• Devices

    by Published on 10-31-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Thanks to the CRTC, come this December 1st your Canadian carrier will no longer be able to sell phones locked to its own network. It's great news for consumers in this country; even better, some carriers are getting ahead of the deadline and have begun unlocking their hardware for free!

    I've cobbled together a quick list of who is currently selling unlocked smartphones (and also LTE-connected tablets). It's by no means complete, so please feel free to add to it. And it doesn't include your local Apple Store or pop-up Samsung shop—because we already knew about those, right?

    Bell and Virgin Mobile

    Both Bell and its subsidiary Virgin Mobile have begun selling a considerable portion of their device portfolios without any carrier locks:

    Alcatel GoFlip and Pixi 5
    All Google devices
    All iPhones and iPads
    BlackBerry KEYOne (requires software update)
    LG Q6
    Motorola Z2 Play
    Samsung Note 8
    ZTE Grand X View 2 Tablet

    Best Buy Canada

    All iPhones for all carriers are now sold unlocked, even the ones with subsidies.

    Eastlink

    "Some" devices are now sold unlocked... That's super-helpful </s>.

    Freedom Mobile

    There are anecdotal reports of users getting unlocking fees waived. Your mileage may vary; I asked about unlocking a phone when activating a line on Freedom and was told I'd have to wait thirty days.

    Rogers and Fido

    Both are waiving unlocking fees, but only for devices bought outright.

    Staples Canada

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available unlocked for outright purchase, and also on an in-house 24-month payment plan.

    TELUS and Koodo

    Again, anecdotal evidence of unlocking fees being waived. YMMV.

    If you've anything to add to this list, please help your fellow readers out!

    Sources: iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup (1), (2), (3)

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    by Published on 10-30-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    If in late 2017 you're still in the market for a high-end Android phone there are at least two new contenders on the way—a new and bezel-less OnePlus 5T and this, the HTC U11 Plus. Like the U11 it is expected to come equipped with "Edge Sense", the same squeezable frame found in the new Pixel phones, but in this case easily remappable to launch the app or action of your choice. Unlike the U11, it will have a bigger screen, a tall 18:9 display and a smaller forehead and chin, which will move the fingerprint reader to the back of the device.

    Here are the notable specs, via XDA:

    Snapdragon 835 processor
    6 inch WQHD LCD display
    4 or 6 GB of RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage
    12 MP rear camera / 8 MP selfie cam
    3,930 mAh battery

    That HTC is continuing to release new flagship hardware after losing 2,000 of its best smartphone engineers to Google is curious to say the least. I can't help but wonder how much the U11 Plus is based on the abandoned muskie project for the Pixel 2...

    Source: XDA

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    by Published on 10-26-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    One of the many benefits of open source software is that the code is freely available for anyone to pore through to their heart's content. And that's just what XDA has done, uncovering some more details about muskie, the forgotten HTC-made device that was once pegged to be this year's Pixel 2 XL.

    Of particular interest in the muskie-related AOSP commits for Android 8.0 is this line:

    Code:
    <item name="battery.capacity">3830</item>
    Yup, that's right, HTC's pitch for the Pixel 2 XL was to have a massive 3,830 mAh battery, putting the LG version's paltry-by-comparison 3,520 mAh to shame. Unfortunately that big battery would quickly prove to be the device's downfall—last June someone told 9to5Google that the cell wasn't performing as expected, and that muskie's development had been halted.

    Had the device made it into production users would likely have had to content with a large forehead and chin, similar to the HTC-made Pixel 2. However, the disaster with LG's POLED screen would have been averted. Something tells me that if Google had a do-over they might have put a bit more effort into bringing muskie to market.

    Source: XDA

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    by Published on 10-25-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    The #HYPE is back, apparently...

    It all started two weeks ago, when GizmoChina posted a render of what they claimed was the OnePlus 5T. Folks were skeptical, and rightly so. Last year's OnePlus 3T took advantage of the Note7 debacle and shoehorned some better specs into the already-excellent OnePlus 3; if this leaked render was to be believed, OnePlus was now planning to put the same processor from the 5 into an entirely new body.

    It doesn't make any sense, yet the wild speculation continues, fueled even further by the fact that the current OnePlus 5 is out of stock in many markets, including Canada and the United States.

    That original render was eventually dismissed as an Oppo device (the F5), but then a few days ago another render surfaced with OnePlus trim and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor—you can see it for yourself at TechnoBuffalo. That same day, someone leaked the teaser image that you see above to Android Authority.

    And now SlashLeaks has an AnTuTu screen grab with specs:

    Model number: A5010
    OS: Android 8.0
    Processor: Snapdragon 835, Adreno 540 GPU
    Screen resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels
    Cameras: 20MP + 20MP
    RAM / ROM: 8GB / 128GB

    For reference, the current OP5 has 16 and 20 megapixel cameras for standard and portrait shots.

    I guess if you're a OnePlus fan who's been holding out for a tall display then you won't have to wait until the summer of 2018 for your next phone. But all I can think of is how many angry OnePlus 5 owners there will be come November, when the 5T is expected to make it début.

    Sources: Android Authority, GizmoChina, SlashLeaks, TechnoBuffalo

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    by Published on 10-24-2017 06:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The Verge has taken the unprecedented step of pulling their review score for Google's Pixel 2 XL. Here's the full text from their amended review:

    After multiple reports of possible screen burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL, we are pulling our score for this device until we have more information. We have reached out to Google, but as of this writing the company has only said that it's "investigating."

    Since publishing our original review, our unit has developed ghostly versions of the main Android navigation buttons at the bottom, visible when you're looking at a gray background. Several other outlets have reported the same on their review units. That's potentially a telltale sign of screen burn-in, which can affect any OLED screen over time — but usually that time is measured in months and years, not weeks. It's possible, however, that it's simply a temporary "image retention" and not a permanent issue.

    If it's not permanent, it's one more disappointing problem on an already disappointing screen, and we will update our score on the 2 XL to reflect that. If the 2 XL's screen is genuinely exhibiting permanent burn-in after just a couple of weeks, we'll also update our score to reflect that (and it will be a very low score indeed).

    Until we know one way or the other, we're temporarily removing our score on the Pixel 2 XL. In the meantime, we can't recommend buying this phone until we can definitively say that the screen isn't permanently damaging itself within weeks of buying it.

    The smaller Pixel 2, however, remains a great phone with a very good (albeit smaller) screen.
    If you didn't already know, the Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured for Google by LG with a POLED display—that is, an OLED display with a plastic substrate. The smaller Pixel 2 (built by HTC) uses an AMOLED display panel built by Samsung. You can read more about AMOLED vs POLED here.

    Needless to say, any major screen issue is completely unacceptable for what in Canada is an eleven hundred dollar phone. Google will give you 15 days to return any hardware bought from their online store; if you're on the waiting list for a Pixel 2 XL you might want to cancel and see how this plays out.

    Links: Android Authority, The Verge

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    by Published on 10-20-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    While hardcore fans are still waiting for the top of the line Nokia 9 to be made official, HMD Global threw them a curve ball this week and announced the mid-range Nokia 7 for the Chinese market. The mere existence of Android phones bearing the famous Finnish brand is apparently not enough; Nokia is once again touting its Dual-sight camera (aka "bothie") as a unique selling point. Other notable specs are as follows:

    Snapdragon 630 processor
    5.2 inch FHD LCD display
    4 or 6 GB RAM / 64 GB storage plus microSD (or dual SIM)
    16 MP rear camera with PDAF, Carl Zeiss optics
    5 MP selfie cam with autofocus
    3,000 mAh battery with USB-C charging port
    Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    Courage (headphone) jack

    The 7 will be available starting October 24th in either black or white, with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and priced at either ¥2,499 or ¥2,699—which works out to about $377 or $407 USD. Will a version of this phone ever wash up on North American shores? You'll have to ask HMD Global about that.

    Sources: Nokia (China) via Android Police

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    by Published on 10-16-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Linux laptop maker Purism has succeeded where Ubuntu failed, meeting their crowdfunding goal of $1.5 million USD to produce this, the Librem 5 smartphone. Unlike 2013's ill-fated Ubuntu Edge, you probably won't be buying this thing for its specs:

    5 inch touchscreen
    i.MX6 or i.MX8 CPU, Vivante GPU
    3 GB RAM / 32 GB storage + microSD
    Front and rear cameras
    WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G / 4G / LTE
    Courage jack (aka 3.5mm headphone)

    You might, however, be interested in the Librem 5 for its Linux compatibility and privacy-minded features. Out of the box the phone will run a mobile version of Purism's in-house PureOS, or any other Linux distribution that supports its hardware. Since the processor and GPU are both open-source there may well end up being a lot of support for this phone. For privacy there will be hardware kill switches for the cameras, microphone and all wireless networks. In addition the baseband will be separate from the CPU, presumably to prevent the NSA and its Five Eyes partners from overriding any of those kill switches.

    In terms of apps, Purism is all about the HTML5, which was also the promise of Firefox OS. Remember Firefox OS? I do. It was terrible. And the cynic in me can't help but think that a phone running LineageOS and F-Droid in place of the Google apps would deliver 90% of the freedom and a much better user experience.

    But who am I to rain on the freedom beards' parade? It seems like the Linux community is wholeheartedly embracing the Librem 5, and it will interesting to watch what they whip up for it—even if it will be very much a niche product.

    Links: Librem 5 via OMG! Ubuntu!

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    by Published on 10-13-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The biggest story of this short news week has to be the revelation that OnePlus phones running the company's stock ROMs—Hydrogen and Oxygen OS—are, without their users' consent, collecting and transmitting personally-identifiable data. Here's a sample of what's being collected:

    Code:
    getAndroidVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getBSSID(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getBatteryLevel(Landroid/content/Context;)F
    getBatteryStatus(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getBrandName()Ljava/lang/String;
    getCellSignalLevel(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getDeviceId()Ljava/lang/String;
    getIMEI(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getIMEI1(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getIsHiddenSSID(Landroid/content/Context;)Z
    getLocale(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/util/Locale;
    getMacAddr(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getModelName()Ljava/lang/String;
    getOSVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getPCBA()Ljava/lang/String;
    getResolutionHeight(Landroid/content/Context;)I
    getResolutionWidth(Landroid/content/Context;)I
    getRomVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getSimCountryCode(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getSoftVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getTimezone()Ljava/lang/String;
    getWifiMacAddress(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getWifiSSID(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getWifiSignalLevel(Landroid/content/Context;)I
    isH2()Z
    isO2()Z
    isRooted()Z
    But wait, there's more... OnePlus is also collecting timestamped events on your device, like unexpected reboots, which apps you use and for how long, even when you lock and unlock your screen. It may sound like innocuous diagnostic information, but each of these timestamps is dispatched with personally-identifiable information. And even if you opt out of the OnePlus User Experience Program the hidden services that collect this data are still collecting this data and sending it back to OnePlus.

    The collection can be halted via adb and a terminal command on a desktop computer. A more detailed account of how this data harvesting was discovered, and how to fix it, can be read at the link directly below.

    Link: Chris's Security and Tech Blog

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    by Published on 10-11-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    It has begun.

    Not even a year after Pebble was acquired by Fitbit their watches are already starting to fail. Some have apparent manufacturing defects or quality control issues, while others have suffered too much abuse on the wrists of their owners. What's especially heartbreaking about these photos is that we Pebblers are holding on to our hardware for dear life. Unlike a good mechanical watch, however, these things just aren't built to last.



    The first-generation Pebble started shipping in January, 2013; here's what one of those looks like when the buttons fall out.



    When a button on their 2016 Pebble 2 wore off, this user switched from using his finger to the tip of a pen, with predictable results.



    Swollen batteries are also starting to affect some Pebbles. Here's a 2015 Pebble Time Round with a display panel lifting away from its body.



    And this 2016 Pebble Time Steel seems to have experienced an adhesive failure between its display and body.

    The moral of the story? If you love your Pebble like I do get a spare or two on Amazon while you still can...!

    Source: reddit (1) (2) (3) (4)

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    by Published on 10-10-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Here's a photo taken by a not-so-proud owner of a new iPhone 8 Plus in Japan; out of the box the new device's battery had swollen to the point where it was pushing the display panel out of its seating. There are reports of similar defects trickling in from around the world—seven in total so far:

    Canada - 1 incident reported
    China - 1 incident reported
    Greece - 1 incident reported
    Hong Kong - 1 incident reported
    Japan - 1 incident reported
    Taiwan - 2 incidents reported

    This story on Pocketnow has links to each incident. In a couple of cases the phone's battery was swollen out of the box; in others the swelling occurred after the user's first charge (with original equipment). In the rest the swelling became apparent after a short fall, with no initial signs of damage. There are, at present, no reports of batteries actually exploding.

    Apple is said to be investigating the issue, which might prove to be a challenge, as batteries for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are made by three separate manufacturers: LG Chem, Samsung SDI and Simplo Technologies.

    Hopefully no one reading this has a swollen battery in their new iPhone; if you do, I'm sure your neighbourhood Apple Store will help you out.

    Sources: Pocketnow, The Verge, Twitter

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    by Published on 10-09-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    What better way to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving than with a new BlackBerry? Let's just maybe overlook that it was announced in Dubai, and its availability at launch will be limited to that part of the world.

    The BlackBerry Motion, known previously by its codename "Krypton", is a touchscreen-only device. Here are the notable specs, courtesy of CrackBerry:

    Snapdragon 625 processor
    5.5 inch FHD IPS LCD display with Dragon Tail Glass (?)
    4 GB RAM / 32 GB storage plus microSD
    12 MP rear camera with PDAF
    8 MP selfie camera with flash
    4,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
    IP67 water resistance
    Headphone jack (!)

    The Motion will be available for purchase in the Middle East before the end of the month, and will apparently be the first BlackBerry sold in the region with dual SIM capabilities. It won't be the world's first dual SIM BB, however; that honour goes to an Indian variant of the KeyOne—at least that's what TechRadar says.

    UAE pricing for this mid-range BlackBerry works out to less than $500 USD. I'd expect to see the Motion available in North America before too long, but maybe not the dual SIM version. Just a hunch.

    Sources: CrackBerry, TechRadar

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    by Published on 10-06-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Okay, so with this year's iPhones and Pixels officially made official the year's collection of ultra-premium smartphones is now complete. Or maybe not. If sources are correct, there is one more Android-powered Nokia on the way.



    Here's a render of the Nokia 9, in polished blue. The phone is believed to have an edge-to-edge display just like Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+. This is what it would look like in polished blue.



    And this is what it would look like in polished copper. The back of the device is also 3D glass, so wireless charging will be supported.



    The renders are based on this leak of the phone's display panel, along with some rumoured specs:

    Snapdragon 835 Processor
    5.5 inch QHD AMOLED display, 534 ppi
    4 GB RAM, 64 or 128 GB storage
    Dual 13 MP rear cameras with Zeiss optics, OIS, PDAF
    13 MP selfie cam with PDAF
    Dual SIM or microSD support
    IP68 certified
    Android 8.0
    Polished Blue, Polished Copper, Steel, Tempered Blue
    €750 EUR / $875 USD / $1,100 CAD

    Aside from not actually being announced yet, there might be additional issues affecting your enjoyment of this high-functioning phone. One would be the limited availability in the Americas (if at all) and another would be Nokia's so-far disappointing policies towards bootloader unlocking and publishing software sources. If the company wants a foothold in this part of the world, catering to the whims of the XDA crowd wouldn't be a bad way to do it. It certainly worked for OnePlus.

    Sources: GSMArena, GizmoChina

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    by Published on 10-05-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    Interested in one of the new Pixel phones? Make sure you know what you're getting into; in eliminating the 3.5mm audio jack Google has chosen to ape one of the iPhone's worst features, while providing only minimal protection from water damage. And, like Apple, they've once again taken the high road on pricing, asking $1,289 CAD for their most expensive model. But this is the same story as last year, and in late 2017 appears to be the cost of entry to join the fight in the war on smartphone bezels.

    The big differentiator in hardware for Google is again, like last year, going forward with a single rear-facing camera vs. Apple's dual-lens setup. The Pixel 2's camera tech does look promising, and I wouldn't fault anyone making a purchase for that feature alone. As for the fabled "pure Android experience" I'm pretty sure Google gave up on that when they introduced their Now Launcher back in 2013. The exclusive-to-Pixel Google Lens visual search only continues that trend—though it may be available more widely at a later date.

    Here's what I found weird about yesterday's event... Granted, I was unable to watch it live and had to settle instead for The Verge's 19-minute supercut after the fact. I was nonetheless surprised at how little overall time was spent on the phones. Your home, it seems, is the new frontier that Amazon, Apple and Google are all simultaneously trying to conquer. I'm personally not so thrilled at the prospect of having an always-listening device in the place where I sleep and sh**, but that's just me.

    As for the other gear, I think the Clips camera is an intriguing alternative to GoPro. But I don't have particularly high hopes for the automatic translation feature of the Pixel Buds. Raw technology is no match for the subtle nuance of language.

    What are your thoughts on yesterday's event?

    Links: The Verge (1) (2) (3)

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    by Published on 10-04-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on



    The watches themselves are nice, but it's time to face facts: having a touchscreen on my wrist is just plain awful. I can't imagine that an Apple Watch is much better, but I've almost no firsthand experience with that platform. As for Android Wear specifically, here's how I've come to my conclusion...

    My Pebble is far from perfect. With its low resolution screen, massive bezels and lack of designer watch faces I frequently get smartwatch envy. Making matters worse is that my Pebble been mistaken for an Apple Watch more than once—for an Android fanboy this is entirely unacceptable. Plus, watches are supposed to be round, right? Android Wear is clearly the better choice. I frequently make plans to re-pair one of the three Android watches in my possession, only to back out at the last minute, deciding that it's not worth the hassle.

    This past Monday I didn't back out: I re-paired my Nixon Mission and installed the necessary apps to enjoy my morning walk. While I'm out I listen to podcasts, and have to skip through ads more often than I'd like. Here's the first place where Android Wear fails. Once you swipe to the appropriate screen there are software buttons to skip ahead or back, but on a touch screen they just don't work reliably. On a Pebble you can accomplish this without even looking at the watch—provided that you've assigned its built-in music player to a shortcut key. The steps are (1) long-press your shortcut key, (2) press the down button to skip ahead 30 seconds, (3) continue enjoying your podcast.

    Notifications on Android Wear are fine unless, like me, you depend on the native reminders built into Google Calendar and Inbox. Dismissing a notification on an Android watch will also remove it from your Android phone. The problem is, dismissing a Google reminder will also mark it as completed. This means that when a reminder pops up on my Android Wear watch I'm basically unable to use it until the reminder goes away on its own. That's some pretty terrible UX right there...

    Finally, I don't think it's too much to ask for a $500-plus smartwatch to be always on. The standby screen on my Nixon Mission doesn't really count, as it shows none of the complications selected for my chosen watch face. And even the standby screen sometimes goes dark as well, leaving me with nothing else to look at other than the smudge-fest you see above. This is also problem with Watch OS; as I see more and more Apple Watches on peoples' wrists I can't help but notice their dormant displays, and can't help thinking to myself: "What exactly are you people paying for?"

    Again, my Pebble is far from perfect. But as a smartwatch, even a timepiece it's so much better than Android Wear. In fact, I've yet to see anything out there that's as intuitive and downright enjoyable to use.

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    by Published on 09-29-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    So my grey market LG G6 is already back on its way to Amazon, but before I packed it up I took it with me on an early morning walk through downtown Toronto's Graffiti Alley. As luck would have it I also had with me a OnePlus 5.

    The big difference between the two is that the LG's second camera has a fixed focus wide angle lens, while the OnePlus has a telephoto one. For anyone trying to decide which secondary focal length would be more useful, I'm hoping that this quick visual guide will help.



    Reference photo of the first subject, taken with the OnePlus 5. Neither LG nor OnePlus seem especially interested in publishing focal length equivalents on their respective spec pages, but other sources cite this primary shooter at the equivalent of 28mm.



    The OnePlus 5's telephoto lens, apparently a 36mm equivalent.



    And the LG G6's wide angle lens. No focal length is available; LG will only say that it has a 125-degree angle of view.



    Our second subject and a new addition to Graffiti Alley, taken with the G6. Focal length is similar to OnePlus, at an equivalent of 29mm.



    Back to the 5's telephoto lens, with a really aggressive depth of field software effect—notice how the hair on the right side is out of focus, despite the subject being shot straight on...



    And the G6's wide angle lens. No, that Amazon box doesn't belong to me.



    Our third and final subject, captured with the primary lens on the OnePlus 5.



    OnePlus 5 telephoto lens.



    And the wide angle lens on the G6, with bonus photographer cameo!

    Though this wasn't meant to be a test of image quality per se, feel free to compare these samples with other graffiti walks I've done with other phones. The photos confirm my personal preference for a second, wide angle lens over a telephoto one. I think the fisheye effect is much more striking than fake software bokeh. What do you think?

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    by Published on 09-28-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Big fan of Amazon Prime over here... The free shipping is fantastic, but what seals the deal for yours truly time and time again is the almost-unbelievably generous return policy on every order. I've sent back memory cards that I've used, cameras that I've taken on trips abroad, even shoes that I've worn outside. And now, it seems, that I'm about to return this LG G6.

    Because I'm a Prime Member I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into this purchase—in fact, I bought the phone from my phone while wandering around a mall in Vancouver, a pit stop on the way home from Sri Lanka. I was still considering a smartphone purchase for 2017 and this particular G6 seemed to be compatible with Lineage OS, a good sign that it was a modding-friendly device. I dig the "scared robot" look on the back and, more importantly, prefer the idea of a wide-angle second camera over a telephoto one.

    The phone arrived in Toronto shortly after I did. It was only then I started paying attention to its specific model number: H870DS, a phone intended for sale in Hong Kong. This revelation brought with it some good news:

    This specific phone supports dual SIMs;
    There's 64 GB of storage, an extra 32 GB over North American models;
    It'll work in Asia (obviously), but there's also Band 7 LTE for my carrier here.

    ... And unfortunately, a few deal-breakers as well:

    There's no option for an app drawer on LG's Hong Kong ROM;
    I can't actually unlock the bootloader, let alone install Lineage OS.

    I took some photos with it earlier this week, but there's not much more I can do with the phone beyond that; no unlockable bootloader, no deal. Kind of a shame, really, as there's a lot to like about the G6.

    Has anyone else played the grey market smartphone lottery on Amazon? Feel free to share your experience below...

    Link: LG G6 Dual SIM on Amazon Canada

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    by Published on 09-27-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on



    Forgive the sass, but when iVerge is critical of an Apple product there must be something seriously wrong with it. And that appears to be the case with the LTE edition of the Apple Watch Series 3.

    The issues stem entirely from that garish red dot on the LTE's version of the digital crown—or rather, the technology that comes with it. If you didn't know, the red dot is basically a status symbol telling the world that your watch has a cellular radio. What a time to be alive... Anyway, Lauren Goode ran extensive tests on two LTE-enabled units; both fell well short of Apple's claims.

    Here's what happened with the first watch:

    I went for a walk with the phone on airplane mode, and tried to send text messages and use Siri to initiate phone calls through the Watch. Those didn’t work. I tried asking Siri basic questions. That didn’t work. Siri also wasn’t “talking back” to me, something that’s supposed to be a new feature on the Series 3 Watch.
    So Apple sent her another one. Here's how that went:

    On more than one occasion, I detached myself from the phone, traveled blocks away from my home or office, and watched the Watch struggle to connect to LTE. It would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE.
    Apparently the watch has a preference for WiFi networks over LTE signals, probably because using LTE drains the battery much quicker than you'd expect. Apple's promises for untethered battery life are based on 30-minute workouts, so if you head out for a two-hour run you may be surprised to find that you have to charge your watch soon after you get back.

    Keep in mind also that these headaches come at an extra cost; $399 USD vs. $329 for a non-LTE watch plus $10 extra per month from your carrier for cellular connectivity on your wrist. And at launch, this particular Apple Watch doesn't even support music streaming through the network, which you'd kind of expect for a no-compromises fitness product.

    It definitely seems like the non-LTE Apple Watch is the better buy. As an added bonus, it doesn't come with the stupid red dot...

    Source: The Verge

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    by Published on 09-25-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Having won the war on smartphone bezels (kinda) the world's biggest phone maker is ready to move on to the next big thing: the bendable display. According to The Indian Express, the first consumer device with this technology has already been certified in South Korea; it's to be called the Galaxy X and will presumably be some sort of anniversary device for the brand.

    Never mind that the original Galaxy was released in 2009, or that battery life is probably going to be terrible for that paper-thin display in the photo directly above. I think the idea is actually to make something that the user can fold and unfold like a newspaper, as demonstrated in this concept video:



    Perhaps the battery will be spread out over the entire back of the sheet? No idea, really... We'll have to wait and see what Samsung is able to deliver next year. Best not to expect a headphone jack in this one, I think.

    Source: Indian Express

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    by Published on 09-22-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    Way back in December of 2013 I bought a Google-branded inductive charger for my Nexus 4. The technology immediately won me over; there was no fast-charging technology to speak of at the time, and thus no drawbacks to dropping my phone on a charging mat beside my desktop computer. Having my phone always juiced up and ready to go was pretty great.

    Around this time IKEA started selling a floor lamp with an inductive charging pad built-in, and at least one coffee shop near me had wireless charging embedded in its counters. As even the mighty Samsung got behind the nascent Qi charging standard, a future with less wires looked increasingly possible. People were even talking about inductive bowls that you could dump all of your electronics in to charge as you walked through the threshold of your home.

    And then fast charging happened. Wireless charging never really went away, of course, but for me it became harder and harder to justify a slow wireless charge over a wired one that could get my phone battery to 100% in about an hour.

    Cut to the present day, where the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X all support the Qi inductive charging standard. Again, inductive charging never went away, but with Apple supporting it I'd expect to see a lot more inductive chargers in coffee shops across North America. And soon.

    The new iPhones also support fast charging, but only through additional accessories—namely, a USB-C to Lightning cable and separate 29 watt brick. I honestly think that wireless charging is going to end up being the bigger deal, whether you're an iPhone user or not. I'd even go so far as to predict that next year will see a renewed interest in Qi-compatible Android phones.

    In the meantime, here's a question for iOS enthusiasts: which are you more excited about, wireless charging or fast wired charging?

    Links: IKEA, The Verge, Wikipedia

    ---------
    by Published on 09-20-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    October 4th will apparently be the date for the official unveiling of Google's second-generation Pixels, but thanks to Droid Life we've got an early look at colour options for both models—and their price tags, too!

    Pixel 2

    The Pixel 2 will be available with either 64 or 128 GB of storage, and will retail for $649 and $749 USD respectively. Google will offer financing plans for each—either $27.04 or $31.21 USD per month over 24 months.

    Colours are as follows:



    "Kinda Blue"



    "Just Black"



    "Clearly White"

    Pixel 2 XL

    Also sold with either 64 or 128 GB of storage, the larger Pixel 2 XL will set you back either $849 or $949 USD. Financing options are $35.38 and $39.54 USD per month for 24 months. There will be just two colour options for this one:



    Black



    White

    I myself am not a Pixel guy; you can blame Google's entirely unnecessary vendor partition for that. But with timely software updates and what's likely to be one of the better Android cameras it's easy to see the Pixel's appeal.

    Anyone here planning a Pixel 2 purchase?

    Source: Droid Life (1) (2)

    ---------
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