How to discover what Google knows about you

Google has created a reputation with a double-edge sword in recent years. On the one hand, it’s a giant web of quality technical services; on the other hand it suffers from criticism about how it uses private data to make money. To be more transparent about its practices, Google created the service ‘My Business’ to provide a quick overview of what Google knows about us.

Behind the technological miracle lurks the demon of private data

The least we can say is that Google’s reputation leaves a lot to be desired on the subject of personal data. It’s obvious that a company of its size is looking to make a profit, and as many Google products are (mostly) free, revenue has to come from somewhere else.

Google’s strategy is focused on using accumulated user information in order to serve targeted ads, as Facebook and many internet businesses also do to monetize their platforms. In other words, the more Google knows about you, the more you will see things that will probably interest you. While most users understand that Google needs to make money to function as a company, they have the opinion that Google is interested in their actions to collect private information.

activity Here is what My Activity looks like. / © ANDROIDPIT

The tool ‘My activity’ was created for transparency

You’ve probably heard the slogan, “There is no bad publicity.” The negative opinions of Google are like the submerged part of the iceberg because, like it or not, users do not see what is hidden beneath the murky waters of the tech giant. In order to offer targeted advertising, Google is interested in our habits to see what might interest us.

Anyway, Google seems to be tired of hearing that it steals private information and exploits it for profit. Google wants to improve its image by giving users the ability to see everything it knows and allow them to customize it. By logging on to My Activity page using your Google credentials, you will see a timeline of what Google has accumulated about you. You will find, among other things, whatever you’ve typed into the search engine or YouTube.

AndroidPIT Google apps 2 It’s free, it’s convenient, but optimized for commercials. © ANDROIDPIT

This tool does not just display the history of all you can do with Google on the web, you also find a list of apps used if your account is associated with your smartphone. In my case, I was able to find the date and time I used WhatsApp, Instagram etc. I assume Nexus and Pixel devices probably show more results here. Anyway, we will soon know more because Google seems to want to optimize this tool.

Google can optimize its targeted advertising by giving you the ability to manage or delete the data yourself. You can disable the collection of information on your web activities and applications, but this doesn’t mean that Google will not record anything on your account (as you can see on ‘My Business’). If you want more information, you can go to the Google Support page.

Do you think this tool is a smokescreen? Does Google really want to achieve greater transparency, or is this just to silence negative rumors?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

From the Note 7 to S Suggest, Samsung please stop making mistakes

The security of a smartphone doesn’t only depend on users, the manufacturer also plays a significant hand. We expect and trust the manufacturer to do its very best when it comes to ensuring maximum security on our smartphones, particularly when it comes to regular updates. With this in mind, it hasn’t been Samsung’s finest hour these past few months, starting with the exploding Note 7 fiasco and leading up to now having another error because it “forgot” something.

Remember S Suggest, an app Samsung had put on all its smartphones until 2014? Motherboard Vice recently reported that this function was at a center of a somewhat incredulous story on smartphone security: it came this close to being the source of a huge hacking vulnerability.

Samsung decided to stop updating the app but it forgot one small but really quite important detail: users who bought (and who still have) phones from before 2014 still have the app on their devices. When Samsung decided not to renew the domain name ssuggest.com (the website behind the app) upon its expiration, it pretty much opened up the playing field to hackers who might wish to cause damage as it could then be used to manipulate phones from afar thanks to the numerous permissions required by the app. A security expert, João Gouveia, spotted the error and fixed the issue after he took over the domain.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Southwest The Verge 840x560 This is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the phone that exploded. © The Verge

A few months earlier, Samsung had also put its foot in it when it launched an exploding smartphone on the market. When it became apparent that its latest device in the Note series was a ticking time-bomb, the Note 7 was quickly recalled in order to further investigate the issue. The production team put their heads together and came up with an improved model and thus the Note 7 was re-launched. Ironically, these models also began exploding as it turned out to be a manufacturing error.

Granted, making an error is human and everyone is at risk of doing it. Granted, Samsung was neither the first nor will it be the last to find itself at the heart of an international scandal. But is it acceptable despite this? No, it isn’t. And the argument that “others are doing the same thing” doesn’t excuse anything. This new story shows a lack of diligence that is unfortunately not unique to Samsung – it’s a trend that’s driving the current economy to act ever faster in order to minimize cost and maximize revenue, sometimes overlooking important details, which should be a priority. Like security.

In summary, dear manufacturers, please stay concentrated: do what you can to ensure the safety of your devices because what may seem like a minor detail can end up having huge repercussions.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Android Wear vs Tizen: war of the watches

Before I begin, I must say that in terms of diversity of watches running both OS’s, Google takes the lead, as many companies are already investing in Android Wear. On the other hand, Samsung and Apple each manufacture both the hardware and the software.

Since the launch of the Galaxy Gear in 2013, I have been using a smartwatch almost every day. In these past four years, a lot has changed in terms of software, from optimization of energy consumption to the number of apps developed for use on this platform. However, in the past year, I noticed that these gadgets have become more functional. I think the big reason for this was the introduction of the Apple Watch into the market, which eventually boosted development in the area of ​​software.

At the Google I/O conference in 2016, Google announced fundamental changes to Android Wear 2.0, which we officially came to know in early 2017. In 2014, Samsung integrated its own operating system Tizen into the Gear S. But it aws only in 2015 that the South Korean manufacturer began to form its line of smartwatches with the Gear S2 and last year’s Gear S3.

Devices tested

  Gear S3 Frontier Moto 360 (2015)
Software version Tizen 2.3.2.3 Android Wear NXH19Q
Store Samsung Galaxy apps Google Play Store

Android Wear vs Tizen: customization

Currently, smartwatches do not offer much in the way of customization. Your options are pretty much limited to a choice of which widgets you’d like to see on your display. In its meager ecosystem, Tizen offers some applications that allow you to move things around and create a more exclusive experience but there isn’t much scope for anything more advanced than that.

Both platforms are working with partners to develop functional dials. Samsung has been working with Volkswagen, for example, to connect the watch to a car. It seems that expanding the number of displays and possibilities in terms of ​​customization will generate more appeal in the long run for both platforms.

ANDROIDPIT Android Wear vs Tizen OS 9991 The number of apps that can be run simultaneously is still a “work in progress”. / © AndroidPIT

Android Wear vs Tizen: quick access to information and usage

Android Wear allows you to download apps directly onto the watch and of course, you also have the Google Assistant. In addition, the system offers users the possibility of using the watch’s dial to interact with the menus.

Quick access to information is provided through the notification system, which is customizable from the accompanying app on the smartphone. The system is very smart and using widgets, you can personalize the information that appears on the screen.

In terms of access to information, there isn’t much difference between Tizen and Android Wear. Samsung’s software is perhaps mildly more intuitive, which might be because Samsung builds the hardware and software itself so it manages the “whole package” without third parties. It allows you to use a system that incorporates the main control tool, a rotating dial, consistently and avoids you having to touch the screen all the time, especially since it also supports buttons like quick access to applications and return.

ANDROIDPIT Android Wear vs Tizen OS 0037 Both Tizen and Android Wear can rock your world. / © AndroidPIT

However, truth be told, Tizen OS has a big gap right now compared to Android Wear when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. Google Assistant is much more advanced than what you have in S Voice though who knows what the future Bixby will bring.

Both software versions support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection, so you don’t need to have the phone near you all the time. The Gear S3 Frontier, in fact, still offers support for 4G, which makes it even more competent compared to the Moto 360 (2015), for example.

In addition, both platforms use their own systems to pay via smartwatch. In the case of Samsung, there is Samsung Pay, which is also used in smartphones made by the South Korean manufacturer. Google already offers Android Pay.

Android Wear vs Tizen: fitness and health functions

Regarding the use of the watch for sports, you first need to look at the hardware of other models available on the market. As for the operating system, Android Wear offers GPS, for example, but at the moment, Google’s platform is still behind its competitors when it comes to native fitness services.

Google Fit is very reasonable in terms of its functions but the delivery of statistics and training data is very basic and confusing. You can monitor footsteps, distance covered in walking, jogging and cycling and, depending on the watch, check your heart rate. These are useful functions but they are still very basic and sometimes unstable in their collection of data.

An advantage in the fitness and health area of ​​Android Wear is that many companies and developers are starting to offer more advanced services. So keep in mind that using Google’s platform for sports will depend directly on third-party services, which are often paid for, but are much more accurate and functional.

ANDROIDPIT Android Wear vs Tizen OS 0001 When it comes to fitness and health, Tizen’s native software is much better than Android Wear. / © AndroidPIT

Tizen is the opposite of Android Wear in this area, especially on the test device I used, the Gear S3 Frontier. This watch was developed for fitness and outdoor sports. A few months ago, we went to Peru to test the barometer of the device to show how it deals with extreme altitudes. 

Samsung’s wearable operating system offers automatic recognition of sports and is able to differentiate one exercise from another, giving you the chance to practice different sports one after the other and thus save your data.

System integration with Samsung Health is much more mature than what Google offers with Fit. The system sends you frequent reminders during the day for you to move around and delivers a much more complete statistic of sports practice and health data. In addition to heart rate monitoring, it can measure SpO2, which is the saturation of the capillary oxygen and determine the amount of oxygen in the blood.

I have to say that in these three weeks of using Tizen OS over Android Wear, I became more aware of my health because of the constant reminding of the importance of moving around and in particular, the detailed delivery of relevant data on my health.

Last but not least, when it comes to sports and health, smartwatches themselves aren’t as accurate as dedicated smart bracelets, especially for cardiac monitoring during sports. But without a doubt, in this comparison, Tizen takes the lead over Android Wear.

ANDROIDPIT Android Wear vs Tizen OS 9986 There is a greater variety of devices running Android Wear. / © AndroidPIT

Android Wear vs Tizen: ecosystem

The Play Store is more popular than Samsung’s Galaxy Apps, so it logically follows that there are more apps developed for the Google OS for wearables than for Tizen. Also, just like on our smartphones, support for notifications from most services is higher on Android Wear. But when it comes to popular apps, Samsung is rushing to make them available in its store as well. Apps like Spotify and Uber are imminent.

However, using Google Maps is only done on Android Wear, since Tizen uses another app, HERE. So services we use constantly on a device running Android may not be supported on a Samsung OS or may not offer the same experience.

Android Wear vs Tizen: which should you get?

According to a global survey conducted by Ericsson, one in two people believes that smartphones will be obsolete in five years. This study was conducted in 2015 and was attended by 100,000 people from 40 different countries.

Gartner, a leading provider of technology research and advice in developed countries, suggests consumers will own between three and four devices by 2018. These include wearables, smartphones, tablets and PCs.

In summary, with the evolution of wearables, smartphones will become less and less necessary. Some people already think that a smartwatch is just a shortcut to the smartphone and because of this, they don’t see the need to buy a smartwatch, as it’s just another device you’ll need to charge on a regular basis and it just takes up space in your bag.

You may not even agree now, but wearables are the future and smartphones will quickly become things of the past. Few companies are innovating, it has already been proven that we do not need 6 or 8 GB to increase the processing power of smartphones – the best-selling smartphone in the world last year has 2 GB of RAM, and I’m talking about the iPhone 6S.

Opinion by Camila Rinaldi

I’m sticking with Tizen for the time being

What do you think?

30 participants

However, it’s easy to see that, just as with smartphones, adopting a new technology happens more slowly than we expect. Operating systems and functionalities are almost always the major limiters of this evolution, as they depend on a lot of investment in order to develop. With smartwatches, it was not, it is not and will not be any different.

Looking at Tizen, Samsung has the power to deliver the ultimate experience of software that goes hand-in-hand with hardware. And that gives the South Korean manufacturer a serious advantage over Google, which develops the software and then needs certain hardware features to partner with. On the other hand, Google’s development in the field of Artificial Intelligence goes far beyond the S Voice in Gear S3 or Bixby.

Personally, I’m sticking with Tizen right now because the functions I use most are better developed in this OS for wearables. However, with the evolution of Google Assistant and the way it integrates with Tizen may change my mind in the future, in order to have a more pure experience with Google’s virtual assistant.

What about you, which operating system do you have on your wearable? Will you be sticking with it?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Will you buy the OnePlus 5?

In about a week, the OnePlus 5 will officially be launched. It’s expected to be one of the most popular phones this year so we wanted to ask you, right here right now: based on all the rumors and everything you know so far about the OnePlus 5, would you buy it?

If you’re one of our regular readers, you might already know that we keep our OnePlus 5 rumors article up to date as the rumors and leaks come in – and boy have these been coming in thick and fast these past few weeks. Some of our editors have been rather disappointed in OnePlus from the leaked images; they’d been hoping OnePlus would be more creative and more original with its 2017 flagship. Despite this, rumors are still rumors and while some are more ‘certain’ than others, they essentially all remain speculation until the big day.

There’s one thing we have to hand to OnePlus though, they’re not slackers. Snapdragon 835 processor, 8 GB RAM, at least 64 GB of internal memory… There probably won’t be much you can’t do with this device. It’s a serious contender against the Samsung Galaxy S8, HTC U11 and other top phones already out.

AndroidPIT oneplus 3t 1353 The OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. © AndroidPIT

We should also bear in mind that the performance isn’t the only thing it’s got. Apparently, OnePlus isn’t working alone on the camera on its latest smartphone: it seems that it’s turned to the well-known company DxO for a helping hand. Although we haven’t yet seen anything concrete in terms of camera (a dual camera is rumored), we can expect something decent given the reputation of OnePlus’ new friend. Those who are familiar with previous devices will be pleased to know that the microphone quality (and thus quality of recordings) is expected to be miles above its predecessors on the OnePlus 5.

Certain rumors hint at a QHD screen, others suggest a screen more in line with predecessors – meaning Full-HD. And last but not least, the battery life is expected to be around 3,300 mAh, which is 100 mAh less than its predecessors, but what will this actually be like, bearing in mind software optimizations?

Are these rumors enough to convince you?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ Android update: latest news

Shortly after the first Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ devices had been shipped to consumers, Samsung deployed large OS update, shortly followed by another one from T-Mobile. While we are still waiting for an Android update for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, the security patches continue to roll out. The large June security patch has now been deployed internationally with some interesting additions.  

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ Android update status

Samsung Galaxy S8 Android 7.0 Nougat Android O
T-Mobile Yes expected
AT&T Yes expected
Sprint Yes expected
Verizon Yes expected

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ Android update

June security patch

The June security patch fort he Samsung Galaxy S8+ has now been deployed internationally, arriving in Europe and India this week. While the monthly security patch normally isn’t something extraordinary, June’s update addresses a total of 96 common vulnerabilities and exposures.  Sadly we don’t know at this point what exactly these vulnerabilities are, its probably for the better that they’ve been fixed. Theres are also a few minor software fixes and updates bundled in the security update, such as some new background colors for the navigation bar, as well improving the image quality of panorama photos. 

Device Quality Agent issue fixed with update

US and Canadian Galaxy S8 users have complained of an error since the latest update for their devices was installed. The problem is an error message saying “DQA keeps stopping,” which pops up each minute. DQA refers to Device Quality Agent, which usually runs in the background to monitor WiFi connection quality.

A temporary workaround for this problem is to turn off DQA or WiFi. But, Samsung has very quickly released an update through its Galaxy Apps store to fix the issue permanently. The update comes over the air at less than a megabyte and is labeled as “urgent”.

The latest major update from the manufacturer

Samsung just released a 664.21 MB update for the Galaxy S8 and S8+. The Android version is still 7.0 Nougat and Samsung Experience is still in version 8.1. The update changes the firmware version to G950FXXU1AQDD. Among the new features, it offers more stability for new features such as DeX and Bixby, as well as for facial recognition.

Regarding Bixby, it is now no longer possible to remap the dedicated button for the virtual assistant, and two new icons have been added: one to activate the service, and another to activate Bixby Vision.

galaxy s8 bixby changes After the update (right), you can access Bixby Vision directly from the virtual assistant screen by clicking on the “eye” icon. / © AndroidPIT

Check out the complete list of changes below:

  • Improved device stability and bug fixes;
  • Feature optimizations;
  • Performance improvements.

samsung galaxy s8 system update The update changes firmware version number. / © AndroidPIT

The latest update from T-Mobile

The S8 and S8+ are now getting a couple of software updates from T-Mobile to prepare them for arrival in customers’ hands. These special launch updates bring April’s security patch and various software improvements for the camera app, security and facial recognition. The latest update weighs in at about 390 MB for both devices.

Opinion by Camila Rinaldi

Fast updates from a wireless carrier are always appreciated

What do you think?

71 participants

For the S8, the baseband version for the first update on April 20 is G950USQU1AQD9, and the second update for April 21 is G950USQU1AQC9. For the S8+, the baseband versions are G955USQU1AQD9 and G955USQU1AQC9.

Other carriers

There’s no news yet about carrier-specific updates from Sprint, AT&T, Verizon or other US wireless carriers for the Galaxy S8 and S8+. But, when we get word of when to expect updates, we’ll let you know about it here.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+: how to get the latest version of the operating system

To check if your device already has latest the software update, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open the Settings on your Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 + and scroll to the bottom. Then tap the available option, “Software Update”;
  • Step 2: Then tap “Download updates manually” and see if any updates are available. If it exists, download the required files, and then tap “Install”;
  • Step 3: This step can take up to twenty minutes, depending on the upgrade. When you are done, you will see a message that the process has been completed successfully.

Remember that you can always choose to have the updates download automatically from the same menu.

If you have any questions, let us know in the comments! Enjoy your new Samsung flagship.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Best Amazon Deals: Huawei Honor 8, headphones, home security cameras and more

If you are looking for the best Amazon deals that the giant online retailer can offer, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the best ones here, hand-picked by your very own AndroidPIT team, to bring you great savings on a wide variety of top notch products. In addition to the best Amazon deal of the day, we’ve also got other fantastic daily deals and lightning deals that you need to snag fast.

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Best Amazon deal of the day

You can get smartphones of all shapes and sizes nowadays, but finding the right one can be a tough call. If you’re looking for a new smartphone but want to branch out from the usual suspects, like Samsung, LG and Lenovo, then we highly recommend you consider the Huawei Honor 8. In our review of the Honor 8, we gave it 4 stars with sharp display, efficient fingerprint sensor, strong performance and great camera features. Don’t let this deal pass you by.

AndroidPIT honor 8 review 6440 The Honor 8 will leave you gobsmacked. / © ANDROIDPIT

Other best Amazon deals

What are Lightning Deals?

Lightning deals are great bargains that are posted at the last minute on Amazon and are only available for one to two hours. The catch with these, of course, is that they are often so juicy that they are snagged up in a matter of seconds. The prices are made public only after the offer gets under way and are not disclosed in advance.

But here’s a cool tip: Amazon Prime customers get to see offers 30 minutes early. Lucky them! So don’t be too surprised if the offer is sold out in the first minutes, or even seconds, after the deal starts.

Best lightning deals on May 11, 2017

What do you think of our best Amazon Deals post for today? Were the deals juicy enough for you, or are you interested in seeing other types of products instead? Let us know in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

What is RAM and ROM memory?

All smartphones come with a certain amount of memory and this is one of the key points you should consider when you buy a new phone. There are two types of memory: RAM (immediate) and the ROM (internal). RAM usually has a smaller capacity and helps the processor to have all the information it needs quickly in order to run. ROM, or internal memory, is more like long-term memory and this is where the entire operating system can be installed as well as apps and files. Let’s take a more in depth look at these!

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What is RAM?

To understand what RAM is, you need to know what it stands for: Random Access Memory. it’s called this becauseit can be read and written at any point without needing to wait in a queue of processes. This speeds up the search for information considerably since, unlike ROM or microSD, the physical location in which data is stored can be easily accessed.

Opinion by Luis Ortega

RAM and ROM are one of the first things I look at when buying a new phone

What do you think?

14 participants

RAM memory features

RAM is where everything a device needs to run is loaded, that is, the operating system, the applications in use and the ones running in the background. RAM is where the processor receives the required information directly. Therefore, the RAM and the processor are contained in a single (indivisible) module that is soldered directly to the motherboard.

In the image below, you can see a Nexus 5X motherboard. This device has 2 GB of RAM and the processor marked in red, as well as the internal memory, in orange:

Nexus 5x mother board ram Motherboard of a Nexus 5X / © ifixit

The more RAM you have on a smartphone, the better the performance and faster the phone will generally be, but this will also depend on the type of memory and the build quality of the phone.

RAM only works when the device is switched on

RAM only works when the device is turned on, which means that this type of memory is not able to store information once the device is turned off. This is why there is a slight delay when you turn on your smartphone – this is the time the phone takes for its system to load the RAM.

Types of RAM

There are many different types of RAM and it can get quite complex. In general, the main differences are in reading speed and power consumption. The earliest reports on RAM came in the 1960s, and since then, every new generation has more capacity, is faster and consumes less energy.

In smartphones, a special type of RAM called LPDDR is used, which consumes little energy, heats up very little, is very small and, of course, is rather expensive. Currently, the most common RAMs are LPDDR2, LPDDR3 and LPDDR4. These are the last three generations of this kind of memory for mobile devices. The main difference between each is that with each new generation, the transmission speed is doubled.

Androidpit Tips and tricks 4 Your smartphone needs two memory types to carry out its daily functions / © AndroidPIT

What is ROM memory?

If RAM is read-write memory, then ROM is a read-only memory. The data stored in the ROM can’t be changed, or at least not easily or quickly.

In more recent generations, such as EPROM or Flash EEPROM (flash memory), the content can be deleted and rewritten multiple times, but it is still considered “read-only”. The main reason for keeping it named “read-only” is that the process of reprogramming (erasing and writing) is usually slow and can only be written in places determined by formatting.

ROMs built into smartphones these days are much faster than traditional computer hard drives and are also soldered directly to the motherboard. It’s in this ROM that the bootloader is stored (a program that starts the device and loads the operating system), as well as the operating system itself and all user data and applications.

Typically, the modified versions of the operating system are also referred to as ROMs. A quick online search will tell you that there are a number of customized ROMs that exist. ROMs are thus named because they are a system image similar to the one installed in the ROM in the factory.

Was this article useful to you? What else would you like to know about this topic?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Is it worth buying a flagship in 2017?

There’s no ‘simple’ answer to this question as it’s a subjective matter, this need (or want, depending on the situation) differs with each person’s expectations – it goes without saying that everyone is free to do whatever they want with their money.

Generally, you’ll only get a top-range device (often called a ‘flagship’) if you want the best smartphone around in all aspects. This doesn’t mean that mid-range devices are bad, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), for example, is proof of a mid-range device with excellent battery life. Generally speaking, it’s worth buying a flagship if you’re looking for at least one of the following aspects.

You should buy a flagship if…

… you want to take high quality photos, videos and sound recordings.

Flagship phones have better hardware (better aperture, more powerful sensors, etc.) and software than mid-range devices. For example, the HTC U11 is now real hardware benchmarks. Few other flagships have managed to better these two devices.

AndroidPIt google pixel 9886 The Pixel and Pixel XL devices are considered to be the best camera phones at the moment. © AndroidPIT

It’s often underestimated but sound is also an important element for a flagship device. It goes without saying that sound quality is generally excellent on top-range devices, even though the device’s loudspeaker has limited importance to the user as they can connect the device to a speaker or a Bluetooth headset. But let’s not forget the importance of the microphone for audio and video recording. If the recording quality is poor, so will be the audio quality. However, the screen resolution and sound quality are generally better on flagships than on mid-range devices.

… you want an attractive smartphone.

We’ve already touched on subjectivity. What is an attractive smartphone? Is it a smartphone that looks like an iPhone (meaning the manufacturer shows little creativity) that’s attractive? Everyone has their own answer to this but one thing is for sure: flagships look more attractive than mid-range devices. Recent trends for smartphones to have a premium design pushes the top-range devices to show more originality and creativity, as we can see with the new Samsung Galaxy S8.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8plus 1966 The Galaxy S8+ is a very attractive phone. © AndroidPIT

… you want a functional system that can support any game (including VR).

Forget about the design, what about what’s on the inside? Flagships have the components required for launching any app. Unlike mid-range devices, top-range smartphones have the most recent processors (Snapdragon 835 as on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the Kirin 960 as on the Huawei P10 or even the Exynos 8895 as on the Samsung Galaxy S8+).

… you want a recent software version.

Oh rage, oh despair, oh software enemy… This is an infuriating topic. Android is extremely fragmented and can barely keep up with its recent versions. In general, the most certain method of getting the latest software version is to buy a new device because it will have it by default. When you buy a flagship, you invest a sum of money that will guarantee (in theory, at least) that you’ll have continual updates for new software versions. Well, with most manufacturers, you’ll have to wait several months to get the update but that’s better than most of the entry-level devices and mid-range devices that, in general, never get the update.

… you simply want the best.

“If you’re going to invest in a device, you might as well get the best”. If that’s what you want, or if you just want to impulsively treat yourself, perhaps you should opt for a top-range device.

You shouldn’t buy a flagship if…

… you don’t expect much from your device.

Do you only use your smartphone for a few basic functions? Perhaps you only use your phone to make calls, chat on Messenger/WhatsApp from time to time, take a few photos (and photo quality doesn’t bother you) and you have no intention of watching films/videos on your device. If you have limited uses for your device, a top-range device will meet your expectations but why buy a Ferrari if you’re only going to use it to do daily runs to the bakery? A mid-range device would probably be enough for what you need.

AndroidPIT roaming travelling TV tower 2 You don’t need a flagship if you only use your smartphone to make calls and chat on WhatsApp. © ANDROIDPIT

… you don’t care about Android updates.

If you have limited uses for your smartphone, you’re probably not interested in the latest updates. A lot of people don’t need new features, such as the multi-screen mode that is available on Android with Android Marshmallow (and even before on some devices from other brands). These features are of no use to you, so why would you want the update? For security reasons, of course, but perhaps this isn’t a priority for you.

… you prefer to stream through your tablet, PC or TV.

In theory, you can watch films on any device that supports a multimedia reader or a streaming app. With that said, the more advanced the device, the more pleasant an experience you’ll have: with a flagship device, you’ll have much more storage memory for your information, better stability (you don’t want an app that cuts in the middle of the film) and, of course, a screen that is big enough (minimum of 5 inches) and modern enough to offer excellent quality. Having said that, if you prefer a larger screen and a device that specializes in video display, buying a flagship seems a bit pointless.

androidpit Chromecast 2015 24 It’s much more comfortable to watch a film on a TV than on a smartphone. © ANDROIDPIT

… you have a limited budget.

We won’t deny it, the biggest disadvantage of flagship devices is their price, which often starts around $ 600 for the cheapest and can go up to around $ 1000 for certain brands. While it’s true that you’re buying a small technological trinket and each of its components/each of its technologies come at a price, this price can often make us question whether this investment is really necessary. If you’re hesitating, the answer is probably no.

On a more positive note, the prices of most flagships decrease with time. For example, you can get a Samsung Galaxy S7, that originally cost around $ 700, for less than $ 500 today. The disadvantage is this (remember, everything is subjective) is that once the flagship’s price decreases, it’s often outdated in one or several aspects.

Do you have any other arguments to add in favor of or against buying a flagship phone?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Motorola Moto Z2: Price, release date, specs and rumors

Lenovo’s approach to smartphones took an interesting turn with the launch of the Moto Z and its accompanying system of Moto Mods that bring new abilities to the flagship smartphone. At MWC 2017, the company launched new mods, including a game pad that appears to show an unreleased handset that could be the Moto Z2 model. After having launched the Moto Z2 Play – an official release date has been sent out for the Moto Z2

Motorola Moto Z2: The name is confirmed

After some initial doubt, we now know the official name of the “Moto Z 2017” thanks to the serial leaker Evan Blass.  Its not really a surprise, seeing as Motorola/Lenovo have used the same system over and over again for their Moto G and Moto E series.

Motorola Moto Z2: Design

based on the leaked images so far, the Moto Z2 seems to have quite a slim frame (just like the officially released Moto Z2 Play), and a double camera protruding from the rear panel. As you can see from the image below, the device will be compatible with Moto Mods 

moto Z2 pic2 The Moto Z2 apparently has a rather large camera buldge / © @OnLeaks

In the image below, you can spot the Type C USB connctor as well as a headphone jack – which had been removed on the Moto Z and Moto Z force.

moto Z2 pic The headphone jack is back on the Moto Z2/ © @OnLeaks

Motorola Moto Z2: Specs

The Moto Z2 – according to the latest rumors – will be equipped with a Snapdragon 835 processor along with 6GB of RAM and a 5.5-inch QHD display. Early rumors had revealed that the camera will offer less megapixels, though this would apparently be compensated by a better camera sensor, giving it a drastically increased performance in low light environments.

AndroidPIT moto mods heros 2325 The Moto Z2 will be compatible with all previous Moto Mods / © AndroidPIT

Motorola Moto Z2: new Moto Mods incoming

During Mobile World Congress 2017, the new Moto Mod that first hinted at the Moto Z 2017 was the gamepad accessory, which (as you might expect) you pop your phone inside of to turn it into a fully functional control pad for gaming. In the middle of the image is a phone that doesn’t appear to be the original Moto Z.

moto z leak lenovo mwc Did Lenovo leak the Moto Z 2017? / © AndroidPIT

While there’s no guarantee that the device is indeed a successor for the Moto Z, the home button doesn’t look like the one found on the Moto Z and there are changes to other aspects, like the speaker and camera flash. 

The suggestion that Lenovo may have subtly leaked its new Moto Z during MWC are given added weight by a new image that has surfaced on Weibo.

moto z 2017 leak The image purporting to be the Moto Z 2017 on Weibo. / © Weibo

Naturally, an unverified image posted on Weibo isn’t concrete confirmation of anything. The image could easily have been designed after the MWC announcement, and therefore be based on the appearance of the device in the gamepad. 

However, it’s tough to think that Lenovo would ‘accidentally’ leak its own upcoming flagship handset. What’s more likely is that it’s a more generic image included for illustrative purposes. Nonetheless, because the size of each Moto Mod is set at the size of the handset – and Mods should work with 2016 and 2017 devices – we do know that it’s going to be roughly the same size and depth.  

Motorola Moto Z2: Price and release date

After the official release of the Moto Z2 Play a few weeks ago, Motorola seems like its finally ready to Moto Z2. Official invites have gone out and Motorola will unveil the Moto Z2 on the 27th of June, 2017. 

moto Z2 Moto Z2 – ready to be unveiled/ © Motorola/Lenovo

Are you holding out for the launch of the Moto Z2? Are you excited about the Moto Mods? Let us know in the comments below! 

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

The HTC U11 compared to its rivals: is it the king of the top-range smartphones?

Design and build quality: The Galaxy S8 is almost untouchable

In recent years, HTC hasn’t really stood out for their originality in terms of design. The HTC U11 is no exception to this rule. However, the smartphone is far from ugly – to the contrary, in fact. Understated and made of attractive materials, the HTC U11 has a great look, even if the details aren’t perfect. For example, it lacks the bezel-less screen offered by the LG G6 and Galaxy S8. However, overall, the HTC U11 outperforms many of its competitors, particularly the Google Pixel (a little thick), the Xperia XZ (the device’s silhouette isn’t really original) and the Huawei P10 (its resemblance to the iPhone).

The Galaxy S8 shows more character and originality

Particularly flashy in its blue incarnation, the HTC U11 has a great build quality. However, the Galaxy S8, which is just as well built as the HTC flagship, shows more character and originality. An enhancement which the Samsung smartphone owes to its Infinity Display which takes up most of the front side of the device. The S8 is certainly the most attractive competitor, although the LG G6 must get an honorable mention for its choice of materials and long, slim appearance.

u11 xzp s8 g6 The HTC U11 is particularly successful in its blue color. © AndroidPIT

The other three devices fall behind the S8, HTC U11 and LG G6. The Pixel has a less sleek finish, and the P10 and XZ Premium fail to excite – unless you’re one of Sony’s loyal Omnibalance design fans. Finally, all the smartphones have one thing in common: They love fingerprints!

Lowest price: Huawei P10

Best price

Camera: Google is still the king

As the months pass by, new flagships arrive on the market and yet the Pixel is still the smartphone camera king. Proof that, when a company can manage aspects of both software and hardware, the results are much better. The Google Pixel offers the most satisfying overall photo experience, and that’s without the Optical Image Stabilizer. Don’t write off the other smartphones though, as they offer satisfying performance for 2017 high-end flagships. In optimal lighting conditions, Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Huawei P10 and Google Pixel and Xperia XZ Premium take beautiful photos.

The Xperia XZ Premium is perhaps the one that disappointed me the most this year, despite the innovative Motion Eye camera. The only redeeming quality of the XZ Premium’s camera, in my opinion, is its ability to shoot slow motion video at 960 fps.

AndroidPIt google pixel 9893 The Google Pixel remains the best Android phone in terms of camera quality. © AndroidPIT

The LG G6 offers a wide-angle camera, which its competitors don’t, including the Pixel. The Huawei P10 is perhaps the one that struggles the most in poor lighting conditions. And, finally, the Galaxy S8’s strong suit compared to its competitors is its software, which is incredibly fast, and the automatic focus, which has great results even in poor lighting.

Lowest price: LG G6

Best price

Performance: the HTC U11 is in great shape

To compete in the premium smartphone arena, a sleek design, plush finishes and elitist prices aren’t enough. The smartphone must also have good performance. The HTC U11 knows this. Its specs sheet is consistent with 2017 top-range smartphones. Like many of its competitors (the LG G6, Galaxy S8 and XZ Premium), it has one of the best processors around, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, and 4 GB of RAM like the others.

Opinion by Pierre Vitré

The HTC U11 puts HTC back into the running for the best smartphone

What do you think?

10 participants

The HTC U11 occupies first place in the benchmark tests. It also precedes the Galaxy S8 devices equipped with the latest Samsung processor, the Exynos 8895, and the Huawei P10, which is equipped with their house processor, the 2.4 GHz octa-core Kirin 960.

Technical specs comparison *******

  HTC U11 Google
Pixel

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Samsung
Galaxy S8
Huawei
P10
LG
G6
OS Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Display Super LCD5 : 5.5 inches,
Quad-HD/2K (1440 x 2560 pixels),
~ 534 ppi
AMOLED : 5 inches,
Full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels),
~ 441 ppi
 
IPS LCD : 5.46 inches,
4K (3840 x 2160 pixels),
~ 807 ppi
 
Super AMOLED : 5.8 inches,
Quad-HD+/3K (1440 x 2960 pixels),
~ 570 ppi
 
IPS LCD : 5.1 inches,
Full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels),
~ 432 ppi
IPS LCD : 5.7 inches,
Quad-HD+/3K (1440 x 2880 pixels),
~ 564 ppi,
 
Processor

Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835

Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)

Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821

(Quad-core : 2×2.15 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)

Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835

Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)

Exynos 8895

Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz & 4×1.7 GHz)

Hisilicon Kirin 960

Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)

Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821

(Quad-core : 2×2.15 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)

GPU Adreno 540 Adreno 530 Adreno 540 ARM Mali G71 Mali-G71 MP8 Adreno 530
RAM 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Internal memory 64 GB
(microSD: yes)
32 GB, 128 GB
(microSD: no)
64 GB
 (microSD: yes)
64 GB
(microSD: yes)
64 GB
(microSD: yes)
32 GB
(microSD: yes)
Battery 3000 mAh
(non-removable)
2770 mAh
(non-removable)
3230 mAh
(non-removable)
3000 mAh
(non-removable)
3200 mAh
(non-removable)
3300 mAh
(removable)
Camera rear: 12 MP
(f/1.7)
front: 16 MP
rear: 12 MP
(f/2.4)
front: 8 MP
(f/2.4)

rear: 19 MP
(f/2.0)
front: 13 MP (f/2.0)

rear: 12 MP
(f/1.7)
front: 8 MP (f/1.7)
rear: dual camera with 20 and 12 MP
(f/2.2)
front: 8 MP (f/1.9)
rear: dual camera with 13 MP
(f/1.8)
front: 5 MP (f/2.2)
Connectivity Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac/ad,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.9 450 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac/ad,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.9 450 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5 mm 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm  148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm 145.3 x 69.3 x 7 mm  148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
Weight 169 g 143 g 195 g 155 g 145 g 163 g
SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) nano-SIM (x1) Single SIM (Nano-SIM) – G8141
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) – G8142
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)  Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Price: the Galaxy S8 is easiest on the budget

The smartphone that occupies the top spot in terms of pricing is the XZ Premium, which is marketed at $ 799, making all the others seem affordable in comparison.

The LG G6 and Google Pixel cost a bit less, at $ 699 and $ 649 respectively, but the smartphone by the Mountain View company only offers 32GB of internal memory and no possibility of expanding it. HTC isn’t exactly giving away the HTC U11, either. It has a price tag of $ 649.00 like the Pixel.

The segment’s best seller, the Galaxy S8, is actually the least expensive competitor, with an entry level price tag of $ 624.99 (64 GB of storage). It’s absolutely the best deal, assuming you’re in the US.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 1941 The most ‘affordable’ flagship. / © AndroidPIT

Conclusion

Is Samsung the king of the top-range smartphone market? It will probably keep the crown again this year. In 2017, Samsung remains one of the best on the market, but the competition is becoming more and more fierce, and the differences between the competitors are shrinking. The Korean smartphone isn’t the best in every regard, though, as you read above. 

The HTC flagship proudly stands its ground because of the original Edge Sense feature, which makes the U11 a smartphone you can squeeze. Powerful and versatile, the only thing that lets the HTC U11 down is its traditional design, in spite of its attractiveness. However, the latest smartphone from the Taiwanese manufacturer is highly recommendable if you’re looking for a new smartphone.

Which smartphone do you prefer? Tell us in the comments.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT