100 days with the Razer Phone: the edgy outsider


An alternative style

Over the course of using the Razer Phone as my daily driver for several months, I got plenty of comments from friends about its appearance. We might know it as the Nextbit Robin in its edgy goth phase, but for most people, it’s just that weird black block phone.

Now, your mileage may vary according to taste, but I have some affection for the unfashionable Razer Phone. With the smartphone industry dominated by lemming-like following and trend-chasing, the Razer Phone stands out from the crowd. Does the Razer Phone look sexy? Nope, but it looks different, and that has a charm of its own.

AndroidPIT razer phone 0298 No sexy curves for this geeky gamer phone. / © AndroidPIT

While the Razer Phone may not have the shiny sleekness of the latest Samsung or Huawei, it’s not by omission, but by design. The Razer Phone knows exactly what it wants to be. And if you plumped for an outsider like the Razer for your phone of choice, chances are you have a pretty clear idea of what you want too. As you’ll see in this article, the Razer Phone’s form serves its function.

Mean multimedia machine

If you see your smartphone as a portable media device or palm computer, then it’s hard to find better than the Razer Phone. The audiovisual experience is incredible, thanks to the gorgeous screen and absolutely fantastic front facing stereo speakers 

Many of the strengths of the Razer Phone really became apparent when I’ve been on holiday or on the road, far from my precious PC. The front facing speakers and the ability to prop the phone up in landscape (well worth all the comments about the ‘blocky’ design) has made it more than able to serve as my music and video player on the go without ever feeling like I’ve compromised on quality.

AndroidPIT razer phone 0303 The ability of the phone to rest on one side is highly underrated. / © AndroidPIT

A January software update enabled support for Netflix HDR videos as well as Dolby Digital 5.1, so the Razer Phone is still in the top class when it comes to playing multimedia. And as you would expect from Razer, this naturally includes gaming. 

The gaming, tho

As a lifelong gamer, I ‘get’ what Razer is trying to do here, and appreciate what they’ve done for gamers while also realizing the problem of the gamer’s smartphone. Most gamers who can afford the $ 700 Razer Phone would already have a good PC/console at home, which the Razer Phone can’t compete with. So how much gaming are you really going to do with it?

This is something that anyone who buys into Razer’s marketing will have to consider. The Razer Phone is just as good a handheld gaming platform as it is a general multimedia device on the go, capable of running the most demanding, cutting edge mobile games with ease. 

AndroidPIT Razer Phone Gaming 03 The Razer Phone can take the most demanding games on the Play Store, no trouble. / © AndroidPIT

You want AAA graphics on the go? You got it with the Razer Phone. Aside from travelling and the daily commute, I’ve also had the pleasure of using the Razer Phone as my main test device for all those tasty game reviews I’m serving up here on a daily basis. I haven’t been tempted to swap it out for any others.

For more details about the Razer Phone gaming experience, and how games from the 120Hz IGZO LCD display and Razer’s Game Booster, settings, I’ll point you to my dedicated article. 100 days on, I can still confidently say that the Razer Phone is the best choice if you want your smartphone to also be a handheld gaming device.

They see me scrollin’, they hatin’

Even I don’t spend the majority of my time with the Razer Phone playing games or even watching videos. Like many people, the majority of my use is taken up by social media and web browsing. Maybe I spend more time than the average person going through documents and news feeds in the course of my research.

AndroidPIT razer phone 0311 You won’t want to slow down. / © AndroidPIT

It’s in these simple everyday tasks that the Razer Phone shines again, thanks to the display’s 120hz refresh rate and relatively clean software. Scrolling and navigating on the Razer Phone is lightning-fast, butter-smooth and highly addictive. Once you’re used to it, most other devices feel sluggish under the fingers.

A beefy battery

The Razer Phone’s chunky 4,000 mAh battery gives it a good lifespan even with the screen set to 120 fps all the time. Even taking into account a couple of short gaming sessions with something like Arena of Valor, PUBG, or Shadowgun Legends, the phone chugs through the whole day. With just casual use, it’s usually a day and a half before I reach for the cable.

Taking full advantage of the phone’s media and gaming capabilities on the go though, means either diving into the game booster to tone down the framerate and graphical goodies, or having an power source nearby. Luckily, the packed-in charger juices it up to full power in no time thanks to Quick Charge 4+.

Great in the hand, awkward in the pocket

Touching again on the Razer Phone’s shape, the rectangular shape that makes it a great portable media player and helps a secure grip in both hands while gaming makes it pretty inconvenient in the pocket. More than once I’ve been annoyed at the phone poking my legs or sliding up out of my jeans. 

AndroidPIT Razer Phone Gaming hero 6803 The size and shape of the Razer Phone makes it somewhat inconvenient to carry around. / © AndroidPIT

Speaking of jeans, I’m fairly confident this phone is responsible for wearing a hole through my cheapest pair. Should I shake my fist at Razer? Or Primark? The Razer Phone’s unwieldiness is especially inconvenient the summer when lighter clothing is required. This ain’t a phone to casually carry around in your shorts and text with.

The camera can’t catch up

In our initial review of the Razer Phone, it was clear that the camera just didn’t measure up to the quality of other similarly priced devices, and despite updates rolled out by Razer, this situation hasn’t changed. This is the major factor keeping the Razer Phone from joining the cool kids table and counting flagships from Huawei and Samsung among its peers.

Uncertain updates

Part of the unease with the Razer Phone is that we’re still not sure how well Razer will do with regard to software support. So far, it’s a mixed bag. I didn’t expect them to do miracles with the camera updates but the ability to play HDR content on Netflix was much appreciated. 

The real test will be with Android versions and security patches. I’m still waiting for the update to Android 8.1 Oreo, which is meant to arrive later this month. It’s a far from speedy update schedule, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence about the Razer Phone’s future-proofing.

A loveable misfit

Despite some misgivings, I’m glad I took a chance on the outsider and stuck with the Razer Phone over the long term. In many ways, it’s a specialist phone for particular interests. As a gamer and multimedia enthusiast, the Razer Phone’s strengths align with my use, with the camera being the only cause for regret.

The Razer Phone clearly has room for improvement, and that’s why I’m also looking forward to the next generation to fix its weaknesses and also watching out for Razer’s ambitious Project Linda, which would allow the Razer Phone and its successor to serve as a 13-inch laptop.

Weird? Niche? Yes, but that’s part of the appeal. After 100 days, I’ve found a lot to love in this misfit, and while there are mobile games to be played and music to be blasted, we’ll be keeping company.

Have you tried the Razer Phone? What do you think of it?

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How to back everything up on your Galaxy smartphone

Our steps here are suitable for most Samsung Galaxy devices, so whether you’re still hanging on to your trusty S4, S5, S6 or S7, or whether you have a new device such as the S8, S8 Plus or the recently released Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus and most other Galaxy devices, you can follow these steps to secure your data.

MobiKin Assistant for Android

So, how do you backup your Samsung? The fastest and easiest way to backup everything on your Galaxy is to get the MobiKin Assistant for Android. Enjoy the peace-of-mind of knowing all of your contacts, text messages, music, videos and more are backed up.

Simply download the software to your PC, plug your phone in and everything will be backed up very quickly. All you need to do is follow some easy instructions. You can also recover your data from this device if you so choose. 

mobikin screenshot Backup and recover everything on your Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9 and the majority of other Galaxy phones / © MobiKin

MobiKin backs up all your data by securely exporting your files to your computer, all of which will be transferred in their original format and data quality, at the end you’ll not only have a backup, but you’ll free up precious memory on your device. Get started by downloading the software and secure everything on your Galaxy.

Which category should I use to backup my Samsung Galaxy?

Backups basically fall into two categories: those for rooted users, and those for non-rooted users. If you are not rooted, there are several options available, which we’ll cover below. If you do have root level access, you’ll have an easier time performing your backup (that’s a topic for another tutorial).

We’ll show you the best methods for keeping your apps and data safe so if you have your phone stolen, get a Gremlin-filled update or otherwise fall foul of good luck, your essential data will still be safe.

Important: don’t only rely on backups

There’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way of backing things up: regularly transferring them to your computer. Connect with a USB cable (don’t forget to install the Android USB drivers first) and copy your pictures, music and documents to your hard drive.

You can also use cloud storage to automatically save various files on your computer, such as Google’s great Photos app that automatically uploads your camera shots. You can also link certain folders to a cloud service such as Drive or Box (I do this for screenshots).

Your emails are internet-hosted and WhatsApp messages are safe because they are backed up to your SD card every day at 4 am anyway, so you just need to save the database file before doing a reset.

backup1 CAPTION – REPLACE ME! / © Mobikin

Your device isn’t rooted? No problem, there’s another option

In the settings menu of your smartphone or tablet you’ll find the backup and reset settings, where you can add an account to which your apps, data and passwords can be backed up. This is usually your Google account.

This is also where you set your restore options and activate a factory reset. It is also a good idea to sign in to your favorite apps with an account that can be used to store your data if you lose your phone or have to reinstall the app at some point. Many apps also offer cloud backup options and you’ve got plenty of cloud backup services that you can use to regularly schedule backups too.

How to create a backup

If you don’t want everything stored in the cloud or on your Google account then you can simply use your computer to make a backup of your apps and data. The best in class in this area is Clockworkmod’s Carbon Backup, now known as Helium.

Helium – App Sync and Backup Install on Google Play

Simply install Helium on your Android and then on your computer, click the following link to download Helium for desktop and follow the prompts. You’ll be able to backup all sorts of stuff, including your apps and data, predictive typing predictions, text messages and call logs. Here’s how it’s done.

AndroidPIT USB Debugging Developer Options You need USB Debugging enabled first. / © AndroidPIT

1. Don’t forget: you need to have USB Debugging enabled in Developer Options in your phone first (see screenshots above).

2. Tap build number (in Settings > About Phone) seven times until it pops up. Connect your Galaxy to your computer with a USB cable and establish the connection.

mobikin image 2 Go to Settings > Accounts tab > Backup and reset and set up your backup account. / © AndroidPIT mobikin image 3 Ensure USB debugging is enabled. / © AndroidPIT

3. Once the connection is established, start selecting the apps and data you’d like to backup.

4. ”Select all” or select individual apps and you also have the option to only backup your app data, but not the app itself. This makes your backup file much smaller, and you will simply need to reinstall the app from the Play Store before restoring your data.

mobikin image 4 Tap the blue window icon in the bottom left to get started, or tick individual apps. © AndroidPIT / © AndroidPIT

5. Make sure you enable PC Download in the action overflow menu to activate a unique IP address on the Helium server from which you can access your backup from your computer. Type in the unique URL to download your backup for safe keeping. Otherwise, hit Backup and you’re done.

Now, you just need to remember to do backups regularly!

AndroidPIT Helium Backup Server Backup everything on your Galaxy. / © AndroidPIT

Have you ever lost all the data on your phone? We hope you’ve backed everything up on your Galaxy now! Leave a comment and let us know.

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Poll: which unlocking method do you prefer?

The latest technologies are allowing us to unlock our smartphones in a multitude of ways and using a PIN or swipe pattern are seeming old fashioned now that other methods have been perfected. Face recognition is popular right now, and also the in-display fingerprint scanner is getting a lot of attention. Which is your favorite way to unlock your phone?

Face recognition technology is by no means new, but we’re only just seeing it being effective. Take the iPhone X or the OnePlus 5T for example. Both have added security with quick and effective face unlocking. Such technology has been combined with the iris scanner in the Samsung Galaxy S9. Using this alone though, has its problems 

Next, lets talk about the fingerprint scanner which is present on most, if not all, modern devices now. What’s interesting of late is the possibility for this to be inserted beneath the display. Phones that are not readily available in the US, such as Vivo devices or the Huawei Porsche Design Mate RS already have this feature. Hopefully with the release of new handsets such as the OnePlus 6 or the Honor 10, we’ll have this new technology in our hands soon.

Also in the works could be Samsung’s blood measure, but as of yet this is only a patent, which will allow you to be recognized by the characteristics of your blood flow: it sounds unusual, we know!

Which is your preferred method of unlocking? Do you a simple PIN or swipe code, or are you a fan of newer technologies? Vote and let us know.

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5 apps you need to try out this week

This week, we’ve selected some super useful apps for you to download onto your Android smartphone. Organize your projects and workflow, give to charity, edit your photos, find your way around a city or talk about your feelings with our app picks.

Trello

This is an absolute essential if you’re looking to get more organized for work, and if you’re a visual learner: even better, as it uses this kind of methodology in the app. You can easily collaborate with work colleagues and use it in a professional setting, or it also works as a way to organize personal chores at home with your family or room mates.

It’s very simple to use and you get a lot in the free version, but you can unlock more features for a fee. If you’re considering it for project management, keep in mind that you will need to subscribe to a premium account to unlock all the necessary features.

Trello Install on Google Play

ShareTheMeal

“There are 20 times as many smartphone users as hungry children” is what United Nations states on the page for its ShareTheMeal app. You may have already heard about it since it won Google’s Best Social Impact award last year, it’s basically an app you can install on your phone and donate money from wherever you are

You can see exactly where your money is going and who you are helping, and the app has a feature where you can work together with friends in the app to encourage each other to take part in this great cause. 

ShareTheMeal –by the United Nations WFP Install on Google Play

PhotoDirector

Here is another photo editing app for you to try out, with many features available for free, or you can purchase the pro version if that’s what you need. It has a huge range of editing tools and effects you can add to your images, including HSL sliders, RGB color channels, adjustments for the usual effects including saturation, brightness, exposure and more. You can also create collages, remove objects from photographs and layer edit your snaps.

PhotoDirector Photo Editor App Install on Google Play

Citymapper

This is fantastic alternative to Google maps if you’re out and about and need to find the best routes and transport options. First, we recommend you check out the list of cities the app is available in before downloading it, as it’s quite limited. There are several major US and UK cities covered by Citymapper, so you may be able to use it in your hometown. One of the best things about it is the personalization, as you can save your regular journeys to access quickly when you need to get somewhere.

On your way, you have live updates, arrival time estimate, delays and you can even let you’re friends or family follow you on your trip (if you’re always late, this is a good one) and you an easily share your location so they get directions to where you are, too.

Citymapper – Transit Navigation Install on Google Play

Replika

This next app is something different, with AI as its central feature. It’s basically a messaging app, except you’re not talking to a real person. It’s algorithms are designed for it to talk back to you as if it was a real person. It’s purpose? To give you a safe place to talk about your thoughts and problems. Do you think this could be a huge help to those who need someone to talk to, or do you think it’s a potential invasion of privacy?

Either way, we will probably be seeing more and more AI apps like this in the future, and it’ll be interesting to see how intelligent it will become.

Replika Install on Google Play

Have you tried any of these apps? Share you thoughts and recommendations with us!

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Pros and cons of the trendy 18:9 screen format

Like some other trends, such as the notch, the 18:9 screens have flooded the market, and now it’s nearly mandatory that top-range devices come with this aspect ratio, with many intermediaries already adopting this feature as well. The 18:9 screens seem to have been well received by the public, but what are their biggest advantages and disadvantages? Let’s check them out.

AndroidPIT LG G6 MWC 2017 hands on The LG G6 is one of the precursors of the 18:9 screens. / © ANDROIDPIT

Advantages

Do more things simultaneously

The dual-screen feature has come to various brands and their devices before being completely incorporated into Android software. With this function you can fit a lot in an 18:9 screen, either vertically or horizontally. With the longer display, two apps work much better on the device, and consequently, their productivity increases.

More space for apps

Some apps easily benefit from an 18:9 screen. Browsers and eBook apps, for example, get more area to present text and images, which is great for people who are accustomed to a large computer screen. Some games will also take advantage of the increased screen size and usage area.

samsung galaxy s8 The Galaxy S8 was Samsung’s first endeavor with an 18:9 format. / © AndroidPIT

Easier to hold

With this new aspect ratio, it’s become possible to increase the size of the screen without harming the device’s usability. Therefore, devices with 6-inch screens feel much more secure than devices with 5.5-inch screens in the previous format. In the same way, the 18:9 format and infinite screen facilitate one another, making it easier to implement this feature without disturbing usage.

Disadvantages

Videos aren’t ready

With the increasing number of 18:9 devices (including monitors and TVs), the production of content in this screen format has increased as well. But until then, you’ll have to make complicated decisions when watching a video, because either you’ll cut off the subtitles or you’ll lose content on both sides. Some companies are already producing content in this format, but they’re still the minority. So until there’s more of them, we’ll have to wait for content.

Apps aren’t ready yet

And it’s not just with videos that problems appear. In the case of apps, many of them are also not up to date to deal with long screens. So you end up with two black bars on the top and bottom, or on the side. Yes, this isn’t such a serious problem, but you paid a premium to have an 18:9 screen, so wouldn’t it be better to take full advantage of it?

AndroidPIT lg q6 7150 2 The LG Q6 shows how the 18:9 format has arrived on mid-range phones. / AndroidPIT

Longer swipes

This would be a disadvantage even if the screen still had a 16:9 aspect ratio, but with a longer screen, it becomes more difficult to reach available content. In the case of swipes that require the whole screen, like in browsers, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. But in the case of a game, where your thumb needs 25 centimeters to quickly complete a command, things get more complicated.

And what about you? Do you see more advantages or disadvantages in an 18:9 display?

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Livestream: The upcoming phones you should wait for

The first 3 months of 2018 saw the arrival of numerous excellent smartphones, which we’ll no doubt continue to talk about for some time. But it’s just the beginning. Here are the exciting new Android phones that will be released in the next months.

What will we be talking about this Friday?

What will be the best new phone to buy in 2018? With the fast pace of smartphone evolution, there’s always something to wait for. Thanks to leaks and rumors, we already have an idea of the next upcoming devices. We know more about some devices than about others, but LG, OnePlus, Honor, HTC, Motorola, Google and even Huawei and Samsung still have something to show us. Today we want to take a look together at those phones that haven’t yet launched. 

2>

Be sure to tune in at 11:30 am Eastern US time (or 4:30 pm if you are in the UK) on our YouTube channel or our Facebook page. See you then!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Android manufacturers are lying to us about security updates

As if the situation regarding the main updates of Android was not already problematic enough because of the high fragmentation, it seems that the situation with regard to security patches is not the best either. Some producers have been caught lying about these important updates, demonstrating that Google has no control over the mobile ecosystem it has created.

Now it’s not new, almost no Android smartphone manufacturer can keep up with the fast updates that Google makes to its OS. Obviously some are better than others and despite not being released at the same time, important updates for all smartphones is at least supposedly guaranteed through special monthly security patches monthly (which is still not done by all manufacturers).

Even the brands that seem most attentive and diligent have been found to not fulfill their duty properly, even lying about the level of security patches of the devices. This is stated in a Wired report that will disseminate more details during the Hack in the Box security conference.

Researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of Security Research Labs have spent the past two years checking the security level of hundreds of smartphone models from dozens of brands to see if the security patches indicated as on the devices had actually been implemented.

What’s the problem, exactly?

The results are worrying as it has emerged that many of the manufacturers would increase the level of security patches indicated on smartphones without actually applying the patches to the system, thus leaving a gap between the actual level of protection and the declared one.

The differences vary from model to manufacturer but since the patches are indicated in the monthly Security bulletins published by Google, this should not happen under any circumstances.

According to the report, some manufacturers deliberately altered the representation of the patch level by simply changing the name, which should make the owners of the smartphones in question rather unsettling. This is possible by editing the ro.build.version.security_patch string within the build.prop system file.

Android Security Patches Table TCL is the licensee of the BlackBerry brand, which used to have a good reputation for security. / © Security Research Lab – Wired

Sometimes the gap is attributed by researchers to human error: there would be no other reason for manufacturers like Sony or Samsung to miss only some of the patches instead of others. SRL has also published tables that verify security updates from October 2017 until now and check which manufacturers have been diligent and which have not.

Looking at the data you can see that Google, Sony, Samsung and Wiko are the most careful while ZTE and TCL are among the worst.

Is it all the fault of the manufacturers?

Yes and no. SRL pointed out that manufacturers are only part of the problem while the main blame can be attributed to chip makers. For example, Mediatek devices are much more affected by this situation than devices using Qualcomm or Samsung chips.

Android Security Patches Vendors bspline Mediatek always remains in the worst place, whatever the problem… / © Security Research Lab – Wired

Google is to blame, there is no excuse

The Mountain View company has stated that it will initiate an investigation into all the devices indicated by researchers as guilty of having an actual gap between the patches implemented and those indicated by the manufacturer.

The most disconcerting fact is that there is no control by Google regarding the actual implementation of the security patches indicated by the manufacturers in the updates they release, which should not happen. Google has long since lost control over its platform, whether it wants to admit it or not.

Pixel 2 phones are of course perfectly aligned with the patches

What I personally cannot understand is why companies waste resources on creating “fake” updates that only change the level of patches indicated. Would it not be more honest and useful to redirect these resources to the implementation of more timely system updates?

Of course some are worse offenders than others, but I’m really distressed by this behavior from companies and by the fact that OEMs feel entitled to deceive their users in this way.

What do you think of this embarrassing situation? What do you think Google can do to solve the problem?

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How to save battery power on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

After analyzing Samsung’s new flagships for 2018, it has become clear that the battery isn’t its strong point. That’s why in this article we’re focusing on how to improve autonomy on the Galaxy S9 and S9+, ranging from quick fixes to full control of the device.

We’ve sorted the different types of settings from the simplest, fastest, and most battery-saving to more detailed application options and settings that will stretch the S9’s battery life to the max. If you’re looking for more tips, we have an article just for tricks for the S9 and S9+.

Screen resolution, time and brightness

To better control energy consumption, the first thing to do is put the consumption on the screen at bay. The easiest way is to lower the brightness of the screen or at least turn it to automatic, reduce the time it takes for it to turn off from inactivity, and reduce the resolution at which objects are displayed on the screen.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 01 These three easy settings can save a lot of battery power.. / © AndroidPIT

The three options can be changed within the settings in the screen section in Brightness/ Automatic brightness, Screen resolution (HD+ will consumes less), and Screen timeout (15 seconds).

Deactivate Always On display

After our battery test we were able to quantify how much battery life this option requires. At the end of each day of use, the Always On display option took away between 6% and 10% of the battery life on the S9 or S9+. To disable the option, go to Settings>Lock screen>Always On display. Once deactivated, I hope you won’t turn on the display to look at it every 5 minutes, because this will in fact use even more battery power than the Always On display does.

Limit automatic connections

The latest generation of devices have an option to activate the Wi-Fi connection as soon as you’re within reach of a known network. It’s a very convenient feature, but it uses a lot more battery power than if you turn the Wi-Fi on and off yourself. The quickest way to deactivate this option is to search for it by name in settings search bar under: Turn on Wi-fi automatically.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 02 It’ll cost you battery life if your Wi-Fi signal is on at all times. / © AndroidPIT

MED energy saving mode

There are options directly within the device to control battery consumption, and two quick options: MED and MAX, which you can quickly activate to set a number of parameters and save battery power. The first will give you decent savings and a couple more hours of use without sacrificing many of the good feature on the S9. My ideal configuration of this mode is:

  • Background network usage: activated
  • Always On display: deactivated
  • Speed limiter: deactivated
  • Decrease brightness: -10%
  • Screen resolution: FHD+

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 03 Resolution: FHD++Average savings from day to day. / © AndroidPIT

MAX power saving mode

The second mode is the maximum economy mode and can extend battery life another 5 or 6 hours. The purpose of these settings is to extend the device’s autonomy as long as possible at the cost of sacrificing all possible functions. The best settings for this mode are:

  • Background network usage: deactivated
  • Always On display: deactivated
  • Speed limiter: activated
  • Decrease brightness: -10%
  • Screen resolution: HD+

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 04 Maximum savings for those longer days. / © AndroidPIT

Sleeping apps

Some applications consume power even if they’re kept in the background. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will let you know which applications are consuming the most power. You can close the process in the background from the notification itself so that it will stop draining the battery.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 05 Beware of the applications that are most consuming. / © AndroidPIT

Careful monitoring of app consumption

If you still want to have more control over your applications’ power consumption, you have two additional options. The first and fastest way is to go to device maintenance within the settings and select the battery section. Under the saving modes, there are the applications that consume more battery power.

Check the applications you see fit and click on the solution button above. The selected applications will be closed, even from multitasking. Below the list of applications to close, there are two more sections: unsupervised apps and always inactive apps. It’s worth taking a look to control which applications are in each section.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 06 Put a few apps in line at once. / © AndroidPIT

The second option is to go application by application and adjust the battery consumption in the apps list under Settings>Applications. If necessary, include the application in the list of optimized applications.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 07 Limit activity in the background. / © AndroidPIT

Restrict use of data in the background

One of the things you can’t view is that more energy is consumed through 4G data transfer when apps are connected to the internet in the background. Within the information for each application, there’s a section dedicated to mobile data, where you can limit the use of data for each application.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 battery tips 08 Limit the data connections of individual apps. / © AndroidPIT

Do you know any other tricks to save battery life on the S9 or S9+?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Android O update overview for smartphones and tablets

Android O has been available as an initial Developer Preview version for a few weeks now, which of course begs the question: when will my smartphone or tablet receive the next update to Android O? In this article, we’ll keep you up to date on which manufacturers and devices are getting Android O and when. Nokia has just confirmed that its three new phones will be updated to Android O.

Highlight recent changes

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

What do you think?

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Which mobile devices will get the Android O update?

Android O on Huawei devices

Huawei is the first manufacturer (after Google) to be working on the next Android update, which is currently only available in a developer version for the Pixel phones and some Nexus devices. The Chinese manufacturer is currently testing Android O on its phablet, the Mate 9. It has released the update to a few testing devices but it is still lacking many features, preventing users from getting the most out of the smartphone – for example, it’s not possible to access the Google Play Store yet.

Mate 9 android o Android O is being tested on the Huawei Mate 9. © XDA developers

However, this development does confirm the brand’s ambition to broadcast updates as quickly as possible. In beginning to test it already, Huawei may be in a position to deploy the final update of Android O to the Mate 9 shortly after the official launch by Google, which is expected to take place at the end of next summer if the Mountain View firm follows the same schedule as in previous years.

Android O update for Huawei

  Android O
Huawei Mate 9 Testing Developer Preview
Opinion by Pierre Vitré

All manufacturers should test the Developer Preview as early as possible, like Huawei

What do you think?

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Android O on OnePlus devices

OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau has just confirmed on Twitter that Android O will be made available for the OnePlus 3 and 3T. Despite their recent decision to stop producing any more of these smartphones, the manufacturer is still committed to supporting these two popular devices and upgrading them to the next version of Android.

Android O update for OnePlus

  Android O
OnePlus 3 Planned
OnePlus 3T Planned

Android O on Nokia devices

Nokia has just confirmed to TechRadar that the Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 will be upgraded to Android O. The three new Nokia phones announced at MWC will hit the shelves before the end of June with a nearly stock version of Android Nougat, which should make for fast updates. When Android O is released in Q3, probably September or October, the update to Android O should be rolled out shortly thereafter.

Android O update for Nokia

  Android O
Nokia 3 Planned
Nokia 5 Planned
Nokia 6 Planned

AndroidPIT NOKIA 6 5995 The Nokia 6, launching with Android Nougat / © AndroidPIT

Android O on the Google Nexus and Pixel

The first devices in line to get system updates are, as always, Google’s own devices: the Nexus and Pixel phones. At the moment, because Android O is still under development, the devices listed below will not receive the update over-the-air (OTA). Therefore, to get the update, you’ll have to install it manually.

Google has posted their update plans for the Pixel and Pixel XL on a support page, making their guarantees of two years of Android updates (through October 2018) and three years of security updates (through October 2019) official, so they will certainly receive the update to Android O when it is completed.

Android O update for Google Nexus and Pixel

  Android O
Google Nexus 5X Developer Preview
Google Nexus 6P Developer Preview
Google Nexus Player Developer Preview
Google Pixel C Developer Preview
Google Pixel  Developer Preview
Google Pixel XL Developer Preview

Do you think you’ll receive the Android O update on your smartphone? What would you like to see from it? We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments below!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Wi-Fi speakers: Systems for today and the future

Vinyl is experiencing its second heyday, CDs are slowly adopting a similar cult status, music cassettes are fading away, and the internet is gradually establishing itself as the premier distribution platform for music. The Recording Industry Association of America reported that in the first half of 2017, streaming services accounted for 62% of the revenue in the American music industry and digital downloads accounted for another 19%. Physical sales accounted for just 16%.

Along these lines, it’s quite logical that speaker systems of the future will be connected to the Internet in order to independently provide access to these digital formats. New speakers are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, but when happens then?

Many manufacturers provide their own systems and some have even agreed on common systems that can network all speakers and synchronize them for good sound: that includes Google Cast and AirPlay 2, which we’ll present later in this article. But first, here’s a list of viable candidates for your multi-room Wi-Fi audio setup:

Comparison of smart home speakers

  Sonos One Sonos Play:1 Sony LF-S50G Riva Arena JBL Link 10/20 Google Home UE Blast / Megablast Zolo Halo
Wi-Fi Systems Google Cast, Spotify Connect, Alexa Google Cast, Spotify Connect, Google Cast, Google Assistant DLNA, DDMS, AirPlay, Google Cast Google Cast, Google Assistant, Google Home (App) Google Cast, Google Assistant, Google Home (App) Alexa, Spotify Connect Alexa, Spotify Connect
Bluetooth no no yes yes yes no yes yes
Stereo sound option yes yes no yes no no no no
Battery no no no optional yes no yes no
Waterproof no no no no yes no yes no

Sonos One and Play:1

Sonos sells two almost identical speaker series, the One and Play:1. If you need the language assistant Alexa at home, you should buy the Sonos One. If you buy Play:1, you’ll get the same good sound without voice input and save 50 dollars. Sonos connects with Google Cast, Alexa (only One), Google Home / Assistant (soon), AirPlay 2 (soon) and Spotify Connect. The Sonos app loads music from 56 streaming sources directly to the speakers and solves most of the compatibility problems that competitors’ solutions still have.

AndroidPIT Sonos one play one smart speaker 0646 Sonos can be interconnected to form stereo pairs, multi-room systems and home cinema systems. / © AndroidPIT

The key feature of Sonos is its modular expandability. The manufacturer is continuously improving software and firmware and enables increasingly complex networking options for the various speakers. You can expand the first speaker to a stereo system and add it to your 5.1 setup a few years later if you want.

Sony LF-S50G

Sony’s smarter LF-S50G speaker arrived in our editorial office and is still being tested. From the outside, it appears based on an Apple Homepod. It is controlled by gestures that it senses outside its casing.

AndroidPIT Sony smart speaker LF S50C 2226 The Sony LF-S50G is still being tested. / © AndroidPIT

The Sony LF-S50G supports Google Cast, but can also be connected to other speakers through the home app to form multi-room systems, but not to form a stereo system. There’s still hope that Google will implement this feature in the Home app.

Riva Arena

Riva could be an interesting alternative to the Sonos speakers. They can also be coupled into stereo pairs or individually integrated in a multi-room system. They also have ‘Google Cast built-in’ and can be configured via the Google Home app. The optional battery pack is particularly practical and makes the speakers mobile.

Riva Arena Compact Multi-Room Speaker

JBL Link

JBL’s Link series can be controlled through voice commands via Google Assistant and configured to a multi-room system using the home app. Similar to Sony speakers, they don’t allow stereo configuration.

AndroidPIT jbl link 20 10 smart home speaker 6195 JBL has integrated Google Assistant into the Link series. / © AndroidPIT

The trick with the Link 10 and 20 is that they can be used as Bluetooth speakers with an integrated battery when you’re on the go. This makes them somewhat more versatile than other Wi-Fi speakers. Unfortunately, they don’t offer any virtual assistant functions without Wi-Fi.

Google Home

Since we couldn’t buy the supposedly good-sounding Google Home Max, we were forced to go for the relatively small Google Home. Unfortunately, it offers the tin can sound one would expect from the small format.

AndroidPIT google home 6966 Google Home may be pretty, but doesn’t offer great sound quality. / © AndroidPIT

Just like most other cast-enabled speakers, the Google Home speaker in the Google Home app connects to multi-room systems. The Wi-Fi speaker from Google, which has become a bit cheaper, doesn’t offer any extras.

Ultimate Ears Blast / Megablast

Ultimate Ears is the Alexa-enabled counterpart to the JBL Link 10 and 20. The colorful speakers are largely identical to the JBL Link series in their key data. The special feature is the party mode, which synchronizes several speakers while you’re on the go and doesn’t require Wi-Fi. This mode still wasn’t available during our test of the devices.

AndroidPIT ue megablast smart speaker 7064 Blast and Megablast sound good, but cost a fortune. / © AndroidPIT

Ultimate Ears Blast

Ultimate Ears Megablast

Zolo Halo

The tiny Eco replacement known as the Zolo Halo is still being reviewed. This tiny little device may not sound great, but at least it sounds better than an Echo Dot. If also offers voice control for your smart home thanks to Alexa integration.

AndroidPIT halo zolo anker smart speaker 0670 The Zolo Halo is really tiny. / © AndroidPIT

Thanks to the Bluetooth input, you can also play music from other sources besides the few streaming services that Alexa supports. Unlike the real Echo Dot, you can’t connect better speakers to the Zolo Halo via Bluetooth.

Zolo Halo Speaker

Multi-room systems are possible with Wi-Fi speakers from different manufacturers

Thanks to Google Cast and Apple AirPlay 2, speakers from different manufacturers can finally be linked to multi-room systems. Amazon’s Alexa is yet to master this. Due to the strict licensing conditions, you have to pick a standard and then stick with it. If you choose AirPlay, it’s always AirPlay. It’s the same with Google Home or Alexa. Google Home speakers in the JBL Link series cannot be retrofitted to Alexa or become Siri-enabled speakers.

AndroidPIT google home 7221 You can even control your multi-room systems by using Google Home (right) or assistant speakers. / © AndroidPIT

In any case, you can initially configure Wi-Fi speakers via the app. In Google Home, for example, you decide which streaming service you want to use. Speakers made for Google give you more choice than Alexa does. You can also group your speakers from the app so that three speakers in the living room can be controlled simultaneously. A stereo option with two speakers next to each other still isn’t possible in Google Home.

Sonos is the best, right?

Sonos was one of the first providers of multi-room systems with Wi-Fi capabilities. Both the sound of the speakers and the low-latency networking of several speakers were achieved by the manufacturer before competitors offered the same feature. Sonos still offers some features missing from Google Home, AirPlay, and other systems. These include stereo or surround sound operation with speakers linked to Wi-Fi or with Wi-Fi Boost, which allows the speakers to set up their own wireless network.

The only problem is its support of digital assistants. Sonos chose Alexa and integrated it into Sonos One. This, however, hasn’t developed particularly well. The integration of streaming providers no longer runs smoothly and users have reported problems with its skills.

AndroidPIT Headphones eardrops spotifySpotify runs everywhere. / © AndroidPIT

Spotify Connect connects everything

Spotify is the most popular music streaming service. One reason for this is that Spotify works with almost all devices; it is also the only external service provider that Amazon works with in its Echo device.

If you’re using Sonos or Google Play, however, your choice of streaming providers is much wider. Deezer, Tidal, and even Apple Music become options. We’ve prepared an overview of the topic in this article:

Do I still need Bluetooth?

There are numerous advantages of Wi-Fi over Bluetooth. The higher transmission rate allows for more sound quality, and also for more independent phone calls, freedom of movement and more battery life for your smartphone. Once in a Wi-Fi network, you can better network the speakers and control them with other smartphones or a voice assistant in the same Wi-Fi network.

AndroidPIT mobvoi tichome mini 4828 The TicHome Mini supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ‘OK Google’ and has a battery. / © AndroidPIT

Bluetooth, however, is much easier to use. Smartphone speakers can be connected in seconds, even when you’re out and far away from any Wi-Fi network. It therefore makes sense if the mobile Wi-Fi speakers are additionally equipped with Bluetooth. In addition, Bluetooth-enabled speakers can be wirelessly networked with the Amazon Echo Dot and can therefore be upgraded to a smart speaker.

Can I connect my old stereo system to Wi-Fi?

ANDROIDPIT amazon echo echo dot 3The Echo Dot (left) has a jack output. / © AndroidPIT

With Amazon’s Echo Dot you can connect it to a stereo system via a jack cable. Compared to many third-party adapters, these two systems offer the best long-term prospects for support with other streaming providers and for integrating speakers from other manufacturers.

Can I connect my Wi-Fi speakers to my TV?

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi capable televisions don’t automatically network with Wi-Fi speakers, since manufacturers don’t want to agree to a common standard. Samsung only networks with its own multi-room system of speakers such as the M7 or M5, while Sonos allows Wi-Fi networking on its Soundbase Playbase, which can be connected to a TV through an HDMI cable and Play:1 speakers, which can then become speakers capable of surround sound.

Google Home is almost there

Google Home is currently best-equipped for connecting Wi-Fi speakers from different brands together with a television to create a complete home cinema system. The only problem is that this is not completely implemented in the software. Although Google Home currently controls both TVs and speakers, and networks speakers in groups, it doesn’t allow stereo or surround systems to be grouped together. It also doesn’t allow screens and speakers to be grouped together to form a whole home cinema.

Which Wi-Fi speaker system is the best?

Google, Apple, and Amazon are currently establishing an incredible number of partnerships with the hi-fi industry. At the same time, they are expanding their technologies and are constantly adding important features. This is also necessary, since important details have still been overlooked. Google can’t make stereo pairs and Alexa doesn’t even offer a reasonable multi-room option. To make matters worse, none of the Wi-Fi standard providers cooperate with all streaming services.

If you want the all-inclusive package today, Sonos is the right solution but costs a lot of money. Their speakers can be gradually expanded into larger systems. The app also solves compatibility problems with streaming providers. The only thing is that digital assistant haven’t quite arrived for it yet. So it’s a question of judgment.

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