Phandroid » Featured http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 23 May 2015 00:19:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Best Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge Accessories http://phandroid.com/2015/05/21/best-galaxy-s6-accessories/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/21/best-galaxy-s6-accessories/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 13:04:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164020 Tylt-Vu-Solo-2

Every phone deserves to have its fair share of accessories. Whether it’s a protective case, wireless charger, or even headphones, the right accessory can take your experience to the next level. The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge are amazing phones on their own, but a few accessories can make the experience even better. We’ve compiled a helpful list of the best Galaxy S6 accessories to help you find your next favorite purchase.

Best Galaxy S6 Cases

Phone cases are one of the most common accessories to buy. They can add style, comfort, and protection to your device. Since cases are so popular we’ve given them their own separate lists. You’ll find rugged cases, slim cases, wallet cases, and much more. Be sure to check out both guides below, but first here are a couple that stood out.

Incipio Feather for Galaxy S6

Incipio-Feather-Galaxy-S6-case

The Incipio Feather is one of our all-time favorite phone cases. It’s extremely thin and sleek, but still slightly flexible. You’ll barely notice it’s even there. The Feather isn’t going to save your phone from a major damage, but it will add some style and keep your phone scratch-free. [Amazon]

Check out our complete list: Best Samsung Galaxy S6 cases

Best Galaxy S6 Edge Cases

The magnificent curved screen of the Galaxy S6 Edge puts it in a class of its own, but with that prestige comes the need for a custom case for snug tight protection. We’ve taken a look at a number of S6 Edge cases and brought to you our favorites.

Speck CandyShell Grip for S6 Edge

Speck CandyShell Grip Galaxy S6 Edge case DSC09492

The CandyShell Grip case has become one of the more popular phone cases around. It has a dual-layer design that mixes hard plastic with grippy rubber. The rubber makes it very easy to hold the phone, but if you still drop it it will be protected. [Amazon]

Check out our complete list: Best Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Cases

Best Galaxy S6 Wireless Chargers

One of the best new features of the Galaxy S6 is the wireless charging. While most phones support either the Qi or PMA wireless charging standards, Samsung made the S6 support both. That means you can buy pretty much any wireless charger on the market and it will work with your device. Here are a few of our favorites.

Incipio Ghost 100

Incipio-Ghost-100

It’s no secret that we love Incipio products. They make a lot of great high-quality accessories for Android devices, including wireless chargers. The Ghost 100 is very compact and it has an indicator LED light that displays the status. [Amazon]

Incipio Ghost 210

Incipio-Ghost-210

The Ghost 210 has the same features of the Ghost 100, but it’s double the length so you can charge two devices at a time. [Incipio]

Tylt Vu

Tylt-Vu

The Tylt Vu has long been one of the best wireless chargers on the market. While most wireless chargers are simply flat “pads,” the Vu doubles as a stand. Your phone is propped up at a 45-degree angle while charging. It’s designed so you can place your phone in any position to charge. [Amazon]

Tylt Vu Solo

Tylt-Vu-Solo

The Vu Solo is a more traditional charging pad, but it’s much smaller, and it has a neat little trick. Tylt calls it the “Alignment Ledge,” which is essentially a little clip on the cable that you can set so you always put the phone in the perfect spot. [TYLT]

Best Galaxy S6 Fast Chargers

The Galaxy S6 is equipped with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, or “Fast Charging” as Samsung calls it. This technology allows you to charge your device to a usable level in a short amount of time. You can go from 10% to 50% in less than a half hour. Any Quick Charge 2.o charger will work with the Galaxy S6/Edge. Here are a few to check out.

Samsung Fast Charger

samsung-fast-charging

The charger that comes with the Galaxy S6/Edge is Quick Charge 2.0 capable. If you need another one you can buy one from Amazon, or check out the alternatives below.

Anker Quick Charger

anker quick

Anker is popular for making affordable tech accessories. The Quick Charger isn’t flashy, but it’s cheap and it gets the job done. [Amazon]

Aukey Turbo Charger

aukey turbo

The Aukey Turbo Charger is another affordable option. [Amazon]

Incipio Auto Charger

incipio auto

If you’re looking to get a fast charge while in your car the Incipio Auto Charger is your best bet. The one downside to this charger is it won’t charge quite as fast as a wall charger, but that is due to limitations with the power provided by cars. [Amazon]

Best Galaxy S6 Skins

A case is an easy way to customize the exterior of your device, but almost all cases add some bulk. If you’re more worried about looks than protection you should consider a skin. They provide tons of personalization without sacrificing the profile of your device.

dbrand

03black-leather-back

dbrand has been making skins for phones longer than most people have had smartphones. They use high-quality materials and offer an unrivaled level of precision. For the Galaxy S6 and Edge there are 18 colors/materials to choose from, and you can cover the front, back, and camera if you so choose. [Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge]

SlickWraps

slickwraps

SlickWraps is another long-time phone skin maker. They offer nearly 50 different colors, materials, and designs that you can put on your device. You can do the whole device or choose the front, back, or sides. [Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge]

Best Galaxy S6 Screen Protectors

gs6 screen

The Galaxy S6/Edge is equipped with Gorilla Glass 4 on the front (and back). It’s incredibly tough and scratch resistant, but some people still worry. Screen protectors can add another layer of protection if you’re really worried.

Flexion Ballistic Glass [Galaxy S6]

Spigen Full HD [Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge]

Skinomi TechSkin [Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge]

Skinomi Tech Glass [Galaxy S6]

Best Galaxy S6 Car Mounts

Standalone GPS units are a thing of the past. Nowadays everyone has a GPS device in their pockets. The only thing you need to make the perfect travel companion is a car mount.

Mountek nGroove

nGroove wants a hug wm

One of our long-time favorites is the Mountek nGroove. Most mounts require sticky pads or suction cups, but the nGroove uses the CD slot. Most people nowadays are streaming music from their phones, so why not put that CD slot to good use? [Amazon]

Tylt Vu

TYLT-VU-Charger-1

The Tylt Vu is a great charging stand, but it also comes in a car mount version. The awesome thing about the Vu car mount is it still wirelessly charges your phone while being mounted. Check out our full review. [TYLT]

Best Galaxy S6 SD Cards

Samsung Galaxy S6 OneDrive promo

Oh wait, Samsung removed the SD card slot in the Galaxy S6/Edge. How are you supposed to expand the storage of your phone now? The answer is cloud storage. Storing all your photos and videos in the cloud can be a little scary at first, but once you embrace it there are many benefits.

  1. Access your media from anywhere
  2. Automatic backup
  3. No more swapping SD cards
  4. More reliable

There are many great cloud storage services available. The Galaxy S6/Edge comes pre-loaded with two options: Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. If you haven’t used either one in the past you might want to give OneDrive a show. Galaxy S6/Edge owners get free 100GB of storage just for signing in on the device. Here are some other options if you’re not interested in Google Drive or OneDrive.

User Reviews on Android Forums

There are a boat load of users sharing their experiences with S6 accessories on the Galaxy S6 Forum  and Galaxy S6 Edge Forums forums at AndroidForums.com. You’ll find reviews from users just like you. Here are a few you might especially enjoy:

And hey – after you make your own purchase, how about returning to the forums and sharing your own experience?

***

The world of accessories is a vast one, especially with phones as popular as the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Hopefully we helped you uncover some of the best accessories available. What are some accessories that you use with your smartphone? Do you have any favorite accessory brands?

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Oppo R7 and Oppo R7 Plus officially unveiled with full metal unibody design http://phandroid.com/2015/05/20/oppo-r7-plus-official/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/20/oppo-r7-plus-official/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 13:05:41 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=165311 Oppo-R7-Plus

Oppo sat a bunch of us tech journos down in a nice Beijing hall earlier today and revealed what you see above — it’s the Oppo R7 and Oppo R7 Plus. These are perhaps the most compelling smartphones we’ve seen from Oppo yet as they’ve gone great lengths to ensure the devices’ premium status.

OPPO R7 chooses 2.5D curved screen

One of the ways they did that was by making them full metal unibody designs, which isn’t a feat unique to them but certainly an important distinction if they want major attention in 2015. Oppo is also using 2.5D curved glass to make for a natural curve at the edges of the device.

OPPO R7 main feature

So, what about the specs themselves? Here’s what you can expect from the base Oppo R7:

  • 5-inch AMOLED 1080p display
  • 1.5GHz 8-core Qualcomm chipset (MSM8939)
  • 2,320mAh battery with VOOC fast charging (non-removable)
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 13 megapixel rear camera, 8 megapixel front camera

The Plus variant shares much of the same specs, though the display size is bumped to 6 inches and there’s a bigger 4,100mAh battery inside. You’ll also get a bump in base storage to 32GB by opting for the bigger model.

OPPO R7 Plus main feature

We should also note that while the cameras enjoy the same megapixel count, the R7 uses a 3M2 sensor while the R7 Plus uses Sony’s IMX278 and has the added benefit of getting laser-assisted autofocus. We’re not sure if that’ll make a huge difference in terms of picture quality but we’ll certainly be looking to find out.

One other final difference worth noting is that the R7 launches with KitKat while the R7 Plus will come with Lollipop from the go. There shouldn’t be much reason to worry, though, as Oppo promises a full upgrade to Lollipop for the base R7 model down the line.

Unfortunately Oppo didn’t have much in the way of pricing and availability at the ready, but if they’re hoping to get this thing into the public’s eye before the summer smartphone wars heat up then we’re sure it won’t be long. Stay tuned for our continued coverage of the launch of the Oppo R7 live from Beijing, including hands-on and first impressions!

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Where does the LG G4 land in the Best Android Phone rankings? http://phandroid.com/2015/05/19/best-android-phones-may-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/19/best-android-phones-may-2015/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:57:37 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=165257 LG_G4_16

Our Best Android Phones rankings have been shifting a lot lately. In the last few months we’ve seen flagship phones from HTC, Samsung, and now LG. The shake-up continues with the release of the LG G4. The Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and HTC One M9 have been enjoying their time at the top, but it’s time for a change.

While the G4 still isn’t available for purchase, we’ve been able to get our hands on it. We gave it a 4/5 in our full review, but the more we play with it the more we like it. Alternatively, we gave the One M9 a slightly higher 4.25/5, but our feelings have gone slightly south since playing with other 2015 flagship phones. The one thing that remains the same is our love for the Galaxy S6. Samsung has hit it out of the park this year.

Head on over to the Best Android Phones list to see our rankings. The top of these rankings should hold steady until the next Nexus or Motorola device comes around. After you read our rankings let us know how you would rank the phones. Be sure to also visit the full phone guide to see the top upcoming and available Android phones.

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Samsung wants to steal Apple’s iPhone 6S thunder by announcing the Galaxy Note 5 in July [RUMOR] http://phandroid.com/2015/05/18/samsung-galaxy-note-5-july-rumor/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/18/samsung-galaxy-note-5-july-rumor/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 17:34:10 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=165168 Samsung logo DSC08657

Samsung typically waits until summer months come to a close to announce the latest Galaxy Note phone each year, but new rumors suggest they could be pushing the announcement and launch of the device much sooner. Korean outlet WhoWired claims to have knowledge of plans for Samsung to announce the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 in July, a full two months sooner than their usual launchpad of September’s IFA event in Berlin.

“Why,” do you ask? Well, Apple’s refreshed iPhone 6 — which should be called the iPhone 6S if history is anything to go by — will be out by then, and you can bet Samsung doesn’t want to give Apple a two month window to reveal and launch a new smartphone without having something of their own to show off.

The source suggests Samsung has already finalized specs for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, though there’s still no clear idea of what we can expect. We can at least expect it to one-up the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge as Samsung typically uses the Note series’ launches to introduce their latest ideas and innovations. If word of its impending announcement is true then it won’t be much longer before we’re let in on all the juicy details.

[via PhoneArena]

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Funny story, I left my DROID Turbo in the freezer overnight… [UPDATE] http://phandroid.com/2015/05/15/this-is-how-i-killed-my-motorola-droid-turbo/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/15/this-is-how-i-killed-my-motorola-droid-turbo/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 01:23:46 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=165142 Motorola DROID Turbo sad

I’d like to believe I have a pretty darn good track record when it comes to my Android devices. Some have taken a few spills, but never to the point where the glass was shattered or they were completely inoperable. This is after 10+ years of countless devices ranging from the original Sidekick to my currently daily driver, the Motorola DROID Turbo.

It all started yesterday when, in an attempt at kicking up the speed on the Turbo (which has yet to receive Lollipop), I decided to change the runtime from Dalvik to ART. I know, any performance gains were probably going to negligible, but it was tough using something as blazing fast as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge while at home (it doesn’t have actual service), only to return to the DROID Turbo when out and about. It sounds crazy, but the difference in raw speed was noticeable.

Anyhow, when a phone is on KitKat and you switch it from the default runtime to ART, the phone will have to optimize all the apps on your device. In fact, some devices will do this each and every time you reboot with a notification that “Android is upgrading…” The DROID Turbo is one of those devices.

Yesterday, some weird app caused my phone to freeze up and a reboot was necessary. With over 300 apps to “upgrade,” my phone started getting hot. Real hot. As I was grabbing some Dino Nuggets out the freezer to prepare an afternoon snack, I decided to set my now nuclear DROID Turbo in the freezer for a quick minute thinking it’d cool things down a bit. I figured I couldn’t possibly forget where I left it as I’d run into it again when placing my bag o’ nuggets back in the freezer. Yeah… that didn’t happen.

Motorola Droid Turbo wet

It wasn’t until the following day (today), that I began retracing my footsteps and remembered exactly where I left my phone: the mother freakin’ freezer. Upon pulling it out, the phone immediately began building up moisture — even frost — all around it. Underneath the glass, camera lens, pretty much everywhere. Not good.

As for right now, the old DROID Turbs is currently incubating inside a bowl of rice where it will remain for the foreseeable future. Just thought it was more or less a funny story, one that a few of you would get a kick out of. Have a great weekend, everyone!

UPDATE: It’s been 3 days now since the DROID Turbo has been sitting in a bowl of uncooked rice. I finally powered it on and… SUCCESS. The old rice trick worked. Now, I’m not sure if they phone will give me any problems down the line, but as it stands, it looks like it’s been fully revived. Thanks again for listening to my admittedly ridiculous story.

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Samsung starts teasing the Iron Man Galaxy S6 Edge on Twitter http://phandroid.com/2015/05/15/samsung-galaxy-s6-ironman/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/15/samsung-galaxy-s6-ironman/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 14:29:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=165090 galaxy s6 s6 edge ironman

So Samsung might not be looking to bring out an entire collection of Avengers-themed Samsung Galaxy S6 devices (they do have a fleet of cases coming), but we can at least expect an Iron Man Edition to launch. Previous rumors tipped us off to that much and the company confirmed it to Korean press, and now Samsung has started teasing it themselves.

Unfortunately the graphic doesn’t give any other hints, such as when it’s scheduled to arrive or how much it’ll cost. All we get is an ominous “coming soon” note, and a box with a glow bright enough to make any cat curious.

Iron Man edition Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

We’ve already gotten an idea of how a Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge would look draped in Iron Man colors thanks to the conceptual work of one enthusiastic designer. This may not be the design Samsung ends up going with, but it gives us a good idea of what to expect — and if it’s anything close to the aforementioned render we’d say there’s plenty to be excited about.

[via Twitter]

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In a strange turn of events, Verizon buys AOL for $4.4 billion http://phandroid.com/2015/05/12/verizon-buys-aol/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/12/verizon-buys-aol/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 13:02:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164886 AOL_promotional_CDs_in_Canada

We’re not sure why Verizon would want to buy a company that was once considered a dial-up king and has since turned into a multimedia conglomerate, but they did. Verizon and AOL have entered into an agreement for the former to buy the latter for a whopping $4.4 billion.

We may joke about being surprised AOL exists and fall back on our nostalgia of “You’ve Got Mail”, instant messages and late night chat rooms, but AOL is still a significantly relevant company in today’s internet. The company commands the likes of TechCrunch, the Huffington Post, Engadget and Joystiq — in case you haven’t realized, these are some of the biggest names in online media, and the entire lot of them combine to drive over $600 million annually.

With Verizon, AOL hopes to strengthen their already potent video, news and advertising platform to drive company growth to new heights. Perhaps not the same heights they enjoyed during the good ol’ dial-up days, mind you, but potent enough for them to be able to pay the bills and then some.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong made remarks about the acquisition in an internal letter to employees obtained by The Verge. Thankfully none of the fine folks associated with the company will have to worry about losing any jobs. In fact, he expects a vast majority of the company’s employees will see better benefits and compensation than they ever have. He also gave a quick spiel on how the deal would help both them and Verizon in the future:tim armstrong

The decision to enter into an agreement with Verizon was made over a long and thoughtful time period and both companies see significant opportunity to service consumers and customers in a differentiated and exciting way.

On a personal level, the decision to go forward with an agreement was predicated on giving our talent the best opportunity to build a multi-decade business that would be deeply growth oriented and aimed directly at the platform shift that video and mobile are offering the world – today and 20 years from now.

We can’t argue with that. Verizon is as well-positioned as anyone to capitalize on a world that’s going increasingly mobile, and adding AOL to their ranks will give them solid footing to tackle this new age of internet going forward. AOL will remain as its own entity as a division of Verizon and run its current properties and business as they always have. They will also take the reigns on managing and evolving Verizon’s existing video and multimedia properties such as NFL Mobile.

It’ll be a while yet before we see tangible results of the joining of these two companies, but there’s no reason to suggest it won’t bring anything but goodness from both sides.

[via CNN]

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Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: How to stop text messages from displaying a preview in the notification bar http://phandroid.com/2015/05/11/samsung-galaxy-s6-stop-text-messages-from-displaying-preview-in-notification-bar/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/11/samsung-galaxy-s6-stop-text-messages-from-displaying-preview-in-notification-bar/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 20:48:20 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164829 Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09327

There’s nothing more embarrassing than receiving an inappropriate text message while your boss is going over the company’s latest expense reports. Whether it’s a meme or just a “sensitive” topic of discussion, some things are better left not blasted all over your phone, especially in a professional work environment or church setting.

Samsung Galaxy S6 popup notification messages ticker

On the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, receiving text messages through the default Messages app will display its contents on your lock screen, in a popup message, and inside your notification bar via ticker. Pretty much all over your phone. While this can be convenient, it leaves the contents of your messages in plain view during times when you may not want them to be.

Because some of Android’s newer users may have difficulty finding an easy fix, we’ve decided to give you the full rundown on a few solutions with some help from our friends at AndroidForums.com. Check it out.

Turn off the Pop-up display (Easy)

Samsung Galaxy S6 turn off popup messages

If it’s only the popup messages from the Messages app that are posing a problem, you can easily turn them off in the stock app’s settings. Simply open the Messages app and select “More” in the upper right corner. From there select Settings, Notifications, and Pop-up display to turn off the popup.

Keep in mind that while this will turn off the popup message from displaying while you are in other apps or watching full-screen video, it wont do anything to stop your messages and all their contents from being displayed in the lock screen or the notification bar. Don’t worry, we’ll tackle those next.

Turn of all lock screen notifications (Overkill)

Samsung Galaxy S6 lock screen notifications

When dealing with the lock screen, it’s possible to disable all notifications from appearing on there. This may sound perfectly fine to some of you, but for others this overkill as you will no longer see notifications from any of your other apps as well (Facebook, Email, Hangouts, Snapchat, etc.).

If you’re okay with that, simply open your Galaxy S6’s Settings app (it’s the gear icon in the upper right corner after pulling down the notification shade), scroll down to Sounds and Notifications, then Notifications on the lock screen and select Do not show notifications. Simple as that.

Use a 3rd party app to hide all content inside text messages (Best)

Samsung Galaxy S6 text messages notification bar Chomp SMS

The easiest — and best way — to stop text messages from showing a preview of its content on your device (lock screen and in the notification bar) is to simply download one of the many 3rd party apps found in the Google Play Store. There are plenty to choose from, but Chomp SMS is one of our personal favorites as it features a handy option to hide content from displaying in the notification bar and lock screen, but still notify you when a message is received.

Simply download the free application from the Google Play Store and upon opening the app, you’ll see the option to “MAKE DEFAULT APP” along the top. Tap it, and a popup dialog will ask if you’d like to set Chomp as your default messaging app. Select yes, then go to Settings > Notifications > Show Ticker and un-select it.

Now, whenever you receive a new text message, Chomp will only display an an icon in the notification area — not the ticker with the entire message contents. Why every messaging app doesn’t have this option is beyond us. You can find a link to Chomp SMS via the widget down below. Enjoy.

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LG G4 Review http://phandroid.com/2015/05/08/lg-g4-review/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/08/lg-g4-review/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 18:14:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164585 LG_G4_5

LG has issued its response to the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 in the form of the LG G4, a phone that sees efforts focused on the features that most impact everyday use. While the phone ultimately feels a bit too familiar to last year’s LG G3, the G4 holds serve with its 2015 counterparts and offers compelling improvements in the areas of design, display, and camera.

Design

With the G4, LG intended to eschew the rectangular shape we have come to expect from smartphones, carrying over elements of the curved design of the far more ambitious G Flex 2. It’s far more subtle here, however, and the G4 lacks the flexible OLED display.

LG_G4_18 LG_G4_16 LG_G4_9 LG_G4_3 LG_G4_6 LG_G4_8

The shape of the device does not call attention to itself, but it won’t go unnoticed. The phone is ergonomic in hand despite its measurements —5.86 x 3.00 x 0.39 inches — and the curve adds a nice aesthetic quality. The G4 most definitely borders on the phablet designation, and even those with long thumbs will likely have a hard time reaching all corners of the screen. Depending on the app or situation, the G4 is often difficult to operate with one hand, a trade-off any phablet user should be well aware of.

LG does address this reachability issue to some extent with their unique home button/volume rocker arrangement found on the rear of the device. First introduced with the G2 and honed with the G3, the button placement does take some getting used to for the uninitiated. After your brain is trained it seems rather natural. You might even wonder why all smartphones haven’t be using this design for years.

lg g4 colors 2

Adding to the phone’s visual appeal are a variety of finish options, including leather, ceramic, or a more traditional metal/plastic hybrid. The model we tested featured the latter, perhaps the most underwhelming of the bunch. Ceramic has the feel of a premium material and promises good durability, but leather with stitched accents seems to be the look LG wants the G4 to be know for. We’ve seen other manufacturers experiment with the idea, from simulated and faux leather to the real thing, but LG really pulls it off here in a selection of colors.

A removable backplate means users can swap from one to another to change the look of their G4 on the fly, and LG has plans to sell all options separately. That should be appealing to consumers with personalization on the mind, and means buyers won’t feel any regret over the version of the device they initially choose.

Display

LG_G4_10

LG has opted to stand pat with a 5.5-inch QHD display, the same size and resolution as the display featured on last year’s G3. Our initial reaction in many ways was similar to the experience with that phone, but LG has made improvements that do make a meaningful impact.

LG touts improved IPS Quantum technology, and the G4’s 500 nit display indeed stands out as one of the brightest we have ever seen on a smartphone (said to be 25% brighter than previous QHD displays). There have also been enhancements in terms of color reproduction over the G3 with a 20% wider range of color and 50% increase in contrast ratio (1,500:1) from last year’s model.

What you can expect are colors that pop and hues that are more true to life in comparison to technology like the Super AMOLED displays Samsung has come to rely on. The tones generated by the G4’s display are more representative of what the eye sees in nature, but often images can seem a little washed out. Some depth seems to be lost in the brightness.

Our perception might be somewhat skewed after too much time with the almost cartoonishly vibrant displays of Samsung’s Galaxy line, but if your preference is for such exaggerated imagery you could potentially view the G4’s display as a let down. We don’t. It’s display that is easily viewable even outdoors on a bright and sunny day, and it offers sharp, clear images on par with other Android flagships.

Hardware and Performance

The LG G4 features an interesting mix of hardware being the only 2015 flagship device so far to employ Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 processor, a hexa-core SoC comprised of a dual-core ARM A57 CPU paired with a quad-core ARM A53, which offers 64-bit support. Graphics processing is handled by an Adreno 418 GPU, and the processing suite is paired with 3GB of RAM.

In comparison, both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 take advantage of quad-core processing with an Exynos 7420 and Snapdragon 810, respectively. Even the predecessor G Flex 2 from earlier this year sports the 810 chipset, leaving some to wonder if the G4 is a step back in terms of processing.

LG_G4_Benchmark2 LG_G4_Benchmark1 LG_G4_Benchmark3

Benchmark scores reproduced here indeed suggest the phone underperforms when pitted against the competition, but a string of somewhat arbitrary numbers doesn’t tell the full story. LG and Qualcomm made it a point to discuss how closely they worked to optimize the Snapdragon 808 for use in the G4, the result being a device that should still perform well despite hardware with a little less sizzle.

Real-world performance was as it should be with no noticeable lag when navigating software and launching apps. Launching the camera and snapping off a few photos took mere seconds, cycling between apps was effortless, and the G4 deftly handled the demands of graphics-intensive gaming.

Though the G4 includes 32GB of onboard storage, fans of expandable memory will be glad to know the LG has not abandoned MicroSD support. Extra removable storage is especially useful for those wishing to take advantage of the 16MP camera’s RAW image capabilities.

Camera

LG has gone all out with the G4’s camera, utilizing hardware that really starts to blur the line between smartphone photography and something more akin to what we might see from a DSLR. It starts with an f/1.8 aperture and super-sized 1/2.6″ image sensor. These combine to offer a camera that excels in nearly any lighting condition, including those dreaded lowlight situations. LG didn’t stop there, though. They have also included a color spectrum sensor that works to bring out the most lifelike colors in the images it captures. For good measure the laser autofocus of the G3 returns, offering speedy refocusing for subjects in close range.

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The results speak for themselves. The G4 offers up finely detailed shots with little fuss, and strikes a fairly even balance of color, light, and shadow. The camera’s ability in poorly-lit environs was indeed impressive, though you should expect these shots to still lack a certain quality found in more ideally illuminated pictures.

In general, the G4’s auto mode churns out impressive images on its own, but a retooled camera interface gives photographers the tools they need to adjust shooting parameters on the fly with its manual mode. Focus, exposure, ISO, white balance, and more can be dialed in to the perfect amount. Within manual mode, one tap enables the ability to save images in RAW format (an uncompressed file offering more data and detail) for later editing and processing.

Software

LG_G4_14

The camera isn’t the only software that gets an update with the G4. LG has further improved the look and feel of their user experience over the G3, giving us an interface that stays quite true to the Material Design roots of the Android 5.1 Lollipop OS that ships with the device. Colors are bright and fun while icons and interface elements take on a flat, paper-inspired look.

The most prominent addition is Smart Bulletin — a homescreen pane showcasing a series of widgets like LG Health, the music player, and calendar. It is accessed by swiping to the far right (the same place you might find Samsung’s Briefing pane or HTC’s BlinkFeed). The idea is nice, and there is some use in quickly accessing certain widgets, but in this iteration Smart Bulletin feels a little half-baked.

LG_G4_13

LG has also introduced a new feature within the calendar dubbed Event Pocket. When opened, Event Pocket will present a variety of items culled from your Facebook events or nearby points of interest, allowing you to drag and drop them directly to your calendar. For those managing an endlessly busy schedule, Event Pocket could become a useful tool.

Beyond these additions, the G4 also includes an improved Smart Notice widget that incorporates data like weather, location, and stored events to offer predictive suggestions, tips, and more, much like what we expect from Google Now. As we said with our G3 review, Google Now remains a superior alternative.

Speaking of Google Now, the great thing about the G4 is that its interface is relatively unobtrusive and allows much of what we love about Lollipop to shine through. LG’s user interface changes strike a good balance with stock Android.

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Battery

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While the battery capacity hasn’t increased since the G3, battery life is improved thanks to optimization spanning software and the phones Snapdragon 808 processor. How much things have improved is a matter of debate.

It’s safe to say you will get a solid day of use from the G4 dependent on usage habits. 12-14 hours of uptime seems to be a reasonable expectation with an average gauntlet of messaging, web surfing, light gaming, and some video consumption. With even more spare usage you might push into a second day before needing to recharge, but this would be a rare case for most users. Standard Android battery saver modes can be set to kick on when power runs low in order to shut down unnecessary services that speed battery drain.

A removable battery is convenient for power hogs who need the security of a backup, but the G4 lacks built-in wireless charging, a feature found in the Galaxy S6 and starting to see a surge in popularity. Is it a deal breaker? No, but it’s the little things that count.

Conclusion

LG_G4_6

Taken individually, features like the camera, display, and design of the G4 are quite impressive, if not tops among it smartphone peers. As a package, however, there still seems to be something missing from the overall presentation. Something feels a bit underwhelming, though it’s difficult to place a finger on.

Perhaps the G4 does not feel like a big enough leap from last year’s G3. Maybe it’s a fingerprint sensor away from feeling complete. While there is this sense that LG could have pushed harder, it is also difficult to find much to complain about with what the G4 ultimately presents: a phone worthy of consideration as one of the best to launch in 2015 so far, though perhaps not THE best.

The Good

  • Near-DSLR quality camera with advanced shooting options
  • Big, bright, and beautiful QHD display
  • Subtle design accents that add form to function

The Bad

  • Battery life is average and improves little from last generation
  • Snapdragon 808 processing performs well but lags behind other current flagships

The Bottom Line: 4/5

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Chinese analyst: Huawei-made Nexus will have 5.7-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 810 http://phandroid.com/2015/05/08/huawei-nexus-specs/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/08/huawei-nexus-specs/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 14:47:18 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164734 Nexus_2015

While we’ve been dreaming of what a Huawei-made Nexus could look like, one Chinese analyst claims to already know some hard details of the supposed device. Pan Jiutang — who has a pretty good track record when it comes to uncovering the details of Chinese OEMs’ plans — claims on Weibo that Huawei is indeed the maker of the next Nexus smartphone.

The analyst had more than just confirmation of its existence, though. The device will apparently sport a 5.7-inch Quad-HD display and be equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810.

That sounds about par for the course for a smartphone in 2015, though that spec sheet isn’t nearly long enough to satisfy our appetite. We’d expect the next big Nexus smartphone to be compatible with Google’s Project Fi at the least, and we can always expect it to be the catalyst for ushering in the next major version of Android (which recently leaked details revealed might be introduced at Google IO).

[via G for Games]

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The full Google I/O 2015 schedule is now live, includes a 2.5-hour Day 1 keynote + hints of Android M http://phandroid.com/2015/05/06/google-io-2015-schedule/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/06/google-io-2015-schedule/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 19:01:10 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164621 Google IO 2015 thumb

Google has released the full schedule for Google I/O 2015. It takes place May 28th through May 29th, as we’ve previously known, and the festivities will kick off with a whopping 2.5-hour keynote speech. That seems like a lot, but it’s important to remember that Google I/O used to be a 3-day event and Google would split keynotes between the first two days.

Regardless, they’ll be sure to have a lot to talk about as they always do. What are we expecting? There are no crazy predictions to be had just yet, but we can think of a few:

  • More details about Project Fi and the future of Google’s wireless carrier experiment
  • A focus on the connected home and Internet of Things.
  • New features for upcoming versions of both Android and Chrome OS — we’re not necessarily expecting a huge Lollipop-esque update to be ready for some massive showing but Google will definitely want to give us a sneak peak at what they’re looking to introduce at some point in the near future. (Note: Google’s “Android at Work” session made mention of Android M, but the schedule has since been updated to remove it.)
  • More details about the future of Google Glass? That would be ideal, especially since they’re sick of everyone proclaiming Glass is dead.
  • New Android Wear goods to show, possibly including new product types.
  • Free stuff for attendees, because history.
  • Awesomeness, fun and excitement aplenty.

And, you know, your typical geeky developer sessions to help attendees understand what goes into developing for Android, Chrome and the mobile web. Phandroid will be right there in San Francisco to see it all go down so keep that in mind if you’re yearning for coverage once the day arrives. Be sure to check out the full schedule details right here.

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Watch these 12 tips for every new Galaxy S6 owner [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/05/06/samsung-galaxy-s6-tips-video/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/06/samsung-galaxy-s6-tips-video/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 15:03:08 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164586 When you get a new phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S6, there are a bunch of things you should do first. Some of the things are obvious, but others you may have overlooked. At the launch of the Galaxy S6 we wrote about 13 things every Galaxy S6 owner should do, and now we’re back with a video version of the list. Below you will find 12 things in about 7 minutes that you should do right now.

Read the full step-by-step instructions:
13 things every Samsung Galaxy S6 owner should do

Keep in mind that all of these things will also work on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. If you have the Edge you’ll also want to check out our guide (and video) for all the special Edge Screen features. Whether you have the regular Galaxy S6, or the fancy Galaxy S6 Edge, we’ve got you covered.

Check the list below for even more Galaxy S6 resources:

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10 things every Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge owner should do [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/05/05/every-galaxy-s6-edge-owner-should-know/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/05/every-galaxy-s6-edge-owner-should-know/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 19:10:44 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164539 When the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge launched we posted 10 tips every Galaxy S6 Edge owner should know. This guide was in addition to the 50+ Samsung Galaxy S6 tips and tricks, but with a focus on the Edge Screen features. Now we’re back with a video version of these essential tips. If you own a Galaxy S6 you need to watch this video.

For the full step-by-step instructions:
10 Tips every Galaxy S6 Edge owner should know

If you’re looking for even more tips and tricks be sure to read the guide for the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S6 Edge can do everything the regular Galaxy S6 can do, but not vice versa. Be sure to share any of your own personal tips and tricks for the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Check out the list below for even more Galaxy S6/Edge resources:

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This is Google+ Collections: a better way to manage your social stream http://phandroid.com/2015/05/04/google-plus-collections-organize-social/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/04/google-plus-collections-organize-social/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 17:32:57 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164040 Google_Plus_Collections_Intro

Today, Google launched one of the best features to come to Google+ since the network’s launch nearly 4 years ago. It’s called Google+ Collections. This latest feature allows for content creators to manage and organize their posts in a very powerful manner and allows users of Google+ to only subscribe to the content that they wish to see in their own social stream.

Collections are what Google+ should have been in the beginning. Google touted Google+ circles as the new and best way to organize our social network. Though, it quickly became evident that Circles were more about organizing people and not so much about organizing the content that those people post.Google_Plus_Collections_Your_Collections

For example, if a Google+ user loves to drink craft beer, you might put them in a craft beer circle. However, maybe they rarely post about craft beer and are often posting about technology. Since you circled this person, you’d see all of their posts, including the technology focused ones that you might not really be interested in seeing. Maybe you only cared about their rare craft beer posts? So, you’re left with a decision. Do you circle this person and see everything that they post and sift through the noise, looking for something that you actually care about or do you try to reduce your social clutter and not circle them altogether? A lot of people avoided Google+ because of this potentially spammy nature. Google has fixed this problem with their platform, and it’s wonderful.Google_Plus_Collections_2You’ll find the new collections feature located on the Google+ navigation bar as well as users profile pages. If you select the collections heading from the navigation bar or select collections from your own profile, you’ll be taken to a list of your collections and also be given the option to create new collections. If you’re visiting another user’s profile, you’ll have the option to view and subscribe to their collections, which we’ll get into later.Google_Plus_Collections_6Think of collections as categories on a blog or simply a collection of similar posts. When you’re ready to create your first collection, you have the option of making that collection visible to the entire public, only your Google+ circles, yourself, or a customized option which might include one or more specific circles. For example, if you wanted to post family photos to a family collection that was only visible by your family, you’d create a Google+ circle with your family members and then create a collection that’s only visible to your family circle. You can even create a private bookmark collection for saving posts you’d like to read later if you’d like.

After you’ve decided on the type of collection you’d like to create, you’ll need to select a cover image and a border color. Google+ provides a handful of stock photography to choose from or you may pick one of your own.Google_Plus_Collections_4Now that your new collection is created, you’re ready to start filling the collection with content so that you can organize your posts and so that your followers can easily find what they’re looking for. For example, I have a collection for all of my Android posts as shown below.

Google_Plus_Collections_11While you won’t be able to change a collection’s visibility from private to public or vice-versa once you’ve created it, you can still edit the name of the collection as well as change the collection subscription method. By default, anyone that circles you on Google+ will automatically follow your newly created collection, depending on the collection’s privacy settings of course.Google_Plus_Collections_5So, you have a brand new collection and you’d like to fill it with content, what do you do? By visiting your Google+ profile page, you can select the downward pointing menu arrow on individual posts and move those existing posts to a collection. Google_Plus_Collections_8

Google_Plus_Collections_7You can also move posts directly from your stream into any of your collections. The move button is an easy to find drop down menu located directly beside the share arrow.

Google_Plus_Collections_Share

You don’t have to move all of your old posts if you don’t want to spend the time doing so. Depending on how often you post and how ambitious you are, the above can be a daunting task. Thankfully, you can easily create new posts and send them directly to a collection as shown below. All of your collections will show up in the To: field’s drop down menu alongside your circles and communities.
Google_Plus_Collections_9

It’s important to mention that you do have the option to share your own posts into collections. While this seems like a quick way to move your own posts into a collection with a share, it’s not the best method as you’ll be sharing old posts with all of your followers as you populate the collection. It’s best to use the move method as outlined above so old posts do not show up in the stream.

Now that you know how to create new collections on Google+ and how to move existing posts into collections, what about subscribing to collections to reduce the clutter or noise in your own stream? You have a few options and all of them are quite simple. As mentioned above, just visit the profile page of a Google+ user to view their collections, checking out the list of featured collections, viewing the collections from your existing circles, or click on a collection name if one happens to pop up in your stream as pictured below. You’ll notice the heading of a Google+ post that’s part of a collection contains an new icon as well as the collection name. Once you’re viewing the collection you’d like to subscribe to, just click on the follow button and you’re all set.Google_Plus_Collections_HeadingCollections is one of the best features to come to any social network in recent times, because of the sheer amount of manageability and control offered to users on both sides of the stream. This powerful feature should completely change the way people experience Google+, and hopefully thwart those ridiculous Google+ is dead rumors.

Have you setup any noteworthy collections? Let us know in the comments and we’ll check’em out.

Please note: The above was written showing mainly desktop screenshots and from the desktop perspective.  Here is what collections looks like in the Android app that’s now rolling out to everyone.

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Watch 40 Samsung Galaxy S6 tips & tricks in 12 minutes [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/05/04/galaxy-s6-tips-and-tricks-video/ http://phandroid.com/2015/05/04/galaxy-s6-tips-and-tricks-video/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 16:06:44 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164456 A few weeks ago we posted our massive collection of over 50 tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy S6. It’s a great resource for anyone who has a Galaxy S6, but we recognize that some people prefer to see things done in video form. So, to go along with our original list, we’ve created a video to show off 40 of the best tips and tricks in just under 12 minutes. Fasten your seat-belts.

For the full step-by-step instructions: read the complete Galaxy S6 Tips article.

Keep in mind that all of these tips and tricks will also work with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and we have a special guide for all the Edge Screen features, too.

Check the list below for even more Galaxy S6 resources.

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