Android Oreo 8.1: No more guesswork about Wi-Fi speed

With the update to Android 8.1 Oreo, Google is introducing a new feature that shows the speed of Wi-Fi networks before connecting. This information can prove extremely helpful when seeking out public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are always a big mystery in terms of speed. Is it worth trying to connect your smartphone to the hotspot, or is the network too slow anyway? If there are several networks to choose from, you have to try all of them to find out which is the fastest and has the strongest signal. With Android 8.1 Oreo, the trial and error approach is a thing of the past. Even before you connect to a public Wi-Fi network with your smartphone, you’ll be able to see the strength and speed of the network. The Wi-Fi symbol in the network list shows the signal strength: the fuller the icon, the stronger the signal. Below the network name, Google also displays the following four speed levels:

  • Slow: If you can use Wi-Fi calling, you can make phone calls and send texts.
  • OK: You can read webpages, use social media, and stream music.
  • Fast: You can stream most videos.
  • Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos.

Of course, this feature works only on public, unsecured networks. If a Wi-Fi network is protected with a password, Android only displays a lock as an icon, because the speed of the network can’t be determined.

Do you think this Android 8.1 Oreo feature is helpful, or not? Tell us in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

RED Hydrogen One with holographic display coming this Summer

Cinematic camera manufacturer RED caused a small sensation last year with the announcement that it was developing a modular smartphone with a holographic display. At that time only a few details were known, but now company founder Jim Jannard has dropped tantalizing information about the technical specifications of the RED Hydrogen One in the RED forums. 

RED is a newcomer to the already highly competitive market for smartphones, but instead of focusing on the masses, the RED Hydrogen One is intended as a smartphone for video content makers. With a holographic display and a modular system reminiscent of Motorola’s Moto mods, Hydrogen One is designed to be the perfect smartphone for filmmakers. With an audacious asking price of $ 1,195 (for the Aluminum version, the Titanium version costs a staggering $ 1,595), RED’s first smartphone will be under pressure to back up those numbers with performance.

According to RED CEO Jim Jannard, he and his business partner Jarred Land are using the first two fully functional RED Hydrogen One devices with the serial numbers EVT1-0001 and -0002. Key content producers and pre-orderers will be given the opportunity to touch and experience the smartphone at an event called Hydrogen Day in April. Jannard is planning to launch sales through US network operators in the summer of 2018, but the pre-ordered unlocked versions of Hydrogen One are likely to be delivered a little earlier.

RED Hydrogen One technical specifications

Like almost all smartphone manufacturers, newcomers to RED have to rely on smartphone components that we already know from various other manufacturers and their products. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC will be the control center of the RED Hydrogen One. While there is no information yet about RAM and internal memory, the RED smartphone will still be dual SIM capable and capable of recording on microSDs.

There is nothing new with regard to the connections, because already on the first teaser picture of the Hydrogen One, published last year, a 3.5 mm jack and a USB type C were visible. What is new, however, is that the internal battery will hold a full 4,500 mAh and the weight will be two ounces (just under 55 grams) above that of ordinary 5.7-inch smartphones. So RED’s first smartphone will probably weigh well over 200 grams.

red hydrogen phone teaser 980x610 The first teaser image of the RED Hydrogen One from summer 2017 already showed a 3.5 mm jack connection. / © RED

Holographic display with 2K resolution 

A major selling point of the RED Hydrogen One is the holographic display, made possible with technology from RED’s partners, Leia Inc. Yes, Leia as in the famous hologram scene: “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope”. 

This 5.7-inch display achieves a maximum resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels in 2D mode. Describing the 4V mode for holographic content, Jannard states that the screen brightness is slightly reduced, but the experience will be “better than 3D” without the need for annoying glasses. 

It may be impossible to cut through the hype about the holographic display without seeing it in person, and very few people have had the opportunity. YouTuber and RED user Marques Brownlee is one of the lucky few to have gotten his hands on the RED Hydrogen One, and he said he was “pretty impressed” with the display. 

Built-in 4V recording

Of course, the holographic display also needs to be fed with appropriate content. Until today it was still a big mystery how such content should be created with Hydrogen One. Do you need an additional module, or will it be possible to record the appropriate material with the integrated camera?

Without going into details, Jannard has at least confirmed that the built-in camera should be enough to create 4V content. An extra module will therefore not be required to get started. Of course, once you have made some 4V content, you’ll probably want somewhere to show it off.

Spaces to share 4V content

Jannard is aware that the owners want to distribute the 4V material of Hydrogen One quickly and efficiently. The easiest and quickest way would be to share directly from your smartphone to social networks. According to Jannard, RED will soon introduce partners on whose platforms the holographic content of Hydrogen One can be directly shared and displayed. No word on exactly who these partners are, except that they are supposed to be “big dogs”. 

In addition, RED itself will present a platform on which the content makers can either distribute their content shot with Hydrogen One free of charge or even sell it for cash. Certainly there will be a split of the turnover between RED and the content creator, but how this will be done in practice is not yet known. 

What do think? Does it sound like the RED Hydrogen One will be worth the price?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Two reasons the Moto Z Play is far from perfect

Choose Adventure game or Arcade game.

  • 12942

    Votes

    Oops! Seems like something went wrong. Reloading might help.

    Adventure game

  • 10927

    Votes

    Oops! Seems like something went wrong. Reloading might help.

    Arcade game

The Moto Z Play is pretty chunky compared to other smartphones with 5.5-inch displays: it measures in at 156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99 mm. Though let’s not kid ourselves, compared to the iPhone 7 Plus (158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm), with the same screen size, it doesn’t seem that big.

The Moto Z Play has some great features, the best one, without a doubt, is the battery. It’s an absolute beast. Before switching to the Moto Z Play, I was testing out the Galaxy S8 and, like chalk and cheese, the battery power of the Z Play offers hours more of use compared to Samsung’s flagship device. To give you an idea, I used it for almost two days without having to charge it. Out of all my experiences with Android phones, this is certainly a new record.

AndroidPIT lenovo moto z play 9623 The Moto Z Play comes with a customized cover to smooth out the camera lump and to protect the Mods’ connection magnet. / © AndroidPIT

The software is also quite nice. It’s clean, up-to-date and it offers a user experience close to Android stock. You can already use the Google Assistant and I didn’t encounter aren’t any issues with system bottle-necking or freezing. The fingerprint sensor is quick, and the speaker on the front gives the user a great experience when watching videos or listening to audio. This, plus the quality of the display makes it a solid smartphone for gaming as well, despite weighing in at 165 grams.

Moto Z Play – Black – 32 GB

However, there are two features that would cause me to pass on this device: the camera and the lack of competition for Moto Mods.

Opinion by Camila Rinaldi

The camera on the Moto Z Play is awful.

What do you think?

1 participant

The camera on the Moto Z Play is awful, especially in low-light situations despite having a low-light mode. Another problem is the lens stabilizer. Taking moving photos is near impossible. If you’re in a car or on a bus, don’t even bother trying – the images will be blurry. Unfortunately, this makes the quick access to the camera using gestures trivial. So, taking photos with the Moto Z Play demands a lot of effort and good lighting.

Perhaps you think that the quality of photos taken with the camera isn’t that good because Motorola offers the camera module Hasselblad True Zoom? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Using the Moto Z Play with the Moto Mod leaves a lot to be desired, which brings me to the second major issue.

Opinion by Camila Rinaldi

There isn’t any actual competition among module designers for the Moto Z line.

What do you think?

2 participants

There isn’t any actual competition among module designers for the Moto Z line, and this is heartbreaking. Motorola is a company that came really close (it still could) to continuing the idea of modular smartphones. LG gave up on LG Friends and, even today, it’s not clear what’ll become of LG G5 and LG G5 SE users, who had adopted the idea of a modular device right from the start.

If today a Moto Z Play user doesn’t like image quality provided by the Hasselblad True Zoom, they don’t have anything else to turn to, since this is the only Mod in the whole category (for now). And that’s what I’m talking about: the lack of competition in the (difficult) module market. One solution could be to standardize the module connection systems, but so far, that’s where everyone’s fallen short, especially Google and Project ARA.

Ultimately, after these past three weeks where I’ve been trying out the Moto Z Play, I can say that despite some excellent properties, I couldn’t live with a camera that doesn’t meet my needs and I also can’t see any competition in Mod development. However, these are two features that can (and should) be changed and improved in the second generation of the Moto Z series.

Do you own a Moto Z Play? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

How to customize the boot animation of your Android

If you like to customize your smartphone, you’ve probably already tried out different launchers and changed the theme of your device a few times. However, have you ever tried to change the boot animation on your device? We’ll show you how you can get some custom animations on your smartphone and shake up that boring old boot up animation.

Jump to:

What is a boot animation?

To begin with, what is boot animation? It’s actually this little startup animation that plays when we turn on our Android, waiting for the system to launch. Often this animation features the manufacturer’s logo.

There are several methods to install a new boot animation on Android. I’ll present the simplest ones, which work for me almost all the time. Both methods work on any Android device, provided you have rooted it.

Install a boot animation manually

You need to install a file explorer that manages root rights. Root Explorer or Root Browser work very well, for example, but others are also suitable.

Root Explorer Install on Google Play File Explorer Root Browser Install on Google Play

  • Once the root permissions have been activated, go to the root of your device, locate the System directory and go to the Permissions menu, depending on the app, by a long press on the folder or by opening the menu key and selecting Properties
  • Here, depending on the application you will see 9 boxes, sorted by “Read” or “-r”,”Write” or “-wr” and “Execute” or “-x”. 
  • Once you’ve opened Properties, we will need to make sure we give it all the read, write, and execute options under Permission.
  • Once you’ve done this, head into the System file now and then go to Media or Multimedia (depending on your device). 
  • You’ll find a file named bootanimation.zip. or similar (for Samsung, for example, you can find bootsamsung.qmg) Rename it to “bootanimation. zip1“: you have just saved your boot animation in case you need it later.
  • Now all you have to do is find an animation that you like and copy it to this folder, renaming it bootanimation and not touching its extension (“. zip” or “. qmg”). You will be able to find various options available online.
  • Restart, and there you go! 

Change boot animations using an app

If the manual method isn’t your piece of cake, you can also use the following app as long as you have root access on your device.

Boot Animations for Superuser Install on Google Play

Boot Animations ★ Root offers a ton of boot animations right off the bat, so as soon as you get tired on one, you can swap them out very easily. Unfortunately, many of the things found in this app require payment, so not all the animations are free.

androidpit boot animations Change the boot animation easily using Boot Animations. / © AndroidPIT

For the record, I had some problems with the application, which doesn’t work sometimes. In this case uninstalling and reinstalling fixed everything.

Have you ever tried to change your boot animation? Which animation did you choose?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Will the new Sony Xperia ditch the 3.5 mm headphone jack?

It’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing more and more smartphone manufacturers removing the 3.5 mm headphone jack from new devices, and it looks like Sony will be joining them too. Newly released documents from the FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) suggest that the new Sony Xperia will be the first in the series to get rid of it. Sony fans: is this disappointing or is it a welcome change?

How can we be certain that it won’t have a headset jack? In the FCC documents (with the ID, PY7-21831A), it seems that the phones will use a USB Type-C port for audio as well as charging. The included dongle will allow you to both charge and listen at the same time.

Xperia FCC valendo USB Type-C port will replace the jack © AndroidPIT

What else can we expect?

Although we don’t have any major information about the new Sony Xperia from these documents, there are some more interesting hints. Besides the headphone jack, we can also predict that the dimensions of the smartphone will be 152.79 x 72.42mm, with a 5.7inch display and may have thinner bezels if it is to follow the lead of other smartphones with 18:9 displays such as the OnePlus 5T, Mate 10 Pro, and LG V30, and also Samsung, who are apparently working towards the 100 percent display.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

This news is not surprising however, as it’s no secret that Sony may be dramatically redesigning their Xperia smartphones. We predict that the phone in question could be the Sony Xperia XZ pro, but we can’t be sure until MWC next month. 

So, keep your eyes peeled for the potential unveiling of a high-end Sony phone, and tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Nokia 8 Review: An interesting flagship with room for improvement

After presenting the Nokia 3 , Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 and the Nokia 3310 , HMD Global presents the Nokia 8. With a high-end configuration, a pure Android version and cooperation with Zeiss for the camera, the Finnish manufacturer intends to outshine Samsung, LG and more. But is this really the case? Find out in our in-depth review of Nokia’s first flagship.

Good

  • Very good battery
  • General performance
  • Double video/livestream
  • Stock Android

Bad

  • Camera
  • Classic design
  • LED notification

Lowest price: Nokia 8

Best price

Nokia 8 release date and price

What HMD Global has accomplished during these 8 months is impressive. It has brought the Nokia 3310 to the market, as well as three Android smartphones since July. The Nokia 8 is the Finnish manufacturers first high-end smartphone, aiming to rub shoulders with the market leaders: Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 or OnePlus 5.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 1 Available colors: copper, grey, and blue ! / © AndroidPIT

Available since September 8, 2017, the Nokia 8 is available in copper, grey and blue with a single slot for the nano SIM card. Price wise, the Nokia 8 to be around 600 dollars. They will be available with either a single or Dual SIM

Nokia 8

Nokia 8 design and build quality

The Nokia 8 looks pretty cool, but it does not have the charm of the Galaxy S8 or LG G6. If you place the Nokia in between these two phones, it just doesn’t compare. However, upon handling the phone you can clearly see the workmanship invested in this phone.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9020 The Nokia 8 offers a classic design. / © AndroidPIT

The case is aluminum, and it handles well with slightly rounded corners. The Gorilla Glass 5 layer also has rounded corners, and the space between that and the screen is barely noticable. Sebastien Ulrich, General Manager of HMD Global, assured me that although it is made of 6000 series aluminum, it’s not easy to bend, unlike the iPhone 6 which showed signs of weakness shortly after the launch. Apple has opted for aluminum 7000 series for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 because it has zinc, guaranteeing more strength. According to HMD, the engineering of the unibody requires 22 hours of work.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9027      We liked the finish of the Nokia 8  / © AndroidPIT

On the front of the phone, you’ll find a fingerprint reader that also acts as the home button. Either side are two buttons for navigation (return and multitasking). I must admit I was a little disappointed about the accuracy of those two buttons, and also about the lack of LED notification. If you’re used to this feature, it may take some time to get used to.

On the back of the Nokia 8 is the logo, and above is the camera, which is a product of their cooperation with Zeiss, which became official on July, 6th 2017. The director of HMD Global assured me that the camera and the software algorithms were a result of both of their efforts.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9048 It does not offer LED notification / © AndroidPIT

Overall the finish of the Nokia 8 is quite impressive, however, both the matte and the polished version tend to become dirty with fingerprints. But this a common problem amongst most smartphones. In terms of design, the Nokia 8 doesn’t make me shout “I must buy it!” but the handling of it is great thanks to its compact size. Another element that may be missed by some is the IP54 certification that protects the device from water splashes, or the IP67 or IP68 that would allow it to be completely submerged in water, like with the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6.

Nokia 8 display

For its first high-end smartphone, HMD opted for a 5.3-inch IPS display and uses a QHD resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. We do not have an 18:9 format or curved edges. The maximum brightness of the screen is 700 nits. To compare, the screen (IPS) LG G6 reaches “only” 600 nits, the screen (AMOLED) Galaxy S8 reaches 1000 nits.

This screen has an Always On feature. Like LG’s smartphone, part of the screen switches on when a notification is received, with visible information. If you do not need this feature, you can simply disable it in the options.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9023 The screen is a great feature on this smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

The screen has a very good contrast, balanced colors and excellent brightness, even in sunny outdoor conditions. The QHD definition is also great, and you can make use of virtual reality if you have a compatible headset.

Nokia 8 software

As we’ve seen in other models, Nokia smartphones use Stock Android. The one we tested uses Android 7.1.1, with the most recent security patch. We noticed that although there were only Google applications on the phone, 15 GB of the 64 GB memory was already used. If you are a regular user of Stock Android, you’ll really appreciate the Nokia 8 experience.  

From the main screen, if you scan your finger to the right, and Google maps appears. The process is perfectly fluid and applications open quickly. The smartphone also functions well when multitasking, and does not show any signs of overheating even under heavy use.

Android Oreo will arrive quickly on the Nokia 8

However, during my test I observed some bugs, that I was surprise by considering this is meant to be a flagship. I have seen some unexpected application closures (Facebook and camera) that I would probably attribute to the fact that this is a pre-production model. The last update received in mid-September appears to have partially addressed these issues.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9039 The Nokia 8 will quickly receive updates / © AndroidPIT

If you buy the Nokia 8 or another device from HMD, you will have security updates for at least 2 years, and these can be deployed quickly thanks to Stock Android. Sebastian Ulrich mentioned in autumn 2017 that Android Oreo would arrive quickly on these devices. A beta is already available, which supports this statement.

Nokia 8 performance

To be considered a high-end smartphone, all of the features you’d expect should be there. With its Snapdragon 835, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory (UFS 2.1), we have a smartphone on par with the Galaxy S8, for example. If 64 GB is not enough, you can increase the size up to 256 GB with a microSD card.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 2 The interior is as important as the exterior / © AndroidPIT

I felt as though the Nokia 8 was reliable, and I enjoyed using it from day-to-day. The smartphone perfectly supports all uses (including games like Need for Speed No Limits) for everyday (chat, internet use). It’s also worth mentioning that the Nokia 8 is not compatible with Daydream.

In our table below, you can see how the Nokia 8 contends with the smartphones we have tested so far. Not surprisingly, due to its configuration, it is one of the best.

Nokia 8 benchmark comparison

  Nokia 8 Samsung Galaxy S8 + HTC U11 Xperia XZ Premium
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.1 3496 3.132 3599 3.245
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.0 4580 3336 4.129 3697
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 40584 28742 40034 40286
Geekbench Single Core 1930 2014 1905 1898
Geekbench Multi Core 6540 6479 6454 6294
PCMark Work Performance 6902 5094 6787 6338
PCMark Storage 4823 4772 4989
Google Octane 2.0 11086 10,440 11928 11.086

Nokia 8 audio

The Nokie 8 features a single speaker. The stereo sound of the Nokia 6 is unfortunately not up to scratch. Fortunately, the Nokia 8 is an improvement, however, it’s not impressive and there is some distortion at high volumes.

As for the audio output, those who care about good sound and have high-end headphones, will be happy with this. Regarding normal calling, the Nokia 8 scores pretty well, and the network coverage is good (even in the subway).

Nokia 8 camera

Like Huawei / Honor, we find a dual camera consisting of a RGB sensor and a monochrome sensor. Both offer a maximum definition of 13 megapixels. At the front, above the screen, HMD Global also offers a 13 MP RGB sensor. For the occasion, Nokia has renewed its partnership with Zeiss, the German manufacturer of high-end photo lenses

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9032 Despite the Zeiss partnership, the camera still disappoints / © AndroidPIT

Nevertheless, the reality is far from the promises of the brand and the quality of the shots is quite disappointing for a smartphone that wants to compete with the best in the market. Even in excellent light conditions, the photos lack sharpness, precision and contrast. Fortunately, the transcript color is correct and saves some of the disaster but the overall result is still a little bland and far from the level of its competitors.

As a video enthusiast, I appreciate the quality when changing from one camera to another: thanks to the use of the same sensor at the front and back, we can enjoy the same level of quality during video recording. Apparently, HMD Global speaks to influencers and offers them a new feature to tell their stories on video.

DSC01134 The camera application may be too simple for some / © ANDROIDPIT

What is Bothie? This is an image feature where you can take a photo or video with the front or back camera simultaneously: a useful feature for Facebook live or Youtube. This would allow you to conduct interviews with the Nokia 8. 

DSC01135 The “Bothie” video feature in use / © ANDROIDPIT

A good video must have a good sound quality. Thus, the manufacturer uses OZO audio camera technology, which gives this 360 camera not only an excellent photo quality but also 3D sound. In practical terms, this means that the 3 microphones of the Nokia 8 can be configured to be turned into a directional microphone. In the application, we find 3 configurations: Surround where all the microphones are used, then front and back in which it is possible to configure the microphones. In practice, it works well and the videos produced by the Nokia 8 are of better quality than the photos.

Nokia 8 battery

The Nokia 8 battery has a capacity of 3090 mAh. The Nokia 8 is among the best for battery life. Even with heavy use of the phone, sending regular messages via WhatsApp, emails, calling and playing videos and games, you can expect the battery to last a long time. 

If you use your phone less than I do,you will even exceed the day and a half of battery life. In our PCMark benchmark test, the Nokia 8 has lasted for almost 11 hours, more than the Galaxy S8 or the HTC U11.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9051 The battery life scored well in our review / © AndroidPIT

Quick Charge 3.0 allows for fairly fast charging, around 50% in around 30 minutes, but it is unfortunately not possible to recharge the wireless device because of the aluminum case.

Nokia 8 technical specifications

Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 160 g
Battery size: 3090 mAh
Screen size: 5.3 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2560 x 1440 pixels (554 ppi)
Front camera: 13 megapixels
Rear camera: 13 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat
User interface: Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

Overall, I enjoyed using the Nokia 8 and it is an interesting first flagship for the return of the Finnish brand. Admittedly, the design does not have the wow factor, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8 with its infinity screen, however, I can see the appeal of this phone and know that many people would be satisfied with it. My favorite element has to be the Bothie video feature, as well as the battery life and the quick updates.

However, the Nokia 8 is a smartphone leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to the lack of IP68 certification, its biggest drawbacks are the quality of the camera which is not clearly at the level of its competitors, and small software bugs that interrupt the overall experience. Updates may solve this problem easily, however its more challenging to improve the quality of the photos. It’s price is not necessarily the most attractive, either, especially when you consider the alternatives on the market.

Where to buy Nokia 8

Best price

Nokia 8

To device database

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Nokia 10 may get a surprise multi-lens camera

We’ve been talking about the Nokia 9 for months, and by now, we know practically everything there is to know about the smartphone. Perhaps that is why rumors are starting to emerge about its successor already. The Nokia 10 might be aiming to blow the competition out of the water with its camera.

Nokia 10: A multi-lens camera?

The Nokia 10 will be the top of Nokia’s 2018 range. A sketch of the device from China (Baidu, to be precise) reveals an interesting camera module. There appears to be five lenses placed around a circular module that resembles the one on the Lumia 1020. There are seven small circles in total: five for the lenses, and two dedicated to the LED flash. Though the rumors are of dubious origin, there are some aspects which could potentially lend it credibility.

nokia 10 penta lens module The image looks like a screenshot from a smartphone in a note program of some kind. / © NokiaPowerUser

Zeiss has already patented a Miniature zoom camera consisting of several lenses arranged in a circular pattern which are able to rotate. This system should allow one to work with different focal lengths and a wide zoom range. HMD Global and Zeiss have been working together since last year, and with the patent being designed for smartphones, we can assume that the Nokia 10 will introduce this photography innovation. Back in July, the pair of brands announced some smartphone photography news together in a video:

While we don’t know much about how it works for now, this interesting innovation could certainly hold potential.

Nokia 10: What else do we know?

Like most top-of-the-line smartphones which will come out in 2018, the Nokia 10 is expected to have the latest Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 845. That’s not all though, as HMD Global doesn’t seem to want to miss out on the 18:9 display trend. There’s also news on the design and materials: the Nokia 10 could abandon the metal body in favor of glass, allowing for wireless charging. 

To find out what’s new at HMD Global with the upcoming Nokia 10, we’ll have to wait a few months. The future flagship could be revealed in September during IFA in Berlin.

What do you think of the Nokia 10 rumors so far? Would you want a multi-lens camera?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

What we can expect from smartphones in 2018

2017 was not the revolutionary year we wanted. Of course, some devices were interesting last year, and there is no doubt that some technologies are on the verge of glory, but 2017 wasn’t really that great overall. Looking at all of the exciting changes and differences in smartphones so far in 2018, it’s looking like things could very well change soon.

Our expectations are high. Some smartphones are classics (watertight, fast loading, etc.), others are more idealistic (more affordable prices, a return to the mini-jack plug from some manufacturers, etc.). They have all been discussed in many of our articles over the past couple of years, often at length. So let’s take a closer look at some of the more recent news and get an idea for the year to come.

18:9 Screen 

You might say,  “It’s unique to high-end smartphones”. We instantly think of the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30 and other flagships, but the 18:9 screen is no longer limited to these high-end phones. The Wiko View for example still offer this large screen, and other smartphones that are not necessarily as popular or well known, such as the Huawei Honor 9i.

It is therefore likely that this screen format will become more common in mid-range phones. The Galaxy A5 (2018), for example, could adopt this idea since the design will be inspired by the Galaxy S8. One question remains unanswered: do we want it? A large screen is convenient for multimedia content and is now considered aesthetically pleasing, but it also makes the device more susceptible to damage on impact, and more surface area means more scratches overtime.

AndroidPIT HTC U11 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note8 1931 HTC U11 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 both have a 18:9 screen. © AndroidPIT

Quick unlocking

If the screen covers most of the front surface, there is no room for a fingerprint reader. There are not many solutions either: change the size of the player, move it to the back (as Samsung and LG did), or replace it. The first option is not really feasible, both in terms of aesthetics and practicality. The second one showed its limitations with the S8+ and Note 8+. When the model is large the button becomes difficult to reach, too high and it is difficult to press. If it is too low it becomes annoying. One solution, currently under consideration, is to place this button directly on the screen, but the technology is not yet fully developed.

What about the third option? There are alternatives to fingerprint scanners, but they are not as practical. One is to scan the iris, the other is to scan the entire face so that facial recognition can be performed to unlock the device. However, Apple is doing quite well with this latest technology, which is used on the iPhone X with the ‘name Face ID’. Other manufacturers such as Samsung have adopted all of these methods, but they have not worked as well as they should. In 2018, we’re expecting a solution to this problem.

AndroidPIT eye sensor scanner Photo illustrating the iris scanner technology. © AndroidPIT

More artificial intelligence

Certainly, this point is intended more for flagships than mid-range smartphones. What’s certain is that artificial intelligence is trying to make its mark with smartphones, whether by using smart wizards such as Google Assistant or by using a hardware chipset like Huawei does on the Mate 10 Pro.

The race for artificial intelligence is leading to competition between manufacturers that are all working on developing this technology and we can therefore expect each of them to reveal their own AI features. AI has become a buzzword, creating intrigue among users (even if some doubt it) because this technology does have great potential and might in fact make life easier for smartphone users. This is illustrated fairly well with Google’s photo recognition system (Motion), or with the post-processing performance due to the NPU chip of the Mate 10 Pro as well as translation features.

amazon echo plus AI is irreplaceable for systems like Alexa © Amazon

What are your expectations for the smartphones of 2018? Let us know in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

100 days with the Note 8: Impressive, but not for everyone

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a wonderful smartphone. But after 100 days, every smartphone doesn’t just show its sweet side; it also starts revealing minor or major weaknesses. The Galaxy Note 8 is no exception.

When it was tested, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was very impressive across the board and proved that it can make you forget about the Note 7. I’ve now been using the Samsung phone for quite a while to find out how it fares in everyday use in the long run. Here I’ll to introduce my five most important pros and cons of the Galaxy Note 8 after 100 days, switching back and forth between the pros and cons.

Pro: The design

Smartphones usually look very similar, so it’s hard for a design to really stand out. Samsung was able to do this with the Galaxy Note 8 in all respects. The flowing forms of the curved glass in the front and rear, the slim aluminum frame in between, hardly any display edges, everything perfectly finished – it’s just wonderful. I don’t particularly like the blue version, but the golden one looks really outstanding.

galaxy note 8 gold back The golden Galaxy Note 8 looks simply elegant. / © AndroidPIT

Con: Usability

As fancy as the Note 8 looks, it’s usability is a different story. The smartphone is simply huge, heavy and also relatively thick compared to others in its class. With such a large case, the small details are the determining factor when it comes to whether the phone will fit well in your hand. With the Galaxy Note 8, nobody who’s held the phone in their hand thought it was a success in this regard. The corners are too pronounced and the edge of the frame is too prominent. This mixture doesn’t seem to go well together. Lastly, when the Note 8 is in a case, it’s just too big for most pockets as well as for my daily use.

Pro: The display

I’ll lay all my cards on the table here: the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has the best display that is currently available among smartphones. The only exception might be the Razer Phone for gamers with its 120 Hz display, but really only specialists needs that kind of high refresh rate. The Super AMOLED panel in the new Note has everything that makes a good screen: black level, color display, contrasts, viewing angle stability, brightness– all at the next level. I would gladly see Samsung do away with the sharp edges on the corners, but they don’t bother me in the Galaxy Note 8. The display is just such a feast for the eyes. Nice work, Samsung!

Con: The biometric unblocking

Samsung has decided to offer three biometric unlocking mechanisms for the Galaxy Note 8: a fingerprint sensor, facial recognition and iris scan. These features are great in and of themselves, but I’m not that impressed with them in everyday use. Face recognition has too many problems with sunglasses, hats and especially in low lighting conditions. The iris scanner takes too long to unlock, and the phone always has to be held awkwardly in front of your face. In the end I had to use a good old PIN again, and that takes too hands because of the phone’s sheer size. Doing this several times a day is bound to strike some nerves.

Pro: The camera

The Galaxy Note 8 is one of the best smartphones on the market. In everyday life I was particularly impressed by the speed at which the smartphone focuses, triggers and saves photos. I take a lot of pictures of my frantic kids, and no other smartphone has ever led to fewer blurry pictures than the Galaxy Note 8, and the quality is also really good overall. The effect with the blurred background in portrait shots doesn’t always work, but if the phone correctly recognizes all levels of depth, the pictures come out great. Though I think the double zoom is mostly useless since I can just as easily take a step forward, if it helps me render a nice bokeh effect, that’s enough for me.

Con: The speaker

In contrast to the camera, the Galaxy Note 8’s speaker doesn’t meet high demands. The small mono speaker, which sends sound downwards, isn’t suitable for listening to music or a podcast on the go. The volume is too low and the sound is too shallow. Moreover, the smartphone speaker rattles if you really want to turn it up.

Pro: The S Pen

I’ll admit it: when Samsung unveiled the pen with the first Galaxy Note, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. But a few generations later, I’m a real fan of the S Pen. I don’t use it everyday, but more often than I thought I would. With the Galaxy Note 8, I especially appreciate the option of taking notes on the lock screen. Even for those users who aren’t constantly drawing their masterpieces on the digital canvas, the S Pen is a sensible alternative when it comes to operating the device in a controlled way. It’s a beautiful detail that nobody besides Samsung can offer.

Con: The battery

After the Galaxy Note 7 was such a disaster, batteries are now a highly sensitive issue for Samsung. This should’ve been reason enough for the Korean brand to play it safe with the new Galaxy Note, in order to avoid outcries about burned out smartphones. It’s understandable, but still annoying for users that the Galaxy Note 8 doesn’t have the best endurance. This is a real disadvantage, especially since the smartphone is primarily intended for high-demand users who use devices frequently. Although the Note 8 never let me down before the end of any given day, the battery also wasn’t able to pleasantly surprise me. Things were different with the earlier Notes.

Pro: The performance

The Samsung Exynos 8895, which is built into the Galaxy Note 8, is one of the strongest smartphone chips on the market and can easily cope with any application out there. The 6 GB of memory ensure that you’ll never get the feeling that the phone is too slow. Samsung also did a bit of work on the software. Just a few years ago, the Samsung interface acted a bit like a brake pad and many users were bothered by the expensive flagship’s jerks and delays. Those days are long gone, and Samsung’s attachment to Android doesn’t affect the Note 8’s performance. So you can rest assured that this phone won’t weigh you down in a few years’ time.

AndroidPIT Samsung NOTE 8 GOLD 4385 The Note 8 has perfect performance, but where’s Oreo? / © AndroidPIT

Con: Updates

It’s 2018. Android 8 Oreo is already four months old. It’s ridiculous that the smartphone industry leader still hasn’t been able to manage to update its most expensive flagships with the latest Google software. Even a Galaxy smartphone that comes with Oreo is still not in sight. But it does seem like Samsung is pushing itself to finally support Project Treble. The bottom line is that a luxury class smartphone like the Galaxy Note 8 should have reasonable software support, and Samsung still doesn’t have it.

Conclusion: A phone for everything, but not for everyone

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hasn’t disappointed me in everyday use. I’ve quite enjoyed look at the fantastic display and scribbling with the pen. The performance is also outstanding in all respects, there’s no doubt about that. Nevertheless, I didn’t have a hard time putting my SIM back into another smartphone, especially one that’s a bit smaller, more comfortable and more convenient. But the bottom line is that it’s a matter of taste. If you’re into really big smartphones and don’t shy away from the disadvantages of an XXL format, you’ll be pretty happy with the Galaxy Note 8.

What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8? Are you completely satisfied with it or do you you still think there’s room for improvement?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

How to calibrate the compass on your Android phone

It’s happened to almost everyone. You’re trying to find your way around, and the arrow in your navigation app doesn’t point in the right direction, moves around arbitrarily or doesn’t move at all. If you’re having a hard time using your smartphone to tell the direction you’re facing, your phone’s compass needs to be recalibrated. In this article, we’ll show you how to do it.

Rotate the device on each axis a few times to calibrate the compass

Calibrating your phone’s compass is actually easy. Assuming you have Google Maps (who doesn’t?), open the app and follow these simple steps:

  • Hold your phone as you normally would. Then, while the phone is still facing you, tilt the top of your phone forward (away from you) and backward (toward you).
  • Now, hold the phone as you normally would, upright with the screen facing you. Then turn it to face to your left, then to your right.
  • Next, hold your phone upright as you normally would again. Then, while the phone still faces you, tilt the top of the phone from one side to the other (like you’re switching to landscape mode).

Figure 8 pattern to calibrate compass

If that method isn’t effective, you can get the same result by moving your smartphone around in a figure 8 pattern in the air. Just open Google Maps and follow the motions in the video above – it’s easy, though you may look really foolish doing it in public.

Third party apps

You can also install an app from the Play Store to tell you the status of your compass and other sensors, which will then help you know when to calibrate them. GPS Essentials, for example, does just this.

GPS Essentials Install on Google Play

If you’re still having trouble with your GPS, compass or navigation app, try our tips to improve GPS signal. Got any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT