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31
Jul

Mint Mobile announces $5 Starter Kit with 100% money-back guarantee


The kit comes with 100MB of LTE data, 100 texts, and 100 minutes of talk.

Mint Mobile is one of the better MVNO options here in the U.S., and in honor of the service’s 2nd birthday, it’s launching a new $5 Starter Kit to help even more people try out Mint for themselves.

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For that $5, you’ll get a Mint Mobile SIM card with 100MB of 4G LTE data, 100 texts, and 100 minutes of talk. The whole purpose is to help you decide if Mint Mobile is a good fit for the area you live in, and you decide you want to keep it, you can keep using the SIM card after paying for a regular plan.

Should you get the Starter Kit and decide it’s just not for you, all you have to do is request a refund from Mint Mobile and they’ll send you your $5 back.

The Mint Mobile Starter Kit is available now and can be purchased via the button below.

See at Mint Mobile

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31
Jul

A great single camera is always better than a mediocre dual camera


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Look no further than the Pixel 2 or Galaxy S9 for proof.

One of the biggest shifts in mobile photography over the last couple of years has been the move from one camera to two on most high-end smartphones. Flagships like the HTC U12+, LG G7 ThinQ, and Galaxy S9+ have all adopted this trend, with some phones like the Huawei P20 Pro going even further and adding a third lens.

Even budget phones have started shipping with two cameras; the $200 Honor 7X has a depth-sensing secondary sensor, as does the Moto Z3 Play. This is no longer a premium add-on feature, it’s quickly becoming the standard. But how much do you actually benefit from that second camera?

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That partially depends on exactly what your second camera does. That depth sensor implementation I just mentioned is more or less useless, if you ask me. Some phones use it to augment the photos taken with the primary sensor, but the majority just use it for their portrait mode shots, which end up looking just as artificial as on any other phone — in fact, some of the best portrait photos come from the Pixel 2, which just uses machine learning to create depth instead of a dedicated sensor. On a phone like the Moto Z3 Play, which doesn’t have the best camera to begin with, I think Motorola would’ve been better off focusing on improving its primary sensor rather than adding a secondary one.

If you need proof that a single camera still does the job, just look at the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S9.

Meanwhile, zoom lenses sound convenient and great on paper, since zooming in with the main sensor just leads to image degradation, but unless you’re using a Galaxy S9+, that zoom lens isn’t optically stabilized, meaning whatever clarity you’re preserving by not digitally zooming is still impacted by your shaky hands. On top of that, even with the Galaxy S9+, the telephoto lens takes lower quality shots than the main sensor, even in ideal conditions.

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Wide-angle sensors like the ones LG includes in most of its lineup open up a lot of creative potential, and unlike zoom or depth sensors, they allow you to take photos you wouldn’t be able to pull off otherwise. They still suffer from the same problems as telephoto lenses; they’re lower quality sensors and rarely if ever have OIS. But at the very least, they add to your mobile photography experience in a way that other dual camera arrays simply can’t match.

It’s getting harder to find a flagship phone with only one camera these days, but my phone of choice remains one of them — the Galaxy S9. It doesn’t have its larger sibling’s zoom lens, but that doesn’t impede it from taking some of the best low-light photos of any phone I’ve tested, along with great photos in just about every other condition, and even pretty decent portrait shots. Similarly, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still beat out almost every other phone in photography, all with a single camera and Google’s powerful post-processing — which I’d argue is far more important than most dual camera arrangements.

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At the end of the day, though, if your main camera is already great, you might as well add to it. Huawei makes perhaps the best use of its multiple cameras with the P20 Pro, which features a secondary monochrome sensor that helps pull in additional fine details, along with a tertiary 3X telephoto camera — as opposed to the 2X zoom found pretty much everywhere else. I still would’ve preferred a wide-angle lens over a zoom, but combined with the powerful AI and post-processing in the P20 Pro, you still end up with an incredibly versatile photography experience that’s hard to beat.

The problem isn’t with flagships, but with mid-range phones that choose a mediore dual-camera setup to appear more expensive than they are.

The problem isn’t with flagships whose primary sensors are already great to begin with, though — it’s with the mid-range and budget phones that take subpar photos, even with dual cameras. The Moto Z3 Play takes pretty good shots as it is, but the depth sensor feels largely unhelpful. I would’ve loved to have seen Motorola focus more on improving the primary sensor and its post-processing.

Are you a fan of dual cameras, or have you been proudly living the single lens life? Have you thought about switching sides, or does it even matter to you? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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31
Jul

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!


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Samsung once again has a fantastic pair of flagships.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and S9+ are definitely iterative updates over last year’s dramatically redesigned Galaxy S8 series, but that’s not a problem. Instead of going back to the drawing board altogether, Samsung focused on fixing a lot of the issues while making drastic improvements to the camera experience and retaining everything that made the last generation so great.

Whether you’re looking to buy or make the most of your new Galaxy S9, we have all of the information you need right here.

The latest Galaxy S9 news

July 31, 2018 — Characters from Frozen get their own AR Emoji pack

Joining the ranks of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, The Incredibles, and more, the latest Disney-themed AR Emoji pack coming to the S9/S9+ brings your favorite characters from Frozen to life.

After you download the Disney Frozen AR Emoji pack from the Galaxy Apps Store, you’ll be able to transform yourself into Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff.

July 20, 2018 — New update brings 480 FPS manual slow-mo video recording

One of the big camera features for the Galaxy S9 is the ability to record things in 960 FPS ultra slow-mo. With a new update that’s rolling out to the S9 and S9+ now, there’s a new option for recording manual slow-motion videos at 480 FPS for 0.4 seconds worth of footage.

While 480 FPS isn’t quite as impressive as 960 FPS, the big difference here is that you can choose when to start recording slow-motion footage unlike the 960 FPS mode that automatically chooses for you. Also, 480 FPS video is limited to 720p.

The update is rolling out to handsets now, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.

All the big details

What are the big changes over the Galaxy S8 series?

In a word, the camera. Samsung has kept the primary sensor at 12 megapixels, but that’s where the similarities end. The S9 and S9+ have adjustable apertures, switching seamlessly between f/1.5 and f/2.4, sitting in front of an all-new sensor that is great in low light. The Galaxy S9+ also gets a second 12MP sensor with a “telephoto” lens that provides 2X zoom and facilitates Live Focus, Samsung’s version of portrait mode that debuted with the Galaxy Note 8.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs

In terms of specs, the Galaxy S9+ (but only the S9+) has two more gigabytes of RAM than last year’s models. And let’s not downplay the importance of the fingerprint sensor being relocated to a much more sensible place on the back of the phone — below the now-vertical camera module.

Samsung Galaxy S9 review: A fantastic phone for the masses

Samsung Galaxy S9 India review: As good as it gets

Samsung Galaxy S9 review, 3 months later: Holding the high standard

Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S9?

This is the big question — and as always, it depends. If you’re running a Galaxy S6 or S7, and want to move to something new in the Samsung world, the answer is absolutely. If you’re rocking a still-new Galaxy S8 or Note 8, the answer is no. While there are substantial differences that clearly make the Galaxy S9 a better phone, the S8 is just a year old at this point, and has most of the Galaxy S9’s features thanks to its Android 8.0 Oreo update.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs. Galaxy Note 8: Which should you buy?

Is the Galaxy S9 better than the competition?

There are so many great phones on the market right now — how do you decide which one to buy? Here are our looks at the new phones compared to some of the best devices on the market.

The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of the flagships, and here’s how it compares to some of the other major phones on the market.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone X: The best of metal and glass

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Google Pixel 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Honor View 10

And how about the larger Galaxy S9+?

LG G7 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: The true flagships

OnePlus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+: Which should you buy?

Should you buy the Galaxy S9 or larger S9+?

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OK, so you’ve made up your mind to buy the Galaxy S9 — but wait, should you get the S9 or the larger S9+?

Unlike last year, the Galaxy S9+ feels like more of the “default” choice of the two. It has extra RAM and a secondary rear camera in addition to its overall larger screen and bigger battery — yet the price delta between the two hasn’t changed. If you can handle the size difference and would like the extra battery life, go for the Galaxy S9+.

Here’s why the Galaxy S9+ is worth the extra money over the GS9

What colors are available?

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Like last year, there are multiple colors of the Galaxy S9 series to purchase: Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Coral Blue and Titanium Gray. U.S. buyers only get access to three of the four — silver is only available internationally — and both blue and purple are slight updates over last year.

A few months after the S9’s release, Samsung introduced two new colors in the form of Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red.

Burgundy Red and Sunrise Gold are available around the world, and we took a look at the latter and it’s beautiful!

What color Galaxy S9 should I buy: Black, blue, purple, or silver?

Galaxy S9 and S9+ get Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red color options; ARCore support

You can get as much as 256GB of internal storage

No matter where you decide to buy the Galaxy S9, 64GB is the default storage space that’s available with the phone. 64GB should be more than enough for most people, but if you want, you can always expand it with a microSD card.

However, if you’re someone who has a lot of local files and goes through GB like nothing, you may want to consider upgrading to a 128GB or even a 256GB model.

These larger configurations are sold exclusively on Samsung’s website and you’ll spend an extra $50 per each storage upgrade.

Samsung Galaxy S9: Which storage size should I buy?

Where can I get the best deal on a Galaxy S9?

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The Galaxy S9 is now available worldwide, both from carriers and also unlocked.

In the U.S., the Galaxy S9 costs between $720 and $800, while the Galaxy S9+ goes for between $870 and $915. For all the details, take a look at our roundup of the best Galaxy S9 deals.

Where to buy the Galaxy S9: Best deals for your new phone

See at Verizon

Getting started with the Galaxy S9

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Once you pick up your new phone, there are a few things you should do immediately. Here’s how to make your GS9 experience great!

The first 9 things to do with your Galaxy S9

The first 5 things to turn off in the Galaxy S9’s software

What’s this about bad battery life with the Exynos processor?

Samsung has regularly used both its own processors and Qualcomm’s latest chips in different markets, and it’s regularly been a point of discussion between enthusiasts as to which one is “better” overall.

In the Galaxy S9 and S9+, there’s a clear differentiation in that the Exynos versions of the phone have been getting much shorter battery life. To make things worse, the Qualcomm models are also outperforming Exynos in many synthetic benchmark tests.

So what can you do? Well, not much — Samsung doesn’t sell both versions of the phones in the same markets, so you can’t exactly cross-shop the two processors. The hope is that Samsung could update the firmware on the Exynos models to improve processor efficiency a bit.

Samsung Galaxy S9 battery problems, explained: Exynos vs. Snapdragon

Help me get started with accessories!

Once you have your Galaxy S9 or S9+, you’ll want to look into accessories like cases and screen protectors that make the phone even better. We’ve rounded up our favorites for you.

The best Galaxy S9 accessories

The best cases for the Galaxy S9

Four Great Quick Chargers for Galaxy S9

Spigen Rigged Armor case for Galaxy S9+ review: Low cost, rugged protection

Maxboost mSnap case for Galaxy S9 review: The only case you need

Having battery life problems?

The Galaxy S9 isn’t perfect —obviously, no phone is — but if you’re experiencing battery life problems, we have a guide on how to fix that.

How to fix Galaxy S9 battery life problems

Updated June 27, 2018: Added links to recent case reviews, accessory roundups, and information on new color options.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

  • Galaxy S9 and S9+: Everything you need to know!
  • Galaxy S9 review: A great phone for the masses
  • Complete Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
  • Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: Should you upgrade?
  • Join our Galaxy S9 forums

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31
Jul

Samsung’s Q2 2018 earnings confirm slow sales of the Galaxy S9


Mobile sales are expected to remain challenging.

Samsung just released its earnings report for the second quarter of the year, and in regards to its mobile sales, things are less than ideal.

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Although no exact numbers were given, Samsung says that its IT & Mobile Communications division saw a drop in sales for both year-to-year and quarter-on-quarter performance due to the Galaxy S9 seeing “slow sales.” Despite that, the company’s network business “achieved solid growth” thanks to Samsung’s investments in LTE technologies.

Looking ahead, things might remain bleak for Samsung phones for a while. Per Samsung’s report:

The mobile market condition will likely remain challenging in the second half amid pricing competition and new product launches.

To help combat this, Samsung still has faith in the upcoming Galaxy Note 9 and other mid-to-low-range handsets that’ll be released this year.

As for overall sales, Q2 2018 (which ended on June 30) saw total quarterly revenue of KRW 58.48 trillion which is 4% less than what was reported in Q2 2017. On the flip side, quarterly operating profit saw a 6% increase at KRW 14.87 trillion.

A great single camera is always better than a mediocre dual camera

31
Jul

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review, 11 months on: Big, powerful, and due for a refresh


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This phone doesn’t need anything more than a few minor tweaks to be amazing.

Perhaps it’s all of the similarities between Note and Galaxy S releases nowadays, but it sure doesn’t feel like it’s been 11 months since I published our Galaxy Note 8 review. But now, as we approach the launch of the Galaxy Note 9, here I am using a nearly year-old Note 8.

Before we’re all wrapped up in the hype of its successor, it’s worth taking time to see how well the Note 8 has held up since the start of September 2017.

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Mostly great

Galaxy Note 8 What’s held up

Y’know, the Galaxy Note 8 has some damn nice hardware. Sure it’s huge, and a bit tougher to use than the Galaxy S9+ — but the hardware is delightfully solid and of course beautiful. Just because it’s near-identical to the Galaxy S8 from earlier on in 2017 doesn’t mean it isn’t any less impressive or nice to hold. I particularly like it in black, which I’ve been using, because the sides, back and bezels all sort of meld together into a monolithic vibe. It’s a little slab-like, and the glass gets slippery, but despite the size I’ve managed to figure out over time the right hand and wrist contortions to make sure I can use it (mostly comfortably) with one hand when needed.

I don’t care how ‘old’ this design is, the Note 8 has damn nice hardware.

Coming back to the Note 8 a couple weeks ago after a couple brief stints on other devices, it was refreshing to have a headphone jack and wireless charging again. Despite the fact that I use Bluetooth almost exclusively, it’s still great to have that option of plugging in headphones when I need to — because I never have a USB-C headphone dongle with me. Every time I come back to my Samsung phones I fall right back into a routine of using wireless chargers, too, particularly on my bedside table at night. These are the little things you take for granted when you have a Samsung phone.

I have to revisit the robustness of the glass build of the phone. As I found in my seven-month report on the phone, the glass back has held up pretty well. Unlike my Galaxy S8 and S9 I don’t use the Note 8 in a case all that often because it’s so big to begin with — as such, I’d expect the glass to be more scratched … and it isn’t. There are the typical few deep scratches visible at any angle, but that’s normal. The rest of the fine scuffs take a far closer examination to show up. After almost a year of moderate use, I’d say that’s good.

No matter your thoughts on the design, the Note 8 has the strength of being dominated almost entirely by that massive Super AMOLED display, which is a benefit any time it comes on. It’s downright gorgeous from all angles, and impressively bright in all situations. I leave it in the “adaptive display” mode because I frankly don’t care about it being 100% accurate — I love how it looks with the colors turned up a bit. If you’ve only been using Samsung flagships for the past few years, you’ve been spoiled. Other companies aren’t shipping displays this good.

The glass back hasn’t deteriorated as expected, and the same can be said of the software performance.

If you’ve read any of my previous follow-up reviews for Samsung phones, I typically have to address the situation with the software slowing down over time. But in this case, much like the glass back, the software has held up far better than I expected. I had odd software issues just a couple months in, but since then I haven’t had a single problem — even after upgrading to Android 8.0 Oreo, which is particularly surprising. My Note 8 still flies in everything it does, despite the fact that I haven’t done any maintenance on it since factory resetting some nine months earlier. I still have well over 100 apps installed and plenty of other media loaded, and it doesn’t stutter or slow down with anything I throw at it.

The camera, too, has still been performing well. I can notice that it’s not quite as good as the Galaxy S9+, but it’s tough to judge the Note 8 too harshly on that account. I’ve taken countless wonderful photos with this camera, and in all but extremely dark scenes the quality is indistinguishable from Samsung’s latest flagship camera. The Note 8 may be a year old, but it still takes head-turning photos with ease.

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A few complaints

Galaxy Note 8 What hasn’t aged well

The overwhelming majority of the Note 8 experience feels modern and high-end even 11 months after launch, but there are still a few areas that need improvement — and, indeed, we all expect them to be improved upon with the Galaxy Note 9.

There’s no sugar-coating this: the Note 8’s battery life isn’t good.

There’s no sugar-coating this: the Note 8’s battery life isn’t good. “Average” is the best way I can describe it, which is pretty bad considering the size of this phone and all of its capabilities. With a 3300mAh battery supporting very thirsty specs, software and display, it’s not all that surprising. But my Note 8 never really “settled in” to good battery life, even after making sure that everything on the phone was tuned in just how I use all of my other devices and the Device Maintenance settings doing their best to limit background processes and my least-used apps. When you’re hitting the Note 8 hard, such as when I’m navigating in Android Auto or using lots of mobile data for streaming video, the battery drops precipitously. But the weakest point of the battery life story is how it’s incapable of idling and conserving battery when it’s not being used. I can go through a full day at my desk, barely touching the phone, and it’ll still lose 40-50% over the course of the day just sitting there on Wi-Fi.

It seems as though Samsung’s going to solve this problem by just throwing a 4000mAh (or more?) battery in the Note 9. Yes, 20% more capacity will solve most of the problems here — but things would be even better if Samsung tightened the screws on the battery drains in the system as well.

I still use Samsung’s phones despite its software, not because of it.

I’m not sure how many different ways I can say this, but I still don’t love Samsung’s software. It’s fine. It works. I can do everything I want without much (if any) hassle. But that doesn’t mean I actually enjoy using it the same as I do my Pixel 2 XL or OnePlus 6. There’s just a lot going on in the interface, and even though I’ve turned a whole lot off there are still things that break up the experience and throw me off. Different design languages, punchy colors, unnecessary animations and of course the pile of Samsung apps I don’t want to use but can’t disable. As I said in my three-month-on review of the Galaxy S9+, “I still use the GS9+ despite its software, not because of it.”

I’ve never been a huge S Pen user, and a year of the Note 8 didn’t open any new doors to that experience.

I’ve never been a huge S Pen user, and a year of using the Note 8 hasn’t changed that habit. I’ve signed some documents, I’ve used it to scribble quick notes using “screen off memo” and I’ve killed time doodling (though I’m a horrible artist). But that’s about as deep as it goes. Truth is that in this digital age, writing or drawing on a phone feels like a highly inefficient use of my time and attention when I could be typing or dictating. Maybe Samsung has something truly innovative coming with the Note 9, as the S Pen experience hasn’t changed notably since the Note 3.

The rest of the complaints amassed over 11 months are rather minor. Samsung’s fingerprint sensor placement on the Note 8 is still indefensible, and really detracts from the phone’s overall experience. Face recognition works pretty well, but not well enough for me to forgive how badly designed this fingerprint sensor is. Further on the fringes, the Note 8’s speaker is pretty weak considering the size of the device. The new dual speaker setup on the Galaxy S9+ is a marked improvement over the Note 8’s tinny single speaker, and in a phone this big you expect better sound.

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Big, powerful and ready for a refresh

Galaxy Note 8 11 months on

Even as we rapidly approach the Note 9’s announcement, the Note 8 has really held up well.

Even as we rapidly approach the Galaxy Note 9’s announcement, the Note 8 has really held up well. One of the benefits of Samsung’s delicate release cycle over the past couple of generations is that the “old” phones don’t really feel all that old even a year into their life. Add on the amazing consistency of its hardware, and with updates, software, and the year-old Note 8 doesn’t feel like a relic in the least.

Yes the Note 9 will come out with a larger battery, some spec bumps, new camera features and a few interesting S Pen advancements. But compared to the Note 8, it won’t be a revelatory difference in experience. Aside from a few small quirks, which haven’t gotten any worse over the last year of its existence, the Note 8 is still a fine phone for the Samsung power user who wants it all.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

  • Galaxy Note 8 review
  • Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+
  • Which Note 8 color is best?
  • Complete Galaxy Note 8 specs
  • Join our Galaxy Note 8 forums

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31
Jul

Google Clock now supports musical alarms with Spotify integration


The feature’s rolling out now and available for Android 5.0 and above.

Clock apps are probably the least exciting thing to talk about, but without a doubt, one of the best ones is the official Google Clock. The app’s already fast, smooth, and easy-to-use, but today it’s getting a big upgrade with support for musical alarms thanks to a new partnership with Spotify.

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When you’re making/editing an alarm in Google Clock, you’ll now see a new Spotify tab next to the Sounds one that houses all of the traditional alarm tones. Here, you can choose to wake up to a recommended playlist or a specific song.

After your musical alarm starts playing, you can choose to keep listening to the song on Spotify right where it left off after toggling the alarm off. Better yet, both Spotify Free and Premium users can take advantage of this new feature.

You’ll need the latest versions of Google Clock and Spotify installed on your phone in order for this to work, and according to Google, all users running Android 5.0 or later should have access to it within the next week.

Download: Google Clock (free)

31
Jul

HTC U12+ review: They fixed the buttons! [Updated]


With the digital buttons fixed in software, it’s time to reconsider HTC’s 2018 flagship.

When we first reviewed HTC’s latest handset, its digital buttons were kind of a mess. But with a software fix now rolling out, the U12+ is well worth a second look.

HTC U12+



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Price: $799

Bottom line: HTC’s new high-end offering is speedy, with impressive glass-backed designs and very capable cameras — but beware of the digital buttons, which will be a turn-off for some.

Pros:

  • Speedy performance and minimal software bloat
  • Stunning photo quality across the board
  • Beautiful colored glass back panels

Cons:

  • Digital buttons can be finnicky
  • Dated HTC Sense UI design

See at Amazon

HTC U12+ Prelude

When we first reviewed the HTC U12+ back in June, it was kind of a mess. That was almost exclusively the fault of the digital buttons: the pressure sensitive nubs that replaced the power and volume keys. More generally, the Edge Sense 2 features, which includes all the phone’s pressure-sensitive capabilities, were equally wonky out of the box. Problems included ghost presses, wildly varying sensitivity, in some cases leading to the phone hard resetting itself due to ghost input.

But now, thankfully, for there’s new firmware rolling out to address these issues. With that in mind, as promised back in June, this phone deserves a second look. Because otherwise, the U12+ has plenty of redeeming factors — not least of which is an amazing camera that matches the Pixel 2, and challenges the Huawei P20 Pro.

So let’s come at the U12+ fresh, with the latest firmware and an open mind.

About this review

We originally published this review after two weeks with the HTC U12+. I (Alex Dobie) used a European U12+ in the UK on EE, and in Taipei, Taiwan on Chunghwa Telecom. Shortly after picking up my first U12+ unit, I noticed multiple issues with the phone’s new, all-digital volume and power keys, as well as the pressure-sensitive Edge Sense feature. HTC replaced the phone with a different unit, which performed better than the first, but exhibited the same problems after around 24 hours. During the original review period, my device was running software version 1.15.401.4, based on Android 8.0 Oreo, with the March 1, 2018 Android security patch.

On July 27, the device got an update to 1.21.401.3, with fixes for the digital buttons and improvements to battery life. We’re updating this review on July 31 to reflect these changes.

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HTC U12+ Full Review

If you’re familiar with the U11+, the under-appreciated extra-large cousin of the U11 that launched in late 2017, then the design of the U12+ will be very familiar.

For everyone else, this is a pretty standard 18:9 Android slab from the front, with a few pleasing design cues to set it apart. There’s no display notch, for what that’s worth. Instead, the U12+ sports a slightly asymmetrical forehead and chin. And the surface of the display is raised up from the metal frame by a near right-angle curve of the glass itself. At first, I mistook this for a plastic rim, but nope: it’s curved, angled glass going straight into metal, which is an impressive manufacturing feat.

Like HTC’s past two flagships, the rear of the U12+ is far more visually appealing. I’ve been using the standard reflective gunmetal color, which is almost identical to the same hue in last year’s U11+. There’s also a translucent blue option, which gives you a peek at the innards of the phone, as well as a fiery iridescent red, which shifts between blood red and a golden yellow.

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The U12+ is a little on the chunky side, but HTC’s lustrous glass designs shine through.

Operating System Android 8.0, HTC Sense
Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Adreno 630 GPU
Display 6-inch 2880×1440, Super LCD 6DCI-P3, HDR10Gorilla Glass 5
RAM 6GB
Storage 64 / 128GB UFS 2.1
Main Camera 12MP, 1.4μm pixels ƒ/1.75 lens, OIS, EISUltraPixel 4, UltraSpeed AF, HDR Boost
Secondary Camera 16MP 1μm pixels ƒ2.6 lens, 2x optical zoom, portrait mode
Video 4K @ 60fps 1080p @ 240fps slo-mo 360° 3D Audio with 4 microphones
Front Cameras Dual 8MP sensors 1.12μm pixel size, f/2.0 84° wide-angle FOV, portrait mode
Water/Dust Resistance IP68
Battery 3500 mAh Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0
Audio HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi editionHTC USonicUSB-C + noise cancelling headphones
Network 4G LTE Cat. 18 up to 1.2Gbps FDD Bands 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,12,13,17,20, 28, 32, 66 TDD: Bands 38, 39, 40, 41
Voice assistants Google Assistant, Alexa
Colors Translucent Blue, Flaming Red, Ceramic Black
Dimensions 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7mm
Weight 188 g

The back panel has an oleophobic coating, which makes it less fingerprint-prone than the Galaxy S9 and LG G7, but a bit more slippery.

The overall feel is more chunky than similar-sized phones like the OnePlus 6, or even Samsung’s S9+, but the basic ergonomics of this design are sound. It’s comfortable to hold, and thanks to the addition of a decent one-handed mode in HTC’s Sense software, it’s easier to wrangle than the U11+ without bringing in a second hand.

Despite the ample heft of this phone, there’s unfortunately no headphone jack included, nor is there any USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle in the box this time. (HTC includes it as a pre-order bonus in some markets.)

There’s nothing too surprising about the spec sheet of the U12+, which combines a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB of RAM, and 64/128GB of storage depending on where you buy it, and dual-SIM functionality in some markets. (I’ve been using a single-SIM version of the phone.)

HTC, once again, sticks with LCD technology for the display, going against the grain of the smartphone industry. And though the U12+’s 6-inch panel doesn’t boast the same brightness as leading OLED panels from Samsung, it’s still an attractive panel with no visible ghosting, and pleasing, punchy colors.

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The main thing you miss out on compared to competitors like the Galaxy S9+ and Huawei P20 Pro is daylight visibility, and the ability to use the Always-On Display mode without tanking your battery. (The U12+ includes such a mode, but it’s wise to only enable it when picking up the phone.)

HTC’s spec sheet matches the cutting edge in all but a couple of areas.

Battery life was weak and unpredictable on the original U12+ firmware, but it’s settled down considerably on the new update, to the point where it’s landed in that sweet spot for an easy “full day” of use. Day-to-day, I’m getting around 16 hours between charges, with four-to-five hours of screen-on time. That’s nothing mind-blowing, but certainly acceptable. It about matches what I get out of the OnePlus 6, with a little bit of a harder hit when the screen is running in daylight at max brightness.

Criticism aside, the U12’s longevity is not a whole lot worse than what I’ve been getting from the Exynos version of Samsung’s Galaxy S9+. Plus, unlike that phone, you get Quick Charge 4 support, assuming you have your own compatible plug.

At least HTC’s audio credentials remain strong, outside of that sadly absent headphone jack. The U12+ boasts a meaty BoomSound Hi-Fi system, combining the single bottom-facing speaker with an earpiece tweeter, for satisfyingly loud and bassy audio reproduction.

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HTC’s USonic active noise-cancelling earbuds, bundled with the phone, are great too. They haven’t changed since they first appeared alongside the U11, but they’re about the best bundled earbuds I’ve used with a phone. HTC’s Sense software can instantly and automatically tune its audio output to the structure of your ear canals, with results as impressive as we’ve witnessed from older HTC phones.

The pressure-sensitive buttons

In our original review, we weren’t kind to the U12+’s digital buttons, because, in short, they were bad from start to finish. The digital non-button buttons were unreliable, with sensitivity levels jumping about all over the place, and prone to ghost input that in extreme cases would cause the phone to hard reset itself. This was the main reason to not buy this phone. A fundamental hardware feature was broken out of the box.

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The buttons are so weird because they’re not truly buttons in the traditional sense. They’re pressure-sensitive nubs that give haptic feedback when pressed, a bit like an iPhone’s home button. The haptics aren’t anywhere near as good as the iPhone’s — but they’re also not terrible, once you get used to the feedback coming from the middle of the phone and not the area you’re pressing.

The buttons are a continuation of the Edge Sense feature from last year’s HTC U11. And that feature has some new tricks too. Now you can double-tap on the sides to bring down the notification shade, or use one-handed mode. Edge Sense can now keep the display from sleeping while the device is in your hand, and switch between landscape and portrait mode more intelligently. By understanding how you’re holding the phone, it can stay in the correct orientation even if you’re laying sideways in bed.

It’s been great to be able to finally use these features with the new U12+ software update, because on the old software they were frustrating and unpredictable.

So the tl;dr here is that the update has basically fixed the buttons. Very occasionally I still notice fluctuations in sensitivity when the temperature changes — it’s 99% reliable, not 100%, but it’s to the level now where I’m fine with it. That said, I still prefer real buttons. And I feel like the saga of the past couple months with these buttons could have already sunk this phone.

If the U12+ had shipped with this newer firmware, HTC surely could have saved itself a lot of bad publicity.

If you’ve already used an HTC U11 or U11+ on Android Oreo, or read our review of the U11+ from last November, then you’ll have already seen almost everything The U12+ has to offer on the software side.

We’re still running Android 8.0 here, not the newer version 8.1. (The main impact for many of us: no Netflix support for picture-in-picture mode.) Otherwise, The user-facing side of Android 8.1 is largely identical to 8.0.

Sense remains locked in the same holding pattern it’s been stuck in for much of the past couple years.

Otherwise, it’s another year with virtually no changes in either the way HTC Sense looks or functions. On one level, that’s fine. Sense is so close to stock Android now that there’s not much need for surface-level changes.

On the other hand, Sense is still littered with the dregs of older software versions. As we’ve noted in earlier reviews, many core apps like Weather, Contacts, Messages and the Dialer haven’t changed in more than three years. In Sense Home, more subtle clues of HTC’s lack of design effort can be seen: The rows of home screen icons are aligned for a 16:9 display, not the U12+’s 18:9 panel.

The biggest changes are, in fact, two very welcome additions: The one-handed mode, which is necessary on a phone this large. It’s activated with a double-tap on the bezel (see above — this does not work well!), or a triple-tap on the home key. And the U12’s dual front cameras help to enable face unlock, which is among the fastest on any Android phone I’ve used. HTC’s software can also light up the display for better face detection in darker conditions

Beyond those few upgrades, this is a fast, relatively clean Android UI that’s in dire need of a facelift. As I said six months ago, HTC needs to either go all-in on a near-stock Android experience like OnePlus’s OxygenOS, or truly differentiate its software with a new completely new look that doesn’t look like it belongs in 2014.

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For all its troubles, HTC continues to excel at smartphone photography.

The U12+’s saving grace is its camera setup, an area where HTC is truly competitive with the best phone cameras of the moment. This dual-camera array around the back can absolutely go toe-to-toe with the Galaxy S9+ and Huawei P20 Pro, and in some cases come out on top.

HTC combines a 12-megapixel main sensor with f/1.75 lens and optical stabilization with an f/2.6, 16-megapixel telephoto camera. The telephoto has smaller pixels on the sensor and no OIS — an on-paper disadvantage compared to Samsung’s zoom camera.

But HTC’s secret sauce is its HDR Boost function. First seen on the U11, the second-generation of HTC’s post-processing feature allows it to bring out awesome fine detail and high dynamic range, even in challenging situations. As I’ve said before, HDR Boost is a competitive recreation of the post-processing setup Google uses in HDR+ on its Pixel phones, though I’ve noticed that in darker conditions HTC’s will favor grainier output in order to produce a brighter-looking shot. Whether that’s good or bad is a matter of personal preference. Some may prefer the softer but less noisy output of Samsung’s Galaxy S9+.

It’s also worth noting an additional caveat: Despite its dizzying DxOMark score of 103, the U12+ can’t match the insane low-light detail provided by the Huawei P20 Pro’s industry-leading low-light mode.

HTC takes another crack at software bokeh, and the results range from competent to truly impressive.

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HDR Boost also allows the U12+ telephoto camera to eke out better-looking telephoto shots than it has any right to given the optics of its secondary camera. In many darker situations, the HTC camera would stick with a shot from the secondary camera, as opposed to a digital crop of the main sensor.

HTC has also built out its own software bokeh mode, which doubles as portrait mode on the U12+, adding artificial lens blur to shots. On the whole, it’s technically proficient, and I’ve captured some impressive shots of people, food and pets using HTC’s bokeh mode. The end results are on par with what I’ve seen from the Google Pixel 2 and Huawei P20 series, and it’s also possible to edit the level of blur after the fact in Google Photos — though this option is somewhat hidden.

Meanwhile, around the front, HTC packs a twin 8-megapixel camera setup, allowing accurate bokeh shots through the front camera without the software guesswork of some rivals. As with the main camera, selfies from the U12+ are grainier than competitors like the Galaxy S9, particularly in darker conditions, but they often retain more fine detail pics from the Samsung device. There’s a full array of beauty modes too, for smoothing skin and digitally re-jigging your features.

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For what it’s worth, HTC also has Animoji-style stickers in its camera app, the existence of which I’ll note here for the record. They’re there. I guess they’ll be fun if that’s your thing. Like Samsung’s AR Emoji, I’ve mostly ignored them in my time with the phone.

My only real complaint around the U12+’s camera has to do with its speed. The app is frequently slower to load than most rivals, and processing times for HDR Boost are a little on the long side. The trade-offs, with patience, are worth it, but on a couple of occasions, I’ve missed shots due to the camera taking too long to fire up.

HTC’s new flagship also has a competent video camera, building on features like 3D Audio and Acoustic Focus — amplifying volume from specific areas as you zoom — that debuted in the U11. Advances in optics and processing bring predictable improvements in video quality for HTC, however, it’s a little disappointing to see electronic stabilization limited to 1080p resolution. Some rivals, including the cheaper OnePlus 6, can manage stabilized video at 4K resolution.

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HTC U12+ Bottom Line

The new firmware basically transforms the U12+ from a bad phone into a good phone. There are the usual quirks that you get with every handset, but nothing deal-breakingly bad. The fundamentals are solid, performance is fast, and the cameras truly impressive.

But what’s also worth considering is HTC’s pretty dire track record for customer support. Tales of phones going missing for months at a time in the bowels of the company’s repair system are common, and if you’re blowing $799 on a handset, you need to know you’re not going to be left in the lurch if something goes wrong.

Same deal with software support. When a company hits on hard times, firmware updates are often first on the chopping block. Don’t hold your breath for timely security patches going forwards, nor any timely platform upgrades beyond Android P.

There’s also the question of HTC’s future in general, and how long the inertia that’s sustaining the company can last. Whether or not there’ll even be a successor to the U12+ next year is an open question — Blockchain phones notwithstanding.

3.5
out of 5


At least if this is the beginning of the end for the original Android brand, it’s mostly going out on a high with a device that fans will love.

See at Amazon
See at HTC

31
Jul

MoviePass: Everything you need to know


Here’s your one-stop-shop for all the MoviePass news, controversies, and more.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard a thing or two about MoviePass. Although the company was founded way back in 2011, it’s picked up a lot of steam over the past year or so with its too-good-to-be-true offer of allowing you to see one movie per day for just $9.95/month.

MoviePass has become one of the most disruptive companies of recent memory, and whether you’re looking for the latest controversies or want to learn more about the service before you sign up, you’ve come to the right place.

Without further ado, this is everything you need to know about MoviePass!

The latest MoviePass news

July 31, 2018 —MoviePass is raising its price to $14.95/month, First Run Movies will be limited in availability for the first two weeks

In an official press release issued by MoviePass’s parent company Helios & Matheson, a few big changes were announced as an effort for MoviePass to cut its cash burn by 60%

Perhaps the biggest change is with the service’s cost. The iconic $9.95/month plan that allows you to see one new movie per day will be increased to $14.95/month within the next 30 days. Even with the higher monthly rate, Peak Pricing isn’t going anywhere.

It was also confirmed that “First Run Movies opening on 1,000+ Screens” will see limited availability during their first two weeks of release unless the studio makes a promotional deal with MoviePass. From the way the press release reads, that sounds like yet another limitation on top of the restrictions we heard about yesterday for movies like The Meg and Christopher Robin.

July 30, 2018 — MoviePass CEO says subscribers will no longer be able to watch big, well-known movies

Following an outage that’s been affecting customers all throughout the weekend and today, Business Insider reported that MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe called for an “all-hands meeting” in which he confirmed that the app will no longer allow users to see “big upcoming movies.”

This means that you won’t be able to use your MoviePass to see titles such as The Meg, Christopher Robin, etc.

Users first got a taste of this practice earlier this week when they were blocked from seeing Mission Impossible: Fallout at theaters that weren’t partnered with MoviePass to support E-Ticketing, but from the sound of things, all theaters will be blocked from upcoming big releases going forward. Apparently, Lowe noted that this change will be in effect for the foreseeable future.

Aka, MoviePass is dead.

All the important details

There are two plans to choose from

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Right now, you’ve got two options to choose from if you want to get MoviePass — MoviePass and MoviePass Unlimited.

The former of those two costs $7.95/month and lets you see three movies per month.

While it’s nice that MoviePass has this available if you want to save a couple bucks each month, I’d recommend going all the way with MoviePass Unlimited. For $9.95/month, you can watch one new movie per day in theaters every single day.

Both plans are billed monthly and can be canceled at any time.

See at MoviePass

E-ticketing makes everything easier

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MoviePass is regularly partnering with more and more theater chains to support e-ticketing, and if you happen to live near one that offers this, you’re in for a real treat.

For theaters that don’t support e-ticketing, using MoviePass requires you to be within 100 yards of the theater you’re going to, check-in to the showtime on your phone, and then swipe your card to get your ticket. If the showing happens to sell out by the time you get to the theater, you can either choose another movie or call it a night.

However, if there’s a theater near you that does support e-ticketing, the process is way simpler. Once you find the showtime you want to go to, a “Get E-Ticket” button will pop up instead of the “Check In” one.

E-tickets can’t be canceled once you buy them, but they do have the added benefit of allowing you buy them wherever you are. Also, if you’re theater supports e-ticketing and reserved seating, you can even choose your seat right from the MoviePass app! Once you get to the theater, just type in the redemption code for your e-ticket or scan the QR code.

Right now, e-ticketing with MoviePass works at Goodrich Quality Theaters, Studio Movie Grill, and MJR Theaters.

Only 2D movies are supported, at least for now

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As it currently stands, you can only use your MoviePass to watch regular 2D movies. In the near future, however, that will soon be changing.

By Labor Day (September 3), MoviePass will allow you to pay an upgrade fee to see RealD 3D, IMAX 2D, 3D, and other Premium Large Format movies.

That fee will range between $2 – $5 depending on what kind of premium show you’re seeing.

You can’t rewatch movies

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As good of a deal as MoiePass is, it’s not without a few limits here and there — the first of which is the fact that you can’t rewatch movies.

MoviePass experimented with letting people rewatch the same movie over and over again for a few months but eventually decided to revoke the right to prevent ticket-scalping and other misuses of the service.

It would certainly be nice to have the option of seeing a movie again that you particularly like, but don’t expect this to come back anytime soon.

You can still benefit from your theater’s loyalty program

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If your theater has a loyalty program that rewards you with points for buying tickets and concessions, you can link it up to your MoviePass account and still get rewarded for the tickets you “buy” with your MoviePass subscription.

As it currently stands, you can link loyalty programs from Goodrich Quality Theaters, D Place Entertainment, and Starlight Cinemas.

It’s an admittedly small list right now, but it’s one that should only grow more and more as time goes on.

What’s the deal with Peak Pricing?

MoviePass is always trying to find ways of adapting its business model as more and more people join, and one of those latest efforts is seen with Peak Pricing. On June 22, MoviePass said the following:

Under this plan, if the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher, subscribers may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level of demand. You can avoid this peak surcharge by choosing an alternative date or film.

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In the MoviePass app, showtimes that are affected by Peak Pricing will be indicated by a red lightning bolt icon next to them. If a showtime isn’t currently in Peak Pricing but might enter it soon, you’ll see a grey icon.

The surcharge you’ll need to pay is entirely dependent on the movie and time, but as a point of reference, the screenshots MoviePass shared show a surcharge of $3.43. Thankfully, MoviePass will launch Peak Passes in the coming weeks that’ll allow you to waive the Peak Pricing fee once per month.

Peak Pricing officially launched on July 5 and is rolling out to users over the coming weeks. If you’re currently subscribed to an annual or quarterly plan, you won’t have to deal with Peak Pricing until your plan ends and renews.

Be mindful of the device authorization limit

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If you’re someone that lives the two phone life or frequently goes from device to device, you’ll want to keep MoviePass’s device authorization limit in mind.

To “keep your account secure”, MoviePass only allows you to be signed into the MoviePass app on one phone at a time. However, if you do get a new phone or need to sign into another one for whatever reason, you can log into your account on another phone every 30 days.

Just download the app, enter your credentials, and confirm that you want to use that as your authorized device.

Updated July 12, 2018: Updated the plan information now that the iHeartRadio promo is over and added more details about premium movies.

31
Jul

How to Measure and Boost Wi-Fi Signal Strength


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Does the Wi-Fi in your home suck? Here are some tips for getting better coverage from your wireless router!

Sure, it might be considered a “first-world problem”, but shoddy or unreliable Wi-Fi is absolutely frustrating — especially when it’s your home Wi-Fi network giving you fits.

If your Wi-Fi signal strength seems to be lacking, there are several issues that could be contributing and a number of ways you can diagnose and address the issue.

Common sense tips for troubleshooting your home Wi-Fi

Before you do anything, first assess your router setup. All too often with older houses, the cable from your service provider comes through the basement, and unless you’re willing to snake coaxial cable throughout your house your installation tech might just install your wireless modem in the basement. If you’ve got a multi-story house, the basement is less than ideal location, so the first tip is to try and move your router to a more central location in your house. This alone can significantly improve your Wi-Fi signal range.

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One important thing to consider is the positioning of your router’s antenna. Mac Observer offers some great tips from Alf Watt, a former Apple Wi-Fi engineer, who offers up a tip for routers with adjustable antennas — rather than pointing them straight up, you should try positioning them perpendicular with one another. The article specifically references routers with dual antennae, but it’s the similar concept for routers with multiple antennae.

Understanding how your router’s antennae send out a signal in a 3D space is pretty crucial to providing proper coverage to your whole home.

There’s a Digital Trends article that does a great job of illustrating how a dipole antenna emits its wireless signal, and understanding how your router’s antennae send out a signal in a 3D space is pretty crucial to providing proper coverage to your whole home. An antenna positioned parallel to the ground will radiate Wi-Fi vertically (better for reaching basements or second levels), while an antenna pointing straight up will deliver signal parallel to the ground. For newer routers with internal antennas, you should orientate the router with the ‘feet’ pointed towards the ground, as that’s how the router was designed to properly transmit its signal.

Finally, you should take an inventory of all the devices that might be connected to your home network. These days, it’s not uncommon for each person in your home to have their own laptop, smartphone, tablet, smart speaker, and other devices simultaneously used to stream music, movies, or play online games. If it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded your internet package you might want to consider talking to your internet service provider about upgrading to a more substantial package with higher download speeds and an up-to-date Wi-Fi modem.

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Testing your wireless network

If you’re curious to know if your download and upload speeds match what your ISP claims to offer, you can test your internet speed using an internet speed test app. There’s a ton of these apps in the Google Play Store, so we’ll highlight some of the most reputable options

Speedtest by Ookla

If you’ve ever called to troubleshoot your internet, chances are the technical service rep had you visit Speedtest.net. It’s a fast and reliable way to see how well your internet connection is performing and can be accessed using a browser or through the mobile app.

Obviously one of the perks of downloading the app is that you’ll be able to test your internet connection wherever you go, but it also keeps a log of all your results, too, so you can run multiple tests and easily compare between them.

Download: Speedtest by Ookla (Free)

Open Signal

If you’re looking for a second opinion for your speed test readings, the speed test app from Open Signal is another reliable option. Its highlighted feature is its cell tower signal detector, but the Wi-Fi and speed test features are up to snuff as well.

It’s a free download with no ads so definitely one of the better speed test apps in the Play Store.

Download: Open Signal (Free)

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Upgrading your wireless network

So you’ve adjusted your router and troubleshot the issue with your ISP but you’re still not getting good Wi-Fi reception throughout your house. If this describes your situation it might be time to invest in some better Wi-Fi equipment.

There are a couple options we’d recommend. If you’ve got a big house with a ton of devices simultaneously connecting to your wireless network you may want to upgrade to a mesh network — but those are still quite expensive. For a more budget-friendly solution, a Wi-Fi extender can help boost your Wi-Fi signal to a part of the house that your router just can’t reach.

Google Wifi

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One of the most stylish and popular mesh networks solutions for your home comes from Google (who else did you expect?). These puck-shaped nodes are easy to set up and are perfect for any size house, allowing you to ensure that you get the best Wi-Fi signal strength throughout your home. Best of all is the ease of installation and the ability to adjust the set up to perfectly suit your needs.

Check out our full review for more details. You can get the three-pack kit for $260 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

Linksys Velop mesh router

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The Linksys Velop is a very powerful set of mesh network router nodes that are designed to preserve the full strength of your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. It’s also quite expensive with the two-pack setting you back a cool $333.

But I can attest to the value of this product. I tested and reviewed this set up nearly six months ago to fix the Wi-Fi issues in my home. We had a wireless router installed in the basement that wasn’t throwing to the upper levels too good and it would have been a pain to re-install in a different part of the house. The Velop nodes were fairly easy to set up and I’ve had not one issue from the Wi-Fi strength in my home despite having so many devices connected at once. I’m also able to give my laptop and personal phone priority access to the network’s bandwidth which is a nice perk.

See at Amazon

TP-Link AC750 Dual Band WiFi Range Extender

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If you’ve got a troublespot around your home and a $300 mesh router network seems like unnecessary overkill, TP-Link offers an affordable solution for under $30.

This simple plug-in model works with pretty much any wireless router to boost the signal into trouble areas around your house. Based on where you position one in your house, you may be able to extend the range better out onto your front porch or into the backyard, and it also features an ethernet port on the bottom that lets you conveniently connect wired devices to your network.

See at Amazon

How’s your Wi-Fi network?

Have you ever dealt with shoddy home Wi-Fi, and if so, how did you fix it? Share your solutions or recommendations in the comments below!

31
Jul

MoviePass Will Increase Price of Standard Plan to $14.95/Month in August


One day after MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe announced that subscribers will not be allowed to see select major movies like “Christopher Robin” and “The Meg,” the company today announced a price hike for subscribers to its standard plan. The price of this $9.95/month tier will increase to $14.95/month “within the next 30 days,” according to a press release shared today.

This increase comes just under one year since MoviePass first began making headlines by dropping its subscription price to $9.95/month, allowing users to see one movie per day and saving money for those who visit the theater often. Now, following ongoing stock price drops, a new “Peak Pricing” feature, and a recent service blackout caused by a sudden lack of money, MoviePass is struggling to stay afloat.

Today’s press release also reiterates on the company’s plan to limit availability of “First Run Movies” that open on 1,000+ screens (which is typically any major studio release) during their first two weeks, “unless made available on a promotional basis.” This refers to films that MoviePass partly owns under its subsidiary MoviePass Ventures, gaining revenue through box office ticket sales on movies like “American Animals” and “Gotti.”

According to the company, its goal is to “enhance discovery” and “drive attendance” to smaller independent films like these, and as such has decided to limit ticket availability for “blockbuster” films. MoviePass also admits that it will save money by restricting its subscribers from being able to see movies like “Mission: Impossible Fallout” and “The Meg.”

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the MoviePass mission, to enhance discovery, and to drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community, MoviePass will begin to limit ticket availability to Blockbuster films. This change has already begun rolling out, with Mission Impossible 6 being the first film included in the measure.

This is a strategic move by the company to both limit cash burn and stay loyal to its mission to empower the smaller artistic film communities. Major studios will continue to be able to partner with MoviePass to promote their first run films, seeding them with a valuable moviegoing audience.

The company says that these new cost-reduction measures will cut monthly burn by 60 percent. In the end, Lowe says that these changes are “meant to protect the longevity” of the company, although it’s still unclear exactly how long MoviePass will be around.

Tag: MoviePass
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