Phandroid » Polls http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 18 Apr 2015 16:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Decision Day: Samsung Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2015/03/26/decision-day-samsung-galaxy-s6-or-htc-one-m9-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2015/03/26/decision-day-samsung-galaxy-s6-or-htc-one-m9-poll/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:53:07 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=162082 galaxy s6 vs htc one m9

March 27th just became a very big day in mobile. The main flagship releases from two of the smartphone industry’s biggest heavy hitters will be available to purchase (in some capacity) as soon as tonight.

For HTC, they will allow you to purchase the unlocked version of the HTC One M9 on their website starting at Midnight Eastern. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be at Best Buy and all major carrier stores for demo and pre-sale tomorrow morning.

This, folks, is D-Day. No, not doomsday (though that could very well happen, too), but Decision Day. Are you going with the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the HTC One M9? It’ll be a tough decision for many, though we’re sure a good deal of you already have your minds made up.

On the fence still? Perhaps some of these early previews, feature blowouts and hands-on experiences will give you a better idea of which one is worth your money.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC08468

HTC One M9

HTC One M9 DSC08365

And you can’t forget the big head to head comparison of the two juggernauts: here’s a tale-of-the-tape look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 vs the HTC One M9. Our reviews for both devices will be along soon enough so be sure to stay on the lookout for those if you need a hard verdict.

So it comes down to tomorrow, March 27th: which one are you going to buy? The poll below is waiting for your vote, and we also wouldn’t mind hearing your reasoning no matter which way you decide to go (even if you don’t plan to buy either one). Sound off!

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Will you be buying the HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2015/03/01/will-you-be-buying-the-htc-one-m9-or-samsung-galaxy-s6-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2015/03/01/will-you-be-buying-the-htc-one-m9-or-samsung-galaxy-s6-poll/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 21:06:34 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=160467 s6 m9

Today has been a big day for phone announcements. Two devices that will be dominating 2015 have been announced: the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6. HTC and Samsung make up a large chunk of the Android pie. Most of you will be deciding between these two devices. We want to know which one you will be buying.

The comments so far seem 50/50 on which device is better. The One M9 didn’t change a lot from the M8, but that’s because the M8 was already awesome. The Galaxy S6 is very different from the S5, which is a very welcomed change. These devices are on a very even playing field. Which one will you buy? Will you buy either one of them? Let us know in the poll and comments below!

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8 reasons why you should start using a password manager right now http://phandroid.com/2015/02/18/benefits-of-password-manager-software/ http://phandroid.com/2015/02/18/benefits-of-password-manager-software/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:20:22 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=159404 password
Cybersecurity has been big in the news lately; it’s enough to make any internet user paranoid about the safety of their online accounts and stored data. Wishing to stay one step ahead of any would-be threats out there on the web, this blogger cast aside the excuses and committed to shoring up his digital defenses with a strong password manager. I’m here to tell you why you should as well.

1. You don’t want your identity/money stolen

The ubiquity of the internet often leads us to not put much thought into the type of data we share online. How many online storefronts hold saved payment credentials? How much personal data do we have stored in our various cloud lockers? How far and wide are sensitive items like social security numbers, bank account access codes, addresses, and telephone numbers spread across the net?

We need only look back to the recent Sony hack or any number of high profile password leaks from companies like Google and eBay to recognize the importance we should place on protecting our digital data. In fact, it is suspected the Sony hack was the result of targeted phishing attempts used to gather the passwords of lower-level employees, which in turn provided hackers with an easy means to breach the system more widely.

A breached password is the one thing worse than losing your Android phone. It only takes one compromised account for a person with malicious intent to gather enough data to give you a real headache when it comes to unauthorized purchases or identity theft. It’s even worse if you use duplicate usernames and passwords. While it might be a bit more time consuming upfront, choosing strong passwords and updating them regularly is one of the easiest steps you can take to avoid facing larger problems down the road.

2. Your pet’s name is in your password

Take a look at the most recent list of the internet’s worst passwords as compiled by SplashData. Are you guilty of using a top-10 no-no like ‘123456’ or the always strong ‘password’? We get it. A good password can be as difficult to break as it is to remember, but that’s no reason to avoid creating one.

A good password will use a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols (if allowed), as well as lower-case and upper-case letters. The best passwords are truly random, and therefore real words should be avoided. Longer passwords are also better, so if the max length is 40 characters, by all means use each and every one. You can see how things quickly become complicated. Good for protection, but, again, bad for ease of entry.

Hackers aren’t the only individuals that might want to access your accounts, however. Despite how much you trust your friends and family, there might be a bad banana in the bunch that wants to snoop around where they don’t belong. Avoid using passwords that reference the names of pets, family members or loved ones, and other personal interests.

A password manager like 1Password, LastPass, or DashLane takes the hassle out of creating truly random, near-uncrackable passwords. One click will generate a password based on a recipe modified by you (character length, types of characters to include, etc.) and use it to automatically fill in web forms. For existing passwords, management software will analyze strength and recommend when credentials could be stronger.

3. You use the same password for everything

We are far too often willing to sacrifice personal security for convenience. A single password that works like a utility knife across accounts is great if you can’t be bothered to come up with a unique password for each individual service. It’s also great for hackers who only want to waste their time figuring out one of your poorly devised passwords.

A ne’er-do-well cracking the login to your Twitter account might have limited repercussions. Unless, of course, you use the same username and password for your bank account login or PayPal. Then it’s a field day for data thieves. Again, a password manager is your friend here, making it easy to store and sort individual, unique logins for all the services you use.

A good password manager offers the ability to audit your database of stored login information to pinpoint any weak spots, particularly when it comes to using username/password combinations that are similar across sites and services you use.

4. You’ve been using that password since you were 13

Not only is your password weak, not only do you use it for every account, but you have been using the same one since you first logged on to the internet. For some, a single password has been in circulation for two decades or more. It’s always a smart idea to update your passwords at least once a year — more often for accounts holding particularly sensitive data.

Most password managers offer security monitoring that will alert you when a password is nearing its expiration date. In most cases, you’ll have to go through the additional step of logging in to the individual service and changing the password, but some services like LastPass are starting to offer the ability to automatically update and change passwords in the event a service you use is hacked or compromised. It’s worth it when it means being one step ahead of a costly security breach.

5. Memorizing 46 characters of random garble is hard

A 40-character password consisting of completely random characters is great for security, but unless you are a superhuman there is really no possible way to remember one for each and every site or service you use. You could rely on the tried and true method of jotting down passwords on a piece of paper or in a notebook. Worse? You could save a list passwords in an unencrypted text document on your computer.

At the very minimum a good password manager will solve this problem, storing detailed account information in a sortable, searchable list protect with some of the strongest encryption out there. You will only need to remember one master password in most cases (make it a good one) to grant access to your locker of stored login credentials.

6. You have numerous devices

We live in a multi-device world, so having your uber-strong passwords stored locally on your computer or mobile phone won’t do you much good when you need to access services on a different device. Once again, a password manager has you covered. With numerous cloud connectivity and wireless sync option you will never be without easy access to your master list of passwords.

SafeInCloud is one manager that utilizes cloud storage via the service of your choosing (Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive are all supported) to store passwords remotely for access from a mobile device or remote computer. We recommend protecting your cloud storage with two-step authentication in combination with the strongest of passwords if you plan on storing such sensitive data there, but we don’t need to tell you that again.

If the idea of uploading your database of passwords to the cloud is a bit unnerving, 1Password offers the ability to perform a local sync over your WiFi network. Your data is only briefly transmitted across your local network, never reaching the internet at large, and is then stored directly in the memory of your devices. 1Password also offers the ability to send a password “vault” with a family member or coworker in order to share login information in a safe and secure manner.

7. You have a lot of other data that needs safekeeping

As password managers have matured they have become bastions for plenty of other sensitive data worth protecting. 1Password is especially good here, allowing you to safely store everything from your address and credit card info to social security and passport numbers. The data can be used to quickly fill out web forms or be kept for quick reference offline.

8. The benefits far outweigh the hassle

The biggest hurdle to using a password manager is initial setup. LastPass makes things easy by scraping your stored passwords from your browser, but this only takes care of half the issue. At a minimum you’ll need to do some cleaning up, but you should really plan on taking an afternoon to completely overhaul your password game. It will take some time up front, but after you are done the convenience of a password manager shines through with features like browser plugins for one-click login to your commonly used services.

If it seems intimidating, start by updating passwords for sites and services that store your most sensitive data. You can then slowly add the rest of your passwords over time, using security auditing tools to decide which ones need to be updated and when.

The other thing that keeps many folks away from password manager is cost. Most offer some version of a free service, but these often leave out must-have features like cloud sync. In nearly every case shelling out some cash for the premium or pro version is well worth it. Some password management services charge a yearly fee as low $12, while others ask for a one-time upfront payment (ranging from $10-50 for a single-use license). Free, open source options also exist such as Bruce Schneier’s Password Safe.

Take action now

It should now be totally clear why you need a password manager, so which one do you choose? All share plenty of common features (the most important being strong security), but we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favorites. Below are our recommendations for wrangling that out of control herd of passwords now.

Do you use a password manager to protect your login credentials? What’s your favorite? Let us know in the poll below.

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The best Android articles: what do you want more of? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2015/02/13/the-best-android-articles-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2015/02/13/the-best-android-articles-poll/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 20:04:39 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=159204 Android Desk Phandroid DSC07214

Phandroid has come a long way since the early days of Google’s mobile operating system, and it wouldn’t be here without loyal readers like you. We’ve always been about the phans (because you’re phat with a P-H, yo!), so in an effort to continue bringing you the best Android content on the web we’re asking you to answer a simple question: what types of articles and coverage would you like to see more of on Phandroid?

We’ve broken it down into helpful categories and compiled lists of some prime examples of each from the archives. Scroll through, click around, but be sure to come back and vote in the poll found below! Any suggestions not covered here are welcome in the comments.

Android 101

android-101

If you’re brand new to Android, these 101-level articles are what you’re after. They cover the basics of using the Android operating system, from downloading and installing apps to security and privacy and so much more. While the content is geared toward beginners, even season Android users might pick up a thing or two.

Tips & Tricks

tricks

Nowadays Android phones are so chock full of features that some of the more useful ones require knowledge not found in the user manual or can only be found by digging deep in the settings menu. That’s where our helpful tips & tricks articles come in. If you have a new Android phone, chances are we have you covered.

Reviews

Android L Developer Preview DSC06020

Should you buy that shiny new Android smartphone or are you better off waiting? We know you rely on us for thorough, thoughtful reviews that touch on the things Android users really care about.

Best Phones & Tablets

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Reviews are fine on their own, but what about the big picture? Through our monthly look at best phones and more specific articles examining phones based on such things as battery life and design aesthetics, we hope to make the process of determining the best Android phones and tablets on the market as easy as possible.

Best Apps & Games

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What’s the best app for messaging? What apps are must-haves for guitar players? Whether you are looking for latest and greatest game and app or something fulfill a more specific niche, we’re always scouring Google Play and elsewhere to find the top picks for Android. Our monthly best apps and games lists highlight the newest additions to Google Play that are absolute musts for your app drawer.

Accessories

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Options are almost endless when it comes to accessories for your Android device. We’re here with all the info you need on the latest gadgets and gear for top Android smartphones and tablets.

Breaking News & Rumors

John Legere

You live for the moment, always hanging on for the next big juicy bit of Android news or gossip. We do, too, which is why our ears are always to the ground listening for the latest whispers from the rumor mill. We want to bring you the news as it breaks alongside a bit of our own analysis and speculation.

Android Life

5typesAndroid hero

I’m sure most would agree: the Android life is the good life. While we strive to be a resource for tips, tricks, news, and reviews, it would be a shame to ignore the vibrant culture that has sprung up around Google’s operating system. We want to highlight what makes Android users unique in a way that is entertaining and insightful.

Event Coverage, Hands-on Video & Unboxings

Phan CES

Perhaps you caught some of our coverage of this year’s CES events in Las Vegas. Next up we’ll be at Mobile World Congress in March grabbing hands-on coverage of all the smartphones and tablets sure to be announced. There’s nothing quite like getting to play with a gadget long before it’s official release, but if you can’t be there yourself our hands-on videos and unboxings are the next-best thing.

Deals

deals

Who doesn’t like a deal? We are always keeping our eyes open for big savings in an effort to pass them along to our readers. If it involves a smartphones, accessories, apps, games, or other swag to fulfill your Android cravings, we’ll be on top of it.

Root & Dev

rooted

Advanced users and Android developers need a place to turn as well for the latest in rooting and building for the Android platform. Luckily we’ve got several hardcore enthusiasts on staff plugged directly into the Google mainframe to deliver the latest on modding and developing for Android.

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So let us know in the poll below what you would like to see more of (you can pick more than one option) on Phandroid, and we’ll promise to continue bringing you the same great Android content as always.

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Why is Facebook Messenger a separate app? Zuckerberg explains http://phandroid.com/2014/11/07/facebook-messenger-explanation/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/07/facebook-messenger-explanation/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:39:07 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=152713 facebook messenger

Facebook has never made the most sensible or popular changes to their apps over the years. In fact, almost all of their changes are met with choruses of discontent and anguish. One such change was the split of Messenger from the main app into its own little world. It made little sense at the time, but Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sure felt it was the right decision and despite the outrage from millions of the social network’s users he wasn’t going to budge.

mark zuckerberg

The company has long danced around the question of “why” with a collection of vague responses, but the head honcho finally decided to speak on it in a more open manner. Zuckerberg tackled the issue during his first ever public Q&A session with an explanation that actually makes more sense than you may think:

Asking everyone in our community to install a new app is a big ask. I appreciate that that was work and required friction. We wanted to do this because we believe that this is a better experience. Messaging is becoming increasingly important. On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well, we think.

The primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed. Messaging was this behavior people were doing more and more. 10 billion messages are sent per day, but in order to get to it you had to wait for the app to load and go to a separate tab. We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their own app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging. You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.

Messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking. In some countries 85 percent of people are on Facebook, but 95 percent of people use SMS or messaging. Asking folks to install another app is a short term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience. We build for the whole community. Why wouldn’t we let people choose to install the app on their own at their own pace? The reason is that what we’re trying to do is build a service that’s good for everyone. Because Messenger is faster and more focused, if you’re using it, you respond to messages faster, we’ve found.

The reason I say it makes sense? You needn’t look much further than the company who makes the very mobile operating system we talk about on Phandroid each and every day. Google could have easily merged Hangouts with the Google+ or Gmail apps on Android and iOS, especially considering the service it originally spawned from — Google Talk — was only accessible while using Gmail or a few of Google’s other web-based products.

hangouts

Instead, Google decided to make Hangouts its own experience, and that could be a contributing factor to why it’s grown to be what it is now. Hangouts can be the simple messaging platform or SMS alternative you need it to be, or you can use it to conduct big group chats, video conference calls and even place free calls to countries around the world. While all that same goodness could have come to Hangouts in any form, having it in its own app keeps all of Google’s other apps from being overly confusing or bloated, and it makes it easier to highlight Hangouts’ value-packed feature set.

Looking at Facebook, there’s no reason anyone should blame them for wanting to do the same. Facebook’s viability as a messaging platform is growing each and every day, even if only for the sheer fact that it’s more likely that your friends and family are using it compared to messaging-focused services like GroupMe or WhatsApp. Facebook knows this, and they want to leverage that position to grow the service beyond a simple messaging tool to augment the base social experience. If they feel this is the way to do it, then we can’t say we know any better.

It’s easy to berate Facebook whenever they make sweeping changes and force users to adapt instead of giving them choice. In fact, it’s almost always a bad thing when choice is taken out of the equation. But in this instance, I can’t say I disagree with Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation as to why they’ve split Messenger off into its own app and forced everyone to get used to it.

And now that I think about it, I probably do enjoy Facebook Messenger a lot more now that I don’t have to venture into the messy app Facebook has become. That’s another story for another day, though. For now, we want to hear your thoughts on Zuckerberg’s explanation. Whether or not you agree, be sure to drop a line in the comments and — in the spirit of voting season — participate in the poll below.

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Will you buy the Nexus 6? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-6-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-6-poll/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:06:37 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151099 nexus-6-desktop

It wasn’t the flashiest of unveilings, but the long-awaited Nexus 6 is finally here. We won’t be able to get our hands on it for a few more weeks, however, which gives us plenty of time to decide if it’s the next must-have Android handset.

The latest Nexus has a lot going for it in that area, the most prominent being its massive 6-inch AMOLED display with its crisp QHD resolution. The phone also includes a powerful Snapdragon 805 SoC with Adreno 420 GPU, a heaping helping of RAM at 3GB, and a 13MP rear camera with such enhancements as optical image stabilization. Throw in Turbo Charge for a quick battery boost and the pièce de résistance, Android Lollipop, and it would appear there is a new king in the Android realm.

Not so fast. The Nexus 6 won’t be for everyone. Its phablet form factor could turn away buyers wary about upgrading to a phone with such a large footprint. And for fans of low-cost unlocked devices, the N6 seems ready to buck the trend with Motorola revealing an off-contract price of $650. All major US carriers have plans to host the Nexus 6 on their networks, however. This fact, at least, will give buyers subsidized options to alleviate the high cost of going unlocked.

The handset won’t go up for pre-order until later this month (a specific date hasn’t been announced), but we want to get your knee-jerk reaction to Google’s announcement. Is the Nexus 6 your next Android device?

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Leather Moto X colors compared: which one is best? [PHOTOS] http://phandroid.com/2014/09/05/leather-moto-x-colors/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/05/leather-moto-x-colors/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 08:18:21 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148332 By now you’ve heard all about the Moto X, know it’s specs, price and availability, and have seen it in action. What you haven’t been able to decipher, though, is how those sexy leather backs look in real life, how they compare, how they feel, if they’re durable, and which one looks best. Allow us to help.

moto-x-leather-comparison-handed

Above you’ll see 3 of the 4 color options for the leather backed Moto X:

  • Cognac
  • Natural
  • Navy

The 4th option is black leather and it will only be available, “in-store with select carriers,” but not online through Moto Maker. We’ve requested details on this color option restriction and are waiting to hear back from Motorola. But essentially, if you’re purchasing online, you’re choosing from Natural leather (light brown), Cognac leather (medium brown), and Navy leather (almost black).

moto-x-leather-back-comparison-5

How each look depends dramatically on the lighting. Compare the above photos to the one below and you’ll see what we mean. This aside, we’ve tried to select photos that best represent how we feel these leathers look in real life, an important distinction when making an online purchase.

moto-x-leather-back-comparison-1

Moto X with Navy Leather Back

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The Navy backed Moto X was nice, but personally my least favorite. The dark color made it less noticeable as genuine leather and it almost looked black. The darker the leather the easier to imitate as faux leather, so comparing this to something like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, it still doesn’t stand out as much as you’d hope.

But given the hometown Chicago crowd it was nice to see the navy leather, red accents, and custom engraving that gave props to the Chicago Bears NFL team and fans. And it’s worth noting: if you’re looking for a great engraving, the darker navy leather seemed to provide a much better surface.

Moto X with Natural Leather

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moto-x-natural-leather-2

The lightest of the leather shades is called natural: it looked and felt the most natural and was undeniably genuine leather. Definitely a great looking piece of craftmanship. There was one potentially small yet potentially big downside: scuffing and scratching being more visible.

When feeling the texture of the leather back, Chris rubbed his nail against the leather surface and it created a very visible scuff, the looks of which I didn’t feel were too attractive.

moto-x-natural-leather-scratch-

moto-x-natural-leather-scratch-2

 

But maybe that’s just part of the “breaking in” process. Some of the best looking clothes and fashion accessories look best with noticeable distress, so much that many style-focused brands purposefully distress items ahead of time. We won’t know if this is the case until the public has spent some time with the leather-backed Moto X in various colors, but we felt it worth mentioning as an early observation.

Moto X with Cognac Leather

This was my personal favorite of the three colors we previewed.

moto-x-cognac-leather

It was light enough to attract attention and stylistically provide that undeniable genuine leather look, feel, touch, and even smell- but dark enough to seem like it would better hide scuffing and scraping. That’s an early assumption I’m making, so please take other accounts into consideration- just my personal thoughts on the matter.

I’m not exactly the most prestigious of style aficionados, but I also feel like it would better match a greater percentage of… okay, maybe I’m thinking too much into this. I’ll just say the Cognac leather is definitely my favorite.

Which Moto X leather color option do you like best?

moto-x-leather-back-comparison-2

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Moto 360 vs Samsung Gear S vs LG G Watch R: which looks best? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/08/28/moto-360-gear-s-g-watch-r-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/28/moto-360-gear-s-g-watch-r-poll/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:32:35 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=147797 One look at the most recently announced smartwatches from LG, Samsung, and Motorola tells you the chunky, geeky smartwatches we’ve come to know and hate seem to be a thing of the past. Each company got a bit antsy by announcing their latest smart watch products well ahead of IFA Berlin. Consumers will soon have a stylish selection of smartwatches the likes of which we’ve never seen before, but which one takes the cake?

LG G Watch R

On LG’s side, they officially confirmed the circular LG G Watch R (find a hearty LG G Watch R image gallery here) that seems to be a direct answer to Motorola’s attention-grabbing Moto 360.

lg-g-watch-r-4

The LG G Watch R is upping the ante just a tad in terms of sheer performance with its 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 chipset. Other key specs include:

  • 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320)
  • 4GB Storage
  • 512MB RAM
  • 410mAh Battery
  • IP67 Certification

For more, check out the full LG G Watch R Specs.

Samsung Gear S

Samsung decided to go with a more traditional form factor with the Samsung Gear S, though it stands out by having a curved display (don’t see that too often in a smart watch) and its own dedicated 3G radios.

samsung-gear-s

Some important notes on the Gear S:

  • It runs Tizen OS, not Android
  • It also comes in White
  • 2-inch Super AMOLED display at 480 x 360

Could Samsung’s decision on the white band be in anticipation of Apple making a similar move?

Moto 360

This is the one that started the whole “Round Smartwatch” Android Wear craze, yet it’s the only of the three whose specs we still don’t know.

Moto 360 gif

When it was first unveiled, it seemed there wasn’t a single thing on the planet like it. Now, just days ahead of its launch, it’s got some sizeable competition.

Which one looks best?

With that, IFA just effectively became a big fatal 4-way brawl (if you’re counting the ASUS ZenWatch that was officially announced but has yet to be shown in full glory). Each of these devices has reasons for folks to be excited, but we’re curious to hear what you think about their design in particular. LG and Motorola’s options certainly are eye-popping, though the Gear S doesn’t look too bad either. Which of the 3 do you link looks best?

Moto 360 gif Samsung Gear S_Blue Black_3 lg-g-watch-r-6

Because smartwatches are also fashion accessories, a greater proportion of the purchase decision will be put on their design, but let’s not overlook their functionality. Jumping into the silicon, the devices all stack up fairly well against each other, though there are enough differences to note when you go to make your purchase decision this fall.

Don’t judge a watch by its face

The LG G Watch R is upping the ante just a tad in terms of sheer performance with its 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 chipset. The Gear S’s bigger display and higher resolution could be a winning factor for some, though the G Watch R’s display should look just as crisp at its small size and round form factor. The Moto 360 boasts a slightly bigger display than the G Watch R at 1.5 inches, though the resolution is slightly lower at 320 x 290.

Which to choose, which to choose?

The design will undoubtedly play a huge role in your decision, but let’s be honest- there are more factors that come into play.

So that brings us to the ultimate question: which smart watch will end up getting your money? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to circle back next week starting September 3rd as we’ll be getting up close and personal with many of these options ourselves.

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Would you buy a rugged Casio G-Shock smart watch if it was revitalized with Android Wear? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/08/04/casio-g-shock-smartwatch-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/04/casio-g-shock-smartwatch-poll/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:14:29 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146133 Ask most people who they think started the smart watch revolution, and many would likely point to Pebble’s initial eInk-based offering as the pioneer. As true as that may be for more contemporary options, Casio would beg to differ — they’ve been making moves in the “smart” wristwatch arena for a few fair years now, and came along just as soon as products from Sony and Motorola’s respective camps. The Japanese company has a long standing line of Bluetooth-equipped watches that can send and receive data to and from Android and iOS devices.

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Those watches — many of which exist in Casio’s storied G-Shock line — aren’t quite that flexible: you’ll get very thin notifications about incoming messages and calls, and they also send limited workout information to a smartphone companion app of theirs. It doesn’t let you get down and dirty quite like Android Wear, Samsung’s Tizen watches or the Pebble, but it works. What if we told you they’d be looking to eventually up the ante?

The company has recently updated their trademark for the lineup, and its description is chock full of smart watch features that many of the market’s latest options boast. References to “controlling music playback on a mobile device or computer” and other typical smart watch uses can be found littered throughout. Here is just a snippet of what you’d find should you venture over to the USPTO:

Software for use in sensing proximity and transmitting location notifications between a timepiece, wrist watch or wearable device and a computer, mobile telephone, mobile device or other electronic apparatus; Software for controlling music or media functions on a computer, mobile telephone, mobile device or other electronic apparatus from a timepiece, wrist watch or wearable device; Software for sending, receiving and controlling call, email, event, calendar or activity messaging and alerts between a timepiece, wrist watch or wearable device and a computer, mobile telephone, mobile device or other electronic apparatus

And all of that is before they even make mention of the trademark being for an actual time piece. Sounds like all the makings of some of the latest smart watches on the market.

We’re not sure what Casio could offer in the software department that we haven’t already seen from the aforementioned competition, but one thing we have yet to see is a smart watch with the same toughness and tenacity that Casio’s G-Shock line has come to be known for. I certainly wouldn’t mind an ultra rugged smart watch, especially considering how much more exposed to the elements that class of devices is poised to be compared to a smartphone.

Whether Casio’s updated trademark is a sign of things to come or them wanting to make sure their existing options are protected from copyright intruders remains to be seen, but considering the company’s unexpected trek into the smartphone arena on the backs of Verizon and Android we wouldn’t put anything past them. Would you want to buy a Casio G-Shock if it ran Android Wear? Hop to the poll below, and leave a comment letting us know if you’d pass on today’s options for something a bit more tough.

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How are you liking your Android Wear watch so far? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/07/12/do-you-like-android-wear-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/12/do-you-like-android-wear-poll/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=144723  

LG G Watch Android Wear DSC06106

Earlier this week patient Android fans were greeted with shiny new smartwatches. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, which went on sale back at Google I/O, finally arrived on door steps. All week we’ve been seeing new apps, tips, and discoveries from the vibrant group of Android Wear early adopters. If you’re a member of that group we want to know how you’re liking everything so far.

While many of us wait for the Moto 360 we have to live vicariously through those of you who already have an Android Wear device. We have so many questions for you! Are you happy with your purchase? Do you find yourself pulling out your phone less? How is battery life? What apps are you using? Has anyone asked you about your watch? What is your favorite thing about Android Wear?

If you don’t feel like answering all of those questions we have an easier poll for you below. Submit your response and tell us a little about your experience so far. Hopefully we can get a good discussion going and maybe share some tips and tricks. If you’re interested in talking to fellow users be sure to check out the G Watch and Gear Live forums.

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Are you buying an Android Wear smartwatch today? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/android-wear-smartwatch-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/25/android-wear-smartwatch-poll/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 23:40:27 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143686 The first batch of Android Wear smartwatches are finally available for purchase today. The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live are the two lucky pieces of wrist-bound gadgetry being offered up over in the Google Play Store. We’re sad to see Motorola’s Moto 360 wasn’t ready to join the party (especially since it was the first Android Wear smartwatch revealed, and perhaps the best looking one of them all).

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Now is the moment of truth: are you going to buy one? You have the LG G Watch for $230 with a nice, sleek design. The Samsung Gear Live also doesn’t look bad with its design cues borrowed from Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear lineup — it doesn’t hurt that it’s $30 cheaper than LG’s offering.

I’m personally opting to hold out for the Moto 360 simply because I can’t resist its good looks and circular design. Chris has already submitted his order for an LG G Watch in black simply because he’s the most impulsive buyer you’ll ever know. I kid, Chris.

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Now we want to hear from you, so leave a vote in the poll below and be sure to let us know why you chose whichever smartwatch you’ve chosen with a comment down below!

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What will Android 5.0 “L” be called? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/06/24/android-l-lollipop-lemonhead-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/24/android-l-lollipop-lemonhead-poll/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:29:32 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143376 Android L

The hype beast is alive and well. We are less than 24 hours away from Google I/O 2014, and the rumors are swirling like a tornado. Less than 12 hours ago the idea of Android “L” being announced at I/O was considered highly unlikely. Now, thanks to some quotes from Android chief Sundar Pichai, we will be expecting it.

There is still one big question to be answered when it comes to Android 5.0: what the heck will the “L” stand for? As I’m sure you are well aware, Google uses a dessert theme for naming Android versions. Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, and KitKat have been used up to now. The two popular choices for “L” are lollipop and Lemonheads.

Lollipop would be a more traditional Android name, but with last year’s KitKat theme we can’t rule out name brands. So, wise Phandroids, which one will it be? Does Google go back to the traditional generic dessert names, or do they continue to pair up with candy companies? Let us know in the poll below and state your case in the comments!

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Are you buying the LG G3? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/05/27/are-you-buying-the-lg-g3-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/05/27/are-you-buying-the-lg-g3-poll/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 17:59:07 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=141433 Talk about the LG G3 at AndroidForums.com

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So the LG G3 is finally official (even though we’ve had an idea of what to expect for weeks now). All the info is out on the table, and you should be able to buy it at nearly any major carrier. The question is simple now: will you be buying one?

It faces competition from not only the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, but also quirky offerings from the likes of Oppo and OnePlus. The smartphone scene is quite crowded this year, so it’s sure to be a tough decision for many folks. Drop a vote in the poll below and let us know if you’ll be grabbing one. If not, be sure to stop by the comments and tell us which phone has your attention instead!

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HTC One (2014) vs HTC One (2013) – was it a worthy upgrade? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/03/25/htc-one-2014-vs-htc-one-2013-is-it-a-worthy-upgrade/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/25/htc-one-2014-vs-htc-one-2013-is-it-a-worthy-upgrade/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 03:03:23 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=136356 HTC One M8 vs HTC One M7

You’ve already seen our quick battle between HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5 — two respective heavy weights in their category for 2014’s baddest smartphones. It was a close battle, one that — as least at the time of this writing — saw the HTC One M8 taking a small lead. While that’s all fine and dandy, we know a few of you are current HTC One (2013) owners and are probably wondering exactly how the new and “improved” model fares against its older brother. Let’s take a closer look.

Build quality and Design

HTC One M8 2014 vs M7 2013

HTC has long been known for the build quality, and cutting edge design. Some of the most beautiful smartphones to ever grace this earth have been HTC devices. The original HTC One (2013) was no different. Featuring an aluminum finish and (almost) zero gap construction, it was a phone unrivaled by other Androids on the market (especially those being offered by Samsung). Refreshing to say the least.

For 2014, the HTC One M8 further builds upon HTC’s reputation, offering something improved yet familiar. Now, instead of the plastic filling from the original, HTC has extended the aluminum to reach fully around the sides. This helps give the appearance of a solid unibody design. Even the finish of the aluminum has been improved. It’s now has a brushed, slightly glossy texture. If there ever was a pinnacle of modern smartphone design and style, the HTC One M8 would be it. Well, for the most part.

One area that must be mentioned while we’re talking about design (you knew it was coming): that awful bezel. Along the bottom of the device, the familiar HTC logo can be found resting on the black bezel, a remnant of the original HTC One’s capacitive buttons. Trying to keep up with the times — and in an effort to better follow Android’s design guidelines — the HTC M8 now features software buttons. While great, in theory, these buttons encroach on some of that valuable screen real estate. This otherwise tarnishes what would have been a perfect smartphone design and, worst case scenario, will be a deal breaker for some.

Perhaps one last testament to the HTC One M8’s build quality is a YouTube video from TechSmartt. In the video, the phone is completely submerged in a sink full of water for a full 2 hours. Now, the phone doesn’t advertise water resistance of any kind, or even an IP rating, but after watching that video, HTC certainly had us fooled. Top notch craftsmanship right there.

Display

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Both models feature the exact same 1920x1080p SCLD3 displays. HTC managed to bring the original One’s 4.7-inch display up to 5-inches in the One M8, meaning the old one technically has a higher dpi, although your eyes aren’t likely to tell the difference. Other than that, it seems they’re evenly matched. Which is a good thing mind you, the last thing we need or wanted to see were those exorbitant 2K displays being offered by other OEMs. No, thank you.

Processor, Performance and Battery

HTC One battery life double charge

Here’s where the obvious improvements take place. Like any good iteration, the chipset and other performance related hardware is likely to improve over the previous model. The original HTC One (2013) was one of the first devices to introduce a Snapdragon 600 processor. In our day to day use, it was snappy, and we experienced no lag that would take away from the user experience of the device.

To help with multitasking, 2GB of RAMs did a good job and keeping memory free, and 32GB/64GB internal storage options meant enough elbow room to store all your media. Battery life, while good, relied on their One (2013)’s 2,300mAh battery. Although it seemed small, the combination of processor and software tweaks would take you easily through a 15 hour day.

Qualcomm snapdragon-801-soc

For the HTC One M8, HTC turns to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 801 processor, an improvement even over the Snapdragon 800 we saw some devices launching with towards the end of last year. We’ll need to see how it matches up to the One (2013) in day-to-day usage, but expect a noticeable improvement in overall speed and fluidity of the OS. Unfortunately, HTC seems to have played it safe in the RAM department, opting for the exact same exact 2GB of DDR2 RAM for the One M8. While it’s disappointing to not see them choose, at the very lest, DDR3, we’re sure it will be more than enough for today’s applications.

Internal storage options also remain the same, but to in an effort to deal with negative feedback over the original One’s lack of memory expansion, the One M8’s storage can further be increased — all the way up to 128GB via micro SD. That’s a whole lotta storage. Battery capacity was also increased to 2,600mAh. Once again, it seems like HTC played it safe, possibly choosing design over function. Not to worry, we’re sure the improvements in the Snapdragon 801 will take the device even further.

Unfortunately neither the old or new HTC One feature wireless charging, something we’ve grown accustomed to from recent devices like the Nexus 5 (or even the HTC DROID DNA). Major bummer there. What they did improve on the charging side of things was Qualcomm’s all new Quick Charge 2.0 technology. Devices that would normally take 3 hours to fully charge can now be charged in a little over an hour. Sounds great, right? Not too fast. The supplied charger that comes with the HTC One M8 still only supports Quick Charge 1.0, the older version. To get the full benefits, you’ll have to wait until Quick Charge 2.0 adapters are released later this year. Another bummer.

Software and Features

Sense 6.0 HTC One

In the original HTC One, HTC introduced an all new version of their custom Android software dubbed Sense 5. Addressing concerns that their software was typically bloated and had a noticeable lag on performance, Sense 5 was a complete re-imagining of their software. It was leaner, meaner, and in some cases, felt even faster than stock Android. HTC raised the bar for manufacturer UIs and we loved it. Aside from performance improvements, Sense 5 brought with it noticeable improvements to apps like the camera software, a new RSS-type launcher HTC called “BlinkFeed,” and enhanced camera and gallery features.

For the HTC One M8, HTC is introducing the latest version of their custom software: Sense 6.0. BlinkFeed and Zoe captures make a return, along with a plethora of new gesture options dubbed “Motion Sense.” With Motion Sense, users can double tap their display to unlock, or swipe to immediately open up their camera app. These can be further tweaked in the settings app, so if you don’t like ‘em, simply turn them off.

Probably the best part about Sense 6 is that HTC has now modularized many of their system applications, dumping them into the Google Play Store for later updating. This means that complete system updates are no longer needed to update HTC specific apps — they can now be updated all on their own.

Also worth noting is that Sense 6 — along with many of its features — will also be arriving on the older HTC One, coming in a future software update. Let’s just hope they leave those software buttons at the door.

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Can’t talk about features without mentioning the HTC One’s most standout one: its BoomSound stereo front facing speakers. For the HTC One M8, HTC was able to add multi-band amps, resulting in a 25% increase in volume. And yes, “Beats” makes another appearance in the software settings for the M8, just like last year’s model. The result are the best speakers you’ve ever heard from a smartphone, ones that fire at both your ears (the way the good lord intended).

Camera

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The original HTC One introduced a new kind of mobile camera tech HTC called their “UltraPixel” camera. What it meant was, despite being a lower resolution 4MP, the camera was able to capture more light than a traditional smartphone camera. So, pictures snapped indoors or in dimly lit restaurants typically looked much better and brighter than those taken with other cameras. We can attest to this, as you may have seen in our original HTC One review here.

For the One M8, HTC is reintroducing the 4MP UltraPixel camera, but this time it’s bringing along a friend to the party. The second additional lens doesn’t really capture images, it’s just there to help the M8 focus quicker and add post image editing abilities like changing the depth of field after the shots been taken. Whatever your thoughts are on the feature, I think we can all agree it’s great to see the effort taken to bring mobile photography to that next level. Imagine if something like this was offered on something the size of a DSLR? Keep doing what you do, HTC and we’ll applaud you for it.

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While the main camera itself performs well (quick to fire, color is accurate, etc.) the fact that it’s only 4MP means it faces the same problems as least year’s version. Don’t expect to crop or zoom in very much on snapped photos. If you do, you wont be happy with the result. But that’s okay. The majority of the time we’re using our smartphone it’s to take pictures of our lunch, loved ones (up close), or distant photos of the sunset — not trying to zoom in on a pimple or far away street sign. For 99% of what you’ll be using the HTC One M8’s camera for, it’ll perform just fine and even better than others on the market thanks to the improved low light shooting. Sounds like a worthwhile trade-off when you think about it.

And where one might take off a few points due to the lower resolution rear camera, the HTC One M8 gains many of these back with a 5MP wide angle “selfie” camera. Yes, folks. The front facing camera has a higher resolution shooter than the rear camera. Hows that for irony? If my Instagram feed is any indication, I’d say a lot of girls are going to be very happy with the new front facing camera (and the fellas as well).

What’s your take?

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In the end, there is no perfect smartphone. HTC even mentioned in their latest commercial that they didn’t build a phone for “everyone,” just a phone those who “demand more.” Whether or not the HTC M8 — both in hardware and software — was able to live up to this claim us up to you. Was it a big enough leap over the previous year’s model, we’d have to say in many ways, yes. It builds on the original HTC One design, refining it enough to give it a leg up on the competition, and making it a worthy upgrade to the HTC One (2013). Now that you’ve seen the differences for yourself, would you say the HTC One M8 was a worthy sequel to the HTC One (2013)? Voice your thoughts in the comments, and cast your vote in our poll below.

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Are you buying the all new HTC One M8? [POLL] http://phandroid.com/2014/03/25/htc-one-m8-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/25/htc-one-m8-poll/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:07:42 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=136415 Talk about the all new HTC One M8 at AndroidForums.com!

So HTC has finally taken the wraps off of the all new HTC One, and the moment of truth is here — will you be buying one? Many are already pondering that very question over at AndroidForums.com, and we certainly wouldn’t mind hearing from the Phandroid faithful.

The all new HTC One is an all-metal device with a 5-inch 1080p HD display, Snapdragon 801 processor, HTC Duo UltraPixel camera, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and more. You can find more of the juicy details over at the announcement post, so be sure to check that out if you aren’t up to speed on what it’s bringing to the table.

Drop a vote in the poll. Whether you’re already scrounging up your pennies or passing on the HTC One for something else, we want to know why! Be sure to head to the comments and let us know why you chose whichever path you chose.

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