Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel 2 XL: Face off

Standing tall and proud and armed with the S-Pen, the Galaxy Note 8 phablet takes on the lean and cunning Google Pixel XL 2 in this battle of the big boys. I’ll be repping my favorite phablet in this face-off, while AndroidPIT Italy’s Luca Zaninello will be championing his beloved Pixel 2 XL.

Design: Large and in charge

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Both smartphones come wearing this season’s must-have outfits, namely glass and aluminium. The two devices can even look quite similar at a superficial glance, especially when in monochrome color. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 sleek curves and glass back do give it a more premium and stylish feel. The Pixel 2 XL does, however, sport an attractive black and white ‘Panda’ version that elevates it in terms of appearance.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 thickness Superficially similar at a glance. / © AndroidPIT

The Note 8’s size is part of its charm and basically eliminates the discomfort of squinting at small phone screens, but does make it somewhat unwieldy. More than any other phablet, it often demands two-handed use and shuffling it up and down my palm to adjust its position. This takes some getting used to, but that’s the price to pay for its best quality, the display.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

The Pixel 2 XL is more compact than the Note 8 but this doesn’t mean that it is less bulky. The Google Pixel 2 XL is still a phablet with generous dimensions and it’s very difficult to operate it with one hand. The construction is great but it doesn’t reach Samsung latest flagship’s glory. There’s one thing that i really like about the Pixel 2 XL: the 2.5D glass on the front is really curved on the edges even without a curved display. In the hand the smartphone feels good and doesn’t slip away that much, the metal body is solid but the plastic-like paint doesn’t give you the same premium feeling that the Note has.

Display: Size isn’t everything

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

While both phones feature an attractive display, it’s in this field that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 really shows its strength. The Note 8 has a display measuring a record-breaking 6.3 inches. The bezels have shrunk away to near non-existence accommodate the big screen. The Super AMOLED panel display in the new Galaxy Note has a 2,960 x 1,440-pixel resolution, and blew me away when it came to watching movies fullscreen, playing games or scrolling through websites. Even the default starry black ‘sky’ on the always-on display is a joy to behold. The only downside is that the curved edges, which make the overall shape of the phone more attractive and stylish, are actually not so practical for the display, which suffers from noticeable color distortion along the edges.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 front close Displays as different as night and day. / © AndroidPIT

In daily use, the Note 8 could well turn you into a screen addict. I found that I always preferred to watch media on the Note 8, sometimes even not bothering to fire up my PC in favor of Samsung’s phablet.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Can we just skip this part? Jokes aside, the Google Pixel 2 XL is not famous for having the best smartphone screen in the world. The problems with the LG-made OLED panel made their way into the headlines of all the major blogs and there’s nothing you can do to fix that. The 6-inch QuadHD+ panel is bright enough but not the brightest, the colors are well calibrated and natural looking but compared to the over saturated Samsung panels they just look washed out. If you have used a Samsung smartphone in the past few years, your eyes need to adapt to the changes.

Anyway the display is not that bad, and in everyday use, you’ll be satisfied with the HDR and DCI-P3 colorspace capabilities, it just doesn’t hold up to a direct comparison. Also, there’s the bezels: around the display there’s a lot of unused space because Google needed room for their “squeezable” frames and front facing speakers on the top and bottom.

Camera: The all-seeing eye of Google

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

The Note 8 has a seriously impressive dual OIS 12 MP camera setup on the back that is quiet, good in low light and benefits from fast autofocus. This makes it excellent for portraits, zooming, or shooting a moving subject. The front selfie camera is not quite as good at a resolution of 8 MP.  The Note 8 is also great for video, capable of recording 30 fps video at 4K resolution and 60 fps at full HD. It bears repeating about the screen, too. Once you’ve got the video, the Note 8’s gorgeous display is great for viewing it.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 cameras One camera can be better than two if you know how to use it. / © AndroidPIT

So, a really great camera from Samsung’s side, fine. Maybe one of the best, but I’ll admit compared to Google’s latest, it might not be the best. Google’s engineers are the masters of camera software optimization, and when it comes to smartphone photography, good hardware only takes you so far.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Here is where Google does what they do best. On paper, the single 12 MP camera of the Pixel 2 XL is nothing exceptional, but the software optimization of the Mountain View company shows how good software can do a lot. The new pixels have a camera that supports PDAF for quick focus and uses these dual-pixels to achieve one of the best bokeh effects ever made, all without a second camera. Photos are great in almost any light condition and the dynamic range in the photos thanks to HDR+ is amazing. There is also a hybrid stabilization for videos that uses OIS and EIS at the same time. And that’s not all: second-generation Pixels are equipped with a dedicated chip called Pixel Visual Core designed by Google that should further improve photographic quality with the help of AI.

The chip is not yet active so we will see the world’s best camera for smartphones improve even more in the near future! It’s a pity that there is no manual/pro mode, but the point and shoot of Pixel 2 makes the best out of its sensor in every situation.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (US-version) vs. Google Pixel 2 XL technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (US-version) Google Pixel 2 XL
Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 195 g 175 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh 3520 mAh
Screen size: 6.3 in 6 in
Display technology: AMOLED POLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (522 ppi) 2880 x 1440 pixels (537 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12.3 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: TouchWiz Stock Android
RAM: 6 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD Sorry, not yet available!
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Features: Stab the Galaxy, squeeze the Pixel

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

The secret weapon of the Note 8 is the S-Pen. The Galaxy Note 8’s stylus functions are unique among current flagships and actually really fun and useful. You can write and pen notes directly on a powered-off display, create GIFs, draw, precisely select and copy text even in difficult-to-reach places. At first, the stylus seemed kind of gimmicky, but once I started using it, I realized it was indispensable for getting the most out of the Note 8. The stylus enables an extra level of precision that’s useful in a variety of situations, and makes two handed use feel much more natural and convenient.

It’s certainly more useful than the Pixel 2 XL’s party trick, the Active Edge.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 side by side Can’t leave out that trusty S-Pen. / © AndroidPIT

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Yeah, the Note has a stylus and so what? Not everyone might need that at all, even if it has to be said that its utility is indisputable. Personally, I have never had the need for a stylus and therefore it is certainly not its presence that will make me choose one smartphone compared to another. On the other hand, on Google Pixel 2 XL we find the Active Edge function, similar to the one found on the HTC U11. The squeeze is not programmable and is used to call up Google Assistant at any time even when the screen is off. It’s not a revolutionary feature, but you’ll find yourself using Google’s AI much more often than you would believe. At the beginning, I thought it was a useless function, but in the long run it has its merits.

Battery: Is wireless charging worth it?

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Samsung may have been overly cautious with the battery in the Note 8 after the tragedy of the exploding Note 7 that made them a laughingstock. The 3,300 mAh keeps it running all day and then some, depending on your use levels, but is still a disappointingly average power supply for a top-of-the-range smartphone. Thanks to Quick Charge and integrated Qi technology for wirelessly charging the battery, the Galaxy Note 8 can quickly and easily shoot back up to 100 percent while charging. The Note 8 is a device for power users, but the battery life doesn’t really reflect that.

Opinion by Nicholas Montegriffo

A lack of wireless charging leaves Google’s Pixel 2 XL embarrassingly behind the curve.

What do you think?

17 participants

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

The Pixel 2 XL has a 3,520 mAh battery. It is not the largest on the market, but it does its job well. Thanks to Google’s software optimization and thanks to Oreo’s new background process management the smartphone battery has never left me dry during my days, not even in the most demanding ones. There is a quick charge that (according to Google) guarantees 7 hours of use with only 15 minutes of charging time. The metal body prevents wireless charging unfortunately.

Verdict: The workhorse versus the adventurer?

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Both devices are strong contenders in the competition for the hearts (and wallets) of the premium smartphone buyer. Both sell for over $ 900. Which one you drop your hard-earned cash on may well depend on the kind of user you are.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 back side Pixel 2 XL has the best camera and stock Android, but lacks some of the premium features of the Galaxy Note 8. / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy Note 8 stands out as the most powerful and versatile all-rounder. Thanks to the stylus, it’s perfect for note-taking (waiiit…I see what they did there!) and more heavy-duty work. You can even use the DeX to connect it to your PC peripherals and use it as your desktop workstation. Samsung’s flagship is more than just a big smartphone, its premium specs and adaptability give it the potential to become the focus of all your daily tech needs.

The Pixel 2 XL, on the other hand, might not be as good all-round but excels in its strong points. With its fantastic camera and seamless integration with Google’s ecosystem, it lends itself more to fun, social and casual use.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

If your main use is working with documents, maps, mail and an intensive use of a stylus, Note 8 is the only choice. Note 8 is also the master of multimedia content (speaker aside). If you are looking for a more concrete smartphone in everyday life, in the use of social networks, with a simple but unbeatable camera and that doesn’t leave you out to dry during your days, the Pixel 2 XL could be right for you. The Pixel 2 XL simply works. And it works very well. In addition, you have unlimited space for your photos on Google Photos and three years of updates directly from Google. It doesn’t shine with its appearance or the quality of the display, but the user experience Google has managed to guarantee with this smartphone is second only to what Apple guarantees with iPhone and not by much.

Choose Pixel 2 XL or Galaxy Note 8.

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Do you already own a Galaxy Note 8 or Pixel 2 XL? Let us know what you think!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

5 excellent apps you have to try this week

Here at AndroidPIT, we’re constantly seeing new and exciting apps on the Play Store. We’ve tried several new and updated apps this week and picked our favorites. Here are the ones we think you absolutely must try.

NavBar Animations (No Root)

If you’re bored with the look of your Android phone and you’d like a little customization, navigation bar animations are a nice touch. This app offers several animations to choose from, from basic and tame to colorful and wild. You can tweak the colors, animation speed and other settings to your taste. The best thing about this app is that it doesn’t require you to root your phone or install the Xposed framework, so anyone can do it. Add a little bit of flair to your smartphone today.

Get it on the Play Store.

Spyglass

Do you often go hiking, off-roading or do other outdoorsy activities? This app can solve all your navigation worries. Spyglass is an offline GPS app, so it works when you’re away from cell towers and don’t have mobile service. It has a wide range of additional features like offline maps, a waypoint tracker, speedometer, altimeter, gyrocompass, inclinometer, angular calculator and more. With the app, you can save a particular location, then use an augmented reality heads-up display to lead yourself there with directional and distance information. It’s a bit much if you’re just looking for your parking spot, but it’ll make you feel like James Bond whether you’re exploring in the woods or just trying to find your Honda in the mall parking lot.

Get it on the Play Store.

Cleanfox

With Cleanfox, you can clean your inbox and the environment. Here’s how it works: use the app to delete old spam and newsletter emails simply and quickly. Doing so reduces your carbon footprint by 10 grams of CO2 per email, which helps the environment, of course. Plus, when you invite a friend to try the app, the company will plant a tree once the person joins. It’s a win for you and it’s green. What more could you ask for?

Get it on the Play Store.

cleanfox inbox app screenshots Cleanfox / © AndroidPIT

DISCO | Meet direct

DISCO is currently in beta but you can still install it and form your opinion. The app allows you to meet people you cross paths with, as potential friends or as professionals to add to your network. When you’re in proximity to someone else with the app installed, you will appear in each other’s contact lists and have access to each other’s virtual business cards. It uses Bluetooth to detect other devices rather than GPS data. The more people jump on board with it, the more fun it will be for everyone. Since it’s still a new app, you can be the first among your friends to give this cool concept a shot. Try it today!

Get it on the Play Store.

disco networking app screenshots DISCO / © AndroidPIT

Hitlist- Find Cheap Flights & Airline Ticket Deals

Do you always think about traveling more, but never get around to booking since it’s just such a hassle? Hitlist is for you. Tell the app where you’re interested in going and it will automatically notify you of cheap flights, saving you hours searching in vain. But, it does more than that. If you’re feeling vaguely adventurous, but you’re not quite sure where you’d like to go, you can discover amazing destinations and things to see around the world. Browse weekend getaways, book it with Hitlist, then use the app as your travel guide. Go see the world!

Get it on the Play Store.

hitlist travel app screenshots Hitlist / © AndroidPIT

These are the apps that have really wowed us this week, how about you? Let us know your recommendations in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Poll: Which recent smartphone release excites you the most?

There have been a ton of new smartphone releases lately, and we’ve been busy reviewing them over the past few weeks. While all our editors have certainly got their own opinions and favorites picked out, we want to know what you think. What’s the most exciting recently released smartphone for you?

A ton of exciting phones have been released lately. The OnePlus 5T announcement was just yesterday, and we’ve already published our preliminary hands-on review. Plus, there’s the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, which we’ve covered the ups and downs of extensively lately. One certainly can’t forget the new iPhones either, from the show stealing iPhone X to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which deserve a closer look. Then there’s the gamer-friendly new Razer Phone, and the enticing Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro and HTC U11+ phablets. There’s a lot of variety in this recent batch of headliners.

Which one do you want to know more about? Are you considering one as your next smartphone purchase? Or, are you instead more interested in a past or upcoming release? Vote in our poll and discuss your thoughts with us in the comments! Thanks for participating!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Our best tips and tricks for the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL

Both smartphones are equipped with stock Android 8.0 Oreo, and have set aside bloatware and elaborate features, as is Google’s tradition. With the Pixel and Pixel 2, the Mountain View company has evolved and hidden a little surprise inside its smartphones.

Jump to tips:

Song information always at your fingertips

The Google Pixel 2 has an interesting feature that can replace Shazam and other music recognition apps. Thanks to exclusive Google technology, your new Pixel can now recognize up to 10,000 songs, displaying the artist’s name and song title directly on the Always On screen.

Capture There’s something almost magical about music recognition. / © AndroidPIT

The recognition technology operates from an offline folder stored on the smartphone, so you don’t need an internet connection to recognize a song. This folder is automatically updated when the user connects to Wi-Fi, and varies according to the country. The most useful feature allows you to touch the name of the song displayed on the Always On screen and immediately open Google Assistant, which provides information about the song and allows you to play it on Google Play Music.

Here’s how to enable (or disable) the function:

  • Open the Settings
  • Enter the Sound section
  • Tap on Advanced to display hidden menus
  • Tap on Now Playing at the bottom of the list
  • You can enable (or disable) the feature here

This function has no impact on the battery, and it only listens to the ambient noise every 60 seconds (not permanently). I was quite impressed by this musical recognition, particularly in environments where background noise was very present.

Squeeze the side of your smartphone to launch your favorite app

As with the HTC U11, the new smartphones from Google are equipped with squeezable sides. But unlike the HTC smartphone, the Google Pixel limits this function to the activation of Google Assistant, just as Samsung did for Bixby. Although it’s not as bad as Bixby, this feature is rather useless for the time being.

If you want to use this feature to launch another app, it’s possible! That’s what the developer flar2 thought, and he added the compatibility to his Button Mapper app with Active Edge on XDA Developers.

However, the feature that enables the launch of Google Assistant is deeply linked to the phone system, making it difficult to make any changes. The developer therefore uses a trick to know when the voice assistant is active, in order to stop it from being executed, and replaces it with the app or the feature of your choice. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s better than nothing if you’re without root. Obviously, this feature will disable Google Assistant. Take your time to think about it before you decide to follow the developer’s dedicated tutorial on the site.

Prevent photos from automatically disappearing from your smartphone

Google smartphones are designed to deliver high quality photos, with their incredible specs and unlimited storage space for photos and videos on Google Photos.

Pixels also have a feature called Smart Storage, which deletes photos from your smartphone’s internal memory after 90 days if they are stored on Google’s cloud. It’s not to every user’s taste, as some would like to keep their photos to view them offline. Here is a guide on how to disable this feature:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select the Storage menu
  • Disable the Smart Storage function

smartstorage It’s highly important to have the choice of enabling and disabling this feature, in order to avoid pictures from disappearing after 90 days without asking for them to be deleted! / © AndroidPIT

There you have it. You can still set up the feature manually from Google Photos, and manage your free space from the app’s side menu.

Save battery life in dark mode

The two new Google Pixel 2 smartphones are equipped with an OLED display, which means that each black pixel on the screen is a pixel that’s turned off. This saves energy, especially when there are many black pixels (although the difference isn’t that impressive either).

dark mode Will you be attracted to the dark side of the force? / © AndroidPIT

By activating the dark theme, you’ll be able to enjoy the Quick Toggles in black, a selection of apps in dark and translucent hues, and a dark background screen. Unfortunately, the theme is not active in other apps, not even by going into the settings. To activate dark mode, you just need to set a background with many shades of black. It also works with Live Wallpaper.

Activate night mode (blue light filter)

The blue light filter helps protect our eyes when we’re using smartphones in the dark. This is why it’s interesting to automate the feature so that it activates from sunset to dawn, allowing our eyes to relax and facilitate sleep (obviously, at the cost of a losing a little color accuracy).

  • As usual, go to Settings
  • Tap on Display
  • The option for Night Light is located here
  • In the Schedule menu, you can choose to activate the option from sunset to sunrise, or at a custom time.

nightmode Although the display looks very yellow on the picture, the effect is actually lighter and your eyes will thank you for it.  / © AndroidPIT

Automatically connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi

With your new smartphone, you don’t have to worry about disconnecting from Wi-Fi when you leave home, or reactivating it when you arrive at work or at your university library. The Google Pixel 2 is able to recognize the proximity of a known and used Wi-Fi network (like at home or at work) in order to connect or disconnect from it automatically.

You’ll no longer have to remember switch your Wi-Fi on or off each time: the Pixel does it all by itself. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s definitely helpful. To activate the feature, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap Network & Internet
  • Tap on Wi-Fi
  • Find the Wi-Fi Preferences menu at the bottom
  • The first option is the one we need to Turn on Wi-Fi automatically

The option is enabled by default, but if you want to make sure, you can follow the steps described above.

Automatic Do not Disturb mode during driving

I’ve already mentioned how smartphones are becoming an increasing distraction during travel, so I won’t lecture our poor readers again. However, there are times when being disturbed by a smartphone can be particularly dangerous, like when driving. That’s why Google offers the possibility of configuring the smartphone so that it automatically enters “do not disturb” mode when driving a vehicle. To activate this feature, follow this process:

  • Go to Settings
  • Enter the Sound menu
  • Select Do Not Disturb preferences
  • You will find a list of presets for the feature, but the one we are interested in is Driving (the last one)
  • After tapping on this option, you can activate it using the usual switch

dnd pixel drive It’s possible to set the Do Not Disturb mode for other occasions. / © AndroidPIT

Now, every time you’re behind the wheel, you won’t be tempted by constant notifications from your work, email apps and incoming calls. But remember that not using your phone while driving is mostly dependent on your will to do so.

Activate the camera in one step (and more gesture tricks)

Not everyone knows that Google Pixel 2 offers practical gestures for the camera. The first, and most well-known among them is the one that allows you to press the phone’s on/off button twice in order to quickly launch the camera app, and potentially not miss the best shot of your career.

camera gestures These features are enabled by default. / © AndroidPIT

What if you wanted to take a little selfie? Once the camera app is opened, simply twist your wrist twice quickly to switch between the rear and front camera. You look a little silly, but once you get used to it, it’s hard to stop!

Disable HDR+ mode

Google’s HDR+ mode allows Pixel 2 to achieve unparalleled results in terms of brightness dynamics, taking multiple shots and choosing the best out of each of your photos, without you even knowing it. The pictures taken in this mode are remarkable, but you don’t always want to see everything in a picture. Sometimes you just want to take a picture with backlighting, showing black silhouettes… In these cases, the HDR+ may well spoil the desired effect, which is why it’s possible to disable this function.

  • Go to the Camera app
  • Open the menu on the top left (with the three lines icon)
  • Tap on Settings
  • In the Photo category, tap on Advanced
  • Here you can activate HDR+ control, which will place a button on the main screen of your camera app.

Screenshot 20171020 150814 Take full control over what’s happening in your camera. / © AndroidPIT

With the switch, you can force HDR+ on, turn it off or leave it on auto, which is the default.

Do you know any other tips and tricks for the new Google smartphones? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy S9 Mini: Is it really happening?

It seems like every year the rumor mill reliably cranks out some buzz about the possible release of a mini version of Samsung’s latest flagship. And now, right on time, we’re hearing about the Galaxy S9 mini. But should we believe it this time?

Samsung Galaxy S9 Mini could feature a curved screen less than 5 inches across 

The trend followed by the manufacturers in the last two years is to implement increasingly large displays capable of optimizing the user experience. Bezelless displays, which are increasingly popular in high-end smartphones, allow large screens without having to exaggerate the size of the device. But there are still some who prefer more compact devices and at the moment it is Sony that offers the best solution.

Samsung set aside its Mini line after the release of the Galaxy S5 mini in 2014. And according to known leaker Ice Universe, Samsung Electronics is gearing up to produce a high-end smartphone with a display of less than 5 inches, the S9 Mini.

The S9 Mini is expected to arrive in March next year, along with the S9 and S9 Plus, and it seems that it will join its big siblings in offering up a curved screen. No detail on the format (18.5:9 to match the brand’s latest flagships?) and other technical specifications, but if Ice Universe is right about this, the S9 Mini will be released together with S9 and S9 Plus. 

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy s8 fast charge 1528 Will the Galaxy S9 Mini have an 18.5:9 screen? / © AndroidPIT

The S9 Mini: Size isn’t everything

It’s too soon to say whether an S9 Mini will see the light of day. Even Ice Universe is cautious, saying he’s not sure if it will be released. For now, the leaks cannot be verified. Past experience has shown us that rumors about a compact version of the Galaxy S range don’t usually translate to a real device.

If the S9 Mini is really coming, I hope it will at least be a high-end device, and not a mid-range disguised in an S9 shell. After all, Samsung already offers a valid cheaper alternative to its flagship Galaxy S, namely the Galaxy A5, which not only picks up its premium look but also some features. And then there is the Galaxy J range, for those who want to spend even less money. Right now it’s the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact that is the darling of lovers of small phones, but Samsung could be making a move to steal their hearts.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy J7 (2017): What are the differences?

Personally, I don’t like bulky devices and I also had a Galaxy S Mini, the S3, to be precise. Portable and durable, it was a good companion but now I couldn’t go back to a similar device. And I’m not so much talking about size, because with a bezelless screen you can find a good compromise. I’m talking about performance. It wasn’t exactly a high-end device but many years have passed since the brand’s last Mini and technology has moved on. Samsung knows how to match a good user experience to different price ranges, for a Galaxy S9 Mini to really make an impact, it will need to be a small miracle of high-end specs in a tiny house.

Opinion by Jessica Murgia

I don’t think there’s going to be an S9 Mini.

What do you think?

41 participants

At the moment I find it hard to believe that in March, together with the S9 and S9 Plus, the S9 Mini will also arrive but who knows, I could be wrong.

What do you think? Have you ever had a Galaxy S Mini? If so, which?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

OnePlus may be working on a Star Wars edition OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T announcement is imminent, and, thanks to leaks and a premature unboxing video, we have a pretty good idea of what the new OnePlus flagship will be like. But one particularly savvy individual has sensed a disturbance in the force, and detected a Star-Wars themed secret hidden in the leaked OnePlus 5 Oreo beta build, which hints at a limited edition Star Wars OnePlus 5T.

This rumor started not long ago in this very galaxy, when an XDA-Developers reader noticed a reference to a Star Wars accent color. The “accent_star_wars” string was located after digging through the Launcher, Settings, and SystemUI APKs. Interestingly, the accent color’s hex code is #ff2837, a dark red color that resembles the cloak worn by Rey, the protagonist of Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Check out the trailer below so see what we’re talking about:

Clues point to a physical device

XDA did some more digging and discovered even more references to Star Wars within the leaked Oreo build. Apart from the color accent and potential theme, further evidence points towards an actual physical Star Wars themed device in development, thanks to strings of code that read as “DEVICE_CUSTOM_STAR_WARS.”

Mysteriously the details of XDA’s investigation has been pulled from their site, but thanks to 9to5google.com, we have access to a cached version so that you can see for yourself. 

Right now, there’s not much else to say about this rumored device, except that Star Wars fans can only hope to hear some details in the OnePlus 5t presentation event later today. Check out the livestream with us to get all the details first.

What do you think? Would you buy a limited edition Star Wars OnePlus 5T?


The header image is not displaying a OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition. The displayed device is a special edition of the OnePlus 5.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

OnePlus 5T hands-on: A good thing gets even better

OnePlus has, as in the previous year, followed up with a small upgrade of its current smartphone. The new OnePlus 5T aims to convince new customers with a more modern look and a slightly different camera. We have already received the new OnePlus smartphone for testing, and these are our first impressions.

OnePlus 5T release date and price

The OnePlus 5T is new, but in terms of price, things stay roughly the same. The smartphone costs $ 499 in the variant with 64GBmemory and 6GB RAM. If you want more memory, namely 128GB and 8GBRAM, you have to fork out $ 60 more and pay $ 559.

OnePlus 5T design and build quality

The OnePlus 5T looks very familiar from behind at first glance – clearly, the appearance has only been slightly changed compared to its predecessor. The chic aluminium surface, which has been painted in three coats, has a nice surface and is relatively resistant to fingerprints. A new feature on the back of the 5T is the ceramic fingerprint sensor, which has has been moved from the front—because the edges of the display have been significantly slimmed down. The front of the smartphone is completely unadorned, only the front camera and the narrow grille above the earpiece interrupt the black glass surface, which is slightly bent at the edges.

Compared to the OnePlus 5, the 5T has only slightly increased in size, 2 millimeters in width and one in length—despite a 0.5 inch diagonal increase in screen size. The weight has increased by 9 grams. The camera protrudes from the housing, but the transition is a bit more fluid than with the OnePlus 5, and the processing of the new OnePlus 5T is excellent and offers no cause for criticism.

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t 2903 The rear of the OnePlus 5T offers space for the camera and the fingerprint sensor. / © AndroidPIT

The characteristic sandstone surface of the first OnePlus smartphones is long gone, but OnePlus offers fans of the 5T a smartphone case with this rough texture. There are also sleeves in carbon and wood look as well as a bright red silicone cover that feels very comfortable. Unlike the OnePlus 5 covers, the OnePlus 5T covers all the edges and buttons of your phone, except for the slider, for better protection. The delivery package includes a transparent cover that does not look like much, but reliably protects the smartphone from damage. 

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t 2975 OnePlus offers many different covers for the 5T. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 5T display

The OnePlus 5T’s display shows the biggest difference to the previous model. The diagonal has grown from 5.5 to 6 inches and the aspect ratio has been changed to the more fashionable 18:9. The resolution of the AMOLED panel is 2,160 x 1,080 pixels, the corners are minimally rounded. The standard setting of the display is characterized by very strong colors. The sharpness is fine, but some other top smartphones can do it a bit better. The typical OLED blue cast is hardly pronounced in the OnePlus 5T.

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t 2942 The 5T’s display is larger and longer than the OnePlus 5. / © AndroidPIT

The OnePlus 5T software offers a whole host of options for customizing the display. Five full picture modes are available in the System Preferences. The Adaptive Mode, in which the display dynamically adapts the display to the external conditions, is highly recommended. OnePlus now calls the automatic adaptation to particularly bright light Sunlight Display. Reading mode, which is easy on the eyes, can be set for selected apps and the intensity of the night mode can be regulated. So there are many possibilities to satisfy every taste.

oneplus 5t screen options OnePlus offers many options to customize the display. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 5T special features

The OnePlus 5T comes with a new feature, face detection to unlock the phone. This is basically as per usual with Android devices and although special sensors are not on board, OnePlus has apparently optimized the software considerably. With Advanced Facial Recognition, more than 100 points in the face are recognized and used to allow only the right person access to the smartphone. In the test, face recognition with the OnePlus 5T works excellently and almost lightning-fast. Even in the evening, the smartphone is reliably unlocked almost instantly, even when the lighting on the sofa is dimmed. Only when it really gets really dark does the front camera and thus the recognition reach its limits. But the OnePlus 5T doesn’t get confused with hats, large headphones or a scarf. Apple’s Face ID doesn’t work much better on iPhone X either. Respect OnePlus, good work!

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t 2953 The front camera works extraordinarily fast in face recognition. / © AndroidPIT

If you don’t want to unlock your OnePlus 5T with your face, you can alternatively use the fingerprint sensor. It sits on the back, but works perfectly and quickly. However, the round sensor is only minimally submerged in the housing and thus does not always feel comfortable. It’s easier to use a cover in this case.

OnePlus 5T software

Whoever thought that OnePlus was delivering the 5T directly with Android 8.0 Oreo was mistaken. OxygenOS 4.7.1 runs on the smartphone, which is based on Android 7.1.1 nougat. An update to a new version is already announced, but without date.

The operating system comes, as usual and loved by the fans of OnePlus, as an almost naked Android without bloatware and useless gimmicks. The look is chic and modern, the Google Assistant is available as language support. With App Priority, the frequently used apps on the OnePlus 5T are supposed to start very quickly. However, given the power of the smartphone, this shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

oneplus 5t software OxygenOS is tidy and free of Bloatware. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 5T performance

The OnePlus 5T has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and 8 GB RAM—there’s not much more you can do with a smartphone. The technical platform is identical to the OnePlus 5, which means that the performance of the T-model is also at the same level as its predecessor. That’s not bad, on the contrary, because both OnePlus smartphones run brilliantly and show no weakness in performance. Nevertheless, the 5T doesn’t have the leap in speed that most new top-of-the-range smartphones have compared to their predecessors. This is also reflected in the almost identical benchmark results.

OnePlus 5T Benchmarks

OnePlus 5T versus the OnePlus 5
  OnePlus 5T OnePlus 5
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme 3.622 Points 3.372 Points
3DMark Sling Shot 4.242 Points 4.183 Points
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme 40.813 Points 40.144 Points
Geekbench 4 Single Core / Multi Core 1.956 / 6.701 Points 1.960 / 6.667 Points
PCMark Work 2.0 6.738 Points 6.640 Points
PCMark Storage 4.845 Points 4.536 Points

So anyone who already owns a OnePlus 5 doesn’t need to worry: The revised successor is no faster than the previous flagship. For pure performance reasons, the OnePlus 5 does not need to be discarded in favor of the T-model.

OnePlus 5T audio

With its mono loudspeaker on the underside, the OnePlus 5T doesn’t shatter glass when it comes to sound. The sound is fine, but not outstanding. The smartphone does not come with headphones, so the OnePlus fan has to bring a headset with him. In the end, OnePlus customers continue to enjoy access to the headphone jack. The OnePlus 5T has three built-in microphones, which are used to suppress ambient noise, among other things.

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t 2959 OnePlus holds onto the good old jack plug. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 5T camera

The OnePlus 5T has a front camera with a 16MPl sensor from Sony (IMX371) and an aperture of f/2.0. at first glance, the selfies don’t look bad but tend to overexpose in bright light. The sharpness of the image should also be slightly better.

IMG 20171115 152913 Other smartphones can do slightly better selfies than the OnePlus 5T. / © AndroidPIT

More exciting is the main camera on the back, which has two lenses but is no longer equipped with different focal lengths like the OnePlus 5, but instead the second sensor, a Sony IMX376K, is supposed to provide better images in poor light conditions. The resolution of the low light sensor is 20MP. The main Sony IMX398 sensor has 16MP, the aperture is f/1.7 on both sides, and whether the camera is a significant improvement on the OnePlus 5 is still to be found out in our upcoming extensive test of the 5T. The camera app looks tidy and at first glance comparatively simple, but also has a Pro mode with manual adjustment options.

IMG 20171114 155522 The OnePlus 5T’s main camera has been optimized for low-light use. / © AndroidPIT IMG 20171114 161117 Bokeh Portrait shots have their own mode with bokeh effect. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 5T battery

Like almost any current smartphone, the OnePlus 5T has a built-in battery that can’t be replaced without completely disassembling the phone. This is regrettable from an ecological and economic point of view, but it is unavoidable at the moment for stylish, slim enclosures. The battery has a capacity of 3,300 mAh and should easily last a day. OnePlus adds a dash charge charger to the 5T, which quickly refills the battery.

OnePlus 5T technical specifications

Dimensions: 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 162 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh
Screen size: 6.01 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 2160 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi)
Front camera: 20 megapixels
Rear camera: 16 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat
User interface: Oxygen OS
RAM: 6 GB
8 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
128 GB
Removable storage: Not available
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Early Verdict

The OnePlus 5T leaves a very good first impression. The display is very attractive and the 18:9 format provides a modern, contemporary look. The facial recognition release is a practical addition and works perfectly. The performance and features are beyond all doubt—this was already the case with the OnePlus 5 without the addition “T”. It’s a pity that the OnePlus 5T is not shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo. In the complete test, we will focus on the revised camera and the battery life.

OnePlus 5T

To device database

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Your wallet will be thanking us for these budget smartphones

There are many small smartphone companies worldwide that lend their hand to creating a diverse smartphone market, extending past the likes of Samsung, LG and Huawei, which provide users with an abundance in choice. These smaller enterprises, many of which originate in China, offer cheap phones that also perform well to meet your daily communication, gaming, photography and video needs, to name a few. Here are some smartphones, all available for purchase online, that come with affordable prices to meet any budget.

DOOGEE Mix 2

The DOOGEE MIX 2 has a 5.99-inch bezel-less display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and FHD+ resolution, featuring 4 cameras, one if which is a 130° wide-angle front camera. This is the first bezel-less smartphone to come with four cameras. The DOOGEE Mix 2 also features Face Unlock and four other unlock methods in order to protect your information. Regarding the hardware, the DOOGEE smartphone is powered by a MTK Helio P25 processor, in addition to 6GB of RAM and a 4,060mAh battery. Here’s where you can buy the DOOGEE MIX 2 today.

DOOGEE MIX 2 Get your hands on the bezel-less DOOGEE MIX 2. / © DOOGEE

MAZE Alpha

The first thing that you’ll notice about the MAZE Alpha is its 6-inch FHD display that fills close to 83 percent of the phone’s front. This is pretty remarkable such an inexpensive handset. The dual camera found on the Alpha is also quite decent with both 13MP and 5MP on the back. The front shooter snaps pictures with a 5MP sensor. Inside the device you’ll find a Helio P25 chipset that is able to deliver blistering results when playing games and multitasking. The phone can be purchased with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM. On board you’ll find Android 7.0 Nougat, which will soon be upgraded to Android Oreo. Powering the entire device is a healthy 4,000mAh battery that can provide you with around a day and a half of usage. Find out how you can purchase the MAZE Alpha today.

MAZE Alpha Borderless pleasure on one device, that’s the MAZE Alpha. / © MAZE

AllCall W1 smartwatch phone

When you purchase the AllCall W1, you get a watch, a smartphone and a smartband, all rolled into one. The AllCall W1 comes in a classic black color and along with a stainless steel plated case that has been polished to give it a premium look. The display is a beautiful Samsung 1.39-inch AMOLED display. The smarwatch holds a mtk6580m processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage. It also offers a 420mAh battery with three to four hours of standby time. AllCall W1 is a great asset when it comes to doing sports and taking care of your health, thanks to such features as its built-in professional pedometer and heart rate detector that allow you to to achieve multi-dimensional sports data monitoring. You can even monitor your the duration and quality of your sleep. To stay fit and healthy, get a hold of the AllCall W1 smartwatch today.

W1 The power of a smartphone on your wrist. / © AllCall

LeEco Le Max 2

The LeTV LeEco Le Max 2 is an Android smartphone thats design is based on the unique look LeTV smartphone, though it has received an upgrade in color and it is even more pleasing to the eye. On the device you will find a 5.7-inch 2K retina screen with almost no bezel. Inside the LeEco Le Max 2 you will find a quadcore Qualcomm-made Snapdragon 820 processor along with 4GB of RAM. For taking pictures, the smartphone presents a dual camera on the back made up of 21 and 8 MP lenses. The Android handset even comes with a fingerprint ID. Finally, when it comes to software, the phone runs Android 6.0 and its own user interface called eUI. Get your own LeEco Le Max 2 today.

leeco le max 2 LeEco Le Max 2 comes with a dual camera. / © LeEco

What do you think of these affordable smartphones? Would you add any to your shopping cart?

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This is the best thing you can do to secure your phone

I want to know what the hype is around NVIDIA Shield TV games.

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Easy – lock your screen

Before you take the time to install the latest antivirus software on your device, encrypt your data / messages and attempt a range of other complex security measures, the most important thing you should do is always set up a locking method on your lock screen. Yes, the answer really is that simple – I mean, would we lie to you about that? 

You’d be surprised, however, about how many smartphone owners don’t protect their lock screen with either a PIN, pattern, fingerprint or another method, meaning the home screen can be activated by a simple swipe. Sure, you save time, especially if you are a constant phone-checker, but I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

Opinion by Loie Favre

Enabling the lock screen is an easy way of securing your smartphone

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AndroidPIT Lock Screen Huawei Mate7 1 Whether you use a PIN, password or pattern, locking your phone is essential. / © ANDROIDPIT

What are the risks if you don’t lock your screen

The first risk is visual hacking: if you are checking your phone in public, prying eyes could be looking over your shoulder, so it’s best to check sensitive information privately and not in a packed bus. If your phone is left somewhere unattended, someone could easily read your messages, access your banking app or other personal data. Having a lock screen would nullify this risk.

AndroidPIT privacy 3 Avoid viewing sensitive information on your smartphone while in public places. / © ANDROIDPIT

Having your phone stolen: if you lose your phone or if it is stolen, not having a lock screen or a pin for your SIM is bad news. Perpetrators use SIM readers or scanners in order to grab information from your SIM card, then use it to make phone calls. Chances are they don’t call locally, resulting in massive bills you have to pay for. Thankfully, carriers often act fast in these situations and help resolve the problem. But it is better not to risk this in the first place.

androidpit stolen smartphone Having your phone stolen can be a jarring experience, but having your identity and SIM stolen makes it even worse. / © ANDROIDPIT

Digital identity theft: if someone gets a hold of your phone, they could do more than just place calls. They may use your social media accounts to post damaging information or worse, access credit card and social security numbers, if these happen to be in emails or saved in apps. People who fall victim to identity theft often are plagued by the issue for years, seeing as the information is continuously sold and used for other illegal activities.

AndroidPIT identity 2661 2 1 Keep your privacy in check with a lock screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

How do you lock your screen?

Scared yet? Don’t be. Just set up a lock screen on your Android phone or tablet, it’s a simple thing to do that could save you a lot of grief. Every manufacturer has a slightly different setup, and some newer phones, such as the Galaxy S7, feature a fingerprint reader for extra security.

To access the lock screen settings on an Android phone, a common path would be go to your Settings, then Security and the first option is Screen lock. You can then set up a pattern, PIN or password. The pattern can also be made invisible, as opposed to showing the grid of dots. Furthermore, you can decide how quickly your phone automatically locks. Some other good available features are the ability to encrypt your phone, set up a SIM card lock and Android Device Manager, the latter allowing you to lock or erase a lost or stolen device remotely via a web browser.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5X security 1 screenshot Head into the Security section and hit Screen lock. Then choose your method of locking. / © ANDROIDPIT AndroidPIT Nexus 5X security 1 screenshot 2 Choose the screen lock type. There are also some other security features you can choose. / © ANDROIDPIT

Opinion by Loie Favre

A locked screen isn’t enough to keep thieves out

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Hardware encryption: how does it help?

When you set up your screen lock, such as entering a password, a PIN or a pattern for unlocking, the setup assistant asks you a very important question: Do you want to activate “Secure start-up”? This provides an additional level of protection for your phone’s internal memory.

pattern screen lock start up Encryption brings an additional layer of protection. / © ANDROIDPIT

Admittedly, the system does have a few downsides. If at anytime you need to restart your smartphone, you must enter the code early on in the start process as if you don’t it will block the home screen and essentials like the alarm clock won’t start. Even if you go to bed with your smartphone is switched on and your alarm set you won’t be woken up.

Nevertheless, it is an important protection as any thieves who manage to steal your phone will have a harder time resetting the device. Because the standard degree of Android encryption receives an additional level of encryption, this ensures that both your data and overall device are better protected. Even professional methods to reset the device or change the firmware become considerably more complicated.

Do you use a lock screen? What are other things you can do to protect your phone and its contents? Let us know in the comments below.

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Huawei EMUI 8: Definitely not the evolution we were hoping for

Android 8.0 itself brings numerous improvements that make it much easier to work with your smartphone. The first improvement that deserves mention is automatic form filling followed by changeable icons with context menus, Picture-In-Picture, improved Bluetooth, app links for highlighted text massages, support for multiple displays and theme preparation using Substratum, all of which are some of the benefits of this major update. However, it’s up to manufacturers, like Huawei, to implement these functions in their variants.

huawei emui 8 home EMUI 8 looks a lot like EMUI 5./ © AndroidPIT

EMUI 8 is the successor to EMUI 5.1

Huawei is skipping a few version numbers, making it seem that the Android and EMUI versions are now the same. Both Android and EMUI version 8.0.0 are running on our review devices, the Mate 10 Pro and Mate 9. Whereas Android obtained some new features when updating from 7.1 to 8.0, the jump from EMUI 5.1 to 8.0 was not such a major one. Au contraire, Huawei hides some of the new Android features or implements them in an incomplete manner.

Context menus are available, but hardly given attention

First and foremost, anyone hoping for a comprehensive facelift of the Huawei interface from the version jump will be disappointed: EMUI 8 looks like EMUI 5 at first glance (and at second glance, too): Huawei made no changes to the user interface. You may stumble across the new context menus in the app icons; to do so, press and hold the app icon for 300 milliseconds.

huawei emui 8 app starters Huawei’s telephone app does not offer any useful shortcuts, other than perhaps WhatsApp./ © AndroidPIT

A comparison between third-party apps such as Twitter, WhatsApp, or Inbox and a Huawei app like the telephone reveals that Huawei is not taking advantage of this feature: Instead of placing you favorite contacts in one or two of the entries, you get a deep link to the app’s favorites section as a sort of consolation. In any case, the context menu entries can be individually placed as shortcuts on the homescreen, even if this hasn’t been made clear.

App Fill: You can only fill with Google

Huawei’s initial implementation of the autofill API seems flawed. The choice of autofill service does not appear in the settings’ search function and you manually need to look for it instead; it is located in both the default apps and input method menus. For some reason, third-party apps such as Lastpass do not detect that an Autofill API-compatible Android version is being used and thus, you are stuck with either Google’s Autofill service or none at all. Huawei still hasn’t fixed the error, even after two updates for the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

huawei emui 8 app fill Full-text search is worthless: Go through the menus manually if you want to find something./ © AndroidPIT

Quirks and features

EMUI 8 is still new and requires quite a number of updates until it is mature. When the Mate 10 Pro review was completed, the software was newly updated to version 8.0.0.111(C432) and therefore ran smoothly. In contrast, the next and still latest update to version ~115 brought about numerous problems.

Since the update, notification pop-ups have almost always caused the user interface to freeze, which already made me miss an incoming call. The alarm failed numerous times, which is a problem that Sophia had also observed with the Honor 8 and EMUI 5. It seems as if Huawei alternates between releasing features and then bug fixes.

AndroidPIT Honor 8 2614 The Honor 8 was quick, but the software was annoying. / © AndroidPIT

In addition, the EMUI interface in some ways behaves annoyingly different from the Android standard: If you install a third-party launcher, you first need to go out of your way and enter the default apps menu to activate it. Nearly every other manufacturer’s Android interface lets you select the new launcher simply by pressing the home button.

These baffling software decisions even extend to parts below the interface: Huawei once again foregoes the A/B partition system for background system updates that was introduced in Android Nougat, which is annoying since the smartphone’s initial system updates put it out of commission for quite some time. The A/B system would reduce the process to a conventional restart that hardly takes a minute.

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Huawei needs to update its system update process.

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But a lot has currently changed for the better; one such example is that you can finally use the fingerprint sensor with a pattern lock. And as a consolation, Huawei offers Phone Clone, the only good 1:1 backup feature on the market for Android smartphones, as long as both devices are from either Huawei or Honor. However, we had already praised this feature in an older article on EMUI 5, in addition to numerous other EMUI features that are still there:

Verdict

In light of all the criticism, I have to hand it to Huawei for significantly improving their software like no other manufacturer has. However, when adapting the interface to the world market from the Chinese market, minor mishaps occurred. On the top of that list were the missing notifications, since EMUI’s automatic battery saver system had automatically killed the background processes of chat apps, but you can now control this manually.

Nevertheless, the remaining day-to-day defects are consistently annoying and prevent me from unconditionally recommending these otherwise outstanding devices.

Which EMUI quirk do you think Huawei urgently needs to change? And which feature do you think is great and would make you want to keep buying Huawei or Honor devices?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT