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.
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor unveiled the Honor 7X in China – an affordable dual-camera smartphone which comes to replace last year’s Honor 6X.
The Honor 6X was launched in the US back at CES 2017, so we expect the Honor 7X will land on the American market at some point in the next few months. In what follows we take a look at the improvements the new Honor 7X brings to the table in a bid to determine whether they are enough to warrant an upgrade from the Honor 6X.
Display and design
The Honor 6X looks quite fine for a device priced around $250 (at launch). It has a metal back, plastic top and bottom edges and a fingerprint sensor located on the back. The front is plain and all-glass – nothing more, nothing less. However, the Huawei 6X belongs to the old school of smartphone design with its prominent bezels and standard 16:9 aspect ratio.
The Honor 6X in the sunlight
But the Honor 7X makes the transition to modern design, and it offers it on the cheap too. The Honor 7X is the first smartphone in the company’s portfolio that comes boasting an edge-to-edge panel, really thin bezels and 18:9 aspect ratio. The phone also takes advantage of a metal body and in combination with the design, you’ll feel like you’re holding onto a pretty premium phone.
The Honor 7X features a larger display of 5.93-inch variety with 2160 x 1080 resolution. In contrast, the Honor 6X bundles a 5.5-inch LTPS IPS LCD panel with fullHD resolution.
Under the hood
The Honor 7X relies on a Kirin 659 processor, an octa-core chipset clocked at 2.36GHz, while its predecessor took advantage of a Kirin 655, also an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.1GHz.
The newcomer will be offered with 4GB of RAM on board and either 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. The Honor 6X includes a choice between 3GB and 4GB of RAM and 32GB/64GB of storage. Both take advantage of a microSD card slot for memory expansion up to 256GB.
The Honor 7X relies on a 3,340 mAh battery, while the Honor 6X includes a similar unit. Both phones have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Unlike last year’s model, the Honor 7X is IP67-certified which means it is water-resistant.
Naturally, the Honor 7X continues the dual camera legacy and packs a 16-megapixel+2-megapixel combo with phase detection autofocus, LED flash on the back, as well as an 8-megapixel selfie snapper on the front.
This is an improvement from last year’s model which features a 12-megapixel+2-megapixel arrangement on the rear. However, the selfie snapper is the same as on the newer model.
The Honor 7X with Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box will be first launched in China with prices starting at $200 for the 32GB model. The 64GB version will cost a bit more around $260.
Hopefully, Honor will bring the handset across the pond in the upcoming months. Who knows, it might launch it during the next CES event, as it did with its predecessor. Speaking of which, the Honor 6X is currently available for purchase from Amazon with a discounted price. Interested parties can get it as low as $179.99 for the 3GB of RAM+32GB storage variant.
It’s big. It’s heavy. It’s not all that attractive. We love it.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is the best rugged phone you’ll find on the market. Sure, there aren’t that many of them available; however, the Active line time and again rises to the top. The 2017 iteration is not only among the best in rugged and durable phones, but it’s also one of the most compelling packages offered right now.
In the early days of rugged phones we had to contend with less than desirable performance. We traded away sleek and sexy in favor of rough and tumble. If you were a general contractor or plumber in the market for a new phone to take on job sites, you had to choose from ugly and uninspired stuff. Even worse, the phones were a generation or two behind the rest of the pack.
Somewhere over the last few generations, though, Samsung figured out a way to deliver timely hardware in a body that was more sleek. Its Galaxy S Active series of devices, which has been exclusive to AT&T, is a great way to keep up with the Joneses, and have something designed to take moderate abuse.
The Galaxy S7 Active (2016) was a tremendous step forward for the line, and even bested the S7 standard bearer with a bigger battery. As for this year’s model, the S8 Active is another stellar device that delivers best-in-class specifications at its core. Indeed, it’s all Galaxy S8 under the hood.
What we really enjoy about the S8 Active is that it’s all of the good stuff in the Galaxy S8. The Super AMOLED display, excellent camera, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage are what you expect in top phone in 2017. Also present are USB-C, water and dust resistance, and headphone jack.
When it comes to performance, it’s damn near impossible to get more than what comes in the aforementioned specifications. Yes, you can stack them up on benchmarks and create a pecking order. Moreover, you can also get more memory in other models.
Does that stuff matter to you? We suspect that most people can’t discern the differences in hardware on daily tasks. There’s very little you can throw at a phone like this that will tax it.
We saw no stutters, lags, or performance issues in the Galaxy S8 Active. Everything, from just checking email and messages, to games and always-synchronizing services like Slack and Todoist, went swimmingly.
Be careful in reading too much into these words. Don’t look at the S8 Active as an improvement or enhanced version of the flagship phone. It is, to a degree, a souped-up model in areas. But, what it loses, is everything that makes the Galaxy S8 so sexy. The beautiful body, sleek lines, and all of those premium materials are absent here.
The S8 Active’s screen is flat whereas the Galaxy S8 is curved; its resolution is 2,560 x 1,440 while the flagship offers up 2,960 x 1,440 pixels. The devil is in the details, and that matters to some.
Also, the display is protected by a special film or plastic that is prone to pick up scratches. This is one of the trades you’ll still make when dealing with a rugged phone. The glass is shatter-resistant, and will stand up to drops… but.
The top layer absorbs the scuffs and scratches of life and will show up over time. To us, though, we’ll take that any day. Nothing beats the peace of mind in knowing with almost 100 percent certainty that a dropped phone is going to look okay when we flip it over. Samsung says the S8 Active can withstand a 5-foot drop.
The Galaxy S8 Active is also heavier than its flagship counterpart. In fact, it’s even heavier than the Galaxy Note 8. There’s serious heft to it.
Part of the weight comes in a 4,000mAh battery. Yes, a full 1,000mAh more than the Galaxy S8 and 500mAh more than the Galaxy S8+. This means you’ll end up with plenty of juice left over at the end of the day.
Realistically you could expect to get two days of average use out of the S8 Active. Mileage varies, to be sure, but we’ve come to appreciate this much life and we think you would, too.
In the area of cameras, the S8 Active’s setup is identical to the one in both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8. Specifically, it’s a single 12-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture. As we, and others, found with this to consistently deliver bright, sharp photos with a great level of detail.
The software is a real winner, too, thanks to a variety of shooting modes such as Selective Focus (DSRL-like bokeh) and Pro (manual settings for shutter speed, focus, and ISO).
Around front, the S8 Active’s selfie-camera is equally solid. The Wide Selfie is a neat trick which lets one snap panoramic-like shots. Samsung’s augmented reality (AR) stickers are similar to what you get in Snapchat and Instagram and make for a fun experience.
One of the other downsides to the Galaxy S Active line, thus far, is that it is exclusive to AT&T. This means you’ll end up with the carrier’s preloaded apps and services. To that end you can look forward to nearly one dozen titles.
You can uninstall or disable most of them, but you’ll have to find a way to hide the others. That is, of course, if you don’t want to see them. If you’re an AT&T fan through and through, you might find value in them. As of the time of this review we understand that T-Mobile may soon offer its own take on the Galaxy S8 Active.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is pricey. With a sticker of $850 it falls on the high end of what smarphone makers command. It’s $100 more than the flagship model and the same cost of the Galaxy S8+ when purchased through AT&T. Go unlocked, though, and the S8 Active could be much more costly by comparison.
We definitely won’t list this phone among the most beautiful or sophisticated designs. It’s downright ugly, boring, and blocky when compared to others. On the other hand, it is better looking than its predecessors. We’re surely not the only ones to appreciate that Samsung left the camouflage off this year’s model.
Don’t purchase the S8 Active strictly on the merit of a larger battery. Do consider it, however, if your needs call for a phone that withstands abuse. Have young children in the house? If they expect to get to play with your device, you’ll want the peace of mind that comes with a shatter-resistant display.
If you’ve grown accustomed to having a rugged phone over the last few years, the S8 Active is a wonderful step up from your older model. A lot of people hold on to their handsets for 18-24 months; this phone is much improved over what was available at that time.
The LG V30 has just launched in the United States and it’s the company’s best looking and most powerful phone so far.
It comes with some neat functionalities that you may not know about, so that’s why we’ve outlined some of the basic tips and tricks that you can do to enjoy it a little bit more and make the most of its features.
Let’s waste no time and get started with…
KnockON: double tap the screen to turn it off or on
All recent LG phones come with this one trick built in: simply double tap the screen to turn it on or off. This is particularly useful on the V30 as the fingerprint reader is on the back and if you just want to check the time or see something on the lockscreen, you can simple double tap the screen.
Add more useful icons to lockscreen
First, go into Settings.
Select the Lock Screen tab in the Display section.
Choose the Shortcuts menu
You will see “+” buttons for the empty spots. Add any app you like to the lockscreen.
Here is how it all looks after we’ve filled all the available spots!
Customize Always-on Display
First, go into Settings.
Select the Always-on Display section in the Display tab.
Tap on the big Content field.
Choose the look you like best!
Consider setting a Daily timeout when the feature will be off (usually at night) to save battery.
Bring back the app drawer
First, go into Settings.
Select Home Screen under the Display section.
Tap on the Select Home button.
Select Home & app drawer, and you’re done!
Enable, disable and/or customize Floating Bar
Last year’s LG V20 came with a tiny secondary display right above the main screen, where you could access useful shortcuts. That secondary screen is gone on the V30, but you have a new Floating Bar feature from where you can access your contacts and shortcuts to apps and neat actions. It should be enabled by default, but you will want to customize it or even disable it if it gets in your way. Here’s how to do it.
First, go into Settings.
Next, select Floating Bar in the General tab. (There is an on / off toggle right here to turn it on or off.)
Here, you can customize which apps and contacts to appear as shortcuts!
You can also add new shortcuts.
Capture a GIF from a video you are watching
You can create a GIF really easily using the floating bar shortcut. Remember to keep GIFs short in duration and do not forget that they do not have sound. With this in mind, here is how you create a GIF from a video on the LG V30 (you can then share GIFs on social media like Facebook and Instagram):
Open a video you like, tap on the floating bar arrow and select the GIF option
Adjust the size of the capture window by dragging its edges up, down and to the side. When you are ready press the record button to initiate GIF capture and start the video.
Once you are done with your GIF, it will automatically be saved in your Gallery, in the GIF Capture folder.
Tap on the edit button to fine tune that GIF!
Save the results and find them in your Gallery.
How to take a screenshot
Simply hold down the power key on the back of the phone and simultaneously press the volume down key, wait for a moment and you will see the screen blink. A screenshot is captured and it is automatically saved to the gallery.
Set your screen for comfortable use at night
Comfort View on the LG V30 is a useful option for those who use their phone at night. The blue light from a screen makes it harder to fall asleep after using a phone and this option removes the blue spectrum of the light, so you can use your phone and still fall asleep without your phone interrupting your body’s biological patterns.
First, go into Settings.
Select Comfort View under the Display section.
Enable the “Use Comfort View toggle”
Consider scheduling it, so it automatically starts at night.
Change Icon Shape
ROUND SHAPE ONROUND SHAPE OFF
1. First, go into Settings.
2. Next, select Home Screen in the Display tab.
3. Here, tap on Icon Shape.
4. And change the icons to use their original shape!
Change the order of your navigation buttons, add buttons
Where should the back button be on Android? Some people think it should be on the right, closer to where your thumb is since it’s arguably used more often. Well, you can do those kinds of customizations on the LG V30.
First, go into Settings.
Scroll down to Home touch buttons under the Display section.
Tap on Button combination.
Here you can add new buttons or change the place of the existing ones. Some people prefer having the back button on the right!
Change the screen resolution to get better battery life
First, go into Settings.
Scroll down to Screen resolution under the Display tab.
Select a lower resolution like the Medium one to get better battery life.
You can even go down to 720p for further battery savings, but the drop in sharpness will be more noticeable here.
Remember, you can find the location of a stolen or lost phone
The last thing you should know is that as long as your phone is registered with a Google account, you can easily find it, pin-point its location on a map if you’ve lost it, or lock and erase the contents of the V30 if it’s been stolen. For this, you can open the Google Find My Device website from any platform, log in with your credentials and you will see the location of your phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 share a lot in common not just in terms of their internals but also the software experience they offer. Both phones have received plenty of praises this year from reviewers and customers alike, and if you have purchased either one of them, you really cannot go wrong with them.
Now, to help you get the most out of Samsung’s 2017 flagship handsets, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, we have a collection of tips and tricks for them. These tips will help you know how to make better use of the existing features on the devices, discover some hidden ones, and more. So, let’s get started.
Force Touch the Home Button
Thanks to their Infinity Display, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 are all about their beautiful Super AMOLED displays at the front. Due to the all-display front, the phones do not come with capacitive navigation buttons as well like previous Galaxy devices from Samsung. Instead, like Google, Samsung finally decided to implement on-screen navigation buttons on its flagship handsets this year as well.
That’s not all though: the area where the Home button is shown on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 supports Force Touch. So, you can hard press on that area when the phone is lying idle to wake the display up. Similarly, you can hard press on the home button area even when you are inside an app and the navigation bar is not being shown to go back to the home screen. Considering the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is located at such an odd location, I end up Force Touching the Home button to wake the device and then unlock it by looking at the iris scanner.
Do make sure to enable the Unlock with Home button option under Settings -> Display to ensure your Galaxy S8 or Note 8 skips right past the lock screen when you hard press the Home button.
Automatically Enable Iris Unlock
By default, if you use the iris scanner on your Galaxy S8 or Note 8 to unlock the device, you will first have to press the power button/hard press the Home button to wake the device up. Then, you will have to swipe up on the lock screen to initiate the iris scanning process. This can be a particularly tedious and time-consuming process especially when you will be doing it hundreds of time on a daily basis.
To speed up the whole process, Samsung has included a handy ‘Iris unlock when screen turns on’ option under Iris Scanner in Settings -> Lock Screen & Security. Enable the feature and as soon as you wake up your Galaxy S8 or Note 8, the iris scanner will start scanning for your iris.
Quickly Hide the Navigation Bar
For an even more immersive browsing or reading experience, you can quickly hide the navigation bar on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 by double tapping the small dot located on the left edge of the navigation bar. To restore the navigation bar, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and double tap the dot again.
Expand the Status Bar
You can quickly expand the notification bar on the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 by simply double tapping the status bar. This feature only works if you are using the stock launcher and might not be available on certain carrier variants of the device.
Quickly Launch the Camera App
The lack of a physical home button on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 means you can no longer double press the home button to quickly launch the camera app. Instead, that duty has now been assigned to the power button similar to the Google Pixel. The feature is disabled by default so make sure to enable it by searching for Quick Launch in the Settings menu and enabling it.
Switch Between Front and Back Camera
Another camera related tip for the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is related to how you can quickly switch between the front and back camera. With the camera app open, simply swipe up/down on the viewfinder to switch to the front/rear camera. An even faster way to switch to the front camera is to double press the power button with the camera app open.
If you are someone who takes a lot of selfies, Samsung has included a handy gesture on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 that makes it easier to click a selfie. Instead of struggling to hit the shutter button while holding the phone in your hand for a selfie, you can simply hold your palm in front of the camera to start the time. You can also take a selfie by keeping your finger on the heart rate monitor at the rear or by simply tapping anywhere on the screen.
Tweak the Flashlight Brightness Level
If you are someone who frequently uses the flashlight functionality on their Galaxy S8 or Note 8, you will be glad to know that the flashlight brightness level can also be customised on these handsets. Simply tap the Torch (or Flashlight) text below the flashlight toggle in Quick Settings to gain access to the brightness slider. There are five different brightness levels for you to choose from, though do remember that using the flashlight for an extended period of time can shorten its lifespan.
Use Secure Folder
Thanks to KNOX, Samsung’s version of Android is already among the most secure flavours of the OS out there. However, if you want an even additional layer of security while opening some important banking or enterprise apps, you can make use of Samsung’s Secure Folder feature. All apps put under Secure Folder run in a separate sandbox that is completely disconnected from the main OS.
Blue Light Filter
Similar to almost every other Android device out there, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 also come with a Blue Light filter. As the name suggests, the Blue Light filter automatically filters the harmful blue rays emitted from a display by tweaking its color temperature to help reduce eye strain. If you are someone who reads a lot on their Galaxy S8 or Note 8, it is recommended that you turn on the Blue Light filter option especially while reading in the dark. You can also automatically set Blue Light filter to enable itself after sunset or at a scheduled time daily.
Quickly Zoom Into the Subject
The shutter button in the stock Camera app of the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 can also act as a virtual zoom slider. If you long press and drag the shutter button up, the camera will zoom into the subject. Similarly, dragging the shutter button down will zoom out from the frame.
While every other Android device offers the option to natively take a screenshot, Samsung has taken this feature to the next level with Smart Capture. When you take a screenshot on the Galaxy S8 or Note 8, you can quickly crop the picture, draw on it, add filters and effects to it, and more. Even better, simply pressing the crop button after taking a screenshot will automatically crop out the navigation and status bar which serves no real purpose in a screenshot either way.
Change System Fonts
Samsung remains among the very few OEMs in the market to continue offering the option to customise the system fonts on its devices. Changing system fonts can go a long way in refreshing the UI look and feel, though in typical Samsung fashion, there’s a lot more to know about changing system fonts on the S8 and Note 8 instead of just the steps.
Samsung is among the very few OEMs in the market that continues to offer the option to change system fonts in its skin. While changing system fonts might not seem like a big deal to many, it does go a long way in refreshing the UI every once in a while.
While changing system fonts on the Galaxy Note 8 is a pretty straightforward process, there are still a few things one must know especially if you are coming from a previous Galaxy device. First, follow the steps below to change system fonts on the Galaxy Note 8.
How to Change System Fonts on Samsung Galaxy Note 8:
Step 1: Head over to Settings -> Display -> Screen zoom and font. Here, you will find all the options related to system fonts including its size and display zoom.
Step 2: To change the system font, simply select any of the pre-installed fonts from the ‘Font Style’ option located at the very bottom and tap the ‘Apply’ button located at the top-right corner. You can download additional fonts from the Galaxy App Store.
To change system font size on the Galaxy Note 8, simply drag the slider under Font size to left or right depending on your preference.
Google introduced the ability to change the DPI of an Android device in Nougat. With the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has renamed the option to ‘Screen Zoom’.
With Screen Zoom, you can actually adjust the amount of content being displayed on the screen. This is different from changing the font size as here the UI will also scale depending on whether you increase or decrease the DPI. So, the lower the DPI/screen zoom you select, the more content will be displayed on the screen and vice versa.
‘Font Not Compatible’ Error
If you have a collection of fonts that you had used on previous Samsung Galaxy devices, prepare to be disappointed. Similar to the Galaxy S8 and S7 before it, while you will be able to install third-party fonts through the Play Store or other third-party sources on the Galaxy Note 8, you will be greeted with a ‘Font Not Compatible’ error when you try to apply them. This is because Samsung has changed its font framework starting from Nougat that makes it impossible to apply fonts acquired from other sources. The company took this step to clamp down on the piracy of fonts that was and still is prevalent on the Google Play Store.
So, the only way to download additional fonts on the Galaxy Note 8 is through the Galaxy Apps store. The problem? Apart from one font, almost every other font is paid and that’s not likely to go down well with most people. Sadly, there’s not much that you can do about it as well. On the bright side, most of the fonts are priced at a reasonable $0.99 or $1.99.
Once you have downloaded a font from the Galaxy Apps Store, simply follow the steps mentioned above to switch to your newly downloaded system font.
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.
If you’ve followed smartphone technology closely over the last decade, you can remember when battery capacities were routinely 1,200mAh. We couldn’t go more than a few hours with our Android before it needed charged.
Jumping into 2,000mAh was an incredible deal; coupling that much juice with a more efficient Android OS made for a much longer life. And, now that phones are regularly in the 3,000s, we’ve come to expect a certain amount of battery from our devices.
How about a phone that could pack some 8,000mAh worth of power? Indeed, that’s not far off, thanks to the upcoming OUKITEL K8000. That’s right, a battery that’s good enough to last some five days.
Other specifications in the forthcoming phone include a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED LCD display and an aluminum unibody. Internally, the hardware puts it firmly in the middle of the pack.
With 4GB RAM and 64GB of space, it’s more than what your average user needs to get through a typical day. Rounding out the main details is a Mediatek octa-core 1.5GHz processor.
As for cameras, the OUKITEL K8000 packs a 16-megapixel/2-megapixel dual setup with a 13-megapixel front-facing shooter. Moreover, the selfie camera offers up an 80-degree wide angle for better group shots.
Powered by Android 7.0 Nougat, the massive battery should get most users through a full work week. That is, of course, if you’re not spending the boss’s time playing games. Seriously, though, you may only have to charge this phone like twice a week.
It’s not clear when the K8000 will arrive, but, given how much we know about it, the phone should be here soon. What are your thoughts on the upcoming OUKITEL handset? Interested?
Learn more about Oukitel and its smartphones on its website: oukitel.com.
Which microSD card is best for the Moto G5 Plus? Well, it depends what you need…
The reality is this: if you are buying a budget phone, you’re kind of over the idea of paying a lot for accessories. No fancy, expensive case; no insanely high-performance microSD slot. You just want something that works.
Even though the $229 Moto G5 Plus has a pretty hefty 32GB of storage out of the box (and double that for an extra $70), if you’re in need of extra storage for movies, music, or even large games, a microSD card can come in real handy.
The Moto G5 Plus even supports Adoptable Storage, which means that you can make the inserted SD card a permanent part of your phone’s storage.
So which cards do we recommend? Take a look below!
SanDisk Ultra 128GB
Samsung EVO 128GB
SanDisk Ultra 200GB
SanDisk Extreme 64GB
SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD
SanDisk is a well-known company when it comes to memory cards and storage products, and cards like this show you why. The SanDisk Ultra 128GB (around $44) is a Class 10 card that comes with a 10-year warranty, and has quick transfer speeds (up to 80MB/s), so it should check many of the boxes that you look for in a microSD card.
Samsung EVO 128GB microSD
Samsung’s EVO 128GB microSD card (about $49) isn’t the company’s top offering, but it comes with decent speeds and a price tag to match. With up to 48MB/s read and write (Class 10 or U1 classification), it can handle 1080p video without a problem. If you want a well-regarded card that doesn’t break the bank, this is the one to go with.
SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD
If you’re looking to add a lot of extra storage at a relatively low cost, the SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD card (around $74) is the way to go. This Class 10 card provides transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s and can record Full HD video. If you like to keep your digital library with you at all times, you’ll want one of these.
SanDisk Extreme 64GB
The Moto G5 Plus can shoot 4K video which takes up a lot of space on the phone’s storage. With SanDisk’s Extreme microSD card, which is rated U3 and supports maximum write speeds of up to 100MB/s, you can force the phone’s 12MP sensor to record directly to the external storage.
Though the SanDisk Extreme 64GB is a bit more expensive on a per-megabyte basis, at $35 it’s a relatively inexpensive way to shore up the storage on your new phone.
The first-generation Mi Mix was awe-inspiring, and with its successor, Xiaomi is looking to retain that ‘wow’ factor while making the device accessible to a wider audience.
Xiaomi made the rest of the smartphone industry stand up and take notice with the Mi Mix. The phone’s all-screen front with a 91.3% screen-to-body ratio and ceramic construction made it stand out, but with Xiaomi opting to sell the device primarily in China, most consumers had to resort to third-party options to get their hands on the Mi Mix.
Thankfully, that’s changing with the Mi Mix 2. The phone will be making its way to over 30 markets where Xiaomi currently has a presence, and with 42 LTE bands onboard, you’ll be able to use it on most carriers around the world. Xiaomi also made a few design tweaks to make the phone more accessible, including trimming down the size of the screen, and switching back to an earpiece that actually works.
The price is what makes the Mi Mix 2 that much more enticing: the base variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage retails for the equivalent of $500 in China, and Xiaomi introducing it at the same price in other regions. Let’s find out if the Mi Mix 2 is able to differentiate itself from the rest of the phones in this segment.
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac MU MIMO, 2×2 MIMO LTE with VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0
FDD-LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/27/28/29/30
TDD-LTE: Band 34/38/39/40/41
TD-SCDMA: Band 34/39
WCDMA: Band 1/2/3/4/5/6/8/9/19
CDMA EVDO: BC0, BC1, BC6, BC10
GSM: Band 2/3/5/8
One-touch fingerprint sensor at the back
Dual nano-SIM slot
151.8 x 75.5 x 7.7mm
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Hardware
The Mi Mix 2 looks a lot like its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. The first-generation Mi Mix was stunning to behold thanks to its all-screen display, and we’re treated to a similar design this time around. The Mix 2 has razor-thin bezels on three sides, leading to an immersive display that’s ideal for multimedia consumption.
There’s a chin at the bottom that houses the 5MP front camera and the notification LED, with Xiaomi noting that the bottom bezel is now 12% thinner than that on the Mi Mix. Xiaomi used a piezoelectric acoustic driver last year, but switched to a standard earpiece that’s located just above the display this time around. The earpiece itself is decent enough, and you shouldn’t have any issues for voice calls.
The Mi Mix had a crazy 91.3% screen-to-body ratio, but the large 6.44-inch display made it difficult to use the phone one-handed. With the Mi Mix 2, Xiaomi decreased the screen size to a more manageable 5.99 inches, making the phone more conducive to one-handed usage. The fact that it is an 18:9 display means that the phone is quite tall, and you’re not going to be able to reach all corners of the display.
The Mi Mix 2 is unlike any other phone available today.
Whereas the Mi Mix was blocky at the back, its successor has smooth edges and rounded corners, resulting in a much better in-hand feel. The design at the back is relatively unchanged from the Mi Mix: there’s an 18-carat gold accent around the camera sensor, and the “Mix designed by Xiaomi” tagline is still laser-etched onto the back. Xiaomi is once again using a ceramic back, but the mid-frame is made out of aluminum. There’s a single speaker located at the bottom of the phone, and a USB-C charging port next to it. There’s no IR sensor on the phone, and you’re not going to find a 3.5mm jack either.
Bezel-less phones like the Essential Phone and the iPhone X have a notch or cutout at the top to accommodate the front camera module. Xiaomi, meanwhile, decided to move the camera to the bottom right corner of the phone, and in doing so the top of the Mi Mix 2 is seamless and not marred by any cutouts.
The first-generation Mi Mix also sported the front camera at the bottom of the screen, but this time around Xiaomi is using an even smaller imaging sensor, and the area around the lens is blacked out. That said, the same problems that plagued the first-generation Mi Mix are back with the Mi Mix 2: the position of the front camera makes it incredibly awkward to use, and more often than not, you’ll end up getting a weird chin-first angle when taking selfies. The camera app tells you to invert the phone to take selfies, which isn’t ideal. While it works for the default camera app, there’s no way to change orientation in apps like Duo.
The defining feature on the phone is the all-screen front, and while Xiaomi would have fared better with a QHD panel, the FHD+ display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 is really good. It doesn’t get as saturated as the AMOLED panels on Samsung’s phones, but it is one of the best LCDs you’ll find in the market today.
Colors reproduction is accurate, and if you’re looking for punchier colors, there’s an option to adjust the color temperature in the settings. The phone gets sufficiently bright for outdoor usage, and you can reduce the brightness all the way down to 1nit for viewing the screen at night.
There’s also a dedicated reading mode that acts as a blue light filter. Where things get less fun is when watching videos. With the 18:9 format still not standard, you’ll see letterboxing at either side of the display when watching videos on the Mi Mix 2, which deters from the experience. Samsung has negated this by offering a stretch-to-fit feature on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, which stretches out videos to fill the entire screen. There’s no such option on the Mi Mix 2.
The Mi Mix 2 is powered by the 10nm Snapdragon 835, and the base variant of the phone comes with 6GB of RAM. Xiaomi is making three storage configurations available: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB (the model I’m reviewing). The 64GB model is available for what amounts to $500 in China, but you’ll have to shell out close to $570 to get your hands on a unit from reseller sites.
As you’d imagine from a phone that has the latest hardware available today, the Mi Mix 2 absolutely blazes through anything you throw at it. I haven’t noticed any slowdowns yet, and with MIUI 9 providing much-needed optimization for the UI elements, you won’t feel like the interface is bloated (which was definitely the case with MIUI 8).
Xiaomi rolled out its first global phone last year in the Mi Note 2, with the phone featuring support for 37 LTE bands in total. The company is doing the same once again with the Mi Mix 2, offering 42 bands in total. That means that you’ll be able to use the Mi Mix 2 on most carriers around the world, making it a much more enticing option for those looking to import the device.
Aside from the annoyances with the front camera, the Mi Mix 2 is a well-thought-out phone that certainly looks much better when compared to the likes of the OnePlus 5. Xiaomi is also offering a limited edition model crafted out of unibody ceramic that comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. The phone will be available in black and white color options, and it looks absolutely stunning. You can clearly make out the difference between the ceramic and the aluminum mid-frame on the regular version, but the ceramic unibody edition has a seamless design that’s evocative, particularly in the white color option.
If you’re looking for a phone that stands out, then the unibody ceramic edition is the one to get. The phone will be incredibly hard to get a hold of, however, and at $720 it costs considerably more than the regular version.
Xiaomi phones are known for their battery longevity, and the Mi Mix 2 is no different. I easily got a day’s worth of usage out of the 3400mAh battery consistently, even on days when I was using cellular data throughout. I routinely averaged screen-on-time in excess of five hours. And when you do need to top up, the phone has Quick Charge 3.0.
There’s a lot to like in MIUI 9, but it is very buggy in its current iteration.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Software
The Mi Mix 2 runs the latest version of MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. MIUI 9 has a lot of new additions, but the user-facing ones are (for now) limited to the Chinese ROM. If you’re buying the phone from a reseller like GearBest, you’ll get the global ROM pre-installed, which comes with the Play Store and Google’s suite of apps out of the box.
Xiaomi was one of the first brands to fully embrace a theming engine, and in MIUI 9 the engine is much better. You’ll be able to change every facet of the user interface with themes, and there are hundreds of different theming options available from the Mi Store. Then there are the MIUI mainstays: an easy-to-use one-handed mode, Quick Ball shortcuts on the screen, Second Space, Dual Apps for running two instances of an app simultaneously. Xiaomi also introduced a split-screen mode, and it works just as you’d imagine — select Split Screen from the multitasking pane, and drag apps into the top and bottom halves of the screen.
One of the main highlights in MIUI 9 is system-wide optimization, which makes the UI feel much more responsive. If you’re used a Xiaomi device running MIUI 8, you’ll immediately notice the difference. That said, MIUI 9 does not bring any visual changes, and the notification shade in particular needs to be overhauled. Although the new panel with the integrated toggles made its debut in MIUI 8 (Xiaomi had a ghastly two-pane layout in MIUI 7), it looks dated. And although the phone is running Nougat, you lose out on features like inline replies and actionable notifications.
Then there’s the issue of receiving notifications. For some reason, the Mi Mix 2 would not show incoming Slack notifications, and there’s no way to expand notifications in the lock screen. The global ROM is still in beta, and there’s a long way to go before we get to a finished build. However, with a global launch slated for next month, these issues should be resolved in forthcoming updates.
Xiaomi continues to deliver weekly updates with bug fixes and stability tweaks, and hopefully notification-related problems will be ironed out before the phone makes its way outside of China. I’ll update the review once a stable version of MIUI 9 is available for the Mi Mix 2.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Camera
This year was defined by dual cameras making their way into phones across price points, and while Xiaomi rolled out dual rear cameras in the Mi 6, the company is sticking to a single shooter with the Mi Mix 2.
The primary 12MP imaging sensor itself is the same as what we’ve seen on the Mi 6, and it similarly offers 4-axis OIS and the ability to record 4K video at 30fps. And like the Mi 6, the camera on the Mi Mix 2 does a great job in daylight conditions, but it loses out on detail in low-light scenarios.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Bottom line
The Mi Mix 2 has the same fundamentals as its predecessor: an all-screen front with virtually no bezels on three sides, and a ceramic body. By shrinking the screen size down to 5.99 inches, Xiaomi has created a device that’s easier to use on a day-to-day basis.
The fact that the Mi Mix 2 has global LTE bands makes it an easy recommendation if you’re looking for a sub-$600 phone that manages to stand out. The same caveats as before apply though: you’re not going to see any after-sales support in markets where Xiaomi doesn’t sell phones, and if this is your first Xiaomi purchase, it’ll take you awhile to get used to MIUI. If you’re willing to put up with that, the Mi Mix 2 is a fantastic phone for the price.
The Mi Mix 2 is officially available in China and India, and if you’re looking to pick up the device from another country, your best bet is to go through a reseller like GearBest. You’ll have to shell out $559 for the variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage.
Available now on Boost Mobile for $130, the ZTE Blade Force offers HPUE connectivity, a 5.5-inch HD display, Snapdragon 427 processor, Android Nougat, and more.
Devices like the Google Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and LG V30 might be the hottest and flashiest Android flagships on the market, but they’re also some of the most expensive. If you’re looking to pick up a new handset that does everything you ask it to and won’t cost an arm and a leg, the all-new ZTE Blade Force just might be for you.
On the front of the Blade Force is the phone’s 5.5-inch IPS display. The 1280 x 720 resolution certainly isn’t the highest around, but it should be perfectly serviceable for browsing Twitter and watching YouTube videos. That activity will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 processor and 2GB of RAM, and to get you through a full day of use, there’s a 3,000 mAh nonremovable battery.
There’s also an 8MP rear and 5MP front-facing camera, 16GB of storage that can be expanded up to 128GB, 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 4.2, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat.
In addition to all of the above specs, the ZTE Blade Force also features something called “High Performance User Equipment” (or HPUE for short). Sprint introduced HPUE last December as a way for extending its 2.5GHz coverage by up to 30-percent compared to phones without this tech, allowing for a stronger signal wherever you go.
The ZTE Blade Force is available for purchase starting today (October 10) for $129.99 from Boost Mobile.
ZTE first introduced its popular Blade series into the U.S. earlier this year with the remarkably good V8 Pro, and although the Force may not be quite as impressive as the V8 Pro from a specifications point of view, it still manages to offer a compelling package for not a ton of cash.