Phandroid » Handsets Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:41:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hands-on with Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 Edge cases Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:30:16 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 flip case open DSC08607

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge offers a unique new form factor, so it goes without saying we will see some interesting cases for the new flagship. Samsung will offer a few options out of the gate, including a new take on their S-View flip cover case as well as a lightweight plastic shell case.

The updated flip case features a translucent front providing a full-frontal view of the S6 display. Just as with previous Samsung flip covers, the phone can detect when the case is shut and displays a power-friendly clock and notification widget for at-a-glance updates. Lifting the cover will launch directly into your Galaxy S6 homescreen (provided you don’t have a screen lock enabled).

The case is curved to match the phone’s display and snaps snugly to the rear to offer 360 degrees of protection. We missed the presence of a magnetic clasp or other secure closure mechanism. The flip cover has a tendency to flap around freely otherwise.

Samsung Galaxy S6 cases DSC08597

Samsung’s other case option for the S6 Edge is more or less the rear of the folio case without its flipping front — that is, a standard plastic shell case that snaps on over the rear of the device. The minimalist cases offer basic protection while showcasing the design of the device.

Samsung’s snap-on rear cases are transparent while the S6 Edge folio case is available in a selection of colors to match those of the Galaxy S6. All should be available at launch.

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Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6: camera sample comparison Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:45:03 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC08468

We’ve already seen how the Samsung Galaxy S6 compares to the iPhone 6 in terms of its physical attributes, but we wanted to get an even better idea of how the two devices stacked up in terms of performance. Using what we had on hand, we put the camera of each phone to the test.

[In all subsequent test images, the Galaxy S6 appears first followed by the iPhone 6. Click to make each larger.]



The immediate takeaway? There is definitely a difference in default white balance for the two. You can decide for yourself, but the iPhone 6 certainly has a more natural-looking color profile. The whites captured by the GS6 take on a off-white, almost yellow hue.

Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo11-DSLR Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo11-DSLR-IPHONEVERSION



The Galaxy S6 on the whole seems to produce images that are slightly darker than its iPhone counterpart, a quality that is very apparent given the shooting conditions we had (lots of bright lighting, a tony of shiny/reflective white surfaces). The impression is that the iPhone 6 camera is a bit more effortless than the Galaxy S6 when it comes to point-and-shoot photography. For the S6, getting the perfect shot will likely take a bit more fiddling around with settings and scene.



One area where the S6’s camera excels is resolution. The phone’s 16MP shooter provides clarity beyond the iPhone’s sensor at close zoom levels. You can see a comparison in the two images above.



Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo5-Selfie Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo5-Selfie-IPHONEVERSION

The Galaxy S6 clearly offered the better front facing camera, as seen in the side-by-side photos above. Strangely, the selfie cam didn’t seem as plagued by white balance issues, and it offers photos of superbly higher resolution and clarity than that of the iPhone. Compare to the images of Chris’ mug just prior to the front-facing shots. Captured with the rear camera, they give a good comparison of how the skin tone and other colors look across the two devices and their multiple camera sensors.

Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo7-LowlightCabinet Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo7-LowlightCabinet-IPHONEVERSION

Above is the best we could get to replicating lowlight conditions at Samsung’s demo stations (we tucked the above Android pins into a cabinet). As you can see, this was far from the darkest of shooting conditions, but the iPhone 6 (right) was a bit more up to the task than the Galaxy S6.

The final photographic results are important, but there are other things that go into making a smartphone camera unique or useful. As with previous releases, Samsung offer far more robust camera software than Apple, giving users a plethora of options. The scene settings and other tweaks add flexibility to the GS6 that isn’t really present with the iPhone 6 (though Apple has slowly been beefing up the software side of their camera in recent releases). The Galaxy S6 also promises super fast shooting with a camera app that Samsung claims can be launched in 0.7 seconds after double-tapping the phone’s home button.

A camera’s performance often comes down to how you use it, so mileage will always vary. While we think it’s pretty clear that Apple’s phone plays nicer with lighting and gives us photos with truer whites, it can’t match the clarity or versatility of the Galaxy S6. Check out more camera samples below.



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Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo6-GearVR Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo6-GearVR-IPHONEVERSION



Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo9-SelfieChris Galaxy-S6-vs-iPhone6-Photo9-SelfieChris-IPHONEVERSION
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Samsung introduces new version of the Gear VR fit for Samsung Galaxy S6 + Edge Sun, 01 Mar 2015 20:31:49 +0000 samsung gear vr for s6 s6 edge

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 owners won’t be the only ones who can get in on the virtual reality fun. Samsung announced a new edition of the Samsung Gear VR made especially for the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.

It’s the same headset, essentially — you put it on your face, drop your phone in and take in a horde of content in virtual reality — but this one will hold the company’s latest flagships instead of yesteryear’s phablet. Pricing is expected to be similar so try to set aside $200 if you’re interested. If that’s too rich for you, well, it should still work perfectly fine inside of something like Google Cardboard.

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Samsung Pay aims to do what other wireless payment platforms can’t Sun, 01 Mar 2015 19:53:53 +0000 samsung wireless payment

During the announcement event for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, the South Korean giant introduced a new payment platform to take on Apple and Google.

It’s called Samsung Pay — based on the recently acquired LoopPay — and it will use the NFC + Magnetic Secure Transmission chips found inside the company’s latest smartphones to facilitate wireless transactions with a great deal of pre-existing point-of-sale terminals. Samsung’s chip will allow their payment service to be compatible with more merchants and banking institutions than any other single service. Here are just a few of the partners they’ve gotten on board on the banking side:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Citi
  • Chase
  • U.S. Bank

Not too shabby a list there.

They’ve taken a lot of pride in the strides made in areas of security, as well. The company has incorporated new elements into Samsung KNOX that will serve as the backbone of the secure payment platform.

The use of temporary tokens makes it so that your hard credit card information is not mishandled by whichever merchants you do business with, and your information doesn’t get saved to your device which would make it hard for any thieving no-gooders to somehow snag your credit card information from your phone.

It all sounds very promising, but we’ll have to wait until the service launches before seeing just how much potential Samsung has to impact the wireless payments scene.

The first markets to receive it will be South Korea and the United States this summer, with Samsung looking to extend into parts of Asia and EU before too long. Anyone with a Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge will be able to give it a go once it hits their market.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge release dates confirmed for April 10th Sun, 01 Mar 2015 18:31:54 +0000 Discussion: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge


In case you didn’t catch it during the live stream or our post chock full of info, Samsung has already spilled the beans on the exact release date for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. April 10th is the big day, and Samsung says to expect a rollout of global magnitude on that very day.

It’s hard to imagine Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon in the US would deny offering either of these devices so there shouldn’t be any need to do any carrier hopping to get this phone. We imagine that will also be the case for the major carriers in other countries and markets.

Pricing will likely vary from region to region and carrier to carrier so Samsung has yet to release any details about that. We do know you’ll be able to get it in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options, though, so pricing will definitely depend on how much space you need. We’ll look to provide more detailed availability information once it comes to light.

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Official: This is the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:43:06 +0000 Discussion: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6

From one big announcement to the next — Samsung has officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, their 2015 flagship smartphones. The devices are just as we’d imagined them (or just as we saw them in countless leaks, anyway).

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge specs

They’re quite similar under the hood with the following quick list of specs:

  • 14nm 64-bit Exynos 7 Octa chipset
  • 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32GB, 64GB or 128GB UFS 2.0 storage options
  • 16 megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, 5 megapixel front camera with real-time HDR
  • 5.1-inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED display (577 ppi)
  • Dual-mode wireless charging with support for both WPC and PMA charging pads
  • 10 minutes charging for 4 hours of use, 0% to 100% battery in half the time it takes an iPhone to charge
  • NFC, heart-rate sensor and improved fingerprint scanner
  • Depth: 6.8mm/7.0mm edge
  • Weight: 138g/132g edge

The difference will obviously come with the Edge display of the latter. Through software, it’ll enable unique experiences that only an Edge display can provide.


Both devices look stunning, to boot. They’re built with a metal chassis that’s 50% stronger than the metal used in competing smartphones, and is slathered in the latest Gorilla Glass on both the front and rear. It looks and feels like Samsung, but it’s hard to say their devices have ever looked quite this good.

TouchWiz on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

One new feature is the ability to set up your “fave 5″ contacts with their own designated color, and the S6 Edge’s display will glow in that color whenever they call or send you a message. You can drag that contact’s color from the Edge of the display to act on that message or missed call.


If it’s laying face down on a surface? You’ll be able to see the glow of that contact’s color, and a touch of the heart-rate sensor on the back and send off a quick message to dismiss the call or message in case you can’t respond right away.

The two share everything else in terms of features. TouchWiz is still TouchWiz — no Nexus-like debloat job here — but they’ve refined it to be less confusing and cluttered. They’ve done away with cryptic icons for text-based interface options to make it clear what you’re able to do. They make good use of white space just as Google has asked folks to for Android 5.0 and higher.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge camera

Megapixels alone aren’t impressive, and Samsung knows that. That’s why they weren’t insecure about not being able to match HTC’s 20.7 megapixel sensor or some other ridiculous spec.

What does matter is picture quality, and thanks to both the front and rear camera’s f/1.9 aperture the device is able to capture 60% more light. It should make for much better low light performance for both still shots and video, as well as an overall more versatile sensor for everyday use. Real-time HDR — an industry first — is also present for both the front and rear sensor, as well.

The camera software hasn’t gotten a million new selfie modes and other nonsense, but it has been cleaned up to make it easier to get to the options you need. That seems to be the theme here — nothing crazy, just much improved.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge availability

Samsung has already announced a release date for this thing — April 10th, worldwide. You can expect all major carriers in whichever country you live to offer the thing so you won’t have to worry about jumping from your network of choice. There will be 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options available, though pricing for each model has yet to be confirmed.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

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We’re live from the Samsung Galaxy S6 (and Edge) event, here’s where to watch live! Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:25:30 +0000 samsung whats next mwc galaxy s6

We’ve zoomed from HTC and are now sitting at Samsung’s shindig in Barcelona this week. We’re expecting the company to unveil the Samsung Galaxy S6, and we’re likely to see an “Edge” variant with a display that curves on both sides.

Anything else Samsung is announcing will be quite the surprise as there hasn’t been anything else in the rumor mill other than the goliaths mentioned above. We’ll be bringing you all the info you need, but if you care to watch along you can do so using the YouTube embed above.

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HTC has officially unveiled the HTC One M9 Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:14:14 +0000 Talk about the HTC One M9 at!

htc one m9 announcement 2

It’s finally happened, folks — HTC has officially unveiled the HTC One M9. What you see here is what you’re going to get this year, which is a refined design based on the HTC One M7 and HTC One M8.

HTC One M9 Specs

The HTC One M9’s specs are as we’ve always known:

  • 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset
  • 5-inch Super LCD3 1080p display
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with microSD
  • 20 megapixel rear camera, 4 megapixel (UltraPixel) front camera
  • GPS, WiFi AC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 4G LTE
  • 5.68 x 2.73 x 0.38 inches, 4.96 ounces
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense

Nothing crazy, nothing huge, but solid all around. The most significant jumps are in areas of camera, RAM and chipset — those were bumped from 4 megapixels (UltraPixel) to 20 megapixels, 2GB to 3GB, and a Snapdragon 801 Quad-Core to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 octa-core, respectively.

HTC One M9 features

BoomSound speakers on the HTC One M9 enjoy the same design, but a new partnership with Bose will bring “5.1 channel” surround sound. It likely isn’t true “surround” sound, but its stereo speakers should do well enough to emulate that unidirectional audio experience.


HTC didn’t have much to show on the software side of things, but they did reveal a new contextual home-screen experience that can attempt to predict which apps you need depending on location and time of day, and even suggest new ones that you haven’t downloaded.

HTC One M9 Dot View case

Making a return this year is the HTC Dot View case for the HTC One M9, and boy is it looking good. Alongside basic functionality of showing info about weather, time and incoming calls and notifications, you can customize Dot View with your own pictures and text, play games and do more great things that weren’t previously possible.

htc one m9 dot view

Many of these ideas were already made possible on the HTC One M8 thanks to the development community so it’s great to see HTC embrace that and bring a new level of customization for those who crave it.

HTC One M9 Pricing and Availability

The HTC One M9 will be available from mid-March in the EMEA, Asia Pacific, EU and North America, and will be available in Gun Metal Gray, Silver + Gold, and Pink. Expect it to cost $650 off contract here in the United States, with standard contract pricing likely to be in the $200 ballpark.

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We’re live at the HTC One M9 event at Mobile World Congress, here’s where you can watch! Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:37:35 +0000 htc event pic

Just a quick heads-up, folks: we’re live at Mobile World Congress, and it all begins with HTC’s “Utopia in Progress” event starting at 10AM Eastern. Word on the street is HTC’s looking to launch the HTC One M9 we’ve been hearing so much about, which is poised to be their 2015 flagship.

HTC’s also gone on record to suggest they’re bringing more that we likely haven’t heard about yet. Smart watch? A new RE camera? Heck, a VR headset? Anything is possible, and the only way to get the news first is to tune in (whether that be to Phandroid for the latest news and hands-on goodness you can handle or checking it out on live stream right here). Get hyped!

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HTC One M9 and its full spec sheet is on Best Buy with a $650 price tag well ahead of schedule Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:15:13 +0000 htc one m9 at best buy

Needed even more evidence that HTC was announcing the HTC One M9 today? How about its sudden arrival on America’s biggest electronics retailer? The device has hit Best Buy’s listings, and yes — it looks like an HTC One M8. This listing joins another leak earlier this morning of the device being compared to the HTC One M8 and HTC One M7 on video.

Best Buy also has a pretty full spec sheet to go along with their pretty picture. It doesn’t say anything we weren’t already expecting, but in case you were curious:

  • 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset
  • 5-inch Super LCD3 1080p display
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with microSD
  • 20 megapixel rear camera, 4 megapixel (UltraPixel) front camera
  • GPS, WiFi AC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 4G LTE
  • 5.68 x 2.73 x 0.38 inches, 4.96 ounces
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense

More than all of that, we’re treated to an early word on its price tag: $650 unlocked. The listing only notes compatibility with AT&T, though we’re sure to see variants that are fit for the other major carriers in due time. You obviously can’t order yet, but it’s there and its early arrival to major retailers could suggest HTC won’t take very long to push this phone out of the door.

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HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8 vs HTC One M7: a video comparison ahead of its announcement Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:42:18 +0000 Talk about the HTC One M9 at

htc one m9 comparison

We haven’t even had our morning coffee yet and Mobile World Congress-related leaks are already making their way to the interwebs. The latest shows us yet another look at the controversial HTC One M9, titled such because there’s been a lot of noise and debate about its supposed design.

Some lucky gent who’s in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress got his hands on the supposed device early, and decided to put it side-by-side up against the HTC One M7 from 2013 and last year’s HTC One M8. They look quite similar, and there are no signs of the reported overhauled design that @evleaks told us to expect.

While some early leaked renders have shown a mono-colored metal unibody design, this guy has the same dual-toned finish that we saw in our leaked shots back in January (and the same one featured in the promotional poster HTC will use to advertise the thing at retailers).

There’s been mounting evidence that HTC will go with this “refresh” of a design and very little to support @evleaks’ original claim, so we’ll have to wait until they take the wraps off later today to see if this is the real deal or evidence that HTC’s finally gotten better at hiding their wares. Stay tuned as we’ll bring you all the details live from the event.

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Acer Liquid Jade Z melts Lollipop 5.0 into curved 5-inch frame Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:19:20 +0000 The name “Liquid Jade Z” may sound like a Wu-Tang/HOVA collaboration album when it rolls off your tongue, but instead it’s another Android phone from our friends at Acer. This time, though, Acer is packing the 5-inch frame of the Liquid Jade Z with Android Lollipop 5.0, instantly lending it some instant credibility.


In many ways, Acer has made their Android living off the budget and value side of Android handsets, but the Liquid Jade Z pushes the company into the upper echelon with specs that higher-end Android lovers can appreciate:

  • 5” HD IPS Screen (Zero Air Gap Display)
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • 64-bit quad-core processor
  • 13MP camera2
  • 5MP front camera
  • 24-bit Hi-res audio thru HD speakers
  • 7.9mm thin
  • 110 grams

Although these specs don’t compare to the flagships of household favorites like Samsung and HTC, they offer Acer customers what seems to be a solid product in the upper-end. As you would expect, Acer has also packed the device with some proprietary enhancements including selfie taking features and navigation with Trip Advisor POI options.

The company hasn’t abandoned the low and mid-range market, though, as they also announced the Z220 and 2520 additions to the Acer Liquid Z-Series.

I love how the company positions the more lowly Z220 as a “a secondary, vacation or party device” and hadn’t thought of this use case scenario- it’s an interesting suggestion. Meanwhile the Z520 is positioned as an all-around work horse. These phones have 4-inch screens, dual core processors, and 5MP and 8MP cameras respectively. Nothing that’s going to blow your socks off, but we’ll give them the chance to as we check them out on the MWC show floor.

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Is Huawei making the next Nexus smartphone? Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:53:23 +0000 huawei-ascend-mate2-back

It’s safe to say Google’s next Nexus smartphone won’t launch until summer at the earliest (and more likely fall, if we go off of previous year’s releases), but the rumors are already starting to swirl. The latest says not only will Google release two new Nexus handsets this year, but one will be produced by a Chinese manufacturer.

Google’s plan seems to include updating both Nexus models currently available. It’s too early whether or not to say they will retain the 5-inch and 6-inch form factors, but at the very least we should get a premium model (these early rumors say it will be produced by LG) and a more affordable option. The latter would be the device produced by a Chinese OEM, and the thinking is that OEM will be Huawei.

While we can’t put too much stock in the rumors as they sit, they make at least some sense. China continues to grow as a market for Google and Android, and it would do Google well to show some love to one of the biggest manufacturer of mobile devices in that country (and the biggest overall manufacturer of telecommunications equipment in the world). As for hardware specs? We won’t take any guesses at what those will look like just yet.

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In-the-wild image of Sony Xperia Z4 tablet leak along with mid-range handset Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:01:35 +0000 Xperia-Z4-Tablet1-640x480

Sony might be in the midst of spinning off its mobile business, but that doesn’t mean the company is pressing pause on bringing us new gear in 2015. After a quiet showing at CES, the company looks to have at least a couple of devices in tap for MWC, including what might be considered the official followup to the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

While last year brought us the Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is the company’s first full-sized offering since the Z2. It looks to feature the same sleek Sony design we have come to expect, and this includes an ultra-thin profile. We see it in-the-wild for the first time thanks to a leak presented by XperiaBlog.

Sony-Xperia-M4-Aqua2-640x320Not a flagship smartphone but still intriguing is the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, another device leaked ahead of Mobile World Congress and likely on tap for the show floor. Rumored specs include a 5.2-inch 720p display, 13MP camera, Snapdragon 610 SoC, and Android 5.0 Lollipop. As the Aqua name implies, Sony’s penchant for waterproofing their devices will carry over to this mid-range smartphone.

We’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of these devices come next week. Stay tuned for hands-on coverage and more.

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Sprint teases Galaxy S6, we get our clearest official look yet Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:44:14 +0000 sprint-six-appeal

We’re a mere couple of days away from Samsung’s Galaxy S6 launch event, but it seems that Android fans aren’t the only ones that can’t stand the anticipation. Sprint is getting on board with the teasers and has launched a “Six Appeal” landing page utilizing a familiar side profile image of what we assume to be the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Here interested Sprint users (are there any Sprint users left?) can register for updates about Samsung’s highly anticipated smartphone.

But lest you think that’s all we will get before the official launch of Samsung Galaxy S6, a second image has surfaced giving us a near full-frontal view of both the standard and Edge versions of the device. The Edge is shown with a display that curves at both sides — a feature that has been rumored but not quite confirmed in recent leaks.


Interesting to note is that in all of Samsung’s early advertising, the Edge variant of the device seems to be the one getting top billing, a different strategy than what we saw with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and and Note Edge. If the S6 Edge is the true flagship, we might wonder why Samsung didn’t simply go all-in on that model while foregoing a version with a standard display.

The image also seems to confirm the notion floating around that the Galaxy S6 Edge will not use its curved display in quite the same way as the Note Edge the preceded it. While the Note Edge had a more dramatic curve that served as a secondary display, the S6 appears to utilize a more subtle taper. There are no indications of the so-called Edge display, leaving us to believe the choice is all about design and ergonomics.

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