The best VR games for Android

Virtual reality should be the next big thing in the video game area and several manufacturers are already offering VR glasses for consoles, PC and also Android.  There are already numerous VR games available for Android smartphones in the Google Play Store and the Oculus Store. Check out our suggestions for the best VR games for Android.

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VR Games for Android: is the time ripe for virtual reality?

Virtual reality is a long-cherished dream for many gamers and many developers have already sought to bring it to realization over recent years and decades – mostly with rather limited success. Either the glasses or the VR helmets were too expensive, the range of games too small or the result too bad.

In the past two years however, a lot has changed: today, there are powerful graphics chips, high-resolution displays and promising projects like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. With Cardboard, Google demonstrated a cost-effective VR platform, which will soon launch an improved successor with Daydream.

For Android gamers, there are essentially two current VR platforms. In cooperation with Oculus, Samsung has developed the Gear VR, which is compatible only with high-end Galaxy smartphones. However, a lot of smartphones are compatible with Google Cardboard – here, Google provides some important specifications for the headset. Most VR headsets for Android smartphones are cardboard on the inside, whereas the glasses sometimes look more like Gear VR.

A third platform is just starting to take off: Daydream. Google’s new VR platform expands Cardboard to meet specifications required of smartphones and headsets in order to play VR-compatible apps. While Cardboard is seen as a basic solution, this is not the case with Daydream. Google’s own VR headset, Daydream View, already shows the path that should be taken.

AndroidPIT Daydream View VR 0176 Daydream View. / © AndroidPIT

Projects such as the HTC Vive or PlayStation VR are currently not relevant for Android smartphones because either a PC or a game console provides the images for these devices.

VR Games for Google Daydream

Mekorama VR

Mekorama is a puzzle game where you have to guide a small robot through the level. In the beginning, it’s fairly simple because usually only a few stones have to be moved, but the difficulty increases significantly from one level to the next. In the VR version, the action appear large around you, and you use the controller to move the stones and show the robot which way to go.

Mekorama VR costs $ 3.99 and it does not have any in-app purchases.

AndroidPIT mekorama vr Mekorama VR / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT Mekorama VR Install on Google Play

Hunters Gate

Action is hot with Hunters Gate. The world has been attacked by demons and you have to keep them back in this action-packed rolling game – to save the world, as usual. This is a fun and graphically impressive game. Rolling game elements make your character grow stronger over time and learn new skills. Thanks to the Daydream controller, you quickly get used to the controls. You can look at what’s happening from above, which is good for playing comfort – you don’t have to face too much virtual movement. 

Hunters Gate costs $ 5.99.

AndroidPIT hunters gate vr Hunters Gate / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT Hunters Gate Install on Google Play

Need for Speed: No Limits VR

The sensation of speed made possible by Virtual Reality make it particularly suited to racing games. Need for Speed: No Limits VR is probably the best racing game for Daydream-capable smartphones. Great graphics and breakneck-pace races guarantee an exciting ride, but what make the VR experience with Need for Speed complete are the detailed options for customization and car tuning. EA has paid attention to detail: At the beginning you can even adjust the height of your seat.

Need for Speed: No Limits VR is not exactly a bargain at $ 14.99. 

Need for Speed™ No Limits VR Install on Google Play

Gunjack 2: End of Shift

Gunjack 2 isn’t on the candidate list for the Google Play Award 2017 for nothing. You play a mercenary on the Kubera mining platform on the outer edge of our solar system. Your mission: Fend off attackers, because pirates are desperate to steal those minerals. So you sit at a cannon and blast the attacking spaceships to smithereens using the immense arsenal of weapons at your disposal. The controls are a little bit tricky to get used to. The game is action-packed and fast, but you control every move with your gaze.

Gunjack 2 is somewhat expensive but worthwhile at $ 12.99. 

Gunjack 2: End of Shift Install on Google Play  

VR Games for the Samsung Gear VR

Anshar Wars 2

Anshar Wars 2 is a graphically impressive VR game. In this game, your little fighter battles in space for victory. This action game is a lot of fun because the 360 degree effect of the Gear VR works very well. However, you should also connect a game controller to your smartphone otherwise it quickly becomes uncomfortable to control.

At $ 14.99, Anshar Wars 2 would not be considered a cheap game.

ansharwars Anshar Wars 2 / © OZWE

Land’s End

Land’s End, by Monument Valley creator ustwo, is more for fans of puzzle games. Designed especially for the Gear VR, in this game you awaken in an old civilization. You do not need a controller because ustwo has devised its own operation. Graphically, Land’s End is abstract; the virtual landscapes are inspired by many remote parts of the earth. Action-lovers will not be happy with this one.

Like many other Gear VR games, Land’s End also costs quite a lot. The developer is asking $ 7.99 for it.

lands end Land’s End. / © ustwo

Wands

Wands is a VR multiplayer game set in a magical version of 1880s London in which you play a so-called Wielder. You’ll equip your wand with elements that allow you to cast spells such as fireballs, lightning bolts and meteor attacks. Movement in the game only takes place via teleport, otherwise you aim by means of head movements.

There is no real story – instead, Wands focuses on battles against other players. Before fighting real opponents via the Internet, however, some training is recommended – both to familiarize yourself with the controls and also to find stronger spells. 

Operation is either via game controller or Gear VR touchpad. The new Gear controller is also already supported.

Wands costs $ 5.99 at the Google Play Store, where it supports Daydream but it’s currently on offer at the Oculus Store.

Wands Install on Google Play

Augmented Empire

With an isometric tabletop view reminiscent of classic point-and-click PC gaming, Augmented Empire stands out from the crowd right from the get-go. But aside from its visuals, this turn-based tactical RPG is also distinguished by its well-developed story. You direct a party of 6 misfit characters through a dystopian cyberpunk city that has descended into Victorian-esque levels of inequality and dysfunction, uncovering a surprisingly deep plot along the way.

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Rich storytelling and top-notch voice acting make Augmented Empire one of the more satisfying VR games out there. Although the controls and mechanics are relatively intuitive, a controller is recommended for the best experience. 

With hours of gameplay, Augmented Empire is a bargain at $ 9.99.

Augmented Empire from Oculus

VR Games for Google Cardboard

Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue

Endless runner games are very well suited to being played with VR glasses. Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue, the successor to Lamper VR: First Flight, is such a game. Here, through head movements you control a small firefly and you have to free your firefly friends who were lost when spiders attacked your insect kingdom. In the game, you fly through forests and caves, shoot down fireballs and use power-ups to defeat opponents. This works very well thanks to intuitive controls. Not only does it look stylish – it’s also free.

Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue is available for free in the Google Play Store. There’s also a version for Gear VR, which costs $ 2.99.

lamper vr firefly Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue. / © Archiact Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue Install on Google Play

VR Space: The Last Mission

Space. Infinite ways to go. No wonder that VR games often take place in space. In VR Space: The Last Mission you are – as usual – the last hope of humanity. Also as per usual, the story is mainly an excuse for action. The crucial thing is that you repel the many attacks of enemy spaceships. And that’s more than enough for an entertaining experience – especially since the graphics are so impressive. Although the game is designed for cardboard VR glasses, there is a NoVR mode that transforms the game into a classic smartphone game.

VR Space: The Last Mission costs just $ 1.99

VR Space: The Last Mission Install on Google Play

Which VR games do you like? We’re looking forward to your comments.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Google Home Mini: the low-cost version of the Google Assistant device

If you’re curious about the Google Home connected device but its price tag is outside of your budget, here’s a spot of good news for you! According to a few reliable sources, Google will soon be launching a miniature version of its device for a mere $ 49!

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Alongside the upcoming launch of the imminent second generation Pixel phones, Google could be preparing a few other surprises. And one of these may just be the launch of a mini version of its Google Home device. It wil lbe smaller but also more affordable and will of course come with the Google Assistant, Google’s artificial intelligence.

In short, you speak a command and the Assistant responds. You can ask it a question and it will search for the answer on Google then read out the best answer to you. You can command it to play music, and it will launch Spotify or YouTube. You can ask it to interact with your connected devices and it will do so.

According to the latest news from Droid Life, the main aim of the Google Home Mini is to rival Amazon’s Echo Dot (a miniature version of the Alexa smart assistant device). The Echo Dot is also sold for around $ 50 in the US. Like the Echo Dot, the Google Home Mini should come with a wall plug rather than a rechargeable battery. 

This Google Home Mini should be available in three colors: Coral, Chalk and Charcoal. However, unlike the bigger Google Home, you won’t be able to change the casing. Last but not least, the Google Home Mini still has the little lights on the top of the device to indicate when the Assistant is active.

androidpit google home mini Here is the Google Home Mini – coming soon! © Droid-Life

In any case, we’ll follow up closely on this new Google Home Mini. We’re expecting it to be launched at Google’s Pixel event on October 4 alongside the new Pixel devices. 

Are you interested in the mini version of Google Home? Would you buy it? Share your thoughts below!

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Google acquires HTC 'Pixel Team' for $1.1 billion

After much rumor and speculation, the deal has been made official. Google has acquired half of HTC’s employees, all of which were involved in smartphone development, in particular the team that developed the Pixel and Pixel XL. 

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Google will pay $ 1.1 billion for the research and development division “Powered by HTC”, which largely consists of the aforementioned Pixel team. According to HTC CEO Peter Shen, this accounts for almost half of the staff of its research and development team, which currently employs around 4000 people.

The agreement also includes a non-exclusive licence of HTC’s intellectual property, i.e. that Google may use the technologies developed by HTC.

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Rick Osterloh, leader of Google’s hardware division, reminded us in an official statement that this agreement is the culmination of a long collaboration of over 10 years, starting with the HTC Dream. Google’s aim is to become a strong contender in the spheres of hardware and consumer electronics as well as software. In Osterloh’s words: “Our team’s goal is to offer the best Google experience across hardware, software and services to people around the world”. Is it just me, or does Google’s ambition to control both software and hardware carry more than a whiff of the philosophy of their great rival, Apple?

AndroidPIT rick osterloh pixel boss google Rick Osterloh, head of Google’s hardware division / © AndroidPIT

HTC stated in a press release that it will still continue to develop smartphones, talking up a successor to the great HTC U11. The Taiwanese company retains its dedicated virtual reality team and remains committed to the HTC Vive.

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What do you think? Will we see some serious rivals to the Pixel emerge in the next couple of years?

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Is HTC getting acquired by Google?

HTC is undergoing turbulent times and has been in the eye of the public for a while now. There are more and more signs pointing towards the announcement of Google’s acquisition of HTC. Suspicious activity has just been reported both on the stock exchange and at headquarters in Taiwan.

HTC has long been a potential takeover candidate, but now it seems like it might have found an acquirer, things could really move quickly. The China Times reports that the HTC headquarters in Taiwan are preparing for a big announcement. On the second floor of the company’s headquarters, a large auditorium has been set up, including cameras, presumably for a certain announcement. Equipment for a TV transmission is also apparently being set up. On-site HTC manager Cher Wang, had actually planned a trip to Japan, the newspaper continues, but ended up staying in Taiwan. The newspaper leaves the question open as to whether it really could be about a takeover by Google or just closer cooperation between the two companies.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Stock Exchange has announced that HTC’s shares will be delisted from trading on September 21. The well-known Leaker Evan Blass has spoken on this subject. According to him, HTC and Google have come to an agreement: employees will be informed about details of sales talks between HTC and Google soon. Google will buy some hardware departments, but HTC will remain its own brand.

Apparently, Google will not take over the entire HTC company. At least, the Vive division will remain in place though further details are unclear at the moment. In a statement, HTC said that it does not comment on rumors, but this comes a response to the China Times report. The fact that the shares will be temporarily withdrawn from trading is obviously not a rumor, once it was announced by the local stock exchange.

There are currently no concrete statements from HTC or Google. As soon as we receive further information, you will be informed immediately. Stay tuned!

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Apple has presented its new Samsung!

In 2015, I read a hilarious spoof article: “Samsung presents its new iPhone”; that had me on the floor with: “The feeling that it is the actual iPhone lasts about 4 minutes longer than it used to”. At that time the iPhone 6 was the leader of the pack and the satire site was poking fun at the Galaxy S6 as an obvious attempt to imitate Apple’s design.

More than two years later, it looks like Apple has lost its place as the design icon and the competition is starting to come into its own. The new iPhone X is a good indicator that Apple has stopped being innovative and has begun looking to its competition for inspiration, and I’m not just talking about Samsung.

Apple isn’t what it used to be

For the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone, Apple couldn’t come to the table empty-handed, and so it launched a new device. It’s the first time that Apple has presented two different models at the same time, the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. The iPhone 8 could have been named iPhone 7s, but Apple decided to go up a number. Maybe it’s good for marketing.

OLED display like on Samsung

The iPhone X is the most innovative phone in the Apple ecosystem, but it actually doesn’t look all that new. It comes with a new OLED display, something that has been the calling card of Samsung Galaxy phones for generations. The name is also kind of funny since Apple has inaugurated it as their Super Retina Display and Samsung has always called their display technology Super AMOLED. Super coincidence?

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus front The new iPhone X has a display just like Samsung’s/ © AndroidPIT

Borderless display like on Xiaomi

Another display update on the iPhone X joins the new fashion of borderless displays or rather, displays that use up the maximum amount of front surface possible. The first launch this year with the new format and a display that took up more than 78% was the LG G6, next came the S8 (~83.6%), Essential Phone (~84.9%), Note 8 (~83.2), V30 (~81.2%), Mi MIX 2 (~80.8%) and lastly the iPhone X (~82.9%).
 

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However, this feature of lengthening the screen to the edge of the frame became relevant for the first time in a modest range of smartphones, the Aquos Crystal from Sharp (2014). In 2016, Xiaomi took up the baton with its first Mi MIX, which improved on but kept the lines of Aquos Crystal. I still think it’s the best ambassador for this trend after seeing the second edition. It looks like Apple has also been inspired by the competition and discovered that it’s the best thing for their customers.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi Mix 2123 Mi MIX: this is what borderless means / © ANDROIDPIT

Facial recognition from Android

The biggest gamble on the iPhone X is how it’s unlocked. In the past, iPhone has always been unlocked with a PIN and starting with the iPhone 5s, a fingerprint reader. On the iPhone X, forget about your finger, because they’ve joined the facial recognition game, or Face ID. Facial recognition has been on Android devices for a while now and since the failed Galaxy Note 7, the iris scanner is becoming increasingly important. Apple was the last to sign on to this tech, gambling hard on it even as it applies its own twist on the format.

Back covered in glass just like the rest

From the iPhone 6 to the new iPhone 8 and 8 plus, Apple has repeated the same design. The last two have a glass back just like the Galaxy S line has had since the S6. The excuse seems to be the new wireless charger that the latest generation of iPhone comes with. We all know that neither the iPhone 8 nor the iPhone X are the first to have a glass back. They’re not even the first ones from Apple. At this point, the construction seems less like an update and more like an adaptation based on the market’s needs. A way to put themselves on the same field as the competition.

u11 xzp s8 g6 Who doesn’t have a glass back nowadays? / © AndroidPIT

Intuitive system gestures like in Sailfish OS

Throughout the entire presentation for the new iPhone X, I felt like I had seen it all before. When it got to the part about software and new gestures for iOS 11, I thought “they copied this.” Apart from swiping on the status bar to bring up quick settings, which is taken from Android, opening multitasking and going back to the start is a copy of Sailfish OS. Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. Sailfish OS, developed by the independent Finnish company Jolla, and derived from the old Nokia Maemo project, is soon to be available on Sony Xperia X. Honestly, I think all mobile operating systems should copy Sailfish OS.

AndroidPIT sailfish os 3256 Sailfish OS: move through the system with gestures, without a back button or having to break your fingers. / © ANDROIDPIT

The recipe for success: improve on what you imitate

All these new features on the iPhone seem like a logical evolution, but it’s also unavoidable to think that the iPhone looks more than ever like a Galaxy. But Apple has a huge ace up its sleeve: Apple doesn’t test things, they sell them.

Anything that Apple releases is usually very finely tuned. Honestly, if one of the most profitable tech companies in the world can’t do the R+D, nobody can. Apple has always grabbed ideas that were around floating around and made them a reality. Facial recognition is a perfect example of that.

apple keynote iphone x price 5 Despite the price of the iPhone X, I’m sure they’ll sell a ton. / © Apple

With an S8, if you’re completely in the dark neither the iris scanner nor the facial recognition work very well. The iPhone X still needs to be tested in the dark, but it looks like there’s hope for it.

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At the end of the day, it’s all a question of trust and fulfilling promises. Apple can sell, and it knows how to market. But when it comes to design, at least where smartphones are concerned, it looks like Apple has hit a wall.

Do you think that the new iPhone X looks a lot like a Samsung? Do you think that next year every smartphone will have that notch in it?

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13 tips and tricks to improve your Chrome experience

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Take a shortcut

1. Copy, cut and paste web addresses

Share the address of specific web pages and content from websites you like using the Android copy and paste tool. In Chrome, click on the URL of the site and press the cursor for a few seconds. If you’re using Android Marshmallow, you’ll see that in addition to copying and pasting, there’s the option to share apps and search for specific terms in Google Now.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 1 Copy, cut and paste in Chrome / © ANDROIDPIT

2. Speed up page loading with Brotli

Enabling the Brotli function improves the page loading speed as sites are unzipped faster. To do this, you need to open a new page in the browser and enter the following URL:  chrome: // flags / # enable-brotli.

On the next page you’ll see a page with several features. At the top of the screen, highlighted in yellow, is the section that is most relevant to us. It’s called “Brotli Coding” content. You must now select the “Default” menu and then click “Activate”. You’ll then need to restart Chrome to apply your changes.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 9 Activating Brotli speeds up Chrome. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Disable open tabs between apps in multitasking 

From Android 5.0 Lollipop the recent Chrome tabs are opened one over the other mixed with the apps, which let’s face it can be confusing. Happily you can undo this action. To do this, open Chrome in Lollipop, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the browser, and then go to:  Settings > Merge tabs and apps > Disable. After that, your Chrome browser will be faster and more organized.

4. Quickly switch between tabs

If you followed the above instructions, you’ll be able to enjoy yet another advantage. You can now move tabs quickly by simply dragging the address bar to the right or left. However, you should know that Android can be controlled in part by gestures. So in the following article we’ve put together 10 gestures that will enhance both your Android user experience and using Chrome:

5. Add a shortcut to a website on your home screen

If you find yourself frequently visiting a website adding it to your home screen will save you some time and a few taps. To do so, simply tap the three-point menu and select “Add to home screen.” Then just choose a label for the icon that will be added to your home screen. Too easy!

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 4 Shortcuts on Chrome. / © ANDROIDPIT

6. Synchronizing tabs and favorites with other devices

This feature is certainly not new, but it’s not used very often. To make it really useful, you need to set up some options. Go to your Chrome settings, use your Google account, and enable sync. Before syncing, open Chrome on your computer, sign in with the same account, then “Sync” in the account settings and confirm that the “Open tabs” option is enabled.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 3 Sync Chrome with your computer. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. How to navigate in anonymous mode

Incognito mode prevents Google Chrome from saving your browsing history. To access it, just touch the three-point menu (upper right corner of the window) and touch “Navigate without a trace”. The search bar and anonymous tab icon are grayed out, and do not change according to the website you visit.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 5 For anonymous browsing, switch to incognito mode. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. Save data with Chrome

In Google Chrome, you can reduce the use of your plan’s mobile data by compressing them. Simply open the Chrome browser and go to: Menu > Settings > Data Saver. With this option enabled, you will certainly save yourself some internet data.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 6 Use Chrome to save internet data on your smartphone. / © ANDROIDPIT

9. Reader Mode

Not all sites have been optimized to open on a smartphone. To improve your user experience with these sites, Google has enabled Reader Mode in Chrome. To enable this function open the browser and enter the following URL:  chrome: // flags / # reader-mode-heuristics.

You will soon find the “Activate Reader Mode”, then click the “Default” button and choose “Always”. Each new page you’ll open after this will have a note appear in the footer of your display indicating that the website can be optimized for your smartphone.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 7 Chrome Reader Mode. / © ANDROIDPIT

10. Get Facebook notifications for Chrome

If you use Facebook through your browser, and you don’t want to miss out receiving notifications, these can be sent to you through Chrome. When you first access the site with the browser, Facebook asks permission to send notifications to the user. This new feature finally makes the Facebook app useless!

However, if you want to enable or disable this option you’ll need to go to: Profile settings > Notifications and then tap on the gear icon. Then click “Mobile on” and manage.

chrome tips tricks COM Setup 8 Chrome Facebook notifications. / © ANDROIDPIT

11. Compress media files with Opera Max

Opera Max saves data and gives you full control over your consumption. The application works with 3G, 4G, LTE and WiFi networks, and is really effective as it compresses videos, photos and media in general, applications and websites, and without much loss of quality. 

If that wasn’t enough to get you interested, Opera Max also allows you to save battery power by blocking applications running in the background. Last but not least, when managing WiFi networks, Max also tracks what apps do in the background when connected to WiFi. To get these features, download the app from Google Play Store:

Opera Max – Data manager Install on Google Play

For more information on how Opera Max works, visit the article below:

12. Open tabs side-by-side with Nougat’s multi-window feature

This will only work with phones running Android Nougat. Open Chrome as you normally would, then long press the recent apps button on your phone to open the multi-window menu.

chrome tips tricks multi window tabs Long press the square button on the bottom right to go to multi-window mode. / © ANDROIDPIT

At this point, go to the Chrome-occupied half of your screen and tap the three dots button on the top right for more options, and select Move to another window. Then you’ll be able to open a new Chrome tab on the other half of the screen. 

13. Read webpages offline

For a year now, it has been possible to download a webpage to view it later while offline, but a new update makes it even easier. Just long press any link and choose “Download link”. Or, when you’re offline, you can tell Chrome to download it when you’re back online. This is great for when your connection is spotty. Just open a link while offline, and when you get to the “You are offline” page, tap the big blue “Download page later” button.

chrome offline pages tip Download pages to view them offline later. / © Google

Once you’ve downloaded one or more pages, you can get to the content by opening a new tab. You’ll see your downloaded pages listed in their own “Downloads” section at the top, above some suggested online articles from Google.

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How to download Chrome for Android

To enjoy these functions on your Android, download Chrome from the Play Store if you have not already installed it on your device. Click the button below:

Google Chrome: Fast & Secure Install on Google Play

So now that you’ve assessed out tips and tricks, are there any which you think you might use yourself? Are there any other tips for Chrome that you use on your Android? Let us know in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

AllCall Rio comes with dual camera, Android Nougat and 3 days' battery

Sometimes it’s not just about having the biggest brand smartphone in your pocket. You’d be surprised at what you can get your hands on if you cast your net a little wider. The big brands of today had to start somewhere, and many of them started off with some amazing specs at a fraction of the price of more well-known brands. Like OnePlus. Or like the AllCall Rio, which we bring you today.

While you might not have heard of this brand yet, it’s worth checking it out for the sheer amount of impressive specs, design and features it brings at a jaw-droppingly low price of about $ 55! Check out the video below to discover more about this phone or head over to the AllCall Rio website.

Here’s a little more about what you could be investing your hard-earned dollar on…

Design and display

The AllCall Rio comes jam-packed with an eye-catching array of specs: it boasts 3D curved screen technology, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S8, melding nicely into a sleek metal frame. The frame and housing is made with utmost care to maximize high durability of the device, while ensuring a smooth design and elegant appearance. 

allcall rio front back red The AllCall Rio looks sleek and elegant, with its curved screen. / © AllCall

Its ergonomics won’t let you down either – it sits nicely in your hand, however, should the phone slip from your hand, it’ll likely hold its own thanks to a 1.8 mm thick glass, which is thicker than many other phones nowadays, ensuring its sturdiness and robustness.

Camera

You guessed it – this latest phone from AllCall comes with a dual camera (8 MP Sony IMX149 sensor) with an aperture of f / 2.2, in addition to a front camera for selfies. AllCall isn’t messing around with its photography technology – you can expect exquisite clarity and vivid colors as well as the bokeh portrait effect. You also get all the usual camera features like color filters, panorama shots and video shooting.

Performance and battery

The AllCall Rio comes with Android 7.0 Nougat, which has some useful features like split-screen mode and notification direct reply – these all make your user experience much friendlier than ever before. Packing a 2,700 mAh battery, the phone should hold its own for 3 days or 16 hours calling time.

So what are you waiting for? Check out this phone with some fantastic specs at a quite literally unbeatable price – it could be the next big hit in the near future! AllCall will also be at the Asia Expo for Mobile Electronics in Hong Kong from October 18 to 21 – so if you’re around, you should head over check them out!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs S8+: A $270 surcharge for a stylus?

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ look like twins. But there are many differences between the smartphones which aren’t just limited to looks. The differences are also under the hood, which is where both the Note 8 and the S8+ are ahead of the pack.

Anyone who does a side-by-side comparison of Samsung’s largest smartphones of the moment doesn’t need a magnifying glass to find the design differences; just having a second glance is enough. The Galaxy Note 8 is a little bit thicker than the Galaxy S8+. It’s also a bit more angular at the corners, but the build quality of both devices is flawless.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus front Compared to the S8+ (right), the Note 8 is hardly bigger but distinctively edgier. / © AndroidPIT

The Note 8’s display is merely 0.1 inches bigger, and we estimate that the bezels are just as slim. Despite the curved glass surfaces, the Galaxy Note 8 is more massive and also heavier than the S8+. The controls, including the standalone Bixby button, are located in the same places.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus back The button arrangement is identical. / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy Note 8’s most important differentiating factor is the S-Pen. This digital input stylus, which can be pulled from below the housing as usual, divides Samsung fans. For Note aficionados, the S-Pen is what makes this device truly interesting and thus, without equal. But, the pen critics do not see the need for the S-Pen and emphasize other things instead.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus under Only the Note 8 (bottom) sports the S-Pen. / © AndroidPIT

There are large differences between the cameras. The Galaxy Note 8 is the Korean manufacturer’s first smartphone that is equipped with a dual camera, while the Galaxy S8+ takes the conservative route and has a single 12 MP lens on the back. Although the camera still has to prove its worth in our review, it already offers more opportunities for creativity. Both are evenly matched when it comes to the front camera.

Galaxy S8+ has better battery life than the Note 8

A look at the technical specs sheet reveals the following: The Galaxy S8+ has the larger battery of the two Samsung smartphones, and that’s in spite of the smaller size and thinner body. To make up for it, the Note 8 offers the S-Pen, which takes up space inside the body as well. Furthermore, the Galaxy Note 7 battery incidents caused Samsung to stay on the safe side and, for better or worse, not go for maximum capacity. As a result, the Galaxy S8+ lasts a bit longer on one charge, even if the differences are minor in practice. Both Galaxy smartphones support quick charging and wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8+ technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Galaxy S8+
Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 195 g 173 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh 3500 mAh
Screen size: 6.3 in 6.2 in
Display technology: AMOLED AMOLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (522 ppi) 2960 x 1440 pixels (531 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat 7.0 – Nougat
User interface: TouchWiz TouchWiz
RAM: 6 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Samsung Exynos 8895 Samsung Exynos 8895
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.3 GHz 2.3 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth

Performance wise, both smartphones are very close, which is no wonder since they are equipped with the same processor. RAM is the only thing where the Note 8 has a bit more to offer, which is hardly noticeable in practice. The Snapdragon 835 (or the Samsung Exynos 8895 outside of the US), powers both XXL smartphones and you won’t have to wait long for apps to load or deal with a laggy browser with either phone.

samsung galaxy note 8 s8 plus cameras The Note 8 is the first Samsung with a dual camera. / © AndroidPIT

Note 8 buyers pay $ 270 more for an $ -Pen

There is quite a price difference between both smartphones, with the Galaxy Note 8 starting at a full $ 929, which is $ 80 more than what the Galaxy S8+ cost when it was released on the market ($ 850). Now the price for the latter has dropped further, and you can currently get it for as little as $ 659, which is an enormous $ 270 difference that will make some Note fans think twice.

Opinion by Steffen Herget

The S-Pen does not justify a price difference of over $ 250.

What do you think?

10 participants

There are differences between these two Samsung smartphones, even if the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy Note 8 look similar at first glance. Which of the two models is your favorite?

Choose Galaxy Note 8 or Galaxy S8+.

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    Galaxy Note 8

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BMW going full steam ahead with the fully autonomous car

A completely autonomous car by 2021

For BMW, the self-driving car is the future. This doesn’t come as any surprise though, as the German manufacturer has already begun digitally revolutionizing its vehicles, making them more connected, which is the obvious prerequisite for the self-driving car. “We aren’t made to sit in traffic jams” explained Elmar Frickenstein, demonstrating the benefits of the autonomous car. “By 2021, BMW will be able to offer cars with 3, 4 and 5 levels of autonomy.”

To explain these levels of autonomy: autonomy level 5 corresponds to a completely autonomous vehicle where everything is automatic. For those who aren’t aware of it, or who aren’t familiar with this scale of autonomous driving, level 1 has already been in place for a while. Level 1 is the level at which the machine controls certain things, like loss of trajectory (ESP). Level 2 is a more recent improvement with a few additional driving aids. Level 3 is gradually making its way onto the market, allowing the driver to release the steering wheel for short periods, and under defined conditions. Levels 4 and 5 are therefore the next steps for BMW’s autonomous cars, aimed at incorporating autonomous driving with other collective concepts like car-sharing, which is what customers are increasingly looking for.

“Our studies show that US users want an autonomous car to have an additional work space, while Asian users want a space for entertainment. Fortunately, from a technical point of view, the approach is the same, which is why we’ll be able to offer a solution that will suit all markets” Elmar Frickenstein assures.

bmw concept  BMW also took advantage of the Frankfurt Motor Show to present its Vision Dynamics concept. © AndroidPIT

Artificial intelligence, the most important challenge for autonomous cars

Given that 2021 is just around the corner, BMW has already started the revolution to achieve its objective. In addition to its new way of working in-house, which is closer to the world of startups, the German manufacturer has teamed up with the American computer group Intel, which is capable of offering a versatile design, as well as the Israeli company Mobileye, who specialize in artificial vision. As a result, BMW has already launched its first fleet of 40 autonomous vehicles onto the road in 2017, and will gradually increase that number over the next few years (200 within two years).

What’s the objective? Recover as much data as possible to analyze and improve the artificial intelligence of their vehicles, and as the BMW Senior Vice President of Autonomous Driving reminded me, “our most important challenge is artificial intelligence, and its ability to learn”.

Our most important challenge is artificial intelligence, and its ability to learn

BMW’s fleet of autonomous cars therefore provides a lot of data, which is useful for machine learning and artificial intelligence. To date, BMW’s autonomous vehicle research has accumulated 60 petabytes (or 60 million gigabytes) of data, and therefore (with the help of Intel) has had to build its own data center in Munich, Germany to store all the information. The manufacturer keeps the data private and won’t share it with any third parties. “When a customer purchases an autonomous car, they agree to a separate contract to share their data with BMW, but this data will remain private, anonymous and will never be shared”.

bmw z4 concept Will BMW’s 2021 autonomous car look as pretty as the concept foreshadowing the new BMW Z4? © AndroidPIT

Still an operational regulation in 2021?

If BMW stands by its statement of wanting to market its first level 5 vehicle by 2021, there are still two major challenges for the manufacturer to truly establish the autonomous car. The first is to reassure certain users who are wary of handing over full control of their vehicle to a machine. On this point, Elmar Frickenstein is quite optimistic: “People’s trust relies on the safety of the autonomous car. Our internal tests show that the first ten minutes may worry some people, but after an hour of driving, users are quickly used to the new system”.

As to the second challenge, this is about whether infrastructure and legislation will be ready by then. BMW is already working on it and appears to be very positive. “We aren’t alone, we work with many partners and manufacturers. For example, we’re already having legal discussions with governments for our tests”. Finally, the other argument put forward by Frickenstein that could speed things up is the decrease of accidents thanks to autonomous cars.

It remains to be seen whether this optimism will be short-lived or not in the coming years, and if various car manufacturers will seek to build alliances to share the high costs associated with developing these autonomous vehicles, which according to the Frost & Sullivan society, should represent 10% to 15% of car models circulating in Europe by 2030.

Do you believe in the launch of autonomous cars? What, in your opinion, are the obstacles in its development? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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The Galaxy S9's camera may be capable of shooting slow motion video at 1,000 fps

Samsung is developing a camera sensor which can shoot at 1,000 fps, and it may be intended for the Galaxy S9.  The sensor would be a rival to Sony’s from the Xperia XZ1 and XZ Premium in terms of slow motion capabilities. Here are the details of these latest rumors.

A fresh rumor is circulating that says Samsung is working on a camera sensor with impressive slow motion video capturing capabilities. If what the Korean media site ETNews claims turns out to be true, mass production of Samsung’s sensor could begin in November, according to the source. That’s early enough to allow it to land in the Galaxy S9 before its launch, which is rumored to be sometime in spring of next year.

Opinion by Brittany McGhee

I want to be able to capture quality slow motion videos on my smartphone.

What do you think?

8 participants

The rumored Samsung sensor in question will be a three layer image sensor with DRAM capable of shooting slow-mo video at 1,000 fps. The added third layer serves as an additional buffer for image information making it possible to shoot in impressive slow motion. Sony was the first company to commercialize a three layer sensor of this kind, which can shoot at up to 960 fps in Full HD. Sony designed and manufactured it in-house, and it can now be found in the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZ1.

Samsung will use a different manufacturing process than Sony, likely to avoid patent infringement. While this process could be more expensive and difficult, Samsung will be able to source its chips internally, which could mean lower costs and a more reliable supply. Samsung uses Sony sensors in half its phones, including its US models, but its own for the South Korean market. This pattern is expected to continue, with other markets getting the new Samsung sensor. We’ll have to wait and see if these rumors turn out to be true, but Samsung will certainly be taking big steps into the image sensor business to challenge Sony, as it announced its renewed brand of image sensors, called ISOCELL, at MWC Shanghai back in June.

What does this mean for users? Shooting at 1,000 fps means detailed slow motion video. For me, that’s an exciting prospect, because I would love to be able to capture amazing moments while on the tennis court or exploring my city with just my cell phone. But, at the moment, shooting at 1,000 fps still has its limitations.

sony 960 fps infographic 960 fps slow motion explained / © Sony

Here’s an example: With the aforementioned Xperia XZ Premium, while capturing a video at regular speed (30 fps), you can shoot in slow motion for only a fraction of a second (0.182 sec) in the middle. That results in just 6 seconds of playback for the slow-mo portion of the video. See it in action in this video:

Are you interested in capturing video in slow motion at 1,000 fps, or do you wish Samsung would stick to working on more practical, mainstream features? What situations would you use super slow motion capture in? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out everything else we know about the upcoming addition to the S series in our main Galaxy S9 rumors article.

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