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The Engadget Podcast Ep 35: TV Party

On this episode host Terrence O’Brien is joined by executive editor Dana Wollman and (eventually) senior editor Chris Velazco. They start by looking at the current state of cord cutting and weigh the value of YouTube’s new live streaming TV package. Then they’ll try to figure out what the benefit is of Netflix ditching its five star rating system for a simplified option of just thumbs up or thumbs down. Obviously you can watch YouTube and Netflix on an actual television, but portable screens are an increasingly important part of the media market. How does the new 2017 iPad stack up in that world of mobile media machines? Well, pretty good if you ask Chris — at $329 it doesn’t seem to have too many competitors.

Lastly the trio sign off by recommending an album that will make you cry, a movie that will make you pee your pants and book you’ll die before finishing.

Relevant links:

  • Netflix’s overly simplified thumb ratings are here
  • YouTube’s live TV service is here
  • Apple iPad review (2017): No alarms and no surprises

The Wind Down:

  • Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
  • Jaws
  • Rafik Schami – Dark Side of Love

You can check out every episode on The Engadget Podcast page in audio, video and text form for the hearing impaired.

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Europe clears 21st Century Fox’s purchase of Sky

21st Century Fox’s £11.7 billion acquisition of Sky has edged a little closer to being a done deal today, as the European Commission approved the merger. The commission was assessing any potential competition concerns that might arise from the marriage of huge media company and pay-TV provider. It concluded that as the two firms “are mainly active at different levels of the market,” the acquisition wouldn’t have any significant impact on competition. It wouldn’t be good business for Fox to withhold its films from Sky’s competitors, for example, or for Sky to worsen its platform by carrying Fox’s content exclusively — not to mention regulations and existing contracts in countries where Sky operates prevent that kind of thing from happening anyway.

21st Century Fox already owns 39 percent of Sky, but media tycoon Rupert Murdoch wants the whole pie after having to abandon a similar takeover attempt in 2010 when News Corporation (now known as 21st Century Fox) became entangled in a highly publicised phone hacking scandal. The buck doesn’t stop with the European Commission, though, which only looked at how the merger would affect competition in Europe. UK regulator Ofcom is currently conducting a review of its own, and could block the purchase if it feels that the two companies together would have too much influence over the news, negatively impacting media plurality.

Source: European Commission


‘Candy Crush Saga’ devs are making a mobile ‘Call of Duty’ game

King, the developer behind Candy Crush Saga, is working on a Call of Duty game for mobile. Describing the project as part of a job listing for the company’s Stockholm studio, King said it will “strive to transform the best console experience fans know and love, while also breaking new ground for mobile and redefining the genre.”

Call of Duty-owner Activision Blizzard bought King for just under $6 billion in 2015, but since the acquisition the developer has continued to focus mostly on its free-to-play Saga games. The new project will mark the first time King works on an Activision property, and, if successful, it could open the door for future mobile tie-ins for the company’s other famous franchises like Destiny and Overwatch.

Virtually nothing is known about the game — not genre, not release window, not platforms. What we do know is that, while King says it’s “collaborating on this project” with its parent company, it also says that it’ll be responsible for “prototyping extensively,” adding that staff “have the freedom to think outside the box,” and will “be encouraged to stretch their expertise in ways to create surprising results,” suggesting that it’s King that will lead development.


Source: King


The best SSDs

By Ben Keough and Nathan Edwards

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

Almost every SSD you can buy today is great, but some are better than others. If you need to buy a SATA SSD today, we still suggest the 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO—even two years after it launched. The 850 EVO is not the fastest SATA SSD you can get, but it comes close. More important, it has one of the best combinations of price, performance, and capacity of any drive you can buy. And it’s available in 2.5-inch, mSATA, and M.2 SATA form factors, so it’ll work with almost every computer.

Who should get this

You should get an SSD like the 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO if you have a computer that is one to three years old and has a traditional hard drive or a cramped, outdated SSD. But this rule applies only if you plan to keep your computer for at least another year or if you know you can bring your SSD to your next computer.

Frankly, if your computer already has an SSD, the only real reason to get a different SSD is if you run out of room on the first one. You’ll never notice a speed difference between two different SATA SSDs unless you’re writing huge files every single day and you care about a few seconds’ worth of improvement.

Before you buy, it’s important to figure out what kind of SSD fits your computer. Most computers still support 2.5-inch SATA drives like our pick, but these drives are becoming less common in high-end laptops as they’re replaced by M.2 SATA and PCIe SSDs. Almost all desktop computers still support 2.5-inch SATA, and many newer ones also have M.2 support. mSATA was common in laptops a few years ago, but isn’t in new computers.

This gets confusing, so head to our full guide for a complete breakdown. To check compatibility on your laptop, check your manufacturer’s website or use Crucial’s upgrade advisor tools to figure out what drive type your computer uses, and whether you can replace the drive. Be aware that some laptops—recent MacBooks, to be precise—use proprietary form factors that may make it difficult or impossible to perform a DIY upgrade. Though some older (mostly pre-2013) MacBooks can be upgraded, many newer Airs and Pros cannot. Still others can, but only with specialized, expensive drives from just a couple manufacturers. As such, this guide is mostly aimed at non-Mac users.

Ultimately, it’s hard to get a bad SSD; you could buy almost any drive and not end up disappointed. But it’s possible to spend more money than you need to, or to not get a fast enough SSD for the price. When shopping for a drive, make sure you’re getting the right type; many of the newer models come in both 2.5-inch SATA and M.2 SATA form factors.

Our pick

The Samsung 850 EVO comes in a 2.5-inch SATA form factor (shown) as well as mSATA and m.2. Photo: Nathan Edwards

If we were upgrading a laptop or buying the primary drive for a desktop without an M.2 PCIe slot, we’d get the 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO (also available in M.2 SATA and mSATA form factors). The 850 EVO is fast, cheap, and consistent, and it comes from a company that makes its own SSD controllers, firmware, and NAND. That means it gets first dibs on the good stuff, and is able to design the entire SSD to work together from the start. Samsung has made some of the best SSDs for the past five hardware generations, and this one is no exception. The 850 EVO isn’t the cheapest great SSD, but it is the best cheap SSD, even two years after launch. It offers a great combination of price, performance, and capacity, plus ample write endurance, hardware encryption support, and an exceptionally long five-year warranty.

The 850 EVO uses Samsung’s 3D TLC NAND, so it has a much higher write-endurance rating than its predecessor, the 840 EVO. The 500 GB version is rated for 150 TB of writes, which is still competitive against most newer SATA drives. In real life, all SSDs should easily write many times that; wearing out an SSD before the drive itself becomes obsolete is almost impossible.

If you need a cheaper or higher-capacity drive: Crucial MX300

If the Samsung 850 EVO is too expensive or you want a 1 TB drive, get the Crucial MX300. The 525 GB MX300 is typically about 25 percent cheaper than the 500 GB 850 EVO, and the 1 TB version is around 20 percent cheaper than the Samsung equivalent. The Samsung still has the slightest edge for its speed, warranty, and consistency, but the Crucial MX300 is a very, very close second place.

When comparing drives of the same capacity, the MX300 is slightly slower than the 850 EVO in most benchmarks. In part, this is because Samsung uses better, more expensive components, like an eight-channel controller and more NAND modules for better parallelization. But the MX300 has Dynamic Write Acceleration, a caching solution similar to Samsung’s TurboWrite, which creates a large buffer that significantly boosts the drive’s write speeds. For most people, the speed differences will be indistinguishable.

High budget, high performance: Samsung 960 Pro

If you make your living in a field like video editing or 3D modeling and need a drive that can move large files around very quickly, consider the Samsung 960 Pro. Benchmarks show that this M.2 PCIe SSD writes four times faster and reads up to seven times faster than the best SATA SSDs, like the 850 EVO and 850 Pro. It’s overkill for most people; the average user won’t ever notice the difference between this and our main picks, and shouldn’t spend the extra $150-plus. But if you do need the extra speed of a M.2 PCIe SSD, the Samsung 960 Pro is the fastest one you can get, with high write-endurance ratings and a solid five-year warranty.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.


Alexa can finally set specific smart bulb colors

Alexa has been able to control Philips Hue, TP-Link and other smart lights for a while, but control was limited to on/off and dimming, not color — a bummer, since the bulbs also emit up to 16 million hues. However, Amazon has now added the ability to change colors to Philips, TP-Link Kasa and LiFi Labs LIFX bulbs, giving you full voice control of your lighting at last.

Echo devices did indirectly give you some color control before, letting you select pre-programmed “scenes,” which would change the color, dimming and other factors on the Hue. How, however, now all you have to say is “Alexa, set the bedroom light to orange,” or “Alexa, make the living room warmer,” and it’ll execute those specific functions.

Similar commands work across the Hue, TP-Link Kasa and LIFX bulbs, it appears. Alexa will remember up to 100 shades, including things like “warm white,” and other practical colors more useful than “red” or “purple” (depending on what you’re up to).

The “skill” puts Alexa on par with Google Home, which has been able to change smart bulb colors from day one. The update is now live, and also works with other color changing bulbs you might be using via the SmartThings platform, too Amazon notes.


Source: Amazon (1), (2), (3)


Adobe shows how AI can work wonders on your selfie game

Adobe has been focused on making its mobile apps powerful photo-editing tools for quite some time. At its annual MAX design conference last fall, the company debuted Sensei: a collection of AI and deep learning tools that can analyze an image before applying some pretty hefty edits. To show off just what the system is capable of, Adobe posted a video this week that shows how Sensei can help transform a sub-par selfie into something worthy of Instagram or Snapchat.

The video includes some tools we already knew about — mainly the ability to copy one photo’s style and look to another in a couple of taps. Adobe researchers worked with Cornell University to employ AI to take things like color, lighting and contrast you really like in one image and apply it to a boring ol’ crappy photo. While that tool is part of an experimental app called “Deep Photo Style Transfer” that’s posted on Github, it looks like Adobe has plans to bring that feature to a more robust piece of mobile software.

Thanks to Adobe Sensei, a mobile app could also allow for easy perspective editing and automatic photo masking. A liquify tool updates to the perspective of a selfie with a slider, keeping the subject’s face in proportion while the edits are applied. A similar tool has been available inside Photoshop Fix for a while now, but the so-called Face-Aware version just hit Photoshop on the desktop last summer. If you need to adjust the depth of field, portrait masking can help you easily do that with a simple slider adjustment. Adobe hasn’t been shy about bringing desktop-friendly features to mobile, so don’t be surprised if this masking feature makes the leap.

While all of these tools make for a compelling photo-editing app, there’s no indication when (or if) Adobe will put them in a piece of software you can actually use. Given its recent mobile focus, you can bet more powerful features are coming to the likes of Photoshop Fix and other apps. It’s only a matter of time.

Source: Adobe (YouTube)


Please don’t buy a Mac Pro right now

This week, Apple finally admitted after too damn long, that it had over-designed the “trashcan” Mac Pro into a corner. Its triangular thermal design was innovative, but impossible to upgrade, and failed to anticipate shifts in computing following its launch. After several years of silence, the company finally apologized, admitting that a redesigned model will arrive at some point next year. Apple has now heavily discounted the 2013 model as an act of contrition, but is that enough for Pro users to bite? Dan Cooper is tempted to make the splash, but Aaron Souppouris is desperate to stop him.

Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor

I’ve been using a base-model 2012 Mac Pro for nearly five years, and it’s been showing its age for a while. The machine shipped with a measly 6GB of RAM and a piddly graphics card that can’t handle running dual displays, and I often get jitters and slowdowns. I’ve kept it alive by swapping in hybrid HDDs and more memory, but I’m a year or two past an upgrade. Apple has pushed the $4,000 Mac Pro down to $3,000, and I’m not going to lie, I’m sorely tempted to buy it since that’s one enticing chunk of computer.

Aaron Souppouris, Features Editor

Just, don’t? The Mac Pro, unlike Apple’s new MacBook Pros, was very much built from the ground up for professional, “heavy” users. And thanks to its outdated hardware, it doesn’t even do a great job of that. You might edit quite a few photos and maybe even some videos at home, but you are not a pro user. Even if you’re averse to Windows, there are better options that Apple makes for someone who needs a desktop replacement.

Daniel Cooper

Possibly, and it’s probably worth explaining why I have an affinity for desktops and pro machines rather than the MacBook you’ve just referenced. Working from home, I spend about 90 percent of my time stood at my desk and so using a laptop makes very little sense. I’ve also already got a laptop, in the form of my 13-inch MacBook Air (2013) that does exactly what I need, and very little more, when I’m on the road.

Aaron Souppouris

I’m not sure why your standing habits are relevant to whether you use a laptop or a trashcan. With a monitor, keyboard and mouse attached, a closed MacBook Pro does a great impression of a desktop. A heavily discounted three-year old machine is still a three-year old machine, and a top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro is a better all-round computer than a Mac Pro today.

Daniel Cooper

Nah, a closed MacBook Pro is not going to be muscular enough to handle my daily workload, slight though you may think it is. My “normal” setup involves running Chrome, Slack, Pages, iTunes and Photoshop on dual displays. In isolation, those tools of the trade may be pretty lightweight, but Chrome, Slack and Photoshop are famously hungry for memory, causing slowdowns and jitters.

Aaron Souppouris

I use a 2015, 15-inch MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and a 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 with discrete graphics. Apart from when OS X misbehaves, only video editing and gaming have ever pushed this machine hard. We have very similar workloads, aside from Pages (I use GDocs and Word because I’m not a freak). Although I only use one 1440p screen in addition to the built-in Retina Display, it’s demonstrably capable of pushing multiple monitors without breaking a sweat. And this is an old model, outdated when I bought it — the latest MacBook Pros are way stronger.


Any MacBook Pro is going to struggle to live as the center of my home.

Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper

Except that any MacBook Pro is going to struggle to live as the center of my home, as my Mac Pro currently does. I’ve got 40GB of music and around 540GB of video in my iTunes collection (all ripped from physical media, I’m not a monster). Then there’s my photos collection (many of which include my little girl) which runs to around 282GB when you include home video. Despite the fact that I have a hybrid HDD, 14GB RAM and a quad-core Xeon processor, it still takes an age for these files to load. Buying a MacBook Pro won’t make any of those jobs faster.

Aaron Souppouris

Neither will buying a new Mac Pro. Part of the reason Apple is replacing the Mac Pro is because it’s not very expandable. Upping the storage to handle all your media is going to add more than $500 to the price. It seems that your main bottleneck right now is the hard drive. The gulf between a hybrid and an SSD is pretty enormous. While you might see its solid-state portion matching an SSD in repeated tasks like loading the OS or a frequently-used app, everyday computing is more random than that. The 500GB SSD inside Apple’s high-end MacBook Pro will dramatically improve your day-to-day life, from loading apps quicker to supporting the RAM with fast paging speeds.

Whatever computer you upgrade to, I’d invest in a 2TB RAID system, connect it to the highest-speed port your computer has and forget about finding a computer to match your data hoarding habit. Sure, fille access will still be slow, but it won’t bog down the system while they’re loading.

Bottom line is the modern components of a MacBook Pro will keep pace, or exceed, the base Mac Pro in almost every task, for less money. The main sticking point with the current crop is battery life, but if you’re using it as a desktop, that point is moot.

Daniel Cooper

Aaah, aaah, I’ve got you there, because for $2,999 I can get a six-core, Xeon E5 processor, 16GB RAM and a dual FirePro D500 with 3GB RAM per side. The 15-inch MBP you’re referring to costs almost the same ($2,799) with a quad-core Core i7, 16GB RAM and a Radeon Pro with 2GB RAM. I can also get a shitty keyboard, trackpad and display I don’t need and a battery that’ll get increasingly less useful over time. Oh, and I’ll have to buy all new accessories because nothing I own has USB-C.


Aaron Souppouris

Those fancy graphics cards you’re swooning over are outdated, and the new MacBook Pro’s GPU will keep OpenGL-enabled apps like Photoshop running at a clip. If you really wanted, you could up that to a Radeon Pro 460, which has 4GB of dedicated memory, and you’d still be spending less than a Mac Pro.

That’s not to mention that the spec you just listed comes with a 256GB SSD, almost half the size of the MacBook Pro I want you to buy. The price difference between the two machines will cover the accessories you need and help fund that RAID system I mentioned. You don’t really need to use this thing like a laptop: keep it plugged in behind your monitor if you want to. That said, I use a laptop with an external display and it works just fine — think of it like you’re getting a high-quality, 15-inch display and trackpad to sit along your existing monitor when you need it.

Daniel Cooper

Okay, how about this? Laptops are designed around balancing the different needs of power drain, thermal efficiency and performance. I guarantee you that the MBP’s components will be throttled down to custard-like speeds to prevent overheating when I get on it. My daily routine is to have Chrome open with a hundred tabs, Pages, iTunes, Photoshop and Slack all running at once. Why would I knowingly submit myself to a bad computing experience?

Aaron Souppouris

Laptops have come a long way, with components that are far more capable of running at full pelt than they used to be. Ars Technica‘s review found that, even after 30 minutes running at full load, the i7 in the MacBook Pro didn’t throttle. Not to mention that USB-C and Thunderbolt are so fast that the difference between internal and external accessory efficiency is moot. Oh, and talking of interfaces: The Mac Pro’s I/O is limited to USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2. The MacBook Pro’s USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports are lightyears ahead, and if you’re using this machine as a desktop then the dongle issue is really unimportant.

I know it’s anecdotal, but people with far heavier workloads than you — namely YouTubers like MKBHD and Casey Neistat — have given up on the Mac Pro, and both switched to the latest MacBook Pros in recent months. These things are just better machines.

Daniel Cooper

How about the fact that those laptops — with their integral batteries and tightly-integrated components — have a far shorter shelf life than desktops? As an investment, buying a desktop is likely to pay off much cheaper because it’ll last much longer than its all-in-one brethren.

Aaron Souppouris

The battery definitely has a limited shelf life, but if you’re permanently plugged in, what’s the problem?

Daniel Cooper

Repairs, tho. Have you seen iFixit’s guide for repairing the MBP? It got a repairability score of one out of ten. Which means that if this thing breaks, It’s quite likely that I’ll have to buy a new one.


Buying a Mac Pro at a discount now is essentially just helping Apple with its spare inventory problems.

Aaron Souppouris

Aaron Souppouris

AppleCare for three years is like $350, just pay up. We’re clearly not going to agree on whether or not a laptop can do a desktop’s job, but even if you’re never buying a laptop, there are still myriad reasons to not buy a Mac Pro.

First, along with the discount, Apple announced it’s working on a new new Mac Pro, one that it hints will be more expandable and powerful than the current generation. At the same time, Nvidia announced its new high-end GPU will support Macs. That’s not a coincidence. Apple also teased a “Pro” level iMac for later this year. Buying a Mac Pro at a discount now is essentially just helping Apple with its spare inventory problems.

Daniel Cooper

I do keep thinking about that 4K iMac and wondering if I’d be tempted to downshift from my Mac Pro to a “pro” iMac. My only concern would be if it, too, would struggle to push multiple displays because its integrated graphics will be concentrated on its own screen. If Apple could make it even slightly expandable, with a shitload of ram and discrete graphics, then it could very possibly swing my decision.

Aaron Souppouris

The fairer comparison with the Mac Pro would be the 27-inch 5K iMac, which has discrete graphics on board. Even so, it has its issues. None of the models have SSDs as standard, and there is absolutely no reason why anyone in 2017 should be spending that sort of money to boot from an HDD. It’s a huge bottleneck. I’m repeating myself, but I/O is fast enough these days that if you’re using a quality drive and fast I/O like USB-C, you can shove your media collection on an external drive.

What Apple needs to do with the “Pro” iMacs is offer affordable SSDs, 16GB RAM as (upgradeable) standard, and, most importantly, a modern graphics solution like an RX 480. We’ll just have to wait and see if it does that.

Daniel Cooper

I’d wait for that, hell, I’ve waited this long to upgrade, a few more months to see what the pro iMac looks like won’t kill me.

Aaron Souppouris

Yeah, you’ve kind of made the crux of my point for me. If you’re not happy with a MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement, wait to see what the new iMac can do for you. If you’re not happy with that, wait for the new Mac Pro. But whatever you do, don’t buy a three-year-old computer just because it’s slightly less overpriced than it was before.


Wide-angles, squares, and much more: Get the best from the LG G6’s superb camera

The G6 continues the tradition of LG phones featuring excellent cameras, with a dual-lens wide-angle rear camera as well as a wide-angle selfie cam on the front. The G6’s other party piece, its 5.7-inch 18:9 aspect ratio screen, also enhances the camera experience through a special app, and some additional features.

More: Keep your new LG G6 safe from damage with these 7 cases and covers

While it’s not hard to just pick up the G6 and go shoot some excellent pictures, it’s worth taking the time to understand its intricacies, so we’ve put together a guide to help you really make the most of this great camera phone.

Wide-angle rear camera

The main camera app is the one you’ll use most of the time, but the interface is quite busy, so it’s a good idea to learn the various controls. Holding the phone in landscape orientation, at the top centre of the display are two buttons, each showing little tree icons. The left button with a single tree icon is for the standard-angle lens, but tap the button next to it with three tree icons, and it activates the wide-angle lens. Alternatively, you can use pinch-to-zoom and switch between the two lenses. Pinch your fingers together to move from standard to wide angle views.

Camera roll preview

On the right-hand side of the display are the buttons for the camera shutter release, and the video mode, plus a preview of the last photo taken. On the far left-hand side of the screen, thanks to the 18:9 aspect ratio display, there’s a vertical preview of the last four photos taken, which can also be scrolled through with a swipe. It’s a handy alternative to jumping out of the camera app and into the Gallery app. If you feel this makes the screen look too busy, you can turn off the preview. This is found by tapping the Settings cog icon, and toggling the switch for Camera Roll.

Settings and manual mode

While you’re under Settings, it’s here that the HDR mode can be force activated, the resolution for photos and video selected, along with handy features such as a grid for the viewfinder — activate this to make composing shots easier — and geolocation tagging for your pictures. In the interests of privacy, we’d suggest turning the latter off.

More: Feel fly like a G6 with these handy tips and tricks

The G6’s camera defaults to auto mode, but if you want to experiment with manual mode — where you can adjust many aspects of the camera — tap the Auto button on the left-hand side of the screen, and select Manual. There are two manual modes, one for the still camera and another for video. Also found in this menu is a mode for taking square, 1:1 ratio pictures, for easy sharing on apps like Instagram.

Panorama, Food, Popout, and other modes

how to use the lg g  camera

how to use the lg g  camera

Other camera modes can be found by tapping the Mode button on the left-hand side of the screen. A basic panorama mode is accompanied with a 360-degree panorama mode, and an enhanced image mode for taking pictures of food. More unusually, there’s LG’s Popout, which produces psychedelic images with different effects, by splitting the image into separate areas. Give it a try, it’s a very unusual look.

Also on the left hand side of the screen is a filter button, which looks like three overlaid circles. Tap this and choose from nine different effects, which handily show up live on the viewfinder. The filter icon on the left is shown in color when a filter is active, so you won’t forget about it.


Flip the camera around using the button on the left of the camera viewfinder, or simply swipe up or down the screen for the same result. The front camera on the G6 also has a wide-angle mode, and it’s activated in the same way as the rear camera, except the icons have little images of people instead of trees. Be careful when in wide-angle mode, it’s easy for a finger or your palm to invade the shot if you hold the phone in an awkward way.

There are three new modes available when shooting selfies, which are adjusted using buttons running down the right hand side of the viewfinder. They’re labeled Filter, Lighting, and Skin Tone. The filters adjust the look of the entire scene, and are shown live on the screen, just like with the rear camera. Lighting and Skin Tone only affects your face, acting like a beauty mode. Mess around with both using the on-screen slider controls to get the look that suits you best.


When viewing photos in the LG G6’s gallery, there’s an Edit button at the bottom of the screen, which unusually doesn’t open LG’s own image editing suite, but Google Photos. If it doesn’t do the job, consider installing an app such as Snapseed, which will then appear in the options when you tap the Edit button.

Square Camera

how to use the lg g  camera screenshot

how to use the lg g  camera

Square Camera makes clever use of the G6’s 18:9 (or 2:1) aspect ratio screen, by splitting the camera view into two perfect squares, and using each one differently. If you’re looking for a Square Camera app and can’t find it, don’t panic, it’s actually a widget and may have been hidden away on your phone. To get it working, hold down an empty area of home screen until you get a helicopter view of all your apps and screens, then select widgets from the menu running across the bottom of the screen. Scroll through the widgets available until you find Square Camera, then tap it to add it to a home screen.

More: Huawei P10 vs. LG G6: Battle of the big-brand flagships

Holding the phone in portrait here, the same method for switching between front and rear cameras applies: A swipe or a tap of the button. Also, the wide-angle mode is activated in the same way, along with the majority of controls for taking a picture. Tap the Square button in the top right to select manual mode for video or stills, and the filter button for live filter effects. To find Square Camera’s special modes, tap the Mode button along the top of the screen. There are four, and if you’re unsure which one to choose, tap the Question mark icon for a quick introduction.

Here’s how to get the best from them.

Snap Shot

This is Square Camera at its most basic. The viewfinder is in the top square, and when you take a photo, a preview appears in the lower square. There’s a quick delete button, or if you drag the social button — it usually defaults to a Facebook icon — across the screen, you can share it on your choice of social network, without jumping out the app.

Match Shot

Match Shot takes two shots in quick succession of each other, and presents them side-by-side. These shots can both be from the same camera, or one from the front and the other from the rear, or be video rather than stills. It’s controlled using the icon that shows two boxes over each other, with the numbers 1 or 2 inside.

When the icon shows 1 and 2, you can take two pictures at different times. When it shows 1 and 1, two photos are taken at the same time. Alternatively, look for the Gallery icon when shooting in 1/2 mode, and choose an image from the phone’s gallery to insert into one of the squares.

Guide Shot

A fast, easy way to take a photo with the same composition as another. This is a little confusing to use at first, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Like the G6’s other camera modes, the viewfinder appears in the top square, and all the usual modes and features apply, including switching lenses and from the front and rear camera.

The lower square shows previews of other shots you’ve taken, or some standard ones included by LG. These confuse the situation, and if you want to remove them from the preview screen, long press and select Delete. Look for the big square with a “+” in it and tap it, then choose Take Photo, and snap away. The result will appear as a new Guide Shot for use later on. Tap it to select it, the use the transparency slider to adjust how much the ghost image shows on the viewfinder. Using this, you can compose the same shot over and over, in many different situations.

More: We tried (and ranked) every smartphone at MWC, the largest mobile show of the year

In our tests, the simpler the composition, the easier it is to align the two images. Try anything too busy, and it gets very hard to match the two together.

Grid Shot

The final Square Camera mode may be the most fun. The lower square is split into four, each ready to be filled with either a still image or a 3-second video. Tap in square number one and take a photo. It should appear in the square, and automatically move on to square number two. To take a video here, and watch for the 3-second countdown in the top right of the viewfinder to help compose the clip. Add a still or video to squares three and four to complete your collage. If you want to retake one image, just tap on it again.

Our advice here is to think about the order before you start taking the shots, because you can’t rearrange them later on. It’s fun to make little stories with Grid Shot, and they’re easily shared on Facebook and Twitter, when the video clips play automatically in the post.


When you take shots in Square Camera, they can all be seen in the standard LG Gallery app. Open it and tap the icon that looks like three stacked lines in the top left of the screen. Look down the list and find Camera Mode, then tap it. Each Square Camera mode gets its own album.

That’s it, we hope you enjoy using the LG G6 and its superb wide-angle camera — both front and back.


Best app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time

Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers make paid apps free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money, and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 

More: 200 Awesome iPhone Apps | The best Android apps for almost any occasion


So you are invited to a wedding — now you’re inevitably faced with the age-old question: How much should I give? Decide with The Wedding Envelope.

Available on:


Zombies After Me!

Your city has been invaded by hordes of hungry zombies, your only goal is to escape and save yourself as fast as you can before being eaten by some horrible undead.

Available on:


Marble Camera

Create charming Marble style photographs with real-time Marble effects. These effects work great on selfies and other portraits but also for many other subjects.

Available on:



EverFont is not only a sampling tool for developers and designers, but also for anyone who wants to use beautiful fonts in other applications, such as Pages and Keynote.

Available on:



Mic’d is the beautifully simple recording app that was made with the Apple Watch in mind. It cuts the clutter so that nothing stands in the way of you and the recording you’re about to make.

Available on:


MaxLift Weight

MaxLift is a super simple, super smart weightlifting tracker and log that helps you optimize your workouts. You simply enter your sets and MaxLift charts your progress to help you lift more weight.

Available on:



Samsung wants you to switch out your two monitors for one ultrawide model

Why it matters to you

If you never quite found a wide enough monitor for your needs, you’ll be interested to learn that Samsung is considering designs that are wider and curvier than most.

Samsung is looking to offer an alternative to the more common 4K displays out there at the moment, with its roadmap suggesting that it’s building monitors that use a unique 32:9 aspect ratio. Purportedly they would offer a resolution of 3,840 x 1,080 pixels, in what Samsung describes as “Double Full-HD.”

Curved monitors are nothing new at this point and ultrawide displays aren’t that uncommon either. However, they more typically come with a 2,560 x 1,080 resolution and are geared more toward media viewing, while Samsung clearly thinks there’s something to the idea of an enormously wide, curved screen.

Said to be part of Samsung’s planned “Grand Circle,” format, with a 49-inch panel, the seriously ultrawide display doesn’t have a particularly great pixel density, so it may not be the crispest monitor out there if and when it sees a release. It would support 144Hz refresh rates though, as well as GSync and Freesync technologies for gamers.

More: The best computer monitor you can buy

Joining that monster display is another oddly formatted monitor, which measures up at 44 inches diagonally, with a 3,840 x 1,200 resolution. As TFTCentral (via Anandtech) highlights, this essentially makes it two 1,920 x 1,200 displays in a single monitor, which suggests who Samsung has in mind as potential customers.

It would come with the same 1,800R curvature of the other ultrawide display, but in 60Hz and 144Hz variants, offering a price drop for those who aren’t as concerned with high frame rates.

Neither of these monitors has been officially announced by Samsung and they don’t have names or part numbers, so there is no guarantee they will ever see the light of day. However, the fact that they feature in Samsung roadmaps would suggest that the South Korean manufacturer is at least considering these sorts of specifications for future displays. This would at the very least help Samsung offer some unique products to consumers in an increasingly competitive space.

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