we pointed out that Google is running customer surveys in the Pixel 2 XL's settings page, which turned out to be a pretty polarizing subject. Though it doesn't seem like many Pixel 2 owners are seeing the settings page survey, some are seeing a very similar one pop up in other Google apps — in this case, the Android Messages SMS client. And not just in Pixels — this particular example is on a ZTE Axon 7.

Somehow a survey inside an app you chose to download is a bit more natural than one in your phone settings.

Unsurprisingly, the dialogue box looks near-identical to the one from the settings page on the Pixel 2 XL, with a similar prompt of a few questions about your satisfaction with Google's app. On one hand, it feels somehow more ... expected to see a survey inside an app that you chose to download, whereas it feels a bit more forced when it pops up in the settings page on your phone.

In either case, I think there could be a more graceful way to ask for feedback than putting a banner in either place — perhaps a regular app notification, or since we're talking about Google, an email to your registered Gmail account. Regardless, it could easily be seen as a positive that Google's soliciting feedback on its products and is working to improve them.

Are you seeing customer satisfaction surveys in any other Google apps? Whether you have or not, let us know in the comments how you feel about Google running them!

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2 weeks ago

Smartwatches are awesome. So why aren't they more popular?

250

The future looked way cooler than it really is.

Officially, Google isn't finished with Android Wear, and neither are the companies that build watches powered by it. But I'm pretty sure that Android Wear's time has come and gone.

Barring some major breakthrough that will fundamentally change the way we use the platform, there's not much more to be done with it. On the technical side, there is a lot of cool stuff that can happen; things like integration with other IoT gear, point-to-point networking, and things that people smarter than me will think up. But to a consumer who has a fistful of money and an itch to buy something really cool, there is not a lot more that can be put on a wrist that's not already there.

This makes me wonder — why isn't Android Wear — heck, wearables in general from all companies — more popular than it is?

Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people love their smartwatch. Android fans, Samsung fans, Apple fans, that last Pebble fan. There are millions of people who are very happy that they bought a smartwatch, and may even buy another one. Maybe. Millions of anything is not a failure, and I'm not calling Android Wear a failure. But billions of people have a phone. Billions have a traditional computer or laptop. Billions have a TV. When we first heard companies talking about putting a tiny computer on our wrists, the group mind said that billions would buy one. Billions > millions.

New smartwatches do all the things we wanted them to do and don't suck.

It's not because they don't work, either. If you haven't checked out the latest Android Wear watch, or Samsung Gear or Apple Watch, you should. They do exactly what we all wanted them to do and do it fairly well. At least with no more bugs and technical limitation nonsense than any other tiny computing product.

I have an LG Watch Sport and it can almost replace my phone and makes a great companion product to my phone. Other brands from other companies do the same and while we always want more it's tough to say that a smartwatch doesn't do the stuff we expect a smartwatch to do. They even tell time.

The only reason I can come up with is (drum roll) ... money. Few people want to spend more than they need to, and I get the feeling that smartwatches are just too darned expensive for a whole lot of people to justify the purchase. Cheaper smartwatches exist, but they will never get much of a following because they just don't do a lot outside of notifications, and for a thing that only tells you when you have a message they are probably too expensive for a lot of people, too.

Are smartwatches too expensive, or do they just not do enough to make us want them?

This is a big nasty Catch-22 situation because if you make a product that can be a tiny phone, a fitness tracker, an authentication device, a music player, and everything else a good smartwatch can do you spend a lot of money doing it and need to charge a lot of money for it. Then when people see it on a shelf or online store they balk at the price. I don't how you go about fixing that or even if you can. Hey, I'm good at tearing gadgets apart, programming stuff and playing Skyrim. I leave economics to the professionals.

Maybe I'm wrong and it's not the price, or maybe I'm completely wrong and a gazillion people got a smartwatch as a gift last month. So I'm going to ask you — why do you think wearables didn't take off and become the new thing nobody can live without? Take a minute and let me know what you think because this is one of those things I think about when I can't sleep and would love to have a reasonable explanation for.

Until next time.

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2 weeks ago

Acer refreshes the Chromebook 11 with USB-C ports and a $249 price tag

5

10 hours of battery life and Google Play support make this a great budget laptop.

*/ /*-->*/

Acer has refreshed one of their popular Chromebooks with the new CB311 line. It's not going to turn any heads, but it looks to offer decent performance at a great price.

The 11.6 Chromebook models — the CB311-8H and CB311-8HT with a touchscreen — both are powered by a fanless Intel Celeron CPU and will come with 4GB of memory and 16 or 32GB of storage. Checking the scales at 2.4 pounds and only .71-inches thick, it should make for a great carrying-around laptop for students or anyone on the go, too.

Unfortunately, the 11.6-inch IPS display has the dreadful 1366x768 "standard" cheap laptop resolution we wish would just go away forever. To make up for it, there are ports galore with two USB 3.0 Type-A ports and two USB 3.1 Type-C ports so you can plug in all the things. It also has a microSD slot and comes standard with 802.11 ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi.

They're showing them off in Vegas for CES, and we're told they'll be hitting the shelves in March starting at just $249.

The size and price tag make us think this will be quite popular once it hits online retailers like Amazon. And we kind of dig that blue!

Chromebooks

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