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April 21 2017

16:00

Bring the beauty of nature to your wallpaper this Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

This oft-ignored holiday deserves better than to be relegated to documentary films and the occasional tree-planting! This is the only life-sustaining planet we've got (for now), and it's our job to love and protect our home planet. There are plenty of charities that you can donate to, such as the World Wildlife Fund and the aptly-named Earth Day Network, and you should consider using Amazon Smile so that every time you buy a new case, cable, or some leftover Cadbury eggs, a portion of your sale is donated to charity! Even if you're not quite up to putting your money where your mouth is, at least put a reminder to be kind to the planet on your home screen, where these wallpapers can inspire you to do more and remind us the beauty that surrounds us on this little blue ball.

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Regular forests are mysterious all on their own, but bamboo forests like these have mysteriousness on top of that mysteriousness. Everything is so green, so straight, so orderly… but then we have hints of tilted, darker stalks hiding just off the path. What's their story? And where does this path lead? An ancient ritual at a sacred shrine? A festival with some mischievous island spirits? Spin your own tales off this wallpaper every time you see it on your screen!

Bamboo Forest

Summer may be here before we know it, but gosh darn it, it's still spring and spring means wildflowers! And this patch blooming on a side of a mountain, with yet another mountain looming in the background, just makes me want to jump up and go for a nice long walk… and sprain my ankle walking along those bright rocks on the right side of the shot.

Mountain Wildflowers by TyeDueTwins

While it may not have a fire-breathing dragon hoarding gold inside, you can't help but wonder what mysteries these mountains are hiding in their mist. It's a truly breathtaking sight, and you have to wonder just what kind of stones the people who decided to climb this had.

Misty Mountains by McKay Savage

You've probably seen Trey Ratcliff's work before, especially if you have a Chromecast in your house, as his work is quite often featured on Backdrop. He's a prolific photographer that organizes photowalks and other photography events around the world, and he posts full-resolution photos on Google+ because they're one of the few networks that mean it when they say unlimited photo sizes. Take a peek at his posts, you will not be disappointed.

Pig and Pigeon Islands

The sun, the sea, the spray… Summer is just around the corner; why are we not at the ocean right now? Well, until we can go feel the salty sea air, the wind blowing in our face, at least we can have a bit of the ocean on our phones (y'know, without shorting it out). Whether you're dreaming of catch the perfect wave or maybe catching sight of a lovely mermaid on the other side of one, keep your dreams and your sights set on the sea!

Ocean Waves

16:00

Mint SIM review: The AC community weighs in

Four Android Central community members give their thoughts on the value-first alternative carrier, Mint SIM.

We know that our readers are pretty savvy folks, and want the best deal for mobile data they can find. Mint SIM, which you've seen mentioned a lot on the site in recent months, is an alternative carrier that promises great LTE speeds and coverage for less than any other carrier.

But people were skeptical — what's the catch? Why is it so cheap? And are there any downsides? We decided to let the AC community decide for itself. Four forum members, some of whom were provided Mint SIM service in exchange for moderating the forum (but were not influenced for a review in any way) had this to say.

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On setting it up

All four reviewers had a very easy time setting up Mint SIM because it is essentially "plug and play." You get a SIM kit in the mail, which takes a couple of days, and go to the company's web page to activate the SIM card. Here's what DecAway had to say:

I turned my device off, pulled out the old SIM card and popped the Mint Sim, SIM card into my phone and powered it back up. After a few minutes of working your way through the activation process, you'll be in business and can power up your device and connect to the network. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the ease of activating the SIM and establishing service!

The others noted that the APN — the address that allows the SIM to connect to the Mint SIM network — should automatically work, but on some phones it may need to be entered manually. That's easy enough, since instructions are in the Getting Started guide. dpham00 said this:

Setup was straightforward. The provided pamphlet guides you through the activation process, porting your phone number (optional), inserting your sim (the provided sim has perforations, and can be punched out for a mini, micro, or nano sim), and setting up the APN. After doing the activation process, I didn't have to do any setup at all, I just popped in the sim and everything worked fine.

How to set up the APN on your phone

On performance

Here's where things get interesting. All four reviewers agreed that performance was good, not great, and that it varied wildly depending on the time of day and the location. dpham00 said that his experience was inconsistent:

Performance seemed to be a little inconsistent – even immediately after getting a good speed test, I would sometimes struggle to open a web page. This could be an issue with the Mint sim being de-prioritized over T-Mobile customers, or something with the connection itself as sometimes, simply turning airplane mode on, and off again, will get things going.

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He notes that, indeed, because Mint SIM is an MVNO — an alternative carrier — it must piggyback off a larger network, which in this case is T-Mobile. While it's unlikely that T-Mobile is actively deprioritizing Mint SIM traffic, it not be privy to the network's fastest speeds, especially during times of congestion.

DecAway had a similar experience, but found that performance was mainly very good, and quite reliable:

After a week of using the service I can tell you that it's definitely not always "blazing" fast, as noted by Mint SIM, but it can be… and it is adequate. Mint Sim users are naturally deprioritized, meaning in congested areas your bandwidth will be much more limited at times, which I attribute to the slower speeds that I received. However, is that necessarily bad? Well, the answer is that it depends. First, objectively, I just paid roughly $12 bucks for 2GB of LTE data... Reflecting on my experience with Mint Sim so far, I have been able to achieve download speeds of up to 21.04mbps and 12.24mbps, with a top-end 13.79mbps and 9.99mbps upload speeds.

Those are pretty good speeds. VDub2174 had a similarly good experience, but remarked on the excellent Mint SIM coverage:

Coverage was great for me! When I checked the coverage map I saw that I was in an area that got great 4G LTE coverage. Living in a suburb area I sometimes get spotty 4G LTE but in my direct neighborhood it was great. I kept an eye on my reception while going about my day and saw that coverage was on point with my T-Mobile phone.

He also enjoyed access to Wi-Fi Calling, which is a hallmark T-Mobile feature that made the jump to its MVNO partners.

User Golfdriver97 also enjoyed the wide coverage provided by T-Mobile's network, saying he didn't have a problem with speed or network availability anywhere he went.

Had good to high signal where I went. So there wasn't any gaps in coverage.

On value

All four reviewers noted that Mint SIM, even with its sometimes-spotty LTE data speeds, is a good deal. From dpham00:

So the question you are having now is – is it worth it? I would say for the price, absolutely. It is aggressively priced if you are willing to make a commitment from 3 months and up, especially at the one year mark. Sure it has a few hiccups here and there, but if you are looking at Mint sim, then you are looking for a bargain basement pricing, and as such, you will have to deal with the occasional problem here and there. If you are using it a lot and demand the best performance, then you would probably be better off with one of the big 3. However, I think this is great for someone who uses the internet somewhat sparingly and can accept some hiccups.

Golfdriver97 agrees:

I would honestly say give them a shot. Start by getting an independent number at first. This way you aren't porting your number and find out that it doesn't work for you.

That's another sentiment shared by all reviewers: Mint SIM is alright as a primary number — VDub2174 said his number was recycled and received a lot of spam calls — but better as a secondary number primarily for data usage. While Mint SIM doesn't support tethering, it's a good way to watch media on the go for less money.

DecAway said that Mint SIM is great for most situations:

If you carry two phones around like me and can turn on wireless tethering with the other device, it really makes up for the shortfalls. If you're cool with occasional inconsistencies in data speeds, then it's also less worrisome. Call quality and messaging are more than adequate, so if you really need a cheap phone plan with the promise of internet in uncongested areas and off-peak times, this could be the answer for you.

He also notes that the promotional pricing, which is $35 for 3 months, with 2GB of data, is only for new customers, so it's an easy investment to try, but costs will go up eventually. (You can get 20% off a 6-month or 1-year plan with the offer code "ACMINTSIM20", by the way.)

Finally, VDub2174 sums it up nicely:

Pricing is very affordable when compared to other plans so if you're looking for a plan that gives you the most bang for your buck, I would check out Mint SIM.

So there you go. Mint SIM is a great choice for people who don't need tethering, and can deal with a few occasional slowdowns when it comes to cheap wireless data service.

Head to our dedicated Mint SIM forums to ask questions and get more information!

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15:29
It’s Samsung Galaxy S8 day: Here’s why you should buy
15:04

Backup-problem med Pixel-telefoner

Flera ägare till Googles Pixel-telefoner hävdar att det inte går att göra backup på enheterna. Problemen ska ha funnits sedan telefonerna släpptes.
15:00

Best Cases for the Samsung Galaxy S8

If you know for sure you're getting the Samsung Galaxy S8, you can already buy some cases.

Update April 21: Updated to reflect launch day, and added many new cases to our list.

The day has finally arrived! The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus has launched and folks should be getting their hands on them today. With its brilliant new Infinity Display and industry leading design, it's truly something to behold.

Which means that if you haven't picked up a case for it, you probably should. Yea, we hear all you case haters out there who say you don't need a case, or that covering up the phone with blocky plastics and rubber is a sin. But for those of us who know we're prone to damaging our phones and want to keep our Galaxy S8 in tip-top shape, here are some of your best options!

Otterbox Commuter Series

The OtterBox Commuter Series has garnered a well-deserved reputation as being one of the best cases for keeping your phone well protected while maintaining a slim design.

Like most OtterBox cases, this is a two-piece case that features a soft inner sleeve paired with a hard outer shell that helps to absorb impacts while providing great all-round protection for your phone. The case features port covers over the headphone jack and USB-C charging port, which just adds extra protection against dirt, dust, and pocket lint.

Now typically we'd go ahead and recommend OtterBox's Defender Series, which typically offers more rugged protection with a built-in screen protector. However, OtterBox made the curious decision to not include a screen protector with their Defender Series case for the Galaxy S8. Therefore, the Commuter Series is probably your best bet, as it's $10 cheaper and offers most of the same protection — although it lacks the Defender Series' belt clip holster.

See at Amazon

UAG Plasma Feather-Light Rugged Case

UAG makes some really good rugged cases for phones. Those who use them love them because they offer really good protection while also adding a whole bunch of textures along the side and the back to help with grip.

For the Samsung Galaxy S8, we'll recommend the ultra light UAG Plasma case, which is available in both solid colors and transparent options. These cases included soft raised rubber around the corners of the screen, offering protection when you put your phone screen down on a table or surface. There are also skid pads on the back of the case which help prevent your phone fron slipping off the table.

If your phone does hit the ground, the hard outer shell and impact-resistant soft core work in tandem to absorb the shock and prevent scuffs and scratches. This is accomplished while keeping the case thin enough to be compatible with both Samsung Pay and wireless charging.

See at Amazon

CM4 Q Card Wallet Case

Made by CM4, the Q Card Case features a multi-material design that features soft-touch rubber around the phone itself and a premium fabric pocket on the back that can hold up to three cards along with some cash. There's a lip around the front to protect the screen when it's laying flat, high grip texture the top and bottom edges, while preserving the 'natural' feel of the volume and power buttons on the side.

It's a unique and functional design that will be appealing to some. If you dig the style here, you can get yours for either the S8 or S8+ from CM4's website.

See at CM4

Moko Heavy Duty Case with Holster Belt Clip and Kickstand

Moko offers cheap and rugged cases for phones, and this dual-layered case will offer some great protection for your brand new device — if you don't mind completely covering the sleek design.

There are ample cutouts around the charging port and headphone jack so you don't have to worry about your accessories not fitting, and there's a lip around the screen for added protection. Moko also includes a convenient kickstand for hands-free viewing on the back, along with a belt clip holster if you're into that sort of thing.

Available for $9, it's a cheap investment for those who absolutely want to keep their phone protected the minute they take it out of the box.

See at Amazon

SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Case

Another rugged case we often like recommending is the Unicorn Beetle case from SUPCASE. It's a rugged three-piece case that offers a front plate around the screen — no screen protector included — that provides important protection for that screen without affecting the curved edges of the screen.

This case is made of durable polycarbonate which means it's tough enough to withstand everything life throws its way, with textured edges along the side to help with grip. There are ample cutouts around the headphone jack and charging port.

This case is also compatible with screen protectors, although again one is not included here.

See at Amazon

VRS Design Cases

VRS Design has a full collection of cases available from their site for the Galaxy S8, but we'll highlight one of their more minimalist options here.

The Single Fit case offers a minimalist option for keeping your phone safe. It's a one-piece case made of TPU that snuggly fits around your Galaxy S8 without adding too much bulk to that sleek design. Unlike the phone itself, this case is fingerprint resistant and also provides better grip than the slippery Gorilla Glass on the Galaxy S8. You get nice protection around the camera and fingerprint sensor on the back, and a subtle lip around the screen, along with the ample cutouts and precise buttons to ensure your phone's functionality is unaffected.

Check out the Single Fit case at the link below, or browse through the rest of VRS Design's Galaxy S8 collection and find the right case for you!

See at VRS Design

Spigen cases

Spigen consistently delivers cases that combine great design and quality protection for a stylish product that keeps your phone safe. We've gone hands-on with their latest batch of cases for the Galaxy S8 and can report back that they're as good as ever on Samsung's latest device. Whether you like their Tough Armor series or their minimalist Thin Fit cases, you're sure to find a case that you'll love.

We'll recommend Spigen's Ultra Hybrid Clear Case, which offers decent protection with a minimalist design that lets the design of the Samsung Galaxy S8 shine right through. It combines a TPU bumper with a rugged polycarbonate back plate which offers great protection for your new phone.

Not a fan of this one? Check out our hands-on with the new Galaxy S8 cases from Spigen, then head on over to Amazon and grab your favorite!

See at Amazon

Nomad Leather Folio Wallet

Nomad's Galaxy S8 folio case is like nothing else on the list. It uses Horween leather from the oldest tannery in the United States that is meant to show its age. On the inside of the light brown case is a holder for up to six cards plus cash, and the phone insert is there to keep your Galaxy S8 steady in the case of a drop.

This is one of the nicest-looking folio cases we've seen to date, and we're looking forward to seeing how it looks in three or six months!

See at Nomad

What case are you rocking?

We want to know how you plan to keep your Galaxy S8 protected. Let us know which case you're getting in the comments!

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margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*--><!]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[>>>*/ /*--><!]]]]]]><![CDATA[>>*/ /*--><!]]]]><![CDATA[>*/ </style></div> </div> </div> </div>]]>
14:58
Samsung Google Play Music team-up makes Galaxy S8 more vanilla [APK Download]
14:33
Galaxy S8 update will hopefully fix red tinted displays
14:04

Google Play Music becomes the default music app on Samsung phones and tablets

Samsung customers will get a three-month trial and ability to upload 100,000 songs to Play Music.

Google has partnered with Samsung to offer Google Play Music as the default music player on the South Korean manufacturer's phones and tablets, starting with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which are going on sale in the U.S. starting today. The partnership includes exclusive features for Samsung customers, including a three-month trial to Play Music. The offer is available globally, but is limited to new subscribers and not current Play Music customers.

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Samsung customers also have the ability to upload and stream 100,000 songs from their own music collection into Play Music, or double the storage capacity usually offered to customers. Google is also touting integration with Bixby, Samsung's personal assistant on the Galaxy S8. When the feature goes live later this spring, you'll be able to ask Bixby to play your favorite tunes on Play Music.

Google's streaming music service has lagged behind Spotify, but by teaming up with Samsung, the search giant has the potential to attract millions of new customers.

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} .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; 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} .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*--><!]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[>>>*/ /*--><!]]]]]]><![CDATA[>>*/ /*--><!]]]]><![CDATA[>*/ </style></div> </div> </div> </div>]]>
13:30

Learn all about digital marketing in 2017 for only $19

Digital marketing is so important in 2017 for all businesses, but especially for smaller and mid-sized companies trying to separate from the rest of the pack. Knowing how to use social media, Google Analytics, SEO, and AdWords effectively is crucial — but where to begin?

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Step up your digital marketing game for only $19! Learn more

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That's where The Complete Digital Marketing Course 2017 comes in! For only $19, you get 12 courses for the price of one that arms you with all the knowledge you need to take advantage of all the marketing tools available on the internet.

In total, there are 19.5 hours of content spread over 169 lessons which cover the following topics:

  • Marketing Fundamentals
  • Market Research
  • Wordpress
  • Email Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Youtube
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Twitter
  • Quora Marketing
  • Google Adwords

Usually, a comprehensive course like this would cost at least $200, but you can save 90% for a limited time thanks to Android Central Digital Offers.

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Become a knowledgable digital marketing expert! Learn more

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Get a complete education in building a powerful and profitable online campaign that will set either your business or your resume apart! Now available for only $19, you won't want to miss out on this deal!

13:01

HTC wants you to pay ₹92,990 ($1,440) for the Vive VR headset in India

HTC once again shows that it doesn't care about the Indian market.

In the latest instalment of HTC's long-running series of blunders in India, the Taiwanese manufacturer has launched the Vive VR headset in India. Before we get to the astronomical price, a quick primer on the Indian electronics scene. In an effort to get local manufacturing off the ground, the Indian government is incentivizing local assembly efforts, and has hiked duties of electronics that are imported into the country (which constitute a vast majority).

That translates to a $150 - $200 increase in the cost of a flagship phone like the Galaxy S8, which is retailing for ₹57,900 ($900). That's a $150 hike from what the phone costs in the U.S..

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Now, back to the HTC Vive. The VR headset will retail for an astounding ₹92,990 ($1,440), making India one of the costliest markets for the headset. The Vive costs $799 in the U.S., so we're looking at a markup of $640, and in that price differential you can pick up a GTX 1080.

The Vive will be up for pre-order on Amazon India starting tomorrow, April 22, and HTC is setting up experience zones all around the country for people to try out the headset. Considering that PC gaming in itself is a nascent market in India, it's hard to see the Vive gaining any traction here. Even if you were to pick up a Vive, you'll need a decent machine to drive the headset, and that will cost at least ₹50,000 ($775) if you're starting from scratch. I've waited a year for the Vive to come to India, but I should've done the sensible thing and imported it from the U.S. Even accounting for customs duties, it'll run lower than what HTC is charging for the headset.

13:00

ZTE Quartz review: A 3G-connected watch that gets the job done

The ZTE Quartz is a great value if you're simply considering dipping your toes into Android Wear 2.0.

There are a mass plethora of Android Wear 2.0-connected smartwatches available right now. Choosing between the dozens of varieties can be really overwhelming, especially if you don't even know where to start. But I think the ZTE Quartz is a fantastic option for people in this particular conundrum. It's not the most exhilarating smartwatch, in the sense that it doesn't exactly push the wearables industry forward, but it's basic enough and cheap enough that it can be appealing for those who are merely looking for an entry point into Android Wear.

The ZTE Quartz has a massive battery, too, so for those of you in need of something more utilitarian, it may be worth the consideration. It's also got some extra features you won't get with other wearable devices for under $200, like 3G-connectivity. Overall, it has only a few drawbacks, including the fact that it's achingly plain and that it's presently limited to use on T-Mobile's network.

Plain smartwatches require a little imagination

The ZTE Quartz has an AMOLED display.

The silicone band on the ZTE Quartz isn't the most comfortable to wear.

ZTE doesn't seem to have major plans for the Quartz other than it exists solely as a showcase of what it's attempting with wearables. The result of this is a decidedly plain-looking smartwatch that's 46mm in diameter and 14.5mm thick. The Quartz is a little big, by which I mean that it's only incrementally larger than the LG Watch Sport. If you didn't consider the latter too honking for your wrist, you'll be fine with the Quartz.

The ZTE Quartz has removable watchbands.

Unlike the Watch Sport, however, the Quartz has removable watchbands, which you'll want to swap out immediately after you take the device out of its box. This is the stiffest watch band I've ever worn — that I can remember, at least. But I've been around Android Wear devices since their inception, and I don't remember the first-generation LG Watch being this uncomfortable to wear.

That said, I still didn't mind the style of the Quartz, despite its masculine sway. I can get away with wearing it with a sportier outfit, just as it will pair nicely with a suit or ripped up jeans. It's a plain, silver smartwatch, but nothing that a MODE watchband from Google can't spruce up.

Big battery means more playtime

The ZTE Quartz runs on a Snapdragon 2100 processor, which is made especially for wearable devices. It's packed with 768MB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage for music and the like, and a whopping 500 mAh battery. The charging dock it comes with may make it feel antiquated, however, with its outdated Micro-USB connection. But the tradeoff is substantial battery life, which should help keep you from grumbling.

This is how the Quartz charges — with magnetic pins on the back.

On standby, the watch managed about two days before I had to plug it back in. While actively wearing it, it lasted from morning to morning without too much worry, though it's not comfortable to wear to sleep. It's also worth noting that I keep notifications to a minimum, and I tend to use Theater Mode during work hours. I also had GPS set to rely on the phone's location, rather than the watch's. However, you should be able to make it through a comfortable day of hiking before the watch needs charging with its GPS turned on.

Use the watch to make phone calls or navigate the trail without your phone in hand.

I like the Quartz's 1.4-inch AMOLED display, too. Colorful watch faces appear nice and vibrant on screen, and I actually like that the bigger screen helps make Android Wear 2.0's font and icons more legible. Bear in mind that the display doesn't have an ambient light sensor, so you will have to adjust the brightness as you see fit for the situation. It's not the easiest to see outside in direct sunlight.

Perhaps the most compelling feature of the ZTE Quartz is its built-in 3G connectivity. You can use the watch to make phone calls or navigate the trail without your phone in hand with the aid of T-Mobile SIM. And while it's nice to have the watch take on the bulk of the cellular work the phone would normally do during an outdoor expedition, I personally feel silly carrying on a phone call with the watch out in public.

It's a pretty good deal

And it looks nice, too, even if it is a little plain.

The ZTE Quartz does require you to compromise on a few technological advancements that have since come to wearables. For instance, you won't have NFC capabilities with this Android Wear device, which means no Android Pay without your phone. It also doesn't have a heart-rate sensor, which doesn't make it the best smartwatch for fitness buffs, though I didn't find it comfortable enough to wear while sweating it out anyway.

Still, at $192, with the inclusion of other specifications you don't normally get at this price point, it's a worthy consideration for anyone curious about what it's like to wear an Android Wear 2.0-powered watchphone on their wrist.

See at T-Mobile

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height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*--><!]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[>>>*/ /*--><!]]]]]]><![CDATA[>>*/ /*--><!]]]]><![CDATA[>*/ </style></div> </div> </div> </div>]]>
12:30

Moto G5 Plus video review: The best cheap Android phone!

<!--/video-->

A good, cheap smartphone. That's been the MO of the Moto G series since the very beginning — a phone that doesn't cost the earth, but also doesn't come with a bunch of nasty compromises. This year, the line is led by the Moto G5 Plus — and it might just be the best inexpensive Android phone you can buy.

In the Moto G5 Plus, Motorola has finally arrived at an almost perfect balance of features and price. For £250 in the UK and $229 in the U.S., you're getting a phone that nails the fundamentals and exceeds expectations in other areas, like battery and camera. And that's all powered by a proven chip — Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625, with has a well-earned reputation for efficiency and performance.

Check out our video review to learn more about Motorola's latest lean, mean handset.

12:14

Samsung will roll out an update to fix Galaxy S8's red tint issue

Galaxy S8 and S8+ OTA update will bring better color optimization and increase the color range of the displays.

Earlier this week, a few Galaxy S8 users noticed a red tint on their displays, to which Samsung responded by stating that the issue can be resolved by changing the color balance in the display settings. To further assuage customers, the South Korean manufacturer has mentioned that it will roll out a software update next week that will deliver increased color range and better optimization of colors to eliminate the red tint.

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In a statement to The Korea Herald, Samsung said:

Because there are some complaints about the red-tinted screens, we decided to upgrade the software next week for all Galaxy S8 clients.

We will upgrade the software because of some dissatisfied customers although there is no problem in the phone itself.

The company also reiterated that the reddish tint was a software glitch and that there are no quality issues on the Galaxy S8 or S8+. Samsung's flagships are under intense scrutiny following the company's tribulations last year, and the company is going out of its way to ensure that it addresses these issues.

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Test: Drivenow

Med en ny förbättrad app hoppas Drivenow locka fler till sin bilpool.
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The Bialetti Manual Burr Grinder makes gourmet coffee grounds for much less than motorized models but will tax your arm muscles.
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Best tips for extending the life of your phone's battery

How do I make sure my phone's battery lasts as long as possible?

Most of us never think about the battery in our phone until it dies. When everything is working properly the battery should not be a part of the Android experience, other than not lasting long enough because we never put our phones down. The only time we ever think about the battery is when we have to charge it.

How you do that charging can make a difference, though not nearly as much as some people think. Let's have a look at the right way to take care of your battery and if it really matters.

Battery things

A few facts about your phone's battery make for a great starting point. We need to know the basics before we dive into the rest.

Chemical batteries aren't safe, but there is science trying to get them there.

The battery in your phone is almost certainly a single lithium-ion (also known as Li-ion, Lion or LiB) cell. Li-ion batteries offer what's called a high energy density (power output compared to size), have almost zero memory effect and offer a moderate self-discharge rate. There are Li-ion batteries in all shapes and sizes, and while most of what we're going to talk about apply to them all we're going to focus on the one inside your phone.

The chemistry of your phone battery is usually lithium cobalt oxide-based. These types of cell offer a very high energy density but also pose some serious safety issues like the ones we saw with the Galaxy Note 7. While the actual composition can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, generally you have two electrodes (one carbon-based and one lithium oxide-based) encased in a pressurized foil pouch filled with a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent as the electrolyte paste.

Charged lithium ions move from one electrode to the other through the conductive electrolyte, which is flammable. The electrolyte gets very hot when the juice is flowing and a puncture of the foil can lead to a small explosion of very flammable fluid.

The Note 7's silver lining

Some good things happened because of Samsung's Note 7 recall.

As consumers, we're more aware of the inherent danger of Li-ion batteries and Samsung is leading the charge (no pun intended!) when it comes to the science of smartphone battery safety. We'll never know exactly what happened or why, but we can be sure that every phone leaving Samsung's factories have been through a rigorous testing procedure and should be very safe. Hopefully, this can be a learning experience for all the companies who make our battery-powered things!

This is Samsung's new 8-point battery safety check

The companies that make Li-ion batteries are always working on ways to make them safer without lowering the amount of energy they can store. Graphene, Sulfur, and Hexafluorides are just some of the chemicals being used to try and build a better battery, and every model made is safer than the last. But lithium-ion cells are still inherently dangerous. That's why the battery in your phone is more than just a cell — it makes things a lot safer when you regulate things.

The battery inside your phone is a power cell as described above coupled with sensors and other parts like voltage regulators and an external connector. This electronic hardware monitors the electricity moving in and out of the battery as well as the capacity and temperature. They are there to shut down power instantly if they detect a short or dangerous temperature spike.

A lot of work went into making a battery for your phone that can deliver the power needed as safe as possible.

The memory effect

Battery memory effect is when the battery (not the cell itself) forgets the capacity that's not regularly charged. It's a weird concept that's difficult to fully explain.

Li-ion batteries don't have a memory effect.

If you charge your battery every time it goes down to 25% and then remove it from the charger when it reaches 75% every time, you're only charging 50% of the capacity. The 0-25% that never discharged and the 75-100% that is never charged will be forgotten. This means that over time your battery thinks 25% is 0% and 75% is 100%. You are unable to use half of the battery in this case.

As crazy as it sounds, it's true. But not for Li-ion batteries. You don't need to worry about any battery memory effect for the battery inside your phone.

From zero to 100

The battery in your phone has a "zone" that provides as much charge as possible without doing anything that affects the lifespan of the battery too much. Completely draining a battery might cause it to die and not come back.The smarts in the battery and your phone work together to make sure this doesn't happen. Overcharging a battery can cause heat that damages the cell inside it. Your phone and the battery itself work together to make sure this doesn't happen, too.

Your battery and phone are smart and make sure you can't fully discharge or overcharge things.

In a perfect world, you would keep your phone battery close to 50% charged at all times by micromanaging the time it spends on the charger to top it off when needed. This is because batteries have a useful life and it's based on charge cycles.

A charge cycle is going from dead to full (inside that safe zone described above) one time. Most phone batteries are designed to last about 400 cycles. That means if you let it run to zero then charge it to full 400 separate times the battery will no longer be able to hold a full charge and it will take more of the stored charge to normally operate your phone. Eventually, you'll notice that it takes longer to charge it and it doesn't last as long as it did when it was new.

This will happen to every battery eventually, but small "top-up" charges that don't heat things up as much have less of an impact than long charges. If you always run your battery down until it's almost dead then plug your phone in until it's full you're putting more stress on it than doing a bunch of short charges. We can't say the difference is so small it doesn't matter, but we can say that it's probably not worth the inconvenience of charging your phone five minutes at a time all day long.

Charging at night

If you plug your phone in when you go to bed and let it charge all night, it still won't overcharge the battery. But it's important to mention that you should never charge a lithium-ion battery unattended.

When the phone is fully charged the electronics in the battery tell your phone to stop sending electricity from the charger to the battery charging circuit. Power still comes in, it just doesn't work at recharging anything and goes back out to the wall socket (electricity travels in an unbroken loop to and from the power source). If your phone is still powered on the battery will discharge because it's being used. When it discharges to a certain point, charging starts again. This cycle repeats until you unplug it in the morning.

A lot of work was done to make sure the cell inside the battery doesn't overcharge at any time. Even during the night while it's on the charger. If you're going to charge your phone overnight, make sure everything works properly and you're charging properly. That means you don't have the phone under a blanket or laying on the rug while it's plugged in or have it in a thick sealed case that keeps the heat in. Plug it in (or put it on a wireless charger) somewhere that it won't get tangled up in your bedclothes or knocked to the floor.

Storing your phone or battery

Charge your battery to 50% and turn the phone off. Check it once in a while and recharge it before it drops under 10%.

Your battery will discharge in the drawer over time.

Li-ion batteries have a moderate self-discharge rate. That means when they are not being used they still will lose their charge. All batteries do this and some types (lead-acid) are bigger offenders than others (lithium-sulfur). A battery can self-discharge to zero when it's not being used even if your phone would normally shut down before you get there. Letting a Li-ion battery run down completely could cause it to not come back online, depending on the internal circuitry.

If you plan on storing a phone over the long term, drop a monthly reminder in your calendar to take it out, turn it on and charge it a little.

Recalibration

This means running a battery down to zero then charging it to full in one sitting. This is said to recalibrate the battery.

Recalibration won't hurt anything but it might not do anything, either.

Laptops may benefit from a recalibration cycle if the battery level icon has the wrong reading. The software that controls this on a laptop is a good bit different from your Android, though. Some experts claim you need to recalibrate your battery from time to time or when you see an issue, but others say it won;t do anything.

Fully cycling the battery in your phone every once in a while isn't going to break anything. It's not something we recommend you do every day because of that charge cycle life we talked about up the page. If you think you need to do it to fix something, go for it.

Are wireless chargers bad for my battery?

Not really, as long as you're using a quality charger of the right type.

They aren't any better than charging over a wire, either. Charging a battery makes it hot. Heat shortens battery lifespan. Once the electricity from a wireless charger passes into your phone it's handled the same way as a wired charger. Inside the battery where the chemical reaction is happening heat builds up no matter how you charge your phone battery.

Wireless charging is inefficient so it takes longer, but it also is less wear and tear on the USB socket on your phone. If you like the convenience of a wireless charger, go for it!

How about fast charging?

When using any fast charging method (Qualcomm Quick Charge, Adaptive Fast Charging, USB PD, etc.) you have a charger that is capable of supplying electricity at a higher voltage or amperage than normal. Your phone has programming on the circuit board that tells the charger how much electricity to deliver, and the charger has circuitry that listens and complies. Without both sides being able to communicate, quick-charging can't happen.

Fast charging affects battery lifespan but nobody is sure exactly how much.

There is a lot of science behind quick charging. Most of it agrees that quick charging contributes to a faster decline of the battery's lifespan. But nobody is able to measure exactly how much.

Quick charging is uber-convenient and has changed the way a lot of us use our gadgets. The best recommendation, in this case, is to use it wisely if you're concerned that it affects battery longevity. Usually, that means you need a second charger, so make sure you buy one made by a reputable company.

Using another charger

Always try to use the charger and cable that came with your phone each and every time you need to charge it. If you need a replacement or an additional charger, buy the type the manufacturer recommends. Products are designed so that the different types of quick charging products can be used on phones that don't support them (you won't get fast charging speeds) but it's still advisable to use the right quick-charge technology. If you're unsure of which kind of quick charging your phone uses, online resources like our forums are helpful, or you can contact the manufacturer.

It's also a good idea to buy new cables when you buy a new phone. Always. Charging technology change so fast that the cables you have been using for a few years might not meet the requirements and cables degrade from all the twisting and pulling they suffer through. Make sure the cables you buy match the specifications of the ones that came in the box and are made by a company you trust. Recycle your old cables and protect your expensive new phone.

Our recommended practices

  • Charge your phone when it needs a charge and remove it from the charger when it's finished. Don't be afraid to use a wireless charger.
  • Use quick charging sparingly if you're concerned about its effect on battery lifespan. There is little immediate damage or danger from using the right charging method for your phone.
  • Try to manually shut your phone off if the charge ever drops below 10% and leave it off while charging it for a few minutes.
  • Never store a phone with a dead battery and check on a stored phone periodically.
  • Don't buy cheap chargers or cables from the gas station or that dude at the flea market. Use the type of charger the people who made your phone recommend.

You can make yourself crazy by worrying about the perfect way to charge your phone's battery. All the technical details about how behaviors can affect the lifespan of the battery are true, but they are also very minor in scale. Charging and discharging a battery shortens its lifespan, but a battery is useless if it's not charged so it can power something. It's OK to baby your phone's battery, but ultimately not necessary.

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Android Wear 2.0 till alla enheter i maj

Efter sju sorger och åtminstone två förseningar tycks det till slut vara dags för Google att rulla ut Android Wear 2.0 till de enheter som ännu inte fått uppdateringen.
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Rödton på Galaxy S8 åtgärdas i uppdatering

Efter att flera nyblivna Galaxy S8-ägare i Sydkorea klagat över att skärmarna på deras enheter har en röd ton lovar Samsung nu att åtgärda saken med en uppdatering.
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