Smartphone screens explained: display types, resolutions and more

Resolution

One major consideration when we talk about smartphone screens can largely be boiled down to the resolution of the display, and as a rough guide, larger numbers are better here. Encompassed within this ‘resolution’ category is the size of the screen (in inches), the number of pixels (how much information it can show) and how densely those pixels are packed, referred to as Pixels Per Inch (ppi)

If you know the size of the display, you can work out how many pixels are squeezed into one square inch: that’s the pixels per inch (ppi) figure, which is referred to as pixel density. You can easily calculate your phone’s ppi using a pixel density calculator.

We’ve got the major bases covered below, but will start with HD resolution or higher as that’s what most smartphones ship with now. You might also want to pay attention to the stated ‘nits’ too, which is a rating of brightness for displays.

Resolution

Resolution Number of pixels
(Horizontal x Vertical)
Names

Example handsets

‘True’ 4K 4096 x 2160 4K, Cinema 4K, True 4K None
4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 4K, Ultra HD, 4K Ultra HD Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
2K 2560 x 1440 2K HTC 10, Nexus 6P, Moto Z, Galaxy S7, LG V20
1080p 1920 x 1080 Full HD, FHD, HD High Definition OnePlus 3, Sony Xperia X, Huawei P9, iPhone 7 Plus
720p 1280 x 720 HD, High Definition Moto G4 Play, Galaxy J3, Xperia M4 Aqua

HD

HD stands for high definition. HD simply means a pixel measurement of 1280 x 720 pixels. No matter how large the screen is, as long as the pixel measurement remains at this measurement, it’s an HD display.

As you can probably tell, the smaller the HD screen the higher the pixel density and, theoretically, the better the picture. So simply having an HD display doesn’t mean much, as it will produce a very different image on a 5-inch screen form a 10-inch screen (note: screen sizes are measured on the diagonal to take account of slightly different aspect ratios).

On a 4.3-inch screen, for example, the pixel density is 342 ppi. On a 4.7-inch screen, the pixel density drops to 312 ppi, but both are still HD displays. According to Apple, 300 ppi is the sweet spot, because that is roughly the point at which the human eye stops being able to discern individual pixels at a certain viewing distance (and on a certain sized screen).

AndroidPIT moto g4 play review 4254 The Moto G4 Play has a 720p display. / © AndroidPIT

Full HD

Full HD is the next step up and is currently the standard for smartphone display definition, although 2K (QHD) has been gaining traction on high-end devices since the Oppo Find 7 and LG G3, the first commercially available devices to have QHD screens.

Full HD measures 1920 x 1080 pixels. Again, the pixel density will depend on how large the screen is overall. With smartphones at the 5-inch mark, the pixel density sits around 440 ppi, while on a 5.5-inch screen that number drops to 400 ppi.

androidpit oneplus 3t screen1 The OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3t both have 1080p screens. / © ANDROIDPIT

QHD, Quad HD or 2K

QHD stands for Quad HD, which is four times the definition of standard HD. That means you can fit the same number of pixels as four HD displays into a QHD display of the same size. The pixel measurement for QHD is 2560 x 1440 pixels. A 5.5-inch QHD display has a pixel density of 538 ppi. For comparison, the pixel density of a 5.5-inch Full HD screen is 400 ppi. 

Definitions are also often referred to by the smaller number of the pixel measurement, so HD will sometimes be called 720p, Full HD gets called 1080p and so on. With QHD though, the 2K name comes from the fact that the bigger of the pixel measurements is over 2000 pixels, which can admittedly be a bit confusing (and really ought to be referred to as 2.5K, if we were being entirely accurate).

Many current phones from Samsung, Motorola, Huawei and other big name handset makers include 2K displays now as standard.

AndroidPIT oneplus 3 vs Nexus 6P 8097 The Nexus 6P has a higher resolution display than the OnePlus 3. / © AndroidPIT

4K or Ultra HD

You can probably see where this is going. Like 2K, the 4K name comes from the larger of the two pixel measurements, which are, technically speaking, 4096 pixels in 4K and only 3840 pixels in Ultra HD. So while these two terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually a little bit different.

Ultra HD is 3860 x 2160 pixels and 4K is 4096 x 2160. Both definitions frequently get shortened to 2160p and the pixel difference is relatively marginal, but there is a difference. One of the first handsets to launch with a ‘4k’ display was Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium, which offered Ultra HD resolution on a 5.5-inch screen.

Sony refers to this display as 4K, but it actually uses the smaller measurement of Ultra HD, “not real” 4K definition. Nevertheless, the Z5 Premium has a pixel density of 806 ppi – far beyond what many smartphones offer, and beyond what many people would say is necessary. Samsung’s upcoming S8 is rumored to include a 4K Ultra HD display too.

Androidpit Xperia Z5 Premium 11 Some people would say 4K on a phone is overkill. / © AndroidPIT

Resolution trends

While smartphone screens keep getting bigger, there hasn’t been the race to 4K from handset makers that we might have expected a year ago. As it stands, pretty much only Sony’s Z5 Premium is still the only one available.

Instead, what has become the norm at the top of the market is a 2K panel, rather than a higher resolution option. This, among other reasons, probably has a lot to do with concerns about power, as larger, higher-resolution displays demand ever more. With smartphone battery life already a sore topic for many, handset makers seem reluctant to make that leap just yet.

However, 2017 could well be the year that we’ll see more Ultra HD-equipped handsets going on sale.

Panel types

There are many display types used in smartphones: LCD, OLED, AMOLED, Super AMOLED, TFT, IPS and a few others that are less frequently found on smartphones nowadays, like TFT-LCD.

One of the most frequently found on mid-to-high range phones now is IPS-LCD. But what do these all mean?

ips lcd vs super amoled vs tft lcd There are many different types of smartphone display. / © MobileArena

LCDs

LCD means Liquid Crystal Display, and its name refers to the array of liquid crystals illuminated by a backlight, and their ubiquity and relatively low-cost makes them a popular choice for smartphones and many other devices.

LCDs also tend to perform quite well in direct sunlight, as the entire display is illuminated from behind, but does suffer from potentially less accurate color representation than displays that don’t require a backlight.

Within smartphones, you have both TFT and IPS displays. TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor, an advanced version of LCD that uses an active matrix (like the AM in AMOLED). Active matrix means that each pixel is attached to a transistor and capacitor individually.

The main advantage of TFT is its relatively low production cost and increased contrast when compared to traditional LCDs. The disadvantage of TFT LCDs is higher energy demands than some other LCDs and less impressive viewing angles and color reproduction. Its for these reasons, and falling costs of alternative options, that TFTs are less regularly used in smartphones now.

IPS stands for In-Plane Switching and it is a further improvement on TFT LCDs that delivers better color reproduction and, most notably, improved viewing angles than TFT-LCDs. It does this by using two transistors for each pixel combined with a more powerful backlight, but the downside is that they require more power than other types of non-LCD display. They generally use less power than a TFT display still though. 

There are other acronyms you many see combined with IPS too, like IPS-NEO. In that case, it’s a proprietary name for a technology created by JDI that claims to eliminate backlight leakage, but it works in the same essential way as any other IPS-LCD display.

AndroidPIT huawei p9 1643 The Huawei P9 uses an IPS-NEO LCD display. / © AndroidPIT

AMOLED

AMOLED stands for Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode. While this may sound complicated it actually isn’t. We already encountered the active matrix in TFT LCD technology, and OLED is simply a term for another thin-film display technology.

OLED is an organic material that, like the name implies, emits light when a current is passed through it. As opposed to LCD panels, which are back-lit, OLED displays are ‘always off’ unless the individual pixels are electrified.

This means that OLED displays have much purer blacks and consume less energy when black or darker colors are displayed on-screen. However, lighter-colored themes on AMOLED screens use considerably more power than an LCD using the same theme. OLED screens are also more expensive to produce than LCD.

Because the black pixels are ‘off’ in an OLED display, the contrast ratios are also higher than LCD screens. AMOLED displays have a very fast refresh rate too, but on the down side are not quite as visible in direct sunlight as backlit LCDs. Screen burn-in and diode degradation (because they are organic) are other factors to consider.

On the positive side, AMOLED screens can be made thinner than LCDs (because they don’t require a backlit layer) and they can also be made flexible.

androidpit samsung galaxy s7 edge pearl black Samsung’s Galaxy S range currently uses Super AMOLED displays. / © AndroidPIT

What’s the difference between OLED, AMOLED and Super AMOLED

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, and an OLED display is comprised of thin sheets electroluminescent material, the main benefit of which is they produce their own light, and so don’t require a backlight, which cuts down on energy requirements. OLED displays are more commonly referred to as AMOLED displays when used on smartphones or TVs.

As we’ve already covered, the AM part of AMOLED stands for Active Matrix, which is different again from a Passive Matrix OLED (P-OLED), though these are less common in smartphones.

Super AMOLED is the name given by Samsung to its displays that used to only be found in high-end models, but have now trickled down to more modestly specced devices. Like IPS LCDs, Super AMOLED improves upon the basic AMOLED premise by integrating the touch response layer into the display itself, rather than as an extra layer on top.

As a result, Super AMOLED displays handle sunlight better than AMOLED displays and also require less power. As the name implies, Super AMOLED is simply a better version of AMOLED. It’s not all just marketing bluster either: Samsung’s displays are regularly reviewed as some of the best around.

samsung display amoled maybe galaxy s8 While Samsung favors Super AMOLED displays, most use LCD. / © AndroidPIT

Retina

Retina is another marketing term, this time from Apple. A Retina display is not defined by a specific characteristic, other than that it is supposedly of sufficient resolution that the human eye can’t discern pixels at a normal viewing distance and has a pixel density over 300 ppi. As we already know though, Apple doesn’t measure ppi in the same way as other handset makers.

This measurement obviously changes depending on the size and resolution of the display. Apple popularized the Retina concept with the iPhone 4, which had a 960 x 640 pixel resolution on a 3.5-inch IPS LCD screen, resulting in 330 pixels per square inch (ppi).

Considering a 5.5-inch QHD display is fairly common on high-end Android phones these days and devices like the S7 Edge have 534 ppi, Apple had to ultimately capitulate on its belief that 300 ppi is plenty, which ultimately led to the iPhone 6 Plus offering a Full HD display with a pixel density of 401 ppi. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offer 326 ppi and 401 ppi respectively.

AndroidPIT iphone 7 vs google pixel 0751 Apple’s iPhone range doesn’t strive for high ppi ratings. / © AndroidPIT

Which display type is better?

As we have seen, each term is not restricted to one manufacturer: AMOLED is not always Samsung and Retina is not always Apple (although no one else uses the term). iPhone IPS LCD displays are currently manufactured by LG, Samsung has built displays for the iPad and not all Samsung devices are AMOLED either. This is not simply a case of which display is better: it’s a trade-off between pros and cons.

The point of all this is basically to say two things: numbers and technical data are worth considering when comparing the screens on two smartphones, but the real-world performance of these displays is more important. It’s impossible to gauge a display on paper, but you really need to see it in real life to know if it is too cool or warm for you, whether you like its saturation, brightness or contrast levels, what its viewing angles are like, and so on.

Lastly, be aware of your usage habits and select a display accordingly: if you are a couch potato by night and are desk-bound all day, then the daylight viewing benefits of LCDs are probably not so important to you. If you’re an outdoors type, then maybe they are.

If you’re crazy about squeezing every drop of life out of your battery or are simply obsessed with eye-popping color and contrast, then take a look at AMOLED.

Do you have a favorite type of display? Have you noticed the difference between the different types of display available? Let us know in the comments below!

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From One to 5: How OnePlus is constantly reinventing itself

There are only a few days left until OnePlus pulls its sixth smartphone out of the hat: the OnePlus 5. In this article, we throw a look into the past and present the story of this incredible startup.

It all began in December 2013, when Pete Lau and Carl Pei founded the startup OnePlus. Both worked previously for Oppo. Pete Lau was vice president and involved in equipping the Oppo N1 with the CyanogenMod. As an investor, Oppo was involved from the very beginning. OnePlus set itself the target to create smartphones with a balance of good price and high quality. 

OnePlus One – a shooting star

Even with their first smartphone, OnePlus succeeded in creating a sensation. The OnePlus One called itself a flagship killer. It brought high-end performance while costing only a fraction of the price of top smartphones from Samsung or HTC. The 16 GB model launched for $ 299, and the 64 GB model cost $ 349. The phone used the much celebrated Cyanogen OS as its operating system. 

With a core promise to make high performance affordable, OnePlus certainly delivered. However, the OnePlus One was more of a diamond in the rough. Not everything was perfect, as there were some minor technical issues and a lack of support.

Opinion by Hans-Georg Kluge

The OnePlus One was a milestone for its time. 

What do you think?

1 participant

The marketing for the device was key: You needed an invitation to buy OnePlus One. This was important for the startup as it could then control sales and production. The invite system also made the device rare, which raised the curiosity of many users. Overnight, the OnePlus became the star of the smartphone scene.

AndroidPIT oneplus history 0061 Six OnePlus devices / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus had to inform its users of its first shock at the end of 2014. When the company bitterly split ways with Cyanogen Inc, it took the software development with it. This became a herculean task. 

OnePlus Two: the experience makes a difference

In order to understand OnePlus, you must first understand the drama surrounding the OnePlus 2. It was conceived as the follow-up to the surprise hit of 2014. It was supposed to be better for the mainstream while carrying the OnePlus glory, delivering high performance for little money. The presentation was also conducted with help from VR, which set OnePlus way ahead of its time.

Of course the company needed the best chip in their device, and this came from Qualcomm: the notorious Snapdragon 810. But this had the reputation of being somewhat temperamental, and OnePlus’s attempt to sell the installed chips as part of their second and improved 810 generation didn’t help much. Dropping near field communication (NFC) was even more damaging and the company’s enthusiasts could barely cope. The frustrating invite system did the rest. Even its customer service brought fresh criticism on OnePlus. 

androidpit OnePlus 2 hero 9 OnePlus 2 / © ANDROIDPIT

Only a year and a half later did co-founder Carl Pei admit in an interview that OnePlus 2 was a failure. But OnePlus learned much from these mistakes. Looking back, he conceded that the company had drawn the wrong conclusions from the success of OnePlus One. This initial success was also due to luck and good timing. The problems surrounding OnePlus Two were an important experience for the startup. 

OnePlus X – the experiment 

In fall 2015, OnePlus dared an exciting experiment. How would a smartphone run if it sat in the middle of the price range, but boasted high-end hardware of the past year? The answer is OnePlus X. 

Androidpit Oneplus x vs oneplus 2 2 2015 OnePlus smartphones – 2 and X / © ANDROIDPIT

The design differed from the previous two models. The backside could be chosen in glass or ceramic and the design appeared generally very high-quality. But the OnePlus X had its own destiny. A Marshmallow update appeared, but the OnePlus X couldn’t receive another Nougat update. This is because Google requires the support of the Vulkan graphics interface for Android Nougat, which is incompatible with Snapdragon 801’s graphic chip.

Opinion by Hans-Georg Kluge

The OnePlus X was a brilliantly designed smartphone. 

What do you think?

1 participant

OnePlus 3: the gloves come off 

OnePlus’s reputation had suffered a little. This was not least because of some questionable marketing campaigns – ‘Smash the Past’, for example, which accompanied the launch of OnePlus One. Users were encouraged to break their smartphones in order to receive a new OnePlus One. It quickly became clear that this was way too extreme for the community. OnePlus immediately changed course, changing its conditions so that users could donate their old phones instead.

In this context, 2016 became the year of new beginnings. The OnePlus 3 could impress on all levels. It was defined by high performance, high-quality metal housing and a familiar value for the money.

Opinion by Hans-Georg Kluge

The OnePlus 3 was the optimal smartphone for its price

What do you think?

1 participant

AndroidPIT oneplus 3 6704 The OnePlus 3 brought its manufacturer back on the path to success / © AndroidPIT

Almost a follow-up: the OnePlus 3T

Somewhat surprisingly, the OnePlus 3T was released in fall. It was a reboot of the OnePlus 3 featuring the somewhat faster Snapdragon 821 and a better front camera. The phone wasn’t so much an upgrade for OnePlus 3 owners, but rather a contender against the fresh competition of the season. 

AndroidPIT OnePlus3 soft gold vs gray silver 6643 Little aesthetic difference between the OnePlus 3 and 3T / © AndroidPIT

Opinion by Hans-Georg Kluge

As a rehash, the OnePlus 3T was unnecessary 

What do you think?

1 participant

2017: OnePlus 5

The crowning achievement of OnePlus is here. Ahead of its launch, OnePlus emphasized that the OnePlus 5 would conquer new territory. Together with DxOMark, OnePlus has optimized its camera. A Snapdragon 835 powers the device. A first glance at the design reveals that OnePlus has economized the idea of a smartphone. For the first time, OnePlus uses a dual camera setup for perfect photos.

‘Never Settle’ is the official motto of OnePlus. This means to never be content with the status quo, and always try out new things. The OnePlus 5 also features the slogan ‘Focus On What Matters’. This could simply refer to the smartphone’s new camera abilities, but in a broader sense, this may also mean that experiments like the OnePlus X belong to the past and that the company has refocused on what is essential.

We’re excited to see what OnePlus has in store for us next. What experience have you had with a OnePlus smartphone? Let us know!


We have a cooperation with OnePlus. However, this article has been created without influence and represents the opinion of the editor.

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Poll results: The best rival to the iPhone 8 is…

The iPhone 8 will be unveiled soon, marking the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. It will no doubt be a headline-maker. But, which of its Android rivals do you think stands a chance against it? The readers have spoken…

In the original poll, we asked which Android phone will be the best rival to the upcoming iPhone 8. The obvious star of the Android world of the moment, the Samsung Galaxy S8, got 22 percent of the vote, but it was two upcoming phones that held the top position in the poll. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which is expected to take inspiration from the best aspects of the S8 (including the incredible design), got a quarter of the votes – 25 percent. Barely beating the Note 8, though, was the Google Pixel 2 with 26 percent. Not to be underestimated, anticipation for the next flagship from the big G is high.

iphone 8 rival poll results The results are clear, Samsung and Google have the most compelling rivals. / © AndroidPIT

As you can see above, no other devices even came close to reaching those numbers, all with under 10 percent of the vote each. It seems half our readers are on team Samsung, while about a quarter look to Google for excitement.

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Poll: what do you think of Bixby so far?

Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby, was meant to launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship in April, but it took a full three months until the voice features rolled out onto users’ devices. While this has surely set public opinion about Bixby back, we want to know what you think of it now that you’ve had a full month to test drive the voice control features.

On June 19, Samsung began the rollout of Bixby Voice over the air to all Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices in the United States. Beforehand, only a limited number of people were given the chance to try it as beta testers. Now that the general public has had the opportunity to give it a go, we want to know what you think of Bixby.

bixby call chris Samsung Bixby in action. / © AndroidPIT

While certain of its basic features, like reminders, can be done by Google Assistant, it differentiates itself by being able to open apps and perform actions in them. How well it does any of this, including understanding English, is up for debate.

We want to know about your experiences with Bixby so far. Tell us your stories in the comments.

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Having problems with your LG G6? Try these solutions

Even brand new, high-end phones have their share of issues, and the LG G6 is no exception. Users have reported problems with software bugs, and even some which may be due to hardware. If you’re getting weird error messages, having problems with your fingerprint scanner or having other issues, don’t worry. We have the solutions to all the most common LG G6 issues here.

LG G6 problems

LG G6 “Device corrupt” error

Users have experienced their LG G6 devices randomly crashing, and when they restart, an error message is displayed which says, “Your device is corrupt. It cannot be trusted and may not work properly.” The screen gives instructions to visit a link (g.co/ABH), on another device, which explains the error’s meaning. The error will appear for about 10 seconds, then your phone should continue booting as usual.

While this can be expected to happen due to Nougat’s Verified Boot process if you unlock the bootloader, it is happening even to users who haven’t done so. There’s no official solution for this problem yet, but an update may come in the future. Until that day comes, restarting the phone can fix the problems, but it may take a few tries. If that doesn’t work, you may have to resort to a factory reset.

lg g6 android central selvinsosa error corrupt Here are the error messages users are seeing. / © Android Central forum user Selvinsosa

LG G6 “Moisture in USB port” warning

Users have reported getting the “Moisture in USB port” warning message, even when there’s been no chance of moisture. Additionally, sometimes users are also getting the USB plugged in notification and sounds over and over again, even when there’s nothing plugged in. These issues of phantom moisture and notifications when nothing is plugged in can be caused by debris or a bad charging cable. First, you should try another cable to see if the issue is with your charging cord. One user says washing the phone and cleaning the USB port solved the problem. So, you can also try soaking the phone and carefully cleaning the port with a soft cloth to dislodge any dirt or dust, then dry the phone thoroughly.

AndroidPIT LG G6 0247 If you’re having issues with the USB port, try these tips! / © AndroidPIT

LG G6 Headphone jack problem

Some users have reported issues with the headphone jack of the LG G6. Static noise in the background and random pausing, playing or skipping songs were among the complaints, along with activating Google Assistant unnecessarily. Even replacing the headphones, or the phone itself, doesn’t seem to fix the issue for everyone. Not all hope is lost though. If this issue sounds familiar to you, that’s because a similar headphone jack problem happened with the LG G3, and luckily, a fix has already been found. Using headphones with a built-in microphone prevents these strange, unwanted behaviors and the static noise. So, save yourself some hassle, and just try some new headphones with a mic.

AndroidPIT LG G6 0237 This issue is very easy to fix with a new set of headphones that have an integrated mic. / © AndroidPIT

LG G6 Fingerprint scanner issues

Some are finding the fingerprint scanner of the LG G6 to be slow, or to take several tries to recognize the registered fingerprint. That’s not the case for most users, who find the scanner to be quick and accurate, as it should be. So, if you’re phone is slow to unlock, there’s a problem. Try deleting the registered fingerprint, and then setting up the scanner again with your fingerprint. You can even register the same fingerprint twice, for a better chance of it being recognized. If that doesn’t do the trick, try clearing the cache in Settings > General > Phone management > Device storage > Internal storage, then clear Cached data.

AndroidPIT LG G6 9324 If your fingerprint scanner is slow, there are ways to fix it. / © AndroidPIT

LG G6 “OK Google” not working

The voice command for launching Google Assistant isn’t working for some LG G6 users. If you find that saying “OK Google” produces no response, and you’re unable to successfully retrain the voice model, then you’ll want to try the following solution, which involves clearing the cache and retraining voice recognition. If you want “OK Google” to work again, go to Settings > Apps > Google app > Storage > Manage space, then Clear all data. After that, you can retrain the voice model, and your problem should be solved.

AndroidPIT google assistant 5 Make “OK Google” work again by clearing the Google app cache and retraining the voice recognition. / © AndroidPIT

Don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know if your problem has been solved, or if you’re having a problem that isn’t listed here. Good luck with your LG G6!

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Apple is so optimistic about AR, it has created its own glasses

You’re probably aware that today’s big players in the world of high-tech are no longer satisfied with our current reality, as they seek to add layers to it through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Apple is no exception and has become very involved in the field – in addition to preparing its devices to support AR and VR, it’s also decided to manufacture its own augmented reality glasses, like Google did with the Google Glass.

Still unsure about AR? Rest assured, you’re not alone. Apple, however, disagrees. It has been working not only on compatibility with this technology across the vast majority of its devices but it’s also making its own AR glasses. Remind you of anyone? Google did the same with Google Glass.

lunettes ar apple A sketch of Apple’s future AR glasses. © The Verge / Apple

Although Tim Cook, the big boss of Apple, indicated that Apple was working on an AR device a while ago, it was a few months before images from the patent were released and we could be certain that this wasn’t just a rumor. According to the latest sketches leaked, the device has a pretty simple design (at least, in theory): You pop the glasses on and you’ll be able to see a number of useful features superimposed over what it actually there. Here’s an example in a car: an iPad shows different elements of the car in detail.

apple ar glasses You should be able to interact with AR through a tablet or smartphone. © Apple / The Verge

in theory, this is very useful (or very worrying, depending on how you look at it), but in practice, it will be fairly complicated to get this technology up to scratch and equally complicated to make it useful for users. Apple is playing a long term strategy game here, placing its pawns with ARKit since it will launch an offensive with these glasses, thus ensuring it gains a large potential user base. Is that enough to appeal to you? Although Apple remains loyal to itself, the price of these glasses won’t be cheap and investing so much money in a technology that’s still so new might not be the smartest move for users.

Regardless, we hope it works out. What do you think about these galsses? Do you think the idea is good? Would you buy them?

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Meizu Pro 7/Plus: the rear display should delight users

Meizu just revealed two new smartphones. The Pro 7 and the Pro 7 Plus have a small additional display under the main camera on the back side of the devices. In this article, we’ll tell you what else these devices have to offer, and in which countries they’ll be released.

It is no longer so easy to stand out from the crowd of touch-screen rectangles in the completely saturated smartphone market. The Meizu Pro 7 manages it anyway thanks to a second, rear display. It serves as a viewfinder for selfies taken with the better main camera. And, it not only serves as a standby info display, it’s even a touch screen.

Meizu will initially offer the devices to its core markets of China, India, Russia, Italy and Spain. The prices in China amount to around $ 430 and $ 530, where it will go on sale on August 5. Of course, if you want to import it to the US, the costs will be higher due to shipping and taxes.

meizu pro 7 basic You can’t escape the displays: on the front and the back! / © Meizu

A look at the technical specs reveals that, in addition to the difference in size from 5.2 to 5.7 inches, there is also a difference in the technical components between Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus. In the smaller device, you’ll find the Helio P25 from MediaTek – a version of the mid-range Helio P20 processor which is focused on dual cameras. In the larger device, you’ll find the Helio X30, but we don’t have any data on performance yet.

Meizu Pro 7 vs. Meizu Pro 7 Plus technical specifications

  Meizu Pro 7 Meizu Pro 7 Plus
Dimensions: 147.6 x 70.7 x 7.3 mm 157.3 x 77.2 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 163 g 170 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3500 mAh
Screen size: 5.2 in 5.7 in
Display technology: LCD LCD
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi) 2560 x 1440 pixels (0 ppi)
Front camera: 16 megapixels 16 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.0 – Nougat 7.0 – Nougat
RAM: 4 GB 6 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
128 GB
64 GB
128 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Number of cores: 8 10
Max. clock speed: 1.6 GHz 2.6 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2

There’s a headphone jack which is even garnished with a Meizu’s own hi-fi chip. Another special feature is the proprietary mCharge quick charging standard, which should recharge the empty battery, at least enough to get you through the day, in just minutes.

We’ll have to do a full review to see if these smartphones live up to their promise. When and if these will come to the US, UK or other markets remains to be seen.

Have you ever tried Meizu devices? Or, are you apprehensive about importing devices? Let us know in the comments!

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How BMW is speeding up its digital revolution and preparing for the self-driving car

Even though the self-driving car is probably the future of road driving, it still remains a prototype for the time being. Its large-scale commercialization, and availability for the general public won’t be around for a few years yet (probably not until in 2020 at least).

But the smart car of the future has everything it needs to revive that appeal that’s been missing in the car sector for several years. The makers finally understood the need for it, and are preparing for its arrival. In addition to new safety equipment that can detect hazards and anticipate accidents, manufacturers are adding new technology to their vehicles to adapt to the lives of users in terms of connectivity, therefore saving users time.

Obviously, like all car manufacturers to date, BMW is taking this digital revolution very seriously. Being one of the most successful manufacturers in recent years, it can’t afford not to innovate, at the risk of failing to supply the increasing demand for digital material. This is why the manufacturer has multiplied its initiatives, while maintaining one basic principle: customization.

The connected car, a preview to the self-driving car

As with any revolution, there has to be a starting point, and the smartphone is the answer in this case. Although BMW only really started running its program last year, things have moved forward quite quickly.

The manufacturer began by adding a BMW ConnectedDrive SIM card in each of its new vehicles, and launched an Android and iOS app called BMW Connected to offer BMW owners a digital service. And the result of that? After less than one year, 8.5 million BMW cars are connected, and more than a million people in over 29 countries regularly use the app. The proof for this is that there’s a lot of expectation from connected car users.

androidpit bmw car 1 The BMW Connected app works hand in hand with the on-board entertainment system. © AndroidPIT

Improving the app

With this first success, BMW decided to speed up its digital revolution in 2017. The company took advantage of its time spent at Innovation Days in Chicago to announce an improved version of its app, which will be launched at the end of the month. BMW Connected+ wants to assert itself as the gateway between the driver’s smartphone and the vehicle, offering maximum customization to users.

The app that I was able to test on the latest BMW 530e left me with a good impression. You can now lock (and unlock) your vehicle using the app, trigger air conditioning remotely before you set off, take a 3D photo of your BMW at any given time, and inform your friends and colleagues on the progress of your journey or commute… The app also tells you if you need to refuel, and can guide you to your final destination when you’re on foot. The icing on the cake is that you can even book your garage appointments for when you need to service your car. BMW Connected+ can also scan your calendar and navigate you to your next appointment. The app not only calculates the journey time, but also includes the time needed to pick up your vehicle, all while helping you to park too.

BMW has also made the car compatible with Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, to whom you can even ask to run the air conditioning in advance via Amazon Echo. Compatibility with other voice assistants is expected soon.

androidpit bmw app 2 With BMW Connected+, you can share your journey status with colleagues and friends. © AndroidPIT

Last but not least, BMW doesn’t skimp on safety. Data protection is imperative in the field of transport, and the app is protected by several layers of coding. All the information that you exchange with your vehicle is anonymous and kept by BMW, which is then analyzed to improve overall customer experience. No data is sold or shared without your consent.

Increase update frequency

This digital revolution and transition to the self-driving car obviously includes an improvement of the updates system. BMW is aware of the speedy evolution of software developments, and wants to bring these latest developments to its users as quickly as possible.

New features will be released on your smartphone via OTA

This is why the company has approached its digital strategy by designing only a small space for the car’s central console. Although it’ll only be able to receive a few updates during its lifetime (and then only at the garage), it’ll mainly be the mobile app and cloud-related features (Microsoft Azure) that’ll be updated more regularly, therefore avoiding the central console from becoming too obsolete.

Relying on Machine Learning

Much like Google Assistant, BMW also wants to rely on Machine Learning or ‘automatic learning’. For those who don’t know what it is, Machine Learning basically makes it possible for a machine/system to learn by itself, therefore eradicating the need for classical programming, which consists of simply giving orders. Additionally, your BMW will be able to adapt to situations, learn from your behavior, and retain all your information.

Transforming your car into a meeting room…

According to BMW Vice President of Digital Services Thom Brenner, “the car should no longer be seen as a means of transport, but as a supplementary addition to life.” According to BMW, the car of the future will have a work space, where it’ll be possible to work comfortably and it’s what users should expect from their cars as soon as possible.

For this reason, the German manufacturer has teamed up with Microsoft to integrate Skype for business and its Skype meetings app into its 5 Series Sedan, the latest model that has been available at all dealerships since last year. The service will be integrated with the on-board iDrive interface hopefully by the end of 2017.

androidpit bmw car 2 BMW wants to turn its cars into meeting rooms. © AndroidPIT 

Obviously, the on-board system will be able to send notifications for Skype for business. You can be alerted of your next appointments, canceled or postponed meetings, but above all, start your video conference with just a click. The system will be fully controllable by voice command, and Skype meetings will allow up to ten participants to attend meetings from their vehicles.

…before turning it into a self-driving car

In the long term, BMW is obviously aiming for the self-driving car. This transition to a work space is only a stepping stone towards the self-driving car. The objective is to gradually have the vehicle completely take over for the driver. The goal is still far from being reached, and it’ll most certainly take several years (and several Innovation Days events) to achieve. In the meantime, BMW is doing everything it can to get there as quickly as possible, offering the best possible experience to convince drivers that its services are the best.

Opinion by Pierre Vitré

BMW is on the right track towards the self-driving car

What do you think?

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Some of the hardest things for BMW to accomplish is getting all of its users to take up its app, and to constantly integrate new services that appear on the market. It therefore needs to evolve its image as a traditional manufacturer, and establish itself as a trend-savvy company. The task looks tough given the competition (Tesla, Apple, Volvo…), but BMW is relying on its experience and ability to innovate in order to achieve this ultimate goal.

Will that be enough? Only time will tell… 

What do you think of connected cars? Are you a fan of the self-driving car? Do you think it’s the way of the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

What the status and notification icons on Android actually mean

It seems that the icons in the status and notification bar get shaken up with every major Android update, sometimes changing appearance or disappearing entirely. If you find yourself not knowing what the two arrow and letters mean, for example, we’re here to help make sense of these unintelligible glyphs. After all, what good are all these icons if you can’t understand them.

Status bar and notification bar: An important distinction

The status bar

The status bar and the notification bar are very similar, but in reality, they are two different things. The status bar is at the top of the display, on the right. The time, the battery status and current connections like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are displayed here.

On the left side of this strip, you’ll find app icons to alert you to new messages, updates to the Play Store, and other notifications. Also, ongoing notifications can be accommodated here. So, if you listen to music via Spotify or Google Play Music, the corresponding icon will be displayed permanently. The sequence of the icons indicates how new or old the notifications are. The most recent notifications are displayed on the far left.

AndroidPIT Facebook notification settings 1 The status bar shows you the current time, the battery status and the connections. / © ANDROIDPIT

The notification bar and drawer

The notification bar contains notifications, which you can open with a wipe down like a curtain. On this notification drawer you swipe down, a lot of information is shown in a small space. You can preview a screenshot, read a WhatsApp message, see Facebook updates and more. You can then decide whether you want to open the app or remove the notification with a wipe to the right. Since Nougat, these embedded notifications are smarter than ever: You can now respond directly to messages without even having to open the app first.

In addition to the notifications, the quick settings are also located here. Here you can make settings quickly and efficiently. This allows you to enable and disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other options. If you press and hold down an icon, you will enter the settings for this function. Most manufacturers offer direct access to the screen brightness setting.

Most manufacturers also customize the quick settings themselves. Therefore, there are always several options here. Fortunately, the selection can be personalized to your tastes and habits so you always have access to the most important settings for you. Also, you can always disable annoying or uninteresting notifications just by long-pressing an alert. This will open a small menu where you can choose how you want to be notified by the app.

The meaning of the icons

For each notification, an app icon is displayed, in addition to the icons for various system statuses. With each Android version, new changes arrive for each of these. Since Lollipop, Google’s material design has had an influence on these icons. 

These small design changes can, unfortunately, create confusion. Sometimes an icon appears which doesn’t immediately make its own meaning clear – which defeats the point of having it at all. Google also recognized this and provides a list of all of the material design icons. Here, you can clearly see which icon stands for what.

icone googl 1 Here are some of the most famous icons. / © AndroidPIT

The top picture shows the most famous icons, which you already know inside and out. Below are the icons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, battery, clock and screen rotation. On the list, however, are not just the ones you’re used to seeing every day, but all the icons of Android you could ever encounter. The reference list of every Android icon is divided into the following categories:

  • Action
  • Alert
  • AV
  • Communication
  • Content
  • Device
  • Editor
  • File
  • Hardware
  • Image
  • Maps
  • Navigation
  • Notification
  • Places
  • Social
  • Toggle

These icons are the Android standard icons, but they can vary a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer. Have you ever seen a notification or an icon that you just can’t figure out the meaning of? Describe it in the comments, and let us know what type of phone you have!

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The next OnePlus 5 update will improve battery life dramatically

The very first update to the OnePlus 5 addressed all the problems we saw in our review of the device, and now OnePlus has released OxygenOS 4.5.5 to fix some annoying errors and optimize the system more. Also, we’ve seen various other updates fixing specific problems, like the inability to call 911 without rebooting. Coming up next is the OxygenOS 4.5.6 update to extend battery life.

Highlight recent changes

Coming soon: extended battery life with OxygenOS 4.5.6

A source told Frandroid.com that OnePlus is working on something exciting for the next OxygenOS update for the OnePlus 5. OxygenOS 4.5.6 should bring significantly better battery life, something any smartphone user can appreciate. In addition, the anonymous source revealed that there will be improvements to the camera and kernel. The kernel is the part of the OS which allows for communication between various components of a device.

The update would allow for better battery life – to the tune of 7 hours of screen time only taking 50 percent of the battery life. That said, we don’t know under what conditions this applies (heavy or light use, screen brightness, data usage, etc.), but the OnePlus 5 has great battery life anyway, so it’s not impossible to imagine. But how can it be done? Perhaps a new kernel manager, or by integrating EAS. EAS is Energy Aware Scheduling, a way of managing power that takes better advantage of multicore architectures, particularly in big.LITTLE ones like that of the Snapdragon 835 in the OnePlus 5. It does this by being more aware of how much power particular cores will use to complete a task, and then distributing tasks in accordance with that to save as much power as possible.

Unless something gets in the way, Oxygen OS 4.6 should come in the next few weeks, bringing better battery life for all OnePlus 5 users with it.

Opinion by Brittany McGhee

I’m looking forward to even better battery life.

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OnePlus 5 Update: Oxygen OS 4.5.5

The OnePlus 5 has only been officially available in stores for a little over a week and the third update, OxygenOS 4.5.5, is already available. The update improves Wi-Fi connectivity, voice calls, battery consumption during video recording and the intensity of the vibration motor. Also, known bugs are fixed, such as the Wi-Fi signal strength indicator, which tended to appear overly weak.

Optimizations:

  • Further improvements to Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Clearer voice calling
  • Video recording now consumes less battery
  • Vibration intensity when receiving calls is now tuned to a gentler level

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed Wi-Fi signal consistently being displayed as weak
  • Fixed certain apps not able to work under IPv6 network settings
  • To restore connectivity to a Windows 10 PC, please turn off USB debugging prior to the upgrade

OnePlus 5 Update: OxygenOS 4.5.2 Changelog

In our review of the OnePlus 5, it became clear the smartphone still had problems with the software initially. Luckily, OnePlus responded quickly to bring fixes. The changelog of the OnePlus 4.5.2 update shows that the smartphone initially had problems with ​​the camera and the network interfaces. Gradually, the developers fixed this. The full changelog also states that there were compatibility issues with apps. 

Bug fixes:

  • App installation issue
  • System update failure

Optimizations:

  • Camera
  • Bluetooth stability
  • Network stability
  • System stability
  • Compatibility with 3rd party apps

OnePlus 5 Update: Oxygen OS 4.5.1 solves issues

In our review of the OnePlus 5, it was clear that the software wasn’t final, and OnePlus assured us that updates would come quickly to remedy the various issues. And, in fact, they arrived swiftly on June 21.

AndroidPIT oneplus 5 0141 The OnePlus 5 has great battery life, and charges quickly. / © AndroidPIT

As soon as you unbox your new OnePlus 5, you can upgrade to OxygenOS 4.5.1 immediately, and it addresses all the issues we had encountered in our test. Otherwise, the update to OxygenOS doesn’t bring much of anything new. The name of the kernel is still the appendix perf +, which points to ongoing benchmark optimizations (for details, see Mario Serrafero of the XDA developers).

Let us know what you think of the latest updates in the comments!

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