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Samsung Releases “Rose Pink” Galaxy S8+ in Taiwan (Limited Time)

Samsung Releases “Rose Pink” Galaxy S8+ in Taiwan (Limited Time)

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A new color is joining the ranks for the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and that is the “Rose Pink”. Samsung always had this tendency to release new colors later down it’s path following the launch of their new phone. Perhaps this is to renew interest and keep increasing sales in target markets. Unfortunately, this is only available in Taiwan for now. Samsung Taiwan is gearing up to begin sales in July. The Rose Pink Galaxy S8+ will be made available on their online retail store but for a limited time. The cost is roughly 920USD (TW 27,900).

Samsung Taiwan interestingly rebranded the color naming scheme for the Galaxy S8 calling them: “Ice Lake Blue”, “Smoked Purple Grey”, and Quicksand Gold. (This came from Orchid Grey and Maple Gold.)

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 latest update removes black navigation bar and adds UI tweaks

Samsung Galaxy S8 latest update removes black navigation bar and adds UI tweaks

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ received a new update that finally removed the black background in the navigation bar. The company also brought a bunch of UI tweaks along with the June 1, 2017 security patch update.

An icon now resides to the left of the navigational bar which allows you to auto-hide the navigation bar (in app). This enables you to utilize the whole 18.5:9 panel. For those who do not like this Auto-Hide feature you can easily turn it off by going to Settings > Display > Navigation bar > Show and hide button.

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Fullscreen mode is being improved upon by including a button that sits above the navigation bar which enables apps to go into full screen mode (especially for the apps that do not support the new 18.5 : 9 resolution. It is literally labeled, “Tap here to fill entire screen”. Activating this will restart the app into fullscreen mode.

The update also brings in a few changes. You can no longer use a color wheel to decide what the background color of your navigation bar is. Rather, Samsung predetermined a set of colors to choose from. Black is no longer an option.

A lot of fears were expressed due to the AMOLED panel and static images. An effect called “burn-in” occurs when an image remains static on the display for too long. This update should alleviate any concerns of burn in effects. The update is 454.18MB in size and began rolling out in India. This is made available in all markets.

Mophie Charge Force Review: A Great Charging Solution for the Galaxy S8

Mophie Charge Force Review: A Great Charging Solution for the Galaxy S8

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Today we are reviewing a product released by a prominent smartphone accessories company; Mophie. We all recognize that charging case, or that portable power bar, or that high price tag for premium brand and build. Mophie’s latest and greatest was built around the Galaxy S8’s built-in wireless charging technology. To be more precise, the Mophie charging case takes advantage of that really really well.

The big down sides that many agree to is the sheer size increase whenever you slap on a battery case. It can be thick, bulky and that added heft is quickly noticeable. A sacrifice to prolong your mobile battery life during the day or two away from a power outlet. Mophie seems to be betting on their new product called “Charge Force”.

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This new series kicked off for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7 as well. The product introduces a different take on modular design. The case itself is a slim, high quality, and made of a type of leather. This case will provide protection. The cool part is in a magnetic component inside the case and a separate battery pack that also has a magnet. When you find yourself running low on power you can simply pull out the battery pack, slap it on (it will stay secured to the back of your case via the two magnetic forces) and enjoy wireless charging technology. The iPhone 7 will have a thicker version of the case as iPhone’s don’t have wireless charging technology yet.

The Build

The case itself provides pretty good protection overall. Sure, it is not one of those heavy armor, heavy duty cases we see but we can expect it to adequately protect our phone’s from nicks and bumps. The case is made from a strong, durable plastic material with a leather overlay. The end result is a comfortable hold in your hands while giving you that solid feel as you use the phone.

The case also is designed to help users find the fingerprint sensor a lot easier. The buttons are also improved so that it retains that high quality click.

Powerstation Mini

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The Powerstation Mini is that little battery pack that wirelessly charges your S8. Just pull it out, let it stick onto the back, and off we go on about our day as the phone charges. The battery pack is a 3,300 mAh wireless charge battery. The case will align the battery pack correctly via the magnets as well.

What this means is that whenever you need more power just whip out your Powerstation Mini and hold it close to the back of the case protecting the S8 and every time it will stick together perfectly aligned. Then you simply need to hold down the power button on the Powerstation Mini pack and a haptic vibration will show you that the S8 has entered wireless charging mode.

Charging Speeds

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It is important to note that charging speeds are slower than cable charging. However, because the phone has an opening for the charging cable at the back and also the phone is comfortable to use in had (despite that Powerstation Mini attachment).

A downside to this charging solution is that it is quite difficult to get to the fingerprint sensor with the battery pack  magnetically attached. The battery pack creates a “protrusion” that may get in the way.

Another downside is that the Powerstation utilizes Micro-USB to charge up again which mean’s you need an extra cable in your bag. Mophie Powerstations are made to be cross-device compatible which means it will also work with the iPhone 7’s version of the case.

The Mophie Charge Force is well built and designed. A good magnetic connection that aligns the battery pack for correct wireless charging every time is impressive. If you like the idea of modularity for a phone case to charge or not (wirelessly) then this case may be a good option for you.

OnePlus 2 not getting Android Nougat (Confirmed)

OnePlus 2 not getting Android Nougat (Confirmed)

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After much expectation the OnePlus company has officially confirmed that the OnePlus 2 will not be getting the Android 7.0 Nougat update. A OnePlus representative confirmed the news. It as about this time last year that the OnePlus 2 received Marshmellow, it is quite late for the Nougat to come out as well as the company gears for the OnePlus 5 release. The Nougat update focus was given to the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T devices. The only recent update OnePlus gave to the 2 was an incremental Marshmellow update (about two months ago). Marshmellow will be the final update for the aging OnePlus 2.

Dedicated OnePlus fan’s may take this news with difficulty as the phone is only 2 years old. Android phone users have expectations to receive security patches on a regular basis which is also followed by the reality that Android updates are extremely fragmented. Android users now know that the only way to receive frequent updates is to either get a Google phone or to buy the latest and greatest while burning a big hole in your wallet. All phone’s usually receive one big update but a second major update is not a common sight. This sad news, however, did not hinder programmers and developers from working on and releasing custom ROM’s for the OnePlus 2.

The OnePlus 3 and 3T has already received the Nougat update and the company also confirmed that the flagship phone’s will be receiving the Android O update. A positive step forward is shown in the companies efforts to release and promise good updates for their flagship phones beginning with the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 2, may have been an important stepping stone for the company to reach this stage. The OnePlus 5 is expected to be released on June 20 and should entice many to that phone soon.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with a Dual Speaker Setup

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with a Dual Speaker/Camera Setup

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A quick update for the Galaxy Note 8 rumor scene: Rumors suggest that SAMSUNG is working on their Note 8’s Dual Speaker system. This means that the Note 8 will come with one speaker on top and one on the bottom. Theoretically, this new setup should bring louder sound with better quality. Samsung also acquired the sound engineering company Harman-Kardon through which the company has been able to provide AKG headphones in the box with the Galaxy S8 devices. AKG sound chips and technology is definitely expected to be integrated into the Galaxy Note 8 which is expected to be unveiled in New York’s Samsung UNBOXED event sometime during August or September.

A dual speaker set up is a welcome feature that should help with users who like to chill at home and watch some clips online but don’t want to bother with headphones or plugging into a sound system. It is great to see more powerful features being put into your hands through this powerful smartphone. 2017 is shaping up to be quite interesting for Samsung especially with the introduction of it’s “Infinity Display” in their S8 line. The design feature was a speculation that is based off of a schematic drawing that was leaked online through multiple outlets.

As with any rumors we should always take it with a grain of salt as the company can make changes at any stage before the unveiling. The schematic also shows something interesting. A dual camera module on the back. On either side of the camera also shows two separate LED flash for those dark circumstances. We are unsure how a dual flash will turn out along side the dual camera. We are also wondering if Samsung will complete an optical zoom (as opposed to a digital zoom camera) system internally. We hope that more leaks will illuminate more on this subject.

To recap on an internal spec rumor, it seems like the Note 8 will come with an upgraded version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. It could be called the Snapdragon 835 pro or the 836.

Stay tuned for more updates that are certain to come.

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Essential Phone will be Exclusive to Sprint in the U.S.

Essential Phone will be Exclusive to Sprint in the U.S.

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US Carrier Sprint has plans of showing off the Essential Phone across thousands of their Sprint stores in the USA. Co-founder of the Android platform; Andy Rubin created the Essential Phone which we covered here. The Essential Phone is a beauty to look at with a unique edge to edge display panel that rivals even that of the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship models. Andy Rubin has made the Essential Phone available for purchase (unlocked) directly from his companies website. The Essential Phone has the ability to connect to most carriers around the world. It certainly supports the four major carriers in the U.S. If you choose to purchase the Essential Phone from a Sprint store it will be locked to the Sprint network.

Niccolo de Masi, president of Essential explained to USA Today the reason why the company chose Sprint as its exclusive carrier partner.

“We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was. I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.

It’s certainly conscious for us to work with partners that can make an investment in supporting our brand ambitions…(and) it’s an approach that obviously Andy Rubin has been very successful with in the past as well as a lot of our management team.”

Andy Rubin also has a close relationship withe SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. The telecommunications company owns 83% of Sprint so it is not difficult to draw the lines. Sprint has stated that the Essential Phone will be clearly shown in all of its retail stores and will give the device its own “premium stage”. The Essential Phones will not come with Sprint branding.

There are no news just yet as to the release date for these fantastic devices in the Sprint retail stores but it should come soon. The Essential Phone costs 699$ unlocked and shipping will begin by the end of this month.

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A Larger Google Pixel XL may be on it’s way

A Larger Google Pixel XL may be on it’s way

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Google seems to be jumping on the “larger is better” bandwagon alongside Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Though it may not be a direct replica of the Pixel and though it will not be called the Google Pixel XXL, it will be a second generation Pixel device nonetheless.

According to internal rumors from Google, the company is planning to release their second generation Pixel phone in a larger format (larger display). A project called “Muskie” was supposed to be the next big thing after the Pixel XL. However, with that now gone we are left with another project called “Taimen”. Rumors seem to indicate that Taimen is a larger display (and larger bodied) smartphone compared to what Muskie was supposed to be. It seems that what ever Taimen will look like it will have the chassis of “Muskie” but with a larger screen.

While all this is happening Google is also gearing up to release a smaller second-generation Pixel device. This should be announced by Google soon this year. The code name for this project is “Walleye”.

These days Google seems to be taking a fancy to codenaming their projects after water dwelling creatures.

The iPhone 8 May Beat the Note 8

The iPhone 8 May Beat the Note 8

 

There has been rumors going around that suggests that Apple will be integrating a fingerprint sensor into its display. While this has been going around, Samsung’s Note 8 is expected to be released later this year. Samsung’s upcoming flagship model is deemed not to come with a fingerprint sensor under the display panel. We had been receiving various news about how the Note 8 would match the iPhone 8 in terms of this feature. If these rumors are true then Samsung fan’s may be quite disappointed. galaxy-note-8-schematics-leak-2

A new Galaxy Note 8 schematic shows a drawing that indicates a dual camera set up that also comes with a dual led flash module at the back. There seems to be a dual speaker system (one on top and one on the bottom). A 3.5mm headphone jack is still seen along with the obvious inclusion of the S Pen stylus in the body. Amongst the surprising camera set up there is an additional feature that seems to suggest that the fingerprint sensor will be placed on the back of the Note 8. This basically dispells all rumors suggesting that the finger print sensor will be found under the display.

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If you look a bit closer, you will see a circle found on the back. This will undoubtedly be the fingerprint sensor since the home button (via a pressure sensitive strip) is found under the display at the bottomside already. To further cement this an anonymous Samsung executive has stated that the Galaxy Note 8 will not have a under the display fingerprint scanner.

If the rumors for the Apple iPhone 8 supporting under-the-display fingerprint sensors hold true then the iPhone will take the cake in that department when these flagships are released. It is true, however, that integrating such a feature under the display is quite hard and we wonder if Apple will be able to deliver such a feature in 2017. We can certainly see it come true in 2018 and beyond if proven difficult this time around.

As Apple paid Samsung a huge sum of money to purchase their AMOLED panels we expect the iPhone 8 to finally sport an bezel-less display design like the S8.

How to Improve your Galaxy S8 / S8+’s Battery Life

How to Improve your Galaxy S8 / S8+’s Battery Life

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The battery life on the S8 and S8+ is already great. However, it is not the best compared to some phones out there. Regardless, the S8 and S8+ will easily power through the day with juice still left in the tank at the end of it. Samsung’s new take on their Touchwiz (now called Grace UX) is much cleaner compared to the past and their software implementation’s are pretty good. They have included many features and functions to give the user choice in the whole power usage matter within their own phones. Here we present some points which can help you make the most out of your Galaxy S8 / S8+.

Power Saving Features

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Android has had it for years but Samsung improved upon this by giving users a large range of choices. By choice we mean fine tuning and tweaking. Simply go to Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery to find this function. Here you can toggle on or off it’s different variations of the power saving mode. You also have the option of toggling on or off the power saving mode via your notification shade (in the quick settings area).

Most people don’t really touch the extreme power saving modes which cuts the power to your engines by half amongst many other things. We recommend doing what most others do; figure out the middle ground. The “MID” option will decrease your brightness, lower the screen resolution, limit the CPU performance, and also disable background data and network usage. The Always On Display will also be disabled. You can actually modify this so that it does all that except maybe the CPU performance stays the same etc.

To create a more customised power saving option, just hit “CUSTOMISE”. You will then be able to mix and match your preferred power saving functions rolled into one toggle. This is a fantastic addition by Samsung.

You can also put apps to sleep by long pressing an icon on the home launcher and tapping “Sleep”. The app will go to sleep and not be able to eat your battery. This is actually found to be very effective.

Clean Up your Apps

Phone’s with a ton of app’s tend to bog down your phone and also increase the usage of the battery. Make sure you uninstall unused apps to not only free up space but to prevent it from going rogue and sipping on your battery over time. Even if you don’t use these apps they can still use your battery.

To do this go to Settings and then Apps and scroll through all your apps and uninstall them as you see fit.

Remember that uninstalling is not a permanent good bye, you can always re install them again from the Playstore.

It is also important to make check through your apps and make sure there are no power-sucking apps. You can check this by going to Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery. The app power monitor within will list all your apps in order from the most power hungry app to the least.  If you notice that your battery % is dropping faster than usual, one of the apps may be the culprit.

The best way to go about this is to use your phone for about a week at least. Then check this section time to time at the end of the day to figure out what uses your battery the most. We found that Facebook is usually a bad offender and will drain your phone more than usual. You can give limits to apps (to prevent data usage) and to prevent your phone from waking up (even with the display off).

The Android OS will put any apps that have been untouched for a period of time to sleep. This should automatically help with the whole battery saving scene.

Screen Resolution Options

Screen resolution will help in conserving battery life. Your phone comes with a WQHD+ display panel which absolutely eats batteries up compared to lower res displays. Interestingly, Samsung included the option to select between HD+, FHD+, and WQHD+ display settings. This effectively changes the resolution to the corresponding resolutions.  HD+ will save the most power but makes your display a little less pleasant to look at (due to pixellations). We recommend sticking to FHD+ as it means that the CPU does not have to process as much as it would on the WQHD+ setting.

Those who do not care for the content of the phone can certainly choose the HD+ setting.

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

A big culprit to battery usage could be attributed to Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth. These two functions are essential to most people in the world today as it enables wireless user experiences and connectivity to the internet. However, if you keep the settings on without connecting the device to a Wi-Fi access point or some bluetooth device, they will keep auto searching (using up your power) for the nearest WiFi or Bluetooth. Make sure you turn them off manually when not in use.

Battery Pack

Despite all of the options provided above, it may not be enough for certain users. There are heavy users who are on the smartphones non stop. If you see yourself as a heavy user then we recommend getting a battery pack. These comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are in the form of a case, while others are literal juice packs that you can carry and plug into your S8 / S8+ to charge them on the go.

The downside to having these battery packs is bulk and weight. They do add up. However, it is pretty good sacrifice (since your phone is light anyways) for those who are looking for longer term usages.

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Moto Z2 Play Unveiled with New Moto Mods!

Moto Z2 Play Unveiled with New Moto Mods!


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Good:

  • Awesome battery life (which is increased with the Moto Mod Battery Pack option)
  • Mods work very well with good usefulness
  • finger print scanner received a lot of love as it got upgraded with Gesture Touch
  • Processor enables smooth and fast operation and gaming

Bad:

  • The OnePlus 3T or even the upcoming OnePlus 5 will be its main competitor
  • The Mods do not all fit together perfectly
  • The Phone NEEDS Modes on otherwise it looks weird

Quick Specs Sheet:

  • Body:
    • 156.2 x 76.2 x 6 mm (6.15 x 3.00 x 0.24 in)
    • 145 g (5.11 oz)
    • Splash and Dust Resistant
  • Screen:
    • Super AMOLED 5.5 inch (~70.1% screen to body)
    • 1920 x 1080 (~401 ppi pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Internal Specs:
    • Android 7.1.1
    • Qualcomm MSM8953-Pro (Snapdragon 626)
    • Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
    • GPU: Adreno 506
    • Memory: 3GB RAM+32 GB internal storage /OR/ 4GB RAM+64GB internal storage (micro SD available in both versions)
  • Camera:
    • 12 MP, f1.7 PDAF rear camera + 5 MP f/2.0 front facing camera
  • Others:
    • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
    • USB Type-C
    • Fingerprint sensor (mounted on front)
    • 3,000 mAh battery with Fast Charge
    • Available Colors: Lunar Gray, Fine Gold, Nimbus Blue

 

Since Motorola was bought by Lenovo, the company has been on a track for modular smartphones. The new Moto Z2 Play is a mid range smartphone from the company that comes with brand new Moto Mod accessories.

Last August, the Moto Z Play (1st generation) was introduced as a chunky, mid-range, version of the Moto Z. The Z2 on the other hand has a much thinner body profile measured at 5.99mm. The fingerprint sensor doubles as a gesture navigation sensor.

The specs are quite good with a 5.5 inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 626 processor, 4GB of RAM and microSD expansion. Oh look, the phone even has a 3.5mm headphone jack! The battery did shrink, however, down to 3,000mAh from 3510mAh due to the thinner body.

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On the camera front we see a huge boost in low light capabilities thanks to a wide aperture of f/1.7 and a f/2.0 front facing camera.

Alongside the Z2 Play Motorola has also launched four new Moto Mods. There is the JBL Sound Boost 2 (Retail:$79), the TurboPower Pack ($79), Moto GamePad ($79), and the Moto Shells + wireless charging ($39). As you may have guessed it the Sound Booster pack does just that; increases sound quality and loudness, while the TurboPower Pack gives you more juice for the battery. The GamePad is reminiscent to Logitechs gamepad dock offering for iPhone’s gaming ecosystem and the Moto Shell wireless charging enables wireless charging for the device.

The smartphone itself costs $499 but if you are the type who buys all the official accessories you will definitely see the costs add up. The Moto Z2 Play is set to launch in July alongside most of the Moto Mod accessories. The Moto GamePad will be delayed till summer.