Sony Xperia XZ2: Benchmarks tell only half the story

As part of our series of reviews on the Sony Xperia XZ2, I also got to test the device’s performance. Needless to say, the new Japanese flagship has done well in every respect, and thanks to the software’s peculiarities, it was one of the smoothest-running devices I’ve ever tested. Read on to get the full scoop on all the details!

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Benchmarks, gaming and daily use

I’ve taken three different factors into consideration in my assessment of the Xperia XZ2’s performance. First of all, I took a look at the classic benchmark tests to quantify the smartphone’s theoretical performance with a numerical value, which can be used to compare it with competitors. I used the following benchmarks:

Secondly, I evaluated the gaming performance with some demanding apps. I tried some of the latest games on the smartphone, such as Final Fantasy FV Pocket Edition, PUBG Mobile, and the lighter Hearthstone.

Last but not least, I evaluated the performance of the Xperia XZ2 in daily use. At the end of the day, the benchmark results are useless if your smartphone doesn’t function optimally when you quickly check Facebook (assuming you’re still using it).

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 3124 Sony is exemplary when it comes to Android customization and timely updates. / © AndroidPIT

The CPU will run out of steam, but the GPU makes up for it

The SoC that Sony uses on the Xperia XZ2 is obviously Qualcomm’s latest and most powerful top-range chip, the Snapdragon 845. The chip in question includes an octa-core CPU (4x 2.7 GHz Kyro 385 Gold and 4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), 4GB of RAM and the Adreno 630 GPU: so this device is plenty fast and won’t easily get you into trouble.

Every operation that the smartphone performs is practically instantaneous (with a good internet connect) thanks to the 64GB of UFS internal memory. If you need additional space for photos and videos, the device supports microSD expansion up to 400GB.

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 3142 Either two SIM cards or one SIM card and one microSD, you get to decide. / © AndroidPIT

With Sony’s optimized and extremely clean software, the Xperia XZ2 moves smoothly and quickly through apps. Whether it’s working on complex spreadsheets or you’re just enjoying social media, you’ll never encounter any kind of delays or slowdowns.

It’s difficult to find a task that is too difficult for this smartphone.

This smartphone first gives you a sense of its speed through the fast animations in Sony’s UI, as well as in the incredible work done to make the scrolling operations so smooth. Even the most high-performance top-range phones will have some delays when moving quickly through photo and video content on Instagram or Facebook. But the Sony Xperia XZ2 will let you move quickly and without any uncertainty (unlike another top-range phone I recently tried out…), offering an experience that perhaps only the iPhone and Pixels can provide.

Sony Xperia XZ2 benchmark results

  Pixel 2 XL Huawei P20 Pro Galaxy S9 (FullHD+) Galaxy S9+ (QHD+) Sony Xperia XZ2
Geekbench CPU
Single core
1867 1920 3645 3771* 2412
Geekbench CPU
Multicore
6291 6780 8820 8923* 8420
3D Mark
Sling Shot ES 3.1
3571 2972 3274 3257 4679
3D Mark
Sling Shot ES 3.0
4714 3346 3873 3910 6140
3D Mark
Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0
37844 30602 38488 38302 63589
PassMark Memory
(RAM)
13836 14087 24721 24164 12418
PassMark Disk
(Storage)
47759 64144 72538 67765 73208

*Not affected by changing the resolution

But let’s move on to practical and measurable results. The benchmarks we’ve set for the Sony Xperia XZ2 are interesting to say the least, and they allow us to shed light on the smartphone’s behavior in comparison to other devices, such as the Galaxy S9 or Huawei P20.

As can be seen from the results table, the Xperia XZ2 doesn’t excel in CPU tests. Yes, it true, it has higher results than the Google Pixel 2 XL and Huawei P20 Pro in the Geekbench test, but this was to be expected, as these devices utilize an SoC from last year.

The most substantial difference, however, is with the Galaxy S9 and S9+, two devices also presented at MWC that should have more or less used equivalent technology. The results of Samsung’s SoC Exynos are well above those of the XZ2, especially in single core performance, where the Korean company seems to have done a great job. Samsung’s devices also perform much better in the RAM tests.

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 3120 The graphics on the Xperia XZ2 are impeccable. That’s its secret. / © AndroidPIT

But the Xperia XZ2 still runs much more smoothly and more quickly than its Korean competition. The difference could be in Samsung’s poor software optimization. 3DMark has come to our aid and shed some light on this mystery by showing how Sony’s flagship is clearly better than the competition in graphic performance.

In Ice Storm Unlimited, the Adreno 630 GPU almost doubles the results of the new Galaxy (regardless of the resolution used), which explains how the smartphone always keeps everything running smoothly without delays. Even though Sony utilizes a slightly less powerful CPU, this doesn’t lead to a bottleneck in the overall performance of the device, which is still better in almost all daily operations.

Perfect gaming

Are you familiar with the gaming experience of a living room console? The Sony Xperia XZ2 manages to provide a gaming experience on a smartphone with exactly the same lightness. On a console, unlike a PC, you can just insert a disc or download a game and use the controller to enjoy the game, without any issues with drops in performance or delays.

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 3130 The Xperia XZ2 has front speakers, so you don’t have to worry about covering them up while you’re gaming. / © AndroidPIT

The Sony smartphone frees you from having to be worried about whether a particular game will work on your phone. You won’t have to lower the screen resolution or worry about delays. With the XZ2, all these concerns are things of the past. True, the screen isn’t AMOLED with super resolution and perfect colors, but Sony’s Triluminous LCD panels with FullHD resolution still provide for a great multimedia experience.

During my trip to China, I had a lot of time to spend in the company of the Sony Xperia XZ2, and I must admit that it was difficult to stop playing Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, since the device offers perfect performance, which lets you enjoy the game with maximum detail.

Are you looking for a smartphone that will give you the best gaming experience on PUBG? The Sony Xperia XZ2 is more than perfect for this purpose, as long as you’d rather not go a step farther and purchasing a Razer Phone, which was created for gaming and has a slightly less-powerful SoC.

What do you think of what Sony’s done with the Xperia XZ2? Are you tempted to purchase it? Let us know in the comments!

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How to factory reset your Android phone

Has your smartphone suddenly frozen or stopped responding? Most of the time, restarting your phone should fix the problem. But, in some more serious cases, you have to resort to a factory reset. We’ll tell you how to do both a soft and a hard reset of your Android phone here.

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How to restart your Android smartphone

Sometimes, phones freeze up for no apparent reason. While it’s annoying, it can usually be fixed quickly and easily by restarting – also known as “rebooting” or doing a “soft reset” of your phone. This will give your phone a fresh start, and in theory, all your photos, apps and settings should be left intact. Here’s how to do it.

  • If your phone suddenly freezes, just hold down its Power button for 30 seconds and it will restart itself.

Soft resetting your Android phone is just that simple! But, sometimes phones can continue on having problems, and it might be necessary to do a factory reset – a more extreme measure that will wipe out all your data, but will usually fix more stubborn issues.

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How to factory reset your Android smartphone

If restarting your phone doesn’t help the problem and your phone is still acting up, you might want to try a factory reset. This will restore your device to its factory settings. The process is also sometimes referred to as formatting or doing a “hard reset”. Hard resetting your Android smartphone isn’t actually very hard.

The easier way to do a factory reset is with the Settings menu, but if that isn’t possible, you can also reset in Recovery Mode. Here are the instructions for both.

Factory reset your Android phone from the Settings menu

Be warned: this process will erase all the data from your device’s internal storage, including personal files like photos. So, be sure to back up all your phone’s data beforehand.

  • In the Settings menu, find Backup & reset, then tap Factory data reset and Reset phone.
  • You’ll be prompted to enter your pass code and then to Erase everything.
  • Once that is done, select the option to reboot your phone.
  • Then, you can restore your phone’s data.

AndroidPIT google play not working 7 Sometimes you just have to go for the last resort. / © ANDROIDPIT

Factory reset Android in Recovery mode

If your phone is so messed up that you can’t access your Settings menu, there’s still hope. You can reset in Recovery Mode, using just the buttons of your phone.

If possible, back up your phone’s data first, as this process will remove all data from your phone’s internal storage.

  • Turn your phone off.
  • Hold the Volume down button, and while doing so, also hold the Power button until the phone turns on.
  • You’ll see the word Start, then you should press Volume down until Recovery mode is highlighted.
  • Now press the Power button to start recovery mode. You should see an Android robot now.
  • Once you’re in Recovery mode, press and hold the Power button, and while doing so, press the Volume up button once, then let go of the Power button.
  • Press Volume down until Wipe data/factory reset is highlighted, then press the Power button to select it. 
  • Once that’s done, press the Power button to select Reboot system now.
  • Then, you can restore your phone’s data.

Have you tried doing a soft or hard reset of your Android phone? Let us know how it went in the comments.

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The folding smartphone: Who will win the race to market?

Foldable smartphones: we’ve been talking about them for a while now, but they’re still yet to arrive. The Galaxy X could be the first folding device, but it seems like Huawei, once again, might be close to beating its rivals and winning the race. This could happen as soon as November.

Folding smartphone: Huawei could present it in November

According to rumors, Huawei could be ready to present the first folding smartphone in history by November. But how will they do it? Don’t expect any pictures: as of yet there haven’t been any leaked images circling the net (unfortunately).

It does sound like Huawei will be working with LG to make this happen. The South Korean manufacturer is to provide a flexible panel for the display. Otherwise, the device would remain a thin smartphone, and wouldn’t be all that different from those we’re used to using. No other details have emerged so far.

A race to the finish line

It’s not easy to make a folding smartphone. A flexible display isn’t enough; one of the biggest problems is software optimization. This is likely the issue that has kept Samsung busy, since the Galaxy X (if it’s to be called that) has been in operation for some time. People were talking about it in January 2018, but nothing came out of it, and there are now rumors of a release at the beginning of 2019.

Samsung flexible display 2 bicubic The Galaxy X might bend inwards.  / © LetsGoDigital

But Samsung isn’t the only company that wants to offer users this technology. LG also seems to be thinking about it: there were two patents a few months ago that revealed their intentions. We’re not aware of the extent of their work, since it’s not clear when we’re just talking about prototypes. You can never know whether these patents will become the brand’s core products.

Lg foldable 2This solution is undoubtedly original! / © GSMinfo.nl

Apple will also ask for LG’s help in producing OLED panels and flexible printed circuit boards for a possible prototype of a folding iPhone. But the California company might wait until 2020 for the release of such a device, so now Huawei is emerging as at the front of the pack…

Which brand will be the first to arrive?

If Huawei actually manages to present a foldable smartphone in November, they’ll leave Samsung in the dust once again. And Apple as well. The Chinese manufacturer has already proven its ability to reach the finish line first when it came to integrating the fingerprint reader into the display.

Of course, this long-awaited technology was only integrated into the Mate RS Porsche Design, a ‘luxury’ smartphone released as a limited edition, so the feature wasn’t released on such a large scale. But this wouldn’t have been possible with a large number of devices. But now Honor is thinking about offering this feature to the masses: will it really manage this feat with the Honor 10?

One thing is for certain: if these rumors are true and Huawei can present a folding smartphone in November, you’ll still have to wait some time before you can have one. The market launch will take a few months longer and the price could be another another major obstacle.

Are you curious to find out what these decides will look like and how folding smartphone will work? Which brand do you think will be the fastest to hit the market? Let us know your opinion in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

10 awesome gestures to improve your Android user experience


Jump to:

  1. Long press on notifications to access the app’s settings
  2. Slide two fingers down to directly access the quick settings
  3. Long press to select words for more options
  4. Easily access safe mode
  5. Navigate through tabs in Chrome
  6. Zoom in on any screen
  7. Make the Google keyboard occupy less display
  8. Uninstall an app directly from the home screen
  9. Double tap the screen to zoom in on Maps
  10. Create your own touch gestures

1. Long press on notifications to access the app’s settings

Many of you may know that if you slide a notification message to one side, it will disappear. However, you can do other things if you hold your finger down and select one of the buttons that appear on the right. This can be done both in the lock screen and in the notification bar.

You will see the ‘all categories’ option, which will bring you to the notification settings for the app in question. However, some manufacturer user interfaces don’t allow this, like EMUI, Huawei/Honor’s UI. Older versions of Android may instead show the cog icon for settings.

gesuturenotification Long press on the app in the notifications to access different actions. / © AndroidPIT

2. Slide two fingers down to directly access the quick settings

This trick has existed since Jelly Bean was around but it’s well worth being reminded of. To avoid having to go through the notifications and access the quick shortcuts menu, just slide two fingers from the top of the screen downwards.

Instead of doing the conventional motion twice, meaning the one finger swipe, and first needing to go through the app notifications, the user will quickly access the shortcuts to the basic settings of Android (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile data, Airplane mode, Cast screen, etc).

gestures 1 By sliding two fingers down the display, you access the Quick Settings right away. / © AndroidPIT

3. Long press to select words for more options

Since Android 6.0 Marshmallow came onto the scene, the usual copy and paste  function has had an upgrade. Now, just select a word, phrase or text and long press the selected contents.

Next, you will get  several options depending on the context (i.e. if this is a website, editable document, phone number, etc) such as to copy and share, search for the selected text on the web, save to contacts, or active Google Assistant and translate it, all without leaving the screen.

gestures 2 Long press on a word, sentence or paragraph.  / © AndroidPIT

4. Easily access safe mode

What exactly is safe mode? In a few words, this mode boots the Android system without showing the applications that you have installed, so as if you had formatted the phone. This option is ideal if you are experiencing problems with a specific app. Furthermore, it’s easy to access.

Press the power button of your device for a few seconds. As soon as the turn-off options appears, do a long press on it. A new window will ask you if you want to restart the telephone in safe mode.

5. Navigate through tabs in Chrome

Are you one of those users who leave hundreds of tabs open in Chrome? If so, then you should know that there is an easier way to navigate through them. If you press the button that shows the number of tabs open for a few seconds you will see all the tabs that you have left open.

6. Zoom in on any screen

Many applications allow you to zoom in on a screen by placing two fingers on the screen and separating them but in other applications or even in most systems, this action is not permitted – however there is a workaround.

Activate the function by going to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification gestures. Once activated, you click three times on the screen to zoom in on where you want. To then slide from side to side on the zoomed in screen, you need to slide two fingers left and right. You can do a two finger pinch to adjust the zoom.

gestures 3 In the Accessibility options, you are able to turn on the magnification gestures. / © AndroidPIT

7. Make the Google keyboard occupy less display

If your keyboard is very big or you just want to reduce its size, you can simply press the Enter key for a few seconds until a new option appears for your keyboard.

gesture 5 Hold down the Enter key to access the option to reduce the size of the Google keyboard. / © AndroidPIT

8. Uninstall an app directly from the home screen

If you long press on an app icon on your home screen, this will allow you to uninstall it directly by then dragging the app to the word Uninstall (or letter x) that will have appeared. Previously, only the shortcut was deleted. This might change depending on the phone model and Android version.

gestures 6 Drag an app on the homescreen to the Uninstall icon to rid your phone of it once and for all! / © AndroidPIT

9. Double tap the screen to zoom in on Maps

Google Maps is one of the best apps Google has to offer. If you have a device with a larger display, you might not be able to access all parts of the map, especially with using your device one-handed. The way around this is to double tap to zoom in on the area of the map that you want a closer look at. Then to navigate the zoomed in map, you just need to use one finger again. However, this is not the only gesture that works with Google Maps.

10. Create your own touch gestures

In addition to the gestures mentioned above, there are third party apps that allow you to create your own touch gestures. The All in One app is great for this and offers the user a lot of new gesture options. Setting it up is easy. You just need to choose the gestures you want and how you want them to affect your device. A downside is that this could negatively impact your phone’s battery.

All in one Gestures Install on Google Play

Do you know any other cool gestures or “secret” settings that make life on Android a bit easier? Let us know in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

These are the best custom ROMs for Android


Custom ROMs: A dying hobby?

Good custom ROMs are characterized by an active community and support for many different devices. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many third-party firmwares. Many smartphone manufacturers have taken on important criticisms of their original firmware and proved users wrong. Here are exampled of the updates:

  • Previous security updates
  • Less pre-installed software
  • Improvement of the user interface

After about two, in a few cases three years, security updates are over. If you want to continue using your smartphone, you have to accept security risks or at least replace the software.

However, additional issues are waiting for the modders: protection mechanisms from SafetyNet. Because of these, apps refuse the service and games do not start. Well-known examples are Pokémon GO, Super Mario Run, Snapchat or Netflix. So, we have extended the feature table with the appropriate tests.

The same applies to the vendor image, whose closed-source components often have to be installed separately, which takes time. However, some ROMs already include them in their images and make installation and updates easier. Others deliver the matching images to the same location where you find the system firmware.

The best custom ROMs

Good custom ROMs are characterized by an active community and the support of many different devices. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer third-party firmwares match these criteria. Those who want to keep their Nexus 5 or his Galaxy S5 still up to date have only a few alternatives. If your smartphone needs a better user interface, less bloatware and earlier software updates, then you should consider a custom ROM.

Custom ROM features: quick comparison

  Lineage LineageOS for microG Dirty Unicorns Paranoid Android Resurrection Remix SlimRoms
updates Download in the settings, installation via TWRP Download in the settings, installation via TWRP As an app Integrated in the settings Integrated in the settings Manual via TWRP
Vendor-Image Separately Separately Separately, even server Integrated Separately, same source Separately
Root Access Optionally as a zip Only ADB as opt-in; optional as zip No No Only ADB, opt-in No
SafetyNet / Pokémon GO No / Yes n / A n / A Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
Themes via substratum via substratum; not available without Play Store via substratum Per color engine or via substratum via substratum via substratum
Special features
  • Trebuchet Launcher
  • Privacy management
  • Volume profiles
  • Better camera app
  • Better music app
  • Screen recorder
  • F-Droid with extension pre-configured for automatic updates
  • Google-free replacement services
  • Rest like stick lineage

No browser

Dirty tweaks:

  • animations
  • OmniSwitch
  • Improved App Switcher
  • App Ops
  • Completely CAF-based
  • PA Browser
  • Shuttle + Music Player
  • PIE controls (new design)
  • Burn in Protection for OLEDs
  • Privacy Guard
  • Volume profiles
  • No browser
  • Developer tools

Interface options:

  • Status bar
  • Overview of open apps
  • Quick settings
  • navigation bar
equalizer AudioFX AudioFX MusicFX Snapdragon Audio + AudioFX MusicFX

LineageOS (the legacy of CyanogenMod)

Lineage is the legacy of CyanogenMod. Fans of the mod have to say goodbye to CyanogenMod and their favorite features. CyanogenMod was ideal for beginners, since the Wiki offered a great collective wealth of knowledge. Lineage was able to hang onto some of this in the form of its own Wiki. A backup copy of the old wiki was created as well for posterity.

cyanogenmod 13 home screen Lineage has its own interface. / © AndroidPIT

Lineage has a compact launcher, a feature-packed camera app and few pre-installed apps which leaves you with a lot of free memory. It also has volume profiles, which make the phone muted or loud under certain defined conditions. The privacy feature also sends incorrect data to apps that whose privileges aren’t normally escalated. And the best thing: Lineage makes old smartphones fast again. 

cyanogenmod 13 features Lineage has adopted many CyanogenMod features, but the equalizer (right) is missing. / © AndroidPIT

LineageOS for microG: Android without Google

Common to all custom ROMs is that they ship without Google apps. Anyone who wanted to use Android without Google anyway, is not yet well served. Important Google Suite souvenirs such as location services, play store, and theft protection should not be missing. Alternatives for some of these components are present in the microG version from Lineage. After installation, you can update your smartphone with ordinary LineageOS images.

Dirty Unicorns

Dirty Unicorns is designed for Nexus, Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi as well as some HTC and Samsung devices. It has similar features to Lineage and provides root access via apsp and regular updates for security and stability.

dirty unicorns nougat home DU presents itself as tidy and up-to-date. / © AndroidPIT

DU supports a wide range of devices. Also, the update frequency is exemplary.

dirty unicorns nougat tweaks OmniSwitch and Dirty Tweaks. / © AndroidPIT

Thanks to OmniSwitch, you can easily multitask. Dirty Tweaks contain important settings options which are missing in conventional Android.

Paranoid Android is back

Paranoid Android is one of the oldest custom ROMs and is a popular alternative to CyanogenMod & Co. After a brief awakening in summer 2016, the third-party firmware once again fell silent. Following May 2017 though, there has finally been a big update again and an equally big promise: more frequent updates.

AndroidPIT paranoid android 6 Paranoid Android is looks good, and offers PIE Controls. / © AndroidPIT

This new version brings Android 7.1.2 Nougat to smartphones. The CodeAuroraForum (CAF) drivers are expected to make more Snapdragon-based devices compatible with the ROM. In addition, we can expect more frequent updates from changing the substructure.

On the positive side, there was no need to install an additional vendor image for the Nexus 5X in conjunction with OpenGapps’ Google apps. This effort makes operating system updates easier to handle compared to Lineage OS, where you have to get and flash the vendor images additionally.

paranoid android update marshmallow 601 Paranoid Android returns / © AndroidPIT

Resurrection Remix

Resurrection Remix has a large user base, supports several devices and offers the fewest range of functions. In our January 2018 test with the Nexus 6P, no variant of Google Apps allowed installations from the Play Store (bug 963), so we can make no statement regarding SafetyNet.

SlimROMs: bloatless but feature-rich

SlimROMs made a name for itself by offering a completely stripped down version of Android and letting you determine exactly how much of the Google Play services you want bundled in. Otherwise, SlimROMs is characterized by the ability to modify the DPI of fonts and icons and make everything as tiny as you need it to be. The Slim family currently supports almost 50 devices.

An alpha Android Lollipop build is out, but things are moving slowly at the SlimROM camp and updates are currently infrequent at best. Find out more at slimroms.net.

Conclusion: to mod or not to mod?

Custom ROMs can be the salvation of older smartphones and tablets. They can also clean up new smartphones and remove bloatware. Often, they speed up smartphones and add more features. But, the threshold is high for those who want to mod, as it can be a confusing process for beginners. This threshold is less of an issue thanks to LineageOS, which is much simpler and is well supported by many from within the vibrant CyanogenMod community. 

What do you think is the best custom ROM on Android? Let us know in the comments below. 

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Sony Xperia XZ2 battery test: Even better than it is on paper

It’s no secret that Sony smartphones have always been champions of battery life and the Xperia XZ2 is no exception. We’ve done a comprehensive test of the device and after many charging cycles we came to the following conclusions.

The data sheet doesn’t seem to favor the XZ2

Sony has done a great job once again. On paper, the Xperia XZ2, with its 3,180 mAh battery and its high-performance Snapdragon 845 processor, doesn’t sound like it can make it through the end of the day. But in daily use, the battery life of the Japanese brand’s new flagship is amazing.

AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 back iso h5c A champion battery is hidden under the elegant design. / © AndroidPIT

Sony already surprised me with the battery life on the Sony Xperia XZ1, but the XZ2 was still able to improve upon its predecessor. The smartphone can safely provide more than 7 hours of screen time over one or even two days of use. With more moderate use, I’m sure you can even reach 3 or 4 days if you avoid 4G networks and only use the device for fast calls, text messaging, and social media.

Two days of use and an intercontinental trip? No problem

To give you a practical example, last weekend starting from Saturday at lunchtime (I know I’m lazy) I reached a shocking 7 hours and 23 minutes of screen time over the course of 32 hours. The battery lasted until Sunday evening. So that’s some impressive battery life.

During a 10 hour flight to Shenzhen, China, I was able to watch many saved movies offline on Netflix, and also used the navigation, messaging, and social media. I even took pictures and recorded videos of the departure and landing. At the end, I added up all the figures and ended up with 9 hours of screen time with the device on for 26 hours. These are results that other flagships can only dream of.

xperia xz2 battery Is there a 4000 mAh battery with similar optimization? / © AndroidPIT

I almost forgot to say: none of the results above were achieved using the Xperia XZ2 Stamina power saving features. You can only imagine how much longer your smartphone’s battery life can be by using these features.

Sony Xperia XZ2 comparison with PCMark battery life benchmarks

Smartphone Duration Capacity
Razer Phone 10 hours 43 minutes 4000 mAh
Nokia 8 9 hours 25 minutes 3340 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2 9 hours 15 minutes 3180mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 7 hours 15 minutes 3000 mAh

A fast charging system that learns from your habits

The Sony Xperia XZ2 also has an intelligent charging system. Not only can it use Quick Charge 3.0 (standard supported by the supplied charged), but it also has a system to learn about your charging habits. This means that if you usually charge your smartphone in the evening and then disconnect it from the charger every morning at 6:30 am when you wake up, your smartphone will learn to charge slowly and only finish charging a few minutes before 6:30 am. This keeps the battery in the best possible condition and limits its wear. Bravo, Sony.

xperia xz2 battery fast charge Charging can be very slow or very fast depending on the situation. It certainly won’t disappoint you. / © AndroidPIT

Conclusion

Sony has once again proven that it can build smartphones that are as good as and even superior to the competition in terms of battery life. Xperia XZ2 will never leave you in a moment of need. This year Sony decided they wanted to show what they’re capable of and this flagship shows it. Will it succeed against some formidable competition in the P20 and Galaxy S9?

What do you think about Xperia XZ2? Will you look to get a Sony device this year or will you opt for something else?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Facebook sets itself against China, Russia, all human life

Zuckerberg had no real answer to Graham’s question. The Facebook CEO cited other big tech companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and even Twitter as the main competitors to Facebook. But none of these companies come close to presenting a real alternative to Facebook’s main product, the social media site.

Graham, to his credit, realizes this: “If I buy a Ford and it doesn’t work well and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy. If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product that I can sign up for?”

Zuckerberg’s answer, that Facebook is just one of the eight different apps that the average American uses to communicate, leaves out the fact that Facebook owns four of the eight top communication apps: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. In terms of digital communication, Facebook has no real rival.

In the senate hearing, Zuckerberg joked that it “doesn’t feel” like Facebook has a monopoly. It might be because, like with any monopoly, it’s convenient to broaden the definition of the market. And in Zuckerberg’s mind, this definition may come across as all-encompassing to the point of megalomania…Facebook has put itself in competition with all human activity.

Facebook’s enemy is life itself

In an ironic turn of events, an insight into how Mark Zuckerberg sees Facebook comes from when his private information was taken without his explicit consent. At one point during his Senate testimony, Zuckerberg left his notes open on the witness table.

The notes, photographed by AP Washington’s Andrew Harnik, had this argument prepped  for the monopoly question:“Consumers have lots of choices over how they spend their time.”

When you make your money from ads, attention IS the economy. Your attention is what Facebook sells. To commercial advertisers. To political propaganda. So, what’s Facebook’s competitor for your attention? Anything else that could possibly occupy your time.

Well, given this position no wonder Facebook, “doesn’t feel” like a monopoly to Zuckerberg. Not while there’s literally anything else you can think about. Not when sleep is still a thing.

You might be thinking that serious lawmakers are unlikely to be convinced by this absurd argument. And you’d be right. But despite pressure from consumer advocacy groups, it’s unlikely that a strong political will to act against the monopoly will emerge.

Will we see Facebook break up?

Facebook monopoly issues aren’t new, even if the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal has brought the problem to the public eye once more. But what would a solution look like? Politico advocated breaking up Facebook into smaller entities. Similar action has been proposed against other tech giants such as Google and Apple.

Such a breakup would require a huge amount of political will on behalf of lawmakers and the public, given the amount of money that big tech can funnel into Washington to preserve the integrity of their empires. But American tech companies won’t have to try so hard. 

Zuckerberg’s notes reveal a different angle that Facebook can leverage to save itself. It’s about competition, but not about Facebook’s competitors. Rather, it’s about the rivals to the United States itself.

Zuckerberg leverages fear of competition…with China and Russia

Take another look at Zuckerberg’s cheat sheet. On the issue of whether to break up Facebook we see: “US tech companies key asset for America; break up strengthens Chinese companies”. It’s this that cements that, no matter how often he might pull a naive act, Zuckerberg knows exactly how to pressure the US government on its pain points.

facebook world map hero 1 Facebook was created in America, but is a global empire. / © Facebook

Facebook is a global company, and most of its users (almost 90%) are outside of the US. But it’s also an American company, and its surveillance of the citizens of the world is also a US intelligence asset, distasteful as it may be to think about.

Responding to Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan’s question about whether Facebook was too powerful, Zuckerberg once again played the China card:

“Well, senator,” Zuckerberg responded, “I think most of the time when people talk about our scale, they’re referencing that we have two billion people in our community. And I think one of the big questions that we need to think through here is the vast majority of those 2 billion people are outside of the US. And I think that that’s something that, to your point, that Americans should be proud of. And when I brought up the Chinese Internet companies, I think that that’s a real—a real strategic and competitive threat that, in American technology policy we should be thinking about.”

AndroidPIT China Facebook will exploit fears of Chinese technology to preserve itself. / © AndroidPIT

Anyone following mobile tech shouldn’t be surprised at this line. The current US administration has already taken action to prevent Huawei from succeeding in the US market. Similarly, when it comes to data, breaking up Facebook could be seen as weakening an American asset, while China makes use of powerful companies like Tencent and Alibaba.

Facebook isn’t only threatening the US government with China. Russia’s in the mix too. Ironic, but despite Facebook’s complete failure to prevent itself being hijacked by a Russian disinformation campaign, Zuckerberg still presents Facebook as the main line of defense against foreign agents, instead of the vulnerability it really is:

“There are people in Russia whose job it is to try to exploit our systems and other internet systems and other systems as well.

“This is an ongoing arms race. As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job is it to try to interfere in elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict.”

If there’s an arms race going on, then Facebook has been selling weapons to both sides in a classic case of war profiteering. Nothing that the US government would usually frown upon, but a definite no-no (to use a legal term) when the US is one of the sides involved in the conflict.

Last week House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden presented Zuckerberg as an all-American hero: “Your success story is an American success story, embodying values such as freedom of speech and freedom of enterprise.”

The United States can lay claim to Facebook as an embodiment of its ideals. Based on what you know about Facebook, you can judge for yourself its suitability for that role. Idealism aside, Facebook is clever enough to position itself as an asset in an international information war.

But this is an alliance of convenience. In its heart of hearts, Facebook listens to its true reason for existence: profit. Our attention. Against any upstart corporation that tries to compete. Against any nation-state, including the US, that threatens it. Against sleep. Against time itself.

Do you think Facebook should be broken up? Or is it in the national interest to keep Facebook strong?

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Is it worthwhile to keep your LG G4?

I would like to try playing games with a TV box.

What do you think?

31898 participants

Opinion by Jessica Murgia

The time has come to replace my LG G4

What do you think?

32 participants

LG G4: it’s worth keeping because…

It has a removable battery: an increasing rarity

New smartphones today barely ever have a removable battery. Even LG, which, until now, was adamantly holding onto its removable battery with the G5, has decided to finally get rid of it on the G6. Thanks to quick charge technology, removable batteries aren’t quite as necessary as they were before, but it’s still a feature that can come in handy if you’re out all day and you don’t have access to a power source. In addition to this, despite the optimizations carried out by Google on new Android smartphones, battery life is still one of users’ biggest issues and researchers are trying to find a worthy alternative to lithium.

AndroidPIT LG G4 9651 Under the leather casing of the LG G4 hides a precious removable battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

It has a large QHD screen

While some flagships still offer Full-HD resolution (the Huawei P10, for example), in 2015, the G4 was already offering a 2,560 x 1,440-pixel screen with 534 ppi. The IPS LCD 5.5-inch screen on the G4 made it possible to display photos and videos with DCI technology, which offers natural and realistic colors. Thanks to its excellent brightness and visual angle, as well as the dedicated app, you can make the most of the night mode, which is often offered by the latest flagships, to read more comfortably in the dark.

Night Mode Install on Google Play AndroidPIT lg g4 stock android 1 The LG G4 has a great QHD screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

It has a camera that speaks for itself

The camera is one of the LG G4’s strongest points and, if you’ve been using this device for a while, you’ll have to agree with me. The main 16 MP sensor, with an aperture of f / 1.8 and a CSS color spectrum, guarantees photos with natural colors and precise details. A manual mode is also available for changing the ISO sensitivity, contrast, white balance and so on. DxOMark, a point of reference in the field of image quality, ranks it at 8th place among the best cameras, with 83 points.

Of course, the G4’s camera doesn’t include real-time filters or beauty effects, but apps for this can easily be found on Play Store.

AndroidPIT lg g4 9 You won’t have access to real-time filters, but the G4’s photo quality is still good. / © ANDROIDPIT

…but you should get rid of your LG G4 because…

You can forget about Android O

Released with Android Lollipop, your G4 will not receive the Android O update. In March, LG confirmed that Nougat will be rolled out to all LG G4 devices in the US in the second half of this year, so unless there’s been a change in schedule, Nougat should arrive on smartphones between June and August. However, this will be the last official version of Android for the G4.

AndroidPIT android O Oreo 2072 Android O(reo) will be elusive to the LG G4. / © ANDROIDPIT

There is no fingerprint scanner

The fingerprint scanner has almost become a standard feature on new smartphones, so much so that many brands have started to integrate it in their mid-range smartphones. The G4 doesn’t have one though, and while it’s not an indispensable feature and you can replace it with a dedicated app, it’s not exactly the same.

AndroidPIT lg g5 friends 0398 On the G5, the fingerprint reader is located at the back. / © ANDROIDPIT

Its processor isn’t from the latest generation

The Snapdragon 808 isn’t a chip that was recently released on the market, and it wasn’t even the most recent on the market when the G4 was released. LG preferred to stay at a distance from Snapdragon 810, which suffered a few overheating issues. The Snapdragon 808, with its two Cortex A57 cores operating at 2.5 GHz, offers good performances but it can’t rival the chips integrated in new top-range smartphones (such as the Snapdragon 835 or Kirin 960), which are often accompanied by 4 GB of RAM.

LG G4: what should you do with it?

If you already have an LG G4 that runs without any delays and you use it every day without any major problems, we would advise you to keep it. There’s no doubt that new flagships are better equipped, offering more attractive designs and integrating interesting technologies and features, but that’s normal. Mobile technology is evolving every year and brands are constantly adding new elements to their smartphones. As useful or attractive as they are, these new features aren’t always necessary.

If you play games on your smartphone, you’ll probably need a device with an integrated Snapdragon 835, but if you use your G4 for less demanding games, to chat on WhatsApp or to check your emails, you can stick with your device. If you wait a few months, you’ll be able to buy one of the most recent top-range devices at a more affordable price (LG G6, Huawei P10, Galaxy S8, HTC U11, Sony Xperia XZ Premium, etc.).

If you have to replace your old Android device, and if you want a top-range smartphone that won’t be out of date after a year, I recommend you don’t buy the G4 now. The G4 is still a good smartphone by today’s standards but, in 2018, it will have had its day. If you consider the fact that you can buy the device on Amazon for under $ 200, I would rather opt for the Galaxy A5 2017 or Honor 8, for example.

What do you think of the LG G4? If you have one, will be you keeping it? Let us know in the comments below.

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TouchPal Pro review: AI at your fingertips for faster typing


How to setup TouchPal Pro

The app can be installed from the Google Play Store under the name of TouchPal Keyboard Pro-type with AI assistant. Just hit install to get it on your phone. It works on any Android phone running Android 4.0.3 and later and with its 32M doesn’t take long to install.

TouchPal Keyboard Pro- type with AI assistant Install on Google Play

For the initial setup of the app, you need to sign in using your Facebook, Google, Email or Twitter account, which will be used to backup the machine learnings. Next, you are asked to choose an initial theme, like a standard dark version, butterflies, water, cats etc. There is a wide range of these to choose from. You then land on the app’s home screen, which offers various categories, such as stickers, themes, live themes, Emoji packs, BoomTexts (you can create any text you type into its own GIF), fonts, games, localized dictionaries (like for various city-specific talk from Boston, New York, etc. or from a various sector, like health, legal or finance). Using all of these options, you are able to further personalize your keyboard to your every need and own personal taste.

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2953 TouchPal Pro offers you a wide range of themes. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2871 BoomTexts allows you to create any text you type into its own GIF. These are some of the cool ways they are displayed.  / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

TouchPal Pro feature: AI-powered accurate predictions and smart replies

To get into TouchPal, just open any app that requires a keyboard. I used WhatsApp to give it a whirl. When looking for the perfect keyboard for my smartphone, there is one thing I value most of all: speed and efficiency. Since nowadays we type so much, calling has seriously decreased, typing effectively is even more important. TouchPal claims that it has attained a 99.4 percent higher prediction rate because of its artificial intelligence engine with AI assistant-integrated predictions, smart replies and information recommendations driven by machine learning technology. I of course put this claim to the test. I found at the beginning, app was already able to suggest appropriate words to me, though it got even better with longer usage as the app picked up my typing trends. When receiving a message, TouchPal Pro did suggest some answers that I found to be suitable. The predictive typing also worked well and presented various options as well.

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2942 TouchPal Pro supplies you with Smart Replies to the messages you receive, which can be a real time saver. These will improve over time as it learns from your behavior. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

TouchPal Pro feature: Talia digital assistant, smart information and recommendations

TouchPal integrated an AI engine that learns from your behavior to improve your typing suggestion. It also introduced Talia. This is the name of TouchPal’s very own smart assistant and comes with a wide range of “skills”: smart reply for response suggestions, weather forecasts, dining recommendations, pasting from the clipboard, GIF predictions and calculations of basic math operations. For all of these options, it is based off of what you type. After the input, you will be presented with a little text bubble, which I did not find to be intrusive at all, on the top right corner of the keyboard. Here you will then see whether it is a reply, the forecast, a GIF etc, depending on what context. 

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2879 Certain words like Hello, Hola, Wow, Cute, OMG etc. prompt GIFs to pop up on the screen for you to choose from.  / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2927 TouchPal Pro can calculate simple math equations that one aren’t so simple for some! 😉 / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

To access Talia and look up more information, you need to simply select the circular-like icon on the far right side of the keyboard. Here you can also search the web with either speech or typed input and receive a list of internet options. The website can then be shared directly into the chat. This is also a place where you can access and play games. Talia is still currently in its beta version, so there are likely to be more features in the future. It only works in English, Spanish and Hinglish at the moment.

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2887 TouchPal Pro offers restaurant recommendations right in the app. Tap on the bubble will bring you to a list of nearby restaurants.  / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2890 The restaurants will be presented in the Talia Digital Assistant screen. You can then share the info with the person you are chatting to. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

How is the user interface, controls and language choice on TouchPal Pro?

The keyboard is highly customizable and there are also many settings to play around with. In order for you to get the smart help, you need to turn this on in the Settings of your phone, under Accessibility, and then TouchPal Pro. Within the keyboard itself, the settings are found by tapping on the TouchPal icon on the far left. Here you can configure such things as the language and add as many as you want from the 150 tongues provided (great for multilinguals like me!), layout and size and key sound. Here you can also access the clipboard as well as trends, which is like a news feed.

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2875 TouchPal Pro has its own integrated news feed called “Trends”.  / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

For more setup possibilities, the settings icon brings you to the Look and Feel (keypress setup, Smileys, animation smart suggestion toggles), Predictions, Cloud, Languages and Help and Support. Looking specifically at the Predictions category, you can step up the app’s learning capabilities by allowing it to learn from messages and Twitter. Under Cloud, it shows you where your dictionaries and data are synced (for me my Gmail account). You can also choose for the app to input word trends, meaning trending words, phrases and languages models. For quick access to the corresponding TouchPal app full of themes, fonts, etc, hit the icon that looks like a shirt next to the TouchPal icon.

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2898 TouchPal Pro comes with a wide range of settings options to meet your needs. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

TouchPal Pro speed and stability: how fast is TouchPal Pro?

Typing, swiping, or Curve Typing, as they call it, and predictions were all very fast and though the first predictions using the app were not always spot on, the word I was looking for appeared in the list of other suggestions. I think this will become better with prolonged usage. The GIF suggestions didn’t work each time, however this may also be due to its learning of my habits or me getting used to the app, though I would have expected more GIFs right away to auto-show. I did find that this worked better after a day of usage though. That being said, there is a GIFs menu to wide range of options to search through. Recommendations worked as well, though these currently work in English, Spanish and Hinglish, and the countries that speak those languages. Recommendations for the USA worked well.

In addition to Curve Word gesture, you can also select Wave Sentence gesture. To input expected words, you need to swipe from the first letter to the space bar, then without releasing, drag your finger to the next letter for the next word. So, when typing See you, you just need to drag your finger from the S, to the keyboard, to the Y for you. Both options are very fast.

How secure and private is TouchPal Pro? 

Security and privacy are important factors to consider for any app you install on your phone. TouchPal does require permissions to your phone data, just as any app, and this especially so that it can enhance its predictions. For example, TouchPal will have access to your contact names to faster typing, as well as your SMS messages. There is a very transparent list of the data it collects on their website under Privacy Policy, which is a plus point for TouchPal. The company keeps the data anonymous, private and secure, and does not provide any information to third parties. This is a pill one needs to swallow for a faster typing experience so the app can learn from your behavior.

How much does TouchPal Pro cost?

The app is free to install and to use. A lot of the downloadable fonts, themes, games, BoomTexts etc. are free as well, but there are some paid ones too, like in the case for financial or legal jargon. The prices range from 0.85 USD to 5 USD.

AndroidPIT Touchpal app 2874 TouchPal Pro also comes with some cool games for free.  / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

TouchPal Pro final verdict – our parting words

For a free app (aside from the in-app paid add-ons), TouchPal is one of a kind and a pioneer in the AI keyboard game. With its plethora of setting, customization and feature options, in addition of course to the AI services it offers with the help of Digital Assistant Talia, TouchPal will continue to be used as often as it is now by smartphone owners around the world, on both Android and Apple. Though I would like to see it learn faster in the future, I could already observe the machine learning in process. It is also great to have an AI Assistant right in the app, so there is no need to exit it to get the info you need. Lastly, the fact that TouchPal openly and clearly say what it uses the data for is a big bonus point for me. While I am looking forward to Talia to come out of its beta stage and to be available in more languages, I can already recommend the TouchPal Pro keyboard app.

What do you think about the TouchPal Pro app with its AI engine and digital assistant Talia? Would you install this one today on your smartphone?

TouchPal Keyboard Pro- type with AI assistant Install on Google Play

This article was written in cooperation with TouchPal

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Facebook tracks data from non-users, and keeps it from them

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that’s seen Facebook stock take a big hit and a strong user backlash against the platform, those who never signed up for the social network could be forgiven for being a little smug. But not so fast.

As it turns out, Facebook, which is in the business of gathering as much data from as many people as possible in order to run precisely targeted ads, gets its information about you from many sources, not just what’s on the profiles of its users. 

This gives the lie to Facebook’s official line that the users are in control of the data that they share, and that the company is only using the data that people willingly offer up.

What are Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles?’

Even if you’ve never signed up for Facebook, the company might still have a file on you, gathered through uploaded contact lists, photos, or other sources.When someone you know joins Facebook, the social network can find traces of you in the email/phone contacts, for example. Should you then register on the network, you’ll find it already has an uncanny ability to suggest friends from your social and professional circle before you’ve told them any details.

As well as details pulled from your social and professional circle that you may not have consented to share with the company, Facebook’s file on you also contains information on your web browsing through use of embedded ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons. These can be tracked even if you’re logged out of your Facebook account.

Privacy advocates refer to these files on non-users as ‘shadow profiles’, and, given Facebook’s huge userbase, there’s a good chance the company has one on you even if you’ve been diligent in avoiding the social network. 

Zuckerberg has, of course, never heard of such a thing

Mark Zuckerberg testified before a congressional hearing last week, Mark Zuckerberg  was asked about shadow profiles by new Mexico Democrat Ben Luján. The Facebook founder and CEO claimed not to be familiar with them, and although it’s not a term Facebook uses officially, it’s also hard to believe Zuckerberg has never heard of the most widely used name for these occult files.

Congressman Ben Luján questions Zuckerberg on ‘shadow profiles’:

Nonetheless Zuckerberg confirmed the company collects information on nonusers. “In general, we collect data of people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes,” he said.

Trouble is, non-users haven’t given their consent to have his personal data collected, and what’s worse, don’t have any recourse to access this data without registering. Yes, you heard that right.

I don’t have a Facebook account, and want to access my personal data

We’ve explained how to download all the information Facebook has on you, a sensible precaution to take if you’re planning to #DeleteFacebook. Fine, if you’re already a Facebook user. But if you don’t have a Facebook account? Facebook’s help page for this situation directs you to a process that requires you to sign up for the social network.

So to add insult to injury, not only has the non-Facebook user had their data gathered without their consent, but they have to sign up to a service they don’t want and ‘consent’ to give up more information to the company in the process of requesting this data.

It’s clear from this that Facebook’s problems with privacy don’t just concern its active users, but will remain a problem for those who have quit the social network or never signed up for it in the first place. This is likely going to cause some tension when Europe’s GDPR kicks in, as the regulation requires data-portability for all citizens, not just Facebook users.

Zuckerberg has stated his willingness to comply with GDPR for its European users but has stopped short of guaranteeing similar protections for users in the US and elsewhere. Nonetheless, if Facebook wants people to take seriously the idea that they can control their data, it needs to bring the information in these shadow profiles into the light—where users and non-users alike can see their personal data and claim it.

What do you think of Facebook’s data collection practices? What kind of changes would you like to see?

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