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6
Jun

The Moto Z3 Play has been announced – here’s everything you need to know


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola is filling out its 2018 range nicely — we’ve seen the Moto G6 and the Moto E5, and we’re just waiting on the midrange and above devices to complete the lot. You can mark another entry off the list though, as the Motorola Moto Z3 Play has been released, and it’s a doozy of a midrange device. From the new specs to the updated design, here’s everything you need to know.

An updated, fresh design

The Moto Z2 Play was a good-looking device, but the chunky bezels placed it firmly in a bygone age of smartphone design. That’s no longer the case with the Z3 Play, as Motorola embraces a bezel-less future with a brand-new design.

Because of the continued use of Moto Mods, there are limits on what Motorola can change without breaking functionality with older Mods, and this means that the new Moto Z3 Play is pretty much the same size and thickness as the Moto Z2 Play and Z Play — but the shrinking of bezels on the sides and the top means that a huge 6.01-inch Super AMOLED display can be squeezed into the front of the device. It’s not as starkly bezel-less as the Samsung Galaxy S9 — it’s more like the LG G6‘s approach to bezels — but it’s still a marked difference from the past design. Like the previous Z Play phones, there’s no water-resistance here — just a splash-resistant coating.

After a detour into metal town for the Z2 Play, glass is back on the Moto Z3 Play, and the smooth material coats the front and back of the device, with an aluminum frame around the edges. Granted, this means the Moto Z3 Play will be more prone to breakages than the last model, but it makes such a difference in style that we really don’t care. You’ll find the fingerprint sensor around the right side of the device, just below the volume keys — and this will also function as the power key. We’re unsure of how this will work in practice, and we’re looking forward to testing it out.

The Z-range’s long rock-and-roll tradition is also set to continue — yes, the camera bump is back, and that means the Moto Z3 Play won’t be able to rest flat on its back without rocking back and forth. Still, that’s an annoyance, but nothing new for the range. Longtime fans are likely used to it anyway. What fans likely won’t be used to though is the removal of the headphone jack.

Motorola has finally done what it’s been threatening to do for a good few years and nixed the venerable port on the Z Play-range, which had persisted with the simple hole long after the main flagship Z-series got rid of it a few years back. Whether this will cause a few fans to reconsider their upgrades remains to be seen, but Motorola has included a USB-C dongle in the box to replace the jack.

Powerful new specs

What would a new hardware cycle be like without a refresh of the specs available? Despite being firmly within the midrange market in terms of hardware power, the Moto Z Play-range has never let us down in the past, and it seems the Moto Z3 Play will be continuing that fine heritage with some pretty decent specs.

Key Specs


CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636


Memory: 4GB


Storage: 32/64GB


MicroSD storage: Yes, up to 2TB


Screen size: 6.01 inches


Resolution: 2,160 x 1,080 pixels


Connectivity: LTE, GSM, UMTS


Battery: 3,000mAh


Size: 156.5 x 76.5 x 6.75 mm


Weight: 156 g (5.50 oz)


Operating system: Android 8.1 Oreo

The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636, and that processor should provide some zippy speed and smooth performance for most users, and while it’s obviously not going to trade blows with the big boys, it should hold up well over time. Qualcomm claims the processor is up to 40 percent faster than the previous Snapdragon 630, and that should translate to some better speed when in standard use. With Android 8.1 Oreo included from purchase, that should mean some pretty snappy performance.

Multi-tasking should be a breeze, too, thanks to the ample 4GB of RAM present in the hardware. For context, that’s the same amount of RAM you’ll find in the Samsung Galaxy S9, and while RAM’s impact on performance can be limited, it does mean the Z3 Play should be able to handle switching between multiple apps and tasks with relative ease. Buyers will have the choice between models with 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, but regardless of your choice, you’ll be able to boost that storage by up to 2TB with a MicroSD card.

Finally, it’s all powered by a 3,000mAh battery. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s the same size battery that we saw on last year’s Z2 Play, and that phone managed a two-day battery life — so we’re looking forward to seeing whether Motorola has managed to squeeze any extra battery life from the upgraded hardware and software. When the battery does finally give up the ghost, Motorola’s TurboPower fast charging will be able to refill it pretty quickly. Despite the glass back there’s no wireless charging — but you will be able to add that with a Moto Mod.

Brand-new camera

It’s fair to say the camera has been something of a weak link in Motorola’s midrange phones. The Z Play and Z2 Play had decent snappers, but they exhibited shutter lag and sub-par low-light performance — will the Moto Z3 Play be able to conquer that weakness?

The initial signs are good — Motorola has upgraded to two lenses on the back of the Z3 Play with a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5MP secondary. The primary 12MP lens is much the same lens we saw on the Z2 Play, complete with f/1.7 aperture and a sensor size of 1.4um. The second lens will mostly be used for depth-sensing, according to Motorola, so you can expect to see some additional use of “bokeh” — or background blur — that depth-of-field effect that mimics high-end DSLR cameras. There’s also an 8MP selfie camera around the front, and we expect that to be a decent selfie snapper, especially thanks to the wide-angle 84-degree lens.

Software and special features

Android 8.1 Oreo is joined by some of Motorola’s favorite features — Moto Voice, Moto Display, and Moto Actions. Moto Actions uses specific gestures to access specific functions — double chop your hand to trigger the flash, or twist your wrist to quickly open the camera. Moto Voice accesses device-specific features with just the user’s voice, and Moto Display governs the ambient display, fading in notifications to save battery, and also removing blue light from your display at night.

As mentioned earlier, there’s also full Moto Mod support, so if you’ve amassed a large collection of Moto Mods, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be able to attach your speaker-boosting JBL Soundboost, Hasselblad camera mod, or Moto TurboPower battery pack right off the bat.

Availability and price

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Moto Z3 Play then you’ll be pleased to know it will be available in Brazil from June 6, and will roll out globally throughout June. You’ll be able to pick it up in the U.S. from Sprint and U.S. Cellular, and it will be sold unlocked with a Motorola battery mod for $500 from retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Fry’s, and B&H Photo. The Moto Z3 Play will also be sold as a Prime Exclusive Phone on Amazon.com.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Moto Z3 Play vs. Moto Z2 Play vs. Moto Z Play: Should you upgrade?
  • Moto Z3 Play hands-on review
  • Here’s everything we know about the Motorola Moto Z3 flagship
  • Your ultimate guide to Motorola’s 2018 smartphone lineup
  • Here are Moto G6 tips and tricks to help you master your new phone


6
Jun

Moto Z3 Play vs. Moto Z2 Play vs. Moto Z Play: Should you upgrade?


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola’s newest phone is here, and it’s the mid-range Moto Z3 Play. The Z Play series isn’t just known to be the cheaper Motorola phones that work with Moto Mods, but they have traditionally had excellent battery life.

If you have an original Moto Z Play or a Moto Z2 Play, is it worth upgrading? It’s a good idea especially if you have a few Moto Mods lying around, since they’ll still work with the new phone, but we’ve put them all head-to-head in a specs comparison to find out.

Specs

Moto Z3 Play
Moto Z2 Play
Moto Z Play

Size

156.5 x 76.5 x 6.75 mm (6.16 x 3.01 x 0.27 inches)

156.2 x 76.2 x 6 mm (6.15 x 3.00 x 0.24 inches)
156.4 x 76.4 x 7 mm (6.16 x 3.01 x 0.28 inches)

Weight
156 grams (5.50 ounces)
145 grams (5.11 ounces)
165 grams (5.82 ounces)

Screen size
6.01-inch Super AMOLED display
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display

Screen resolution
2,160 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 pixels per inch)
1,920 x 1,080 pixels (403 pixels per inch)

Operating system
Android 8.1 Oreo
Android 7.1.1 Nougat (Oreo in certain markets)
Android 8.0 Oreo

Storage space
32GB, 64GB
32GB (with 3GB RAM), 64GB (with 4GB RAM)
32GB

MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 2TB
Yes, up to 2TB
Yes, up to 2TB

Tap-to-pay services
Google Pay
Google Pay
Google Pay

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Qualcomm Snapdragon 626
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625

RAM
4GB
3GB (with 32GB storage), 4GB (with 64GB storage)
3GB

Camera
Dual 12MP and 5MP rear, 8MP front
12MP rear, 5MP front
16MP rear, 5MP front

Video
Up to 4K @ 30 frames per second, 720p @ 120 fps
Up to 4K @ 30 frames per second, 720p @ 120 fps
Up to 4K @ 30 frames per second, 720p @ 120 fps

Bluetooth version
Bluetooth 5
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth 4.0

Ports
USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C

Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes (front)
Yes (front)

Water resistance
Splash-resistant coating
Splash-resistant coating
Splash-resistant coating

Battery
3,000mAh

TurboPower charging

3,000mAh

TurboPower charging

3,510mAh

TurboPower charging

App marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Google Play Store

Network support
Sprint, U.S. Cellular
Most major carriers
Most major carriers

Colors
Deep Indigo
Lunar Grey, Fine Gold
Black/Silver/Black Slate, White/Fine Gold/Sugar White

Price
$500 (with battery mod)
$500
$400

Buy from

Motorola, Amazon

Motorola, Amazon, Verizon

Motorola, Amazon

Review score
Hands-on review
3.5 out of 5 stars
Hands-on review

Performance, battery life, and charging

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

As befits the price, you’re not going to find the world’s top hardware in these phones. But the Snapdragon 600-series chips are nothing to be sneezed at, and the Z Play range has a fine history of snappy performance. We haven’t had chance to properly test the Z3 Play yet, but we’re confident the Snapdragon 636 will eclipse the capabilities of the older Snapdragon 626 and 625 in the Z2 Play and Z Play, respectively. Motorola said it should offer a 30 percent boost in performance over the Z2 Play.

It’s the Moto Z Play that wins the battery capacity test on paper though, with a larger 3,510mAh battery, compared to the 3,000mAh on both the Z2 and Z3 Play. And the results are the same in real life testing — the Moto Z Play has fantastic battery life that can easily go for two days. The Z2 Play performs well too, though not to the same extent. Motorola said we should see the same battery life as the Z2 Play on the Z3 Play, though we’ll have to test it ourselves to see if that claim rings true. In terms of charging, you’ll find Motorola’s TurboPower fast charging on each of these phones, though there’s no wireless charging without a Moto Mod.

The original Moto Z Play takes the cake for battery life, but the newer Z3 Play should obliterate it with performance, and still keep the lights running for quite a while. It takes the win.

Winner: Moto Z3 Play

Design and durability

With all three of these phones being compatible with the same Moto Mods, Motorola’s scope for redesign is somewhat limited, and that’s probably why these three phones are fairly similar in dimensions and general build. The Z Play and Z2 Play are definitely examples from their own time, with fairly hefty bezels surrounding the screen. Of the three, we think the Z3 Play easily takes the win for best design. It’s quite different from its predecessors, and the bezel-less design makes it look oh-so-2018. There is one major difference, though, and that’s the fingerprint sensor. It’s now on the side of the Z3 Play, instead of sitting on the front, which means it should still be accessible when the phone is on a flat surface.

Glass is fragile, and the Z Play and Z3 Play suffer in this regard — they’re just not going be as durable as the Z2 Play’s metal back. None of these phones have any significant water-resistance, as a splash-resistant coating is all you’re going to get. In a major turn of events, the Z3 Play will be the first phone in the Z Play-range to come without a headphone jack, so that’s something to keep in mind if you don’t have a pair of wired headphones, or don’t want to fuss with dongles.

Despite winning some serious points for style, the Z3 Play’s fingerprint sensor isn’t as convenient as if it was on the front; its use of Gorilla Glass 3 makes it less durable than its metal predecessor; and the lack of a headphone jack can turn it into a deal-breaker for some people. This one’s a draw, especially since some of these pain points are subjective.

Winner: Tie

Display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Mid-range phones may require some cost-cutting in areas, but Motorola has never skimped on screen tech in its Z Play-range. Each of these phones has a massive Super AMOLED display, and they’re sharp and vibrant. The Z3 Play has an advantage thanks to the shrinking of the bezels, allowing for a longer and larger 6.01-inch display in a similar-sized body. It also has a slightly higher resolution at 2,160 x 1,080, though it’s unlikely you’ll notice a difference in sharpness between all three phones.

The 18:9 aspect ratio simply means there’s more screen to be had, and it’s enough for us to award the Z3 Play the win here.

Winner: Moto Z3 Play

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola’s Z Play-range has always had something of a mixed bag where cameras are concerned. The Z Play and Z2 Play’s cameras were capable, but nothing special, and both struggled to perform well in low lighting. The Z3 Play will be equipped with the Z Play-range’s first ever dual camera suite, the same 12-megapixel lens from the Z2 Play coupled with a 5-megapixel lens that’s there mostly for adding the sought-after “bokeh” effect. We expect more or less of the same in general camera performance — capable daytime photos, with less than stellar low light.

The Portrait Mode on the Z3 Play is available on both the front and rear camera, and the phone has a neat feature called Cinemagraph, which lets you create a GIF with one specified part of it in motion, and the other static. It’s a little gimmicky, but it is a fun feature. Google Lens is also now built in right into the Z3 Play’s camera.

On the front of the Z3 Play is an 8-megapixel lens — an improvement over the 5-megapixel lenses on the other phones. All three are capable of recording 4K video at 30 frames per second, as well as slow motion video at 120 fps  with a 720p resolution.

The Moto Z3 Play has the stronger specifications, and we’re confident it’ll be superior here.

Winner: Moto Z3 Play

Special features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re thinking of buying a Moto Z phone, it’s likely you’re aware of Moto Mods. Each Moto Mod adds new functionality, whether that be the speaker-boosting JBL Soundboost, the Hasselblad camera mod, or the Moto TurboPower battery pack. They’re incredibly easy to use, and they differentiate the Moto Z-range from other phones — but they can be expensive additions.

You’ll find much the same software additions across all three phones too. Moto Actions allows users to access features on their phones with specific gestures — double chop your hand to trigger the flash, or twist your wrist to quickly to open the camera. Moto Voice allows users to access device-specific features with just their voice — and Google Assistant does everything else. Moto Display saves power by fading in notifications onto your lock screen, and removes blue light from your display at night.

All of these cool special features are present on each of these phones, so it’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

While Motorola packs special features into its phones, the visual interface of all three phones is remarkably close to stock Android, which keeps performance snappy and familiar. It starts getting a peculiar when you look at the update schedule though — while the Z3 Play will launch on Android 8.1 Oreo, the Z2 Play is currently languishing in Android 7.1.1 Nougat (has Oreo in some markets). What makes this weird is the Z Play has received an update to Android 8.0 Oreo — effectively updating it past the newer Z2 Play. It’s confusing.

Motorola confirmed with Digital Trends that the Z3 Play will get two version updates of Android, and we’ll have to take the company’s word for it. It will certainly get Android P when it comes out later this year. The Moto Z3 Play wins simply because it’ll be supported for longer — though it’s tough to say this with certainty.

Winner: Moto Z3 Play

Price

The Moto Z3 Play will be coming unlocked this summer from a variety of retailers, and it will also be available on Sprint and U.S. Cellular. It will cost $500, but that includes the Motorola battery Moto Mod. The company hasn’t shared the price of the phone itself yet, without a mod.

The Moto Z2 Play is currently available from $500 from Amazon, Motorola, and Verizon. If you buy it unlocked from Motorola, you’ll also get a free Moto Mod projector too. You can also get the Moto Z Play from Motorola now, with a free Moto Mod, or from Amazon, with prices starting from $400.

Overall winner: Moto Z3 Play

While Moto Mods are cool, they’re something of a shackle on future phone development, since no Moto Z can deviate from the general design without breaking functionality of old mods. Thankfully, the Moto Z3 Play seems to avoid seeming stale with a fun new design, an update to the camera suite, and some impressive new specs. Motorola hasn’t misstepped — the Z3 Play is definitely a worthy upgrade, though we’ll need to test the battery to see if it comes close to the original Moto Z Play.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Moto G6 vs. Moto G6 Play: Is the G6 worth the extra cash?
  • The Moto Z3 Play has been announced – here’s everything you need to know
  • Moto Z3 Play hands-on review
  • Moto E5 Plus vs. E5 Play: Which budget phone is the better value?
  • Moto G6 vs. Moto G5: Is it time to crown a new budget king?


6
Jun

Moto Z3 Play hands-on review



Research Center:

Moto Z3 Play

What do you want the most in a smartphone? Better battery life, according to a 2018 poll, but that’s hardly surprising. We spend quite a bit of time glued to our screens, and better battery life helps keep us online even longer. But smartphone manufacturers have been keen on slimming down our phones instead of slapping in bigger batteries to last more than a day (with a few exceptions). Well, Motorola has figured out how make a phone that’s slimmer than all the latest iPhones and still provides a full day or more of battery life.

The Moto Z3 Play is the latest entry in the Moto Z series, known for the snappable Moto Mods you can attach to the back of the phones. The higher-end Moto Z2 Force is the flagship, with top-notch specifications, but the Play series is the midtier range that sits in the $400 to $500 price category. We had a chance to spend some time with the Z3 Play, which is super-slim, offers capable performance, and should pack great battery life.

Slimming everything down

The Moto Z3 Play is just 6.75mm thin, or 0.26 inches. For comparison’s sake, the iPhone X is 0.30 inches thin. It doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but thinness is one of the first things you’ll notice about the Z3 Play when it’s in your hand. It makes the phone quite lightweight (156 grams), which definitely helps with ergonomics. That being said, it’s not as slim as its predecessor, which sits at 0.23 inches.

There’s a 6.01-inch screen on the front, but the phone doesn’t feel too large. Why? The Lenovo-owned company drastically slimmed down the bezels or edges surrounding the display. It makes the phone look a lot more sleek and contemporary. There’s still a bit of a chin and a top bezel, but we’re quite happy with the way the Z3 Play looks. You might be satisfied to see no notch here.

The power button sits on the left edge in a convenient position, and a volume rocker is just as accessible on the right. The phone’s thinness, lightweight nature, and the rounded corners on all four sides make it comfortable and ergonomic to hold in the palm. We still would have liked to see a curved back, though, like on the original Moto X.

Thinness is one of the first things you’ll notice about the Z3 Play when it’s in your hand.

Flip it over to the back, and you’ll see a glaring downside of such a thin phone: The camera bump. Motorola hasn’t been shy to include huge camera bumps in all its smartphones, and there’s no difference here. The camera bump on the back of the Z3 Play is big and annoying, because it means the phone doesn’t sit flat when you’re using it on a desk. The fix is to just use a Moto Mod case that makes the whole back uniform, but it’ll make the phone thicker. The benefit, though, is that with a slimmer base, adding mods won’t increase the thickness of the phone too much.

There’s also now Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and back of the phone, adding an extra degree of quality. Sadly, that doesn’t mean there’s wireless charging. It’s purely for aesthetic purposes, which means you’ll want to keep a mod on the back to protect the phone from shattering at the first drop. Conveniently, there’s a separate wireless charging mod you can slap to the back of the phone for $30, and it doesn’t add much heft.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The 6-inch Super AMOLED screen is bright enough to see outdoors. It’s sharp with a 2,160 x 1,080 pixel resolution, and the colors look a tad oversaturated. It does have an 18:9 aspect ratio, like most new smartphones. We’ll have to take a closer look at the screen to see how it stacks up to the competition, but we’re sure it will be more than satisfactory.

Interestingly enough, the fingerprint sensor is now on the right edge of the phone, rather than on the front. It’s easy to reach with the thumb or index finger, depending on how you hold the phone, but we’ll have to use the phone more and register our fingerprint to see how natural it feels. Alternatively, there’s a face unlock feature, in case you want to ignore the unusually-placed fingerprint sensor.

Interestingly enough, the fingerprint sensor is now on the right edge of the phone, rather than on the front.

A USB Type-C charging port is on the bottom edge of the phone, and disappointingly, the top earpiece is the only speaker. We haven’t had a chance to listen to music of videos through it, but we can’t imagine it will sound good. Motorola will be sure to tell you to just add a speaker mod to the back of the phone, and to give credit, the JBL SoundBoost 2 speaker mod we’ve tried does sound pretty great.

There is no headphone jack on the Moto Z3 Play, which now means all of the 2018 Moto Z phones will likely not have a headphone jack (unless Motorola oddly adds it back into the rumored Moto Z3 Force). There’s no reason why Motorola removed it — the Z2 Play, which was thinner, had a headphone jack. We’re disappointed to see it gone on this mid-range device.

Speaking of mods, the phone’s dimensions are almost exactly the same as the other Moto Z smartphones. That means all of Motorola’s 14 mods will still snap perfectly without fail — good news if you own an older Moto Z phone and have some mods lying around.

There’s no official IP-rated water resistance, but Motorola does say an advanced “nano-coating technology” protects the Z3 Play from splashes of water and spills. We get there may be some complications with the Moto Mod pogo pins, but if the company can bring water resistance to the cheaper Moto X4, it should be a feature in the Moto Z3 Play.

Speedier performance, lightweight software

As a midtier phone, the Moto Z3 Play runs a midrange processor — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 with 4GB of RAM, which Motorola said should offer 30 percent more speed than the Moto Z2 Play. In our brief time with the phone, swiping throughout the Android operating system, we didn’t run into any problems with performance. You’ll find 32GB and 64GB storage variants, and there’s a MicroSD card slot in case you want to add more space.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The phone is not going to be as powerful as the similarly priced OnePlus 6, which is a good reason to just buy OnePlus’ phone, but the Snapdragon 636 should be more than sufficient for most people’s usage. We’ll test the Z3 Play with some graphically intensive games to see how it fares.

The Snapdragon 636 should be more than sufficient for most people’s usage.

The Moto Z3 Play runs Android 8.1 Oreo, and there aren’t many changes that Motorola added to stock Android. There are the usual Moto Actions, which include gestures to quickly access features such as the camera and flashlight, one-button navigation similar to Android P, Moto Voice to trigger actions faster, and more. We didn’t see much bloatware on the phone.

The new navigation system is even better than what’s available in Android P. The bar at the bottom acts as a home button, and you can slide it to the right to open Recents, and to the left to go back. Just swipe up from the dock to open the app drawer. It’s simple, and easy to use. The traditional navigation bar is also available if you prefer it.

Motorola said you can expect to see two Android version upgrades to the Moto Z3 Play.

Battery life

The Moto Z3 Play has the same battery as its predecessor, and Motorola claims the phone should last about the same amount of time. That means you should expect around two days of battery life with light usage, and with high use, expect a little under 50 percent to be left at the end of a work day. That’s far better than most flagship smartphones, and we’ll be testing it further to see if the battery still remains a key highlight of this phone.

Moto Z3 Play Compared To

Alcatel 3V

Moto E5 Plus

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

Nokia 7 Plus

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10

Google Pixel 2 XL

Maze Alpha 4G

ZTE Blade Z Max

ZTE Max XL

Meizu M3 Max

ZTE ZMax Pro

Blu Pure XL

Huawei Mate 8

ZTE Grand X Max+

LG G Flex

One of the ways Motorola will be pushing the Moto Z3 Play is with a battery mod bundle that comes with the phone. We added the mod to the Z3, and the phone still manages to feel exceptionally thin. It’s a great way to boost battery life even further when you’re demanding a lot from the phone.

You’ll be able to charge the phone up quickly thanks to Motorola’s 15W TurboPower charging technology, which the company said should deliver “half a day’s power in half an hour.”

Capable cameras

Dual cameras on smartphones are all the rage, and Motorola’s jumping on the bandwagon. The rear camera bump houses a 12-megapixel f/1.7 lens and a 5-megapixel depth-sensing lens.

The camera produced solid photos of the New York skyline on an overcast day, retaining good color accuracy and detail. We weren’t able to test it in low light, but we’ll make sure to put it through its paces.

In terms of extra features, there’s Spot Color, which singles out one color in photos (as seen on other Motorola phones), as well as Cutout mode, face filters, and more.

Two of the most important camera features are Portrait Mode and Cinemagraphs. The former blurs out the background of a subject, producing photos with a cool blur effect. In our brief testing, it seemed to perform well enough, but we’ll need more time to make sure. Cinemagraphs lets you capture up to 10 seconds of a video, and then you can choose to keep one part of the video in motion, and freeze the rest. The result is a neat GIF that’s fun to share on social media, but it’s still a bit gimmicky.

Cinemagraph

Google Lens is now built right into the camera app, and it’ll let you use the power of Google Assistant to identify object and landmarks, grab text from real-world objects, and more.

The front camera has improved to 8-megapixels with an f/2.0 aperture, and it should be capable of producing decent selfies. You can also shoot portrait mode photos with the front camera.

In our experience, it’s the camera that often falls short on budget smartphones, and it’s likely what will lose some points for the Moto Z3 Play. So far, the features on board coupled with our brief time with the camera hasn’t inspired us to take a lot of photos with this phone. We’ll need more testing to see how it stacks up to others in this price range, such as the OnePlus 6.

Price and availability

The Moto Z3 Play will come bundled with a battery mod, and will cost $500. It’s available now in Brazil, but it will come to the U.S. this summer at Sprint and U.S. Cellular. An unlocked version will also be available at Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Fry’s, and B&H Photo, and it will also be an Amazon Prime Exclusive Phone. Details about the unlocked version’s availability haven’t been announced. We also don’t know how much the phone will cost without the mod, but we expect it will sit somewhere around the $450 range, if not a little less.

Considering the OnePlus 6 offers so much more phone at just $30 more (compared to the Z3 Play bundle), it’s going to be hard to recommend the Z3 Play over the OnePlus. The Moto Mods — some of which are certainly compelling — are one reason to go for the Z3 Play, but the thing we want to see most is if it delivers excellent battery life. We’ll have more details in our full review.

6
Jun

World’s smallest 4G smartphone hits funding target in 60 seconds


The Unihertz Atom — the world’s smallest 4G rugged smartphone — has managed to hit a Kickstarter funding target in less than 60 seconds following the campaign’s launch on June 5.

You might not have heard of the Unihertz Atom, but based on the reception the Kickstarter campaign received, it’s fair to say it has a dedicated following, with the Atom currently sitting at $586,975 — over eleven times more than the initial goal of $50,000.

So what are all these people getting excited about? Unihertz Atom is a rugged 4G smartphone, and the follow-up to last year’s Unihertz Jelly phone. With a tiny 96 x 45 x 18 mm body and a 2.4-inch display, the Atom aims to become the second phone of choice when heading out into the wilderness, or a capable alternative to a smartphone industry that’s getting larger and larger. It’s built ruggedly with chunky bezels and plenty of textured surfaces for grip, and it looks like it could survive falling down a mountain.

But it’s not just the small footprint that’s caused excitement — Unihertz has packed a whole lot of specifications into that tiny body. The Atom comes with an octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, as well as a staggering 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage as standard. That’s an awful lot of numbers for such a small phone.

The fun doesn’t stop there either — the Atom comes with a full suite of utility tools, including NFC, USB on-the-go (so you can connect accessories with an adapter), and an IP68 waterproof rating. It’s not short on biometrics either, thanks to a front-facing fingerprint scanner, and face unlock. There’s a 2,000mAh battery — which should last a good time, considering the tiny screen it’s powering. Best of all, boot it up and you’re greeted with the latest version of Android — Android 8.1 Oreo. It’s not even underpowered on the camera front, with a 16-megapixel lens on the back of the phone, as well as an 8MP selfie snapper around the front.

The Unihertz Atom is taking on the modern smartphone industry’s trend for larger and larger smartphones — and it makes a strong case. The Atom’s Kickstarter campaign will run until July 10, during which a range of discounts will be taken off the phone’s $300 price tag. At the moment, the $160, $180, and $200 reward tiers are completely sold out — but you can still get an $80 discount by pledging on the $220 tier. As always, be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of Kickstarter campaigns.

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6
Jun

Yamaha’s Adventure Pro is a rugged tablet built for off-road navigation


Yamaha not only took the wraps off an entirely new off-road utility vehicle in the form of the Wolverine X2, it also revealed a powerful new navigation system that promises to give riders the ability to explore the backcountry like never before. This new device is called the Adventure Pro and while it is built on the Android operating system, it features a number of unique capabilities that could make it a must-have for anyone who owns an all-terrain vehicle.

Developed in conjunction with GPS-manufacturer Magellan, at its core the Adventure Pro is a 7-inch Android tablet that has been modified to survive in the outdoors. For instance, the device’s case has been ruggedized to the point that it can resist mud, dust, dirt, and rain, while the screen has been upgraded to allow riders to interact with it even while wearing gloves. As you would expect, the tablet also comes equipped with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Yamaha and Magellan have given the Adventure Pro a set of nice features that allow it to integrate nicely with any UTV, but particularly the Wolverine X2. The tablet comes with a mount that attaches to the dash of the vehicle and it can quickly and easily be wired into its electrical system to keep the onboard battery fully charged. The device also serves as a fully customizable dashboard, giving riders diagnostic information about the performance of their vehicle, including monitoring engine temperature, battery voltage, four-wheel drive status, and much more.

But the Adventure Pro’s primary functionality is to serve as a GPS navigation system. To that end, it comes preloaded with more than 100,000 off-road trails spread out across the U.S. and Canada, with Mexico expected to be added in a future update. Users also have the ability to plot their own routes, add waypoints, make notes, input points of interest, and even include photos of the things they find along the trail. Those routes can then be uploaded and shared with friends and other Adventure Pro users online at the Yamaha Adventure Pro website.

As part of the collaboration, Yamaha and Magellan have created a unique feature for the Adventure Pro that is only available on this GPS device. Dubbed “Timing Mode,” this option allows users to create their own routes with the tablet saving their exact times for completing the course. That information, along with any vehicle internal data, is stored in a route file, which in turn can be shared with other users, challenging them to complete the same route in a faster time. The Adventure Pro is smart enough to automatically detect the start and finish line for these courses and will start and stop the clock as needed.

Because the Adventure Pro is a full-featured Android tablet, it can also run all Android apps. That allows users to install Netflix, Facebook, Waze, or any other software they like. And since its included vehicle mounting system makes it a breeze to take the device in and out of a UTV, the tablet can be used in other vehicles or taken inside to connect to Wi-Fi for downloading updates, sharing routes, checking weather, or just surfing the web.

The Adventure Pro costs $750 and is available now. Visit the Yamaha Motorsports website for more information.

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6
Jun

AMD’s 32-core Threadripper 2 challenges Intel as Vega 2 GPUs wait in the wings


AMD

If you thought Intel’s new 28-core CPU was impressive, wait until you get a look at AMD’s new monster chip. The Threadripper 2 CPU increases the core count to 32 and with multithreading has 64-thread support. Better yet, it can be cooled with a simple air chiller and can make use of the existing TR4 socket.

Not giving Intel any time to enjoy the buzz surrounding its newly announced 28-core CPU at Computex, AMD followed it up just a day later with its own debut of a second generation of Threadripper CPUs. Ranging in core counts from 24 to 32, the new-generation of high-end CPUs will be available in the third quarter of this year and should offer serious competition to even the most powerful of Intel’s chips.

Although we don’t know what their clock speeds will be, we do know that the new AMD chips will require quite a lot of power. The top-of-the-line Threadripper 2 CPU will need 250Watts all to itself. However, we’re told that air cooling is perfectly possible on such designs, something that in its on-stage head-to-head with Intel hardware, AMD was keen to point out. The Intel competition used a water cooling setup.

There are still plenty of additional details about the new Threadripper chips we want to learn, but if pricing is anything like the last generation, they should be much more affordable than their Intel counterparts.

AMD

Elsewhere in its Computex reveal, AMD showed off some upcoming developments in its Radeon graphics division. A new RX Vega 56 Nano Edition, developed by Powercolor, is said to offer the same power as AMD’s Vega 56 graphics cards, but in a much smaller form factor. No benchmarks have been released to showcase how comparable its performance is with that of a standard Vega 56 or how capable its cooling is. Considering its small form factor, Powercolor will need to have done something clever to keep it from getting too toasty.

AMD also discussed where its graphics line is going in the future. It showed off an example of the first 7nm graphics chip and said that graphics cards sporting it with as much as 32GB of second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2) will launch at some point in the second half of this year. However, AMD CEO Lisa Su did add the caveat that the first cards would be part of AMD’s enterprise-focused Radeon Instinct line and that Navi-based graphics cards for gamers would come later.

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6
Jun

Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5676 packs AMD CPUs and graphics cards


Dell doesn’t just offer Intel-based gaming desktops as part of its Inspiron range. The new 5676 might have blue-case lighting but it’s firmly in the red team’s camp, with an AMD Ryzen 2 CPU and RX 500-series graphics card. Set to go on sale mid-June, the new AMD-powered desktops will start at just under $850.

In years gone by, the only real choice gamers had when it came to the heart of a new desktop was which Intel chip they should use. Since the launch of the original Ryzen lineup though, and more recently the Ryzen 2000 series chips, AMD CPUs are now easier to recommend than they have been in more than a decade. Now that graphics card pricing has calmed down a little, too, so are its mid-range GPUs.

The new Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5676 made its debut at Computex 2018 and builds upon its predecessor, the 5675 (which we liked a lot). Featuring the same chassis design and much the same internal hardware options, the big change is in incorporating second-generation Ryzen CPUs in its configuration. Although we don’t have details on the full range of available hardware, the 5675 had options for everything up to a 1800x. AMD has yet to release a 2800X, so the Inspiron 5676’s top CPU will likely be the 2700x.

As for graphics capabilities, Dell promises everything up to an RX 580. The 5675 also had options for RX 560 and RX 570 graphics cards, so we expect those as possibilities within Dell’s online configurator, too.

Memory-wise, the new desktop will come with up to 32GB of DDR4, though that will be overkill (here is how much RAM you really need). Storage options will combine solid- state drives with hard drives to offer up to 256GB of high-speed SSD space for fast boot times and up to 2TB of HDD space for longer-term storage.

The new Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5676 will officially go on sale on June 12, starting at $850.

Elsewhere at Computex this year, Dell announced a number of new Alienware peripherals, including a new Wireless Elite headset and Elite gaming mouse. It also has a new Command Center audio application for tweaking your in-game sound, and the Alienware Arena app which makes it easier to access promotions and complete Alienware-related quests. Those apps will launch on June 6 and 12, respectively.

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6
Jun

How’s the battery life on your LG G7?


3,000 mAh of mixed reviews.

The LG G7 has all of the makings of a 2018 flagship. There’s a large 18:9 screen with a notch, Snapdragon 845 processor, minimum 64GB of storage, and Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.

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Giving all this tech the juice it needs is a 3,000 mAh battery, and shortly after these specs were announced, that capacity gave some potential customers pause. 3,000 mAh is on the small side of things for a phone as big as the G7, and now that folks have been able to actually use the phone, we’re getting real-world reports of how the battery’s holding up in day-to-day use.

Our forum users have been sharing their own experiences with the G7’s battery, and this is what they’ve said so far.

avatar37906_2.gifspydersilk
06-02-2018 02:57 AM

I hate battery life threads, but I got my G7 Thurs afternoon and battery has been pretty disappointing.
Unfortunately under battery, the LG home launcher is the biggest culprit, at times showing as 30%. Even if I’m using a different launcher it still shows up number 1 on the list.

I’m guessing there is a way to use ADB to debloat or disable some of the apps.

Aside from that, really happy…

Reply

avatar2772312_1.gifneil74
06-03-2018 03:36 AM

Have only been using mine for 24 hours so still settling in but I’d say that battery is a mixed bag so far. Standby is decent and better than the S9+ but it does seem to drop a little more under actual use. Better though than the smaller S9 on both counts

Overall I think battery looks fine albeit certainly not as great as some bigger phones.

Reply

avatar1065439_2.gifbhatech
06-03-2018 08:58 AM

Couldn’t test all the way till zero yesterday but at around 4.30 PM yesterday still 37% still left with close to 5hrs SOT.

Reply

default.jpgbwhick7492
06-05-2018 02:56 PM

I’m only three days in but I am getting great battery life so far. Much better than my note 8.

Reply

Now, we want to hear from you. If you’ve got the LG G7, how’s your battery life been?

Join the conversation in the forums!

LG G7

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6
Jun

LG Q Stylus series announced with IP68 water resistance, Oreo, and more


The series includes the Q Stylus, Q Stylus+, and Q Stylus A.

Shortly after LG introduced its Q7 mid-range series in late May, the company’s back in the news again to unveil its LG Q Stylus lineup. This seems to be a successor to last year’s LG Stylo 3 offerings and it’ll be available as the Q Stylus, Q Stylus+, and Q Stylus A around the globe.

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Right up front, the Q Stylus boasts a 6.2-inch Full HD+ display with a tall 18:9 aspect ratio. The display supports the phone’s included stylus and even has palm rejection so you can rest your hand on the screen without making any accidental markups.

The stylus you get isn’t as advanced as the S Pen found with Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, but it can still be used for jotting down notes, edit pictures you take, turn videos into GIFs, and more.

The Q Stylus will launch in North America later this month.

In regards to the camera situation, you can get up to a 16MP rear sensor with Phase Detection Autofocus and an 8MP selfie camera with a Super Wide Angle lens that should come in handy for group shots.

Specs under the hood include 1.5GHz or 1.8GHz octa-core processors, 3-4GB RAM, 32 or 64GB of expandable storage, a 3,300 mAh battery, and Android 8.0 Oreo. Other goodies include IP68 dust/water resistance, NFC for Google Pay, a fingerprint sensor, and DTS:X audio that supports 7.1 channel 3D surround sound when listening to your music with a pair of headphones.

Pricing details have yet to be announced, but LG says the Q Stylus series will initially be launched in North America and Asia this month followed by “other key regions” during Q3.

Where to buy the LG G7 ThinQ

6
Jun

OnePlus 6: Everything you need to know


Unlock the secrets.

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The OnePlus 6 is now available, and it’s a compelling option for someone looking for an unlocked phone at a reasonable price — starting at $529 to be specific. But price aside, it’s a great choice for anyone, even those considering more expensive options, thanks to a combination of hardware and software, and a community that continues to support the company and one another.

Here’s everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6!

The latest OnePlus 6 news

June 6, 2018 —Bullets Wireless earphones and Silk White OnePlus 6 sell out in 24 hours

Just 24 hours after they were made available for purchase, both the $69 Bullets Wireless earphones and $579 Silk White OnePlus 6 both sold out.

If you didn’t get a chance to grab either of these yesterday, OnePlus says the Silk White OP6 will be back in stock on June 12 with the Bullets Wireless following shortly after.

June 4, 2018 — Silk White OnePlus 6 and Bullets Wireless earphones launching June 5 @ 10:00 AM ET

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About two weeks following the OnePlus 6’s launch, the limited edition Silk White version of the phone and OnePlus’s Bullets Wireless earphones are officially going on sale.

The Silk White OnePlus 6 is “the company’s boldest design to date” featuring six layers of white glass that have been mixed with pearl powder and gold accents for the frame, fingerprint sensor, and more. It’s a downright stunning look and will cost $579 USD with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage “while supplies last.”

Along with the Silk White OnePlus 6, the excellent Bullets Wireless earphones are launching, too. Andrew recently gave these a glowing review, praising them for their surprisingly great sound quality, USB-C charging, comfortable design, and competitive $69 price tag.

Both the Silk White OnePlus 6 and Bullets Wireless will be available on June 5 at 10:00 AM ET.

Read our review and watch the video

First thing’s first, watch the video and read the review. There’s plenty about the phone to learn, even though much of it is familiar. But the essential question a review tries to answer is, Should you buy this thing? And the response is an unrestrained, Yes.

The OnePlus 6 is the company’s finest phone ever, with excellent design, build quality, battery life and, for the first time, cameras.

Read the review

Review the specs

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Once you’re done reading the review, you should, ahem, review the specifications. The phone is powerful — like one of the most powerful on the market today — with plenty of headroom and legroom (it’s proverbially spacious is what I’m trying to say) for whatever you want to throw at it. Apps-wise, not like object-wise.

OnePlus 6 specifications

How does it compare to other phones?

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Of course, the OnePlus 6 doesn’t exist in a bubble — you have to compare it to other devices if you’re going to decide whether you should buy it. Thankfully, we’ve done most of the work for you, comparing it to the best flagships on the market right now.

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What about to other OnePlus phones?

oneplus-6-vs-oneplus-5t-8.jpg?itok=4XAvT

Yeah, OnePlus owners like to keep it in the family, so to speak, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see many upgrading, or thinking of upgrading, from an existing OnePlus device, like a 3, 3T, 5, or 5T. Of course, with the company releasing two phones a year these days, it won’t be long until the next upgrade cycle hits, but that also means that the existing phones age quite well, thanks to frequent software updates (the joys of not going through carriers).

If you have a OnePlus 5 or 5T, you can probably hold onto those phones for a bit longer — unless you need the camera improvements. OnePlus’s 2016 phones, on the other hand, may be getting a bit long in the tooth and could use a replacement.

  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T: Should you upgrade?
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Is the OnePlus 6 camera that much better than before?

oneplus-6-camera-sample-10.jpg?itok=DoKg

This photo was taken in nearly pitch-dark conditions. OnePlus ramps up the light sensitivity to ISO6400, which would normally produce a lot of grain, but this photo is totally usable thanks to better software processing.

Yes! The OnePlus 6 has a larger 16MP sensor than previous OnePlus devices, with pixels that are 19% bigger, so low-light photography is immensely improved. It’s not going to overtake the Huawei P20 Pro or Pixel 2 for Low Light Champion Of The World, but it’s reliable in all conditions, and that’s more important than anything else.

The camera is probably the biggest improvement over previous OnePlus models.

The phone’s main sensor is aided by a fast ƒ/1.7 aperture, so true depth of field is a thing, along with drastically improved image signal processing from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845. Together, the phone is able to detect the correct settings more quickly, take multiple shots if necessary, enable HDR mode automatically, and reduce or eliminate grain in dark conditions.

There’s also Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which was in the OnePlus 3 line but removed in last year’s series for unknown reasons. It’s back now, and paired with a larger sensor and faster main lens, the results speak for themselves.

On the other hand, the OnePlus 6’s secondary camera has less to do — it’s a 20MP sensor with an ƒ/1.7 lens, but its main purpose is to facilitate portrait mode which, while good, isn’t enough reason to have a second sensor in the first place.

Is the notch distracting?

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The notch is what it is. You may hate it out of an aversion to all things Apple, or you may learn to live with it and forget it’s there. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle — it’s a character trait, like a freckle or a certain hairstyle.

What it does, though, is open up spme additional real estate on the 6.28-inch screen, which is great. But it also limits the number of icons that can be seen in the notification area, which is a bummer. Plus, the clock on the left side of the notification bar will never make sense. If you watch the video below, though, you can see ways to tweak the notification area to your liking. And you can also disable the notch altogether if you want to.

How’s the software?

It’s good! Running Android 8.1 Oreo, OxygenOS has turned into one of the most enjoyable, reliable versions of Android to date. OnePlus has also added a number of additions to make the whole thing run more smoothly, especially if you’re looking to maximize your screen real estate.

One of the more interesting changes to the software is a set of gestures that eliminates the bottom navigation keys, relying on swipes up from different areas of the bottom edge to go back, home, and enter multitasking. It’s different, but not bad. You’ll have to try it yourself.

As for tips and tricks, we’ve already got that list going, so if you’re looking to make the most of your OxygenOS experience, we have you covered.

  • How to enable navigation gestures on the OnePlus 6
  • How to disable the notch on the OnePlus 6

What’s it cost?

oneplus-6-hands-on-21.jpg?itok=ZB1mmgY8

The OnePlus 6 starts at $529 USD for the base model and goes up to $629 for additional RAM and storage. There are three configurations and three colors, though one of the colors, Silk White, is only going to be available in early June and will be manufactured in limited capacities.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down in various regions.

6/64 $529 €519 £469 $699
8/128 $579 €569 £519 $769
8/256 $629 €619 £569 $839

See at OnePlus

Tell me more about the colors

oneplus-6-hands-on-3.jpg?itok=gNsRdvVP

There are three colors: Mirror Black, Midnight Black, and Silk White.

  • Mirror Black is going to be the most common, since it’s the only color offered in the cheapest tier. It’s shiny, reflective glass, so it gets fingerprint-y, but that’s OK because you’ll likely put the phone in a case (see below). It’s also a little slippery, which is to be expected. Mirror Black is offered in 6GB / 64GB configurations for $529.

  • Midnight Black is the color we’ve come to expect from OnePlus over the years, though the matte-looking finish belies a glass back, too, like the Mirror Black. Midnight Black is only available in 8GB / 128GB and 8GB / 256GB configurations for $579 and $629, respectively.

  • Silk White is the most limited of the three colors, and will be available June 5. It’s also covered in glass, but like the Midnight Black model it has a matte finish and is easier to grip. Its white back has rose gold accents, and it’s definitely the nicest and most unique of the three colors. It will only be available in the 8GB / 128GB configuration, for $579, and once the run is sold out, OnePlus is not making any more.

I heard there’s an Avengers version — TELL ME EVERYTHING

oneplus-6-avengers-back-logo.jpg?itok=1r

Yes, you heard right: OnePlus has once again worked with Disney on licensing a special version of the OnePlus 6 for the Chinese and Indian markets. Last year, OnePlus offered an understated Start Wars variant of the OnePlus 5T, and now the Avengers version takes advantage of the hype behind the recent film release.

The Avengers version comes in a unique box and includes an Iron Man case and a OnePlus/Avengers co-branded medallion, which is neat. And while there’s a familiar glass back on the Avengers Edition, it has a Kevlar-style design underneath. Because Kevlar=superheroes, or something.

While the special edition isn’t coming to the U.S. officially, I’m sure that some entrepreneurial Indian and Chinese resellers will do the dirty business of importing some of them at a huge premium to this side of the world.

This is the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Edition

The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Sprint or Verizon

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The OnePlus 6 technically supports the CDMA bands for Verizon and Sprint in the U.S., but the phone lacks certification for their networks, so those users — just under half the smartphone-wielding U.S. population, is out of luck.

We’ve got your full technical explainer below.

The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Sprint or Verizon

Do you like cases?

oneplus-6-cases-2.jpg?itok=UjGuOOvZ

As it does with all of its phones, OnePlus has unveiled a series of first-party cases for the OnePlus 6, and they’re all pretty great.

This year, there’s a fancy new protective bumper made of woven nylon, and while it adds a bit more bulk than the typical snap-on, I think it looks and feels awesome.

These are the official OnePlus 6 cases you can buy at launch

What are your thoughts on the OnePlus 6?

Let us know in the comments!

OnePlus 6

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  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?
  • These are the official OnePlus 6 cases
  • The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Verizon or Sprint
  • Join the discussion in the forums

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