Android Oreo wasn’t a monumental shift in design or user experience, but it introduced Autofill, and that’s enough for us.
Most changes in Android 8.0 Oreo came in the form of under-the-hood improvements, ways of making your phone run faster, cooler and smoother. But Autofill is a change that benefits both users and developers, since it makes it super easy to people to enter usernames and passwords in apps that support them.
But how does it work? And why should you use it? Let us explain.
What is Autofill?
When you load a new phone, there are often dozens of apps to log into, requiring you to remember your unique username and password for each. Google has, for a long time, provided its own password manager, which securely (but not that securely) stores that information in a database in its cloud. The database is mainly used for web pages, but it also works inside apps that use Google’s WebView.
The notion of automatically filling in usernames and passwords for websites and apps is called Autofill. Other apps, too, from LastPass to Everpass to 1Password to Dashlane, perform the same thing, often much better than Google’s own. Before Oreo, these apps offered their own clunky ways of automatically filling in usernames and passwords, often utilizing hacks to get the job done. No more!
In Oreo, Google added a framework for apps like 1Password and Dashlane to prompt users to automatically and securely enter their login information when an app opens for the first time, or when a webpage prompts for authentication. As with default messaging apps, Google forces the system to have a default Autofill service so they’re not competing with one another.
How does it work?
If you’re already a password manager user (and you should be!) setting up Autofill in Oreo is fairly easy. By default, the system chooses Google’s own solution, but it’s very easy to switch to your own once the app is installed. Right now, there are only a handful of popular cross-platform services that support Autofill on Oreo:
Some, like 1Password, are still in beta, while others are available in the public build. Either way, they’re really easy to set up and use.
Note: This guide takes you through the steps to enable and change Autofill defaults on the Pixel 2 running Android 8.0 Oreo, but the steps should be similar on most phones running Oreo.
Download and install a supported password manager. (We’re using 1Password here as our example).
To switch to it, swipe down on the notification shade from the home screen.
Select the Settings icon (looks like a cog**.
Scroll down to and tap on System.
Tap on Languages, inputs & gestures.
Expand the Advanced menu by tapping on it.
Select Autofill services.
Select your service.
Now, open an app and, when prompted, tap Autofill with 1Password.
Authenticate yourself using a fingerprint or password.
Log in to the app.
That’s it! Now your Autofill prompt will automatically ask you to enter your credentials using a password manager whenever it detects a compatible app.
Why isn’t every app prompting me to use Autofill?
Right now, the Autofull API is a bit buggy, and not every app will prompt you to use the service in every instance. For example, Twitter, which supports Autofill very well, sometimes just forgets it exists and I have to close the app and re-open it for the prompt to appear.
Other apps just don’t support Autofill at all. In that case, you can always open the password manager app separately to copy and paste the username and password, but I know that’s not ideal. If an app you often use doesn’t prompt for Autofill, you may want to contact the developer.
What about saving passwords to a password manager?
Another awesome aspect of the new Autofill feature is that if you have a new username or password, or haven’t logged it into your favorite password manager, once you do so for the first time, the app should prompt you to save the information into the default manager.
In the case of 1Password, it’s prompted me to create entries for apps that are already in my database, but because the Android app has a different “address” than the website, it doesn’t already know it’s in there. Bug? Maybe. Feature? Maybe. Either way, you’ll likely have a few duplicates once you start using the Autofill feature.
The whole Autofill experience is supposed to get better in Android 8.1, which should be released to the public in December of 2017. Here’s what Google’s saying about it:
Autofill enhancements — we’ve made it easier for password managers and other Autofill services to use the Autofill framework. For example, we’ve added support for more UI customization of the Save dialog, as well as setAutofillOptions() for users to set credit card expiration using a spinner.
It’s been over two months since Google officially released Android Oreo and only a small subset of Android devices have actually received the update so far. Last month’s Android distribution numbers revealed that Android Oreo was running on 0.2% of Android devices. While this may sound like really slow progress, the numbers will likely ramp up as more OEMs start rolling out the new version to their smartphones in the coming months.
In the past couple weeks, we have already seen quite a few OEMs announcing their own beta tests of Oreo for their flagship devices. OnePlus was the first to announce such beta program with its announcement of OxygenOS Oreo beta for the OnePlus 3/3T, followed by Nokia with its Beta Labs announcement for the Nokia 8, and Samsung who launched Oreo beta program for the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus just yesterday. Now it appears Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has also begun conducting Android Oreo beta software tests for its flagship lineup, at least in China.
A beta version of Android Oreo-based EMUI 8.0 is now available for the Chinese variant of Honor 8 Pro, the Honor V9. If you are rocking an Honor V9, you can try out Android Oreo beta now by enrolling your device in the beta program. The software is currently only available for closed beta users so there are no direct download links available for the firmware. The full details about the closed beta program and how to enroll your device in it can be found in this thread (in Chinese).
Speaking of the update, all the new features introduced in EMUI 8.0 are available in the beta software, including new Smart Resolution feature, navigation bar customizations, ambient display, improved camera app and more.
As for the Android Oreo specific changes, you will be happy to know that Project Treble support has also been added in this update. As you can see in the screenshot below, running getprop ro.treble.enabled command in the terminal emulator returns a true value which basically confirms that Project Treble is up and running.
Finally, Bluetooth audio codec customization features are also available in the software and can be accessed from within the Developers Options.
So there you have it, Android Oreo beta for the Honor V9. While the beta software program is limited to the Chinese variant Honor V9 for now, it could be a good sign that its international variant, the Honor 8 Pro, may also get a taste of Oreo through a similar beta program in the near future.
For those wondering whether they can install this firmware on their Honor 8 Pro, the short answer is yes, you can. But to do so, you’ll first need to rebrand your Honor 8 Pro to the Chinese version using a third party service like FunkyHuawei.
There were rumors that Huawei was planning an Android Oreo release for the Honor 8 Pro by the end of this year. Though, those rumors later tuned out to be inaccurate. But given that Android Oreo is already in the beta phase, it’s still possible that we might see an Android Oreo release by the end of the year.
Google recently released the first system images for Android 8.1 Developer Preview 1 for the Nexus 5Xand 6P, as well as first and second-generation Pixel devices. The update includes major fixes and improvements as well as some small under the hood changes.
Android 8.1 brings a lot of new features and changes like Automatic Light and Dark Themes, Neural Networks API, Programmatic Safe Browsing Actions etc. Nevertheless, a jarring issue with the update was recently stumbled upon by a Reddit user.
Reddit user tombolger discovered that failing to remember the unlock method of your phone running the Google’s latest Android 8.1 build will have dire consequences. Forgetting your device lock screen pattern/pin/password will lead to your device getting permanently bricked. In the preceding versions of Android (<8.1), the factory reset protection (FRP) was implemented in such a manner that the Google account password would be required after a full wipe of the device.
This is where Google has drastically changed the approach. Incongruous to its predecessors, Android 8.1 demands the lock screen security which was previously cached in your device after factory resetting your phone. It might be a move which was crafted and intended by design rather than being a gaffe to bolster and add another layer of device protection.
It renders stealing these phones worthless (apart from the parts) as no person would be able to use and setup these devices.
The Reddit user further added that there were no options to change the previously used lock screen security i.e. pattern, pin or password. Google technical support recommended that he RMA his device. He further described that flashing the stock image of Android 8.0 or downgrading to the previous version via fastboot failed to help. The error which he reported is shared in the image below.
On a related note, Android 8.0 has pushed “rollback protection” into the Verified Boot process. With rollback protection, Verified Boot will no longer start up an OS that it detects has been downgraded to an earlier version.
In the meantime, Google has not made an official statement regarding this uncertainty. This time Google might have taken its gusto for encryption and protection of devices a step too far. We will update this story when a development occurs.
Here’s What’s New in Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview 1: UI Changes & More!
e received news from Google some days back that Android 8.1, the first maintenance release of Android Oreo, was making its way to Pixel and Nexus devices as a developer preview in the coming weeks. And indeed, just 8 days after the initial confirmation, the first system images for the 8.1.0 developer preview have now dropped for the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. While this update might seem like a really modest improvement over the first Android 8.0 release, there is actually way more than meets the eye, as the update packs some major fixes and improvements as well as some other small tidbits and changes that should, all in all, improve the overall user experience in various ways. Today, we’re doing a small rundown on some of what the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 1 brings to the table.
New Android 8.1 Oreo Features and Changes
Dark/Light SystemUI Theme Based on Wallpaper
One of the most criticized aspects of Android 8.0 was the move to a white theme for almost every single aspect of the SystemUI, including the Quick Settings panel and the volume sliders, hampering nighttime usage for some users. While they didn’t go back to the gray Nougat quick settings, we did get an interesting alternative: adaptive quick settings.
Basically, instead of just switching the shade and menus back to gray, the system UI now takes advantage from the newly introduced (API 27) WallpaperColors API, and grabs color from your phone’s wallpaper, switching many aspects of the SystemUI like the quick settings panel, the mini QS/notification shade, the volume sliders, the power menu and even the Pixel Launcher (both app drawer and folder/shortcut background) to a darker hue if the wallpaper is dark/black, and keeping it brighter if the wallpaper is light.
Dark notification shade in Android 8.1. Credits: /u/adrianj93
This change, however, only seems to stick as long as the wallpaper is displayed on screen. This means that the adaptive colors will be displayed on the launcher, the easter egg, the recents panel, and any other app activity which displays the device wallpaper as a backdrop, while every other activity or application will get the regular, white/light hue.
Quick Settings Panel Goes Semi-Transparent
The Quick Settings panel has received some small visual changes, and it now features a slightly transparent background. Just like the Pixel 2’s quick settings panel and Pixel Launcher app drawer, the semi-transparent light/dark quick settings panel allows users to continue seeing what’s behind the panel without pulling it back up. This works system-wide, unlike the adaptive coloring feature.
Furthermore, the padding of the tiles themselves increased ever so slightly, and the user icon was removed completely from the QS panel, leaving Settings as the only way for switching users inside the phone.
Settings Receives a Drastic Overhaul
Android 8.1 changes the user interface for the Settings application yet again. The newest Android release revamps the top toolbar completely: instead of having an icon on the right side of the toolbar for searching inside Settings, the search option now takes the protagonist role as a search bar replaces the top toolbar. Since some people simply ignore the previous Search icon, this toolbar is meant to be much more eye-catching and prominent in order to help people find what they need more quickly and easily.
Some other, minor changes can be found as well. The whole Settings interface should feel much closer to what we can find on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, with some minor cosmetic/layout changes as well as a new, white navigation bar with dark icons, similar to what we’ve already seen on the Pixel Launcher app drawer.
New, Proper Oreo Easter Egg
8.1 also brings a small, yet noticeable change for easter egg lovers: the Android Oreo easter egg, which is accessed by tapping the Android version in “About phone” 7 times, now displays an Oreo cookie with the Android bugdroid instead of the known orange “O” icon that we’ve been seeing since the first Android O Developer Preview. There’s no new Oreo-themed game, though: the “Octopus” easter egg itself (which we were introduced to on DP4) remains unchanged, as it can be still accessed by repeatedly tapping the Oreo cookie.
SystemUI icons, like the USB debugging notification icon, have also been updated reflecting the new Oreo cookie easter egg.
Navigation Bar Receives a Revamp, Dims Automatically When Inactive
One of the changes that can be noticed immediately after upgrading to Android 8.1 is the navigation bar’s new behavior. That’s because the nav bar itself has received a couple of cosmetic revamps. For starters, it’s now noticeably more compact – icons are now smaller, centered and closer together compared to the 7.1/8.0 navbar, making one-handed usage easier for big phones.
But furthermore, the navigation bar has also received a key behavior change: the opacity of the back, home, and recents buttons is lowered whenever there is no touch input. This “auto-dimming” nav bar works system-wide, and it’s probably a preventive measure in order to avoid, whenever possible, burn-in and image retention issues on OLED screens.
The Power Menu Changes Completely, Now Identical to the Pixel 2 Phones
Back when the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL were announced, one of the changes that we’ve noticed right away was a new, completely changed power menu: instead of a pop up menu placed in the dead center of the screen, a long press of the power button would now give you a way smaller, more user friendly menu to a side of the screen, aligned with the power button in order to greatly facilitate one-handed operation (especially with the bigger Pixel 2 XL). Android 8.1 brings this same exact menu to all devices, including the original Pixel phones as well as the Nexus 5X and 6P. And as a bonus, it’s also themed with the WallpaperColors API.
The new Android 8.1 power menu in dark and light versions. Credits: /u/JediBurrell
Android 8.1 also brings other smaller, less noticeable improvements to the Pixels and Nexus devices, which aside from maintaining consistency with the new-generation Pixels, also slightly enhance the overall Android UX:
The status bar now has system-wide increased padding on the left and right, similar to the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy Note 8 and the Pixel 2 XL, making the status bar more friendly for rounded-corner screens and taller displays in general.
The date under the Ambient Display clock, which was removed in the 8.0 update, is now back for Android 8.1-powered phones.
Download Manager has its notification priority lowered: instead of cluttering your notification shade with recently finished downloads, they’re now relegated as a MIN priority notification.
Similar to Sony’s implementation, a dialog warning will appear before turning off mobile data.
Just like with the Pixel 2, if you’ve skipped through the setup, a colored notification will remind you to finish setting up your phone.
Bluetooth battery level, which is supported in OEM skins like EMUI and custom ROMs like LineageOS, is now officially supported in Android 8.1. The battery bar is displayed in Quick Settings.
New toast message UI: the dark grey, semi-transparent background with white letters is swapped for a white, semi-transparent background with dark letters.
Long pressing on a notification now prompts a vibration.
“App is running in the background” and “Drawing over other apps” notifications can now be easily disabled by the user just like any other notification channel: long press the notification, disable the toggle, and you are done!
Compared to last month, several products have been added to our best Android tablets and 2-in-1s list, including Amazon’s new Fire HD 10 tablet, and the Pixelbook, Google’s newest hybrid which was announced next to the company’s new Pixel phones. The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet is available for purchase as we speak, while the Pixelbook is up for pre-order at the time, but will become available soon. There are quite a few of additional, interesting products listed down below, so read on if you’re interested.
10. Google Pixel C
The Google Pixel C is Google’s very own tablet which was announced back in October 2015. Even though it has been two years since this tablet was announced, it’s still relevant due to the fact how slow the tablet market is these days, and after all, it’s still a rather good tablet, though it’s still quite pricey, it costs $499 over at Amazon at the moment. The device is made out of metal, it sports a 10.2-inch 2560 x 1800 display, and in addition to that, you’re also getting 3GB of RAM and 32GB / 64GB of native storage here. NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 quad-core SoC fuels this device, and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow comes pre-installed on it, though you will be offered an update to Android 8.0 Oreo when you start using it, as Google did release the latest version of Android for this device.
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is definitely not one of the newer tablets out there, but it’s still quite compelling if you’re looking for a sleek-looking tablet, and are not really looking to get the newest product out there. This tablet is made out of metal and glass, while it sports a 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 display. The Xperia Z4 Tablet comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, but it is upgradeable to Android 7.0 Nougat. This tablet comes in both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE variants, though only the 4G LTE model seems to be available for purchase from Amazon.
The Huawei MediaPad M3 tablet was announced back in September last year, and it’s actually a rather solid offering by this China-based company. The device is made out of metal, and it sports a front-facing fingerprint scanner which doubles as a home key. The MediaPad M3 sports an 8.4-inch 2560 x 1600 IPS LCD display, while it is fueled by the Kirin 950 64-bit octa-core processor. This tablet sports an 8-megapixel camera on both its front and back sides, while Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes pre-installed on it, though you’ll find Emotion UI (EMUI) on top of it. The 32GB storage variant of this tablet is currently priced at $299 at Amazon, while the 64GB storage model costs $347.87.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet was announced in September 2017, and it actually comes in two variants, one variant sports 32GB of storage, while the other one comes with 64GB of native storage. This tablet sports a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display, while you’re also getting 2GB of RAM here. Dolby audio is also a part of the package here, and those of you who are interested in getting the tablet, should also know that it is fueled by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz. The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet is currently available over at Amazon in Black, Marine Blue and Punch Red color variants. The 32GB storage model of the Amazon FIre HD 10 is priced at $149.99, while the 64GB storage variant costs $189.99.
The Galaxy Tab S2 might not be the latest or greatest ‘Galaxy Tab S’ tablet at the moment, but it’s considerably more affordable than the Galaxy Tab S3. This tablet comes in both 8 and 9.7-inch variants, while it sports 3GB of RAM. The device comes with a front-facing fingerprint scanner / home key, and it is currently available from Amazon, well, at least its Wi-Fi models are, for both 8 and 9.7-inch tablets. The Galaxy Tab S3 is made out of metal, and it there are two capacitive keys included on its front side, next to the tablet’s home key. The Galaxy Tab S2 comes in Black, Gold and White color variants.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 is one of the newer Chromebooks out there. This device sports a 12.5-inch fullHD (1920 x 1080) display, while it comes with 4GB of RAM. The device is made out of metal, while it is fueled by the Intel Core M3 processor. This Chromebook, much like every other Chromebook which got announced in 2017, is capable of running Android apps, and it is currently priced at $459.99.
The Lenovo Yoga Book sports a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display, while this tablet comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Intel’s Atom X5-Z8550 SoC fuels the Lenovo Yoga Book, while Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes pre-installed on this device. Those of you who are interested in getting this tablet should know that it is currently discounted by 32 percent over at Amazon, as it costs $339.99, it is quite a bit more affordable than it originally was.
The Google Pixelbook is Google’s newest Chromebook which was announced next to the company’s Pixel phones. This device is made out of metal, and it is actually quite powerful. The device is fueled by either the Intel Core i5 or Core i7 SoC (two variants are available), while it comes with 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 128GB / 512GB of native storage. The Pixelbook also comes with a stylus, and its display is touch sensitive, so it can be used as a tablet as well. The 8GB RAM model of the device is priced at $1,199 over at Amazon (ships on October 31), while the 16GB RAM model with Core i7 SoC is still not available.
The Galaxy Tab S3 is the most powerful tablet Samsung has to offer at the moment. This tablet is made out of metal, while it sports a front-facing fingerprint scanner. The device sports a 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 display, 4GB of RAM, and it is fueled by the Snapdragon 820 64-bit quad-core processor. Android 7.0 Nougat comes pre-installed on this tablet, and on top of it, you’ll find Samsung’s custom UI. This tablet comes with an S Pen stylus, and it is currently priced at $498 over at Amazon. The Galaxy Tab S3 is currently one of the more powerful Android-powered tablets out there, if not the most powerful one.
Although it may not be a phone you will ever get a chance to buy thanks to being released only in China, HMD Global has officially announced the Nokia 7smartphone. This mid-range phone is part of HMD Global’s continued resurrection of the Nokia brand and from a business standpoint, being able to offer a device in the large Chinese market is an important step.
The Nokia 7 comes equipped with a Snapdragon 630 processor and buyers can opt for either 4GB or 6GB of RAM. The Nokia 7 also gets 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded via a microSD card. For the screen, the Nokia 7 comes with a 5.2-inch IPS LCD running at 1080p HD resolution.
HMD Global has been talking up their partnership with Zeiss for photography and for the Nokia 7 they installed a 16MP f1.8 camera for the rear and a 5MP front-facing camera. Similar to some efforts we have seen in the past, the camera app on the Nokia 7 is capable of capturing images from both cameras at one time in a split screen format, which HMD Global is pushing as a “bothie.”
Some of the other hardware onboard the Nokia 7 includes a 3,000 mAh battery, a USB Type C connection, a typical array of sensors, a fingerprint scanner, and support for NFC. Like other Nokia devices, the Nokia 7gets a plain vanilla Android install with no additional skins or UI. This should help keep updates rolling in a bit faster and HMD Global has already promised the Nokia 7 will be upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo.
The Nokia 7 will be available starting October 24th although consumers can start to place pre-orders today. The 4GB version is priced at ¥2,499 ($377 USD) and the 6GB version gets bumped up to ¥2,699 ($407 USD). Color options include a Gloss Black and Matte White.
“It’s just the right size!” – the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. Little did she know that behind its humble appearance was a tiny beast of a phone – one that had as much processing power as a top-of-the-line Android flagship. And there’s so much more to like about Sony’s latest pocket-friendly handset, but ultimately, is its price of $600 justified? Well, perhaps it is.
Uninspiring with its boxy look, but sturdy and practical.
So yes, as its name suggests, size is a key selling point for the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. It easily fits into any pocket and single-handed use is never an issue – traits we can highlight in very few of today’s smartphones. Bonus points go to Sony for throwing in water resistance, and the dedicated camera button on the side acts as a wonderful camera shortcut.
Yet one thing we’d change if we could is the power button – as it is almost flush with the phone’s right side, I can hardly feel its presence underneath my thumb. And that’s important when an otherwise quick and reliable fingerprint scanner is embedded in the said button.
As is the case with recent Xperias, the Xperia XZ1 Compact sold in the US has its fingerprint scanner disabled. In our book, that counts as a major downside given the handset’s price point.
An “okay” screen with sufficient resolution and great outdoor visibility.
Whether you’re looking at it in real life or scrutinously inspecting its specifications, this isn’t a screen that will wow you. After all, a resolution of 720 by 1280 pixels is far from impressive at this point in time. But for a screen measuring only 4.6-inches in diagonal, these are more than enough pixels to produce a sharp, detailed image. Plus, the screen delivers excellent outdoor visibility even on a sunny day.
Colors on the Xperia XZ1 Compact are nice and vibrant, but lean towards the cold side – whites appear more blueish than they should, and you don’t have to be an expert to notice. To compensate for this, I went to the Display Settings menu and manually tweaked the color reproduction until it looked fine to my eyes. There I found a nifty Glove Mode option, but didn’t see a double-tap-to-wake setting or a blue light filter.
Display measurements and quality
Interface and functionality
The latest Android 8.0 Oreo with Sony’s speedy UI on top of it.
Kudos toSony for launching the Xperia XZ1 Compact with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. This means that the phone runs the latest, safest, most up-to-date Android software that Google has to provide. Alas, the benefits to having Oreo at launch aren’t immediately obvious, as Android 8 itself isn’t very exciting of an update from a user perspective. But all those under-the-hood improvements, including the better handling of battery-draining apps, are more than welcome.
On the Xperia XZ1 Compact we find Sony’s own custom interface, which is very similar to what you’d see on other current and recent Xperia phones, only smaller. Personally, I didn’t find the default text size comfortable enough to read so increased it up a notch from the Display Settings menu. Speaking of size and text, the on-screen keyboard is physically smaller than those on most other phones, but I found it sufficiently accurate once my fingers got used to its layout. In fact, its size is ideal for single-thumb typing.
Probably the best thing about Sony’s software is that it is fast and responsive. Also, it comes with a number of perks. Sony’s “What’s New” app curator, for example, has an “App of the day” promo where we can download a paid app for free. But some features could have been executed better. For instance, there’s no easy, intuitive way of checking the time or any lock screen content as pressing the power button to wake the phone instantly makes a fingerprint reading and takes us to our home screen. Also, pulling down on the home screen displays a search bar for finding apps, which is redundant, as the Google widget can already do that. Pulling down the notifications shade would have been a much more practical use for this gesture.
Processor, memory, performance
Fast and responsive with any task.
As we mentioned in the beginning, processing power is one thing the Xperia XZ1 Compact has plenty of. Equipped with a Snapdragon 835 – the best chip Qualcomm currently has to offer – the phone runs even the most demanding games without issues. Having a 720p screen instead of a higher-res, Full HD one also helps with maintaining high framerates while engaging in tasks demanding lots of graphics computations. Switching between apps is quick, and side-by-side multitasking is a smooth experience (even though I doubt many would engage in side-by-side activities on such a small display). Overall, we have no complaints as far as performance goes.
The Xperia XZ1 Compact comes with 32GB of built-in storage, but since the operating system eats up a huge chunk of that, only about 22 gigs are available to the user. That is likely to run out before you know it, especially if you take lots of photos and video in 4K, so consider taking advantage of the microSD card slot that is available.
Internet and connectivity
Without going much into details here, you have Chrome set as default browser on the Xperia XZ1 Compact. It is an app most Android users should be familiar with, and a substitute isn’t necessary, in our opinion. Chrome is fast, covers the essentials, and syncs your browsing data across devices for easy access.
On the topic of connectivity, we should clarify that Sony is not launching the Xperia XZ1 Compact through any of the major US carriers. Instead, you may get one through Amazon (that’s where Sony’s official website links to). The Xperia XZ1 Compact being offered is unlocked and compatible with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile. However, it won’t work on Verizon or Sprint.
A feature-packed shooter delivers good-looking images and high-res videos.
The 19MP Motion Eye camera we saw on the Xperia XZ1 is present on the Compact, along with all the cool tricks in its arsenal – 960fps slow-motion videos, Predictive Capture, autofocus bursts, and the list goes on. The design of the phone itself makes it a great point-and-shooter: the physical camera button makes for a quick camera shortcut, while the compact size and boxy shape let us pull off epic selfie angles with ease.
Hardly a surprise, image quality is on par with what we saw while reviewing the Xperia XZ1. Daytime photos are sharp and detailed, with pretty colors and lots of contrast. Low light images, however, are considerably noisier and less detailed, presumably because of the camera’s lack of OIS and its tendency to shoot at higher ISOs. Overall, images are perfectly usable and good-looking in general, though don’t expect this camera to outperform high-ends like the iPhone 8 or the Galaxy S8.
Sony made an unconventional choice when picking the XZ1 Compact’s front-facing camera. It is an 8MP wide-angle shooter, and when we say “wide-angle”, we mean a viewing angle of a whopping 120 degrees. This let’s you fit a lot of people in a single shot, but comes with a tradeoff – a considerable amount of distortion, mostly visible near the edges of the photo, which spoils the otherwise good image quality.
Videos are taken at up to 4K resolution. They look good in general and are complemented by clear, loud audio. While there’s no OIS on this camera, software image stabilization is available even in 4K mode, while shooting in 1080p lets you use Sony’s Intelligent Active software stabilization, which produces smoother, more cinematic-looking footage.
And before we move further, we must clarify that Sony’s new 3D Creator feature is present on the XZ1 Compact as well. We gave it a test while playing with the XZ1, and while we can’t deny that it is an impressive showcase of new 3D scanning technology, its practical use is very limited at this time.
Due to its smaller size, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is less than ideal for the purposes of media consumption and digital entertainment. There are many larger, similarly priced devices that can deliver a superior experience, be it when watching video, playing games, or scrolling through your photo collection, simply because they offer more screen estate and greater screen resolution. But this didn’t stop me from watching as much YouTube video and playing as much Minecraft as I usually do. For casual gaming, for watching the occasional “Goats yelling like humans” video, and for other multimedia activities that don’t involve a VR headset, the XZ1 Compact gets the job done.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact comes with a set of front-firing stereo speakers, but their quality is a bit underwhelming. They sound just okay: with clear vocals and sufficient loudness, with audible stereo effect in videos and games, but there’s less highs and lows than what you’d get out of an iPhone 8, for example.
For those who still demand it, a 3.5mm headphone jack is present on the Xperia XZ1 Compact, allowing audiophiles to take advantage of its support for high-resolution audio formats. LDAC and AptX HD formats, both of which allow compatible Bluetooth audio devices to play back sound at a higher bitrate, are also supported.
As expected, we did not encounter any call quality issues during our testing of the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. The earpiece gets sufficiently loud, and our voice arrives with sufficient clarity to the other side of the line.
It just keeps going and going.
Don’t let its small size fool you. Even though it holds “only” 2700mAh of charge, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact outlasted many high-end phones when subjected to our custom battery benchmark. In real life, I was easily getting between a day and a half and two days of normal usage, without limiting the phone’s performance or functionality in any way.
Charging times are less impressive, however. The stock charger needs over 2 and a half hours to recharge the Xperia XZ1 Compact completely. You may take advantage of the phone’s support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, as long as you have a compatible charger.
As with previous Xperia phones, you can make the XZ1 last longer by activating Stamina mode. This reduces performance, but saves a significant amount of power – handy for times when you know you’re low on charge and won’t be near a charger anytime soon.
Simply put, the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact is a remarkable little phone. While it has its flaws and annoyances, while it is undoubtedly a device targeting a niche audience, having it as a daily driver for a week was a genuinely fun and refreshing experience. Indeed, bigger isn’t necessarily better, especially if practicality and convenience are your top priorities when picking a phone.
Should you pick the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, currently priced at $600? If you want a phone that’s truly small but uncompromisingly powerful, one that takes good photos and videos, one that lasts long between charges, then yes, this guy should be on your shortlist. Just keep in mind that for another $100 you can get the iPhone 8, which is of the same caliber, but packs a better screen, superior stereo speakers, and a functioning fingerprint scanner.
A devastating flaw in Wi-Fi’s WPA security protocol makes it possible for attackers to eavesdrop on your data when you connect to Wi-Fi. Dubbed KRACK, the issue affects the Wi-Fi protocol itself—not specific products or implementations—and “works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks,” according to Mathy Vanhoef, the researcher that discovered it. That means that if your device uses Wi-Fi, KRACK likely impacts it.
Read on for what you need to know about the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, from how it works to how to best protect yourself against it. We’ll update this article as more information becomes available.
How does KRACK break Wi-Fi security?
KRACK (short for, uh, Key Reinstallation AttaCK) targets the third step in a four-way authentication “handshake” performed when your Wi-Fi client device attempts to connect to a protected Wi-Fi network. The encryption key can be resent multiple times during step three, and if attackers collect and replay those retransmissions in particular ways, Wi-Fi security encryption can be broken.
That’s the CliffsNotes version. For a more technically detailed explanation, check out Mathy Vanhoef’s KRACK attacks website.
What devices are affected by KRACK?
If your device uses Wi-Fi, it’s likely vulnerable to the KRACK Wi-Fi security flaw to some degree, though some get it worse than others. We go into greater detail about how particular devices are affected by KRACK in a dedicated section further below.
What happens when Wi-Fi security is broken?
For starters, the attacker can eavesdrop on all traffic you send over the network. “This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on,” Vanhoef says. For a deeper look at the potential impact, check out PCWorld’s article on what an eavesdropper sees when you use an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s a few years old, but still illuminating.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team also issued this warning as part of its KRACK security advisory, per Ars Technica: “The impact of exploiting these vulnerabilities includes decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others.” HTTP content injection means the attacker could sneak code into the websites you’re looking at to infect your PC with ransomware or malware.
“We are not in a position to determine if this vulnerability has been (or is being) actively exploited in the wild,” Vanhoef says. US-CERT’s advisory didn’t include any information about whether KRACK is being exploited in the wild, either.
Now for some somewhat settling news: Iron Group CTO Alex Hudson says an attacker needs to be on the same Wi-Fi network as you in order to carry out any nefarious plans with KRACK. “You’re not suddenly vulnerable to everyone on the internet,” he says.
How to protect yourself from KRACK’s Wi-Fi flaw
Keep your devices up to date! Vanhoef says “implementations can be patched in a backwards-compatible manner.” That means that your device can download an update that protects against KRACK and still communicate with unpatched hardware while being protected from the security flaw. Given the potential reach of KRACK, expect those patches to come quickly from major hardware and operating system vendors.
Update: Microsoft told Windows Central that a patch quietly rolled out on October 10 protects Windows 10 PCs against KRACK.
“Microsoft released security updates on October 10th and customers who have Windows Update enabled and applied the security updates, are protected automatically. We updated to protect customers as soon as possible, but as a responsible industry partner, we withheld disclosure until other vendors could develop and release updates”
Until those updates appear for other devices, consumers can still take steps to safeguard against KRACK. The easiest thing would be to simply use a wired ethernet connection, or stick to your cellular connection on a phone. That’s not always possible though.
If you need to use a public Wi-Fi hotspot—even one that’s password protected—stick to websites that use HTTPS encryption. Secure websites are still secure even with Wi-Fi security broken. The URLs of encrypted websites will start with “HTTPS,” while unsecured websites are prefaced by “HTTP.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s superb HTTPS Everywhere browser plug-in can force all sites that offer HTTPS encryption to use that protection.
Alternatively, you can hop on a virtual private network (VPN) to hide all of your network traffic. Don’t trust random free VPNs, though—they could be after your data as well. PCWorld’s guide to the best VPN services can help you pick out a trustworthy provider. And again, keep your security software up to date to protect against potential code injected malware.
Device and router Wi-Fi security FAQ
Is my phone at risk?
KRACK is a different sort of attack than previous exploits, in that it doesn’t go after devices, it goes after the information you use them to send. So while the data stored on your phone is safe from hacking, whenever you use it to send a credit card number, password, email, or message over Wi-Fi, that data could be stolen.
So my router is vulnerable?
That’s closer, but still not totally accurate. It’s not the device that’s at risk, it’s the information, so the sites you visit that aren’t HTTPS are most vulnerable.
Oh, so I should change my Wi-Fi password then?
Well, you can, but it’s not going to stop the likelihood of attack. The exploit targets information that should have been encrypted by your router, so the attacker doesn’t need to crack your password to implement it. In fact, it has no bearing on the attack whatsoever.
So all devices are at risk?
Now you’re getting it. However, while any device that sends and receives data over Wi-Fi is at risk, the researchers who uncovered the attack said Android devices were more at risk than other mobile phones.
Great, I have an Android phone. But I’m running Nougat so I’m safe, right?
Unfortunately, no. Newer phones running Android 6.0 or later are actually more at risk since there is an existing vulnerability in the code that compounds the issue and makes it easier to “intercept and manipulate traffic.”
So are my iPhone and Mac safe?
Safer than Android, but still not entirely safe. Update: Apple said in a statement that all current iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS betas include a fix for KRACK.
And Windows PCs too?
Yup, same deal, but Microsoft said in a statement that it has a security update to address this issue incoming.Update: Nope. Microsoft released a patch to protect against KRACK on October 10, before the vulnerability was made public.
I run Linux. I’m impenetrable to attack, right?
Not quite. Researchers actually found that Linux machines were the most vulnerable desktop devices, with a similar bug to the one found in the Android code.
So should I turn off Wi-Fi?
That’s probably not a viable option for most people, but if you’re completely panic-stricken, then the only way to be completely safe is to avoid using Wi-Fi until you know your router has been patched.
OK, I’m not doing that. What else can I do?
Right now, all you can do is wait. Google has already confirmed that it is aware of the issue and will be distributing a patch, and Apple and Microsoft will presumably do the same, as well as Linux purveyors. So keep checking for updates and install them when they arrive.
I have automatic updates turned on. How do I know if my device has been updated?
The quickest way is to check the system our software updates tab in your Settings app to see when the most recent version has been updated. Also, Owen Williams is keeping a running list of companies that have distributed patches on his Recharged blog.
What about my router?
First, you should check to see if your router has any pending firmware updates. Most people aren’t as vigilant in updating their routers as they are with their phones or PCs, so log into your admin page and install any waiting updates. If there aren’t any, it’s a good habit to check back every day, since companies will be rolling out patches over the coming weeks, with some already being implemented.
The only downside to this announcement is that Lenovo’s slated release time for the update appears to be June 2018 for the Lenovo K8 and July 2018 for the Lenovo K8 Plus and the K8 Note. That’s an unfortunately long time to wait for something that’s already available on some flagship devices and will be just a few months before Google rolls out Android P.
Right now the Lenovo K8 family of phones are exclusive to Amazon in India, where the devices retail for between 10,000R and 14,000R depending on the model you get.
It has been a little over a month since the OnePlus 3 reportedly received Android Oreo through a closed beta program, but now the update is ready to be tested for the OnePlus 3 and 3T for those in the Open Beta program.
As a general overview, Android Oreo introduces visually-different Quick Settings and Settings areas, Picture in Picture mode, and auto-fill, along with many more features and enhancements. Make sure to check out our Android Oreo review to see what is new with the update, and while things might not look very different when compared to Nougat, there are more than enough tweaks and changes that help move the needle.
Going back to the OnePlus 3 and 3T’s Open Beta program, Android Oreo is available for both devices as a 1.4 GB download at the links below. You will need to flash the update, though the instructions to do so are very straightforward.
Because this is the Open Beta program, there are several known issues that will presumably be ironed out by the time the final version lands. For example, unlocking the phones with your fingerprint might be slower than usual, the shortcut to access Google Photos is unavailable, NFC and Bluetooth are somewhat unstable, and the performance and compatibility of third-party apps are not up to snuff.
As exciting as the news might be, it arrives with a somewhat somber context. Keep in mind that, according to OnePlus, Android Oreo will be the last major Android update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T. Likely because of that, the Open Beta program for the two phones will end after Android Oreo exits beta and makes its way to more users.
Security patches will be released “for the foreseeable future,” but with today’s news, we’re that much closer to the end of the road for the OnePlus 3 and 3T.
Back in August, a concept design of the Huawei P11 surfaced, courtesy of DBS DESIGNING, well, now we have a new concept Huawei P11 to show you, and this time around it has been designed by the Concept Creator. This design comes in a form of a YouTube video, as it’s usually the case when it comes to Concept Creator’s creations, and if you’d like to check out the whole introduction video, it is embedded down below.
Having said that, this smartphone actually looks quite sleek, as it’s usually the case with concept designs. The Huawei P11 that is shown off in the video down below sports no bezel on the sides, while its top and bottom bezels are extremely thin. The device is made out of metal, while it sports a dual camera setup on the back, next to which you’ll notice a dual-LED flash, dual-tone flash, and a laser autofocus. The device sports a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, where you’ll also notice its loudspeaker, and a Type-C USB port for charging. Huawei’s branding is present on the bottom of the device, and the phone’s fingerprint scanner also lies on the back. Leica branding is also visible on the back of this phone, it’s placed in the upper right corner of the phone’s back side. The phone’s antenna lines are also noticeable on both the device’s top and bottom. This smartphone comes in four color variants, Black, Blue, Red and Green, while all the physical keys are placed on the right-hand side of the phone.
It’s also worth noting that this concept phone sports two front-facing cameras as well, which means it comes with a quad camera setup. The device seems to be quite thin, though exact measurements were not mentioned by the source. The phone’s main camera sensors do not protrude on the back, and its power key comes with a pattern applied on top of it, which means it should be rather easy to locate it by feel, and differentiate it from the volume up and volume down buttons. The designer envisioned 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage for this smartphone. That’s more or less it, the Huawei P11 is not scheduled to arrive for another couple of months, it will probably arrive in February, so stay tuned for some actual rumors and leaks which will start arriving in the coming weeks / months.