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5
Jun

Bose goes wireless with the QuietComfort 35 headphones


Ever since the first QuietComfort headphones, released in 2000, Bose has offered consumers noise-cancelling tech that’s second to none. This, along with excellent audio quality, made QuietComforts become best sellers in the market. But Bose knows it needs to keep evolving, and what better way to do so than by making its latest flagship headphones wireless. Enter the QuietComfort 35. Design-wise, the new model is quite similar to the previous one (QC25), sporting a sleek and minimalist look with your choice of black or silver finish.

During our demo, Bose engineers emphasized that the key was to not give up audio quality over the added wireless functionality. And I’m happy to report they succeeded, albeit my impressions are based on a controlled setting — I listened to simulated subway noises and a few songs inside a New York City building. Still, it doesn’t take much to realize the potential of the QuietComfort 35. Bose says there are “night and day” improvements to the sound, designed to make sure that music is crystal clear whether you’re listening at a low, mid or high volume.

Noise-cancelling works like a charm too, thanks to the combination of built-in microphones and a digital chip that sense the noise around you and block it accordingly. What’s more, Bose claims the Bluetooth-powered QuietComfort 35 have 20 hours of battery life, or up to 40 if you use the included 3.5mm cable. If at any point the headphones run out of power, you can continue to use them — the only thing you’ll miss is the noise-cancelling. All in all, everything we mentioned above makes for a very intriguing package.

The QuietComfort 35 will hit stores June 5th for $349.

If you’re more of an earbuds person, Bose has something for you as well. The company also introduced the QuietControl 30, a set of wireless in-ear headphones with up to 10 hours of full active noise cancelation. Most importantly, they feature what Bose is calling “controllable noise cancellation,” which lets you adjust noise-cancelling levels via the company’s Connect app or, better yet, directly from the in-line remote control. Unfortunately, the QuietControl 30 won’t be available until September for $299.

To round up today’s theme, Bose announced new wireless SoundSport earbuds. Like the QuietComfort 35, these are going to be available on June 5th for $149. A $199 version with a heart rate monitor (pictured above in red) is also being developed, but that won’t go on sale anytime soon — fall, we’re told. The benefit of the more expensive model is that it’s able to send data to fitness apps like Runkeeper, in case you enjoy keeping track of workout sessions on a regular basis.

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5
Jun

The After Math: Technology to the rescue


With all the new products being showcased at Computex this past week, it’s totally understandable if you happened to miss some of the actually useful things technology does for us. Besides enabling us to send pictures of our genitals anywhere in the world in an instant, I mean. Uber, for example, is being leveraged to help underserved elderly residents of a “depopulated” Japanese town get around. A new mobile app is getting the NYPD to the scene 12 percent faster. And a NASA satellite has spotted 39 previously undiscovered “major” sulphur dioxide emitters. Numbers, because how else are we going to keep score?

5
Jun

Inhabitat’s Week in Green: The first freeform 3D-printed house


After 20 years of construction, Switzerland just completed the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel. The 35-mile Gotthard Base Tunnel runs 1.5 miles under the mountains connecting northern and southern Europe. In other transportation news, Paris just banned all cars made before 1997 in a bid to reduce air pollution. Tesla’s battery Gigafactory is set to host its grand opening on July 29th, while a new report claims that Volkswagen is spending $15.5 billion to build a gigantic battery factory of its own. Consumer Reports ranked the Toyota Prius as the car with the best gas mileage it has ever tested, and Ford announced that the Fusion Energi can travel further than any other plug-in hybrid on the market.
Chile’s central grid has quadrupled its solar capacity since 2013, and now the nation is generating so much solar energy that it’s giving it away for free. Meanwhile, the world’s newest sovereign nation is taking shape between Croatia and Serbia, and it could be powered entirely by algae. In other energy news, China added half of all new wind power installed in 2015, and the world’s largest commercial rooftop solar array was installed atop a shopping mall in the Philippines.

3D printing technology started small, but now it’s being used to print entire houses. This week Chicago-based architecture firm WATG unveiled plans for the world’s first freeform 3D-printed house. In the Netherlands, a team of designers has developed a sturdy modular home made from 24 layers of cardboard that can be assembled in a single day. And we explored why round houses are able to withstand hurricanes that destroy traditional homes. Finally, in wearable tech news, MIT researchers developed a way to 3D print programmable “fur” that could be used in textured surfaces, and London’s Science Museum hosted a space-inspired fashion show.

5
Jun

Apple Honors the Life of Muhammad Ali on its Homepage


Apple recently updated the homepage of its website with a tribute to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who died on Friday at age 74. Ali was admitted to a hospital earlier in the week due to respiratory ailments, which were further complicated due to a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The tribute on Apple’s website includes a quote that reads, “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” Apple has been a long-time supporter and admirer of Ali, showcasing the boxer in one of its famous “Think Different” campaign videos back in 1997.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Rest in peace #MuhammadAli

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 4, 2016

Following the announcement of his death on Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared a commemorative Tweet about Ali on his account, as did Phil Schiller. Ali’s family has also taken to Twitter to share more details about his passing and honor his life, including his daughter Hana.
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5
Jun

Bose SoundSport Wireless Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


A lot of people have been wondering when Bose would do a Bluetooth sports headphone and here it is, folks: The SoundSport Wireless, an in-ear model that’s fairly affordably priced at $150 (£140, AU $249).

New Bose wireless headphones
  • Bose intros 4 new wireless headphones you’re going to want (hands-on)
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 (hands-on): Finally, an active noise-canceling wireless headphone from Bose
  • Bose’s QuietControl 30 is the ultimate neckband-style Bluetooth headphone (hands-on)

The original SoundSport wired remains in the line and gets a price chop from $130 to $100.

Like that model, this new SoundSport Wireless has an open design and is very comfortable to wear. By open I mean that you don’t jam the earbud into your ear. Thanks to Bose’s Stay-Hear+ eartips, which come in three sizes, the bud sits loosely in your ear yet remains securely in place.

It’s arguably the most comfortable in-ear sports headphone I’ve tried, although I only spent a limited amount of time with it at Bose’s launch event in New York City.

This model is equipped with a special sport version of the Stay-Hear tips that’s different from the Stay-Hear tips are included with Bose’s earlier in-ear headphones, so they aren’t interchangeable. And I should also point out that because the earpieces extend out from your ears you’ll probably have some trouble wearing these under a helmet (I’ll see see if I can use them with a ski helmet once a I get a review sample).

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The headphone comes in aqua and black colors at launch with yellow arriving in September.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The only downside to the floating-fit, open design is that ambient sound does leak in and this isn’t a good headphone for noisy environments (Bose’s upcoming QuietControl 30 features active noise canceling). But if you’re out running or biking, you’ll be able to hear cars coming, which is why a lot of runners and bikers prefer their headphones to have open designs.

As you might expect, the headphone is sweat and water resistant and there’s an inline mic and remote that lets you skip songs, adjust the volume, and take and make calls. Bose is touting its quality as headset for making calls, as well as how reliable the Bluetooth connection is.

Bose SoundSport Wireless (pictures)
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The headphone comes in two colors at launch — black and aqua — with Citron (yellow) coming in September. Also in September, Bose is releasing the SoundSport Pulse, which costs $200 and has an integrated hear-rate monitor that’s compatible with Runkeeper, Endomondo and other fitness apps.

Battery life for the SoundSport is rated at 6 hours, which is fairly decent for this type of headphone, and 5 hours for the SoundSport Pulse. Both SoundSport wireless headphones come with a simple neoprene carrying case, but Bose will also sell an accessory case that has a built-in battery for on-the-go charging that’ll cost $50.

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Bose will sell a separate accessory case that has a built-in rechargeable battery for $50.


Sarah Tew/CNET

In my limited listening test with the headphones the sound quality seemed quite good for an in-ear Bluetooth headphone, but the real advantage this has over competing models from Beats, Jaybird, and Plantronics is its high comfort level.

I’ll reserve final judgment until after I use the product for an extended period and post my full review, but my first take on the SoundSport Wireless is that it’s a very compelling choice at this price point and will be a serious competitor to Beats’ Powerbeats 2 Wireless, which is due for an upgrade this year.

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The step-up SoundSport Pulse Wireless ($200) arrives in September and has an integrated hear-rate monitor.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The SoundSport Wireless’ highlights:

  • Available in two colors at launch (black, aqua), with a Citron (yellow) version coming in September
  • Price: $200, £140, AU $249
  • 6 hours of battery life
  • Water and sweat resistant
  • SoundSport Pulse with built-in heart-rate monitor ships in September for $200, £170, AU $299. It only comes in red and has 5 hours of battery life.
  • Accessory charging case costs $50
5
Jun

Bose QuietControl 30 Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


You’ve probably seen plenty of people wearing neckband-style wireless headphones, which LG pioneered with its top-selling Tone series. But think of Bose’s upcoming QuietControl 30, which ships this September, as the ultimate neckband-style Bluetooth headphone. With impressive sound and active noise reduction, it’s the wireless successor to the QuietComfort 20 and will list for the same price: $300 (£230, AU $399).

New Bose wireless headphones
  • Bose intros 4 new wireless headphones you’re going to want (hands-on)
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless (hands-on): The Bluetooth sports headphone you’ve been waiting for
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 (hands-on): Finally, an active noise-canceling wireless headphone from Bose

Not only is the build quality really good but the headphone fits very comfortably, with an open design. By open I mean that you don’t jam the earbud into your ear. Thanks to Bose’s Stay-Hear+ eartips, which come in 3 sizes, the bud sits loosely in your ear yet remains securely in place.

The only downside to an open design is that ambient sound leaks in and normally a headphone like this wouldn’t be good for noisy environments. But that’s where the noise canceling comes in. Even though the design is open, ambient noise gets muffled, and what’s a little different from Bose’s previous active noise-canceling models is that you can manually adjust the level of noise cancellation by pressing a button on the integrated remote or moving your finger up and down a slider in Bose’s free Connect app for iOS and Android devices.

Battery life is rated at 10 hours, which is decent for this type of Bluetooth headphone, and protective carrying case is included. While Bose doesn’t advertise that the headphone is sweat-resistant, it is, and this headphone is suitable for gym use and maybe even running if you don’t mind the feel of a having something around your neck while running.

Bose QuietControl 30 (pictures)
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The QC30 is designed to be used as a wireless headset and it’s a really good one. It muffles ambient sounds like wind and crowd noise so callers can hear you better — and you can hear callers better. There’s also a side-tone feature that allows you to hear your own voice in the headphones as you speak so you don’t raise your voice while talking.

In my limited listening test at Bose’s launch event for the product, I couldn’t make a definitive judgment about its sound quality (we’ll have a full review when the product ships in September), but you can expect similar performance to that of the wired QC20, which sounds very good for an in-ear noise-canceling headphone.

This isn’t the only new wireless Bluetooth noise canceling headphone in Bose’s line up. There’s also the flagship QuietComfort 35, a full-size wireless model with best-in-class noise cancellation. Given the choice between the two, my personal inclination would be to wait for this one, but the QC35 certainly has its own appeal.

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The included carrying case.


Sarah Tew/CNET

5
Jun

Bose QuietComfort 35 Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


This is the Bose product a lot of people have been waiting for, the QuietComfort 35, an active noise cancelling headphone that’s also wireless.

At $350 (£290, AU $499), it costs more than the wired QuietComfort 25. But at least it’s only $50 price bump, which puts this around what Beats’ competing Studio Wireless costs, although that headphone has been discounted in recent months, indicating Beats probably has something new coming.

New Bose wireless headphones
  • Bose intros 4 new wireless headphones you’re going to want (hands-on)
  • Bose SoundSport Wireless (hands-on): The Bluetooth sports headphone you’ve been waiting for
  • Bose’s QuietControl 30 is the ultimate neckband-style Bluetooth headphone (hands-on)

Like the similar looking QC25, this is a lightweight, very comfortable headphone and you get the same quality of noise reduction that you get from the QC25, according to Bose.

With microphones inside and outside the earcups, Bose says the QC35 senses, measures and sends unwanted sounds to two proprietary digital electronic chips — one for each ear — that respond with a precise, equal and opposite signal in less than a fraction of a millisecond. The headphone’s also equipped with a new digital equalizing system that balances the sound whether you’re listening at lower or higher volumes.

Battery life is rated at 20 hours, which is quite good, and there’s an integrated remote on the right earcup with buttons for adjusting the volume, controlling playback and answering and ending calls. It also comes with a cable if you want to go wired and works with Bose free Connect app for iOS and Android devices.

Bose QuietComfort 35 (pictures)
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Available in silver or black, the QC35 is designed to be used as an advanced wireless headset and it muffles ambient sounds like wind and crowd noise so callers can hear you better — and you can hear callers better. There’s also a side-tone feature that allows you to hear your own voice in the headphones as you speak so you don’t raise your voice while talking.

I only spent a limited amount of time with the QC35 at Bose’s launch event for the product, but it felt very similar feel to the QC25 and SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, although it looks slightly sleeker. It was hard to make a definitive judgment during my short listening test about sound quality, but once I get a review sample, I’ll be able to compare it to competing models, as well as the QC25.

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In its carrying case.


Sarah Tew/CNET

This isn’t the only new wireless Bluetooth noise-canceling headphone in Bose’s line up. In September, the QuietControl 30 arrives for $300. That’s a neckband-style in-ear headphone that offers variable levels of noise-cancellation and is essentially the wireless version of the QuietComfort 20.

My personal preference leans toward the QuietControl 30, but if you’re looking for a full-size wireless Bluetooth headphone with best-in-class noise cancellation, the ultracomfortable QC35 is awfully tempting.

The QuietComfort 35’s highlights:

  • Available in black or silver
  • Price: $350, £290, AU $499
  • 20 hours of battery life
  • Proprietary Bluetooth wireless connection and active noise reduction
  • NFC pairing for devices that support it
  • Works as an advanced Blueototh headset
  • Carrying case included
  • Can be used as a wired headphone (cord included)

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The Bose QuietComfort 35 comes in silver or black


Sarah Tew/CNET

5
Jun

Best TV catch-up on Freeview Play: The Musketeers, Pokemon and more


Freeview Play televisions and set-top-boxes give you the option to scroll back through the EPG to catch-up with shows you might have missed the previous week.

All you have to do it click on the show and it will open in each channel’s respective on demand application and play.

At present, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programming is available to scroll back to on Freeview Play, while Channel 5’s can also be played through the Demand 5 app on supported devices. UKTV Play shows are also coming to the platform.

Of course, with so much control and content at your fingertips the choice of what to watch can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful round-up of the best of the last seven days for you to check out. Just navigate backwards on the Freeview Play electronic programme guide to check any or all of them out.

READ: What is Freeview Play, when is it coming to my TV and how can I get it?

BBC

Versailles

BBC Two (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast on Wednesday 1 June

The Beeb’s new period drama is more than a little saucy in places, brutal in others. Will definitely appeal to those who enjoyed a spot of The Tudors.

A relatively unknown cast is headed by George Blagden (the excellent Athelstan in Vikings) as Louis XIV, so it’s great to see him in something new.

BBC

Alan Shearer’s Euro 96: When Football Came Home

BBC One (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast on Wednesday 1 June

As part of the build up to Euro 2016, which kicks off in France next week, Alan Shearer looks back at the last tournament to be held in England.

He’s joined by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, who penned and sang the iconic number one hit “Football’s Coming Home”, plus manager Terry Venables and other football luminaries.

BBC

The Musketeers

BBC One (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast on Saturday 4 June

Returning for its third and last series, The Musketeers is big budget, Saturday evening fare for the Beeb and well worth a watch even if you’ve missed the previous seasons.

Based on Dumas’ famous characters, it’s a bit more gritty than the flouncy big screen versions you might have seen before.

BBC

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

BBC One (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast on Monday 30 May

Courting controversy for its gay and lesbian undertones, this adaptation of Shakepeare’s play will surely have been approved of by the bard.

Ex-Doctor Who show runner Russell T Davies provides the screenplay, which is beautifully acted by a stellar cast, including Richard Wilson, John Hannah and Maxinne Peake.

ITV

Tonight at The London Palladium

ITV (ITV Hub) – broadcast on Wednesday 1 June

It’s rare to see a real variety show on TV these days, that isn’t just a talent programme, so Tonight at The London Palladium should be applauded for that alone.

It is hosted by Bradley Walsh and this week’s show also featured namesake comedian, Seann Walsh, Alistair McGowan and Craig David.

CITV

Pokémon

CITV (ITV Hub) – broadcast on Friday 3 June

The Pokémon cartoon is shown a lot on CITV and we have to admit that even though it’s meant for kids, we’re more than happy to chuck it on occasionally too.

It’s also worth parents sitting down with their kids to watch an episode or two, if only to understand what they jabber about after each Nintendo 3DS gameplay session.

Channel 4

Father Ted

More 4 (All 4) – broadcast on Saturday 4 June

The incredible Father Ted is one of our favourite sitcoms of all time and More 4 has a couple of episodes available to watch.

If you’ve never seen it, we suggest you remedy that immediately.

Get catch-up and on demand TV for £0 per month with Freeview Play. Click here to find out more.

5
Jun

US Army’s smart earplugs spare soldiers from loud noises


As you might imagine, soldiers can’t just use garden variety earplugs to protect their ears. It might tone down the sounds of explosions and gunshots, but it’ll also prevent them from hearing a crucial command or an enemy on the other side of a doorway. It’s less of an issue for the US Army these days, though. The military branch has been gradually rolling out a smart earplug, TCAPS (Tactical Communication and Protective System), that adapts to the audio realities of war. The smartphone-linked device softens louder noises, but amplifies quieter ones; if your squad leader needs to issue a command, you’ll hear it over the din of battle.

It’s a relatively simple system, but it’s very flexible. Some versions link to a soldier’s existing communications, and it’ll play nicely with hearing aids.

TCAPS is far from ubiquitous. Only 20,000 of the earplugs are in the field, and it’s doubtful that every single person in the infantry will get one when they cost around $2,000 a pop. However, it stands a relatively good shot of catching on. More than anything, the technology provides confidence — you know you’ll get crucial audio cues without going deaf.

Source: NPR

5
Jun

The Galaxy S7: imperfect, but still the best phone in 2016 [review]


I’ve now spent about three weeks with Samsung’s newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7. Like any experience with a new smartphone, it has its benefits and drawbacks, its features and its quirks. You may have read a few weeks ago that I’m planning on sticking with my Nexus 6P over the Galaxy S7 (Edge) and that’s still true but a lot of my original gripes have faded away over time. Pending what we see from HTC in the “10” smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is shaping up to be the best smartphone in 2016.

The specs are pretty standard for what we’ll be seeing this year:

  • Display: 5.1″ QHD (1440×2560, 577 PPI) Super AMOLED panel
  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996)
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB, with microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • Cameras: 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS & 5 MP, f/1.7, 22mm
  • Battery: 3000 mAh, non-removable
  • OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Given that it’s pretty much exactly the same on the inside as both the HTC 10 and LG G5, Samsung had to differentiate themselves by what’s on the outside.

DesignIMG_20160420_212429

The Galaxy S7 is without a doubt the most elegant Android phone ever built. The industrial design of the HTC One series over the last couple of years and then the Nexus 6P last last year are certainly great, but the Galaxy S7’s fusion of metal and glass is absolutely gorgeous and it feels so great in the hand that you don’t want to put it down.

One often overlooked part of the design is where to put the 3.5mm headphone jack. It seems that nearly every OEM has moved this to the top of the phone in recent years, which leaves wires going everywhere if you’re using the phone and listening to headphones at the same time. Samsung put it back on the bottom, which may sound like a small point, but it’s an appreciated design choice.

Speaking of design choices and ports on the bottom of the phone, it is very surprising given Samsung’s propensity for wanting to be on the cutting edge that they would forego the USB type-C port on its new flagship. Every other major Android OEM that has released a phone in the last 6 months has gone with USB type-C and there has even been speculation that Apple may be putting it into the new iPhone in the fall.

The only reason that I have been able to think of that Samsung would have done this was to keep the new model phones compatible with the Gear VR headset. The Gear VR is an awesome accessory, but Samsung could definitely afford to come up with a new Gear VR tomatch the new port.

s7-6p-USBThe Display

Samsung is known for having the most striking displays on the market. Another year, another Galaxy, nothing has changed. The screen on the Galaxy S7 is the same size and resolution as last year’s model. I wouldn’t be the first reviewer to say so but the Galaxy S7 is a refinement upon the S6 and in the case of the screen, there wasn’t a whole lot to improve upon because the screen in the S6 was the best on the market last year and this year it is no different.

Even though this isn’t the Edge variant of the phone, the glass does not stop flat at the edge of the phone, but instead curves around the edge by about 1mm in order to make the overall look and feel of the phone more smooth. The result of such form over function is that you end up constantly touching the screen when you’re just holding the phone normally.

The Software (aka Touchwiz)

This is without a doubt the best spin on Android that Samsung has ever made. I said the same thing last fall when I reviewed the Note 5 and I meant it. Samsung has been steadily making its flavor of Android better and better. I’m not sure how much the modern processors contribute to cleaning the clunk in Touchwiz, but the point is that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is smoother than the Nexus 6P.

Samsung has finally stopped making putting new gimmicks into the OS a selling point for its phones, which is great, but it also means there’s less to talk about on the software side of things. Still, I have some favorite features of Touchwiz that I would like to share.

Screenshot_20160421-230027Much like on the Note 5, one of my favorite features is still the theming engine/store. I’ve been a part of the root/ROM scene since my first smartp
hone in 2010 and theming has always been one of my favorite parts of that. Seeing that feature on mainstream Android devices was a dream come true and still is a lot of fun. It’s a little annoying that it is attached to the Samsung Hub rather than Google Play, but who would actually be surprised by that?

Another one of my favorites was the addition of ultra power save mode. I don’t remember seeing this on the Note 5, which was running Lollipop at the time, but this seems to be IMG_20160420_203258something that Samsung added with its Marshmallow release. It essentially takes regular power save mode on stock Android and turns it up to 11.

It limits your data and CPU usage, as well as completely shutting off a majority of the apps on your phone except for those that the user deems essential. It also utilizes the AMOLED display and makes everything black and white. It even disables the screenshot function!

The battery life on the Galaxy S7 is pretty good, but I’ve found that in a pinch, ultra power save mode can be invaluable. Ironically, using ultra power save mode disables the themes.

I’ve been using the Verizon variant of the phone, which normally requires the obligatory complaint of bloat. This isn’t to say that there isn’t bloat on this phone, there most certainly is, and you’ll probably want to be disabling some of them if you’re on Big Red lest you get annoying notifications about visiting the Verizon store. I feel sorry for the average Verizon customer who will never think to a install third-party SMS client, but I found that after I settled in with the phone and got it all set up the way that I like, I didn’t care about the apps that came pre-installed.

Samsung doesn’t just stuff things into Android, though, they take things out, too. In Marshmallow they removed two features that I thought were pretty crucial and left me disappointed with the implementation. One was something that I detailed a few weeks ago – they removed the ability for timed or ’til next alarm’ do not disturb. These are pretty small features, but why remove them? It’s really nice to be able to put my phone into do not disturb while I’m at the movies and set it to two hours so I don’t have to remember to turn it back on when I leave!

The other is something that a lot of people probably didn’t know about, maybe don’t care about, and technically can be brought back; and that’s adoptable storage. There was a feature introduced in Android 6.0 Marshmallow where the system could adopt the SD card as though it were internal memory and treat it the same way that it already treats the internal memory. That means that you can install as many apps as you want on a phone that is only sold with 32GB of storage but has been expanded to accommodate up to 160GB of storage. Samsung took this feature out. It can technically be brought back with some work at the command line, but why take it out in the first place?

Battery Life

Like I mentioned before, the battery life on the Galaxy S7 is pretty Screenshot_20160322-230825good. It’s not as good as the OnePlus One, but it worked some sort of magic. Impressively, Samsung packed the same 3000 mAh battery that it had in the Galaxy Note 5, which had a lot more physical space to work with and more pixels to push, into the smaller footprint of the Galaxy S7, giving it better battery life than the Note 5. The battery on the S7 regularly lasted me throughout the day and only when I was planning on going past midnight did I bother with recharging before the end of the day.

Like with overall performance, I’m sure that some of the battery performance can be attributed to the Snapdragon 820 under the bonnet, but I’ve heard that the Galaxy S7 with an Exynos 8890 Octa, which is sold everywhere that isn’t America.

The Camera

It’s no secret that Samsung is the unquestioned leader in Android cameras, if not smartphone cameras in general and that hasn’t changed with the Galaxy S7. Photos outdoors come out very crisp and enjoyable and thanks to a lower resolution sensor and some new licenced tech, it’s better than ever in low light and has an impeccably fast shutter speed/auto focus. There’s a little bit of noise in the low light photos but they’re still better than what you’ll typically see from the competition.

I’m not what you would call a photographer and if I were I wouldn’t probably recommend using a smartphone to take pictures. But for the casual snapper, it’s hard to go wrong with the S7.

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Other stuff/Final thoughtsIMG_20160321_185322

The biggest selling point for the Galaxy S7 after having used it for several weeks is not the phone itself, but the Gear VR headset that came with a lot of early sales. Even for $99, it’s a great accessory to your smartphone.

WIN A GEAR VR!

I’ll be doing a full review of the Gear VR soon, right after we give one away, but it was the highlight of my review and for my roommate’s girlfriend, the only thing she cared about when I told her that I had the Galaxy S7 to review.

In the meanwhile, we’re going to give away a brand new Samsung Gear VR. All you have to do is head to our Instagram page and leave a comment on this post. We’ll pick a winner on April 27!

Overall, I’m still going to keep my Nexus but that doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S7 isn’t a great phone. In fact, I think it’s the best phone you can buy right now, especially if you have already owned Samsung phones and are used to some of their quirks. It’s a gorgeous phone, one that I would be ashamed to put a case on but almost definitely would have to. Make no mistake, you’ll be paying nearly $700 for this phone and almost $800 for it’s edged brethren, and that’s no small amount of money but if you have to live with a phone for two or more years, I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.

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