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30
Jul

‘Dota 2’ won’t be so intimidating to newcomers


For many rookies in Dota 2 and other multiplayer online battle arena games, the biggest obstacle isn’t the game itself — sometimes, it’s the community. There are certainly helpful players, but MOBAs are notorious for jaded players who are hostile to anyone who isn’t already a grizzled veteran. Valve wants to fix that. It’s delivering a Dota 2 update that matches newcomers with players with reliably high behavior scores, reducing the chances that someone will berate you while you’re still learning the ropes. There’s no guarantee they’ll be forgiving, but it’s better than risking a stream of profanity just because you haven’t spent 200 hours mastering your hero.

On that note, your choice of heroes is now dictated by your experience. For your first 25 matches, you’ll be limited to 20 heroes that are “very successful” in teaching you the concepts of the game. You shouldn’t risk losing your first rounds just because you picked an idiosyncratic character that only seasoned players would understand.

These tweaks may not sound like much, but they could be crucial to maintaining Dota 2’s momentum. Although it’s still a huge title, there are only so many people willing to endure a gauntlet of “git gud” cries just to unlock the game’s potential. A smoother ride could bring in those would-be players who would pick up a MOBA if it weren’t for their anxieties about the steep learning curve and sometimes-antagonistic player culture.

Source: DOTA 2 Blog

30
Jul

‘LawBreakers’ open beta runs all weekend on PC and PS4


We’ve had a few cracks at LawBreakers, the futuristic cops vs. robbers game from Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions, but now anyone can play on PC and PS4. An open beta test runs until 10 AM ET Monday morning, which should be plenty of time to see if it’s a worthy competitor to the likes of Overwatch. There are some new wrinkles in this beta test like direct integration with Twitch and the PS4 version is tweaked for better play on the console, so go ahead and dive in (after checking out a few tutorials) before the game officially launches on August 8th.

Source: PlayStation Blog, Boss Key Productions, Lawbreakers Patch Notes

30
Jul

Scientists discover a building block of cells on Saturn’s moon Titan


Why it matters to you

Saturn’s moon Titan has long been a prime candidate when it comes to supporting life. Now, we may have more evidence.

Our quest for extraterrestrial life may be closer to bearing fruit. As per recent findings published in Science Advances Magazine, scientists now have a “definitive detection” of vinyl cyanide, described as “the best candidate molecule for the formation of cell membranes/vesicle structures.” And given that cells are the building blocks of life, it’s not too far of an extrapolation to say that the discovery of vinyl cyanide on Titan, one of Saturn‘s moons, could be the discovery of a potential ingredient for, well, life itself.

While scientists have long suspected that Titan might host vinyl cyanide, it was previously naught more than an inference. But now, NASA’s Cassini probe has achieved the “first spectroscopic detection” of the compound. Astronomers used data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, to draw their conclusions.

Titan has been a prime candidate for extraterrestrial life for quite some time. After all, the surface of the moon shows lakes, and Titan also features an atmosphere comprised mainly of nitrogen and compounds similar to those found on Earth that are crucial to life. The discovery of vinyl cyanide is yet another reason to continue researching Titan for its life-sustaining possibilities.

“This is a far cry from saying [life] definitely happens on Titan and these cells are involved in some kind of primitive life,” co-author Martin Cordiner, an astrochemist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told The Verge. “But it gives us a starting point in that discussion. If there was going to be life in Titan’s oceans, then it’s plausible vinyl cyanide could be a component of that.”

There is still no absolute proof that cell membranes could ultimately exist on Titan. In order to make that determination, we’d need to send another probe to Saturn’s moon. “There’s been some discussion of maybe sending a boat or something like that to Titan to observe what’s really going on in the lakes,” co-author Maureen Palmer, an astrochemist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told The Verge. “That’d be really cool to see.”

At the end of the day, concluded Cordiner, “As we explore more in the outer Solar System, these moons of the giant planets reveal to us that they are much more fascinating environments than we could have ever imagined. Complex chemistry is not unique to Earth.”




30
Jul

The latest in telemedicine comes in the form of MedicSpot, a doctor in a kiosk


Why it matters to you

See a doctor in a kiosk thanks to MedicSpot, now with locations throughout the U.K.

Telemedicine may have reached a new peak with the latest development from the U.K. Meet MedicSpot, the self-proclaimed “most affordable, easiest and, quickest way to see a private general practitioner.” The catch? Your doctor will live in a kiosk. These little clinics are located in pharmacies throughout the U.K. and are meant to virtually connect you to a real live doctor.

What’s more, all the kiosks come complete with the medical equipment you’d need for an examination, including a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, pulse oximeter, thermometer, and a camera (which lets your doctors “see” into your throat and ears”).

Don’t worry — if you need to use these devices, MedicSpot promises that “a pharmacy staff member is always available to give you a helping hand if needed.” You can even get a prescription from your healthcare provider by way of the kiosk.

You don’t need to make an appointment in order to see one of MedicSpot’s kiosk-based doctors. Simply visit your nearest MedicSpot pharmacy (you can see the full list of locations on the MedicSpot website) and get a walk-in consultation with a U.K. registered general practitioner “within a matter of minutes,” the company notes.

MedicSpot claims that it’s prepared to “deal with about 95 percent of things you would normally see your [doctor] for.” What’s more, these kiosks can also provide you with sick notes, referral letters, and general healthcare advice. Thus far, however, the company notes that about 33 percent of the consults it’s made has dealt with coughs, colds, and ear infections. And about a fifth of visits have been booked by non-U.K. natives who may not want to deal with going to a real hospital.

A consultation with MedicSpot will set you back about $40, and ought to take just 10 to 15 minutes.

If you find that you’re facing a real medical emergency, MedicSpot is not the best solution, of course. “MedicSpot is not an emergency medical service,” the company notes in its FAQ. Furthermore, as MedicSpot doesn’t have access to your medical records (not yet, at least), the company points out that it “may not be able to help you with certain chronic conditions where our doctors need your medical records at hand.” But if this turns out to be the case, your kiosk-based doctor will let you know and you won’t be charged for the visit.




30
Jul

It’s been 9 years and Android still has a bad reputation when it comes to security


Android-figures.jpg?itok=JOwVsINE

No matter who is to blame, Google’s name is on it so they own it.

“That Broadcom bug makes me not want to use anything other than an iPhone or Pixel.”

That’s what I heard from an admittedly security conscious friend while talking about him getting a new phone. The bug being referenced here, in case you’re unaware, affected over 1 billion phones that use a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip and would have been an easy way for them all to be hacked in any number of ways.

Most likely the phone you’re reading this on has a nasty, exploitable bug.

You don’t have to worry about it if you have an iPhone or a Pixel (or any Nexus that’s still supported) or an Android-powered BlackBerry because it was patched before it was disclosed to the public. But the Pixel, late-model Nexuses and Android BlackBerrys sold in minuscule numbers compared to all the other Android phones (I’m being very generous here). That means millions and millions and millions of other Android-powered phones are still vulnerable. Including the Galaxy S8, even though every Android partner has had access to the patch as long as Google and BlackBerry and Apple have.

In “real life” this is both a problem and not a problem. One thing goes hand in hand with every announcement of malware or other tricks and tools that can be used to remotely hack a phone: it almost never happens. But it still could. Simple logic says one day it will. And unfortunately, outside of some sort of government oversight on phone software (which nobody wants), there is no way to fix it.

snb15698.jpg?itok=Cv41Znz7 The T-Mobile G1 — we’ve come a long way.

Not long after the release of the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1, a security flaw was found where anyone could take control via outside software. Early iPhones all used the same admin credentials for remote logins. This sort of thing comes with the territory — all software has bugs or holes that can be exploited. These early bugs were promptly fixed and updates were sent to the phones. That’s not how it works anymore, at least for Android.

All software ever written has bugs. Good software has had them patched.

Because Android is given under an open-source license, Google has no control of how it’s used outside of the requirements for access to Google Play and the associated apps. It’s tough to wrap your mind around that unless you’re familiar with open source software, I know. But Google simply can’t force a company who makes Android phones into doing anything more than meeting a few minimum requirements designed to make them compatible with the APIs Play Store developers use to write apps. Even those are in question by courts in Europe.

This puts another company in control of the majority of the software we call Android, and with control comes a lot of responsibility. I truly believe Samsung (for example and because it is such a large part of Android) cares enough to want all of its customers to be immune to things like the Broadcomm bug. But that takes work and commitment that it is unable to give. It’s not that Samsung doesn’t care, it is just unable to fix it as fast because of how its business works. The same goes for every company that makes Android phones, possibly even more so because none have the resources that Samsung has.

It says Android right on the box, so this is Google’s problem.

Software is hard. Doing it right — patching every known bug as soon as it’s disclosed — is even harder. Adding yet another middleman means it’s damn near impossible.

Ultimately, all this falls on Google’s shoulders. The Android name is on the box, on the phone, and on your mind when you buy a new phone. This might not be fair to the people at Google who work hard to patch bugs and issue updates or security bulletins, but that doesn’t matter. Android is Google’s baby. When brand new phones from any company are running Android and have severe vulnerabilities, all eyes look towards Mountain View.

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Google has done things to address the problem, and it is doing even more with Project Treble. I’m sure one of the long-term goals is to fix the issue somehow, whether that means a complete rewrite of the Android underpinnings or altering the usage license or pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It knows as well as we do that it owns this problem, and rather than cry foul it is trying to address it.

I hope it can do so before it’s too late, because “not wanting to use anything other than an iPhone or Pixel” is a sentiment nobody wants to hear.

30
Jul

‘O’ Words [#acpodcast]


Our very own Daniel Bader leads Andrew, Jerry and guest Mr. Mobile (that’s Michael Fisher, if you didn’t know) on a deep discussion into all of the latest topics of the week. Motorola has a new phone, the Moto Z2 Force, and we have some thoughts on its strategy of a shatterproof display and smaller-than-most battery capacity. We compare it to the rumors of the upcoming Note 8, which should only help pad Samsung’s bottom line further. Unfortunately LG hasn’t seem the same results from its G6 launched earlier this year. So why is it so hard to make money selling phones? We discuss. And of course, we couldn’t go another show without more talk about Android O — the latest Developer Preview is out, and we’re getting oh-so-close to the final release along with a new Pixel or two.

Show notes

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – Emperor edition?
  • Samsung’s record profits continue on the back of strong Galaxy S8 and DRAM sales
  • LG’s mobile unit sees a sales decline in Q2 2017 as demand for the G6 wanes
  • Moto Z2 Force hands-on: I can’t believe it’s not breakable
  • Motorola’s latest Moto Mod is a snap-on 360-degree camera
  • Moto Z2 Force Edition specs
  • Moto Z2 Force vs. Galaxy S8: Top dollar battle
  • The Moto GamePad Mod is finally here and it’s awesome
  • What’s new in Android O Dev Preview 4?
  • The latest Android O developer preview has a new Easter egg: 8 is for octopus
  • Android Octopus: Are animals the new sweet treats?

Podcast MP3 URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral346.mp3

30
Jul

Congress looks into government agencies’ deals with Kaspersky


Kaspersky has a long and difficult path ahead if it wants to clear its name. The US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology has just asked 22 government agencies for all the documents and communications they have about Kaspersky Lab products, staring from January 1st, 2013 until today. It wants to see their internal risk assessments, the lists of all the systems they’re using loaded with Kaspersky products and the lists of their contractors and subcontractors that use the cyber security company’s offerings.

According to Reuters, the panel’s chairman explained that the Congress is requesting for all those documents, because it’s “concerned that Kaspersky Lab is susceptible to manipulation by the Russian government, and that its products could be used as a tool for espionage, sabotage or other nefarious activities against the United States.” All Cabinet-level agencies received the request, including NASA, the EPA and Homeland Security.

There were always doubts about Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus software due to the tense relationship between the US and Russia. However, the company has had to face an increasing number of accusations in recent months. Bloomberg, for instance, says it got its hands on internal company emails proving that Kaspersky develops products for Russian intelligence and accompanies Russian police when they conduct raids. The US government also kicked the cyber security firm off its list of approved IT vendors.

The panel has given the agencies until August 11th to hand over the documents it’s requesting. One of its aides told Reuters that this is just the beginning of what could be a lengthy investigation, and if the team finds anything questionable, then “more action may follow.”

Source: Reuters

30
Jul

iTunes hides clues that Apple is preparing to go 4K


It’s inevitable for a massive digital store like iTunes to start selling 4K movies and videos, and that time might come sooner than you think. MacRumors forum member Tomas Jackson from the UK reported noticing something unusual in a receipt of his movie purchases. It described his copy of Passengers, the JLaw-Chris Pratt space romance, as “4K HDR.” Meanwhile, an American forum member who purchased the same movie noted that his copy only said “HD.”

It’s possible that Cupertino is preparing to launch 4K movies on iTunes, so they could go hand-in-hand with the next Apple TV when it becomes available. The tags might have simply made their way to the UK store earlier than intended. According to a Bloomberg report earlier this year, the next iteration of the streaming device won’t have a lot of new features, but it will support 4K and HDR. Besides, it’ll be more surprising if Apple doesn’t get in on the action soon: Google Play added 4K movies to its repertoire way back last year and 4K TVs are becoming more and more affordable.

Via: 9to5mac

Source: MacRumors

30
Jul

Most popular Android apps this week: Motion Stills, Bricks Breaker, and more!


The Google Play Store is filled with many apps, which is great for consumer selection, but can often make app discovery difficult. Some apps just never make it to our homescreen. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of this weeks hottest Android apps that have most likely gone under the radar or are so new that they haven’t had enough downloads to be featured or make it onto a top list.

 Motion Stills

App Info: Motion Stills is an app from Google Research that lets you capture short videos and transform them into beautiful cinemagraphs or sweeping cinematic pans using our advanced stabilization and rendering technology. Create looping GIFs or combine clips into movies that you can share with your friends!

Free

Defense Zone HD

App Info: Stunning detail of levels, in-depth gameplay, finely tuned balance of all levels and turrets. During the game you will hold your defence with your turrets against the massive hordes of enemies.

$2.99

Bricks Breaker Puzzle

App Info: Just focus on breaking.
Find best position to deal damage to bricks and break bricks.

Free

My Device

App Info: My Device is a powerful yet simple app that lets you know all the essential details about your phone. Whether it be information regarding your System on Chip (SoC), the memory of your device or tech specs about your battery or all the relevant information about your device sensors – My Device is your one-stop place for all this.

Free

 

If you like these apps then drop us a comment below with your thoughts. Also if you have spotted a new app that you think is worth a mention, leave a comment below with your suggestion and we’ll be sure to check it out.

30
Jul

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force vs. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: Can a newcomer take out the reigning champion?


There’s no question that the Moto Z2 Force, is a powerhouse of a smartphone. It boasts a 5.5-inch display with 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution, shatter-resistant glass, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, and a 12MP dual-sensor camera that mimics the look and feel of high-end DSLRs. But the competition hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Earlier this year, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 Plus, the followup to the Galaxy S7, and it’s every bit as capable. The S8 Plus has a 6.2-inch display, an iris scanner, and a host of other desirable features that are squeezed into a gorgeous, curved body. Below, we pit the Lenovo Moto Z2 Force against the Galaxy S8 Plus to see which comes out on top.

Specs and performance

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Size
155.8 x 76 x 6.1mm (6.13 x 2.99 x 0.24 in)
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm (6.28 x 2.73 x 0.32 in)
Weight
5.04 ounces (143 grams)
6.1 ounces (173 grams)
Screen
5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED P-OLED touchscreen
6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED touchscreen
Resolution
1,440 x 2,560 (538ppi)
1,440 x 2,960 (529ppi)
OS
Android 7.1.1
Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage
64GB (U.S.) 128GB (International)
64GB (U.S.) 128GB (International)
MicroSD card slot
Yes
Yes
NFC support
Yes
Yes
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

Samsung Exynos 9 Series 8895 (International)

RAM
4GB (U.S.) 6GB (International)
4GB
Connectivity
4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera
Dual 12MP rear, 5MP front
12MP rear with OIS, 8MP front
Video
4K
4K
Bluetooth
Yes, version 4.2
Yes, version 5
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes
Other sensors
Gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Water resistant
Yes
Yes, IP68 rated
Battery
2,730mAh
3,500mAh
Ports
USB-C, Moto Mod connector
USB Type-C
Marketplace
Google Play
Google Play Store
Color offerings
Super black, fine gold, lunar gray
Black, silver, orchid gray, coral blue (international), gold (international)
Availability

Motorola, Best Buy

Amazon, Best Buy, Samsung

Carriers

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

Price
Starting at $750
Starting at $840
DT review
Hands-on
4 out of 5 stars

On paper, you’d be hard pressed to tell the Galaxy S8 Plus and Moto Z2 Force apart. In the United States, both boast 4GB of RAM and 64GB of base storage, although the Galaxy S8 Plus has a slight storage advantage (pricier models come with 128GB). Both also have MicroSD card slots that support memory sticks up to 2TB in size.

The Galaxy S8 Plus packs Bluetooth 5.0, which has four times the range and two times the speed of the Moto Z2 Force’s Bluetooth 4.2. The other, more tangible benefit is enhanced pairing; the Galaxy S8 Plus can steam music to two different Bluetooth devices at the same time, while the Moto Z2 Force is limited to one.

So which has the better internals? Between the Moto Z2 Force and the Galaxy S8 Plus, we’re handing the win to the Galaxy S8 Plus. The phone’s larger storage capacity and superior Bluetooth capabilities are enough to edge out the Force.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Design, display, and durability

There’s no mistaking the Galaxy S8 Plus for the Moto Z2 Force — the two phones couldn’t be more different when it comes to design.

The Moto Z2 Force is cut from the same cloth as last year’s model, with a brushed-metal design and Lenovo’s distinctive, 16-PIN Moto Mod docking port. The phone’s rear camera juts out slightly from the phone’s cover, and the oval-shaped fingerprint sensor sits underneath the screen, adjacent to the etched “Moto” logo. The edges are also curved on all four sides, concealing a USB Type-C charging port. And like its predecessor, the Moto Z2 Force lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Galaxy S8 Plus is made mostly of glass and metal. Its massive, 6.2-inch display dominates the front, concealing the home button (which is embedded beneath the display) and sloping to the left and right like a Salvador Dali painting. Another plus in the Galaxy S8 Plus’ column is the presence of a 3.5mm jack and USB-C connector, both of which are welcome conveniences. But Samsung’s flagship commits a faux pas of a different kind: The fingerprint sensor sits next to the camera, allowing you to easily smudge the built-in shooter.

Both the Galaxy S8 Plus and Moto Z2 Force are water-resistant, but the Galaxy S8 has a slight advantage. It’s certified IP68, which means it can withstand a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Lenovo says the Moto Z2 Force’s nano-coating can “repel water,” but it’s not designed to hold up against more than an accidental splash.

Let’s get things straight when it comes to displays: The Galaxy S8 Plus and Moto Z2 Force both have gorgeous, colorful screens that display more pixels than the human eye can make out. They share the same QHD (2,960 x 1,440 pixels) and the same high-contrast, ultra-saturated Super AMOLED technology. But as good as the Moto Z2 Force’s screen is, it’s no match for the display on the Samsung S8 Plus, which leads the pack in terms of accuracy and brightness.

The Galaxy S8 Plus also carries the unique distinction of being the first phone with Mobile HDR Premium label, which means it’s certified by the Ultra HD Alliance to show high-dynamic range (HDR) content. In laymen’s terms, apps that serve up HDR content (like Netflix) will look even brighter and more colorful on the Galaxy S8 Plus than they would normally.

The Moto Z2 Force has the upper hand when it comes to durability, too. The fine print guarantees that the Shattershield screen protector won’t crack for up to four years from the purchase date. Although we prefer the fingerprint sensor on the Moto Z2 Force, the Galaxy S8 Plus’ curved, futuristic body takes the design cake — and the 3.5mm jack is the icing on the top. We’re handing the display win to the Galaxy S8 Plus, too. Its screen may not be the most durable, but it still ranks among the best we’ve tested, and support for Mobile HDR is an added bonus.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Battery life and charging

It’s tough to predict battery life from specs alone. Samsung’s flagship may have a larger battery capacity (3,500mAh) than the Moto Z2 Force (2,730mAh), but it also has to contend with a larger screen. In our testing, the Galaxy S8 Plus lasted a little more than a day on a full charge. The Moto Z2 Force, which has a significantly smaller battery, likely won’t last as long.

The comparison isn’t as clear cut when it comes to charging, however. The Galaxy S8 Plus’ Adaptive Fast Charging technology, which can fully charge your phone in about an hour, is slower than the Moto Z2 Force’s TurboPower, which delivers up to six hours of battery life in a mere 15 minutes. That said, the Galaxy S8 Plus has the advantage of wire-free charging via Qi and PMA accessories, which the Moto Z2 Force doesn’t support without an optional Moto Mod.

It’s a close call in the battery and charging category, but the larger battery capacity and the wireless capabilities on the Galaxy S8 Plus are just enough to win it the round.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Camera

The Moto Z2 Force swaps last year’s single-lens camera for twin shooters, but at the cost of megapixels; the smartphone’s rear cameras are 12MP as opposed to the Moto Z Force’s 21MP. The Galaxy S8 Plus, on the other hand, sports the same 12MP camera found on last year’s Galaxy S7.

It’s tough to predict how the two will compare, but we can confidently say that the Moto Z2 Force has a high bar to clear. The S8 Plus’ 12MP camera ranks among the best smartphone cameras we’ve tested, thanks to optical image stabilization, support for high-dynamic range (HDR), and incredibly good performance in tricky lighting conditions.

But dual cameras have their advantages.

The Moto Z2 Force’s cameras promise to be just as good, if not better. It sports 12MP cameras on the back, as opposed to the Moto Z Force’s single 21MP shooter. The phone’s software is akin to the iPhone 7’s camera setup, and uses a second sensor to zoom in on objects. There’s also a special, black-and-white mode that captures “true monochrome” images.

It’s a different story when it comes to front-facing cameras, though. The Moto Z2 Force sports the same 5MP selfie sensor as last year, compared to the Galaxy S8 Plus’ 8MP camera. That might not sound like much of a difference, but at a technical level, the Galaxy S8 Plus’ front-facing camera can resolve a bit more detail than the Moto Z2 Force’s.

We haven’t had a chance to put the Moto Z2 Force’s camera through its paces, so we’re calling this round a tie for now. But we’ll revisit it once we’ve had a chance to conduct a more thorough comparison.

Winner: Tie

Software

The Moto Z2 Force ships with Android 7.1.1 layered with Motorola’s skin, which isn’t too far off from stock Android. The Galaxy S8 Plus, on the other hand, ships with Samsung’s TouchWiz.

The Moto Z2 Force features Moto Display and Moto Actions, which save time by condensing multiple steps into single taps and swipes. Take Moto Actions, for example, which allows you to silence notifications and calls when you place your phone face down. With a single-finger swipe downward, you can also shrink the Moto Z2 Force’s interface for one-handed use. And you can use the phone’s fingerprint sensor to navigate menus, home screens, and apps.

The Galaxy S8 Plus features the Edge Panel, which lets you pin shortcuts to the curved edges of the Galaxy S8’s screen, and Smart Stay, which keeps the screen on as long as your eyes are staring at it.

The Galaxy S8 Plus’ headlining feature, however, is Bixby, a Siri-like assistant that shows contextual information. This allows you to see your daily step count, your next calendar event, the weather forecast, and what’s trending on Twitter, among other things. It can also recognize objects such as wine bottles and snack labels, and suggest relevant Amazon links. It’s even smart enough to perform actions with voice commands.

The Moto Z2 Force may run the simpler, easier-to-use version of the two operating systems, but the Galaxy S8 Plus can do more. That’s why we’re crowning it the winner of the software round.

Winner: Galaxy S8 Plus

Price and availability

The Moto Z2 Force will cost you $800 direct from Motorola, however, you can get it for a little less from all the major carriers. Verizon has it listed at $756, it’s $792 at Sprint, and $750 at T-Mobile, though you can spread the cost or pay less upfront by signing a contract. Either way, it’s slightly less pricey than the Galaxy S8 Plus, which starts at $840.

The Galaxy S8 Plus has the advantage when it comes to availability, though. The Moto Z2 Force is currently available for pre-order, but won’t ship until later this year, while the Galaxy S8 Plus is available online and in brick-and-mortar stores now.

Still, we’re giving this round to the Moto Z2 Force. Despite the fact the Moto Z2 Force packs the same processor as the Galaxy S8 Plus and features dual cameras, Lenovo managed to undercut the competition.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Accessories

Rarely do smartphone makers place an emphasis on accessories, but for Samsung and Lenovo, they’re selling points.

The Moto Z2 Force supports the full range of Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories that add all sorts of functionality. There’s one that extends your phone’s battery life, a wireless charger, an external speaker, a projector, a gamepad, and a vehicle dock. And the list keeps growing.

The Galaxy S8 Plus, on the other hand, works with Samsung’s Dex Dock, which effectively transforms it into a computer. Plugging the Dex Dock into a computer monitor, mouse, and keyboard pulls up a fully-featured operating system that looks a little like a mishmash of Windows and ChromeOS.

As handy as the Dex Dock is, however, it’s no match for the Moto Mods ecosystem. Because of this, the Moto Z2 Force wins the accessory round.

Winner: Moto Z2 Force

Overall winner

The Galaxy S8 Plus is one of the best smartphones of the year — and our overall winner — but the Moto Z2 Force trades blows. It boasts the same processor, a great display, long-lasting battery life, and a growing number of accessories that rival Samsung’s very best. It might not measure up to the Galaxy S8 Plus in terms of design, and we’ve yet to put its camera to the test, but so far, we’re impressed with what Motorola’s managed to stuff into a compact, high-end package without compromising on price.




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