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6
May

Debate Rages Over Whether Apple Music Automatically Deletes Users’ Owned Music Collections


Apple Music is the center of a heated debate this week, with involved parties arguing over whether or not the service is deleting Apple Music users’ song collections from hard drives after uploading them to iCloud Music Library.

Vellum’s James Pinkstone wrote a long complaint on May 4 accusing Apple Music of doing just that. According to Pinkstone, Apple Music deleted 122GB of his original music files after he joined Apple Music and had his music library scanned by Apple to make his personal content available across multiple devices.

When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize–which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself–it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted.

The process Pinkstone describes above is not how Apple Music’s matching feature works, according to an in-depth explanation shared by iMore. Apple will match songs and upload original songs by converting them into an appropriate format, but it does not delete without user intervention. iMore theorizes that Pinkstone accidentally wiped his own library by misunderstanding confusing dialog options.

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Whatever the case, Apple Music was never designed to delete Pinkstone’s source library, and it won’t delete yours. That’s simply not how the service works on your primary Mac. But if you’re not aware of how iCloud Music Library stores copies of tracks, you may delete your local copies to save space, thinking you can get them back — and get screwed as a result.

Confusing the issue further is Pinkstone’s conversation with an Apple Support Representative named Amber, who seems to be just as perplexed about how Apple Music functions when merging an existing music library with the Apple Music service.

“The software is functioning as intended,” said Amber.
“Wait,” I asked, “so it’s supposed to delete my personal files from my internal hard drive without asking my permission?”
“Yes,” she replied.

Amber’s statement is inaccurate according to an Apple Music support document. Original files are never altered and remain available and deleting personal content is not the intended behavior of the service, but it continues to be unclear if Pinkstone and other Apple Music customers who have had content deleted have experienced a bug or mistakenly deleted their content themselves because of a confusing user interface. Multiple Apple Music listeners have disagreed with iMore’s point of view and have said they too have experienced music deletions that weren’t self-initiated.

Regardless of what actually happened, it’s clear that Apple Music is in need of a serious overhaul. Rumors suggest Apple is working on revamping Apple Music and will unveil changes at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Hopefully that revamp will extend beyond cosmetic changes to clear up many of the confusing aspects of how music libraries are handled.

Apple Music users with personal music collections should create a backup on an external hard drive, which will ensure no music ever goes missing through user error or an Apple Music bug.

Tag: Apple Music
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6
May

The complete list of Cortana commands – CNET


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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you don’t use Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated personal assistant, you’re missing out on some handy, hands-free functionality — especially now that she’s fully integrated into Windows 10, and Windows 10 is everywhere.

Like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now, Cortana is an intelligent personal assistant who can help you with everything from launching applications to scheduling appointments. She can even adjust a handful of device settings, such as toggling your Wi-Fi on and off. Microsoft hasn’t published a full list of Cortana commands, so we pulled together this unofficial list of all the things you can ask or say to Cortana on Windows 10 devices.

Hey, Cortana

There are a few ways to get Cortana’s attention.

  • Click or tap the Cortana button on the taskbar. If you do not see Cortana on your taskbar, right-click the taskbar and go to Cortana > Show Cortana icon.
  • If you have ‘Hey, Cortana’ enabled, simply say “Hey, Cortana,” followed by your question. Here’s how to enable ‘Hey, Cortana.’
  • If you’re using a Windows Phone, you can press and hold the search button to activate Cortana.

Basics

  • Ask about the weather. Ex.: “What’s the weather like?” or “What will the weather be like in two days?” or “Is it going to rain tomorrow?”
  • Launch a program or open a website. Ex.: “Launch Mozilla Firefox” or “Open CNET.com.”
  • Make a phone call. Ex.: “Call Sarah,” or “Call John on speakerphone.”
  • Hear Cortana read the top news headlines. Ex.: “Show me top headlines.”
  • Take a note in OneNote. Ex.: “Take a note” or “Note it down.”
  • Draft an email. Ex.: “Write an email to [contact] saying [message].”
  • Draft a text message. Ex.: “Write a text to [contact] saying [message].”
  • See texts or emails from a specific person. Ex.: “Show me emails from Timmy.”
  • Perform simple calculations. Ex.: “What’s 35 times 16?” or “What’s 23 minus two?”
  • Perform conversions. Ex.: “What is five miles in kilometers” or “How many teaspoons in a cup?”
  • Define a word. Ex.: “What’s the definition of ‘table’?” or “Do you know what ‘gargantuan’ means?”
  • Track packages (needs email account configured in the Mail app). Ex.: “Where are my packages?”

Settings

  • Turn on/off Wi-Fi.
  • Turn on/off Bluetooth.
  • Turn on/off Airplane Mode.

Scheduling/Reminders

  • See your calendar events at a glance. Ex.: “How’s my schedule looking?” or “What do I have next week?” or “When is my dentist appointment?”
  • Add an appointment to your calendar. Ex.: “Add dentist appointment to Thursday at 3 p.m.” or “Schedule phone call with Lisa tomorrow at 5 a.m.”
  • Move an appointment. Ex.: “Move my dentist appointment to Friday.”
  • Set up reminders based on time, person, or location. Ex.: “Remind me to call Timmy at 2 p.m.” or “Remind me to ask about vacation time when I talk to Jenny” or “Remind me to take out the trash when I get home.” Reminders can be one-offs or recurring (e.g., every Wednesday), and location-based reminders require a mobile device.
  • Set an alarm. Ex.: “Set an alarm for 9 a.m.” or “Wake me up in an hour.”
  • Show me my alarms.
  • Ask about major holidays. Ex.: “What day is Christmas?” or “When is Labor Day?”

Search

  • Find pictures, videos, documents, etc., on your device from a specific time frame. Ex.: “Find pictures from last week” or “Find documents from May 2015” or “Find videos from yesterday.”
  • Search files by name. Ex.: “Can you find a document called CNET?” or “Can you find a picture called ‘cute dog’?”
  • See basic search results, such as information about public figures, companies, places, and pop culture in Cortana’s windows (without opening a browser window). Ex.: “How tall is Harrison Ford?” or “Who is the CEO of Google?” or “When was the Lincoln Memorial built?”

Maps/Navigation

  • Where am I?
  • Show me driving/public transit/walking directions to [location/landmark].
  • How long will it take me to get to [location]?
  • What is traffic like on the way to [location]?
  • Show me a map of [location]. Ex.: “Show me a map of downtown Los Angeles,” or “Show me a map of the area around Disneyland.”

Entertainment

  • Look up a sports score. Ex.: “What was the score of the last Detroit Tigers game?”
  • Find the run time of a movie. Ex.: “How long is Star Wars: Episode I?”
  • Control music in the Groove app. Ex.: “Play [artist/song/genre/playlist/album],” or “Shuffle the music.”
  • Limited control over music in other apps. Ex.: “Pause song” or “skip track.”
  • Identify the song that’s playing. Ex.: “What is this song?”

Travel

  • Track flight status (from your mail/messages). Ex.: “Is my flight on time?”
  • Get a five-day forecast for any location. Ex.: “How’s the weather in Tokyo?”
  • Translate a word or phrase into a different language. Ex.: “How do you say ‘dog’ in French?” or “How do you say ‘how are you’ in Japanese?”
  • Convert currency. Ex.: “What’s 400 reais in Euros?” or “What’s 1,000 yen in US dollars?”
  • Find the current time in another city/country. Ex.: “What time is it in Los Angeles?” or “What time is it in Japan?”
  • What are the seven wonders of the world?

Random tips and tricks

  • Ask Cortana about her origins, aka Halo. Ex.: “Do you love Master Chief?” or “Tell me about Halo 5.”
  • What’s up?
  • What does the fox say?
  • Tell me a joke.
  • Where’s Clippy?
  • What do you think of Windows 10?
  • What do you think of Google?
  • Do you like Google Now?
  • Who’s better, you or Siri?
  • Sing me a lullaby/Sing me a song.
  • Rock, paper, scissors.
  • Play the movie game.
  • Heads or tails?
  • Roll a die/dice (one die) or roll dice (two dice).
  • Surprise me!
6
May

How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free (while you still can) – CNET


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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you’re still on the fence about whether to upgrade to Windows 10, the clock is ticking.

Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer officially expires on July 29, 2016. After July 29, upgrading will cost you $119, £100 or AU$180. So if you’re running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 on a laptop, desktop or tablet computer, the time to act is now.

Before you upgrade

  • Your device must meet the minimum physical requirements for Windows 10. You will need at least: 1GHz CPU, 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB of RAM (64-bit), 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB of open hard drive space (64-bit) and a DirectX 9-capable video card with WDDM driver.
  • You must be running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. You can check your current operating system on Microsoft’s website.
  • You must be running the latest version of your operating system. To update Windows 7, go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update. To update Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, go to Start > PC Settings > Update and recovery > Windows Update.
  • You should probably back up your computer. Here’s how to prepare your PC for Windows 10.

How to upgrade right now

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

1. Go to the Windows 10 download page. At the top of the page, you’ll see a button that says Upgrade now. Click this button to download the Windows 10 download client.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

2. Double-click the Windows 10 download client to run it. A User Account Control (UAC) window will pop up asking if you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer; click OK to proceed.

3. The client will download Windows 10 and walk you through the setup process. The process could take up to an hour and your device will restart several times while you’re setting up Windows 10.

If you upgrade and realize you absolutely hate Windows 10, no sweat — you have 30 days to go back to your previous version of Windows.

6
May

2016 Lexus RX 350 F Sport review – Roadshow


The Good Plenty of excellent materials in the cabin and the large 12.3-inch display screen is good for crisp graphics.

The Bad The Remote Touch joystick is too difficult to use and requires the driver to take their eyes off the road. The F Sport model is not as aggressive as the name implies.

The Bottom Line Enthusiasts who like to carve up the twisties should look elsewhere, but those who need comfortable transportation should be satisfied.

I suppose we can credit Lexus with bringing us the first ever luxury crossover vehicle in 1998. The RX 300 showed that Americans were hungry for smaller SUVs that were chock-full of features. Other manufacturers quickly caught on and now, 18 years later, Audi, BMW and even Porsche give consumers the full-court press of luxury crossovers.

But the original is still in the game with the 2016 Lexus RX 350 F Sport, the fourth-generation of this popular crossover.

2016 Lexus RX350 F-Sport
Lexus

The most obvious changes in this latest iteration of Lexus’ five-passenger crossover are on the outside. It’s gotten a little longer overall and the wheelbase has increased, but what most folks notice is that gaping, bigmouth frog of a grille. The spindle grille dominates the front of the RX 350, so much that it’s difficult to notice the handsome triple-beam LED headlights or deeply recessed fog lamps.

2016 Lexus RX350 F-Sport2016 Lexus RX350 F-Sport
Emme Hall/Roadshow

Your eyes will next focus on the sculpted profile, which gives Chris Hemsworth’s cheekbones a run for their money. Come around the the rear and the deck lid slopes up steeply to a very sharp rear spoiler. It’s like the designers took a scalpel to the previous generation and hacked away any gentle curves, leaving us with this very unique and sharply creased crossover. Like it or not, you have to give Lexus props for making such a bold design choice.

With the stretched wheelbase there is plenty of room for rear-seat passengers, but utility has suffered at the hands of design. The steeply raked rear hatch allows for only 18 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up, 56 cubes with them folded down. This is subpar for the class with the Mercedes-Benz GLC offering 20.5 cubic feet behind the second row, while the Audi Q5 measures a whopping 29.1 cubic feet.

The engine got a tiny bit of a makeover as well. It’s still the same 3.5-liter V6, but output is up by 25 horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque. Now boasting 295 horses and 267 pound-feet of torque, the engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive is standard in our F Sport review model, but other trim lines get front-wheel drive standard with an all-wheel-drive option. The all-wheel drive F Sport has an EPA fuel rating of 19 miles per gallon in the city, 26 miles per gallon on the highway and 22 miles per gallon combined. During my week with the RX 350, my lead foot produced a combined rating of 20.1 miles per gallon.

F Sport-ish

Don’t look for corner-carver abilities, even in the F Sport. This model adds adaptive suspension with drive modes, paddle shifters, well-bolstered seats, 20-inch wheels and some special interior trim, but it still manages to be more sedate than scintillating.

I took the RX 350 F Sport on my super-secret driving road in the hills just east of Oakland, California. There I found a fairly willing chassis stymied by anemic acceleration, numb steering and a transmission that is determined to keep you in automatic mode, no matter how much you want to click those paddle shifters yourself.

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The RX 350 starts off the line just fine, but acceleration drops in the midrange as torque doesn’t come to full twist until 4,700 rpm. This is especially noticeable when trying to pass someone or accelerate out of a corner. Dropping a gear is absolutely necessary, at which point you may find yourself redlining at 6,500 rpm.

As I dug into corners, the traction control interceded to keep the RX 350 stable, but if the light on the dash hadn’t lit up I would never have known it. Steering feel, especially in Sport Plus mode, was so devoid of feel I had no idea when my tires were losing grip. It’s tuned to be extralight at parking lot speeds and does weight up a bit at speed, but it’s so uncommunicative as to be frightening if you really dive into the twisties.

2016 Lexus RX350 F-Sport2016 Lexus RX350 F-Sport
Emme Hall/Roadshow

My final problem is with the transmission. While I’ve slowly accepted the fact that most manu-matics will shift on their own at the redline, I expect the transmission to stay in manual mode once I put it there. My test roads consist of tight turns interspersed with a few sections of cruising sweepers. The RX 350 would default back to automatic every time I got to the easier parts of the road and proceed to shift to the lowest rpm possible.

6
May

Shoulderpod R1 Pro review – CNET


The Good Shoulderpod’s R1 Pro lets you easily capture steady video on your phone. The versatile, solidly constructed design gives you a lot of freedom for adding accessories.

The Bad You still have to move your hand to press your phone’s shutter button, which can result in shakiness as your video starts.

The Bottom Line The Shoulderpod is an elegant and dead simple way to boost your the quality of your phone videos.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

Phones can shoot great video, but holding a thin phone steady for long periods is near impossible. And if you’re moving at the time — I may have a slight interest in shooting video from inside a landing airplane — you can forget it altogether.

Fortunately, a Barcelona-based company called Shoulderpod has an excellent solution in its line of smartphone rigs. You not only get a better way to hold your phone still, but also the freedom to add accessories like a microphone and a light to boost your video’s quality. And for the serious professionals out there, Shoulderpod’s rigs will attach to most standard tripods, as well.

Shoulderpod R1 Pro is an elegant way to shoot…
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The company’s product family starts with the simple S1, which consists of an adjustable clamp for your phone, a small handle and an arm strap. At the other extreme is the R1 Pro (which I used), which includes two handles that attach to a base that accommodates the clamp (which you must buy separately) and a “cold shoe” mount for other filming accessories. In the middle is the R1 Go, which is a hybrid of the two.

All parts are modular, which gives you the freedom to construct the solution you need, and they’re compatible with all iPhone and Android handsets.

I used the R1 Pro recently to film this video of the model airport at Hamburg’s Minatur Wunderland. Using the two handles I could keep my iPhone 6 extremely still while still panning smoothly to capture moving objects — like a model Millennium Falcon coming in for a landing. The parts are solidly constructed, either of weighty metal or solid wood, and they fasten securely together.

If I missed anything, it would be an accessory for pressing the shutter button remotely without moving my hands from the handles and potentially shaking the phone as it starts and stops filming.

The S1 sells for $35, £25 or AU$63 through the company’s site or other online retailers — see Shoulderpod’s site for the full list, as availability varies by country. The R1 Pro is sold only on Shoulderpod’s site for 89.90 euros (about $100, £70 or AU$130). If you want just the clamp — a part called the G1 — that will set you back 23.90 euros (about $30, £20 or AU$35).

6
May

HTC 10 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 / Edge vs LG G5


In the Android world, we follow a familiar release cycle when it comes to flagship smartphones, mostly centered around the two major trade shows, MWC and IFA. This year, Samsung and LG were first out of the gate with their respective flagship offerings being showcased back during MWC 2016, and while HTC was a little late to the party, we now have all three high-end offerings to choose from.

  • HTC 10 review
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 review
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
  • LG G5 review

Each device brings something unique to the table to help distinguish themselves from the other, and we’ve covered them extensively here at Android Authority with comprehensive reviews, in-depth comparisons, and feature focus articles. Which is the best of the lot? That is what we aim to find out, as we take a closer look at the HTC 10 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 / Galaxy S7 Edge vs LG G5 in this unique triple-threat versus!

Buy the HTC 10 now!
Buy the Galaxy S7 now!
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge now!
Buy the LG G5 now!

Design

In design, we start with the LG G5, given its complete departure from the norm with regards to design and build quality. The G5 now features a full-metal construction, but comes with a microdized coating; this essentially means that the device has a coat of primer and has been painted, which has proven to be a controversial decision. This results in the phone not feeling like a true metal device, and you don’t get the same premium feel that you get with other smartphones boasting metal constructions.

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The unique aspect of the LG G5 is that it is a modular phone, with a bottom chin that is removable. This not only allows LG to to retain staple features like a replaceable battery – despite the move to a metal build – but you also get what LG calls “Friends,” which includes modules and peripherals. The modules include the camera grip, which gives you physical dials and buttons to control the camera, and the Bang & Olufsen audio DAC, that will offer better quality audio.

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With the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung continues what it started with their 2015 flagships, with both devices retaining a unibody metal and glass construction. There have been some refinements made along the way, such as the curves along the sides on the back – first seen with the Galaxy Note 5 – to help with the handling experience. Both are slightly thicker than their predecessors, to make room for larger batteries, but that also helped make the camera protrusion on the back far less prominent.

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The Galaxy S7 Edge, with its 5.5-inch display, is bigger than its flagship counterpart, and of course, comes with the dual curves along the sides of the display that gives it its name. The curved edges aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but come with an improved set of features that make them more useful.

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Moving on to the HTC 10, HTC brings back the premium metal build that the company is known for. The device is bigger than its predecessor, courtesy of a larger 5.2-inch screen, and the extra size appears in the form of chamfered edges all around the back, that gives the phone a nice silhouetted look. This provides a subtle aesthetic that makes the phone look really good. The HTC 10 is relatively compact, and allows for a handling experience that is manageable for the most part, but the metal backing does prove to be quite slippery, which can take some getting used to.

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The main changes with the latest HTC flagship are seen up front, with the dual front-facing speakers no longer available, to make way for a fingerprint scanner below the display. BoomSound is still available however, with one speaker placed above the display up front, coupled with a woofer at the bottom, which adds more to the lower mids and lows when it comes to audio. Overall, the HTC 10 feels a lot like the phone HTC should have been making until now, with the dark grey version looking especially nice. If you are in the market for a metal phone, the HTC 10 is the one to beat.

Display

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All the smartphones comes with Quad HD displays, with differing sizes – 5.1-inches for the Galaxy S7, 5.2-inches for the HTC 10, 5.3-inches for the LG G5, and 5.5-inches for the Galaxy S7 Edge – resulting in nominal differences in the pixel densities. The distinction however, comes in the form of the differing underlying technologies, with the Samsung smartphones featuring Super AMOLED screens, while the HTC 10 and LG G5 come with LCD displays, Super LCD 5 and IPS LCD respectively.

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AMOLED displays are what we usually prefer, especially when it comes to Samsung’s Super AMOLED screens, that offer deep, inky blacks, and vibrant, saturated colors, that allow for a more immersive experience. AMOLED displays also see their advantage with regards to frugal battery consumption when using something like night clocks or dark themes. Overall, AMOLED screens do appear to provide the more immersive and engulfing experience.

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The HTC 10 doesn’t come with an Always On display, a feature that is available with the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. However, the Always On display of the LG G5 is lacking when compared to the Samsung devices, mostly due to the nature of the LCD panel. It would result in significant battery drain if the brightness of the Always On display was set to higher levels, so the information on the screen is actually quite dim. While it is quite easy to see indoors, it is nearly impossible to do so when outdoors and in direct sunlight. When it comes to the information available with the Always On displays, the LG G5 does have the leg up over the Samsung devices though, with the former able to show notifications from third-party applications as well.

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With the Super LCD 5 display of the HTC 10, you do get a decent amount of saturation and good color reproduction,. With HTC is adhering to the NTSC standard, the display is certainly no slouch, even if it may not stand up to the Super AMOLED screens of the Samsung flagships. When it comes to the display, it is the LG G5 that unfortunately seems to fall behind the competition.

Performance

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When it comes to performance, every one of these flagship smartphones feature identical processing packages, and are powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, clocked at 2.15 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. As expected, the performance is fantastic across the board, and any minute differences comes down to the software optimization. The performance of these devices are as smooth and snappy as expected, but worth mentioning is the Briefing screen that returns with the Samsung smartphones. There has always been an issue with lag when it comes to Samsung’s second screen experience, but the good news is that any lag or stutter is far less pronounced this time around. Of course, the Briefing screen can also be disabled if you wish to do so.

Hardware

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Hardware is one of the most exciting sections of this triple threat versus, with every device having something different and unique to offer. Starting with the HTC 10, this distinguishing feature comes in the form of BoomSound speakers, which is something that HTC has always offered, but now comes in a different iteration. To make way for the fingerprint scanner up front, what you now get is a front-facing speaker above the display, coupled with a woofer at the bottom that helps with the low ends in the audio. These speakers don’t get as loud when compared to previous generation HTC flagships, but it still provides a nice rich sound.

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That said, the audio experience gets a significant boost when you plug in headphones. The HTC 10 comes with an AMP and a 24-bit DAC installed on the phone, that will allow for some really nice sound stages when using a good pair of headphones. When it comes to the audio and music listening experience, the HTC 10 is undoubtedly far ahead of its competitors.

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When it comes to the other hardware features of the HTC 10, 32 GB and 64 GB are the internal storage options available, along with support for expandable storage via microSD card for up to an additional 200 GB. As mentioned, there is a fingerprint scanner up front, which is as fast and accurate as expected. The device doesn’t feature water resistance, and is splash proof instead, with a rating that isn’t as high as that of the Samsung Galaxy S7. Overall, what you get with the HTC 10 is a solid smartphone with a wonderful audio experience.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs S7 Edge-9

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge also come with a fingerprint scanner, embedded into the tactile home button up front. You do have to press the button to use the scanner, but that shouldn’t be an issue for anyone, and the sensor is also as fast and accurate as can be. Samsung hasn’t made the move to USB Type-C just yet, with these phones coming with a standard microUSB port instead, next to which is bottom-mounted single speaker unit. The placement of the speaker isn’t ideal, and easy to cover up when using the device in the landscape orientation. The audio quality is unfortunately not the best either, with the sound slightly muffled and tinny.

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The poor audio quality may be because of the protective coating that the device has, which allows for the device to be dust and water resistant. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge comes with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, which means that you can submerge the device in up to 1.5 meters of water for as long 30 minutes without a negative impact on performance. 32 GB and 64 GB are the in-built storage options available with these devices, and returning to the fold is expandable storage via microSD card, up to an additional 200 GB.

LG G5-5

As expected, the LG G5 also comes with a fingerprint scanner embedded into the tactile power button, which is placed on the back. Unlike the Samsung phones, you don’t have to press the button to use the scanner. The sensor itself is very fast and accurate, and requires only a few taps to set up. Looking at the back, you will notice that the volume rocker is no longer on the back, and have now been moved to a more traditional placement on the side. This isn’t really an issue, but can take some getting used to if you are upgrading from a previous LG flagship, and it does take away from the uniqueness of the LG flagship line.

lg g5 first look aa-20See also: LG G5 feature focus: modules and peripherals32

However the unique feature comes in the form of the removable bottom portion, that allows for access to the battery, and lets you attach other modules, such as a camera grip or an audio DAC, to further enhance the hardware features of this device. 32 GB is the only built-in storage option available, but like the other smartphones in this comparison, you do also get expandable storage via microSD card, up to an additional 200 GB. The LG G5 also comes with a bottom-mounted single speaker unit, but despite the unfortunate placement, the speaker actually gets quite loud, and the audio quality is also good, making it better than what is found with the Samsung flagships.

Battery life

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The LG G5 comes with a 2,800 mAh battery, which is the smallest of the bunch, but the advantage here is that you do have the option to carry spares. Lanh found the battery life to be pretty good, with the device able to comfortably last through a full day of use. The screen-on time numbers aren’t amazing, but with average usage that involves browsing the web, watching videos on Youtube, and playing some games, the G5 manages to provide an entire day of use.

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The same holds true for the HTC 10 and its 3,000 mAh battery. The device can comfortably allow for a full day of use, with a screen-on time of around 4 hours, which isn’t bad. I have to mention here that my usage does involve using GPS for navigation and listening to a lot of music throughout the day, which makes the screen-on time quite impressive.

Galaxy S7 Edge teaser

Moving on to the Samsung flagships, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge come with 3,000 mAh and 3,600 mAh batteries respectively. The battery life is as expected, and not surprisingly, these phones also provide a full day of use without any issues, with around 4 hours of screen-on time with the Galaxy S7, and 4.5 hours with the Galaxy S7 Edge.

  • LG G5 battery life review
  • HTC 10 battery life review
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge battery review

All four of these smartphones come with fast charging capabilities via Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 technology, which means that even if you are running low on battery, charging the device for a short amount of time will bring back a significant amount of battery life. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge also come with fast wireless charging support, something that isn’t available with the LG and HTC flagships.

Camera

galaxy s7 vs htc 10 vs lg g5 aa (2 of 10)

The camera has become an increasingly important aspect of the smartphone experience, and while Samsung and LG have historically been at the forefront in this area, previous HTC flagships have fallen short of expectations, which is something that the company is hoping to change this time around.

samsung galaxy s7 review aa (16 of 20)

Starting with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, both smartphones come with a 12 MP rear camera, with a f/1.7 aperture and OIS, and a 5 MP front-facing unit with a wide angle lens. The cameras of the Samsung flagships have proven to be extremely reliable, and whether you are taking a picture in good lighting conditions or low-light situations, you can always be confident that you will get a good shot.

lg g5 pre-pro vs iphone 6s (29 of 32)

The LG G5 comes with a unique camera setup, with two cameras on the back, one being a 16 MP primary shooter, with a f/1.8 aperture and OIS, along paired with a wide angle lens 8 MP unit, as well as an 8 MP front-facing camera. LG hasn’t gone down the same route as Samsung and HTC, with the latter opting for fewer megapixels, in favor of larger pixel sizes. As mentioned, the secondary camera is an 8 MP sensor with a wide angle lens, that allows for some incredible looking wide angle photos. This is fantastic to use, and probably one of the best features of this device. As far as the front-facing camera is concerned, the 8 MP camera is capable of taking some decent looking selfies.

htc 10 by autom3otives (17 of 28)

For the last couple of years, the camera has been a point of contention with HTC’s flagships, with the company going through a few different combinations to find the right fit. This year, much like what Samsung did, we get a 12 MP “Ultrapixel” camera, which essentially means the presence of larger pixel sizes, for better low light performance. The 5 MP front-facing camera of the HTC 10 also comes with OIS, which is what makes this camera setup stand out from the crowd.

Smartphone-Camera-Shootout-early-2016-2 Camera Shootout: Galaxy S7 vs LG G5 vs HTC 10 vs Huawei P9 vs Nexus 6P vs iPhone 6S Plus vs Lumia 950 XL226

The other great addition is the excellent audio recording that is available when shooting video, regardless of which camera you are using, which is perfect for anyone into vlogging, or if recording video is a key part of your camera experience. The HTC camera app has been quite streamlined as well, and taking a shot is quite fast as well. However, the manual mode leaves something to be desired, because of the fact that if you have all the sliders open, it ends up covering the entire viewfinder.

HTC 10
Samsung Galaxy S7/Edge
LG G5
htc-10-samples-for-vs-7
samsung-galaxy-s7-samples-for-vs-7
lg-g5-camera-samples-for-vs-10
htc-10-samples-for-vs-16
samsung-galaxy-s7-samples-for-vs-16
lg-g5-camera-samples-for-vs-26

As far as image quality is concerned, all three of us reached a consensus with regards to the performance of these cameras. The thing you will notice right away is that the HTC 10 tends to overexpose the images quite a lot, and the pictures also lack some color and contrast when compared to the shots taken with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5. The next point of note is the fact that the Galaxy S7 has better dynamic range than the LG G5. The G5 tends to crush the shadows, resulting in the loss of a lot of detail. The LG G5 also suffers in low light conditions, with the camera not coming with the larger pixel sizes that the other two devices feature.

  • HTC 10 camera feature focus
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 camera feature focus
  • LG G5 camera feature focus

Unless video recording and simultaneous audio capture are important for you, which is one area in which the HTC 10 camera excels, the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 do offer a lot more. That’s not to say that the HTC 10 camera is bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn’t the best either.

HTC 10 camera samples

Samsung Galaxy S7 / Edge camera samples

LG G5 camera samples

Software

galaxy s7 vs htc 10 vs lg g5 aa (4 of 10)

On the software side of things, all four smartphones are running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with their respective custom user interfaces on top. Starting with the HTC 10, returning is the Sense UI, which is a take on Android that is quite close to a stock Android experience. If you’ve used an HTC device before, you will be familiar with the various elements of the Sense UI, and also returning is BlinkFeed, which has always been my favorite news aggregation second screen experience, more than Briefing, or anything that LG has to offer. Ultimately, what is great about the Sense UI is that it remains very intuitive and easy to navigate, with everything where you’d expect it to be, and is a very functional version of Android.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Touchwiz-6

Moving on to the Samsung flagships, TouchWiz has been getting better every year, and the latest version of the UI is the best yet. TouchWiz is far more toned down now, and the color scheme has also been changed to a more subtle blue, white, and grey. Of course, you also have the option of changing the look completely via the very robust theme store. As far as the features are concerned, you get the various multi-tasking options that Samsung has always included, and the Galaxy S7 Edge also comes with improved Edge panels. The Edge panels allow for easy and quick access to app shortcuts, favorite contacts, pre-selected functions, and news and weather information. If you can leverage this feature properly, it will make the overall experience faster and easier.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – Edge UX
  • LG G5 UX feature focus

LG G5-25

With the LG G5, you get the LG UX, which isn’t the best looking custom interface out there, but it certainly is an improvement over previous versions of the G UI. It remains a little bit cartoon-y as far as the icon pack and animations are concerned, but the overall experience is cleaner than it has ever been before, with a lot of the software features that LG used to pack into their devices now gone, or at least, better hidden, like Smart Bulletin and QSlide apps. Of course, the biggest change here is the lack of an app drawer, so the only way of keeping things organized is by using folders. However, you do have the option to bring back the app drawer by downloading the LG Home 4.0 launcher from the SmartWorld app, or by downloading a third-party launcher from the Google Play Store.

Specs comparison

Display 5.2-inch Super LCD5 display
Quad HD resolution, 565 ppi
5.1-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 577 ppi
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 534 ppi
5.3-inch IPS LCD display
Quad HD resolution, 544 ppi
Processor 2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Adreno 530 GPU
RAM 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 200 GB
32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 200 GB
32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 200 GB
32 GB
expandable via microSD up to 200 GB
Camera 12 MP rear camera, f/1.8 aperture, 1.55µm pixel size, OIS, laser autofocus
5 MP front-facing camera, f/1.8 aperture, OIS
12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, OIS
5 MP front-facing camera, f/1.7 aperture
12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, OIS
5 MP front-facing camera, f/1.7 aperture
16 MP (f/1.8) + 8 MP (f/2.4) rear cameras, laser autofocus, OIS
8 MP front-facing camera
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS + GLONASS
NFC
USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 connector
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS + GLONASS
NFC
microUSB 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS + GLONASS
NFC
microUSB 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS + GLONASS
NFC
IR
USB 3.0, Type-C 1.0 connector
Battery 3,000 mAh
non removable
3,000 mAh
non removable
3,600 mAh
non removable
2,800 mAh removable
Software Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
HTC Sense UI
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Samsung TouchWiz UI
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Samsung TouchWiz UI
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
LG UX
Dimensions 145.9 x 71.9 x 9 mm
161 grams
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
152 grams
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
157 grams
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm
159 grams

Gallery

Final thoughts

galaxy s7 vs htc 10 vs lg g5 aa (1 of 10)

So there you have it for this closer look at the HTC 10 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 / Galaxy S7 Edge vs LG G5! The big question here which device each of us would pick, and Lanh’s choice is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Samsung has really refined the design, and key improvements across the board have made a big difference. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a bigger display, bigger battery, and more functionality with the Edge panels, making the curved edges more than just about the aesthetics.

Buy the HTC 10 now!
Buy the Galaxy S7 now!
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge now!
Buy the LG G5 now!

Krystal believes that the camera is key to the smartphone experience, which is why her choice is also the Samsung flagships. However, while the HTC 10 has slightly fallen behind when it comes to the camera, the device has certainly impressed with its BoomSound speakers and audio capabilities. So if that is something that is important to you, the HTC 10 is a great choice as well.

  • LG G5 review
  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 Edge review
  • HTC 10 review
  • Galaxy S7 Edge vs LG G5
  • What do the public think of the Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G5?

What do you think of these three devices and which would you buy? Check out the links above, vote in the poll and let us know your views in the comments below!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

6
May

LG G5 is now available at Three UK


Three UK has the LG G5 available for sale with a variety of plan options available. Packages start from £25 a month (with an upfront fee of £99), which will bag you just 500MB of data. For an unlimited data allowance, you’ll be looking to part with £50 per month.

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The G5 is listed in black and comes with 32GB of onboard storage. This is accompanied by a 2.1GHz quad-core processor, 4G LTE support, 5.3-inch QHD display, and a 2800mAh battery. Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow comes pre-installed and ready to go.

See at Three

LG G5

  • LG G5 review
  • LG 360 CAM review
  • LG G5 complete specs
  • LG’s G5 Friends modules are a neat idea, but they won’t matter
  • LG G5 Hi-Fi Plus w/ B&O
  • Join the LG G5 discussion

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6
May

Three new Indian railway stations can now keep you connected with free Google Wi-Fi


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Three more Indian railway stations are now offering free Wi-Fi to passengers on the network. Should you happen to be waiting for a connecting service at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Kacheguda in Telengana, you’ll be able to remain connected for free. Google is partnering up with RailTel to provide high-speed internet to commuters at supported locations.

Google is leveraging the Indian Railways’ RailTel service, which delivers internet services through an extensive fiber network dubbed as RailWire. The public Wi-Fi on offer will be fast enough to stream a video in HD, and while there wasn’t a mention of bandwidth consumption limits, Google states that the connection will be throttled after the first hour of usage to prevent any misuse.

It’s noted by The Indian Times that by the end of 2016 railway stations at Allahabad, Bhopal, Pune, Ranchi, Ernakulum, Jaipur, Patna and Guwahati will have free Wi-Fi access available.

6
May

Teardown reveals Huawei P9 dual-camera module is smaller than that of the iPhone 6s


The team at iFixit is back again, this time showing us what makes up the insides of the Huawei P9. Once opened, it is immediately obvious that the battery is the biggest component in there. This left Huawei with very little room to pack all the rest of the components, but thanks to some creative designing, the company still managed to pack this thing full of great features.

ifixit-p9-teardown.jpg?itok=bS8Q3pSn

From the dual-camera assembly for the rear camera to the easy to replace USB-C port, the inside is just as nice as the outside. Some of the key findings from the iFixit teardown include:

  • The dual-camera assembly is noticeably shorter than the bump-inducing iPhone 6s camera, but not by much.
  • Despite rumors of a headphone jack free iPhone, the P9 features a standard 3.5 mm audio jack, compatible with your existing headphones.
  • The USB-C daughterboard also comes free with minimal hangers-on.
  • Huawei lists a couple specs for their battery: A “rated capacity” of 11.08 Wh and a “typical capacity” a bit higher at 11.46 Wh.

For a full list of the findings, and some additional images of the internals, be sure to check out iFixit’s full teardown report.

Huawei P9 and P9 Plus

  • Huawei P9 review
  • Huawei P9 specs
  • Huawei P9 unboxing
  • Join the discussion in the forums

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6
May

Verizon’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge update makes it easier to tell if your SIM tray isn’t closed and more


Verizon is now pushing out an update for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge which brings a number of new features to the phones. To ensure that the phone remains waterproof at all times, Verizon now displays a pop-up when the SIM tray is not fully closed. Additionally, there are some improvements to managing memory use of individual apps and more.

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Verizon notes that some of the changes for both phones include:

  • This software update brings the latest security patches and improvements to various settings and features.
  • Added a SIM/SD Card pop-up reminder to close the tray if it’s left open.
  • It’s easier to check individual app performance and memory usage in the Application Manager.
  • Easier instructions on how to turn and turn off the Always on Display feature, which dims display brightness for better nighttime use.
  • When traveling outside your default time zone, the dual clock displays the current time under “Roaming.”

For the Galaxy S7 edge, the update also brings two other features:

  • You can now learn more about Enhanced features, voice commands with S Voice, new Themes and how to use the Edge screen, in Help > New features.
  • The Calendar Edge panel now provides a quick glance of upcoming events and location information.

In addition, you’ve got new helpful hints in the Smart Switch app, fixed Outlook email sync when in Power Saving mode, more consistent connection to Network Extenders and more. The update is just beginning to push out, so it may be a day or two before you see it hit your phone. To check for it manually, head into your Settings, then About phone and finally check for the update.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • Here are all four Galaxy S7 colors
  • Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
  • Learn about the Galaxy S7’s SD card slot
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

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