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5 days ago

Beginner's guide to Plex

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Plex

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

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

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

This is our beginner's guide to Plex.

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5 days ago

Win a Logitech ZeroTouch road trip prize pack!

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A great road trip is just a hand gesture away!

It's hot. It's sunny. It's summer.

It's road trip time!

As we approach July 4th, we thought it would be a great idea to bring you an amazing contest from our friends at Logitech. The company is promoting its excellent ZeroTouch car phone holder, which uses an innovative mounting method to keep your phone secure and safely usable while in the car, and we're going to give a few of them away to some lucky Android Central readers.

So what is the ZeroTouch car phone holder? Good question! It magnetically holds your phone in place either through an adhesive dash mount or a secure air vent holder, and uses Logitech's excellent app to make it easy to interact with your Android phone while on the go. And if you're in the U.S., ZeroTouch also supports Alexa, which brings a whole new level of intelligence to the experience.

What are the prizes? The grand prize winner gets a Logitech ZeroTouch mount and an amazing UE WONDERBOOM speaker, which is waterproof and amazing for road trips! Two runner up winners get a Logitech ZeroTouch mount!

How do you enter? The contest is open to people in the U.S. and Canada only. Simply enter the contest using the Gleam widget below and we'll pick three winners at random. The contest ends Thursday, June 29!

Enter this contest to win a free Logitech Zerotouch car phone holder and UE Wonderboom speaker!

Want to learn more about the ZeroTouch from Logitech? Read our review!

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5 days ago

Get the paper out on time with Special Delivery on PlayStation VR

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Special Delivery is here for Playstation VR!

There are some games that look so simple and fun you're compelled to give them a try immediately. Special Delivery on PlayStation VR is most definitely one of them. You play as the lowest rung on the newspaper food chain: a paperboy who needs to get the news delivered in a timely fashion. Of course as you go you'll run into rival paper delivery employees, cars intent on running you down, little old ladies crossing the street, and plenty more.

This isn't quite the VR retelling of the classic Atari game, but it's a ton of fun. Available now on PlayStation VR, we have all the details for you here!

Read more at VRHeads!

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5 days ago

Best smart locks

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Best smart locks

Looking to make your house smarter and safer? Here are the best smart locks full of brains and brawn to protect your home.

Whether you're just tired of losing your keys, or you're already in the process of automating your home, a key part of this process is choosing a smart lock that fits your needs. Take a look at our list of the best smart locks to help you decide.

August 2nd Generation

August

The August smart lock's appearance is immediately striking and will give any door a futuristic look with your choice of dark gray or silver finish. You can use your smartphone to remotely unlock or lock your door, or you can set up a proximity lock: your door will unlock when you approach with your phone and lock when you move away.

Perhaps most importantly, the second generation of this lock resolves many of the early connection and stability issues found in the original. The August platform now supports doorbell cameras as well, making it possible to route all of your door security through a single app.

Consider the August if you're cool with the $200 price tag and you'd like a smart lock that is compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

See at Amazon

Schlage Connect Camelot

What could be more secure than Camelot? Alright, so that's not actually what that name stands for, but the Schlage Connect Camelot has been updated to stand alone as a deadbolt with all of the unlock methods. You can use a standard key, you can enter a code on the touchscreen number panel, or you can use a Z-Wave hub to lock and unlock the door through automation and proximity.

Z-Wave support means you can use Wink or SmartThings hubs to program IFTTT commands for the lock, like automatically locking every night at 10pm, but it also means this lock will work with Amazon Alexa when set up. It's not the more futuristic-looking lock in the world with the standard satin nickel finish, but you couldn't ask for more options than are available with this lock.

This lock will set you back $190, but it promises to meet ANSI Grade 1 security standards and a backlit panel for when you want to use the keypad unlock in the dark.

See at Amazon


Kevo 2nd Generation

Kwikset Kevo

It almost looks like a normal deadbolt from the outside, but there's a lot happening inside the Kevo lock. The exterior surface of the lock is touch-sensitive, and when you tap that metal exterior, the lock will check for a digital key on your phone. If your phone is nearby, on the right side of the door, the lock will disengage and you'll be allowed into the house. It's a clever setup, especially when you see you can share digital keys with friends and choose to revoke them whenever you want.

Kevo requires the $100 add-on to the already $230 lock to add things like Wi-Fi connectivity and Amazon Alexa support, but the core lock offers some unique features in the app that are finally executed really well in this second generation version of the lock. If you want to maintain the same level of deadbolt security you have now with some added features, this lock is going to get you pretty far.

You can find Kevo in the standard satin nickel finish, as well as polished brass and Venetian bronze.

See at Amazon


Kwikset 914

This lock from Kwikset looks fairly standard when it comes to deadbolts, and that's because it is. With one important exception, this is a standard Kwikset deadbolt with a battery-powered keypad for normal pin entry. It's a nice-looking lock for fairly standard use cases, unless you decide you want to experiment.

If you have a Wink or Smartthings hub in the home, you can use the Z-Wave feature in the Kwikset 914 to connect the lock to your home network. This means you can unlock the door via IFTTT and lock the door with Amazon Echo, and at $150, you'll be able to do so without spending a ton of cash.

Smart clearly isn't the first focus here, but it works well and looks nice in the standard satin nickel finish, as well as polished brass and Venetian bronze.

See at Amazon


Your favorite smart lock?

Let us know is the comments section below what you use to keep your home safe!

Updated June 2017: Updated all four locks in the list with more modern and Android Central-focused recommendations. Alexa and Google Home support prioritized.

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5 days ago

Moto E4 review: Keeping it simple

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The Moto E4 is one of the best prepaid deals you can get right now.

The Moto E4 is fine. It's not particularly good looking or powerful, nor is it filled with features. When you think a generic smartphone, this is kind of what you think of.

And yet, for $129, I would probably recommend it, warts and all, over any other phone. At $70 on Verizon's prepaid service, it's an absolute steal. Here's why.

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5 days ago

How to track what's being said to Alexa with the history feature

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Alexa history automatically saves your conversations; here's how to review them.

Alexa, the Amazon Echo's virtual assistant, learns about you as you interact with her, and part of the reason she's able to do this is that she records all of your conversations. The history is where all of these conversations are stored and where you can delete conversations you don't want Alexa to learn from. It's located right in your settings and we have the details for you here!

How to view Alexa's history

When viewing your Alexa history, you can see a text transcript of all of your questions, and you can even listen to audio recordings.

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap on the menu button in the upper left corner of your screen that looks like three horizontal lines.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, Tap Settings

  4. Scroll all the way down to the bottom and tap History.
  5. Tap the entry you want to view or listen to.
  6. Tap the play button to listen to the recording.

    Scroll down and tap history, Tap the entry you want to view or listen to, tap the play button to listen to the recording.

How to delete a conversation from history

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap on the menu button in the upper left corner of your screen that looks like three horizontal lines.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, Tap Settings

  4. Scroll all the way down to the bottom, and tap History.
  5. Tap the conversation you want to delete.
  6. Tap Delete voice recordings.

    Scroll down and tap history, tap the conversation you want to delete, tap delete voice recordings

Are you using the history feature?

Have you deleted conversations with Alexa? Have questions? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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5 days ago

How to manually enable Daydream on phones Google has not approved

How do I install Daydream on my phone?

Google's philosophy with their newest VR platform is simple. In order to offer the best possible experience in Daydream, there needs to be a minimum list of requirements met. The phone must be capable of delivering two video streams at 60fps with no stutter, and when you turn your head inside a Daydream headset there should be as little motion blur as possible. Unfortunately that means no matter how capable your phone is, if it's got an LCD display Google won't be enabling Daydream by default. The "motion to photon latency" in LCD panels being used in phones right now is just too high, and the end result is a VR experience that doesn't meet Google's quality threshold.

That having been said, if you're willing to mess around with your phone a little there may be a way to enable Daydream on your phone without Google's blessing.

Read more at VR Heads!

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5 days ago

OnePlus 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8 camera comparison: Playing catch-up

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No matter what we pay for phones, we always want a great camera.

OnePlus has consistently nailed the core experience of a high-end smartphone, over-achieving its price in so many ways. But one area where it felt more native to its price point was the camera — but the OnePlus 5 is designed to change that. Even though it is notably less expensive than the flagship competition, the OnePlus 5 will constantly be compared to the top-end phones available today. It's when you start to compare cameras, especially, that the battle gets tough: the past two years have seen fantastic improvements in smartphone cameras at the high end.

Millions of people are familiar with how the Galaxy S8 takes photos, and it's well-regarded as having a consistently good camera in a variety of ways. If the OnePlus 5 can beat — or even just match — the likes of the Galaxy S8, it's going to be in great shape to pick up sales as people look for the best value in a smartphone that includes a great camera. This is how the two compared in our testing.

Daylight photos

OnePlus 5 (left) / Galaxy S8 (right) — click to view larger

When viewing these photos at typical size embedded in a webpage, it isn't easy to pick out differences. That's a good sign for OnePlus, as it shows the OnePlus 5 can put out nice-looking photos what are generally indiscernible from a leading smartphone at a glance.

You have to zoom in pretty tightly to see differences in these photos.

Once you zoom in and start to nitpick a little bit, you can see where the Galaxy S8 does things a bit better. The GS8's photos easily have sharper edges and finer detail when you start to closely inspect them. In most cases, it doesn't really come across in the end product viewed at a typical size (especially when just viewed on a phone) — but sometimes you just get a sense of the GS8's photos being crisper than the OnePlus 5's.

You'll notice from the photos above that the Galaxy S8 still tends to take warmer photos, and although the OnePlus 5's color balance seems better it doesn't have quite the brightness and saturation that the Galaxy S8 does. That's a bit more of a personal preference ... but in general, the average smartphone buyer enjoys the look of those punchy, extra-contrast shots the Galaxy S8 tends to take.

Low light photos

OnePlus 5 (left) / Galaxy S8 (right) — click to view larger

Switching to low-light photos, you can more easily see differences in the output of these cameras at a typical size before even zooming in. The Galaxy S8 on average takes sharper, clearer photos when the lights get dim. When you start to inspect the photos more closely, you'll see the OnePlus 5 has a considerable amount of grain to low-light photos that the Galaxy S8 manages to avoid through a combination of a lower ISO and better overall processing.

The Galaxy S8 is still better in low light, but the gap is narrowing.

Of course you'll notice once again the Galaxy S8's photos are warmer than the OnePlus 5's, but in many low-light scenes that warm color is a bit more accurate to the scene. In some cases it felt like the OnePlus 5 was again too cool in its color temperature adjustment. Having a warmer color temperature is a fine trade off in this case, considering how much sharper the fine details in dark scenes are in most photos compared to the OnePlus 5.

Though it doesn't quite match the Galaxy S8, I'm rather impressed by the OnePlus 5's ability to take solid photos in bad lighting conditions considering its small 1.12-micron pixels and lack of OIS — but if you look at the photos with a critical eye you do notice some of its shortcomings. In some very dark scenes it took multiple shots to get an acceptable one, as it's easier to reach a point where the ISO has to go too high and the shutter speed just can't go any lower without OIS. Considering the fact that the OnePlus 5 isn't that far off from the pace here, it's conceivable that improvements could be made with some software updates. Let's hope it gets tweaked in the future.

Bottom line

The OnePlus 5 takes an admirable swing at reaching a leading camera like the Galaxy S8's, but ultimately doesn't quite get there. Daylight shots are just about neck-and-neck, with the tie-breakers being your personal preference on how the Galaxy S8 tends to over-warm and over-saturate photos and where the OnePlus 5 ends up being a little softer and dimmer. The real separator is low light shots, where the GS8 on average takes a clearer, better-balanced photo — the OnePlus 5 does admirably, but doesn't have the processing (or the hardware, frankly) to perfectly match it.

The Galaxy S8 has a better camera, but the OnePlus 5 is close and has a few extra features, too.

Aside from the main cameras compared here, let's also remember that the OnePlus 5 packs a complete secondary camera that offers a longer focal length for interesting shots and a Portrait Mode that gives you unique background blurring in certain photos. Whether or not those additions bring the entire OnePlus 5 camera experience up to the level of the Galaxy S8 for you is a good question to ask when comparing the two.

The fact that this is a relatively close competition should be taken as a good thing from the perspective of OnePlus, as the OnePlus 5 is over $200 less than the Galaxy S8. It's completely reasonable to see the OnePlus 5's camera capabilities — to say nothing of all its other great qualities — and say it's darn well close enough to the Galaxy S8 that the extra $200+ isn't worth the small improvement.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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5 days ago

Best Selfie Sticks for Galaxy S8

19

But first… Let me tell you that they're not as bad as everyone says.

I'm as against selfie culture as anyone, but when you and the missus (or mister) are out on vacation and don't feel like bothering anyone to take a photo of you, a selfie stick and really come in handy. And I'd honestly rather use a selfie stick than hand my Galaxy S8 to a stranger.

Here are the best selfie sticks to use with your Galaxy S8.

Mpow iSnap extendable monopod

Mpow is Amazon's best-selling selfie stick and 84% of reviews are 4- or 5-star. This Bluetooth selfie stick pairs with your Galaxy S8, and the shutter button the stick then operates the shutter button your phone's screen.

The Mpow stick features a spring-loaded mount, an extendable handle, and a 270-degree adjustable head to help you take photos at just about any angle your arm is capable of. If you don't want to spend a lot but still want a quality selfie stick, Mpow should fall right in your price range, at about $10.

See at Amazon

Fugutek FT-568

Fugutek's FT-568 isn't just a selfie stick — it's a full selfie taking kit. It features a spring-loaded phone mount for your GS8, but it also comes with a screw-on mount for your DSLR (there's even a mirror for selfies!), in case you're serious about your selfies.

This one comes with a Bluetooth remote, rather than having it built-in, and there is even limited zoom function for certain Android devices (not confirmed if it works on GS8). The fact that each extension level has a lock like a real tripod is an excellent feature.

You can get this one for around $20.

See at Amazon

Anker wired monopod

If you hate fiddling around with Bluetooth and just want a secure connection that's sure to snap a photo every time, then check out Anker's wired selfie stick, which just hooks into the headphone jack on your Galaxy S8. It then sips power from your phone the way headphones do.

With a 32-inch reach, Anker's stick is perfect for group shots. It's also compact and weighs just over a quarter of a pound, making it super portable. You get an 18-month warranty, like you do with all Anker products, and this one's only around $11, so it's perfect if you just want to try things out.

See at Amazon

Perfectday foldable selfie stick

Perfectday's selfie stick features a head that rotates 270 degrees and a built-in Bluetooth shutter button for wirelessly snapping photos with your Galaxy S8. All you have to do is turn it on and pair it and you're ready to go.

When folded down, this selfie stick is only a couple inches taller than your S8 and not quite as wide, so it's nearly pocketable. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and starts at $8.

See at Amazon


TaoTronics extendable monopod

TaoTronics' monopod (selfie stick — let's be real) is a bit more of a luxury option in that it's probably the best-looking selfie stick on this list. With one charge, you can take 30 hours' worth of photos, so you'd definitely have to charge your Galaxy S8 long before needed to charge this device.

Made of aluminum, this stick is nice and light and it features smaller joints than the average selfie stick, so it has more points of stability, meaning steadier photos when fully extended. The included wristband should also help if you're a bit of a butter fingers.

You can grab this one on Amazon for around $20.

See at Amazon

Stick it

Do you have a favorite selfie stick? Would you prefer to pummel selfie stick users with the very implement they so flagrantly use and abuse? Sound off in the comments below.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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5 days ago

Best HTC Vive Experiences For Kids

Best HTC Vive experiences for kids

What games can kids play on HTC Vive?

The HTC Vive is a wonderful VR system that has an incredible library of games and other experiences thanks to support through Steam. A lot of VR is based around shooting or scaring the pants off of you — blame it on the gun-like Vive controllers and the immersion level — but there are plenty of great experiences that are also suitable for children.

Remember, it's never a bad idea to follow the recommended age guidelines set by the manufacturer. In HTC's case, they recommend 13 and up, but that isn't set in stone as long as you remain precautionary.

Read more at VR Heads!

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5 days ago

Join the Honor/Huawei community incentive program to win great prizes!

Be an active part of the Honor/Huawei community and earn some great prizes for your participation!

Some prizes are really hard to win — ever tried to win one of those arcade claw games? — and others are mercifully easy. This year, Huawei and Honor want to make it super easy to win a great set of prizes just for participating in the Android Central community!

How to win great prizes

Here's how it works: each month, we're going to select three winners from the Android Central community based on engagement with the Huawei / Honor forums. Doesn't matter if it's the Honor 8 or Huawei Mate 9 — if you're active in the community, you're entered to win.

The person with the most interaction wins the grand prize each month and the next two will receive runner-up prizes.

What do we mean by interaction? Post a lot! Start new threads! Reply to other people in a helpful and honest way. Be a vital member of the community!

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Spamming the forums with low-quality posts will result in immediate disqualification from the program. You have to participate because you love Huawei/Honor!
  • It doesn't matter which Huawei or Honor forums you're active in, as long as you're active!
  • Winners are immediately eligible again the following month. As long as you're engaged, you can win!
  • We'll have prizes from June through November. This is a long-term program!
  • Unfortunately, the program is for U.S. participants only. Sorry!

So what prizes can you win?

Thanks for asking!

List of prizes by month:

  • June: 1x Huawei MediaPad M3; 2x Honor Band Z
  • July: 1x Honor 6X; 2x Honor Band Z
  • August: 1x Huawei MediaPad M3; 2x Honor Band Z
  • September: 1x Huawei Watch 2; 2x Honor Band Z
  • October: 1x Honor 6x; 2x Honor Band Z
  • November: 1x Huawei Mate 9; 2x Honor Band Z
  • December: 1x Huawei Watch 2; 2x Honor Band Z

The Huawei MediaPad M3 is a great all-rounded tablet with amazing build quality. The Honor 6X is a fantastic mid-range smartphone with a metal build and a dual camera setup. The Huawei Watch 2 is a rugged, powerful Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch with GPS and all-day battery. The Honor Band Z is a terrific little fitness tracker. And the Huawei Mate 9 is one of the best big phones you can buy! Altogether these are some of the best devices on the market, and they can be yours — free.

Ready to start?

Jump into the Huawei or Honor forums and show 'em what you got! We'll contact the winners through the email in your forum profile, so make sure it's up to date!

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5 days ago

A look at the Android smartphones still to come in 2017

47

Like sands through the hourglass, so does the smartphone release cycle seem churn in perpetuity.

Samsung, LG, and HTC may have been first to bat with their flagship smartphones, but there are still plenty more device launches to look forward to. The year is only halfway through, and with the launch of the fourth-generation OnePlus 5, we're officially headed into the summer smartphone release season.

What's left to see? There's plenty, actually. We've put together a list of some of the marquee Android-powered smartphone releases we're still waiting on to hit the scene later this year.

ASUS ZenFone AR

zenfone ar

At the beginning of 2017, ASUS announced the ZenFone AR. It's been more than 6 months, and the only time we've had with it was on the ground at Google I/O 2017, where it was teased in various demonstrations. The ZenFone AR has yet to materialize into something you can actually buy.

In August, however, it'll launch exclusively at Verizon, though it'll also be sold unlocked. This is the first phone bundled with both the appropriate camera hardware and an optimized Snapdragon 821 chip that can handle both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. That's also why it went missing for so long — the ZenFone AR underwent rigorous testing to ensure that both technologies could operate seamlessly on a mobile device.

For now, we're waiting for the smartphone to hit Verizon before we take a dive into its abilities and test what it can really do with all that VR technology baked in.

Motorola Moto X 2017

As we learned from a revealing leak, the Moto X 2017 is part of the lengthy lineup of Motorola smartphones hitting the scene this summer. Following the launch of the Moto Z2, we should be seeing the Moto X 2017 debut fairly soon.

Thus far, leaks have pointed to the Moto X 2017 being powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM, and that it'll carry 32GB of onboard storage. It may also tout a dual camera setup— perhaps the "unlimited perfection" tagline that's being used internally is a reference to a trick the main camera can do.

Essential Phone

The Essential Phone.

Andy Rubin's pet project is finally gaining some momentum now that we know a bit more about it, including the fact that it's launching later this year. The Essential Phone comes with a 5.7-inch QHD edge-to-edge display. It's also powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 and offers 4GB of RAM, along with 128GB storage.

Other confirmed hardware specifications include USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, LTE support for all major U.S. carriers, fingerprint sensor at the back, an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter, and a 3,040mAh battery with fast charging abilities.

We don't know of the official ship date for the phones just yet, but for now, you can check it out (or pre-order it) here.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

I like to refer to Samsung's Galaxy Note as the summer's repeat blockbuster hit. The company's phablet-sized smartphone (can we really call it that anymore?) is usually announced rather loudly and with much fanfare in the Android scene during the month of August. The device also typically showcases some of Samsung's future-facing mobile features; for example, the original Note was used to introduce the storable S Pen, while the ability to use iris scanning to unlock the phone was introduced with the Note 7.

Hot take: the Note 8 will probably look like the Galaxy S8 a bit, but with an S Pen in tow.

This year, the launch of the Galaxy Note 8 will no doubt be accommodated by a different air, considering last year's fiery battery fiasco. That led way to a bit of unfavorable press about the Galaxy Note 7 and Samsung will have to act diligently to change the message behind this particular line of devices.

Fortunately for the company, the latest rumor sounds good so far. Our very own Alex Dobie offered some insight on the hearsay and what it can tell us about the Galaxy Note 8:

The Galaxy Note line has historically packed the latest and greatest specs, and that trend should continue in the Note 8. It's likely we'll see at least Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 9 series chips running the show, just like the GS8.

As Samsung looks to differentiate the Note line in ways other than sheer screen size, a jump to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard is probable, too.

And that dual camera system we've been seeing in leaked Galaxy S8+ prototype photos is a good bet for the Note 8. Samsung showcased the Exynos 8895's dual ISP (image signal processor) support in its announcement imagery, and chances are the company wouldn't do that without having a specific product in mind.

We don't yet have reliable evidence of what the Note 8 will look like, but it's safe to say that it'll resemble its sibling, the Galaxy S8. You can expect metal, glass, slim bezels, no buttons, rounded corners, and that extra-tall infinity display. Historically, Note devices have been a bit boxier than Galaxy smartphones, too, so slightly narrower corners and flatter sides are a possibility.

As for specs, we don't know much about what will be inside the Galaxy Note 8, though we can infer that, like last year's Note 7, it'll operate on much of the same hardware as its predecessor. That means it'll run on a Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM, and shoot with the same 12-megapixel rear camera. Expect the battery size to be bigger, too — actually, expect a ton of emphasis on the battery.

LG V30

We actually don't know if the V30 will be the moniker behind LG's next smartphone, but we do know that whatever is next from LG will arrive ready to use with Daydream. At Google I/O, Google's Clay Bavor had teased that the manufacturer's next flagship would be compatible with the virtual reality spec.

Vice President of Virtual and Augmented Reality, Clay Bavor, teases the next LG phone in a slide at Google I/O 2017.

Since Daydream requires an AMOLED display, we can expect the V30 to have an OLED panel instead of LG's usual choice of an IPS LCD display. (It seems the obvious choice if you consider LG has invested billions in OLED production.)

As for what else the LG V30 will be capable of? Well, that's hard to say, since there isn't much else out there on the forthcoming device. We can guess that it will likely employ a larger screen size, in addition to a G6-like 18:9 aspect ratio. It's also likely to come equipped with a Snapdragon 835 and plenty of RAM, considering its virtual reality capabilities.

Based on the release pattern of its predecessors over the last two years, expect to hear more about the LG V30 later this summer.

Google Pixel 2

If you've been paying attention to the blogosphere, then you now that we're mere months away from the debut of Google's next Pixel device. Until recently, we figured we'd see two more additions to the stock Android lineup—essentially a big phone and a bigger phone. But then the rumor mill began churning, and now there are reports alleging that Google will scale it back a bit this year.

New Pixels are coming from Google. But how many will there actually be?

Here's the low-down from our full Google Pixel 2 rumor roundup:

In March, it came out that a third potential Pixel device was being produced, codenamed "taimen", likely bigger than both "walleye" and "muskie".

At the time, we didn't know much about the device, but in recent weeks it's come out that "taimen" would be built by LG, not HTC, and would be larger than the "XL" version of HTC's Pixel sequel, "muskie." It was then revealed that Google in fact canceled the "muskie," the larger of HTC's Pixels, for "taimen," leaving one HTC- and one LG-built Pixel phone for 2017.

We still know very little about what this LG-built Pixel looks like or its specs, but we can speculate as to why Google added LG to the equation this year.

Beyond that, we know very little about the Pixel 2, save for the fact that it will feature Android O. We don't know what it will look like, nor do we know if the actual device will be water-resistant. We also don't know what's fueling it on the inside, though we figure it'll at least come equipped with a Snapdragon 835.

Check back after the heat waves subside and the leaves begin changing colors. We're expecting to hear more about the Pixel 2 in late September or early October.

Huawei Mate 10

There isn't much to speculate about the Huawei Mate 10 at present, considering it's been only 6 months since the Mate 9 has actually been on sale. But with the device's top-notch build quality and the later addition of virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa helping infuse a bit of an edge, we can expect that the Mate 10 will be a major contender in the Android sphere, particularly overseas.

What are we missing?

The world of Android smartphones is big and vast, and there are likely more rumors headed this way. Are we missing anything you're looking forward to? Let us know!

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5 days ago

These are the official OnePlus cases for the OnePlus 5

4
OnePlus 5 cases

You have stylish OnePlus 5 case options right from Day 1.

Even though its newer phones don't offer removable backs like the OnePlus One and 2 did, OnePlus has put a notable amount of time into guaranteeing that you have a set of sleek, simple cases available to protect and personalize its phones. The legacy continues with the OnePlus 5, where OnePlus is launching a set of familiar wooden shells and a thicker bumper case at the same time as the phone.

Here's what you can expect.

The first three cases (simply called a "Protective Case") will be familiar to anyone who has seen the offerings for the OnePlus X or OnePlus 3 and 3T in the past. These super thin shells come in two different wood varieties, a "karbon" faux carbon fiber look, and the trademark "sandstone" finish, giving your OnePlus 5 a little bit of protection and style without adding much bulk.

There are big cutouts on the top, bottom, and sides to give you a "barely there" kind of feel. The cases feel great and look super unique. The sandstone one in particular offers a ton of extra grip in your hand, while the wood varieties are very rigid and thin with a lighter texture.

Then you have the new "Karbon Bumper Case," which took the finish previously offered as an option on the thin shell case and applied it to a more complete bumper option. The Karbon Bumper Case wraps around the entirety of the phone and is a bit thicker, with rubber along the sides and a harder plastic on the back in a cool carbon fiber-like pattern. Overall, it offers further drop protection than the thin shells and provides a lip along the front of the phone so you could put it face-down on a table without scratching the glass.

The sandstone shell case retails for $19.95, while the wood and karbon protective shell cases are $24.95 each, and the karbon bumper case is $29.95. They're available from the OnePlus store.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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5 days ago

Android O brings huge improvements for VR

3

For Google Daydream, software is as important as the hardware.

Mobile VR has come a long way since Google Cardboard. And it's one area where a lot of different companies have ideas for how it can get even better. We're nowhere near a "peak VR" situation and expect advances with every generation.

Daydream-ready phones need to perform without overheating or killing the battery in 10 minutes.

A big part of why things can get better is the hardware. Getting a phone Daydream certified isn't a mystery. You need to have a display with an HD resolution that can process two separate streams at 60 frames per second with latency under 25 milliseconds. And you need to be able to do it while it's running on battery power and keep it cool while tucked away in a headset. It's not easy to do, but newer hardware helps a lot. An engineer from Motorola who went through the process for the Moto Z has some specific and interesting things to say about it here.

It is neither required nor sufficient to have [a Snapdragon] 821, nor any other specific chipset. But the requirements to meet from an overall system behavior perspective are not trivial to meet and require some specific platform hooks and code to be added, which involve display, graphics pipeline, security, sensors, scheduler, thermal engine, and significant testing & validation effort - for that you will need to send devices to Google and they will verify whether your device compiles. Then they will whitelist your device, and that will enable Daydream-specific mode of graphics pipeline operation for your production devices, which is required for stutter-free performance of 3rd party apps.

Google is serious about making the Daydream experience the best it can be, and there's a lot involved. And much of it is in the software. Specifically, Android and how it can use graphics APIs from Vulkan or Open GL. Android O will be better at drawing all the data on your screen and turning it into a VR experience because it's more efficient and takes better advantage of these 3D graphics APIs. That's a given — the Daydream team and the Android team certainly work closely to make sure the experience is the best it can be, while always working on making it even better in the future.

Besides Daydream-specific changes in Android, other improvements can also help make a better experience.

But other changes in Android O, like the way background processes are handled and better power management through the operating system itself, can have a major impact. VR is a heavy load for any phone and reducing the way the rest of the system uses resources leaves more CPU time for the various processes at work when you have a Daydream unit strapped to your head. We know a lot of work is being done to optimize Android O for VR even further because Google is working on a major platform update and launching stand-alone Daydream devices from HTC and LG in late 2017. We imagine people working on the project are pretty busy for the rest of the summer.

VR is important. Getting it right is just as important. We've seen huge strides from Samsung's Gear VR platform and Google Daydream, and can't wait to try Daydream 2.0 on a proper Android 8 device.

Android O

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Google Daydream

Google

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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5 days ago

OnePlus 5 now official in India for ₹32,999: Everything you need to know

6

The OnePlus 5 makes its debut in India, and you can pick one up starting today.

India is a key market for OnePlus, and just two days after unveiled its latest flagship, the company is launching the device in the country. To say that the OnePlus 5 was highly anticipated would be an understatement — the OnePlus 3 and 3T did remarkably well in India, leading to heightened expectations from OnePlus' 2017 flagship.

At a media event in Mumbai, OnePlus finally dished out all the details regarding the OnePlus 5 in India. Like previous years, the phone will be offered exclusively on Amazon, and there are two variants available — a model with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage that will be available for ₹32,999, and a version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage for ₹37,999.

Aside from the memory and storage, the two models are identical when it comes to the hardware. Let's take a look at what's on offer with the OnePlus 5.

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