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12
Dec

‘MST3K’ is the biggest crowdfunded video project to date


If you guessed that a Mystery Science Theater 3000 crowdfunding campaign would rake in a lot of cash… well, you guessed correctly. Joel Hodgson’s quest to revive the poke-fun-at-bad-movies show has ended its campaign with nearly $5.8 million raised through Kickstarter, making it the biggest crowdfunded video project so far — it just edged past the $5.7 million of the Veronica Mars movie. Between this fundraising and the $425,000 raised outside of Kickstarter, you’re going to get 14 new MST3K episodes (including a holiday special) next year.

So how did they do it? Nostalgia helped, no doubt, but this was also a textbook example of how to run a crowdfunding campaign. The team didn’t just set its goals and call it a day. It conducted frequent rallies to spark interest, and drip-fed news (such as the roles for Jonah Ray, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt). In short, it wasn’t at risk of falling off the radar. Loyal fans kept getting reminders to pitch in, and even the casual observers got a pile of reasons to contribute.

Source: Kickstarter

12
Dec

Here are the videos you don’t want to miss this week – December 12, 2015


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If you’re interested in mobile technology in the slightest, you’ve probably been asked the question “What’s the best Android smartphone you can buy?” Of course, there’s no correct answer – no smartphone is perfect, and not every mobile device can take care of everyone’s needs. To help answer this question, we’ve just introduced our Best of Android series, which pits the best smartphones on the market against each other in hopes to find out which one is the best in a particular category. You can find all of the videos we’ve posted so far, and be sure to stay tuned over the next few days while we bring you more comparisons and our results roundup video.

And that’s not all. We also managed to bring you full reviews of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, Meizu Pro 5 and Lenovo Yoga Tab 3. We’ve also published our full comparison of the Nexus 5X and the OnePlus X, as well as a few other great videos.

So without any further ado, here are all the Android-related videos you don’t want to miss this week.

Best of Android 2015

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We’re comparing the best smartphones from Google, Motorola, BlackBerry, Sony, LG and Samsung in our Best of Android series. So far we’ve published our display, audio, performance, battery and camera tests, and we still have UX and the big results roundup videos on their way. Interested in seeing what’s the best Android phone out there? Follow the links attached below to get the full comparisons.

Reviews

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

The “world’s first 4K smartphone” is finally here, and we’ve just published our full review of the new device. Is a 4K display worth it? How does it affect the phone’s battery life? We find that out, and more, in our full review of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.

Meizu Pro 5 review

The Meizu Pro 5 might be the best flagship smartphone to ever come from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, but does it come with any caveats? Don’t miss Lanh’s full review of the Pro 5 from Meizu.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 review

Last week we brought you our full review of the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro, and now it’s time to take a look at the tablet’s more affordable brother, the Yoga Tab 3. Is it worth the money? Check out Bailey’s full review to learn more.

Battle of the high-end, affordable flagships

OnePlus X vs Nexus 5X

If you don’t have a ton of money to spend on a new smartphone, that’s okay. The budget-friendly tier of smartphones have been getting really good lately, with a ton of options on the market to choose from. We just recently compared the latest smartphones from Google and OnePlus against each other in hopes to find out which one comes out on top. Check out Krystal’s full comparison of the OnePlus X and the Nexus 5X.

Android Apps Weekly

Take VR photos yourself, The Room 3, goodbye forever Songza – you don’t want to miss the latest episode of Joe’s Android Apps Weekly show!

Fresh from the rumor mill

Samsung Galaxy S7 rumor roundup

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about new Samsung flagship rumors, of course! We’ve already seen a boatload of rumors and bits of speculation floating around the web, so we found it important to put them all in one place. Bogdan’s full rumor roundup is attached below, and you can check out Jayce’s video overview above.

Samsung Galaxy S7 – first alleged CAD images leak

It wouldn’t be rumor season without some leaked images. Could these be the first CAD images of the Samsung Galaxy S7? Be sure to check out Matthew’s full post and Jayce’s video overview for more info.

12
Dec

Google Play offering select buy one, gift one movies for the holidays (U.S. only)


buy a movie gift a movie google play

It’s the season of giving, and Google is making it much easier for all of us to spread some holiday cheer. With the new “Buy a Movie, Gift a Movie” promotion that just launched a few days ago, Google is giving you the chance to purchase a movie and gift that same movie to a friend for no extra charge. The selection is sort of limited, but there are a few great movies that made it on the list such as Pitch Perfect, E.T., Jurassic Park and a few others.

Once you purchase one of the movies attached below, you’ll receive a code via email for a second copy of that same movie to give to a friend. This deal ends on Thursday, December 17th, and unfortunately you have to be a U.S. resident to take part. Non-U.S. residents can still redeem the promotional links, though.

Here are all the movies available in this new promotion.


chromecast 2015 review aa (6 of 26)See also: Best Android gifts under $50 (2015 holiday gift guide)

To see all of the movies in one place, head to the promotion link attached below. Did you find anything you like? If so, which movies did you purchase? Let us know in the comments!

‘Buy a movie, gift a movie’ on Google Play

12
Dec

Disney’s FaceDirector changes facial expressions in movies


The new tool out of Disney Research’s labs could turn an ingénue’s semi-decent attempt into a finely nuanced performance. This software called FaceDirector has the capability to merge together separate frames from different takes to create the perfect scene. It does that by analyzing both the actor’s face and audio cues to identify the frames that correspond with each other. As such, directors can create brand new takes during post-production with zero input from the actor. They don’t even need specialized hardware like 3D cameras for the trick — it works even with footage taken by regular 2D cams.

According to Disney Research VP Markus Gross, the tool could be used to lower a movie’s production costs or to stay within the budget, say, if it’s an indie film that doesn’t have a lot of money to spare. “It’s not unheard of for a director to re-shoot a crucial scene dozens of times, even 100 or more times, until satisfied,” he said. “That not only takes a lot of time — it also can be quite expensive. Now our research team has shown that a director can exert control over an actor’s performance after the shoot with just a few takes, saving both time and money.” Considering the lab also developed a way to make dubbed movies more believable and to take advantage of incredibly high frame rates, we wouldn’t be surprised if filmmakers arm themselves with an arsenal of Disney Research tools in the future.

It’s probably hard to visualize the way FaceDirector works without seeing an example, so make sure to watch the video below to see it in action.

Source: Disney Research (1), (2)

12
Dec

JUUK Revo Review: Modern Apple Watch Link Bracelet for Under $200


Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet is arguably the most luxurious Apple Watch band available, but at $449 it may be worth considering similar but less expensive third-party options available. Enter JUUK, a new company that aims to fill that niche with its lineup of Revo stainless steel link bracelets for under $200.

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JUUK, pronounced “juke,” is a watch company created by Eugene Ho, a Canadian with nearly two decades of experience in the watch industry. Ho, who moved to Hong Kong in 1997 to establish Pacific Watchworks, has worked on popular brands including Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Ecko, Reebok and many others.

“During that time, I’ve developed great relationships with some of the top watch component factories,” Ho told MacRumors. “This means that I’m not an Apple accessories vendor trying to make watch bracelets. I’m not a guy coming off the streets trying to make watch bracelets. The watch industry is in my blood, and developing high quality watch components is all that I know professionally.”

Revo stainless steel link bracelets for Apple Watch are offered in polished, brushed or gunmetal finishes for between $145 and $195. A trio of 42mm bracelets are available to ship immediately, while 38mm bracelet pre-orders will ship in late January 2016. 42mm polished or brushed spare links are also available for $12 each.

Given the popular adage “you get what you pay for,” this review will take a closer look at the design and fit of the 42mm Polished Revo model, $195, to see how it compares to Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet.

Design

JUUK’s 42mm Revo has a premium look and feel. The link bracelet is crafted from 316L stainless steel, the same grade used by Apple and many Swiss watchmakers, and this particular model has a lustrous all-polished finish. The modern design closely matches the stainless steel Apple Watch’s polished case, but like other bracelets of its kind, it collects fingerprints easily and is more susceptible to surface scratches.

Revo-Side

In my two weeks of testing the Revo, being careful not to graze it on any hard surfaces, the bracelet still collected some surface scratches visible in natural light. The underside of the Revo is brushed to better hide those blemishes, a common practice in the watch industry for polished bracelets, but opting for the 42mm Brushed Revo entirely may be the better option for Apple Watch users who are less vigilant.

While Apple began selling “Made for Apple Watch” lugs for official third-party bands in October, the Revo has unofficial adapters on each end of the link bracelet that slide into the Apple Watch casing with ease. The adapters have locking mechanisms on the underside that must be pressed in for a secure fit. Some third-party Apple Watch lugs do not fit very well, so I was pleased this bracelet worked without any issues. Read more »

12
Dec

MacRumors Gift Guide by Marianne: Elevation Dock, Fluxmob Bolt, and More


To provide gift ideas for our readers this holiday season, we here at MacRumors have written gift guides based on our own experiences with products we like and recommend to others. If you want to catch up, here are links to the guides published so far: Juli Clover, Joe Rossignol, and Mitchel Broussard.

Here’s my selection of gift suggestions based on products I own, use often, and recommend to anyone looking for gift ideas for friends or family:

Elevation Dock for iPhone by Elevation Lab ($89)

I first heard about Elevation Lab’s iPhone dock through the company’s Kickstarter in 2011 and I backed the project there in order to receive one before they were commercially available. The dock, which is made out of a block of solid aluminum, was intended to be heavy enough to easily remove an iPhone with just one hand, and its design complemented Apple’s existing products beautifully. I have two Elevation Docks – one at my desk in front of my iMac and another on my nightstand – that I use every single day with my iPhone 6s. Elevation Lab currently offers the Elevation Dock 3 for the iPhone 6/6s and 6 Plus/6s Plus models. It’s pricey at $89 but I recommend it if you’ve got someone who appreciates the Apple design aesthetic and needs a solid, well-made iPhone dock.

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Fluxmob Bolt battery backup and wall charger ($50)

I use my iPhone almost constantly most days and I’m oddly paranoid that the battery will die when I actually need it to make an emergency call or something else important. To allay this fear, I like to carry the means to charge my iPhone anywhere. However, I also like to streamline what I carry and prefer multipurpose items when possible, and a combination back-up battery and AC charger made sense. My search led me to Fluxmob’s Bolt, which is both a 3,000 mAh battery and an AC charger thanks to its built-in prongs, which stay hidden until you flip them out. The Bolt offers pass-through charging, which means that it can charge both its internal battery and and a connected iPhone at the same time when it’s plugged into an outlet, so I never have to worry about charging its battery separately. The Bolt, along with a retractable Lightning cable, are staples in my purse.

At $49.99, it’s a reasonably-priced gift for any heavy smartphone user on your gift list. Fluxmob also makes the Bolt2, a larger model with two USB ports and a 6,000 mAh internal battery that costs $79.99.

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Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker

I still have one of Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi speakers use it regularly with my iPhone. Though it can run on batteries and is meant to be somewhat portable, it’s not something I can throw in my bag. Jawbone was one of the first companies to release a portable Bluetooth speaker and I loved the idea and its design and bought one a few years ago and it’s still one of my most-used accessories. I bring it with me when I travel and have even had family members ask me if I could “accidentally” forget it when I left.

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Jawbone no longer makes the original Jambox that I have but you can buy a refurbished one directly from Jawbone for $47.99. The company now makes a smaller Mini Jambox (pictured above) and an extra-large Big Jambox, which cost $129.99 and $199.99 respectively at Jawbone’s site at the time of this post.

LG Pocket Photo printer ($120)

Though it pains me to admit it, I’m old enough to remember Polaroid cameras and the grainy, chemical-laden instant photos they could print. With my iPhone as my main camera, I wanted something that could duplicate that ability to quickly print a photo and found LG’s Pocket Photo printer. It connects to an iPhone via Bluetooth and is managed through LG’s Pocket Photo app. It uses inkless paper made by Zink and is small enough to throw in the small messenger bag I normally use every day. It prints 2-inch by 3-inch photos on paper with a peel-and-stick back so they can easily be used for scrapbooking, journals, greeting cards, and more.

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LG doesn’t sell its Pocket Photo models directly in the US but you can get the latest PD251 model from Newegg for $119.99 (I have the previous generation PD239 model in a glorious Hello Kitty limited edition, thank you very much).

Fitbit One ($100)

Though the iPhone has step-tracking capabilities, I don’t carry it in a pocket consistently enough to use it as a step tracker. Also, I’d prefer my step tracker to be small and unobtrusive and as accurate as possible. After trying a wrist-based tracker, I switched to the Fitbit One a few years ago and it’s become an accessory I use every single day and even remember to clip to my pajamas to track my sleep. The companion Fitbit app is easy to use and I like the community aspect, particularly the challenges you can complete with friends, which are surprisingly motivating. I’m not fanatical enough about tracking my steps to take a walk just before midnight to meet my daily goal, but it does help me be cognizant of how active, or inactive, I am every day and plan something to increase my activity if I can.

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The Fitbit One costs $99.95 directly from Fitbit, but it’s usually around $89 at Amazon.

We have a few more gift guides to publish, so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to add your own suggestions or find even more ideas for your own gift shopping lists with our MacRumors gift guide that was curated by readers.

Discuss this article in our forums

12
Dec

Reddit details plans for official Android app, beta sign-ups start today


reddit-android-app-logo

Reddit today posted plans to launch its own official native Android app. Reddit earlier acquired Alien Blue, naming it as Reddit’s first official app, but it’s unfortunately exclusive to iOS users.

In addition to announcing plans for an Android app, Reddit is allowing users to sign-up and express their interest in beta testing the new application today. The first sign-up stage will last until December 18, and just a couple of thousand people will be hand-picked to help test the official app when beta launches in just a couple of months.

Here’s the official word from Reddit’s Product Manager:

“As many of you know, the team here has been working hard to bring our official native Reddit app to Android for a while now. Now that we’re getting close to having something to share, we’d love to invite some redditors to participate in the beta to provide us with feedback and help identify those nasty bugs so we can squash them before wide release..”

Reddit is looking to launch the official beta in just a couple of months and will no doubt open it up for more users soon. Reddit has over 200 million monthly active users, and simply can’t invite them all to the beta because, well, it’s a beta, and things in beta tend to be extremely unstable.

For users that sign-up for the beta, a private subreddit will be opened where feedback and suggestions can be expressed.

source: Reddit, Reddit (Sign-up link)

Come comment on this article: Reddit details plans for official Android app, beta sign-ups start today

12
Dec

Final climate change deal keeps emissions in check, if it sticks


After weeks of work, the United Nations is on the cusp of reaching a deal to prevent climate change… hopefully. A just-published final draft agreement sets some clear targets that include a hefty amount of cooperation. The deal would limit the global temperature increase to “well below” 2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and reach a balance in greenhouse gas emissions (that is, as many offsets as there are emitters) by the second half of this century. There would be a progress review every five years, and developing countries would get a helping hand to the tune of $100 billion per year as of 2020.

They’re significant goals, and they’re likely to please island nations that face the threat of flooding as sea levels rise. However, this is assuming that the 195 countries involved both vote in favor of the deal and hold up their end of the bargain. You see, the pact isn’t completely binding. That’s a concession to make sure the deal flies in countries like the US (where the political right would block any mandatory deal), but a blow to anyone who wanted guaranteed progress. As it stands, there’s an exception for China, one of the biggest polluters — it had already set an emissions target for 2030, and won’t have to revisit its goals until 2020.

There’s also the question of whether or not the targets go far enough. While the under-2C temperature objective is meaningful, there’s a concern that increases above 1.5C could still lead to catastrophic changes in some parts of the world. And let’s face it, that mid-century emissions target is distant — a lot could happen in 35 years. The document may prevent the worst, but it may be far from ideal.

[Image credit: Chesnot/Getty Images]

Via: BBC

Source: United Nations

12
Dec

Swatch is piling up the patents


Swatch_store_logo

Swatch may not be the first vendor that comes to mind when thinking about wearables, but happens to own a large sum of patents related to the technology.

Bloomberg believes that Swatch owns 173 patents all in which relate to wearable technology. These include a variety of concept designs such as one’s with proximity sensors and data-transmitting batteries. Sources believe that the company is well capable of producing its own smartwatches unlike competitors who rely on others for sensors and parts.

Owning all these patents could eventually help Swatch significantly because of other manufacturers who will seek to incorporate their ideas into their own wearable devices. This has been well proven in the case of smartphones. It’s only a matter of time before the wearable market picks up. With that said, Swatch may be able to pick up some rightfully won cash from rivals down the road.

Source: Bloomberg

Come comment on this article: Swatch is piling up the patents

12
Dec

Best of Android 2015: Camera


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What is Best of Android?

In Best of Android, we take the hottest devices of the moment and compare them in-depth. For this first edition, we picked up the following Android flagships:

  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
  • Nexus 6P
  • Motorola Moto X Force
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • LG V10
  • BlackBerry Priv

What about the Galaxy S6 or the HTC One M9 or the OnePlus 2, you ask. Those are all great phones. But, to keep this comparison manageable, we selected only the phones we feel are the most representative for the ecosystem right now.

Read more about Best of Android. Thanks for being a part of Android Authority!

The next section in our Best of Android 2015 series, where we put the latest and greatest Android phones through a series of tough tests, is our camera shootout. For a recap, we have the Blackberry Priv, LG V10, Galaxy Note 5, Moto X Force (Droid Turbo 2), Nexus 6P and the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium at hand, and we took them out for a spin around London’s Southbank to put the handsets through a selection of lighting environments and shooting scenarios.

Photography results can be pretty subjective, so we sent the pictures around the office for everyone to vote on their favorites. There are some split opinions on some and consensus on others, but in the end we have been left with a clear winner.

A quick note on the pictures before we jump in. Each of the phones was left on their default settings, but we made sure to set each phone to Auto HDR, with the exception of the Z5 Premium which has Auto HDR always on. We also shot each of the pictures in a 4:3 aspect ratio because for some reason a 16:9 option was missing on the BlackBerry Priv until a recent update, which didn’t come in until after our tests. Manual modes were not used, this is an “out of the box” test.

Daylight Shots

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the pictures. Starting from top left, we have Z5 Premium, and moving right, we have Nexus 6P, Moto X Force, then on the bottom left we have LG V10, then right we have Note 5, then finally on bottom right we have the BlackBerry Priv.

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We’ll start off with some daytime shots on a typically English overcast day, which offers a tough challenge for our phones to balance the bright skies with darker details on the ground. Right off the bat there’s a notable blue tint to the LG V10, Nexus 6P and Z5 Premium’s images, while the Priv, Moto X Force, and Note 5 have a warmer tone. There’s certainly no lack of detail in any of the pictures, but the Note 5 and X Force seem to produce the brightest results from this scene.


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Moving on to a different picture in similar lighting conditions, we can see some softening on the images produced by the Moto X Force and Xperia Z5 Premium, although the Premium’s colors really do pop in this picture. A closer look at the Note 5 reveals some sharpening on the building details that is considerably stronger than on other phones.

The best looking results come from the LG V10, Priv and Nexus 6P, but each seems to have judged the picture worthy of slightly different exposures. The V10 loses some detail in the brighter clouds, while the Priv is perhaps a little too dark and is slightly off with the color temperature. The Nexus 6P produces a good all-round result, with details and exposure holding up well in the clouds, the foreground and background, without any distracting noise or sharpening.


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With a close up focal point, we picked the “International Brigade” plaque, and we can again see each phone exposing the pictures quite differently and overexposure in the background is a key thing to look out for here.

The Z5 Premium is the standout phone in this regard, managing to retain detail and color in the clouds and background trees. However, the subject is lacking some detail. The Moto X Force performs reasonably well, but the image is very soft, verging on blurry as soon as we look beyond the plaque.

The Note 5 seems to have again over sharpened the image to try and bring out foreground detail, but this worsens the look of the background and both it and the Nexus 6P struggle with the bright sky. The LG V10 produces a lot more detail on the statue than these phones without the sharpening problems. The Priv also offers excellent detail, albeit with a very different color tone to the picture, but the Priv’s results are quite impressive.


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For our fourth daylight shot we are trying to capture the distant detail of Big Ben across the river. The Priv really isn’t as clear this time around, there’s a distinct lack of focus when we crop down the image for a closer look. The Moto X Force is sharp and contains some additional detail over the LG V10. The foreground and sky color is lovely with the Xperia Z5 Premium, but Big Ben, our focal point, just seems a tad less detailed than with the Moto X Force. You can see this more clearly in the cropped images below.


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The Note 5’s sharpening is better in this picture, although perhaps it’s still a little heavy, and there’s still a notable warm color shift. The Nexus 6P offers up some finer detail thanks to its sharpening, and has a better color balance and nice exposure.


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A modern camera shootout wouldn’t be complete without a selfie and we aren’t surprised to see that these front facing sensors can’t keep up with the main rear cameras.

The Moto X Force is incredibly blurry, while the Priv and the Premium have this fuzzy noisy look about them and highly overexposed backgrounds. Here the 6P is better, but also suffers from an overly bright background.

This leaves us with the V10 and the Note 5, which are far better exposed. However, the Note 5 seems to have added some bizarre skin softening “make-up” effect which just looks weird, leaving the V10 as the winner, despite not quite offering optimal detail.

Lowlight Shots

Low light is where small smartphone camera sensors have historically struggled. We’ll be keeping a keen eye out for decent exposure and low noise in the next series of tests.

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Our first low light test reveals a considerably darker picture with the BlackBerry Priv than all the others, followed by the Z5 Premium. The Moto X Force and Note 5 look ok, although don’t quite offer up the full color and details we can see in some of the other pictures, with the latter looking oddly foggy compared with the rest. The LG V10 and Nexus 6P are the best performers in this shot, with excellent colors, but the detail and depth on the wooden floor captured by the 6P really is a cut above the field.


The next set of shots are quite tricky as there are several light sources, lots of color and the sky in the background to try to balance correctly. We took this shot twice, first with the darker background bush as the focal point and then again by selecting the four foreground lights.

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Beginning with the lights as the focal point, we can see that the Xperia Z5 struggles with the exposure, resulting in too much bloom from the lights. The Moto X Force suffers from the same problem, although not quite to the same extent, and we see some slight blurring on closer inspection. The Galaxy Note 5 performs better, but again we see a warm color tint and some very distracting sharpening on the leaves behind the lights, which really ruins the depth of the picture. The Priv handles the lighting much better but the picture is too dark, washing out much of the color. The crops below provide a closer look.

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Again the LG V10 and the Nexus 6P are the top two performers in this low light shot, with the V10 providing excellent detail, colors and just the right amount of sharpening. However, the Nexus 6P offers up an even better exposure, which may be a little darker but still retains an incredible amount of detail and contrast.

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Taking the picture with the focal point on the dark spot behind the lights sees many of the cameras correctly adjust their exposures. However, the Z5 Premium and the Moto X Force produce much the same result as when focusing directly on the light source.

The results here are much closer, but there are similar trends as before. The Priv looks a little washed out, while the Z5 Premium again seems to struggle to hit the right exposure. Here the V10 could use a bit more contrast, while the Moto X Force’s picture is perhaps a little too dark. The Nexus 6P again shows the best detail and contrast out of the bunch.


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We have another tough test for our handsets with this very dark night shot of a carousel. The movement of the carousel is a real test of our camera’s ability to quickly capture light in these night shots and again it’s the Nexus 6P which comes out ahead, this time by quite a way, with the Note 5 probably coming the closest to matching it.

The Z5 Premium and Moto X Force produce much softer results with this moving shot, while the LG V10 seems to suffer from some major flare from the lights. The Priv really isn’t bad, but has overexposed the main light source a little.


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It was starting to get a little chilly by this point, so we had a sit down by a fire and decided to see how well each phone could capture color and movement. There’s quite a difference in how the phones have lit the picture, with the Priv a little on the dark side and the Note 5 really washing out the colors. It’s tough to call due to the motion in the image, but the Nexus 6P seems to offer up the most detail without too much exposure and blurring of the flames.


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Here’s another picture with plenty of different light sources, so keep an eye out for flare and focus. This time around, the Nexus 6P is not the best performer, as its lack of image stabilization leads to some notable blurring across the light sources and even in the foreground. The Moto X Force produces a similarly softened result in the lower half of the picture, while the Note 5’s orange tint crops up yet again and there’s notable flare on the right too.

The Xperia Z5 Premium and BlackBerry Priv do an excellent job of taming all those light sources. Both produce some nice colors in the sky, but are perhaps a little too dark and there is some very noticeable noise in the Priv’s sky. The LG V10 produces a warmer, brighter picture and there is the least amount of noise present across the image and plenty of detail in the lower half.


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A longer distance lowlight shot shows off what the Xperia Z5 Premium and BlackBerry Priv are capable of, given the right conditions. The sky, colors and lights stand out on both these phones and the Z5 Premium boasts some excellent contrast and sharpness. The tree in the Moto X Force and Nexus 6P shots is less well defined, while the Note 5 sharpening filter has completely taken over in this one. The V10 just looks washed out by comparison.


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Moving on to some closer shots we are looking to see how clearly the wording comes out from this sign. The BlackBerry Priv comes through very clearly, as does the Galaxy Note 5. The only notably poor performer here is the V10, which doesn’t seem to have quite focused the image properly, despite boasting laser autofocus technology.


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With even less light it’s the Note 5 that manages to bring out the most detail, while the BlackBerry’s image becomes much darker. The Nexus 6P also made the most of this very dim environment, but there’s some notable lens flare, which also appears with the Z5 Premium, the Moto X Force and especially the LG V10.


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To wrap up our extensive selection of lowlight pictures, here are some longer distance building shots. The trends that we’ve spotted in previous picture remain the theme here, with the Moto X Force really struggling to focus with the distant light sources. The Nexus 6P and Z5 Premium are the noisiest of the remaining phones, but it’s between the 6P and Note 5 for the best detail in the distance.


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Interestingly, the Nexus 6P and LG V10 both produced darker pictures when focusing on this bright light source in the distance. However, this does allow the two, the 6P in particular, to actually pick out the minute details inside the store. An impressive feat given the distance and lighting environment. The Note 5 sits somewhere in between the two exposure extremes.


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We haven’t neglected the front facing cameras in our low light test. We have another adorable set of selfies for you, which sees a number of the front facing cameras really struggle in this scenario. The Priv is just awful with very little detail and the V10, Z5 and Note 5 all offer up smudged looking images.

The Moto X Force does better in this test, although there is some noticeable noise in the darks. The Nexus 6P knocks this one out of the park, with superior detail, no blur and all round good lighting.

Panorama Mode

If you’re into your landscapes, then you’ll probably be interested in Panorama mode performance too. We a shot across the Thames in both daylight and lowlight environments, with the rippling water and moving boats providing a real test for the software’s stitching algorithms.

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In daylight, the 6P offers a good balance of color and exposure, although you can spot a slight stitching error on the railing on the bottom right. The V10 also performs well, although the image is a little darker and there’s a seam on the water too. The Galaxy Note 5 offers up some nice warm colors and distant detail, and is definitely the most well balanced picture.

The Xperia Z5 Premium’s Panorama Mode is very blurry, likely down to the movement of the camera. The Priv has a different problem, as the image appears warped and bent, and there’s a misalignment on the right hand bridge. The Moto X Force has the most obvious software issues though, as there’s a strange series of lines streaking down the picture and the resolution is very poor.

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In the lowlight pictures, the Moto X Force is an even worse performer, with notable blurring across the image. But it’s the Z5 Premium that completely falls apart here, producing major smearing that is quite ridiculous. This wasn’t a one off fluke either. The Priv is much better, but also shows some smudging on the left and is far too dark.

The Note 5, V10 and 6P are the best performers. Image quality holds up reasonably well across all three and they even handle the distant lights quite well. The Nexus 6P is definitely the brightest and clearest image, but this comes at the expense of some heavy noise in the clouds.

Wrap up

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the Android Authority staff tally awards the best camera to the Nexus 6P. It offers a very competitive daylight performance, but it really shines in low light pictures thanks to its HDR+ capabilities. The software does an excellent job at piecing multiple exposures together and adds just the right touch of post processing to bring out some superb detail.

The Galaxy Note 5 came in second place, followed very closely by the LG V10. Both of these handsets put in consistently good performances across the majority of our tests, but just couldn’t keep up with the 6P’s low light results. That said, any of these three smartphones are a sure to see you capturing some great looking snaps.


Best of Android 2015

Don’t miss:

Best of Android: Display

Best of Android: Audio

Best of Android: Performance

Best of Android: Battery

Tomorrow we will be taking a look at the user experience offered by our six contenders. Come back on December 13 at 10AM EST for Best of Android 2015: UX!


Credits

Post by Rob Triggs Video by: Krystal Lora
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsGary Sims, Lanh Nguyen, Joe Hindy, Krystal Lora

Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

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