4 Reasons not to buy an Android TV with Chromecast built-in

There’s never been a more varied selection of TVs to purchase than now. They come in all shapes, sizes, resolutions, and prices, and except for a niche bunch, most of the TVs being pushed today come with smart features built-in. That includes those which have Android TV and Chromecast Built-in.

While smart TV makers are keen on wowing you with the promise of “Netflix and Chill” at the click of a button, we’re going to buck the trend and take the stance that you shouldn’t buy an Android TV with Chromecast built-in, or any other smart TV for that matter, and instead opt for a set-top-box or dongle. Here’s why.

Slow Updates

For starters, TV makers are notorious for delivering updates at a snail’s pace. Take Chromecast, for instance — the dongle can often be multiple versions ahead of a TV with Chromecast built-in thanks to it receiving updates straight from Google. Good luck getting Sony to match that pace.

You may not think this is a big deal, but a one version discrepancy could be the difference between getting awesome new features like voice casting HBO content to your TV or being able to use video apps which only support the latest versions of Chromecast. That is simply no good.

Lack of New Features

Piggybacking on the point made above, what happens when Chromecast undergoes a major transformation and your TV manufacturer has already put it to rest? Or what if Google comes out with something that has a better WiFi radio, something with more RAM, or any other advancements that could be made in hardware?

Well, you won’t be getting that new goodness without buying a brand new TV. For instance, some 4K smart TVs with Chromecast built-in only support casting at resolutions up to 1080p, and that restriction is likely due to lack of necessary hardware. With a Chromecast dongle or an Android TV box, you can sell it and replace it with the 4K-capable model, a much cheaper proposition.

Limited Choice

If you buy a smart TV with Chromecast built-in and nothing else, you’re limited to what Google and the manufacturers want to limit you to, whether it be due to those slow updates or simple business decisions.

Decide you don’t care for Chromecast any longer? Want something with Amazon Alexa on it, something with a gaming focus like the SHIELD TV or even a custom Raspberry Pi with a Kodi installation? Simply had enough with a certain brand and want to try something different? Those are all possibilities when you separate the brains from the display.

Smart TVs Cost More

Anyone doing some light TV shopping will immediately pick up on the trend that smarter TVs are pricier TVs. In some cases, the price difference isn’t so massive as to induce questions about price gouging, and in fact seem to accurately reflect the cost of the components needed to add those smart features. In other cases — mainly at the high-end point of the market — you can see increases of $100 or more for smart features.

Take these 2 TVs from Best Buy, for example. There is virtually nothing separating the two from a size, panel, and resolution standpoint, but because one is a Smart TV it’ll cost you $20 more. You could take that $20 in savings and put it toward a Chromecast, an actual Roku stick, or any other similar device and have the flexibility to upgrade or change it later on.

And as we mentioned before, good luck finding a non-smart version of a TV at all these days.

Go External, Always

Don’t get us wrong — we’re not saying you should avoid smart TVs like the plague. Some of you likely already have one and aren’t willing to part ways with it even if you aren’t totally happy with the user experience, and some of you who already have TVs might feel pressured to get with the times, or perhaps want a new 4K panel to upgrade from 1080p but can’t find one without smart features. That’s all fine.

The beauty in either situation is that both a basic TV and a smart TV can be upgraded simply by plugging something new into your HDMI port. It adds another box or dongle and lord knows we have enough of those already, but the benefits of choice far outweigh the convenience of having all that stuff baked in. Be sure to keep these points in mind this holiday season if you’re in the market for a new TV.

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/20/reasons-why-not-to-buy-smart-tv-chromecast-built-in/

Petnet SmartFeeder Review

We live in a connected world. You can use a TV to turn on the lights and you can use a speaker to turn on the TV. Everything is connected to the internet and talking to the other gadgets in your home. Pets live in this connected world, too. There are a plethora of strange and useful smart devices for your pet. One of the most practical is a smart feeder.

The Petnet SmartFeeder is an automated feeder that connects to an app on your phone. There are plenty of “dumb” automatic pet feeders on the market, but the SmartFeeder adds a bunch of extra features. For around $120, it better be pretty dang smart. Let’s take a look at this device and help you decide if you need a SmartFeeder for your pet.

I’ve been testing out the Petnet SmartFeeder for a little over a month now. We have been using it for our cat, Grimm. He’s a spoiled cat that needs to be fed three times a day or he’ll get cranky. One of those times happens to be around 5:00 AM every morning. We’ve used a couple of different automatic feeders in the past, which has worked out pretty well.

At its core, the SmartFeeder performs the same function as an automatic feeder. It dispenses a desired amount of food at specific times. Where the SmartFeeder sets itself apart is the free smartphone app that gives you remote control and a bunch of handy information. But before any of that works, you have to set up the SmartFeeder.

Set Up

The SmartFeeder consists of a hopper for food, a bowl, and the dispenser. You can also get a “ramp” that helps the food fall out of the dispenser. All of these part interlock and connect easily. Once assembled, you’ll need to install the Petnet app. The app will guide you through the process of connecting to the feeder. After a few attempts, we were able to get the app connected successfully.

In the app, you can create a profile for your pet. The profile consists of age, weight, and activity level. You will also need to enter some information about your pet’s food. Pretty much all pet food brands are included in the app. Our cat has a special food for urinary health and we were able to find it in the app. The app will give you a recommendation for feeding, but it’s basically the same info you’d find on the food’s packaging.

Pros

The main feature of the SmartFeeder is the ability to set up a custom feeding schedule. Setting up a feeding schedule on the app is so much easier than on the “dumb” feeders. All you do is select the feeding times and portion size. The great thing about a smart feeder is you can make the schedule as unique as your pet. You could feed your pet at five different times with five different portion sizes if you wanted. Oh, and if you want to feed your pet the old fashioned way, there’s a button on the front for manual feeding. You can choose the default amount in the app.

If you’re not home to hear the food trickle into the metal bowl, you can get notifications for every feeding. It doesn’t tell you if your pet has visited the bowl or eaten the food, but the notification is a nice reassurance that the feeder is working. The feeder can also warn you about things like if it missed a feeding or the hopper is getting low on food. All of this connectivity is what makes the SmartFeeder smarter than your average feeder.

The schedule features have worked perfectly in our testing. We have taken a couple of weekend trips away from home since using the SmartFeeder. It’s super convenient to know that your pet is getting fed. We never had issues with the “dumb” feeders, but they could stop working and you’d have no idea. The SmartFeeder gives you peace of mind.

Cons

There are a couple of downsides to the SmartFeeder. The bowl is really only big enough for one pet and buying multiple SmartFeeders would be pretty pricey. The SmartFeeder does have a battery that can be recharged via micro USB, but it doesn’t last very long. You will definitely need to put this near an outlet, though the included cable is 6.5-feet long. One issue we noticed is the portion sizes aren’t entirely accurate. It seemed to be giving more food than it should, but that was easy to fix by adjusting the portion size. Also, the manual feed button has a light that can’t be turned off. Kinda annoying if you have the feeder in your bedroom.

Conclusion

An automatic feeder is an awesome thing to have, especially for cats. Even a simple “dumb” feeder can make your life easier. The SmartFeeder has a lot of great features that put it above a “dumb” feeder. It’s amazing how a simple notification that your pet was fed can make you feel more at ease.

The big question is whether the SmartFeeder is worth the hefty price tag. You’re looking at $120. I think if you’re someone that leaves their pet home alone a lot, the SmartFeeder can add peace of mind. You’ll have to decide how much that peace of mind is worth to you.

There’s also the convenience factor. Setting up the schedules is infinitely easier to do on the app. Getting a reminder to refill the food is also a big help. You probably already spoil your pet. The SmartFeeder is a way to spoil yourself. You probably don’t need it, but it will surely make your life a lot easier. Oh, and your pet will love the new magical box that gives out food.

buy from best buy
buy from petnet

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/18/petnet-smartfeeder-review/

ZTE Axon M First Impressions

ZTE pulled out all the stops at an event in Brooklyn, New York as the company unveiled its most “revolutionary” device to date with the ZTE Axon M. Instead of seeing just a single rectangular slab, we now get TWO rectangular slabs, which are connected by a rather strong hinge.

We were lucky enough to attend the event in person, and are back to share some of our first impressions of the device.

This is just the beginning

We would be remiss to not get this started off by talking about the dual 5.2-inch displays found on the Axon M. It really is an interesting design, and it doesn’t really take shape until you have the Axon M in your hands.

The displays fold away from one another, making it possible to use the Axon M traditionally, or fold the display back out to create a 6.8-inch tablet. This tablet allows you to become a multi-tasking and productivity machine if that’s your thing.

We have been hearing that Samsung and Lenovo have been working on similar options, but ZTE was the first to produce a device that was more than just a prototype. Hat’s off to ZTE for that, and I expect that we’ll begin seeing more device launched next year that will fall into this newly-created niche market.

Modes for Days

With these dual displays, ZTE has included a way to easily activate and switch between the various modes on the Axon M, of which, there are four – Traditional, Dual Mode, Extended Mode, and Mirror Mode. These modes make it possible to interact with the Axon M in just about every way imaginable, allowing users to perform any task that they need to complete.

The implementation seems to be on point, at least from my brief time with the device. Switching modes was easy and seamless, while applications adapted to the secondary display rather nicely. ZTE stated that more than just a few apps were already capable of taking advantage of both displays, but it’s likely that we’ll see more apps updated with support once the Axon M is actually released.

It’s got a little heft

While Samsung and other OEM’s are fighting over creating the most svelte device, ZTE took a different route with the Axon M. The device weighs in at 8.11oz or 230 grams, which is much heavier than most other smartphones on the market. This increase in weight is due to the secondary display, but when you actually hold the Axon M, you will definitely notice a difference.

You can tell that ZTE didn’t skimp on the materials used to create the Axon M, as the body of the device is made from aluminum. The texture makes it rather nice to hold in the hand as you don’t have to worry about it slipping out of your hands by accident.

The problem will arise when you’re using the Axon M in Traditional mode. Since the displays fold away from one another, the back of the device will be a glass display. This will become the home for many fingerprints, so you’ll likely want to keep a microfiber cloth handy, or snag a screen protector once those are made available.

The camera is a bit odd

When you look around the Axon M, there are a few things you’re going to notice right off the bat. The first of which is likely the fact that there is only one camera sensor which is placed on the display situated to the right of the device.

This camera measures in at 20MP and the module includes a rather large LED flash positioned to the right of the camera sensor. This means that you’ll be using the same camera for your standard images as you will for those selfies. When toying around with the Axon M, it took a little bit longer to figure out how to situate the device to ensure that I was taking a picture of something in front of me.

Once you get the hang of it, I’m sure everything will be fine, but it’s definitely a bit cumbersome at first and something to keep in mind once the Axon M hits storefronts.

There’s still a fingerprint scanner

Previously I mentioned that there are a few things that you would notice right off the bat about the Axon M with the camera being the first. The second item would be the appearance of no fingerprint scanner, which would absolutely be devasting to a device launched in 2017.

I must admit, that it took me quite awhile to figure it out, but the Axon M does include a fingerprint scanner. Considering how annoying it would be to unfold the device every time you wanted to unlock, ZTE opted to embed the fingerprint scanner into the power button, versus using a separate sensor placed anywhere else on the device.

When the Axon M is folded into the Traditional position, the fingerprint scanner can be found on the left-hand side placed below the volume rocker and SIM card slot. This is the obvious and most convenient place for the fingerprint scanner without adding another sensor to either of the dual displays.

What about the specs?

This is a topic that I’m still on the fence about. On one hand, the LG G6 is still one of my favorite devices of 2017, but features a spec-sheet of something we would have seen last year. It seems that ZTE also went this route with the Axon M as it is powered by the Snapdragon 821 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage.

Sure, the Snapdragon 821 is still very capable even today, but with the Snapdragon 835 readily available and being used in many 2017 flagships, this move came across as a bit confusing. This might just be a case of ZTE spending more time on the hardware design and not caring about including the latest Qualcomm SoC, but it could have something to do with pricing as well.

One more thing to make note of regarding the Axon M is that this device will be shipping later this year with Android Nougat. That’s right, Android Oreo will not be available on the Axon M at launch. During the press event, ZTE claimed that Oreo will be released “in the future”, but since the final build has been out for a few months, it’s a bit unnerving to see ZTE behind the 8-ball here.

What does this mean for the industry?

As I mentioned above, Lenovo and Samsung have been working on foldable displays on devices, and we aren’t that far away from seeing what’s to come. Does this mean that the Axon M will usher in a new wave of devices, much like the Xiaomi Mi Mix did for bezel-less designs? I’m not so sure.

I’m 100% positive that we will see more devices like the Axon M launched in the next year or so, but I don’t necessarily believe this is the new way that everyone will interact with their devices. Instead, these flexible/foldable displays will arrive on the market, but will only appeal to a minor portion of the public.

More than a few times during yesterday’s event, I heard the following: “This is cool, but I’m really excited to see what Samsung does”. And that’s an event with mostly media and press attendees and not even anyone from the general public. So maybe I’m wrong, but I think the Axon M won’t be relevant for very long.

Let us know what you think about the Axon M, and if you are interested in giving the device a whirl for yourself.

 

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/18/zte-axon-m-first-impressions/

7 Things to Love and Hate about the new ZTE Axon M

Yesterday, ZTE took to the stage to introduce a brand-new “revolutionary” smartphone with the ZTE Axon M. What makes this device so special isn’t what we’ve seen across other devices in 2017. Instead of joining the bezel-less movement, the Axon M is actually a foldable smartphone with dual 5.2-inch displays.

Now, we’re going to take a look at a few reasons why you should love (or hate) the ZTE Axon M.

LOVE: Dual Displays

This is something that we’ve been expecting from OEM’s as smartphone design has become somewhat stagnant. I mean, you can only redesign the square so many times while still calling it a square.

While everyone else has been focused on creating slimmer bezels, the Axon M decides to ignore those complaints and pack dual 5.2-inch displays into the device. This allows you to be more productive, even if you’re just lounging around the house watching some videos.

These displays aren’t the best in the world, but they should be more than adequate for media consumption and some fun interesting gameplay. As for those displays, these both feature a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and in my brief time with the Axon M, there was nothing negative to really point out.

HATE: 2016 Specs

While many dead-panned the LG G6 for being powered by 2016 flagship specs, there was an asterisk attached to the device. It was pushed early to beat the rush of the Galaxy S8 lineup, and there were many reports that Samsung was actually hoarding the Snapdragon 835 which has come to power many 2017 flagships.

Now, if we dead-panned a device that launched way back in March, but thought differently about the Axon M, how would that make you feel? Sure, the Snapdragon 821 is still adequate, but it’s already dated considering the SD835 has been out all year and the SD836 is around the corner (presumably to launch with the OnePlus 6).

I don’t have an answer as to why ZTE opted to not use the SD835 with the Axon M, but it could prove to be a costly move. Especially for a device designed to be so productivity focused.

LOVE: Productivity Powerhouse

Speaking of productivity, the Axon M will help you in so many more ways if you’re really trying to get some work done. The dual display panels allow you to use the phone as you normally would, but will fold out to bring you a display measuring in around 6.8-inches.

Plus, with the various Axon M modes, you can get the device working in ways that were convoluted and annoyingly unnecessary. Obviously, we’ve had split-window mode on devices for the last few years, but the Axon M takes that to the next level.

You can run two apps simultaneously (i.e. Twitter and YouTube), or you can even run the same instance of an app side-by-side. OR, you could use the Axon M to play your buddy in a game of chess while you’re sitting in the living room or on the train, and each would have their own screen to play on.

HATE: Only One Camera

This one threw me off guard a bit during my hands-on time with the Axon M. The rear of the device features some ZTE and AT&T branding, but there is no camera to be found.

Instead, ZTE opted to place a single 20MP camera on the left display panel. When attempting to take pictures, the right screen will act as the viewfinder, and the secondary display panel will be turned off to conserve battery.

We’ll have to see how the camera stacks up once our review unit arrives, but first impressions of the camera seemed to be just okay. It’s clear that the camera wasn’t the focus with the Axon M, and that may turn many potential buyers away.

LOVE: Headphone Jack

I was debating on even including this section, but considering the hubbub surrounding the omission of the 3.5mm headphone jack on the upcoming Pixel 2 lineup, I felt that it was important to mention. Along the top of the Axon M, ZTE has included the 3.5mm headphone jack, which will make many people rather happy.

There’s no super impressive DAC similar to that found in the LG V30, but at least you’ll be able to use your traditional headphones if you decide to spring for the Axon M.

HATE: Where’s the protection?

Recently, I’ve been using my phones without a case, and sticking to either a dbrand skin or nothing at all. However, with dual displays that don’t fold into one another, that raises the question of how the Axon M will be protected.

According to reps at the event, there are OEM accessories on the way, but there was no mention of a specific release date or what kind of accessories were being released. Of course, this is likely to change after ZTE delivers a specific release date for the Axon M, but I would still be very wary of keeping the device protected over the long haul.

LOVE: Fingerprint Placement

 

You wouldn’t notice it at first glance, but the ZTE Axon M does include a fingerprint scanner. Considering how annoying it would be to unfold the device every time you wanted to unlock it, ZTE opted to integrate the scanner in a spot that you wouldn’t expect – the power button.

By no means is ZTE the first to do this, but it’s a rather intuitive option for those who want to keep their device secure. It is a bit odd at first, but once you hold the Axon M in your hand, the placement makes perfect sense. There was just no point in putting the scanner on the display as it would take away from using the Axon M in any orientation.

HATE: Flagship pricing

To go along with the 2016 spec-sheet, something that must be discussed is the price. ZTE has partnered with AT&T here in the US and stated that the Axon M will be priced at either $24.17 per month or $725 outright.

What other device has left us scratching our heads when it comes to the price and has seemingly had a tough time gaining market share? The Essential Phone. The difference here is that the PH-1 embraces the bezel-less movement, includes a flagship spec-sheet, and is still having a hard time getting off the ground.

ZTE could see similar issues as the Axon M is seemingly designed for an extremely niche market, and won’t garner the same appeal of other options on the market.

Conclusion: It’s a coin flip

There’s a lot to love here with the ZTE Axon M, as it does open the doors to a new category of smartphones. However, ZTE made some odd choices when it comes to the likes of the specs, pricing, and others which may make it even more of a difficult sell when the Axon M is launched later this year.

All-in-all, in my time spent with the Axon M you can definitely see the usefulness of the dual-display setup. The problem arises with the fact that I’m not exactly sure that the Axon M will take off and begin replacing the smartphone slabs that are already present in our homes today.

Nonetheless, one thing you can’t take away from the Axon M is that this is a first for smartphones in the modern age, and may very well have just opened the floodgates for new and exciting devices to come next year.

Let us know what you think about the Axon M and whether it will be a viable option once it is released later this year.

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/18/love-hate-zte-axon-m/

LG V30 Review

The LG V Series started with the weird idea of putting a secondary display on top of the main display. It was implemented on the LG V10 and LG V20, which were good phones, but not appealing to the average consumer. The V Series has always been more for Android enthusiasts. What do you do with a phone that’s not super popular but needs a replacement? You start from scratch.

The LG V30 has almost nothing in common with the V Series phones that have come before it. The only thing remaining from the Second Screen is a floating widget. The metal back and giant chins have been replaced with glass and slim bezels. Everything that was sharp and industrial is now more premium and svelte. LG finally decided to stop playing around with gimmicks and made the best phone they possibly could. Is that enough to make the V30 matter in a world of Galaxies and Pixels? Let’s find out.

The Good

  • Premium design
  • Big display, not big body
  • Good camera
  • Great battery life
  • Quad DAC wired audio

The Bad

  • P-OLED display has issues

Read More: First Things To Do, Tips & Tricks

Display

The V30 has a 6-inch P-OLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio and 1440 x 2880 resolution. On paper, those specs sound amazing. Indeed, the size, aspect ratio, and resolution are truly great, but the P-OLED is where some issues arise. First, let’s talk about the good news.

I really like the size of the display and I have become a big fan of the 18:9 aspect ratio. For phones with software navigation bars, it just makes sense. I’m also happy LG decided to finally go with P-OLED instead of LCD. The LCD panels on previous LG phones have been really good, but I prefer the deep blacks of OLED. So let’s talk about that P-OLED display.

The display looks great most of the time. Some people might not like the colors out of the box, but you can adjust that in the settings. The issues I’ve noticed appear primarily in low-light situations with dark backgrounds. For example, when looking at an app that has a dark background (not black) in a dark room, the gradients appear blotchy. This is not something I notice all the time, but it definitely does happen.

A bigger issue for me is a lack of contrast at low brightness levels. This is particularly noticeable when watching videos in low light. Shadows tend to be overly dark, which kills a lot of the detail. I found myself having to crank up the brightness when watching videos at night.

The display issues seem to be inconsistent across devices. Some have it worse than others. The blotchiness was worse on my pre-production unit, but that didn’t stop me from using it. I don’t consider the display issues to be a deal breaker. Given the choice between the V30’s P-OLED and the G6’s LCD, I’d still take the P-OLED. Even at its best, LG is still behind Samsung when it comes to OLED displays.

Unlike the V20 and V10, the V30 only has one display. The secondary display that sat at the top of the main display has been removed. I was never a big fan of the Second Screen. It wasn’t incredibly useful and it made the phones too big. LG has spread out most of the Second Screen features into a new floating widget called the “Floating Bar” and the Always-on Display.

The Floating Bar can easily be tucked away until you need it. Just tap the little tab and the bar slides out. You can launch apps, contacts, control media, and edit screenshots with the Floating Bar tools. The Second Screen also had some handy shortcuts when the main display was off. Those can now be found on the Always-on Display. I think the Floating Bar is much better than the Second Screen. Especially because you can turn it off if you don’t want it.

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/17/lg-v30-review/

15 First things every Galaxy Note 8 owner should do

When the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was unveiled, there was a lot of anticipation to see how the company would rebound with its 2nd-half flagship. There was much mentioned regarding how much Samsung loves its Note customers, and how it couldn’t abandon the product.

Now that the device is here and in everyone’s hands, we’re going to take a look at few of the first things everyone should do with their latest and greatest device from the Samsung camp.

Keep your precious device protected

While the Galaxy Note 8 offers one of the most gorgeous designs on the market, it still features a glass front and back sandwiched by an aluminum frame. This means that there is a decent chance of random scratches occurring and to help prevent anything bad from happening, you’re going to want to snag either a case or a skin.

Luckily, there are a plethora of options on the market, with a case available for each kind of situation. Or you could do something like rock a skin from dbrand and use a case when you’re going out and about. That way, you keep the back glass protected from anything, while also having a case to save you from any accidental drops.

Best Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Cases

Expand your storage even further

Samsung dropped the microSD card slot for a while, but they have thankfully added it back. You can easily upgrade your storage capacity without buying the expensive high storage models or a cloud storage subscription and relying on a data connection. Buy these great SD cards and pop one in.

Prepare for Disaster

It’s something nobody thinks about until it happens, but one of the worst things that could happen to you is losing your smartphone or having it stolen. In the event that your device does go missing, you need to know exactly how to recover your device or erase any personal information stored therein.

Android’s built-in feature — “Android Device Manager” — is the perfect way to track down a lost device, you just need to know where to find it.

  1. Go to google.com/android/devicemanager
  2. Select your phone from the drop-down menu.
  3. You’ll see the device on a map and a few options for finding it (ring), locking it (if it wasn’t locked already), or erasing all of its contents with a full factory reset.

Unlock with your eyes

One of the coolest features of the Galaxy Note 8 is the iris scanner. You can unlock your phone by scanning your eyeballs, just like in the movies. It actually works surprisingly well. It doesn’t work as well if you wear glasses or contacts, but it’s still very cool.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen and security
  2. Select Iris scanner
  3. Read instructions and tap Continue
  4. Hold your eyes in the viewfinder
  5. Tap OK when complete

Stretch your fingers to unlock

If the iris scanner isn’t your cup of tea, the Galaxy Note 8 also has a fingerprint scanner. Unfortunately, it’s not in the best spot. Samsung put it high up on the back next to the camera. The good news is it still works pretty well. Here’s how to set it up and use it.

  • Go to Settings > Lock screen and security
  • Select Fingerprint scanner
  • Tap Add fingerprint
  • Follow the instructions until 100% of your fingerprint has been scanned
  • Tap DONE
  • Toggle on Fingerprint unlock

Get rid of unnecessary apps

Carriers love to pre-load tons of useless apps on Android phones. The Galaxy Note 8 is no different. There could be over 20 apps already on your device that you have no intention of ever using. The good news is we can uninstall, or at least disable, most of the bloatware.

  • Open the app drawer to see all of your apps
  • Long-press on any app
  • Tap Select multiple items
  • Select all the apps you want to remove
  • Tap Uninstall
  • Tap OK or Disable on all the prompts

If you would like to revive a disabled app you can go to Settings > Apps. Select Disabled from the drop-down menu and tap the app you’d like to Enable.

Get the stock Google Nav Button orientation

For years, Samsung has been using a navigation button configuration that is different from every other Android phone. If you only use Samsung devices, it’s not a big deal, but it can be very annoying if you’re coming from something else. The Galaxy Note 8 has software navigation buttons, which means we can finally swap them around.

Samsung is the only Android OEM that uses the Recents, Home, Back order. Here’s how to switch it.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Select Navigation bar
  3. Tap Button layout
  4. Choose Back, Home, Recents

Take advantage of Always On Display

The always-on display gives you quick information on the display without unlocking your phone. It’s a great way to save time and get a glance at what’s going on. Samsung has included this feature on the last few Galaxy devices and it keeps getting better.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen and security
  2. Tap Always on display
  3. Tap the toggle to turn it on or off
  4. Select Content to show to change content
  5. Choose one of the layouts
  6. Toggle Show always to disable at certain times of day

Switch up themes for a more appealing look

Samsung’s 2017 lineup of devices come with a built-in theme picker and the Galaxy Note 8 is no different. The themes can change your wallpaper, icons, sounds, and even system apps and UI. Samsung has included a few themes that you can try out, plus a bunch more to download (Material Blue and Gray is pictured in this post).

  • Long-press on any blank space on the home screen
  • Tap Wallpapers and themes
  • Go to the Themes tab
  • Scroll down to explore themes
  • Find a theme you like, select it, and tap DOWNLOAD
  • After it installs you can tap APPLY

Set up Bixby to help you

Bixby is Samsung’s new virtual assistant for the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8. At launch, it’s basically a Samsung version of Google Now, plus some camera features. The main feature is a page that displays cards with useful information. Even if you don’t want to use Bixby, it’s worth a shot to check it out.

  1. Press the Bixby button on the left side of the device
  2. Tap Start
  3. Agree to the conditions

Now you’ll want to customize what Bixby can show

  1. Tap the Settings icon in the upper right
  2. Select Hello Bixby cards
  3. Toggle all the content you want to see
  4. Go back, select Hello Bixby on Lock screen
  5. Toggle all the content you want to see on the lock screen

Bixby can be accessed from anywhere with the physical button or by swiping to the left on Samsung’s launcher.

Another way to use Bixby is a feature called “Bixby Vision.” This uses the camera to scan items and find relevant information.

  1. Open the Camera
  2. Tap the eye icon
  3. Point your camera at something
  4. Bixby will scan and show results, such as images and shopping

Stop accidentally activating Bixby

However, Samsung has recently released an update which makes it possible to completely disable Bixby. If you are looking to go that route, you can follow these steps:

Disable via Bixby App

  1. Press the Bixby button
  2. Select the “Gear” icon at the top right-hand corner
  3. Toggle the switch for Bixby Key

Diable via Bixby Settings

  1. Press the Bixby button
  2. Select the three-dot menu button in the top right-hand corner
  3. Select Settings
  4. Scroll down and tap “Bixby key”
  5. Select “Don’t open anything”
  6. Profit!

Access your most-used settings with a swipe

The notification panel is full of handy toggles called “Quick Settings.” By default, Samsung has this area crammed with every toggle known to humans. It’s a bit of a mess. You should organize it and put your favorites at the top.

  1. Pull down on the notification shade
  2. Pull down again to reveal all the Quick Settings
  3. Tap the three-dot menu icon and select Button order
  4. Drag and drop icons to rearrange
  5. Move icons to the bottom to remove from Quick Settings
  6. Tap the back button when finished

Unlock the true speed of the Note 8

While the Galaxy Note 8 comes equipped with 6GB of RAM, the animations still feel a bit slower than most would like. To speed things up and make the UI feel more snappy, you can increase the speed of the animations. But you’ll first need to activate the hidden Developer Options by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > About phone
  2. Select Software info
  3. Tap Build Number 7 times until you see “You are now a developer” message
  4. Go back to the main settings and you’ll see Developer Options

To speed up animations:

  1. Go to Settings > Developer options
  2. Scroll down select Window animation and choose .5x
  3. Select Transition animation and choose .5x
  4. Select Animator duration scale and choose .5x

Find the Best Apps and Games

While the Galaxy Note 8 is absolutely amazing, it’s not much without some great apps and games. We’ve compiled tons of helpful guides for finding the best apps and games in the Play Store. Before you dive in and rummage around, you’ll want to check out these lists first.

Get connected with the Note 8 community

These tips will get your feet wet, but this is only the beginning of what the Galaxy S8 can do. For even more content, we’ve got the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Forum at AndroidForums.com! All you have to do is download the Forums app and you’ll automatically be added to the correct forum. You’ll find more helpful tips and other users like you. It’s easy to ask for help and get answers. Here are a few threads to get you started:

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/11/samsung-galaxy-note-8-first-things/

40+ LG V30 Tips & Tricks

We’ve already shown you the first things you should do with the LG V30. Now, we can dig deep into the features. LG traditionally packs a lot of stuff into their phones. The V30 is no different, but they’ve also scaled back in some areas. It’s a nice full list of features without burring the users in choices. We’ll help you get the most out of your V30 with this list.

Read also: First Impressions, Battery life first 24 hours, and Sample Photos

How to take a screenshot on the LG V30

Taking a screenshot is a great tool for showing people what you’re looking at. It’s one of the most basic functions you can do with a phone. The V30 has a couple of different methods to perform this task.

Method 1:

  • Press and hold the power and volume down buttons simultaneously

Method 2:

  • Open the Floating Bar
  • Tap one of the Capture shortcuts
    • You can draw on the screen, record a long screen, crop, or create a GIF

For more, discuss screenshots at the LG V30 forum

Set up the fingerprint scanner

The fingerprint scanner on the back of the V30 can be used for a few things, such as Android Pay and Google Play Store purchases, but the most common use is unlocking the phone. The V30 has one of the fastest and most reliable sensors I’ve used. You definitely should give it a shot.

  1. Go to Settings > Fingerprints & security
  2. Tap on Fingerprints (confirm your password)
  3. Select Add fingerprint
  4. Scan your fingerprint

Unlock the phone with your face

Unlocking phones with your face is all the rage these days and the V30 can do it too. LG’s “Face Print” is one of the best face unlocking implementations I’ve used. It can work along with the fingerprint scanner (you don’t have to pick just one). You should check it out and give it a try.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen
  2. Select Face Recognition
  3. Tap NEXT
  4. Tap START and follow instructions
  5. Tap OK when done

Skip the lock screen in safe places with Smart Lock

The V30 has many convenient unlock methods, but sometimes you shouldn’t need any of them. A feature called “Smart Lock” lets you tell your phone when it’s safe to disable lock screen security. This allows you to lock your phone when you need it, but it won’t be locked when you’re in trusted situations.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen
  2. Select Smart Lock
  3. Choose one of the Smart Lock methods

Currently, there are 4 types of Smart Lock, and you can use more than one at a time. Each one will explain how it works when you select it. Trusted places is a good place to start.

Make sure you can find your lost or stolen phone

The worst thing that can happen to a new phone is for it to be lost or stolen. Thankfully, you have some options for retrieving the device. The V30 comes with something called “Android Device Manager” pre-installed. If your phone is lost or stolen you can simply go to this website, log in with your Google account, and locate your phone. You can also remotely ring, lock, and erase the device. The best thing about this is there’s no set-up required. It just works.

For even more ways to find a lost or stolen phone, read our full guide.

Set up the Floating Bar

LG replaced the Second Screen with a new feature called “Floating Bar.” It has essentially the same features of the Second Screen, but it’s a widget that floats on your screen. You can drag it around wherever you want, but it’s always just a tap away.

  1. Go to Settings > Floating Bar
  2. Toggle it on
  3. Toggle on the items you want in the bar
  4. Tap Shortcuts and Quick contacts to customize

For more, discuss Floating Bar at the LG V30 forum

Get quick info with the Always-On Display

The V30 has an Always-on display that allows you to see the time, date, and notifications while the display is turned off. This feature really shines with the OLED displays. It’s pretty handy to see the time or whether you need to read a notification.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Tap Always-on display
  3. Toggle the switch to ON
  4. Tap the settings gear icon to choose how it looks

For more, discuss Always-on display at the LG V30 forum

Wake the phone with a double-tap

If you haven’t used an LG phone in a while, you’re about to discover something you won’t be able to live without. Since the power button is on the back, sometimes it’s hard to quickly wake up the phone. You can simply double-tap anywhere on the screen and the display will light up.

Putting the phone to sleep works the same way. If you’re using the stock LG launcher you can double-tap on any blank space, but if you’re using a 3rd-party launcher you have to double-tap the status bar. Give it a try.

Put the Settings in list mode

On most V30 models, the Settings is organized with a tabbed layout. We’ve found that the tabs usually make it more difficult to find what you’re looking for. To go back to the more traditional list view, simply tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right of the Settings and select List view. You can also slide out the list of settings from the side.

Delete unwanted apps

Some carrier models of the LG V30 will come with a lot of apps pre-installed. It’s very annoying to see apps you never intend to use. The good news is we can uninstall, or at least disable, most of the bloatware. There are two methods to remove apps.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps
  2. Locate the appropriate app
    1. Note: For system apps, tap the Menu icon > Show system
  3. Tap UNINSTALL
  4. Tap OK to confirm

OR

  1. Open the app drawer
  2. Tap the Menu icon
  3. Select Arrange apps
  4. Tap the (X) icon on an app to remove

For more, discuss deleting apps at the LG V30 forum

How to draw on the screen

You can draw on pretty much anything with a tap of a button on the LG V30. It’s a button that you can find in the Quick Settings or Floating Bar. When you tap the button, it takes a screenshot and lets you draw on it. Not only is it great for doodling, but it’s great for taking notes.

  1. Expand the Floating Bar
  2. Swipe to the screen capture shortcuts
  3. Tap the pencil icon
  4. Edit the image and tap the check mark to save it

Bring back the App Drawer

The default LG home screen does not include an app drawer. All of your apps will be on the home screen just like how it is on the iPhone. If you use a 3rd-party launcher, this isn’t a problem, but if you use the stock launcher you might want the app drawer. Thankfully, LG has a way to get the drawer back.

  1. Go to Settings > Home screen
  2. Tap Select Home
  3. Choose Home & app drawer

For more, discuss App Drawer Settings & Options at the LG V30 forum

Hide apps in the launcher

Now that we have the app drawer back, there may be some apps you don’t want to see in it. Sometimes these are apps you need to have installed, but you don’t want them cluttering up your app drawer. Thankfully, it’s easy to hide apps.

  1. Open the app drawer
  2. Tap the menu icon
  3. Select Hide apps
  4. Check the box for the apps you want to hide
  5. Tap DONE

For more, discuss hiding apps at the LG V30 forum

Change up the look with a Theme

By default, the V30 comes with a bright white theme. It’s not an ugly theme, but you may prefer something darker or just plain different. The good news is you can choose from a few pre-installed themes and even download themes directly from the Play Store. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to Settings > Theme
  2. Select one of the preloaded themes
  3. Tap APPLY

Themes installed from the Play Store will show up in the same place. Here’s an example of a theme you can download from the Play Store.

For more, discuss Themes at the LG V30 forum

Get a new keyboard

LG’s default keyboard isn’t terrible, but you probably already have a favorite keyboard. Changing the keyboard is an essential part of what makes Android unique. It’s easy to change on the V30.

  1. Go to Settings > Language & keyboard
  2. Select Current keyboard
  3. Tap SELECT MORE
  4. Toggle on your desired keyboard
  5. Go back, select Current Keyboard again
  6. Select your keyboard

To find Settings for your keyboard

  1. Go to Settings > Language & keyboard
  2. Tap the name of your keyboard
  3. You’ll see all the settings

For more, discuss keyboards at the LG V30 forum

Turn off the “Rounded Square” icons

For everything that LG does well, software design is not on the list. One of the things you’ll notice right away is the “rounded square” icon shape on the default LG home screen. It’s kinda ugly, but the good news is you can turn it off and go back to the stock icons. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Home screen
  2. Select Icon Shape
  3. Choose Original
  4. Tap OK

For more, discuss the round icons at the LG V30 forum

Adjust how apps scale to the 18:9 display

The V30’s display is taller than most phones. It has an 18:9 aspect ration, whereas most devices have 16:9 displays. All that means is you get some extra vertical space for apps. By default, most apps run completely fine on the tall display. Where you may run into some issues is with fullscreen apps, such as games. You can adjust the scale.

  1. In a fullscreen app, swipe up from the bottom to reveal the nav buttons
  2. Tap the App Scaling button
  3. You’ll have three options:
    1. Compatibility (16:9)
    2. Standard (16.7:9) (default)
    3. Fullscreen (18:9)
  4. If the app is misbehaving, put it in compatibility mode.

You can also adjust App Scaling in the Settings.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Select App scaling
  3. Tap the app you want to adjust
  4. Choose one of the options

For more, discuss App Scaling at the LG V30 forum

Change the display size

LG allows you to adjust the display size on the V30. Whether you have good eyes and want to take advantage of that extra screen real estate to show more of everything, or you want to further enlarge text, icons, everything, it’s all possible thanks to DPI scaling. Here’s where you’ll find it:

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Scroll down and select Display size
  3. Move the slider to the left or right to either shrink or blow up the entire UI

Change the wallpaper

Changing the wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to instantly personalize your phone. It’s super easy to do. Simply press and hold on any empty space on the home screen. Select the Wallpapers tab in the bottom right of the screen. You’ll be able to choose from installed apps and pre-loaded wallpapers. You can also change the lock screen wallpaper. Go to Settings > Lock screen > Wallpaper.

Add or reorder home screen pages

Adding extra home screens gives you more room for widgets and apps icons. LG doesn’t allow you to simply drag an app or widget to a blank screen to create a new home screen. You have to follow these steps.

  1. Pinch to zoom out on the home screen
  2. Tap the (+) on the blank home screen
  3. Now you have a blank screen

For more, discuss Home Screen pages at the LG V30 forum

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/11/lg-v30-tips-tricks/

14 First things every LG V30 owner should do

After a long wait, the LG V30 is finally available for purchase. We’ve already shared our first impressions, battery life in the first 24 hours, and sample photos from the LG V30. Now it’s time to get started with some tips. LG packed in a bunch of great features, some of which are exclusive to the V30. Here are the very first things you should do.

Set up the fingerprint scanner

The V30 follows in LG’s tradition of putting the power button and fingerprint scanner on the back. It can be used for a few things, such as Android Pay and Google Play Store purchases, but the most common use is unlocking the phone. LG’s fingerprint scanners are really fast and accurate. You should use it.

  1. Go to Settings > Fingerprints & security
  2. Tap on Fingerprints (confirm your password)
  3. Select Add fingerprint
  4. Scan your fingerprint

Read More: How to find a lost or stolen phone

Unlock the phone with your face

Unlocking phones with your face is all the rage these days and the V30 can do it too. LG’s “Face Print” is one of the best face unlocking implementations I’ve used. It can work along with the fingerprint scanner (you don’t have to pick just one). You should check it out and give it a try.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen
  2. Select Face Recognition
  3. Tap NEXT
  4. Tap START and follow instructions
  5. Tap OK when done

Customize the Floating Bar

LG replaced the Second Screen with a new feature called “Floating Bar.” It has essentially the same features of the Second Screen, but it’s a widget that floats on your screen. You can drag it around wherever you want, but it’s always just a tap away.

  1. Go to Settings > Floating Bar
  2. Toggle it on
  3. Toggle on the items you want in the bar
  4. Tap Shortcuts and Quick contacts to customize

For more, discuss Floating Bar at the LG V30 forum

Get the App Drawer back

The stock LG home screen doesn’t have an app drawer. All of your apps will be on the home screen just like how it is on the iPhone. If you use a 3rd-party launcher, this isn’t a problem, but if you use the stock launcher you might want the app drawer. Thankfully, LG has a way to get the drawer back.

  1. Go to Settings > Home screen
  2. Tap Select Home
  3. Choose Home & app drawer

For more, discuss App Drawer Settings & Options at the LG V30 forum

Delete unwanted apps

Bloatware and unwanted apps are present on almost every Android phone. It can be really annoying to have a bunch of apps you’ll never open. The good news is we can uninstall, or at least disable, most of the bloatware. There are two methods to remove apps.

  1. Go to Settings > Apps
  2. Locate the appropriate app
    1. Note: For system apps, tap the Menu icon > Show system
  3. Tap UNINSTALL
  4. Tap OK to confirm

OR

  1. Open the app drawer
  2. Tap the Menu icon
  3. Select Arrange apps
  4. Tap the (X) icon on an app to remove

For more, discuss deleting apps at the LG V30 forum

Customize the navigation bar

The V30 has software navigation buttons on the bottom of the screen. One of the great things about software buttons is the ability to customize the look. You can rearrange the existing buttons, change the color, and add up to two extra buttons.

  1. Go to Settings > Display > Home touch buttons
  2. Select Button combination
  3. You can drag and drop the buttons in any order you like, but there can’t be more than 5 in the bar
  4. Changes will show up in the navigation bar immediately
  5. You can choose the color of the buttons on the previous page

Get rid of the “Rounded Square” icons

Not only does the stock home screen lack an app drawer by default, but LG also put weird “rounded square” silhouettes around all the icons. It’s kinda ugly, but the good news is you can turn it off and go back to the stock icons. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Home screen
  2. Select Icon Shape
  3. Choose Original
  4. Tap OK

For more, discuss the round icons at the LG V30 forum

Change up the look with a new theme

The default V30 theme is bright white and clean. It’s a nice look, but you might prefer a dark theme or something completely different. The good news is you can choose from a few pre-installed themes and even download themes directly from the Play Store. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to Settings > Theme
  2. Select one of the preloaded themes
  3. Tap APPLY

Themes installed from the Play Store will show up in the same place. Here’s an example of a theme you can download from the Play Store.

For more, discuss Themes at the LG V30 forum

Enable the Always-on Display

The V30 has an OLED display and an Always-on feature. It works a lot like the Always-on display on the Samsung phones. You can see the time, date, and notifications while the display is turned off. SInce the display is OLED, it doesn’t use up very much battery.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Tap Always-on display
  3. Toggle the switch to ON
  4. Select Set what to show to choose how it looks

Adjust how apps look on the 18:9 display

The V30’s display is taller than most phones. It has an 18:9 aspect ration, whereas most devices have 16:9 displays. All that means is you get some extra vertical space for apps. By default, most apps run completely fine on the tall display. Where you may run into some issues is with fullscreen apps, such as games. You can adjust the scale.

  1. In a fullscreen app, swipe up from the bottom to reveal the nav buttons
  2. Tap the App Scaling button
  3. You’ll have three options:
    1. Compatibility (16:9)
    2. Standard (16.7:9) (default)
    3. Fullscreen (18:9)
  4. If the app is misbehaving, put it in compatibility mode.

You can also adjust App Scaling in the Settings.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Select App scaling
  3. Tap the app you want to adjust
  4. Choose one of the options

For more, discuss App Scaling at the LG V30 forum

Take advantage of the SD card slot

The V30 is proof that some flagship phones still come with microSD card slots. LG has been sticking with MicroSD cards for a while. You can easily upgrade your storage capacity without buying any cloud storage subscriptions and relying on a data connection. Check out these great cards.

Crank up the speed with faster animations

The V30 has the speedy Snapdragon 835 processor and it feels great. You can still speed things up even more by increasing the speed of the animations. But you’ll first need to activate the hidden Developer Options by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > About phone
  2. Select Software info
  3. Tap Build Number 7 times until you see “You are now a developer” message
  4. Go back to the main settings and you’ll see Developer options

To speed up animations:

  1. Go to Settings > Developer options
  2. Scroll down select Window animation and choose .5x
  3. Select Transition animation and choose .5x
  4. Select Animator duration scale and choose .5x

Find the best Android apps & games

The best phone in the world is pretty boring if you don’t have great apps and games to use. We’ve compiled tons of helpful guides for finding the best apps and games in the Play Store. Before you dive in and rummage around, you’ll want to check out these lists first.

Download the Forums for Android app!

This list is a great starting point for V30 users, but there’s a lot more you should know. You can download the Forums forAndroid app and you’ll automatically join the V30 forum. There you will find more helpful tips and other users like you. It’s easy to ask for help and get answers. Here are a few threads to get you started:

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/09/lg-v30-first-things/

How to setup Google Home Mini [VIDEO]

Announced earlier this week, the Google Home Mini is set to become officially available for purchase later this month and is Google’s perfect answer to the Amazon Echo Dot. Priced at $50, the tiny speaker acts as a portal to Google Assistant and it’s practically dripping with style thanks to Google’s design team. The Mini is simple, minimal, and fits in nicely with the decor, no matter which room it’s in.

We were able to get our hands on the Mini a tad bit earlier than its October 19th release, so we figured we’d take the opportunity to walk you through the process of setting one up. It was actually relatively painless and incredibly straight forward. Most of the setup is actually done on your phone using the Google Home app but we figured we’d detail the steps so people know what they’re getting themselves into once theirs finally arrives. First, let’s explore the hardware features.

In the box you’ll find the Google Home Mini and power cable adapter to give it power. It’s pretty generous in length and connects to the device using micro USB (why Google shunned Type C is beyond me). Flipping the device over, you’ll find a rubber pad at the bottom to give it some grip along with a tiny button underneath likely to reset it. There’s a physical microphone switch in case you don’t want the speaker listening in on you.

On the top, you can lightly tap the sides of the cloth grill to adjust the volume, tap the middle to pause playback, or long press it to launch Assistant. The 3 LED lights on the top tell when it’s working and also serve as a visual indicator of the volume level of the speaker. That’s about it. Now let’s jump into setup…

How to setup Google Home Mini

  1. Plug it in – Connect the included power adapter to the Google Home Mini
  2. Get the app – Download the Google Home app from the Google Play Store
  3. Follow on screen directions – You should see the Google Home Mini appear at the top of the “Discover” tab inside the Google Home app
  4. The app will then connect to the Google Home Mini (this could take several minutes)

From inside the Google Home app…

  1. Choose where you’ll be placing the Google Home Mini (so you easily identify it from additional devices)
  2. Connect to your WiFi network
  3. Setup Google Assistant (agree to terms of service)
  4. Teach Google Assistant to recognize your voice by repeating “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” multiple times
  5. Please wait while the Google Home Mini is being updated
  6. You’re all set!

Well, almost…

  1. Google Home Mini will reboot itself (you’ll see colored lights)
  2. Confirm your address
  3. Add music services and choose your default music service (when you want the home mini to play music
  4. Add your video service (Netflix, etc.)
  5. Add payment method (for when you want to order out)
  6. Confirm other info again
  7. Speaker is now ready – Just start with “Hey Google” and speak various commands (It’s possible that the Home Mini will tell you “Something went wrong”, just give it time to finish doing it’s thing and it should work after a few minutes)

“Ok Google” commands

From here, it’s as easy as speaking to your Google Home Mini to execute commands and/or queries. There are so many to choose from, it’s just a matter of learning the right ones. We’ve already made a video on some of the better ones (above) but you can also find a more robust list by checking out Google’s support page here. To help get you started, here’s a few favorites listed down below.

After saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google,” immediately follow up with these commands in the same breath…

Living room

  • Tell me about my day
  • Set a reminder to pay the bills at 6PM
  • Play hip-hop on YouTube Music
  • Is it going to rain today?
  • How long will it take to get to work?

Kitchen

  • Give me a recipe for banana bread
  • How many sticks of butter in a cup
  • Add flour to my shopping list
  • Set a banana bread timer for 1 hour
  • How do you say “this tastes delicious” in Korean?

Bedroom

  • Dim the lights
  • Set a bedtime alarm for 11PM
  • Play “The Crown” on Netflix
  • Pause the TV
  • When was Winston Churchill born?

Buy on the Google Store

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/07/google-home-mini-setup/

Which is the best option?

Google’s response to Apple’s AirPods has finally arrived, but it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting. The Google Pixel Buds look to be the answer to the AirPods in terms of functionality and ease of use, but how do these headphones really compare to one another?

We’re going to take a look at which option is best for you, regardless of which device you’re using. From there, we’ll be able to determine whether you should spring for the Pixel Buds or AirPods when the Pixel Buds launch later this year.

Price: Tie

Getting the biggest hurdle out of the way first, there’s not much comparison between these two options, as the AirPods and Pixel Buds are both priced at $159. The only problem currently lies in availability, since the Pixel Buds won’t be launching until November, and that’s if Google doesn’t run into any supply issues.

While there are plenty of “budget” Bluetooth headphones on the market, that’s not the market that Apple or Google is shooting for. Both options are aimed for those who want the complete experience from top to bottom, and everywhere in between, and that’s what each option provides, as long as you are a part of that ecosystem.

Battery Life: Tie (For now)

The biggest point of contention when it comes to our smartphones or Bluetooth headphones is battery life. Who wants to deal with recharging their headphones after using them for just an hour or two?

Samsung struggled with this with the first iteration of the Gear Icon X headphones, but it seems that Apple and Google may have things figured out. Both the AirPods and Pixel Buds are rated for up to 5 hours of use with each charge.

Then with the accompanying charging case, Apple and Google both claim that their charging cases will provide up to 24 hours of battery life for the headphones, before needing to recharge. That’s a pretty wild claim, but in my time with the AirPods it definitely holds up.

Speaking of charging, Apple claims that the charging the AirPods for just 15 minutes will give users up to 3 hours of extra battery life. As for the Pixel Buds, Google claims that 15 minutes of charging will give users an extra hour of battery life. Obviously Apple gets the nod here, but mileage may vary if you’re only using them with an Android device which doesn’t take advantage of Apple’s W1 chip.

Considering the fact that the Pixel Buds aren’t released yet, we’ll have to wait and see if Google’s claims hold up over time.

Completely Wireless: Apple AirPods

Over the last few years, we have seen a stronger effort from OEM’s to provide completely wireless Bluetooth earbuds, but there haven’t really been any options that stuck. That was the case until the AirPods were released.

 

This showed that it was entirely possible and that you could have enough battery life to last you throughout the day, and then some. That’s a far cry from the aforementioned Gear Icon X earbuds launched last year which only held a charge for an hour or two.

However, Google decided to go a different route for some reason and decided to give everyone a cable that stretches across both earbuds. This cable is braided, which should help withstand the daily grind of using and wrapping them back up, but it also serves another purpose.

The cable can be adjusted to help make sure that the earbuds rest comfortably in your ear, without worrying about them falling out during use. When you are done using them, you can either pull the cable tight, or just leave it until the next time you’re ready to rock out. When it comes to the AirPods, this isn’t the case, as Apple just went with the “hopefully your ear fits, if not, oh well” approach.

Connectivity: Tie

This is my favorite feature about the AirPods and I can’t explain how excited I am to see something similar coming from Google. When you open the AirPods for the first time around your iPhone, a prompt appears asking for you to connect them.

According to Google, similar functionality will be coming to the Pixel Buds, meaning that as soon as your case opens, you’ll be able to connect to your device with just a click of a button. This is HUGE as it removes the need to go through and deal with the annoying pairing process that owners of Bluetooth headphones have to currently deal with.

The best part about the Pixel Buds is that this functionality will not be limited to the Pixel 2/2 XL. Instead, you’ll need a device running at least Android 6.0 Marshmallow and have Google Assistant installed on the device. Which, conveniently enough, just made its way onto the Play Store as a standalone app.

Verdict: The answer is obvious

You don’t really think we would recommend the AirPods for someone looking for “flagship” Bluetooth earbuds, do you? Of course not. The AirPods are definitely convenient considering the fact that the cables are gone, but you don’t get any extra functionality when using them on an Android phone, as all of the fun stuff is reserved for iOS users.

So, the answer here is obvious. If you haven’t pre-ordered your set of Pixel Buds yet, hit the button below and do so. If you don’t care about pre-ordering, just hang tight until November when the Pixel Buds are set to launch, then go to your local Best Buy or something and pick them up without worrying about waiting for shipping times.

As someone who currently owns AirPods, I seriously can’t wait to get my hands (or ears) on the Pixel Buds to put them through their paces. Let us know what you think and if you’ll be picking up a pair for yourself.

Buy the Google Pixel Buds

http://phandroid.com/2017/10/06/google-pixel-buds-vs-apple-airpods/