LG G3 tips and tricks: master your LG smartphone

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AndroidPIT LG G3 hero 1 Get the most out of your device with our LG G3 tips and tricks. © ANDROIDPIT

1. Take advantage of the Knock functionality

The LG G3 sports some tools that rely on your tapping skills to enable them. You can double tap the screen to turn the display on and off (although it only works if you tap an empty spot on the home screen when the display is active).

You can use a knock code to lock and unlock your device instead of a conventional pattern lock, and you can even wake the display of your device with a single tap.

To set things up, under the “General” tab in the Settings menu, go to Security > Lock Screen > Select screen lock. Select Knock Code and you’ll then be asked to create and confirm your Knock Code pattern. You’ll also be asked to set up a backup pin just in case you forget your code. 

2. Use Smart screen

LG has taken a page out of the Samsung playbook with this feature: when enabled, Smart screen will keep your display lit up for as long as you’re looking at your device. It’s a handy feature if you’re reading or spending a long time looking at one thing in particular.

To make use of it, go to Settings > Display and check Smart screen.

3. Take screenshots and annotate them with QuickMemo+ 

You can take screenshots with just about every Android device, but LG’s QuickMemo+ function (or QMemo+) allows you to add handwritten notes to the screenshot. There are two ways you can start QuickMemo+: you can either access it from the icon in Quick Settings or by adding in the QuickMemo+ navigation button to your home screen.

androidpit lg g3 tips and tricks notes and keyboard QuickMemo+ lets you take notes anywhere. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. Change the system font

If you’re looking to liven up your home screen or would like to see a more playful font used in your apps, here LG comes to the rescue as you can tailor text styles to suit your tastes. 

To get started,  just go to Settings > Display > Font type. All you need to do then is select your preferred font type. 

lg 3 change font menu The font on the LG G3 can be changed in just a few simple steps. / © ANDROIDPIT

5. One-handed operation

The LG G3 is a powerful smartphone with some great features, but let’s face it – it can be a bit of a handful. Luckily, the LG G3 comes with a one-handed operation feature that is specifically designed to alleviate this issue.

With one-handed operation enabled, you can adjust the alignment of the dialer, keyboard and lock screen, making it easier to use your smartphone with one hand. 

To set this up, just go to Settings > General > One-handed operation. After you’ve done this, check the boxes for the features you’d like to enable and you’re good to go.

AndroidPIT LG G3 4 One-handed operation makes multitasking easy on the LG G3. / © ANDROIDPIT

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6. Adjust the navigation buttons

As we revealed in the Optimus UI comparison, you can move the G3’s navigation buttons to whatever you see fit. Do you want the home button on the left? How about the back button on the right?

No problem, you can change the arrangement of these capacitive buttons or even hide them when not in use by heading to Settings > Display > Home touch buttons > Button combination. From here, you can drag and drop the buttons at your will.

lg g3 screenshot tutorial 1 Customize the navigation buttons on the LG G3. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. Quick access the camera and notes applications

You can use the volume buttons to start two apps directly from standby, just by long-pressing them. If you long-press the volume-down button, you’ll fire up the camera app, while long-pressing the volume up button will launch the notes app.

These assignments can’t be modified, which is a shame, and the features are also limited if you have your G3 protected by a knock code, pin code or pattern code; if that’s the case, you’ll have to unlock the device before either app will start.

8. Adjust the keyboard size

If the keyboard is taking up too much space or you need it to be a bit bigger, you can change the size of it as long as you’re holding your LG G3 in portrait mode.

Go to Settings > Language and Input > LG Keyboard. From there, you can make the desired changes to the keyboard height and layout. You can also choose to have the keyboard split apart when you hold the phone in landscape mode or enable one-handed operation mode.

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9. Use two apps simultaneously

A long-press on the back button will open the dual-window function and allow you to display a variety of system apps on the screen at the same time. Among these apps are the browser, maps, news and email.

Just drag and drop the two apps that you want to use to either the upper and lower half of the screen. The size ratio between the two displayed apps can also be adjusted by dragging the middle bar. 

androidpit lg g3 tips and tricks dual screen The LG G3 supports dual window mode for multi-tasking. / © ANDROIDPIT

10. Smart cleaning feature

Smart cleaning is one of LG’s more distinctive features, as it reminds you to delete apps you don’t use and other data to free up space on your smartphone. It will also suggest you delete cache from apps, temporary Clip Tray files, and apps that haven’t been used after a certain amount of time. The notification interval and idle time period is by default set to 1 month, though both of these can be reduced or extended however you like. 

You can find the Smart cleaning feature by going Settings > General > Smart cleaning and then just select the category you want to deal with – “Temporary files,” “Download folder” or “Idle apps.”

11. Personalize the contrast and appearance with color adjustment

In the Settings > General > Accessibility, you can find the option for Color adjustment. With this, you can change the look and contrast of the entire surface, including app icons.

Once the feature is activated, you can simply drag your finger across the screen and the entire interface will be changed to reflect the color you choose. 

androidpit lg g3 tips and tricks color adjustmentThe LG G3 has great accessibility and color options. / © ANDROIDPIT

12. Get greater accessibility with Touch assistant

Key functions such as volume control, on / off, home screen, settings and back can be reached via an extra button that can be placed anywhere on your screen and accessed across all screens.

In order to enable this, head to Settings > General > Accessibility > Touch assistant. The button will now appear on your screen, and tapping on it will bring up a menu showing a bunch of basic functions.

androidpit lg g3 tips and tricks touch assistant Universal Touch adds a floating mini-menu for quick access to key features. / © ANDROIDPIT

13. Change the theme of the messaging app

If you’re not a big fan of the messaging app’s default theme, you can change it. Head to Settings within the messaging app and choose Conversation theme to change the background and the look of the speech bubbles. You can even use an image as a background if you want to.

androidpit lg g3 tips and tricks conversation themes Change the appearance of the messaging app on the LG G3 with different backgrounds and speech bubbles. / © ANDROIDPIT

14. Change app icons

If you don’t like a particular app icon, long-press on it and then let go, and a small paintbrush will appear at the top right. Tapping it will bring up an overview of different icons, which you can choose for a replacement.

androidpit lg g3 tips and tricks change app icons Customize your app icons easily on the LG G3. / © ANDROIDPIT

This is just a glimpse into some of the customization possibilities that your LG G3 offers. While not every feature is exclusive to this device, there are still tons of tips and tricks that make the G3 unique.

Let us know what your favorite feature of the LG G3 is in the comments.

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Which smartphone under $500 has the best camera?

It’s an eternal dilemma for fans of consumer electronics. If you’re trying to save money, should you buy a new phone with mid-range hardware, or an older model with high-end hardware? With particularly short product cycles for smartphones, ‘old’ here often means just a few months. We decided to take a deeper look at cameras on these phones to see how noticeable the differences really are. 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is clearly the oldest device in our test selection. It was launched over a year ago, and the former flagship now costs around  $ 320. The Huawei P10 and the LG G6 are less than six months old, and cost $ 400 and $ 250 respectively (at the time of writing this). 

We’re pitching these two devices against top range phones. The Honor 9 currently costs $ 420, and the OnePlus 5 is available for just under $ 500. In the following photo quality comparisons, we alternate between these two phones as they produce very similar results. 

Night photography

When taking night shots, the LG G6 and Galaxy S7 have a definite advantage: they both come with optical image stabilizing. This allows both smartphones to use longer shutter speeds and thus achieve brighter photos. It can even lower ISO sensitivity to minimize image noise. As a result, the photos of this street scene captured by these two phones look nicer and are better illuminated than the others. 

night edit2 Older flagships steam ahead of newer mid-range phones thanks to an optical picture stabilizer. / © AndroidPIT

Artificial light photography

There are two factors to consider in this next challenge. Not only is there far too much light but there is also mixed light with two different color temperatures. The figure is first illuminated with a warm, incandescent light and then by a cold, LED light. This challenge tests the image processing algorithms of each manufacturer. 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 probably has the best white balance. However, all photos of this subject have an overturned contrast, meaning a loss of detail in dark areas of the image. The LG G6 and OnePlus 5 win out here, with a similar white balance. The Huawei P10 ranks somewhere in between.

artificial light edit2 Ssmartphones battle it out for the best photo of this stuffed toy. / © AndroidPIT

Daylight photography

Photos taken in daylight should pose no problem for today’s top class smartphones, which all of our test subjects are. Our phones all performed well in capturing a street scene, delivering vibrant photos with popping and detailed colors. The differences are marginal, and ultimately it boils down to a matter of taste. For example, the LG G6 delivers contrast-rich photos, whereas the Honor 9 and Huawei P10 hold back here somewhat. But judge for yourselves:

daylight edit2 This daylight scene does not pose any issues for the smartphones we tested. / © AndroidPIT

Macro and high contrast photography

Last but not least, we present our smartphones a familiar challenge – taking high contrast photos. The small image sensors in a smartphone are well-known for suffering from low dynamic range. Automatic HDR helps here, which manufacturers have eagerly been including in their devices since it first appeared on the Google Pixel

As the oldest smartphone of the bunch, the Galaxy S7 has clear difficulties here. In the picture, its color reproduction has worked but has burned out the background sky in the process. The Honor 9 and Huawei P10 deliver the most balanced results. The high contrast picture from the OnePlus 5 is certainly a matter of taste. 

contrast macro edit2 The Samsung Galaxy S7 has problems with dynamic range. HDR modes have improved greatly since its launch. / © AndroidPIT

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Conclusion

In good lighting conditions, the differences between these smartphones is negligible and they all perform well. The differences become visible in specialist areas. In conditions of differing brightness levels, the newer automatic HDR functions really prove their worth. But an optical image stabilizer is still beneficial in the dark, and this is missing with the cheaper, new models. 

But the question of which camera performs best overall depends on what you use it for. Which smartphone delivers the best picture quality for your needs?

Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy S7

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Lowest price: LG G6

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Lowest price: Huawei P10

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Lowest price: Honor 9

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Lowest price: OnePlus 5

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ARKit: How Apple is quietly reinventing the smartphone

ARKit is the new iOS11 feature that could potentially revolutionize the platform. As of today, anyone owning an iPhone 6S or later will be able to run augmented reality apps. In one fell swoop, Apple will create the largest AR platform.

What makes ARKit so powerful?

In short: ARKit takes a lot of work away from the app developers. With ARKit, Apple has released a programming interface that allows developers to insert digital objects into real-world images from the camera. ARKit assumes the task, in order to supplement the depth information of the two-dimensional image of the camera. This is necessary, for example, so that a digital figure appears to actually stand on the street and not just float over an image. This kind of spatial recognition is complex and requires additional sensors – much like Google Tango. ARKit on the other hand, does not.

In addition to spatial environment, ARKit also detects lighting conditions. This is indispensable for realistic, seamless integration of digital objects. ARKit recognizes horizontal surfaces like floors or tables, as well as feature spots (such as objects that stand out).

IMG 0700 ARKit in action / © AndroidPIT

ARKit makes all of this information accessible to developers. With the help of Unity or other 3D engines, an app can then insert objects, and thus supplement reality – that is, create an augmented reality world. In order to minimize latency, your iPhone or iPad must be equipped with an Apple A9 or A10 chip or later. In other words, you’ll need an iPhone 6S or newer, a current generation iPad, or an iPad Pro.

wwdc ar2 ARKit live demo on the WWDC stage. / © Apple, Screenshot by AndroidPIT

ARCore is Google’s solution

ARKit and ARCore are technically quite similar. In the run-up to the ARKit launch, Google was already working on a similar technology – drawing on their previous work on Tango. This rarely uses time-of-flight cameras (i.e. depth sensors) within an AR session. When using a Tango-enabled app, typically only motion and acceleration sensors are used to determine exact positions. Thus, Google was able to quickly adapt the Tango technologies into ARCore. How will things progress with Tango? ARCore is probably the heir and Tango may disappear.

google arcore taco ARCore could be an ARKit competitor. / © Google

That’s why ARKit for augmented reality is also important to Android: key toolkits will support both ARKit as well as ARCore, so the porting effort for the developers will probably be minimal. And the most successful ARKit apps will also be available in 2018 on Android with ARCore.

Great demos with ARKit

Because ARKit is part of the beta version of iOS11, there are already lots of demos that show what ARKit can do. The first major demo event was held more than a week ago in the US. There, media outlets like TechCrunch were able to examine complex AR apps. IKEA and TV channel AMC presented AR apps there, for example. Even well-known children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar has made the leap into AR. According to TechCrunch, many of the complex demos took just two or three months to create. This shows how fast content can be provided for ARKit.

Below are some trailer videos of the ARKit apps, both for augmented reality as well as for virtual reality: words are good, but videos are better.

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Video: Apple / IKEA (via Techcrunch)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Augmented reality changes our smartphone usage

ARKit is impressive but the technology is still in its infancy. However, it’s already clear that augmented reality will become an important part of smartphone features in the coming years.

Practically all of the applications shown here have been developed for iOS11 only. Android users should not despair. With ARCore, they’ll soon get an alternative. Successful apps will find their way onto Android quickly, thanks to the technical similarities. If ARCore proves to be a stark competitor, Google will also be able to make tens of millions of smartphones AR-capable within a short time. We can expect to hear a lot about ARKit apps in the next few months, but in half a year, Android will also receive the most successful apps.

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These major changes are coming to both platforms. The camera will become a tool for perceiving our environment in a new way. Google has brought together machine learning and AR with Google Lens. Some AR apps will be fun, others will help us stay oriented in foreign cities. Others will open up new horizons for smartphones.

What features would you like to see with AR? Looking forwad to it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Zeiss VR One Connect: Bringing SteamVR to your smartphone

Virtual reality headsets are expensive, but they are fun. Traditional manufacturer Zeiss is also taking a stab at this field with the Zeiss VR One Plus. Zeiss launched a spectacular enhancement for the VR headset at the IFA: The Zeiss VR Connect. It allows you to run SteamVR games on your smartphone, and we received the latest information from Zeiss on this new release.

Zeiss VR One Connect: SteamVR games, now on your smartphone

Zeiss VR One Connect is made up of three components. First, we have the well-known Zeiss VR One Plus headset, which is a cardboard-compatible headset that you place your smartphone into. You could put an iPhone in, but of course Android works as well. The second component is the two motion controllers that you can use to control virtual reality, and the tracking functions via the position sensors in the controllers.

AndroidPIT zeiss connect vr one 8858 Zeiss VR One Connect: SteamVR now available on your smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

But the third component is what will really make the magic happen. A USB cable connects your smartphone to your PC, then software on your PC connects to SteamVR and sends the picture information to your smartphone. There, the app ensures that the images are displayed and that the PC receives the control signals.

AndroidPIT zeiss connect vr one 9439 Zeiss VR One Connect: Now you can play SteamVR games on your smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

The USB cable is three meters long and is usually a conventional extension cable. An adapter on the headset makes all smartphones compatible, regardless of whether it has a microUSB, USB-C or lightning port.

When everything is connected, you can use your smartphone together the Zeiss VR One Plus as a headset for PC-based virtual reality apps. They can be VR games, but also apps such as Google Earth VR. Its most significant shortcoming is that the controller is only tracked in three degrees of freedom, and six degrees would be required for room-scale apps at Vive’s level. Technically speaking, the PC calculates the VR images and the Zeiss software takes the VR content from the graphics card and streams it to the smartphone.

AndroidPIT zeiss connect vr one 9433 Zeiss VR One Connect: Two motion controllers for VR applications. / © AndroidPIT

Zeiss VR One Connect is intended as a lower-cost solution for VR apps, which explains the length of the USB cable. However, we haven’t had a chance to try out the Zeiss VR Connect yet.

Zeiss is both demanding and modest when it comes to hardware requirements. Your smartphone doesn’t have to fulfill any exceptional requirements. However, powerful devices with an AMOLED display will likely have an advantage. On the other hand, your PC should have the necessary CPU horsepower – here you’ll definitely need a VR-capable graphics card such as the Geforce GTX 1060.

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Zeiss wishes to bring two variants of the VR One Connect to market. First is a bundle consisting of a USB cable and controller for around $ 150, which is of interest for users that already own the Zeiss VR One Plus. Anyone who doesn’t own it yet can also purchase a complete Zeiss VR set for around $ 240. These products are expected to be released in the Fall.

What do you think about the Zeiss VR One Connect? Would you buy it? Or would you rather buy a different brand? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Sharp announces its comeback to the smartphone arena

It seems to be the year of comebacks: First Nokia made its return, and now another manufacturer, Sharp, is announcing its comeback in the smartphone industry. At the IFA 2017 in Berlin, the Japanese electronics company first exhibited key technologies that will be used for its own smartphones in the future.

Have you actually heard of Sharp? In the US, people might mainly associate this brand with televisions, as Sharp smartphones aren’t so common. In the Asian market and, above all, in its home country of Japan, the corporation is still very active. The 2014 Sharp Aquos Crystal made a lasting impression in our editorial office thanks to its very narrow bezels, which were ahead of the curve.

Displays up to 120 Hertz

Being a display panel manufacturer, a smartphone bearing the Sharp logo should, of course, use an in-house panel, and IGZO technology definitely brings something interesting to the table. For one thing, Sharp uses indium, gallium, zinc and oxygen in this display technology and, thanks to these raw materials, transistors can continue to be made even smaller, achieving greater conductivity. According to Sharp, this ultimately has clear benefits for the resolution, image quality and energy efficiency. Furthermore, the IGOZ displays will also process touch input when the display is wet and allow for screen refresh rates of up to 120 Hertz.

The camera module fights against Sony’s dominance

When it comes to smartphone camera modules, there is really no relevant alternative apart from Sony. Since Sharp has actually built and used its own camera modules in the past, the upcoming smartphone will once again be fitted with its own module. Sharp is announcing a sensor with a 22.6 MP resolution at IFA, which is equipped with a 22 mm ultra-wide-angle lens with a f/1.9 aperture. Sharp indicates that photo and video quality, mainly in poor lighting situations, will be improved thanks to special anti-blur technology. Sharp also plans to ensure great quality selfies in future smartphones with a 16.3 MP module. The 23 mm wide angle captures more people in a single shot than conventional front cameras.

Sharp will be demonstrating both of the aforementioned technologies during IFA 2017 in Berlin. A finished smartphone with an IGOZ display and Sharp’s proprietary cameras will then be introduced at Mobile World Congress 2018, and we’re pretty excited.

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Will smartphone display sizes see a smaller trend in the future?

One thing that we love about our smartphones would be their generous display size. It makes viewing movies on the move a whole lot more enjoyable, while a larger sized viewing area enables a higher degree of productivity. It is also nice to have a solid feeling in our hands when interacting with our daily communications tool.

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With smartphone designs taking on a bezel-less approach such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, we can expect to get more “screen” with a smaller form factor in future iterations. This bodes well for the industry overall, as consumers would love to carry such a stylish, iconic device that resembles a portable, flat screen TV in their pockets and hands.

Battery technology is also most likely to continue improving, catering for larger display sizes that are capable of packing in more pixels while stretching battery life claims in the process. This is always a good thing, but unless there is a quantum leap in the realm of battery technology, we also expect battery life and performance to plateau eventually. In other words, never leave home without your power bank!

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy s8 vs xiaomi mi 6 6897 The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a fantastic display that hits the sweet spot. / © AndroidPIT

Anything larger than 6-inches is always going to be a challenge to carry around, as we take its weight and overall size into consideration. A larger portion of the market that comprises of consumers in emerging markets tend to reside in Asia, where hands there are physically smaller than their Western counterparts. This makes it uncomfortable for those with smaller hands to wrap their fingers around a 6-inch plus behemoth, and it is also pushing the envelope where larger sized hands are concerned.

We will not discount the fact that there will be smartphones with display sizes under the 5-inch mark released as well, since there is always the budget segment to consider. However, these devices will most probably not be able to gain too much traction among consumers, as there is a pressure to keep up with the flagship models without breaking the bank. This means following features as close as possible, and the display size is one of the easiest to do as opposed to cramming in a similar processor.

We strongly believe that smartphone display sizes will not shrink in the future, unlike the dumbphone era where we saw a decrease in size and form factor thanks to the power and technology of miniaturization, only to get larger and larger over time again before the smartphone burst onto the scene. Imagine returning to a 4-inch display size for the next flagship smartphone from any of the major players. It simply isn’t going to happen.

Large display sizes are here to stay, and they are not going to go away. Expect 5-inch displays to be the minimum, and anything between that and 6-inches is always more than welcome.

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Smartphone prices: How much should a smartphone cost?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a starting price of $ 929 and, as such, it’s purely symbolic that it remains in the three-digit range, which raises the question: How expensive should a smartphone be in the first place? Aren’t manufacturers slowly taking this upward trend too far?

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When looking at the upper price ceiling of its own product range, Samsung has really gone above and beyond with the new Galaxy Note 8. Just a few years ago, the limit at Samsung was about $ 200 lower. But don’t get me wrong: Samsung is not alone here; many manufacturers keep pushing the price tag up to a hefty sum when it comes to flagship models. This can be observed in Apple and Huawei, both of whom are creeping closer to that $ 1000 threshold with their luxury handsets.

But is that really justified? Personally, increased raw materials and labor costs do not fully justify such prices. Rather, I see it as following the requirement of “if it doesn’t cost anything, it’s not worth anything”, which is overly claimed here.

AndroidPIT Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 4764 The Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design costs over $ 1000. Still interested? / © AndroidPIT

Also, you can’t forget that smartphones have a more than limited lifespan. Customers who purchase an expensive premium model want to remain in the flagship category in the future and replace their smartphones every two years at the latest. You used to be pretty well off phone-wise with $ 600 some time ago – which is still some serious moolah today – but now most flagships begin at a significantly higher price.

The interesting thing about it is the following: With Apple as the main exception, smartphones are anything but a good monetary investment, since prices are significantly lower after two or three months. But that doesn’t ruin manufacturers either; they still earn good money, which raises the question of why does the initial selling price need to start so high? It scares off potential first-time buyers instead of enticing them to make a purchase. I don’t see the point of this, primarily in light of creeping saturation on the market.

iphone 8 front Samsung is only symbolically below the $ 1000 price threshold with the Galaxy Note 8. / © AndroidPIT

What kind of value does that convey?

With this in mind, I’m not just thinking about the purchase of a new smartphone. A lot of people deem it normal to buy a new smartphone every year and pass on their “old one” to siblings, children, friends or relatives. Teenagers then walk around with a smartphone in their pocket that a year ago cost as much as a scooter, a television or a sofa, all of which are replaced much less frequently and enjoy special importance. What I am conveying is this: Here, take this, it’s old and you can throw it away now. That doesn’t necessarily increase the appreciation for such an expensive device.

Of course, it’s not easy to specify a definitive pain threshold. But I certainly won’t be bringing home a smartphone that goes past the thousand-dollar mark. The $ 300-$ 400 price range now has perfectly good smartphones, saving a large majority of customers from having to shell out more for a decent phone. In my opinion, manufacturers should think about whether this price spiral is slowly going too far.

We want to hear from you: How expensive should a smartphone be and what is your personal pain threshold?

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Poll results: Samsung's best smartphone ever

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has stolen the hearts of many with its high-end specs and elegant, modern design. It’s at the very top of our list of the best smartphones of the moment, and we endeavored to find out if our readers think it might be the best Samsung phone ever. Here are the results.

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The best Samsung phone ever

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the undisputed winner of the poll. The majority of AndroidPIT users who voted have definitely been swayed by its impressive design, build quality and performance. But, some users weren’t totally convinced of its merits, citing the “useless” assistant button, Samsung bloatware and UI, plus the fragile glass body.

While no other devices came close, the top two alternatives were the S8’s predecessor, the Galaxy S7 with 12 percent of the vote, and the fan favorite Note 4 with 14 percent. There’s no doubt that the Note 8 will be in a position to challenge the S8’s popularity, and we’re eagerly awaiting its debut.  

best samsung phone poll results galaxy s8 The Note 8 may shake up these numbers soon. / © AndroidPIT

Do you agree with the majority? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Poll: Is the Galaxy S8 Samsung's best smartphone ever?

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the big star of the smartphone market right now. It has a lot of good qualities, users love its features and it’s certainly on our list top smartphones of the moment. In my opinion, this might not be just another hit – it may be the biggest success that Samsung has ever had. What do you think?

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The design and quality of the Galaxy S8

No one can deny it. The Galaxy S8 has an extremely appealing design and incredible build quality. With the introduction of the Infinity Display, Samsung has bet not only on aesthetics but also on ergonomics. The design is attractive without making too many compromises – the fingerprint reader is a notable exception. 

The ultra-thin bezels and overall shape of the device make it seem more compact than it actually is. The build quality is impeccable, and the device is a delight to hold in your hands. It’s certainly among the best in the market.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8plus 2055a The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have been a hit. © AndroidPIT

Do the sales numbers confirm its success?

Sales are going well for the Galaxy S8. In May 2017, Samsung said it had sold more than 5 million Galaxy S8 and S8+ units globally since April 21. In July 2017, the numbers were 15% higher than those of the Galaxy S7 in the same period according to the director of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh. Samsung expects this growth trend to continue into Q3 and Q4 2017. All in all, Samsung sold between 50 and 60 million units in 2017 – sales of the Galaxy S7 are estimated at 48 million units.

Do you agree? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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The fastest smartphone processor: a comparison

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Smartphone processors: Don’t say “CPU”!

The processor is the core component of a smartphone, which helps determine the operating speed. Therefore, it is crucial that it operates at a fast speed. But what makes one cellphone processor faster than the others? The clock rate and the number of cores do not tell the whole story. There’s more to these chips than what the meager data sheets in cell phone stores reveal. Thus, they are called system-on-a-chip, or SoC, for short.

Ideally, a SoC consists of a central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), modem, multimedia processor, security device and signal processor. This multitude of features makes it difficult to declare one particular cell phone processor as the fastest.

AndroidPIT qualcomm snapdragon 835 benchmark event 090049 Qualcomm Product Manager Travis Lanier explains the Snapdragon 835. / © AndroidPIT

Benchmarks only cover a few of a processor’s performance areas. This overview allows us to provide results for operating speed and gaming speed. Unfortunately, we do not yet have the ability to measure energy consumption and antenna performance.

The ARM CPU: The common denominator of smartphone processors?

Nearly all smartphone chips use the ARM architecture for their CPU. ARM provides CPU classes of varying performance levels, which are found in several variations in smartphone SoCs. The trick lies in the chips’ composition and clock rate.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 was one of the first to implement ARM’s big.LITTLE design principle, which is the pairing of two different processor clusters in one housing. The big cluster contains up to four high-performance CPU cores and the LITTLE cluster has up to four CPU cores that are tuned for energy efficiency.

But this exact architecture will be scrapped in the next ARM generation, making more sizes and clock speeds common in a single SoC.

The graphics unit: are there any big differences when gaming?

Chip manufacturer Nvidia integrates a strong graphics processing unit (GPU) for smartphones and tablets in its Tegra X1. The number of games that can take advantage of it is increasingly growing. Nvidia has a list of Play Store titles that support the Nvidia GPU.

nvidia shield package Nvidia has the fastest mobile GPU, which helps some games achieve truly excellent graphics. / © ANDROIDPIT

However, Qualcomm has upped the ante with the Snapdragon 835 and, particularly, its integrated Adreno 540 GPU, which impresses in all tests. Thanks to its support for DirectX 12, Qualcomm even wants to enter the Windows laptop market with it in 2017.

AndroidPIT qualcomm snapdragon 835 benchmark event 144717 DX12, Tessellation, VR, AR: Qualcomm’s Adreno can hold its own. / © AndroidPIT

You can feel the difference between slow and fast GPUs in Android when you run a new game with a really old smartphone. Unlike on a Windows computer, the games do not lag (for the most part). Instead, they lower the level of detail.

real racing graphic details difference Real Racing 3 only shows details such as mirroring and instrument lighting with a fast processor. In the top picture, the game was run on an Exynos 7420 on a Galaxy S6 Edge, and in the bottom picture, on a Snapdragon 400 in the Moto G (2013). / © ANDROIDPIT AndroidPIT Google Pixel C 8784 The Google Pixel C tablet achieved over 40,000 points in Basemark X. / © ANDROIDPIT

The fastest mobile GPU in a portable Android device is still in the Google’s Pixel C tablet. The three processors that are used in Android smartphones are just about dead even. Huawei has done an excellent job optimizing the Kirin 960 in the Mate 9, and it could hold its own. However, smartphones with the Snapdragon 835 will be able to take it a step further.

AndroidPIT huawei mate9 0158 Nougat with Vulkan and Daydream support give the Mate 9 gaming power. / © AndroidPIT

There are great playmates in all sizes and form factors. If you wish to spend less money, you can simply opt for a OnePlus 3T. It has the Pixel’s Snapdragon 821 processor and offers just as good gaming performance.

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A comparison of the fastest cell phone processors

Here we will take a look at the results of CPU and GPU tests and inform you which Android devices have the fastest mobile processors. For reference, we use processors that are available in devices currently sold as of this article’s publication date. The Snapdragon 835 will come later this year.

Benchmark Values: Processing Power Index

PROCESSOR Snapdragon 835 Kirin 960 Exynos 8890 Snapdragon 821 Tegra X1
TEST DEVICE  Qualcomm Reference Device Huawei Mate 9 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge  Google Pixel Pixel C Tablet
PROCESSING POWER INDEX 105.1% 100% (reference) 80.8% 75.5% 71.0%

The processing power index is composed of the results of Geekbench, PC Mark Work, and Octane.

Benchmark Values: Gaming Index

PROCESSOR Snapdragon 835 Tegra X1 Kirin 960 Snapdragon 821 Exynos 8890
TEST DEVICE Qualcomm Reference Device Pixel C Tablet Huawei Mate 9 Google Pixel Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 
PROCESSING POWER INDEX   117.3% 100% (reference) 88.0% 85.3% 84.2%

The gaming index is composed of the 3D mark tests Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) and Ice Storm Unlimited (ES 2.0).

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

Qualcomm returns to the octa-core design with its latest offshoot, but it has mainly improved the GPU. Gamers in particular should look into smartphones with this processor, since this leap from the Snapdragon 821 will be particularly obvious in VR applications. Not only will content be rendered more quickly, but power consumption will be reduced by a third.

AndroidPIT qualcomm snapdragon 835 benchmark event 141720 The Snapdragon 835 will be fun in VR applications. / © AndroidPIT

Apart from VR, the Snapdragon 820 and its improved variant, the 821, are still fast SoCs despite only having four cores. Thanks to the efficient Hexagon signal processors and optimizations for machine learning algorithms, they master virtually all of their successor’s tricks.

AndroidPIT Google Pixel Event2016 9894 Invisibly optimizing pictures: The Snapdragon 821 in the Pixel. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Google Pixel is one of the first devices that heavily uses the new features. In benchmarks, the chip does not provide great surprises. Rather, its talent is spread across day-to-day tasks, such as photography.

Samsung Exynos 8895

The Galaxy S8’s processor in the US is the Snapdragon 835, but elsewhere it’s the Samsung Exynos 8895 and it introduces the Exynos 9 series. Here, too, is significantly increased gaming performance a topic of discussion. Samsung’s latest development clearly focuses on increased VR performance, since it requires higher screen resolutions.

The Galaxy S7’s Exynos 8890 marks the second time in a row that Samsung has managed to produce the fastest cell phone processor. But the SoC alone is not responsible for the Galaxy smartphones’ snappy feel.

Only when coupled with Samsung’s proprietary UFS 2.0 flash memory type do apps load quickly. Samsung also sells the memory to other smartphone manufacturers. As a result, they can be found in the OnePlus 3T, the Google Pixel, or in the Huawei Mate 9 – in every important competitor.

AndroidPIT OnePlus3 soft gold 6527 OnePlus uses quick Samsung memory. / © AndroidPIT

Huawei/HiSilicon Kirin 960

HiSilicon is an interesting competitor for Qualcomm and Samsung. Currently used exclusively in its own brands Huawei and Honor, it impresses in many areas. Voice quality is increased thanks to good sound processing. When it comes to LTE and Wi-Fi performance, the Chinese manufacturer demonstrates its strengths as a technology supplier. Even its graphics performance has caught up to the Galaxy S7 for the first time, thanks to the Vulkan API in the Mate 9 and a collaboration with ARM.

The fastest mobile processor: conclusion

The Snapdragon 835 will be important for VR gaming. Furthermore, it shows that the market is saturated. Most processors from 2016 will also be fast enough in 2017. But as already mentioned at the beginning, the chip alone is not responsible for a high operating speed.

A stable mobile data connection and fast, tidy flash memory are at least just as important. The flagship devices of nearly every manufacturer now use fast UFS 2.0 flash memory from Samsung. Clear-cut, optimized software takes care of the rest, and Huawei seems to have developed a satisfactory solution here.

Here are some tips to speed up your current smartphone:

Are you happy with the speed of your smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

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