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10 must-have accessories for the LG G6: essential tech for 2017

We break down some of the best gadgets — from cases and car chargers to connected devices — that will help to protect your LG G6 as well as make it more functional.

LG’s latest flagship handset — the G6 — is a major leap forward over its predecessor with its large 5.7-inch display and slick new 18:9 design. While the G6 is easily one of the best Android smartphones available in 2017, your user experience can be improved even further when paired with some great accessories.

Depending on the type of user you are, these accessories are either a must-have or a down-right necessity. Since the LG G6 is among the major flagship Android devices launched this year, you will find some decent discounts and deals on most of the accessories featured here.

Best LG G6 Accessories

  1. Screen Protectors
  2. microSD Cards
  3. Protective Cases
  4. USB Car Chargers
  5. USB Charging Cables
  6. Micro-USB to USB-C Adapters
  7. Wireless Charging Pads
  8. Chromecast
  9. Bluetooth Speaker
  10. Bluetooth Headphones

1. Screen Protector

LG gave its flagship phone a major makeover this year with a new design and a nearly bezelless display with an innovative 18:9 aspect ratio. But that great looking screen comes at a cost. The G6 has more surface real-estate than the G5, which means there’s more that can be broken after a tumble.

And as it turns out, LG did not make all surfaces equal on the G6. The curved glass panel on the back is made from the strongest Gorilla Glass 5, but for some reason the screen’s glass uses the overall weaker Gorilla Glass 3.

No matter what type of glass you have, it’s always a good idea to use a protective layer to stop minor scuffs and scratches from ever reaching your screen. They are the most inexpensive way to keep your display looking great and the best part is that they can be easily replaced, giving you that fresh out of the box feel.

Here are our top picks for the best LG G6 screen protectors:

Spigen Glas.t(R) Slim Screen Protector

best removable screen protector for lg g6
The Glas.t(R) Slim is our first choice for LG G6 protection.

One of the first brands to offer real glass screen protectors was Spigen, which is why the Glas.t(R) Slim is our first choice for LG G6 protection. Made from 9H tempered glass, its precision laser cut to perfectly fit the LG G6 and covers the entire screen, but it will still mesh well with a protective case.

Users who are turned off by glass screen protectors due to their size should know that the Glas.t(R) is an extremely thin piece of glass that offers superior protection for its size. When it gets scratched or cracked, you can easily take it off and apply a new one. You can find these in a two pack on Amazon.

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SuperGuardZ Privacy Anti-Spy Screen Protector

best privacy screen protector for lg g6

If you don’t like the added thickness that tempered glass screen protectors add, this SuperGuardZ screen protector from Armorsuit is made from premium Japanese PET film. It is an ultra HD clear screen protector that will not only protect your display, but it will also protect the body, which is also important since the back of the LG G6 is also glass and can be scratched and shatter pretty easily as well.

The SuperGuardZ Privacy screen protector also features a tinted screen that keeps what you are doing on your phone private. This will help keep prying eyes off your screen while in a crowded area, bus, train, airplane, etc.

Just keep in mind that privacy comes with a cost. Some users don’t like privacy screen protectors because the tinted film will darken your display, requiring a boost in screen brightness – and thus a reduction in battery life.

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Those of you who don’t like the added darkness from privacy films should consider the non-tinted version of the SuperGuardZ.

2. microSD card

With all our photos, apps and games, if there’s one thing we never seem to have enough of on our smartphones, its space! One of the greatest features on the LG G6 is the microSD reader that’s expandable to 2TB.

Of course, there isn’t that much storage available on a single memory card available yet, but it’s good to know that your phone is virtually future-proof when it comes to storage. If you want to increase your phone’s memory or invest in small, secure backup storage, you have many options when it comes to microSD cards.

Below are our top picks for the best LG G6 memory cards. Once you pick something out, we recommend taking a look at our guide on how to turn your Android smartphone into a portable WiFi hard drive.

Samsung EVO+ 256GB

best micro sd card for lg g6
The Samsung EVO+ 256GB is our top pick for expanding the storage space of your LG G6.

One of your best options for expanding your phone’s storage is Samsung’s 256GB EVO+ microSD card. Featuring read speeds of up to 95MB/sec and write speeds up to 90MB/sec, this card is easily fast enough to handle storing all the high-resolution photos and videos you take with your G6, while also letting you load up all your favorite music and movies with you on the go.

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SanDisk Extreme 128GB Micro SD Card

best memory cards for lg g6
SanDisk Extreme is waterproof, shockproof, and X-ray proof.

As with other of SanDisk’s microSD cards, the Extreme series is waterproof, shockproof, X-ray proof, and can stand up to extreme conditions. This card is also slightly faster than the Samsung one we listed above, coming in with read and write speeds of around 90MB/s. This card is plenty fast for recording video, even in 4K resolution. The Extreme 90MB/s microSD cards are available in 16, 32, 64GB capacities as well.

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SanDisk Ultra 32GB Micro SD Card

best cheap micro sd memory card for lg g6
The SanDisk Ultra features up to 80 MB/s transfer speed and comes with SD adapter for use in cameras and computers.

Looking for just a little bit of extra space, or need multiple cards on the cheap? Then SanDisk has you covered with thier Ultra microSD card. This is a 32GB micro SD card, and while it likely won’t give you a ton of space on the LG G6, it will give you a bit extra, and for some people that may be all they need. It’s a Class 10 card, which means it can read and write full HD video as well as 4K without any real issues.

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3. Protective Case

While the LG G6 might be a design success, it isn’t the most robust of devices, and a screen protector alone does not protect the body. Yes, thanks to IP68 certification it’s dust-resistant and waterproof to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes – but an accidental drop onto concrete will see it become a spider’s web of broken glass, both front and back.

Not only that, but the LG G6’s stunning finish could quickly become tainted with scuffs and scratches as the rigors of daily life take their toll. Unless you wrap the phone in a protective case, that is.

Spigen Slim Armor Case

best case for lg g6
This case features a built-in kickstand for hands-free viewing experience.

Being part of the Slim Armor family, this Spigen protective case is comprised out of an inner matte TPU material for shock absorption thanks to its Air Cushion Technology, and an outer matte polycarbonate frame that’s meant to primarily protect it from scratches and blemishes.

On its surface, the Spigen Slim Armor case looks a bit generic and bland, despite the four different color options you can choose from. In term of protection, the Slim Armor case is capable of handling minor falls or drops – though, the plastic outer shell makes the case feel a bit hollow.

It has a very appealing shape that follows the same rounded design language of the phone, giving you a form-fitting case that adds only a little bit of size to the overall device.

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Vigeer Shockproof Slim Fit Case w/ Card Holder

best card holder case for lg g6
A card slot is hidden on the back of this case and it’s perfect for securely storing your credit card or ID.

Nowadays, many people are going cashless, relying solely on their cards for payments, which isn’t a bad idea at all, since everything you need to carry around is a couple tiny pieces of plastic, instead of a big, chunky wallet. And if you can carry the card alongside your smartphone, things are even better!

If you are looking for something a bit more rugged than the Slim Armor, you might consider this Shockproof Slim Fit LG G6 case with cardholder from Vigeer, perfect for those who have a tendency of dropping their phones. Featuring a combination of premium soft TPU and premium PU leather, this case offers full degree of protection, being able to withstand even some serious shocks.

The card slot is hidden on the back and it’s perfect for securely storing your credit card/ID or even some cash. It also has an integrated kickstand, allowing viewing at multiple angles, and comes in five color options including Navy, Black, Gray, Mint Green and Rose Gold.

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Spigen Thin Fit

best slim protection for lg g6
The Spigen Thin Fit features for form-fitted PC constructions keeps the phone slim and lightweight

If you absolutely hate the idea of using a wallet case because of the added bulk, perhaps you should consider the LG G6 Thin Fit case from Spigen. While it won’t offer as much drop protection as some of the other cases featured here, it will protect your phone from scuffs and scratches throughout the day, especially while in your pocket or bag.

All your ports and side buttons are left wide open, and the case is thin enough to let NFC and wireless charging pass through without issue. Just remember that if you’re looking for a case that offers drop protection, you should consider some of our other options.

For those of you in the market for a slim and lightweight case to offer the most basic protection from nicks and scratches, this is your best bet.

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Maximum Protection

If you work in extreme environments, let your children play mobile games at the dinner table, or just have a bad case of butter fingers, you might be interested in a case that offers maximum safekeeping.

We are talking about serious protection here, these cases are designed to withstand almost anything you can throw at it, just know that these cases do add some considerable bulk and will make your phone feel much larger.

Otterbox Defender

best rugged case for lg g6
The Otterbox Defender features Triple-layer defense: inner shell, outer cover and touchscreen protection built in.

The Defender cases are the most rugged and most trusted phone cases, offering top protection against shock, drops, scuffs, throws, hammers, you name it. (Well, maybe not the last two). This family of cases from Otterbox is designed to protect your phone not only from keys and coins in your pocket, but also from damaging it in rough environment. The LG G6 Defender Series case is a good choice, if you are looking for a solid case that will withstand the test of time and don’t mind having your phone feel more brick-like.

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Spigen Rugged Armor

best protective case for lg g6
This case from Spigen features Mil-Grade certification with Air Cushion Technology for anti-shock protection.

If you are somewhere in the middle – looking for good protection without adding too much bulk to your phone – Spigen’s Rugged Armor cases are always a great option. This G6 case features a premium look with carbon fiber textures on the back, clear cutouts for your ports, camera and fingerprint scanner, including spider web shock absorption on the interior of the case along with Air Cushion Technology in all the corners.

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4. USB Car Charger

No matter how much battery life your phone has, its always a good idea to plug up whenever you can. Having an option to recharge your phone while on the go is important, and if you have a long commute, or use your phone for navigation, music, and more, while in the car, having a good car charger can make a world of difference.

Aukey CC-T8 Car Charger with Dual Quick Charge 3.0 Ports

best quick car charger for lg g6
This charger can handle 2 compatible devices simultaneously with Quick Charge 3.0

Because the LG G6 supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard, you will want to take advantage of USB car chargers that offer faster charging speeds, which is why our first choice is the Aukey CC-T8. It boasts two ports, each of which supports Quick Charge 3.0 speeds—and is backward compatible with 2.0, meaning there’s no “wrong” port to connect to.

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Tronsmart Dual USB Car Charger w/ Quick Charge 3.0 technology

best usb car chargers for lg g6
This car charger features a fixed cable and extra USB port.

Tronsmart’s car charger with a built-in USB-C cable is another great option for keeping your LG G6 juiced while on the road. It features a convenient, hard-wired USB-C cable so you’ll never need a second cable each time you drive. This charger also includes a handy USB Type-A port for charging another device at the same time via Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0.

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5. USB Charging Cable

With LG, HTC, Huawei, and even Samsung making the switch to USB-C, micro-USB Android smartphones are clearly out their way out. If you decide against a charger with a built in cable, you’re going to need at least one extra USB-C charging cable so you’re not always carrying around the one that came with the phone. Whether you’ll be using it solely in the car or leaving it at work, it’s never a bad idea to have a few extra charging cables lying around.

Belkin 3.1 USB-A to USB Type C Charge Cable

best usb type c cable for lg g6
The Belkin USB-A to USB-C Charge Cable lets you charge your USB-C device as well as sync your photos, music and data to your existing laptop.

Belkin has always made close to OEM cables and chargers and is well known for its quality. That being said this USB C to USB A 3.1 cable is no joke – it’s got a sturdy build to it, measures 3 feet in length, and can handle 3 amps of charge output with a 10Gbps data transfer rate.

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iOrange-E USB Type-C to Type-A Cable

best usb cable for lg g6
Premium Aluminum housing and sturdy nylon fiber jacket adds to the durability of this cable.

Here’s another good-looking, well-made cable. This iOrange-E Type-C to Type-A accessory comes with a braided cable made of nylon fiber and aluminum ports. It’s twice the length of the Belkin at 6 feet, so you also won’t have to struggle to use your phone while charging. The one downside here is that these cables will only supports charging at 2.4 amps and data transfers at 480 MB/s. That is still plenty fast, though.

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6. Micro-USB to USB-C adapter

If the LG G6 is your first Android phone that uses USB-C charging cables, chances are you’ve got quite the stash of Micro-USB cables lying around that are about to become obsolete.

Anker USB-C to Micro USB Adapter

best usb-c to micro usb adapter for LG G6
These adapters feature a fool-proof design with no installation required—simply plug and play.

If you want to continue using your old Micro-USB cables with the G6, you’ll want to pick up this two-pack of Anker adapters. These adapters are great because they are inexpensive and will get the job done, especially if you’ve got chargers or devices with integrated cables that can’t be swapped out easily.

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7. Wireless Charging Pad

The LG G6 supports wireless charging in the U.S. and Canada markets, and if you like the idea of keeping it conveniently charged without being tethered, and then you’ll need to pick up a wireless charger. When browsing for wireless charging pads, keep in mind that the LG G6 does not support fast wireless charging, so you needn’t worry about the speed of any wireless charger — they’ll all work just as quickly.

Anker PowerPort Qi 10 wireless charging pad

best wireless charging pad for lg g6
Simplify charging into just setting your phone down on a pad with this Anker wireless charger.

The Anker PowerPort Qi 10 wireless charging pad is your best bet. It’s simple to use with a premium design that features breathing LEDs to indicate your devices’ charging status. The non-slip pad keeps your phone secure and built in safety features prevent your device from overheating while protecting it from short circuits and electrical surges.

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Spigen Essential F300W wireless charging stand

best wireless charging stand for lg g6
The Spigen Essential F300W Wireless Charging dock features a stand design for comfort viewing.

This wireless charger from Spigen has more of a stand design that sits at an angle so you can easily glance over and see your screen, which is perfect for keeping at your desk. The Spigen Essential is fitted with three coils, so you can place your G6 vertically or horizontally and still have it receive a charge. This is great for giving your phone some juice while watching TV and movies.

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8. Chromecast

best accessories for lg g6
Use your LG G6 to stream content to your TV. While you’re streaming, you can also take calls or send messages without interrupting what’s playing.

With its portable size and ease of setup, the Google Chromecast is hands down one of the best accessories you can buy for any Android phone. This little dongle connects to your TV via an HDMI port and lets you “cast” all sorts of media from your phone over Wi-Fi. You can choose to mirror your phone display, or stream content from a growing number of Chromecast-enabled apps such as YouTube, Netflix, HBO Now, Chrome browser, and more.

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9. Bluetooth Speaker

Next to the USB Type-C port on the bottom of the G6, you’ll find a single speaker. While it seems loud for such a little speaker, like all bottom-mounted speakers, its sound quality is mediocre and you can accidently block it when using it in one-hand in landscape mode.

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get high quality sound playing around your home or on the go, then nothing beats the convenience of a Bluetooth speaker. Simply charge it up, pair it to your phone, and you’ll be able to play your entire audio collection wherever you choose.

Choosing a wireless speaker is always going to be a compromise between portability, sound and water resistance. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Bluetooth speakers floating around, and sorting out which ones are worth your money can be a time-consuming process. We’ve rounded up our top three picks to help you along the way.

JBL Flip 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

best portable speaker for lg g6
The Flip 3 can connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing surprisingly powerful, room-filling stereo sound.

JBL, part of HARMAN, makes some great looking and sounding Bluetooth speakers and this is one of their less-expensive models. The Flip 3 is a splash-proof speaker, meaning you can use it outdoors without worrying too much about sudden showers, dust and other hazards of the elements, and it offers up 360-degree sound. With the included 3000mAh battery, you can get around 10 hours of playback.

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Philips BT3500B/37 Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker

best bluetooth speaker for lg g6
Philips offers advanced audio performance with a slim design and anti-clipping for loud, distortion free music.

This Bluetooth speaker from Philips looks and sounds great but it does not have splash protection like the Flip 3, so be sure to keep it away from the water. The main feature here is that the speaker has NFC in addition to Bluetooth, making it super easy to pair a new smartphone or tablet by simply tapping it on the speaker. Of course, it does also have some pretty great battery life, around 8-10 hours per charge.

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Bose SoundLink Color II

best portable wireless bluetooth speaker for lg g6
This speaker features innovative Bose technology that packs bold sound into a small, water-resistant speaker.

The Bose SoundLink Color II offers good sound quality and tons of features in a compact, splash-proof body. This Bluetooth speaker has crisp sound, rich in lows / highs, and a decent bass, especially considering its small form factor. In addition, you get an IPX4 splash-proof rating, making this the company’s only speaker that can stand up to the outdoor elements.

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10. Bluetooth Headphones

The world we live in is going wireless, and this includes headphones. Whether you’re commuting, traveling, or simply listening to music around the house, wireless headphones are just way more convenient than their wired counterparts are.

Photive BTH3 Over-The-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

best wireless headphones for lg g6
Enjoy wireless freedom by streaming music directly from LG G6 and say goodbye to annoying, tangled cords.

Photive has maintained an excellent reputation by introducing a wide range of high quality headphones to the market and the BTH3’s are no exception. These headphones are comfortable and conveniently equipped with many different controls for playback and volume, including a dedicated power button.

You can answer calls in the middle of playback thanks to a built in Mic and you can get nearly 12 Hours of use between charges, depending on your usage. You even get a Hard Travel Case to keep your headphones looking new. While there may be better headphones out there, you will be hard pressed to find a better option for the same price.

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Cowin E-7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth

best over the ear bluetooth headphones for lg g6
Enjoy significant noise reduction for travel, work and anywhere in between with the Cowin E-7 wireless headphones.

The Cowin E-7’s offer up a lightweight, comfortable, around-ear fit you can wear all day long. Like the BTH3, the E-7 has an on-board Mic plus controls for volume and switching up playlists. These over the ear headphones hold an exceptional value for the price and include outstanding features.

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Jaybird X3 Bluetooth Earbuds

best wireless bluetooth earbuds for lg g6
The X3 Headphones by Jaybird are designed to be as small as possible without sacrificing performance and looks.

If you don’t like the bulkiness of over the ear headphones, or need something compact for workouts, you should consider these Jaybird X3 Bluetooth earbuds. They come with three different pairs of wing tips and six pairs of ear tips that made it easy to find the perfect fit. The X3s have a slim profile that also makes them easier to wear. Like the X2s before them, these have an 8-hour battery life and now come with a charging cradle for when they die.

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SoundPEATS QY8 Wireless Earbuds

what are the best bluetooth earbuds for the lg g6
You can attach the two headphones together for a convenient way to wear them when not in use.

Those looking for Bluetooth earbuds on the cheap should consider the Soundpeats QY8’s, which have been impressing people in terms of connection, fit, and sound. These headphones have found a special following, mainly among runners, but those same features are what make them a great all-around choice.

The one downside is in battery life. The Qy8s last about 5-6 hours on a charge, which isn’t horrible, but certainly isn’t great. If you want a decent pair of inexpensive headphones that you can take with you on your commute and then to the gym after work, these might be for you.

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Bose Soundsport Wireless

best lg g6 wireless headphones for running
Bose StayHear + tips provide nice comfort and stability, with a soft silicone material and a unique shape that sits gently in your ear.

For a pair of wireless running headphones, look no further than the Bose Soundsport. These wireless earbuds are comfortable, feature easily accessible playback controls, and won’t fall out of your ear when running thanks to the signature Bose StayHear+ tips.

These earbuds are constructed with a sweat and water resistant plastic. If you intend to use them for running you should use the included shirt clip just to be safe, but you probably won’t need it for everyday use.

The Soundsport is designed so that the wire lies flat against the back of your neck, keeping the weight of the control module from pulling them out of your ear. The control module also houses a mic and the playback controls, which let you do everything from answer a phone call to skip tracks.

Battery life on these Bose earbuds is petty average at only about 6 or 7 hours, which should easily last you the day under normal conditions. For the average runner, these earbuds will not let you down. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, Bose also offers a version with a built in heart rate monitor.

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Improve your Galaxy S8 battery life with these simple tips and tricks

No matter what kind of phablet you have, squeezing out every last drop of battery life is a constant struggle. The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is equipped with a 3,500 mAh battery, which is smaller than the 3,600 mAh battery in the Galaxy S7 Edge. The Galaxy S8 features a 3,000 mAh battery, which is the same capacity as the regular Galaxy S7.

Odds are that either Galaxy S8 device will get you through a busy day with some juice to spare, but you might be wondering what can be done if you’d like to get even more time between charges. Below, we’ve compiled a number of tricks and tips that will improve the battery life on Samsung’s latest flagship.

Some of these battery saving tips will be obvious to just about any Android user, while others require a little bit of digging. Of course, nobody is suggesting you use all of them, but you should test them all out and decide what works best depending on your situation.

With that said, let’s look at some of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus battery life!

Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+ Power Saving Tips and Tricks

  1. Use a dark color scheme for more on screen time
  2. Turn down the automatic brightness
  3. Ditch the Always On Display
  4. Put apps to sleep with the App power monitor
  5. Minimize battery drain while gaming with Game Launcher
  6. Turn off “Smart Stay”
  7. Set a quicker screen timeout for more power gains
  8. Set a lower screen resolution for everyday use
  9. Turn NFC off to save power
  10. Turn off the LED indicator
  11. Avoid butt-dials with Keep screen turned off
  12. Turn Off “Nearby device scanning”
  13. Switch to the GPS only location method
  14. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning
  15. Ditch the useless Gestures
  16. Enable Power saving mode
  17. Use a Power Bank
  18. Use a Battery Case

1. Use a dark color scheme for more on screen time

Samsung Galaxy S8 dark theme wallpaper save battery life
Dark color schemes require less graphics processing, and thus, battery power. Photo: Imgur.

Opting for a darker color scheme with your Samsung phone is a simple and efficient power saving trick. Due to the way Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays are designed, the color white requires the most out of the screen in terms of power draw, so going for a black or darker color theme will save you a decent amount of power.

You can change your theme by going to Settings -> Wallpapers and themes.

Bonus Tip: Try out these exceptional minimalist black AMOLED wallpapers that can extend your battery life!

2. Turn down the automatic brightness

The huge display found on the Samsung Galaxy S8 is among the most power-hungry components inside the device, so you should tweak the automatic brightness setting to keep it in check. Your phone will still adapt to your surroundings, but keeping a slightly lower max brightness will help you save some precious battery juice.

Save battery power by tweaking the Galaxy S8 display auto brightness
Save battery power by tweaking the Galaxy S8 display auto brightness.

Lower the max brightness by navigating to Settings > Display > Auto Brightness.

You can also adjust the brightness by pulling down the notification shade and adjust the slider. Moving the slider to the left will lower the brightness, moving the slider to the right will increase the brightness. If you hit the arrow to the right of the slider, a menu will drop down so you can toggle auto brightness on or off by click on the box to the right.

3. Ditch the Always On Display

Disable S8 Always on Display to save battery life.
Always on Display makes your battery bleed a slow death. Photo: Janitors (Flickr CC)

Glancing at your phone as it sits on your desk to check the time or notifications is nice, but it’s also makes your battery bleed a slow death. Moreover, when you’re looking for increased battery life, every little bit helps, which is why it makes more sense to simply light up your screen when you need to check something out.

With Always-On Display (AOD) turned off, your phone’s screen will remain off while it is locked. On the plus side, you’ll be more productive if there isn’t a constant distraction sitting in front of you.

Disable Samsung’s Always-On Display by opening Settings > Lock screen and security > Always On Display.

4. Put apps to sleep with the App power monitor

The app power monitor is a great feature present on your Galaxy S8/S8+ that helps you save power by putting apps running in the background to sleep if they’re not used for 3 days. Samsung also added the option to manually put apps to sleep.

When an app is “sleeping,” it won’t run in the background, and any push notifications to the app will be paused. The next time you open the app, it will wake up, with notifications and updates returning to normal.

Sleep apps by going to Settings -> Device maintenance -> Battery. You can also long-press on an app icon until a settings popup is shown. Select Sleep from the list, and then tap OK.

5. Minimize battery drain while gaming with Game Launcher

Use Samsung game launcher to save battery life when playing games
You can find Game Launcher in the Apps Drawer. Photo: Phablist

Game Launcher was first introduced with the Galaxy S7 duo. This nifty little app can help you save battery life by reducing the screen resolution and frame rate when playing mobile games.

Of course, tweaking your screen settings will result in a slightly degraded gaming experience, so it may not be for everyone. Nevertheless, if you are in a pinch and just have to get your Pokémon Go fix in, this may be a trick to keep in the bag.

You can find Game Launcher in the Apps Drawer. You can adjust power saving options by tapping on “Save power during game.”

Bonus Tip: Game Tuner is a Samsung app that isn’t installed with your S8 by default but you can download it free at Google Play. This application also lets you tweak the performance settings of mobile games that require tuning for different Android devices.

6. Turn off “Smart Stay”

Disable "Smart Stay" to save battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+
Disable “Smart Stay” to save battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+. Photo: Phablist

Smart Stay is an interesting feature that uses the Galaxy S8 selfie cam to figure out if you’re looking at the phone’s display. Your screen won’t go to sleep as long as you’re looking at it, which can be very useful if you like to read e-books or just stare at your phone.

While this feature is undoubtedly handy, your selfie camera and the Smart Stay app both consume battery and processing power. Therefore, if you want to maximize your daytime phone usage, it might be a good idea to turn Smart Stay off.

Disable this battery killer by navigating to Settings -> Advanced Features -> Smart Stay.

7. Set a quicker screen timeout for more power gains

Save Galaxy S8 battery power by setting a quicker screen timeout
The Galaxy S8 has a default screen timeout of 15 seconds, giving you the most battery saving potential. Photo: Phablist.

All of us probably used to turning the phone screen off when we are done using it, which is why it makes no sense to set a long timeout period for your display. Setting your timeout to 30 seconds or a minute should be plenty in case you forget.

The Galaxy S8 has a default screen timeout of 15 seconds, giving you the most battery saving potential. We recommend you leave it there or, if you must, bump it up to 30 seconds. Any longer than that and you’ll be wasting your battery.

Customize this feature by going to Settings -> Display -> Screen timeout.

Setting the timeout to a minute or less should be more than enough for most people’s needs, while ensuring that the display won’t stay turned on for too long while not in use.

8. Set a lower screen resolution for everyday use

Save battery life on the Galaxy S8 by setting a lower screen resolution.
Lower resolution translates to lower power consumption and vice versa. Photo: Phablist

We already discussed how adjusting your screen resolution could save battery power when gaming, but what about adjusting the resolution for everyday tasks? Well, there are three other display resolution options available on Galaxy S8 duo – HD+ (1480 x 720) FHD+ (2220 x 1080), WQHD+ (2960 x 1440).

You can switch between these options by going to Settings -> Display -> Screen resolution.

Here, things are simple – lower resolution translates to lower power consumption and vice versa. Do you really need super high-res WQHD+ resolution for sending Facebook messages? Probably not, but you will definitely need it when watching Netflix and YouTube. The trick here is balance.

Out of the box, the Galaxy S8’s screen resolution is set to full high-definition but you can probably get away with leaving the display set to FHD for everyday use. Then you can step it up to high-performance mode when you’re playing games or binge-watching your favorite TV show.

You can switch back to a more efficient mode at any time by using the same method to turn off high-performance mode. Using HD+ mode will certainly help if you find yourself in a pinch when you need to get the most out of your battery.

Bonus Tip: There is a dedicated tile to boost the Galaxy S8 performance in the quick settings menu.

9. Turn off NFC to save power

Disable NFC to save battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S8
Get more battery life by turning off NFC. Photo: Phablist

Unless you are going on a shopping spree or transferring data through NFC, there’s really no reason to keep it on all of the time. The overall drain on your battery from this radio is negligible, but it’s important to remember that all of these little tweaks result in big savings overall.

Use the dedicated toggle for NFC in your notification shade/pull down menu. You can also turn it off by heading over to Settings -> Connections.

10. Turn off the LED indicator

Disable Galaxy S8 notification blinking led
You can disable the notification LED to be more productive. Photo: Janitors (Flickr CC)

The LED indicator is that little light that blinks when you have unread notifications, turning it off will give your battery a tiny boost. More importantly, however, you will be eliminating a huge distraction from your day by not grabbing your phone every time an app sends you a notification.

Kill this nuisance by heading over to Settings -> Display -> LED indicator. You might even get more sleep at night.

11. Avoid butt-dials with Keep screen turned off

Use keep screen off to stop butt dials on the galaxy s8
Keep screen turned off is a neat feature that lets your Samsung device recognize when it’s inside a pocket or bag. Photo: Phablist

This setting should be enabled by default on your Galaxy S8 / S8+, but you might want to double check just to be sure. Keep screen turned off is a neat feature that lets your Samsung device recognize when it’s inside a pocket or bag, and shouldn’t be turning on if a button is accidentally pressed.

While this feature will consume processing power, it will save you from butt-dialing people and have a net positive effect on battery savings. You can check if it’s turned on by navigating to Settings- > Display -> Keep screen turned off.

12. Turn Off “Nearby device scanning”

There is a feature in the Galaxy S8 / S8+ called “Nearby device scanning” that makes it easier for your phone to find Bluetooth devices by constantly scanning for them, even if you have Bluetooth turned off. The feature uses Bluetooth Low Energy to make the connection process easier when you actually want to hook up to something, but unfortunately, it has a negative on the phone’s battery life.

Needless to say, unless you are having problems connecting to Bluetooth accessories, you can live your life to the fullest without using this feature, so make sure to turn it off by going to Settings -> Connections -> More connection settings.

13. Switch to the GPS only location method

switch to gps only location mode on galaxy s8
Save your battery and privacy with low accuracy location settings. Photo: Phablist

It seems like just about every app these days want access to your location, which is not only harmful to your battery but also incredibly creepy. Knowing your precise location is obviously a great thing to have in certain situations but remember that your handset uses a lot of processing power to pinpoint where you are.

Luckily for you, there is a way of saving some battery juice with location turned on by switching to a GPS only mode. You phone will use less power this way because it won’t utilize your WiFi and Mobile Network hardware to get the job done.

You can switch to a GPS only mode by going to Settings -> Connections -> Location -> Locating method and switching to Phone only.

14. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning

While we are on the topic of the Location tab, make sure to tap on Improve accuracy and shut down Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning. These options are designed to improve the accuracy of your phone’s location services, but as mentioned above, your precise whereabouts are usually not that essential for most apps.

15. Ditch the useless Gestures

Even though Samsung has eliminated the number of “gestures” over the last few years, you can still find plenty of them on the Galaxy S8 duo. What you choose to go with here is completely personal preference, but pick them wisely because each one is a leech on your battery.

Customize your phone gestures in Settings -> Advanced Features. Options here include: Smart capture, Palm swipe to capture, Direct call, Smart alert, Easy mute, Swipe to call or send messages, and Direct share.

16. Enable Power saving mode

galaxy s8 battery power saving mode tips and tricks
The power-saving setting gives you the option to choose predefined settings, or you can manually pick how aggressive you want the power saving to be by tweaking the brightness, screen resolution, CPU speed and network usage. Photo: Phablist

If you’ve been web browsing all day and watching YouTube videos, chances are your battery will be running low by the late afternoon. This is where Power saving mode comes in.

Power saving mode halts some processes that may eat away at your battery. Your apps will stop fetching new data in the background, location services will be turned off, and even vibrations will be kept to a minimum.

There are a few caveats here. When power saving mode is enabled on the Galaxy S8, for example, emails or notifications won’t come through unless you are using the associated app. Texts and calls, however, will remain unaffected.

Access the power saving mode by navigating to Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery, or find it in the quick settings (drag down from the top of the screen with two fingers to see all options). You can choose to manually enable it, or have it activate when you batter percentage reaches a predefined level.

The power-saving setting gives you the option to choose predefined settings, or you can manually pick how aggressive you want the power saving to be by tweaking the brightness, screen resolution, CPU speed and network usage. You potential battery savings are displayed underneath each option.

If the normal power saving mode isn’t strong enough, MAX POWER SAVING MODE is your last resort. This power saving mode will squeeze the maximum life out of your device by switching the display to low resolution black-and-white, and all applications are disabled except for Phone, Messages and Internet.

17. Use a Power Bank

samsung galaxy s8 power bank
Going with a power bank ensures you always have some extra juice on hand. Photo: RAVPower.

When the aforementioned software tweaks aren’t enough, one of the easiest ways to extend your Galaxy S8 battery life is to simply recharge on the go whenever you can. You should consider picking up a power bank or portable charger in the size, shape and capacity that best suits you.

improve battery life with a wireless charger
Wireless chargers are a super-convenient way to charge your phone.

Keeping a wireless charger at your desk, in the kitchen, or by the bed is the most convenient way to keep your phone topped off throughout the day. We recommend one of Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Chargers, as these will allow you to recharge much faster than with a traditional power bank.

Bonus Tip: You might like these battery banks and wireless chargers

18. Use a Battery Case

samsung galaxy s8 battery cases
Cases with built-in batteries stay connected to your phone – and they recharge at the same time as your phone. Photo: Caka

Another great accessory to consider is a protective phone case with a battery pack built-in, which allows you to increase your battery capacity with ease. Cases with built-in batteries stay connected to your phone – and they recharge at the same time as your phone – just keep in mind that these cases add to the size and weight of the phone, along with an added measure of protection.

Bonus Tip: Check out these battery pack cases for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus!

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8 Fast Facts about the Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 duo was officially revealed last week to glowing first impressions, and it’s easy to see why. It has a gorgeous infinity display, impressive internals, and a tried-and-true camera.

Samsung is redefining the limitations of a smartphone and this is evident in the Galaxy S8. This year, the focus is on the big display and the large screen real estate of the S8 will blow you away.

Here are 8 facts about the Galaxy S8 you might not know about:

1. The Samsung Galaxy S8 uses two different camera sensors

Samsung has been known to make some of the best smartphone cameras in terms of performance and image quality. One of the reasons why they’ve gained that reputation is the innovation that goes into designing the Galaxy S series.

As it turns out, Samsung is using two different sensors for the rear and front camera in the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Units have been spotted using a Sony IMX333 sensor and a S5K2L2 ISOCELL sensor made by Samsung subsidiary, System LSI, on the rear.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 uses two different camera sensors
It won’t matter whether you get a Sony or Samsung-made main camera. Photo: Phablist.

Around front, the new 8MP autofocus selfie camera is sporting either a Sony IMX320 unit or an ISOCELL S5K3H1. The different cameras share the same specs all around, so the pictures from either camera should ultimately be the same.

It won’t matter whether you get a Sony or Samsung-made main camera, you will still have a 1/2.55″ 12.2MP sensor with dual pixel autofocus. The optics will remain the same as well – f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. There’s no need to worry about which one you have.

2. The Exynos 8895 model beat the iPhone 7 Plus in 2 out of 3 benchmarks

With the Galaxy S8 launch official, we are starting to see some of the first performance benchmarks roll in, giving us a true glimpse of how the new flagship will stand up against its competition.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Exynos 8895 model beat the iPhone 7 Plus in 2 out of 3 benchmarks
Samsung Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) performance benchmarks. Photo: Phablist (Click to enlarge)

The Galaxy S8 with Exynos 8895 narrowly beat the iPhone 7 Plus in the AnTuTu 6 benchmark, which is still one of the best all-round performers. Samsung barely squeezed by with a score of 174155 over Apple’s 173110 (higher is better in this case).

Samsung also beat the iPhone 7 Plus in Geekbench 4 multi-core benchmark, with a score of 6339 over 5664 (higher is better in this case). The Galaxy S8 beat out the Kirin 960 chip found inside the Huawei P10 Plus as well, which scored 5821 (also beating the iPhone 7 Plus).

The Exynos and Kirin are quite similar as both are based on the Mali-G71 GPU, but the Samsung model uses customized A73 cores, whereas the Huawei version is not modified.

Where the Galaxy S8 fell short was Single-core performance, scoring a 1974 in the Geekbench 4 benchmark. Although an improvement over the Galaxy S7 edge (1696), the margin is much smaller and Apple’s cores take the crown here with a score of 3473. Samsung did manage to squeeze out a win over the Huawei P10 Plus, however, which scored 1937 points.

Note that these scores are from an Exynos 8895 unit, there’s also a Snapdragon 835 version not included in these scores. The numbers should be similar across the board, as Samsung claims that both chipsets are basically identical in performance.

3. The Galaxy S8 has facial recognition security – but it’s flawed

Not only does Samsung’s latest flagship have a fingerprint an iris scanner for security, it can also use the front facing camera to recognize your face. Simply pick up the phone, wait a split second, and it unlocks.

Samsung touted the handset’s security features during the Galaxy S8 launch event, but a recent video has surfaced online that shows how easily the facial recognition system can be fooled. All you have to do is place a photo of the owner in front of the S8 and it will unlock.

It may take a couple tries to get it right, but the video suggests that the Galaxy S8 facial recognition system has some serious security flaws. It appears that the camera can’t easily distinguish between an actual person holding the handset and a photo of that person, which makes it easy for a hacker to gain access to your private data.

Thankfully, there’s more than one way to secure a Galaxy S8. So until the facial recognition feature is improved, its best to use the fingerprint sensor or iris scanner to keep things locked up.

4. Samsung Galaxy S8 lets you disable app drawer

In an effort to clean up TouchWiz, Samsung has made many changes in the last couple of years with its Galaxy S lineup. The latest change being the ability to hide the app drawer in the Galaxy S8 – keeping all of your apps on the home screen.

Samsung Galaxy S8 lets you disable app drawer
The ability to hide the app drawer was first available in the Galaxy S7 as an experimental setting. Photo: YT.

Users now have the choice to show or hide the apps button through the settings menu. This feature was also available in the Galaxy S7 but it was buried deep underneath the Samsung Labs app as an experimental setting.

5. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ won’t face any supply issues

Samsung’s latest flagship is one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2017. It is the first major release from the Korean company since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, and Samsung has high expectations for its performance in the market.

Samsung is very confident that the Galaxy S8 will shatter the sales record of the Galaxy S7 for the first year, which is why the company has announced they will produce around 20,000,000 units for the initial production run.

Samsung’s head of mobile, DJ Koh, promised that the Galaxy S8 series would not see any supply issues whatsoever. The company is ready to sell double what it did when the S7s were launched last year. “Since we are preparing the supply without difficulty, there will be no issue of supply delay”, Koh said in a statement to The Korea Herald.

6. You use the power key and the volume down to take a screenshot on the Galaxy S8

One of the biggest changes with the Samsung Galaxy S8 lineup was removal of the Samsung signature physical home button. What once served as a multi-function trigger with real feeling is now replaced with an on-screen icon with haptic feedback via a smart vibration engine.

With the physical home button gone, many Galaxy S8 owners may discovering that taking a screenshot the usual way – holding the home and power button together – doesn’t work anymore. The key combination to take a screenshot has changed on the Galaxy S8 duo.

How to take a screenshot on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
The key combination to take a screenshot has changed on the Galaxy S8.

You now take a screenshot on the Samsung Galaxy by simultaneously pressing the power key and the volume down button. Hold them together for a second and you will see the screen flash and a preview of the screen grab appears. From here, you have some additional options:

  • Scrolling Screenshot: Tap to scroll and automatically stitch the tow images into one tall screen grab. This is very useful for saving a webpage and other content that normally doesn’t fit on a single screen.
  • Crop Screenshot: Tap and you will see a preview with the on-screen buttons and taskbar automatically cropped. This feature is best for removing any unnecessary information from your screenshot.
  • Draw on Screenshot: Tap to draw on top of a screenshot and annotate it. Use this feature when you need to circle or underline something, or even write your own notes.

7. The Galaxy S8 can stream music to two Bluetooth devices at the same time

Perhaps one of the most under-reported features of the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the existence of Bluetooth dual audio. This Sonos style software enables users to stream Bluetooth audio to two different speakers or headsets simultaneously, allowing you to control the volume of both audio sources separately.

The new feature comes to the S8 family alongside Bluetooth 5.0, which is said to have four times the distance and twice the speed of Bluetooth 4.0. It’s also supposed to be more energy efficient, and have a wider throughput capacity – this should help with decreasing those annoying audio cutouts.

8. The Galaxy S8 is surprisingly strong, but you will still want a case

You’ll want to save up another $20 for a Galaxy S8 case after watching YouTuber TechRax, who recently posted one of the internet’s first Galaxy S8 drop test videos.

The latest Samsung flagship was dropped twice onto a concrete floor from a height of approximately five feet. On the first drop, the Galaxy S8 bounced off one of its corners and onto its back. Despite some scratches and dings, the unit held up well.

Drop two is what did the new infinity display in, as the Galaxy s8 was dropped directly on its screen. It managed to turn in midair, landing mostly on its side, but the screen shattered on impact. Surprisingly though, the phone was still operational.

In another TechRax video, the Galaxy S8 is put through a torture test with a harsh assault from both a large knife and a hammer. The rear glass panel gave way to the knife after some very firm stabs and the front display managed to survive many firm hammer strikes before finally caving in. Despite the abuse, the display and touchscreen functioned perfectly fine despite a huge hammer hole right in the center.

There is very little chance that your phone is going to be going up this kind of abuse in a real world situation, unless you encounter a knife attack. As we’ve seen in the past, a Samsung Galaxy phablet can double as body armor in the right situation. Despite the resilience of the galaxy S8, however, odds are you will still want to buy a case.

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ASUS Zenfone 3 Ultra: 10 incredibly useful tips and tricks

Featuring a 6.8-inch Full HD display, the Zenfone 3 Ultra is without question one of the biggest smartphones you can buy right now. Pushing the limits of what can be considered a phablet, the Zenfone 3 is a great choice for those who use their smartphone as their primary computing device.

In this article, we will show you some awesome Zenfone 3 features that will help you get the most out of your extra large smartphone. Best part is that not any of these tips require any additional apps or other downloads, everything is available right out of the box. So let’s get started.

ASUS Zenfone 3 Tips and Tricks

  1. Add your favorite apps to the lock screen
  2. Add a sticky note to the home screen
  3. Customize the Quick Settings Panel for faster device tweaks
  4. Record your phone calls to an audio file
  5. Charge the battery of another mobile device with your Zenfone
  6. Tips for maximizing battery life
  7. Always capture the perfect shot with your camera
  8. Get professional-style photography touch-ups on the fly
  9. Turn your pictures into a creative slideshow
  10. Use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot

1. Add your favorite apps to the lock screen

Asus Zenfone 3 lock screen shortcuts make your favorite apps accessible directly from the Lock Screen.
Lock screen shortcuts make you favorite apps accessible directly from the Lock Screen. Photo: Phablist.

Lock screen shortcuts, as the name implies, allow you to launch a favorite app directly from the Lock Screen. The Zenfone 3 lock screen includes quick access buttons for the camera, phone, and web browser by default, but these shortcuts can be changed to launch other apps on the lock screen by using the following steps:

  1. Launch the quick settings panel by swiping down twice from the top of the display and then tap the gear icon to launch the device settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Lock screen, then select Quick access.
  3. From the Customized quick access field, slide the bar to ON.
  4. Select the app that you want to replace and choose a new app from the list.

Bonus Tip: You can hold and drag the quick access buttons to rearrange their order.

2. Add a sticky note to the home screen

You can add sticky notes to your screen so you see them no matter which app you're working in.
You can add sticky notes to your screen so you see them no matter which app you’re working in. Photo: ASUS.

There are a massive amount of reminder apps available for Android that can be used to manage your “to do” list but some people need something like a “Post-It” note that will stick out and be in front of their face at all times. You can add sticky notes to your screen so you can look at them regardless of which app you are currently working in. To create a sticky note on the Zenfone 3:

  1. Launch the app drawer and choose Quick Memo.
  2. Tap on the squiggled line to write with your finger or stylus. Tap the keyboard icon to type your note.
  3. Tap the pushpin icon to stick the note to the Home screen.

3. Customize the Quick Settings Panel for faster device tweaks

The Quick settings panel gives you single touch access to some of the wireless features and settings on the Zenfone 3. Swipe down from the top of the display to launch the quick settings panel.

How to customize quick settings on ASUS Zenfone 3
Swipe down from the top of the display to launch the quick settings panel. Photo: Phablist.

Each quick setting feature is represented by a button and can be enabled or disabled by tapping on the buttons. A blue button indicates that the feature is currently enabled while a gray button indicates that a feature is disabled. Green buttons are the individual utilities that you can easily access via the Quick Settings panel.

Some of the buttons available on the quick settings panel include Wi-Fi, auto-rotate, Sound, do not disturb, one handed operation, location, airplane mode, mobile data, bright filter, hotspot, Bluetooth, and auto-sync. Below the clock, you will find a slider for changing the screen brightness, as well as buttons to open the display and phone settings. You can also swipe up on the clock area to view the notifications panel.

You can add or remove buttons from the Quick settings panel by tapping on the edit button (paper and pencil). Next, tap the box beside the feature you wish to add or remove from the panel. A checked box means that the button will appear in the Quick Settings panel. Tap the left pointing arrow to go back.

4. Record your phone calls to an audio file

Have you ever wanted to record a phone call? Maybe you have a bad experience with a company over the phone and you want proof of the incident. Alternatively, maybe you received training or some other help that you want to reference again later.

The ASUS Zenfone 3 has a built in feature that allows you to easily record a phone conversation for future reference. It’s important to note that you should always obtain permission from the other party before recording a call.

To record a phone conversation on the Zenfone 3, call a contact or dial a number and then tap the “REC” button. Recording will be indicated by the button and you can stop the recording at any time by pressing the record button again.

How to record mobile smartphone phone call on Asus Zenfone 3
The ASUS Zenfone 3 has a built in feature that allows you to easily record a phone conversation. Photo: Phablist.

When you are done recording, you can access the file by swiping down from the top of the screen, and then tapping the Call recording saved notification. Remember to always ask permission from the other parties involved before recording a call.

5. Charge the battery of another mobile device with your Zenfone

A Majority of us are familiar with the use of cell phone power bank to handle emergency power needs for our smartphones. The ASUS Zenfone 3 has a huge 4600 mAh battery that can be used as an external power supply for other mobile devices equipped with a USB charging port.

The reverse charging mode only requires a “on the go” USB cable that will need to be bought separately. This cable is fitted with a USB standard port on one end and the normal android compatible pin on the other end. You can find very affordable OTG cable options on Amazon.

How to charge other mobile devices with the Zenfone 3
Connect one end of the USB cable to the device that you want to charge and the other to the OTG cable. Photo: ASUS.

To charge other mobile devices with the Zenfone 3:

  1. Connect one end of the USB cable to the device that you want to charge and the other to the OTG cable.
  2. Connect the other end of the OTG cable to the Zenfone 3. It is important that you make sure the OTG cable is securely connected to the Zenfone 3 to ensure proper charging.
  3. Choose either of the following charging modes:
  • OTG mode: Charges the attached device with a standard current, up to 0.5A.
  • Reverse charging mode: Powers off the Zenfone 3 to provide rapid reverse charging that is capable of outputting a high charging current up to 1.5A. The maximum output current is dependent on the device being charged. In this mode, the Zenfone 3 will monitor the charge levels. When battery power on the Zenfone 3 falls below 20%, the phone will automatically turn on and charge in OTG mode. Reverse charging mode will only support devices with CDP (Charging Downstream Port) mode.

6. Tips for maximizing battery life

Without a battery charger or a spare battery with you everywhere you go, you’ll have to make due with minimizing the consumption of battery juice. Here are some ways you can conserve battery power on the Zenfone 3 for longer life between charges:

  • Close all running apps that are not in use. Launch the recent applications menu by tapping the recent apps physical button. Tap and hold on the application you want to close and swipe it to the right. This should kill the process and free up some RAM.
  • Keep the speaker volume at a low level. When Smart Mode is enabled, Zen UI chooses the best audio quality for the currently running app.
  • Decrease the brightness of the display from the quick settings by swiping down from the top of the screen and using the slider to adjust the screens brightness.
  • Disable wireless radios that are not in use such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth via the quick settings panel.
  • Turn off the display auto rotate function, also accessible through the quick settings panel.
  • Disable all auto-sync features on your device. Changing this setting will not only conserve battery power but also mobile data when you are not near Wi-Fi. The only disadvantage is that you will have to remember to manually sync to see your data across other devices.

7. Always capture the perfect shot with your camera

How to take better smartphone photos with the Asus Zenfone 3.
The ASUS Zenfone 3 was built with photographers in mind. Photo: Asus.

Instead of relying on taking the perfect snapshot, it’s better to take multiple photos of your subject. If the only photo of your romantic kiss in front of Niagara Falls is out of focus, you will probably regret it later.

Using the Time Rewind feature on the Zenfone 3’s camera will set the shutter to take burst shots two seconds before pressing the capture button. This will produce a timeline of images from where you can choose the best image to save on your gallery.

To use Time Rewind, simply tap the advanced settings icon (located next to the video record button) and tap the associated button to enable it. Next, tap the camera icon to start capturing photos and adjust the time interval and direction that you want the photos to be played back. Tap the check mark icon when done.

After pressing the shutter, the Time Rewind view is displayed on top of a captured photo. You can rotate the button on the viewer to browse through the photos you just took and select the best. Tapping the Best icon will have the Zenfone 3 suggest the best photo from the timeline for you.

Bonus Tip: Time Rewind can only be used with the rear camera.

8. Get professional-style photography touch-ups on the fly

When taking pictures with the Zenfone 3, you can use the Beautification feature to make live enhancements on your subject’s face prior to taking a shot. To enable this feature in the camera app, first tap the advanced settings icon and choose Beautification.

Next, tap the camera icon to capture your photo. Tap the thumbnail to preview the photo and display the beautification settings. Tap the beauty camera icon, select your preferred Beautification setting, and then tap the checkmark to save the photo.

9. Turn your pictures into a creative slideshow

You can use the MiniMovie feature from the Zenfone 3 photo gallery to easily create slideshow presentations of your favorite pictures and share them on social media. It’s an easy way to create and share slideshows of, for instance, that amazing trip you took over the weekend to your family’s lake house.

Create a MiniMovie from a photo folder by following these steps:

  1. Launch the Gallery app, and then tap the menu icon to select the location of our photo folder.
  2. Select the photo folder and then tap the menu icon and select Auto MiniMovie.
  3. Choose a theme to apply to your photo slide show by tapping the template to see its preview.
  4. After deciding on the appropriate theme template, tap the disc icon to save the slideshow. You can access your saved slideshows from the File Manager by navigating to Movies > MiniMovie.
  5. Slideshows can be shared on social networking sites or instant messaging apps.

10. Use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot

It can be pretty frustrating when working on the go, from a hotel room or airport for example, only to find there’s no Wi-Fi internet access. Even when at home, what happens if your home network ISP goes down, leaving you without access to the web?

Lo and behold, you can share the mobile internet connection on the Zenfone 3 with other devices when Wi-Fi service is not available by enabling the portable Wi-Fi hotspot feature.

How to share Asus Zenfone 3 mobile internet connection with phone or laptop using wifi hot spot
With mobile hot spot, you can share the mobile internet connection on the Zenfone 3 with other devices when Wi-Fi service is not available. Photo: Phablist.
  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your Home screen, and then tap System settings.
  2. Tap More > Tethering > Portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
  3. Turn the associated slider to ON.

Bonus Tip: Your mobile internet connection can also be shared with a laptop or tablet over Bluetooth. Pair your phone with a second device and then from the settings screen, tap More > Tethering, then slide Bluetooth tethering to ON.

Note:Some mobile carriers may require you add this feature to your data plan before using the hotspot function. You connection speed may also be throttled by your mobile carrier depending on data usage.

How to turn your phablet into a wireless external hard drive.

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10 things to consider before buying a new phablet

Finding the perfect phablet to meet all of your needs is never an easy feat, especially in a market where it seems like something bigger and better is always right around the corner. In this guide, we will dissect ten of the most important features you should consider before buying your next big-screen smartphone.

1. Display Size

what to look for when buying the best phablets 2017
What’s the ideal phablet screen size? Ask ten different people and you might get ten different answers. Photo: Lenovo Phab 2.

It’s a no brainer that when it comes to picking a new phablet, display size and resolution are priority #1. Big screen smartphones are best suited for people who regularly read books, watch movies, and browse the web on the go.

What’s the ideal phablet screen size? Ask ten different people and you might get ten different answers but generally you want to strive for the most screen size possible without suffering resolution or portability.

Unlike with conventional smartphones, one handed operation generally isn’t a factor when considering screen size because even the smallest phablets are difficult to operate one handed without accessibility software built in.

Best phablets with the largest display

2. Screen Resolution and Quality

which phablet smartphone to buy biggest screen
Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Photo: Sony.

Just because a display is big doesn’t mean it’s beautiful. Screen resolution and pixel density are specs that can be very misleading. Resolutions above full HD are fast becoming the mainstream thanks to recent advancements in VR technology and 4K content on the horizon.

Talking about the number of pixels becomes meaningless unless you know the size of the screen, which is why it’s more relevant to talk about PPI, the measure how densely packed the pixels are. A lower ppi means there is a higher chance you will be able to see the individual pixels on the screen, a higher value means you will see a smooth, natural looking image.

Pixel density is all about viewing distance.

Most people sit about 30″ away from desktop monitors, while smartphones are generally held around 10″ from ones face. “Retina Display” is a marketing term coined by Apple that refers to a screen with a pixel density so high – roughly 300 PPI – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance.

Pixel density basically comes down to screen resolution vs. display size. To help put things into perspective, a 7-inch display with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 has a PPI of 314. Compare that to a 6-inch display with the same resolution and you get 367, which will be noticeably sharper and more pleasing to the eye.

Pro Tip: You can calculate pixel density with the following equation: PPI = sqrt(w^2 + h^2) / d. If you’re not a fan of math, there are plenty of PPI calculators available online.

Since phablets are naturally large devices, it’s a good rule of thumb to never settle for anything less than a 1080p full HD display, but know that 2K screens are noticeably better. Full HD will save you some processing power, which in turn will save battery life, just keep in mind some phones have power saving capabilities that automatically adjust the screen resolution to squeeze extra juice out of your battery.

When choosing your new phablet, trust your eyes over anything you see on paper. If you are interested in using your new phablet for VR, you will most likely be looking at getting a 4K (2160p) display. With a screen only inches from your face, any additional pixels make a dramatic difference to the quality of the image and the immersive effect.

Phablets with the best screen resolution and quality

3. Audio Quality

How to choose a phablet smartphone with stereo sound
Nothing kills multimedia on your phablet faster than a cruddy, misplaced sound system. Photo: LG.

More often than not smartphones don’t have forward facing speakers, let alone true stereo sound. Nothing kills multimedia on your phablet faster than a cruddy, misplaced sound system. Big beautiful displays need to be accompanied by great sounding speakers.

Front facing stereo speakers put you right in the middle of the action when watching videos or playing games. As you might guess, this setup also offers the best sound experience when listening to music directly from the device.

Best phablets with front facing stereo sound

4. Camera – Can it replace your point and shoot?

How to choose a phablet smartphone for mobile photography
The Nokia Lumia 1520 features a 20MP BSI CMOS sensor that measures 1/2.5-inches.

No matter how compact a point-and-shoot camera might be, many people don’t want to carry around multiple devices everywhere they go. Unless you normally carry around some kind of bag or purse, finding a place to comfortably pocket a camera in addition to your smartphone can somewhat of a challenge.

While no one can argue with the fact that DSLRs are the best choice for serious photography, as the old adage goes: “the best camera is the one you have with you”, making convenience the primary reason why smartphones are starting to push the dedicated point-and-shoot out the door. Here are some things to look out for when choosing a good smartphone camera:

  • Don’t be fooled by megapixels – more megapixels does not mean a better image. Megapixels are a measurement of the size of the image captured, so the more megapixels there are, the larger the image is. However, bigger is not always better. You can have a 20-megapixel camera, but that does not mean the sensor can capture clear, sharp images at that size. This is where lens quality comes into play.
  • Know that smaller apertures are better – Lens aperture refers to the size of the opening that allows light to hit the camera sensor. What gets confusing here is that the lower the aperture, the more light is allowed into the lens. This is an important factor because more light means sharper images and better performance in low light situations. A camera with a lower aperture and less megapixels could easily outperform a 20-megapixel camera with a higher aperture.
  • Optical Image stabilization – OIS can be implemented in a number of different ways, but the goal is the same – reduce the effect that motion has on the sensor’s ability to capture an image. This is important when you’re taking video, moving around while snapping photographs, and when you are taking pictures in low light situations. This is a great feature to watch out for when choosing a camera but don’t let it be a deal breaker.
  • Camera Modes and Controls – Knowing how your camera’s different modes work will help you have more control over the final look of your shots. Just about all smartphones come equipped with presets for easy shooting in various conditions, but serious photographers will want a camera that allows you to change ISO, aperture, and shutter speed independently. Some important camera app features to look out for when choosing a good smartphone for photography include grid lines (for aiding in composition), silent mode (to disable the shutter sound), timer, panorama, HDR (High dynamic range), focus and exposure lock (for quick composition changes without the need to readjust).
  • Flash type and placement – Generally speaking, the camera flash on smartphones are usually too harsh and rarely helpful. A powerful LED flash on the back of your phone is best suited for low light video and finding your way around in the dark. Some phones feature a “selfie flash” that use your display as a light source by cranking up a bright white screen to produce much softer highlights, similar to what you could get with a light box.

Lastly, be patient and wait until the reviews come out to get an idea of what the camera is capable of and how easy it is to use. Review authors usually upload photo samples taken with the camera, just be mindful that many reviewers reduce the quality of the photos when uploading to the internet.

Remember this when viewing sample images and try to find answers to the important questions, like how well the camera performs in low light, and how much editing, if any, is required to make them look better.

Best phablets for mobile photography

5. Internal Storage Capacity

Best phablets with maximum storage capacity
It’s best to choose a phablet with expandable memory. Photo: Phablist.

How much multimedia can you store locally? High quality cameras require a lot of space. Expandable memory is key because you can easily store multiple files on different cards. Apps can also take up a lot of space, especially if you enjoy gaming and downloading television and movie apps. It’s a good idea to get a phone with as much memory as you can afford.

Best phablets with maximum storage capacity

6. Hardware under the Hood – How much power do you need?

How to choose a phablet smartphone
If you enjoy gaming, it makes sense to buy the best hardware you can afford in order to make your device as future proof as possible. Photo: ifixit.

All of that photography and media consumption you will be enjoying with your fancy camera and big screen requires a lot of processing power. If you enjoy gaming, it makes sense to buy the best hardware you can afford in order to make your device as future proof as possible.

Phablets with the most processing power

7. Battery Life – What good is everything previously mentioned if your battery is dead?

You battery is like the sun in the universe of hardware that lies underneath your screen, bringing energy to all of the components necessary to bring your phablet to life. The important unit of measure here is mAh (milliamp-hours), which tells you how much power the battery can supply over time.

Obviously more is better but how much you actually need depends on a few factors discussed previously – like screen resolution, camera and sound quality, processing power, etc. To save yourself the confusion, just know that the best way to measure your battery life is by how long you can make calls, watch movies, or browse the web with it.

When choosing a phablet, you can judge a battery by paying special attention to the talk, web, video, and standby time specifications. These are usually expressed in hours and are based on tests provided by the manufacturer. Be skeptical of marketing ploys and always compare the manufacturer’s numbers to a third party battery test, if available. GSM Arena is a good place that frequently publishes battery performance benchmarks.

Another factor to consider is how fast the battery can be charged. Not every phone has the same battery capacity or charging technology, so it’s obvious that some phones will juice up faster than others will.

Some manufacturers have different technology they use for quick chargers, which use voltage regulators to allow batteries to charge up much faster. One of the most common technologies out there is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, which can be found in devices like the Note 4, the Nexus 6, and the HTC One (M8).

Phablets with the most battery life

8. Build Quality

How to choose a new phablet smartphone best build quality
The days of plastic phablets will soon be a faded memory as more smartphones are sheathed in metal and glass. Photo: Flickr.

There is no question that smartphone hardware has come a long way, especially in the last decade, but it’s only been a few years that we’ve seen drastic changes in cell phone build quality. The days of plastic phablets will soon be a faded memory as more smartphones are being increasingly sheathed in metal and glass.

When picking your new phablet, consider how good the device feels in your hands and keep in mind how a protective case would affect the size and accessibility of its controls.

Phablets with the best build quality

9. Availability and Compatibility

How to choose a new phablet mobile carrier
If you’re planning to buy a phone somewhere else and bring it to your carrier, there are some compatibility questions to ask first. Photo: Wikipedia.

Is it compatible with your mobile carrier? You might expect to find this higher on the list because without a network to make calls on, all you have is a miniature Wi-Fi tablet. If you buy your phone from the carrier itself, you probably won’t need to worry about which network your phone runs on unless you plan to travel internationally, but if you’re planning to buy a phone somewhere else and bring it to your carrier, there are some compatibility questions to ask first.

Top 5 mobile carriers in the United States

10. Special Features and Accessories

How to choose a phablet smartphone by features and accessories
VR and other wearable accessories should be taken into consideration when choosing a new phablet. Photo: Phablist.

Some people use phablets to manage their entire lives. Many smartphones offer exclusive features while most others can be found via third-party apps. Operating system, wireless charging, biometric sensors, VR and other wearable accessories should all be taken into consideration before buying your new smartphone.

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LG V20: Tips and tricks for productivity, security, and comfort

The LG V20 is loaded with features that will appeal to a wide range of users including audiophiles, photographers, and average Android users alike. Featuring a 5.7-inch screen with a secondary display, two cameras, and HD audio recording, the V20 is one of the best big-screen Android phones you can buy right now.

In this article, we take a look at some tips and tricks that will get you started with some of the best features found on the V20. Best part is that all of these features are available right out of the box. There is no need to download any additional apps.

LG V20 Tips and Tricks

  1. Use secondary display to see important info without unlocking your phone
  2. Use Multi-Window to put two apps side-by-side
  3. Use wide-angle camera too capture more in a single shot
  4. Use Gestures to take selfies
  5. Instantly share your photos after taking them
  6. Record killer HD audio
  7. Record sound over top of an existing audio file
  8. Customize the Home touch buttons to quickly access to your favorite functions
  9. Turn the screen on or off by double tapping
  10. Unlock the screen by double tapping
  11. Encrypt your memory card to protect your private data
  12. Split the keyboard to text more comfortably in landscape mode
  13. Easily use the keyboard with one hand

Use secondary display to see important info without unlocking your phone

You can use the second screen on the LG V20 to open your favorite apps and see urgent information, such as current time and notifications, without the need to search for it on the main screen. Not only will this help you save time but the second screen also uses way less battery power, resulting in more usage between charging.

You can use the second screen on the LG V20 to open your favorite apps and see urgent information, such as current time and notifications, without the need to search for it on the main screen.
You can use the second screen on the LG V20 to open your favorite apps and see urgent information, such as current time and notifications, without the need to search for it on the main screen. Photo: LG.

To customize the LG V20 second screen with the apps and info you need, you first have to enable this function by navigating to Settings > Display > Second screen > Show when main screen off. From here, you can configure what should be shown on the second screen and whether to show that information with the main screen on and off. Some of the options available include:

  1. Display date and time – The current date and time will be shown on the second screen, along with battery life remaining.
  2. Start Quick Tools – This option allows you to show five icons on the second screen that will launch functions like volume, WiFi, remote control, Bluetooth, and more.
  3. Start Music player – Shows music controls on the second screen along with the current song information.

Use Multi-Window to put two apps side-by-side

While using an app you can touch and hold the Square home touch button to launch a second app from the recently used list to be shown on the same screen. Just know that not all apps support multi-window, including downloaded apps.

Bonus Tip: You can also initiate multi-window from the overview screen by first tapping the square touch button to bring up the list of recently used apps. Next, touch and hold an app and drag it to the top of the screen to start the app with Multi-Window.

Use wide-angle camera too capture more in a single shot

The LG V20 is equipped with dual camera setup that includes both a 29mm “standard angle” and a 12mm “wide angle” lens. You can use the 12mm lens to take photos or record videos with a wider field of vision than what can be seen with your eyes, allowing you to fit more in a single photo without the need for panorama mode.

Switching between the two lenses in the V20 camera app is extremely easy. All you have to do is tap the appropriate icon near the top center of the screen. When using the front camera the icon shows a single person for the standard angle and multiple people for wide angle. The rear camera icon shows a single tree for the standard angle and multiple trees for wide angle.

Switching between the two lenses in the V20 camera app is extremely easy. Photo: LG.
Switching between the two lenses in the V20 camera app is extremely easy. Photo: LG.

Bonus Tip: You can also pinch or spread your fingers on the screen to switch between the standard and wide-angle lens.

Use Gestures to take selfies

You can take selfies with the LG V20 simply by showing your palm and clenching your fist. Three seconds later a photo will be taken. This feature makes taking photos a whole lot easier when holding your phone away from you with one hand.

To use this feature when working with the front camera, tap the Gear icon > Selfie shot > Gesture shot.

Once enabled, make sure that your palm and fist are within the reference line; otherwise, the camera cannot detect them. You should also be aware that this feature might not work when using some of the other camera features.

Bonus Tip: After taking a selfie with the front camera, you can preview the image immediately by placing the screen close to your face. Tap the Gear icon > Gesture view to enable this feature. Only one preview is available after a photo is taken.

Instantly share your photos after taking them

With the LG V20 camera app, you can share a photo or video with an app of your choosing immediately after capture. This is particularly useful for Instagram users and photographers who want to share their photos in real-time.

From the camera app, choose AUTO mode and take a picture. An icon will appear on the screen, showing the app you share to the most. You can swipe the icon down for a list of other apps you can use to share your photos and videos.

With the LG V20 camera app, you can share a photo or video with an app of your choosing immediately after capture. Photo: LG.
With the LG V20 camera app, you can share a photo or video with an app of your choosing immediately after capture. Photo: LG.

Record killer HD audio

The LG V20 comes equipped with a powerful HD audio recording app that allows you to configure settings manually. By optimizing these settings, you can record highly defined audio that is suited for almost any environment.

LG V20 HD Audio Recorder. Photo: LG.
LG V20 HD Audio Recorder. Photo: LG.

Launch the audio recorder by tapping the Circle > Tools > HD Audio Recorder. From here, there are three modes to choose from on the second screen:

  1. Normal – Basic audio recording with no additional settings.
  2. Concert – Useful for recording audio in a concert or other music events.
  3. Custom – Allows you to personalize individual settings for audio recording such as gain, low cut filter (LCF), and limiter (LMT). Using the gain setting will change the sensitivity of the microphone, while the Low cut filter can be used to cut out any low pitch noises such as background hum. The limiter prevents clipping of the recorded sound.

You can monitor the audio being recorded by using a connected earpiece. You can also choose to record using a connected microphone by tapping the microphone gear icon, which appears after connecting a supported earpiece.

Record sound overtop of an existing audio file

You can plan an audio file and record from the microphone at the same time with the LG V20 audio recorder in Studio mode. Musicians may find this feature particularly useful for recording ideas on the go. Studio mode is also useful for recording commentary over an existing file.

  1. Enable Studio mode by launching the HD Audio Recorder from the Tools menu and choosing CUSTOM from the second screen.
  2. Connect a pair of headphones and tap the Music Note+ icon. From here, you can select an audio file to use as a background track.
  3. Tap the Red circle to record from the microphone. Tap the Black circle to stop recording and save the audio file.

Note: Sound monitoring is not supported while recording in Studio mode and the background track can only be heard through a set of earphones to prevent feedback.

Customize the Home touch buttons to quickly access to your favorite functions

You can rearrange and add custom buttons to the LG V20 Home touch area by navigating to Settings > Display > Home touch buttons > Button combination. From here, there are several functions to choose from such as QSlide, Notifications, and Capture+. You may choose a maximum of five items to be shown.

Turn the screen on or off by double-tapping

You can use the KnockON option to activate the main screen without using physical buttons. With the phone off, simply double-tap the middle of the screen to turn on the display. To turn it off, double-tap on an empty area on the home screen or status bar.

Bonus Tips: This feature is built into the default LG launcher, so don’t expect KnockON to work with a customer launcher. Be sure to use your fingertip when tapping the screen, a fingernail will not register. Also, be sure to keep the proximity/light sensor free from any obstructions, as it is necessary for KnockON to work properly.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of Knock On using the LG G2:

Unlock the screen by double tapping

Similar to turning the screen on and off with KnockON, you can unlock the screen by creating your own Knock Code. This will allow you to unlock the LG V20 by tapping areas of the screen in a specific sequence.

To create a knock code, tap the Circle home touch button and then navigate to Settings > Display > Lock screen > Select screen lock > Knock Code. You will be prompted to tap the squares on the screen in a pattern of your choice. Once set, you can unlock the screen by inputting the code you have just created whether the screen is turned on or off.

The video below shows a similar procedure performed on an LG G5:

Encrypt your memory card to protect your private data

You can encrypt the LG V20 memory card to prevent any data it contains from being accessed from another device. This will prevent someone from taking the card out of your device and putting it into a PC card reader or another cell phone.

How to encrypt LG V20 Android phablet smartphone.
Photo: Tsahi Levent Levi via Flickr.

Encrypting your LG V20 is extremely easy. To start, tap the circle home touch button and navigate to Settings > General > Fingerprints & security > Encrypt SD card. You will be presented with an overview of how memory card encryption works, choose continue to configure the following options:

  • New data encryption – This option will only encrypt the data stored on the memory card after encryption, meaning any data from this point forward.
  • Full encryption – Choose this option if you want to encrypt everything currently stored on the memory card.
  • Exclude media files – Use this to encrypt all files on the memory card except for media files such as music, photos, and videos. This makes it possible to share media file between devices while keeping other sensitive files private.

Bonus encryption tips: You can only encrypt your data if screen lock is set to use a PIN or password. You can activate encryption even if no memory card is installed. Data will be encrypted on any memory card installed in the future.

Important: There is a high risk of data loss if the device is turned off during the encryption process. Be sure to check that the battery is at least 50% charged before starting encryption.

Split the keyboard to text more comfortably in landscape mode

With Split keyboard, you can merge or split the keyboard in landscape mode by pinching or spreading your fingers apart on the keyboard. Each half of the keyboard will be placed on either side of the screen, making it easier to access the keys near the middle of the keyboard without stretching.

You can merge or split the LG V20 keyboard in landscape mode by pinching or spreading your fingers apart. Photo: LG.
You can merge or split the LG V20 keyboard in landscape mode by pinching or spreading your fingers apart. Photo: LG.

To enable this option, navigate to Settings > General > Language & keyboard > LG Keyboard > Keyboard height and layout > Split keyboard. You can also touch and hold the microphone icon on the keyboard and then tap the Gear icon > Keyboard height and layout > Split keyboard.

Easily use the keyboard with one hand

One-handed operation mode makes it easy to use type with one hand by letting you move the keyboard to one side of the screen. To enable this function, navigate to Settings > General > Language & keyboard > LG Keyboard > Keyboard height and layout > One-handed operation. Once turned on, simply press the arrow displayed next to the keyboard to move it to the side of your choice.

Bonus Tip: It’s also possible to touch and hold the keyboard microphone icon and tap Settings > Keyboard height and layout > One-handed operation.

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Weekly News Roundup: LG G6 photos, Galaxy S8 leaks, Android updates, and more

Another week goes by and we already have our first month of 2017 behind us, which means we are getting even closer to the annual MWC trade show and the release of the first exciting new flagships of the year.

Below, you’ll find the biggest phablet stories of the week. The LG G6 is up first, making the biggest headlines of the week. We also got some new Galaxy S8 leaks to report, along with Android updates for a few T-Mobile phablets, and a new teaser by ZTE.

LG G6 Leaks Everywhere

We are just a few weeks away from the release of the LG G6 in Barcelona and photos alleging to be the upcoming 5.7-inch phablet have been popping up all over the place.

  1. New images obtained by Droid-Life show off what appears to be an early prototype of the LG G6, which reveal a metal exterior that LG is expected to use, with a minimal screen-to-bezel ratio around the front. On the backside, you can see a dual-camera setup and a centered rear fingerprint reader.

    LG G6 Prototype Leaked
    LG G6 prototype released by Droid-Life. Photo: Droid-Life
  2. On Thursday, Business Insider revealed a new real-life image of the LG G6. Sent by an alleged insider, the photos show a near-final unit, sporting a shiny black finish, reminiscent of the Jet Black color on the iPhone 7.

    Real-life photo of alleged LG G6. Photo: Business Insider.
    Real-life photo of alleged LG G6. Photo: Business Insider.
  3. On Friday, the folks over at underKG published an article showing more alleged “real-life” photos of the LG G6, this time in a Brushed Metallic finish. In this batch of photos, there is a nice shot of the G6’s backside, in addition to the bottom and top. The photos clearly show the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and bottom-firing speaker. Other notable features visible in the photos include LG’s dual-camera setup and fingerprint reader.

    LG G6 in brushed metallic finish. Photo: underKG.
    LG G6 in brushed metallic finish. Photo: underKG.

Samsung Galaxy S8 availability leaked?

According to recent leaks from industry insider @mmddj_china, the Galaxy S8 will come with a Dual ADC camera and 6GB of RAM. In a set of tweets, the leakster speculated South Korea and China will get devices with 6GB RAM and not the lesser ones with 4GB expected to arrive everywhere else. The Asian markets are said to have the option between 64GB or 128GB internal storage.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 and S6 edge+ getting January security patch on T-mobile

T-Mobile has released a new update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus. The new update brings Android security fixes for January and is about 60MB in size. It has also been said in a report by The Android Soul that the Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge will be getting the patch, but T-Mobile is slow to update the handset software pages to reflect this. The update for the Galaxy Note 4 and S6 Edge Plus arrive as version N910TUBU2DQA1 and N915TUBU2DQA1, respectively.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Nougat update won’t reach all regions in Q1

The Galaxy S7 / S7 edge Nougat update may have officially started rolling out, but it’s not yet available in all markets around the world. According to one Samsung rep in Singapore – the roll out in that market won’t begin until next quarter.

A screenshot posted on XDA developers reveals a chat with the Samsung rep that has given a “rough” timeline of the update being released April to June. While the information seems legit, we can only assume what the rep says is accurate until Samsung officially releases a statement. It’s not unusual for reps to get information wrong, as we’ve seen many times in the past.

Honor 6X will be getting Nougat/EMUI 5 in March

When the 6X was unveiled at CES last month, many were disappointed to learn it would be shipping with Android Marshmallow. We were told that it would receive the latest version of Android within several months of its release and this week Honor has confirmed that it will begin rolling out the EMUI 5.0/Nougat update to the Honor 6X in March after giving the following statement to Android Police:

“The new EMUI for Honor 6X will be arriving next month, and it’s been updated based on consumer feedback.”

Confirming that the handset would be updated next month, Honor also hinted that the EMUI 5.0 UX might be different from that found on the Huawei Mate 9.

Free year of Netflix with purchase of T-mobile Galaxy S7 ends February 7

If you purchase or lease a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge from T-Mobile by February 7, T-mobile will give you a full year’s Netflix subscription for free. If you have been thinking about getting a S7 you only have until Tuesday to take advantage of this special offer.

Samsung plans to tease Galaxy S8 flagship in a one-minute trailer at MWC event

Samsung is expected to give the audience at Mobile World Congress 2017 a glimpse of its flagship smartphone – the Galaxy S8 – at the press conference through one-minute video clip. According to a report by the Korea Herald, Samsung delayed the traditional launch of the Galaxy S series at MWC until April due to the safety issues caused by Note 7 explosions.

Samsung's 2017 MWC press invite. Photo: Samsung.
Samsung’s 2017 MWC press invite. Photo: Samsung.

Despite the delay, there won’t be much for Samsung to tease by the time MWC comes around. We got some first looks of actual photos of the phone, along with rumored specs from multiple sources. According to the leaks, the Galaxy S8 is expected to come in two sizes with an “infinity” edge display, Snapdragon 835 SoC, and 64GB of storage.

Leaked schematics claim detailed Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus measurements

Samsung’s highly anticipated flagship announcement is nearly two months away, yet leaks surrounding the Galaxy S8 have been coming from all directions, and a fresh new batch of schematics from CNET Korea offers detailed measurements for the pair of phablets.

The renders were produced based on “eye-witness accounts”, according to a report by PocketNow. The larger version of Samsung’s upcoming flagship is packed with 154.46 millimeters of display into a nearly “edgeless” package measuring 159.53mm in height and 73.37mm wide, including dual curved edges.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus dimensions. Photo: Matt Kim / cnet Korea.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus dimensions. Photo: Matt Kim / cnet Korea.

PocketNow notes that is roughly a 6.1-inch screen in a body slightly taller and wider than the 5.5-inch S7 Edge. On the other hand, the smaller of the S8 pair is purportedly 143.05mm (5.63 inches) screen, 68.05mm wide (including edges), and 131.58mm tall (not including top and bottom bezels).

New Huawei Mate 9 commercial stars former “I’m a Mac” actor

Remember when Justin Long played the “Mac” part in the famous series of “Get a Mac” ads in the late 00’s? He’s now been hired by Huawei in an effort to take a bite out of Apple in the US smartphone market. Just as Sprint did with the Verizon guy, the actor’s history with a rival is the primary reason he was considered, according to a report by Apple Insider.

Simply titled “The Interview,” the 60-second advertisement shows long seated across from a Mate 9. The actor is interviewed by the massive 5.9-inch phablet, which communicates via emoji, photos and video. The new Huawei commercial is expected to air during the Superbowl but you can watch it right now on YouTube.

Nexus 6P likely to receive fingerprint gesture with Android 7.1.2 update

Google has announced that Android 7.1.2 OTA update will be rolling out to members of the Android Beta Program this week, including owners of the Google Pixel. This update addresses the controversy last year over why last generation’s Nexus devices were not receiving the ‘Swipe for notifications’ gesture, despite featuring the exact same fingerprint sensor found on the Pixel.

The original Android 7.1 did not bring the desired feature to either Nexus 5X or 6P. With the latest Android 7.1.2 update, the feature is now accessible under ‘Moves’ in Settings for the 5X. Nexus 6P owners have yet to receive the Developer Preview, but there is little reason to doubt that the device will also get the new gesture.

ZTE teases new 5.5-inch phablet

A new video teaser has surfaced on the official ZTE India Twitter account showing an upcoming smartphone with no name and few hints on its design. The handset being teased is said to be the ZTE Blade A610 Plus, according to a report by GSM Arena. The report notes other rumored specs for the device, including a MediaTek MT6750T SoC, 5.5-inch 1080p display, 2GB/16GB memory configuration, 13MP/8MP camera combo, support for 4G VoLTE, and Android Marshmallow OS.

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8 Features expected to arrive with the new Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung is getting ready to release a new pair of Galaxy S smartphones that are significantly different that anything we’ve seen from the lineup so far. Will these new features have what it takes to pull the tech giant out of its Note 7 quagmire and rebuild consumer trust?

Here are eight features we are expecting to see on the upcoming Galaxy S8, according to various reports.

1. Bigger Edge Display with 18.5:9 Aspect Ratio

Say goodbye to physical home buttons. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will come in two sizes, sporting an almost bezel-less, edge-to-edge “infinity” display, according to details in a recent report by the Guardian. The two models, codenamed Dream and Dream 2, will feature 5.8- and 6.2-inch QHD Super AMOLED screens that cover 83 percent of their front panel.

Because they will lack the traditional navigation buttons found on every Galaxy device until now, both S8 models will feature displays that are even larger than Samsung’s traditionally oversized Galaxy Note lineup. Because of their unusual size, their 18.5:9 aspect ratio deviates slightly from the industry-standard 16:9, allowing for more screen real estate without sacrificing comfort when operating the phone with one hand.

Another first for the Galaxy lineup, the elongated aspect ratio means that most content you view on the S8 will be resized to fit its screen – apps and games will effortlessly scale to the screen’s ratio and fill it up nicely. When it comes to video, however, things will be a bit different.

Since most video content these days is presented in a 16:9 format, YouTube videos, for example, will be played with black bars on the sides. On the other hand, when watching a film, you will get a lot less in the way of letterboxing than you would in 16:9 landscape ratio, as motion pictures are usually presented in very wide aspect ratios that are closer to that of the new screen.

Galaxy S8 16:9 vs 18.5:9 display aspect ratio.
For illustration purposes only — this is what an S8 with a 5.8-inch screen with the new aspect ratio could look like. Showing a normal Galaxy S7 on the left, mock-up S8 on the right.

Filmmakers today have many options at their disposal, but the most common ratios for modern films are 1.85:1 and 2.39:1. Furthermore, scrolling through web pages or your Twitter feed will be better on the 2:1 screen (in portrait mode), as the phone will be capable of displaying more content at any given time.

Bottom line, the difference in switching to the new screen won’t be anywhere as noticeable as switching from a 16:10 to a 4:3 tablet or something similar. Whether Samsung is on the right track with the new screen aspect ratio, and whether fans will like it, remains to be seen.

2. 10-nanometer Architecture

Samsung is no stranger to releasing different systems-on-chip depending on the sales region, and things are not expected to change with the Galaxy S8. All models will have processors made using 10-nanometer fabrication methods – most likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in the US models and Samsung Exynos in the others.

In terms of performance, this is said to make the new phones 11 percent faster than the Galaxy S7 overall, with 23 percent faster graphics processing and 20 percent more energy efficient overall. The improved power consumption will be critical, considering what some might call low battery capacity at 3000mAh ad 3500mAh, despite having larger 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch designs.

3. Headphone Jack

Just like with the now defunct Galaxy Note 7, plugging up on the S8 will be accomplished via USB-C, which is located on the bottom of the handsets next to a 3.5-millimeter jack. Normally this would be a given, but considering what we’ve seen with the latest iPhone 7 release, the traditional headphone jack could soon be facing the same fate as the once popular IR blaster.

The Apple iPhone 7 was recently released and for the first time does not include a headphone jack. In its absence, owners will have to use Lightning or Bluetooth headphones, both of which will be more expensive than a pair that ends in the traditional 3.5mm connector. This configuration also prevents charging the phone while listening to a pair of wired headphones.

4. Upgraded Camera & Iris Scanner

Samsung has been killing it when it comes to mobile photography and the Galaxy S8 is expected to deliver excellent low light performance with both front and rear lenses featuring an f/1.7 aperture. We were disappointed to hear that the main 12-megapixel rear camera would not see a resolution improvement over the Galaxy S7 – but the 8MP selfie cam is a nice upgrade over the 5MP version found in the previous model.

The Guardian report cites several sources confirming that the iris scanning biometric technology first launched in Galaxy Note 7 will be available on the Galaxy S8, allowing users to unlock and their smartphones and authenticate purchases with their eyes. This should be expected, as it’s not uncommon to see Note features end up in the S line.

The main camera around back also possesses a new visual search functionality, according to the Guardian report, with on-screen icons that allow the user to choose the type of search to be performed. The camera will also feature built-in object recognition, similar to Google Goggles. This means you could photograph text and perform OCR-enabled web searches or perhaps product searches on a shopping-site.

5. Rear Mounted Fingerprint Scanner

Since the Home button on the front of Galaxy S8 has been removed, Samsung had to find a new place for its fingerprint sensor – which has been moved around back. This is a standard placement now, considering similar setups from many other manufacturers, Samsung is just late to the game.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to have a rear mounted fingerprint scanner and will keep the traditional headphone jack.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to have a rear mounted fingerprint scanner and will keep the traditional headphone jack. Photo: Venture Beat.

It will be interesting to see how well the placement works, as being placed right next to the rear camera lens (opposite the heart rate sensor) could be problematic for some users. Most phone makers are putting the fingerprint sensor directly below the main camera lens, which can be less of a stretch for people with shorter fingers.

6. Desktop Capabilities

An exciting new frontier in mobile computing, one feature expected to arrive on the Galaxy S8 is the ability to connect the handset to a HDMI-equipped dock for a desktop view of Android that can be controlled with a keyboard and mouse. Dubbed “Samsung DeX“, it will be similar to what Microsoft is doing with Continuum.

7. Pressure Sensitive Input

The pressure-sensitive input technology first included with the iPhone 6s in 2015 is finally coming to the Galaxy brand, with the lower part of the display reportedly being capable of distinguishing between different types of screen presses. Press and hold on an app icon, for instance, and a menu will appear with options, such as compose a message or take a selfie or whatever is relevant.

8. Increased Internal Storage

The Galaxy S8 is expected to ship with 4GB of RAM, which has remained unchanged from the past few Galaxy S models. This is surprising considering what we’ve seen Samsung do with the Galaxy C9 Pro – a 6-inch powerhouse with 6GB of RAM. Internal storage on the S8 is expected to be 64GB with a microSD card slot for expansion – up to 256GB max.

Galaxy S8 Release Date

It’s has been tradition for the past several years for Samsung to launch its latest Galaxy S model just before the start of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona near the end of February. This year, however, it’s been reported by Evleaks that the Galaxy S8 won’t be unpacked until nearly a month later in New York City and should be on sale by April 21.

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CES 2017 Phablet Roundup: Big smartphones steal the show in Vegas

The Consumer Electronics Show for 2017 has come and gone – and while normally what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, the rules don’t apply when we are talking about the latest gadgets. Out of close to 15 smartphones by our count worth mentioning from the show, nine of them were phablets, which means big screens take the cake yet again.

Here is our roundup of the biggest phones from CES 2017.

CES 2017 Phablet Roundup

  1. LG Stylo 3 (5.7″)
  2. Asus Zenfone AR (5.7″)
  3. ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom (5.5″)
  4. Huawei Mate 9 (5.9″)
  5. Honor 6X (5.5″)
  6. ZTE Blade V8 Pro (5.5″)
  7. ZTE Hawkeye (5.5″)
  8. Xiaomi Mi Mix White (6.4″)
  9. Alcatel A3 XL (6.0″)

LG Stylo 3

LG officially took the wraps off its third generation of the mid-range Stylo phablet at CES 2017.
LG Stylo 3. Photo: LG.

Just as we expected, LG officially took the wraps off its third generation of the mid-range Stylo phablet at CES 2017. The Stylo 3 (called the Stylus 3 outside the US) offers some moderate upgrades over the previous version like an improved stylus and fingerprint scanner.

The new Stylo packs a 5.7-inch HD display on top of a MediaTek octa-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and driven by the latest version of the Android operating system, 7.0 Nougat. Except for its unique note jotting capabilities, the software experience of the Stylo 3 is pretty much identical to what you would find on the LG V20.

Speaking of the note taking functions, the LG Stylo 3 closely mimics the defunct Galaxy Note 7 by letting you take notes on the fly without the need to navigate through your phone. Don’t let the Stylo fool you though, its specs are too modest to be a Note competitor – especially the 13MP camera that doesn’t perform anywhere near as well in low light.

LG Stylo 3 key specs

  • 5.7-inch, 1,280×720-pixel resolution screen
  • Mediatek MT6750
  • 3GB memory
  • 16GB storage (expandable to 2TB)
  • 8-megapixel front camera, 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 3,200mAh removable battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 155.6 mm by 79.8 mm by 7.4 mm, 149 grams
  • Stylus
  • Fingerprint scanner

LG Stylo 3 specifications, news and information

Asus Zenfone AR

The Asus Zenfone AR was announced Thursday at CES 2017 in Las Vegas
Asus Zenfone AR. Photo: Asus

Its official, the world’s first smartphone with 8GB of RAM is a phablet. We’re talking specifically about the new 5.7-inch Zenfone AR by Asus. It was announced Thursday at CES 2017 in Las Vegas and it’s also the first smartphone that will be Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready.

The Zenfone AR phablet is equipped with ASUS TriCam, a three-camera system consisting of a 23MP main camera, motion-tracking camera, and depth-sensing camera and runs on Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. Bringing all of these sensors together will be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with a WQHD Super AMOLED display and a new five-magnet speaker, making Daydream VR apps, games, and videos more immersive and entertaining.

Asus says that the Zenfone AR was developed in close cooperation with Google to deliver the best Tango and Daydream experiences. Tango was created by Google and brings a unique augmented reality (AR) user experience to smartphones, such as AR gaming, AR utilities and indoor navigation. Daydream is also a Google platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality and supports Daydream VR apps.

Asus Zenfone AR key specs

  • 5.7-inch, 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution screen
  • Snapdragon 821
  • 4/8GB memory
  • 32/64/128/256GB storage (expandable)
  • 23 MP f/2.0 front camera, 8MP f/2.0 rear camera
  • 3,300mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Fingerprint scanner

Asus Zenfone AR specifications, news and information

ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom

Asus announced the 5.5-inch Zenfone 3 Zoom at CES 2017
Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom. Photo: Asus.

Alongside the Zenfone AR, Asus also announced the slightly smaller 5.5-inch Zenfone 3 Zoom. Unlike the AR, which has an array of cameras for Augmented Reality, the main focus with the Zoom is photography. It uses two rear cameras with different focal lengths to provide what ASUS calls 2.3x optical zoom.

This technology doesn’t work like a true zoom lens, which can smoothly adjust focal length between its extreme settings. The Zenfone 3 Zoom simply switches between the two cameras in addition to performing digital zoom. The wide angle camera has a 25mm equivalent focal length that captures a wider field of view but makes objects appear smaller and farther away than they appear to the naked eye. The approach is similar to what we see with the dual camera system found on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Aside from the dual rear camera, another other standout feature of the Zenfone 3 Zoom is its large 5000mAh battery, which should deliver excellent battery life when combined with the octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU found in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625. It also has half the amount of RAM as the Zenfone AR, with 3GB or 4GB options available.

Internal storage capacity on the Zenfone 3 Zoom comes in 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB options that are expandable via microSD. The aluminum uni-body chassis is available in three different colors: Glacier Silver, Navy Black, and Rose Gold with a color-matching capacitive fingerprint scanner on the back. The phablet is expected to be available in February.

ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom key specs

  • 5.5-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution screen
  • Snapdragon 625
  • 4GB memory
  • 32/64/128GB expandable storage
  • Dual 12 MP, 25mm, f/1.7, OIS & 59mm, f/2.8 primary camera, 13 MP, f/2.0 secondary camera
  • 5,000mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 6.0
  • Fingerprint scanner

Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom specifications, news and information

Huawei Mate 9

Huawei took the opportunity at CES 2017 to announce the Mate 9 in the US.
Huawei Mate 9. Photo: Huawei.

We’ve seen the 5.9-inch Mate 9 coming to the United States for quite some time now, but Huawei took the opportunity at CES 2017 to make things official, with the added bonus of announcing Amazon Alexa support to the device – making the Mate 9 the world’s first smartphone ever with this functionality (another win for phablets).

According to Huawei, Alexa will give customers ‘a natural, convenient user interface’ to get information or perform tasks. The company said they are collaborating with Amazon to ‘develop a rich voice activated consumer experience’. Current owners of the Mate 9 will be getting an over-the-air (OTA) update that carries the Alexa support.

Huawei’s Mate 9 is powered by an Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 chip that is paired with a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU. The phablet comes packed with 4GB RAM and 64GB of memory that is expandable via microSD and is backed by a 4000 mAh battery with SuperCharge technology.

With fast charging support, 10-minutes of charging will give users enough power to watch two full movies, says Huawei. The Mate 9 also features a dual-rear camera (20MP +12MP) with an f/2.2 aperture, OIS, auto focus and dual-LED flash. Around front, the device sports an 8MP camera with an f/1.9 aperture, which should perform well in low light.

Huawei Mate 9 key specs

  • 5.9-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution screen
  • Kirin 960
  • 4GB memory
  • 64GB storage (expandable via microSD)
  • Dual 20 MP +12 MP, f/2.2, OIS rear camera, 8 MP, f/1.9, 1080p front camera
  • 4,000mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Fingerprint scanner

Huawei Mate 9 specifications, news and information

Honor 6X

Huawei first announced the 5.5-inch Honor 6X in China last October but the big reveal at CES 2017 made it official here in the US.
Huawei Honor 6X. Photo: Huawei.

Huawei first announced the 5.5-inch Honor 6X in China last October but the big reveal at CES 2017 made it official here in the US. The Chinese electronics giant launched its mid-range Honor 6x phablet globally, which includes dual-lens camera technology and Kirin 655 octa-core chipset.

Just like Samsung’s new A7, this phablet will bring premium design details to the budget end of the phablet market. The Honor 6X has a 5.5-inch display and all metal design that features a unique fingerprint scanner around back which opens the 6X in a fraction of a second. Users can swipe through images and take pictures without touching the screen.

The Honor 6X features a Full HD display with a Kirin 655 octa-core chip paired with your pick between 3GB or 4GB of RAM depending on how much internal storage you opt for. Choices here are going to be 32GB or 64GB. Either way you get a 3,340mAh battery and the Huawei EMUI 4.1 overlay running over Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

One of the best features of the Honor 6X is Its camera set up, which includes a 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel dual configuration for the rear and a 8-megapixel camera up front. Color options for the Honor 6X include silver, grey and gold.

Honor 6X key specs

  • 5.5-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel HD display (403ppi)
  • 2.1GHz octa-core Kirin 655 processor
  • 32GB expandable (US markets)
  • 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel rear cameras
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Android 6.0 with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 software
  • 3,340mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor (no NFC or Android Pay)

Huawei Honor 6X specifications, news and information

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

For those of you looking to get dual-cameras on the cheap, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro looks to be another promising mid-range device
ZTE Blade V8 Pro. Photo: ZTE.

For those of you looking to get dual-cameras on the cheap, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro looks to be another promising mid-range device like the Honor 6X. Also sporting a 5.5-inch Full HD display, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro takes advantage of two 13MP lenses to change the focal point in your images, a nice feature that is usually reserved for higher end smartphones.

The Blade V8 Pro phablet also has a fingerprint reader, expandable memory and dual-SIM capabilities – a nice feature for anyone who travels frequently or has two numbers. Looking under the hood, we find a 2.0GHz, eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage – expandable up to 128GB.

On the front, there is an 8MP camera for selfies that also packs in a flash module. Powering all of this hardware is a 3,140mAh battery that supports quick charging, which ZTE claims will last up to 24 hours. The Blade V8 Pro will run Android 6.0.1 and is currently available for pre-order.

ZTE Blade V8 Pro key specs

  • 5.5-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution screen
  • Snapdragon 625
  • 3GB memory
  • 32GB storage (expandable via microSD)
  • Dual 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • 3,140mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 6.0
  • Fingerprint scanner

ZTE Blade V8 Pro specifications, news and information

ZTE Hawkeye

The 5.5-inch ZTE Hawkeye is the smartphone winner from Project CSX
ZTE Hawkeye. Photo: ZTE.

ZTE took the stage at CES 2017 not only to unveil one, but two smartphones. The 5.5-inch ZTE Hawkeye is the smartphone winner from Project CSX, the company’s attempt to crowd source ideas for a smartphone through community voting.

Still in its infancy, the ZTE Hawkeye prototype shown at CES 2017 has a high-resolution camera that will track your irises’ movements to assist you with hands-free reading and scrolling. It will also come with a removable case that has a self-adhesive attachment, helping the phablet stick to most flat surfaces anywhere, which is a nice feature for hands-free photography.

These features were pitched, submitted and approved by both ZTE and its fans alike. The company plans to ship the phone globally in Q3 of 2017 but there’s still some work yet to be done. Color options, material and finish haven’t been voted on yet, but ZTE will post 15 total versions for people to vote on. The ZTE Hawkeye is now live for funding on Kickstarter for less than $200.

ZTE Hawkeye key specs

  • 5.5-inch, 1,080×1,920-pixel resolution screen
  • expandable storage
  • Dual rear camera
  • Android 7.0
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Self adhesive
  • Eye-tracking, hands-free scrolling

ZTE Hawkeye specifications, news and information

Xiaomi Mi Mix White

A brand new version of the 6.4-inch Xiaomi Mi MIX phablet was introduced by Xiaomi's Hugo Barra on stage at CES 2017
Xiaomi Mi Mix in White. Photo: Xiaomi.

A brand new version of the 6.4-inch Xiaomi Mi MIX phablet was introduced by Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra on stage at CES 2017 and the only thing setting it apart from the original Mi MIX is it now comes in pearl white finish. No additional hardware changes were mentioned.

The Xiaomi Mi MIX was originally unveiled in October 2016 as a limited edition concept smartphone, made in collaboration with French designer Philippe Stark. The key feature here is its huge 6.4-inch near bezel-less display with curved edges on top, and 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio.

A marvel of design, the only bezel on the Mi MIX sits at the bottom, where the 5MP front camera is located. The phablet is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, paired with 4GB/6GB of RAM and 128GB /256GB of internal storage, all fueled by a 4,400 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 technology. Around the back is a 16MP camera and a fingerprint scanner.

While the black variant phablet is already available in China, Xiaomi currently has no plans to bring the Mi Mix to any other part of the world including the United States where Apple and Samsung dominate the market. It was initially only available in black, but the white variant is slated to come out in China later this year for around $550.

Xiaomi Mi Mix key specs

  • 6.4-inch, 1,080×2,040-pixel resolution screen
  • Snapdragon 821
  • 4/6GB memory
  • 128/256GB storage (not expandable)
  • 16 MP, f/2.0 rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • 4,850mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 6
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Color options: Black and White

Xiaomi Mi Mix specifications, news and information

Alcatel A3 XL

Chinese handset maker Alcatel has taken the wraps off a new phablet at CES 2017
Alcatel A3 XL. Photo: Alcatel

Chinese handset maker Alcatel has taken the wraps off a new phablet at CES 2017, which is targeted at more budget conscious buyers – the 6-inch Alcatel A3 XL. Designed for those who “live on-the-go,” the nicely size IPS display makes getting everyday tasks done easily and making for a more enjoyable multimedia experience.

The main disappointment with this device is the somewhat low 1280×720 resolution. While this makes for longer battery life, the pixel density is well below what you would expect to find on a smartphone in 2017.

Looking under the hood it’s clear the low resolution can be attributed to a mediocre quad-core MediaTek MT8735B chipset and 1GB of RAM. Based on these specs, it’s hard to tell whether the Alcatel smartphone will be able to live up to what the company claims will be a “fantastic multimedia experience.”

The camera specs aren’t too impressive either. You get an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing snapper. The A3 XL offers 8 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to an additional 32 GB via a microSD card.

A budget handset, no doubt, but one nice thing about the A3 XL is that it does boast a fingerprint sensor and it will also come pre-loaded with the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The entire package is fuelled by a 3000 mAh battery.

Alcatel has not revealed the price or availability of the A3 XL in the United States. Considering the specs, however, and the fact that the phablet is targeted at the budget conscious buyers, we would expect the A3 XL to be one of the cheapest phones on the market.

Alcatel A3 XL key specs

  • 6-inch, 1,280×720-pixel resolution screen
  • MediaTek MT8735B
  • 1GB memory
  • 8GB storage (expandable)
  • 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • 3,000mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Fingerprint scanner

Alcatel A3 XL specifications, news and information

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Samsung shows off a new Galaxy A7 phablet for 2017, now with water resistance

Samsung has just announced several new mid-range smartphone releases slated for launch in just a few weeks. The most notable of the bunch is the 5.7-inch Galaxy A7 phablet, now boasting a refined design with certified water/dust resistance and Samsung Pay capabilities.

Rumors of the new Galaxy A series of smartphones have been leaking around the internet for weeks and it looks like what we have been hearing about these new premium mid-range phones is true. The Galaxy A features a premium metal frame and 3D glass back that mimics Samsung’s premium design found on its flagship models.

The Galaxy A7 is the most premium of the three devices, sporting a 5.7 FHD AMOLED display (1080×1920), 3GB RAM, and a pair of 16 megapixel f/1.9 cameras. Other models in the lineup include the Galaxy A3 with a 4.7 HD display and the A5 with a 5.2 FHD display. While all three phones feature similar metal designs, they vary rather dramatically in terms of size and specs.

All three phones have the same aluminum construction and glass back but feature different chipset and RAM configurations. The Galaxy A will come in four colors — Black Sky, Gold Sand, Blue Mist, and Peach Cloud — and will have an always-on display so you can see notifications and widgets at a glance.

Samsung’s Galaxy A7 will run on Android Marshmallow and be equipped with USB Type C and 32GB of storage that is expandable with help from a micro SD card. Other premium features will include a fingerprint scanner and MST technology for Samsung Pay.

Given what we have seen so far, the A7 could be shaping up to be an excellent phablet for mobile photographers. Samsung says these cameras are now more stable with an improved autofocus that gives clear photos in low-light conditions.

An improved user interface lets you tap anywhere on the screen to easily snap a high resolution 16MP selfie and turns the display into a light box for brighter pictures. The easy swipe feature quickly changes modes and filters for picture effect to optimize photos and enhance the color of images.

The Galaxy A7 announcement comes just weeks after LG took the wraps off their upcoming mid-range phablet, the LG Stylo 3, which is expected to launch at CES this month. Judging from the initial specs, water resistance and a 16MP f/1.9 camera put the A7 well ahead of the Stylus in terms of flagship features on a mid-range device.

In a statement Monday, Samsung’s mobile boss DJ Koh said the company is always looking to ensure its customers have the most advanced products on the market.

“The latest Galaxy A series is a testament to this,” says Koh. We integrated our unique approach to design as well as the features Galaxy customers have come to love to provide added performance without compromising on style.”

All three Galaxy A series smartphones begin rolling out in Russia in early January, followed by launches in additional markets, with price points rumored in the $300-450 range. This is a phablet we will be keeping our eyes on here in the United States for sure.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Specifications

  • Network: LTE Cat.6 * May differ by markets and mobile operators
  • Display: 5.7” FHD Super AMOLED
  • AP: 1.9GHz Octa Core
  • OS: Android 6.0.16 (Marshmallow)
  • Camera Rear: 16MP (F1.9)
  • Camera Front: 16MP (F1.9)
  • Video: MPEG4, H.265(HEVC), H.264(AVC), H.263, VC-1, MP43, WMV7, WMV8, VP8, VP9
  • Audio: MP3, AAC LC/AAC+/eAAC+,AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WMA, FLAC, Vorbis, Opus
  • Additional features: MST technology(Samsung Pay), Samsung KNOX, S-Voice, Dual SIM option * Samsung Pay launches may vary by market-readiness
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth® v 4.2, ANT+, USB Type-C,NFC (UICC, eSE)
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity, Geomagnetic, RGB Light, Fingerprint scanner, Barometer
  • IP Code: IP68
  • Memory: 3GB RAM + 32GB Storage. Micro SD slot (up to 256GB)
  • Dimensions: 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9mm
  • Battery: 3,600mAh Fast Charging

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