Skip to content

Archive for

28
Oct

Will 5G be the answer for underserved rural America?


Android-figures.jpg?itok=JOwVsINE

While some places are ramping up for 5G, rural America will still be the same problem it’s always been for carriers.

You probably knew that places like Western Nebraska are still waiting for 4G LTE to arrive, but did you know there are places in rural Kentucky that have no internet service at all? It’s true; Kentucky’s Chief Information Officer Charles Grindle recently said that 20% of his state is still without any type of internet access. He’s hoping that 5G will be the answer the state has been waiting for, eventually bringing broadband coverage to all Kentuckians.

Rural Nebraska and Kentucky aren’t the only places in North America still waiting for broadband coverage, though few populated places are completely uncovered. It’s pretty easy to get a good idea about where the U.S. lacks coverage by looking at Verizon’s coverage map. You’ll notice that those white holes in the red map usually align with places like mountains or deserts (or both — hello Nevada) where there are few roads let alone homes and communities. But on the fringe where red meets white, you’ll find rural Americans who are still waiting for good internet. Or any internet at all.

qualcomm-5g.jpg?itok=4I4NdryE

It’s been touted that 5G is the answer to get broadband internet service to rural parts of the U.S., but like everything else, it isn’t that simple. 5G has the potential to cover everyone in the United States because it’s deployed so differently to current broadband solutions like cable and satellite (and fiber, but that’s still a pipe dream for most of the world), and the equipment used for a cell “tower” is much smaller and cheaper to build and deploy than running wire.

This will allow for planning a 5G network not only in places like Chicago or Los Angeles but Western Washington and Appalachia, too. Narrowband 5G can also connect up to 100-times more clients than existing tech and has 10-times the range. It sounds like the answer.

To become the answer, though, a few other things need to be discussed. The biggest hurdle, according to industry partners ready to profit by providing 5G access, is spectrum licensing. While the narrowband 5G mentioned above does have 10-times more range than existing services can provide, a more realistic look using the spectrum available and messy standards we have now mean you would need a small-site 5G station spaced only a few hundred feet apart according to NTCA Senior VP of Industry Affairs Michael Romano.

It is important to take realistic stock of whether, when, and to what degree 5G services will be available on a widespread basis in rural America. A technical paper released last year found that the full promise of 5G capability can only be realized in rural America if small cells are placed every several hundred feet apart, and it will take significant amounts of backhaul capacity–’densification’ of fiber–to manage the data loads that 5G is hoping to handle.

Backhaul, it seems, is still the biggest problem when it comes to deployment of any data-intensive network. Backhaul is the big fat pipe that traverses the entire network and allows the little pipes, like the ones that would feed Detroit or Memphis, to get the same data at the same speed from the same places. It’s not glamorous and that means it’s not something you’ll see mentioned in a commercial or ad on a website. But it is the core that every single data network relies on.

T-Mobile wants to use Sprint as backhaul for a 5G network. It’s better than nothing.

Backhaul can be land-based wire or fiber or it can be microwave transmission. Even Sprint’s now-defunct WiMax network can be transitioned into a point-to-multipoint backhaul platform, which is probably why T-Mobile wants it right now. Some types of backhaul are better than others — cable or fiber is much better than microwave transmission when it comes to the amount of data that can be transferred at one time, though new technology (that’s the obscure QAM rating you’ll sometimes see mentioned) is narrowing that gap significantly. What really matters is that the backhaul has to be there unless we want a shoebox-sized 5G carrier station every 200 feet along the side of the road and a mesh-like peer to peer based 5G network feeding everyone who lives outside a major metro area.

cell-tower.jpg?itok=nzOIYzKm

Neither option is going to be very profitable for companies like Verizon and AT&T which need to build those fat data pipes of backhaul. If nothing changes with the way spectrum is licensed and auctioned, rural America will be waiting for 4G or fiber until it becomes less rural and filled with enough customers to justify the cost.

Right now, 5G for America is a big ball of red tape and guys in expensive suits.

All of this is no secret. The FCC and telecommunications lobby both know that as much of the 5G suitable spectrum as possible needs to be auctioned off if we want the U.S. to be blanketed with fast and reliable internet. But like everything else that’s tied to the government, it’s a quagmire filled with red tape and special favors and legislators who have no clue what they want or why they are asking for it. Special interest groups, of course, want to say they know what’s best and get the company they are funded by the best deal, and everyone sits in meetings that do little to advance the situation then push out five-minute soundbites blaming someone else for the problems that will happen before they actually happen.

5G could be the solution to get data and information services to everyone in America. And that’s what is important — everyone, regardless of their situation, deserves access to information as part of the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In 2018 and beyond, you simply can’t belong or have esteem without it. But I fear that nothing will change enough to make a difference and the have-nots will still go without.

28
Oct

This $11 Bluetooth speaker is meant to be used anywhere, even the shower


Jam out while you get clean.

victsing-shower-speaker-8isi.png?itok=jY

Right now you can pick up this waterproof Bluetooth speaker with suction cup for just $10.99 at Amazon when you use coupon code QYR6BVQ2 during checkout. Inside you’ll find a 5W speaker so you can play audio for yourself and your friends, and the built-in battery will last for up to 6 hours of playback per charge. It comes with a detachable suction cup so you can stick it to surfaces, and if there’s nothing to stick it to, you can use the included metal hook instead.

With more than 7,000 this speaker maintains an incredibly impressive 4.3 out of 5-star rating.

See at Amazon

28
Oct

This HDMI adapter lets you play vintage PlayStations on modern televisions


original-playstation-with-controllers-he

You don’t need complicated set-ups with dozens of cables to get your vintage PlayStations running on modern televisions.

Older consoles weren’t exactly built with the future in mind—at least, not decades ahead—so it comes as no surprise that as technology advanced, these systems were left in the dust. Vintage PlayStations just aren’t natively compatible with modern televisions through HDMI, but that’s where adapters come in.

Previously, you’d need to use a convoluted set-up with multiple cords to get your original PlayStation running on a television today, but a new HDMI adapter set to release in November is about to change the game.

How can I play PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 consoles through HDMI?

pound-technology-ps1-ps2-hdmi-adapter.jp

A company called Pound Technology, known for “bringing classic console games back to life,” recently partnered with Limited Run Games to sell an HDMI adapter for older PlayStation systems that will easily make them compatible on televisions today.

Pound Technology has already successfully launched HDMI adapters for the original Xbox and Dreamcast to rave reviews from customers, so the upcoming adapter for PlayStation has the backing of a good reputation.

When speaking with a company representative, I was told that “all games will be upscaled to 1280×720 resolution to maximize compatibility with modern TVs; some of which do not support 240p (PlayStation) or 480i (most of PlayStation 2 library).”

What are its features and what does the box include?

As per Pound Technology:

  • Works with both the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 1 systems
  • Works with PlayStation 1, PSX Games on the PlayStation 2
  • Excellent RGB video quality
  • 6.6 feet cable length
  • Breakaway design
  • Includes 6ft USB-A to micro USB cable with cable management tie offs to provide power

Where and when can I buy it?

You can pre-order this adapter from Limited Run Games for just $30. It is set to start shipping around the middle of November.

$30 at Limited Run Games

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

28
Oct

Get free shipping on any Mint Mobile order for a limited time


Pricing this low is hard to pass up!

Update: Mint Mobile is currently offering free shipping for all Android Central readers who use the coupon code ACFREESHIP during checkout, saving you a few extra bucks on the already-affordable packages.

mintsim-transparent.png?itok=H6EB_bzn

Mint Mobile is no stranger around here. We’ve talked about them a bunch in the past, and even reviewed our experiences with the service, but it’s been a bit since we reminded you just how affordable your phone bill can be. The MVNO currently has packages starting at just $45 for three months of service that includes 2GB of high-speed data. That’s just $15 a month, which I am pretty sure is a huge savings compared to your current bill.

Not everyone can get away with 2GB of data per month, but that’s why Mint Mobile also offers a plan that includes 5GB of data for $60 or 10GB of data for $75 for the three-month period. After the promotional period, each plan does go up by a little, but the prices still remain way under the competition. To put it into perspective, MetroPCS’ base plan starts at $30 per month for 2GB of data, and AT&T’s base plan offers only 1GB of data for the same monthly cost.

With Mint Mobile being an MVNO that operates on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, it means that you can likely pop your current SIM card out of your device and simply replace it with one from Mint Mobile. If you’re in the market for a new device as well, Amazon’s Prime-exclusive devices are a great value, though just about any unlocked phone will do.

From time to time Mint Mobile offers additional discounts, which we keep track of, so be sure to check back on that page every so often to see if you can save a little extra on top of the already-low prices.

See at Mint Mobile

28
Oct

Save 96% with this great deal on Ivacy VPN lifetime subscriptions!


We all value our privacy, and when have so much of our lives online, that privacy and security is paramount. It’s far too often that people are the victims of identity theft, doxing, and worse, so having a quality VPN to protect the anonymity of your online browsing habits is a great idea.

Ivacy VPN is a highly reviewed service that offers person-to-person file sharing at blazing fast speeds, while completely protecting your identity, and right now you can get a lifetime subscription for only $39.99. With a regular retail price of $1,194, you save 96% through Android Central Digital Offers. The other wonderful benefit of a VPN is the ability to stream tens of thousands of movies, TV shows, sports events, and more from around the world. Having a quality VPN can help you completely bypass geo-restrictions, so you can get to the content you want now. You’ll even get a dedicated VPN add-on for Kodi.

ivacy-stacksocial.jpg?itok=Rt8bFpUi

Ivacy VPN lets you connect to more than 450 servers in over 100 locations around the world, and its an official partner of the National Cyber Security Alliance, helping to promote privacy education and awareness. If you’re worried about the state of net neutrality and your internet speeds going forward, Ivacy VPN can help you overcome throttling and port blocking.

No more region-blocking the content you want to see; no more hacking, spyware, or government surveillance; no more worry that your privacy is at stake. Check out Ivacy VPN at Android Central Digital Offers and get a lifetime subscription for only $39.99. For the month of October, you can save an additional 15% by using coupon code BOO15 at checkout!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

28
Oct

OnePlus teases more unreleased OnePlus 6 colors


Unlock the secrets.

oneplus-6-review-4.jpg?itok=SeTB5quh

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

October 27, 2018 — OnePlus teases more of the OnePlus 6 gradient colors we’ll never get

Youtuber Arun Maini, better known as Mrwhosetheboss, got a preview of the coming OnePlus 6T at OnePlus’s Chinese headquarters, and while all will finally be revealed for the new model on Monday, there were some more color protoypes that OnePlus showed Maini, who then showed the world in his OnePlus 6T preview video. And as a lover of beautifully colored phones, I just have to say it’s not fair to play with my heart like this.

Now, this is not the first time OnePlus has teased us with colors that never made it to market. It showed off a whole host of prototype colors back in the summer after the Red OnePlus 6 was released, but the prototype colors shown off now are almost all gradient color styles rather than the solid color models OnePlus stuck to on the OnePlus 6, and man, these are beautiful! That purple/black gradient is just darling, and look at that Tequila Sunrise! Just look at it!!

Source: Mrwhosetheboss

OnePlus had so many cool color options it explored for the OnePlus 6… but it still only gave us white, black, and red. Granted, crazy-colored phones can be a gamble, but color done right can be an asset, like on the Huawei P20. One can only hope that them showing off all these colors means that maybe there’s hope the 6T will give us the color we deserve — colorful cases and skins are no replacement for making a beautifully hued phone to begin with — but either way, we’ll know soon.

What we know ahead of Monday’s OnePlus 6T event

September 21, 2018 — Stable Android 9 Pie update rolling out to all OnePlus 6 owners

oneplus-6-pie.jpg?itok=HVNSHhOq

Less than a month after OnePlus launched its Pie Open Beta, the company is already rolling out a stable build of the new Android version to everyone that owns a OnePlus 6!

This update includes everything first introduced with the Open Beta, such as a refreshed UI, Pie’s new gesture navigation, Gaming Mode 3.0, and more. Also included is the September 2018 Android security patch.

Android 9 is making its way to OnePlus users now as part of a staged rollout. That means it’ll be hitting a “limited number” of people today and will then expand to others over the coming days.

September 3, 2018 — Every OnePlus 6 owner can install Android 9 Pie right now, provided they want to use beta software

After a couple weeks running in a closed beta, OnePlus has opened up its Android 9 Pie update for the OnePlus 6 to any willing participant. The new update is the first public taste of the actual OxygenOS-customized version of Android 9 Pie, as early builds during the Developer Preview stage didn’t have a full suite OnePlus tweaks and additions.

As is typically the case with beta builds, there are known bugs and problems with this first open beta release. OnePlus says that Google Pay will not work on this build, and Google Play may complain that your device “is not certified.” If you’re willing to deal with those known issues and some occasional instability, you can head to the OnePlus forums and download the file for your own phone. Note that there are different update processes depending on whether you’re currently on the stable build or the original developer preview.

August 20, 2018 — OnePlus starts accepting applications for Closed Beta group

On its community forums, OnePlus announced that it’s opening up a Closed Beta group for the OnePlus 6.

Unlike the OxygenOS Open Beta that’s open for anyone to sign up for, the Closed Beta will be restricted to just 100 users who own a OnePlus 6, are active in the forums, and are willing to provide constant feedback/communication with the OnePlus team through Slack.

Members of the Closed Beta will be able to test bleeding edge versions of OxygenOS before they’re even moved over to the Open Beta, and because of this, all users that are accepted must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with OnePlus to ensure that any features/bugs found in the builds are kept under total secrecy.

If you’d like to apply for the OnePlus 6 Closed Beta Program, you can do so here.

July 18, 2018 — OnePlus 6 Android P Developer Preview 3 adds bug fixes and tweaked UI

On July 18, OnePlus announced its third developer preview of Android P for the OnePlus 6.

This update mainly focuses on big fixes, with some of the highlights in the changelog including improved system stability, fixed issue with mobile hotspot, better camera functionality with third-party apps, and improved overall image quality with the camera. Also included is the July 2018 security patch.

oneplus-6-android-p-recents.jpg?itok=TsQoneplus-6-android-p-settings.jpg?itok=unoneplus-6-android-p-shelf.jpg?itok=LbjED

Our friends at 9to5Google recently got their hands on the beta, and as they spotted, this preview includes a few UI changes — most notably the recents page/app switcher.

The cards on the recents page have a more rounded appearance and appear to be smaller than Android P on Google’s Pixel phones. There’s also a menu button near the top of each app that lets you quickly hop into split-screen mode. Other chnages include a redesigned settings page and a white paint job for the Shelf.

July 10, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 Red is now available for purchase

The day has finally come! You can now buy the striking OnePlus 6 Red exclusively from OnePlus’s website.

This limited edition model of the phone costs $579, and for that price, you’re getting the most powerful configuration with 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus is making a limited run of this color, so once it’s gone, it’s gone.

See at OnePlus

July 3, 2018 — OnePlus shows off different colors/patterns it was testing for the OnePlus 6

OnePlus recently launched the lustrous OnePlus 6 Red, and while there’s no doubt it’s one of the most gorgeous phones on the market right now, it was just one of many designs that the company was toying with before ultimately selecting the red we now have.

PCMag was recently invited to tour OnePlus’s headquarters in Shenzen, China, and during the visit, got a chance to look at some other colors OnePlus was testing for the 6. As you can see in the video above, OnePlus was messing with glass backs that had subtle patterns, gradiant designs, and much more.

The video also showcases early prototypes of not only the OnePlus 6, but other OnePlus phones, too. I’m a big fan of the OnePlus 6 we ended up getting, but it is cool to see what could have been.

July 1, 2018 — OnePlus is adding a limited-edition red OnePlus 6 to the mix

oneplus6red-lifestyle-shot03.jpg?itok=si

oneplus6red-lifestyle-shot01.jpg?itok=93oneplus6red-lifestyle-shot05.jpg?itok=8L

Late on Sunday night in the U.S., OnePlus is announcing a limited-edition red OnePlus 6, which is coming to North American and European markets on July 10 for $579. The model will just be available in the now-common 8GB/128GB RAM and storage combination, and only from OnePlus.com.

Following the launch of the critically acclaimed OnePlus 6, which sold over 1 million units in just 22 days, OnePlus is bringing a new limited-edition color to Europe and North America, the OnePlus 6 Red.

The OnePlus 6 Red is designed to match power with style, with attention to detail paramount. The metallic red shimmer coupled with the red, mirror-like fingerprint sensor elegantly contrast the silver accent around the camera.

Six panels of glass make up the back of the OnePlus 6 Red. With this variant, OnePlus has added an additional anti-reflective layer to create a sense of depth by allowing more light to reach the bottom layers before being reflected off the device. A translucent orange layer has been intermixed with the red base layer to achieve a radiant and glossy red, unique to OnePlus design.

OnePlus also says that the Bullets Wireless headphones will also be restocked on July 10.

More: The OnePlus 6 in red

June 14, 2018 — One million units of the OnePlus 6 were sold in just 22 days

We expected the OnePlus 6 to sell like hotcakes, but I don’t know if anyone was anticipating demand on this level. On June 14, OnePlus confirmed that it crossed one million sales of the OP6 just 22 days after it launched.

OnePlus notes that this demand is a “sharp upward hike from even the OnePlus 5T”, and as such, the OnePlus 6 is now taking the title of the company’s best-selling product to date.

For comparison, both the OnePlus 5 and 5T each crossed one million units sold within three months of launching.

June 14, 2018 — OnePlus 6 comes with Dirac’s latest sound optimization solutions

Swedish-based audio technology company Dirac works with the likes of OPPO and Xiaomi to provide optimized audio solutions, and the company announced that its latest technologies are baked into the OnePlus 6.

Dirac Power Sound is a micro-speaker tuning technology that optimizes the performance from the built-in speaker to deliver a clearer, more natural sound with richer details and more powerful bass.

Dirac HD Sound, meanwhile, is a sound optimization solution that tweaks impulse and frequency response to improve sound quality. Dirac says it has worked closely with OnePlus to ensure that the sound output coming out of the 3.5mm jack is “optimized to the highest level, while also capable of producing sound characters tuned to OnePlus users’ preferences.”

June 12, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 in Silk White is back on sale for a limited time!

If you missed out on the opportunity to grab a sexy OnePlus 6 in sexy Silk White, now’s your chance — though it will probably sell out pretty quickly.

See at OnePlus

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

oneplus-6-hands-on-4.jpg?itok=IT6Abbn-

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.

May 31, 2018 — Battery percentage coming to the status bar, fix for rear camera autofocus issue, and more

As part of a Q&A session OnePlus held of its forums, the company answered a lot of burning questions on users’ minds. You can read through the full rundown here, but the highlights include:

  • The three dots in the status bar will be removed in the next update.
  • A battery percentage is coming to the status bar in the next update.
  • Scheduled Do Not Disturb will be added in the next update.
  • The next update will fix low volume for calls and notifications.
  • Future updates will correct issues with the rear camera’s autofocus.
  • Your network will properly work when using an IDEA as a non-data card in the next update.
  • A fix in the next update will resolve an issue that causes sound to stop working when switching to the speaker from the earpiece.

May 29, 2018 — JerryRigEverything tears down the OnePlus 6 to see how waterproof it really is

It was expected that OnePlus would have to cut a few corners in order to keep the OnePlus 6’s price as low as it is, and one of those cuts came in the way of a proper water resistance rating.

Unlike other flagship phones, the OnePlus 6 doesn’t come with a proper IP rating. However, OnePlus does note on its website that the phone “is well-equipped to survive a drop in the sink or a spilled glass of water.”

To test out just how “water resistant” the OnePlus 6 actually is, JerryRigEverything cracked open the phone and determined it’s about as protected as other phones that have a proper IP rating. Check it out above!

May 23, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 is now available!

It was only announced a week ago, but the OnePlus 6 is now available to order from oneplus.net starting at $529 USD.

Are you ordering?

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

oneplus-6-3.jpg?itok=mc3YjJHe

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?

oneplus-6-vs-galaxy-s9-plus-6.jpg?itok=2

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.

  • OnePlus 6 vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: Which should you buy?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+: Which should you buy?

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?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 3T & 3: Should you upgrade?

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?

oneplus-6-hands-on-24.jpg?itok=OLi_g_76

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, and here’s a breakdown of which one to buy.

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=gNsRdvVPred-oneplus-6-hands-on-8.jpg?itok=cwoZGU

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

  • 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 one of the more limited of the four colors. 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’s only available in the 8GB / 128GB configuration for $579, and once the run is sold out, OnePlus is not making any more.

  • Red is also a limited edition color and is easily the most vibrant of the four that are available. It has a similar shiny finish like Mirror Black but uses a translucent orange layer and red base layer to create one of the most powerful reds we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Sales open on July 10 and it’ll be available with 8GB RAM + 128GB storage for $579.

What color OnePlus 6 should you buy?

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

oneplus-6-review-11.jpg?itok=t6rg80Va

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

  • OnePlus 6 review
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T: How much changes in six months?
  • 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

Updated July 3, 2018: Added the OnePlus Red to the list of colors!

28
Oct

Keep your Google Pixel 3 XL svelte with a thin case


The Google Pixel 3 XL is tall, dark, and handsome, so why would you make yours gain weight wearing a thick, bloated case? The Pixel 3 XL’s glass back needs protecting, to be sure, but we can protect it without locking it in Fort Knox with cases like the Cimo Slim Grip that give your new phone some extra grip and guard against scuffs and scratches.

Like nothing’s there

Cimo Slim Grip

cimo-slim-grip-case-pixel-3-xl-purple.jp

$8 at Amazon

Cimo’s Slim Grip is one of the thinner clear cases on the market. Its translucence lets the Pixel branding and two-tone glass shine through one of three cool colors — blue, purple, and clear — while the TPU offers extra grip so you can keep your Pixel 3 XL safely in hand.

Crystal Clear

Spigen Liquid Crystal

spigen-liquid-crystal-case-pixel-3-xl.jp

$12 at Amazon

Eschewing hard polycarbonate backs that have a tendency to produce oily rainbows on many a clear case, the Liquid Crystal’s flexible TPU is easy to apply and easier to grip. This case offers light protection that is as thin as it is beautiful on the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Affordable crystal

MoKo Clear Case

moko-clear-case-pixel-3-xl.jpg?itok=7BNR

$7 at Amazon

MoKo’s clear cases display the Google Pixel 3 XL’s beauty to the world with a hard polycarbonate back while a more flexible TPU bumper lets you get the case on and off the phone with ease. Moko’s case is a little tougher to get on and off than a pure TPU case, but its hard back offers stability and a good surface for phone grips or card sleeves.

Air cushion corners

TGOOD Slim Grip

tgood-slip-grip-case-pixel-3-xl-clear.jp

$6 at Amazon

Want a thin case but want still want more protection for your Pixel 3 XL and those dreaded corner-drop shatters? TGOOD has your answer with their Slip Grip case, which stays thin and clear and beautiful on the back and sides of the phone where you’ll grip it most often while sporting some serious air cushions on the four corners of the case.

Like totally perfect

Totallee Case

totallee-ultra-thin-case-pixel-3-xl-blac

$28 at Amazon

It doesn’t get much thinner than Totallee’s 0.02-inch case. This premium case comes with a premium price and three styles — Frosted Clear, Solid Black, and a softer Glossy Clear..

Lightweight protection

Spigen Thin Fit

spigen-thin-fit-case-pixel-3-xl.jpg?itok

$12 at Amazon

Spigen’s Thin Fit wraps around the sides and back of the phone for an open, minimal look. You get corner protection and just enough lip around the camera and screen to help avoid scratches and scuffs.

Liquid skin

ESR Essential Twinkle case

esr-thin-case-pixel-3-xl.jpg

ESR’s flexible TPU rubber case is only 1 millimeter thick at its thinnest point. It’s clear and scratch-resistant, so you can still admire your Pixel 3 XL, while protecting it from daily wear and tear.

$11 at Amazon

Extra protection

Spigen Rugged Armor

spigen-rugged-armor-pixel-3-xl.jpg

Don’t let the name fool you: While the Rugged Armor from Spigen does indeed add extra protection to your Pixel 3 XL, the bulk is minimal, offering a flexible, slim option if you want some more shock absorption.

$13 at Amazon

Colorfully thin

Anccer Colorful Series

anccer-colorful-series-pixel-3-xl.jpg

This case will only really offer protection against scratches, because it’s exceptionally thin. It comes in nine vibrant colors, and your buttons and ports are all left uncovered for easy access.

$13 at Amazon

The Totallee case is about as thin as cases get, but it’s also more than double the price of any other case on this list. For a thin case that won’t thin your wallet, I recommend grabbing either the Cimo Slim Grip or the Spigen Thin Fit. It’s also worth reminding you that while lightweight cases will offer your phone some scuff and scratch protection, don’t expect this slim cases to protect your phone from a 2-story fall like a heavy-duty case.

28
Oct

I’m no gamer – but I’m still smitten by the ASUS ROG Phone


As smartphone designs creep ever closer to total iPhone-like homogenization, any manufacturer that bucks the trend is one that makes me sit up and take notice. So when ASUS announced its crazy ROG Phone at Computex in June, I knew I’d be falling over myself to cover it come release. And that day has finally come.

It’s not so much the spec upgrades, like the slightly-speedier Snapdragon processor, that have me stoked for the ROG Phone. It’s the fact that ASUS built it for a specific application – gaming – and didn’t even think about compromising that vision in pursuit of mass appeal. One look at the heavily stylized casing design, replete with copper cooling vents, ultrasonic triggers and a glowing Aura logo, tells you all you need to know about why the ROG Phone exists. That’s before you even connect the AeroActive clip-on fan, just one accessory of an entire ecosystem made to guarantee the ROG Phone gives you a mobile gaming experience like no other.

I’ll have to use that whole ecosystem before I decide whether the ROG Phone is worth its base price of $899 (especially in light of the fact that its closest competition is $100 cheaper) … but my early impressions are strong enough that I’m positively giddy about getting the chance to try. Check out Part 1 of my ASUS ROG Phone Review above, and be sure you’re subscribed to the MrMobile YouTube Channel so you don’t miss Part 2 coming in a few weeks!

Stay social, my friends

  • YouTube
  • The Web
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram

28
Oct

The best external battery packs for the Google Pixel


The OG Google Pixel is two years old, meaning you’re probably finding yourself charging it more often these days. I personally rely on the Ventev PowerCell 6010+ which I gave top marks in my full review, but I’d also recommend Anker’s incredible PowerCore+ 26800 PD for someone who’s willing and able to spend more than $100 on a reliable battery pack that you’ll use for years to come.

It’s all built in

Ventev PowerCell 6010+

ventev-powercell-6010-press.jpg

This power pack from Ventev is the real deal, featuring a built-in USB-C cable, folding AC prongs, and the ability to charge two devices at once using the USB-A port. Recharges in just 4 hours plugged directly into the wall, and can also be used as a wall charger for your Pixel in a pinch.

$50 at Amazon

Multiple ports

AUKEY 20,000mAh Portable Charger

aukey-20000.jpg

AUKEY’s 20,000mAh battery pack has the kitchen sink. It features a USB-C port for charging your Pixel, along with a Lightning port for Apple devices, and three USB-A ports. It’s also super thin and portable, and great for sharing your portable power with friends.

$40 at Amazon

More power

RAVPower 26,800mAh external battery

ravpower26800-2018.jpg

RAVPower includes a USB-C cable with its massive 26,800mAh battery pack. And when you deplete it, you can use two cables to double-charge it in nearly half the time. For charging your Pixel, you’ll want to use the USB-C port along with the included USB-C cable, but you also have two standard USB-A ports for charging other devices.

$60 at Amazon

Top performer

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD battery pack

anker-powercore-26800-pd-pixel-press-03.

Anker is one of the most trusted brands of external battery packs, and its PowerCore+ 26800 is an absolute beast. With 26,800mAh of battery capacity, you’ll be able to get multiple charges out of this battery pack. It comes with a 30W fast charging USB-C wall charger for topping up the battery pack, multiple charging cables, and a travel pouch.

$130 at Amazon

Keep your Pixel charged with one of these battery packs. Of these options, how can you not love Ventev PowerCell 6010+? Unless your phone usage demands the biggest capacity battery pack you can find, you’ll love the built-in charging cable and folding AC prongs.

28
Oct

Samsung’s Evo Select microSD cards have reached new low prices today


Perfect way to keep the cameras rolling!

We have seen the Samsung Evo Select microSD cards drop a couple times in last month or so, but they have never dropped to the prices we’re seeing today. In particular, the 256GB version dropped $10 since the last deal… and it was already down to its lowest price. This card was selling for above $90 in August and now it’s down to $59.99.

samsung-evo-select-128-hero-pie.jpg?itok
The 64GB version has been dropping in $1 increments each time. It’s now down to just $13.99, compared to $18 a month ago.

The 128GB card is down to $24.99 from a regular price around $34. It only dropped to $30 during the last sale.

Samsung’s Evo Select microSD cards are extremely popular cards, and there’s a good reason for that. This Class 10 UHS 3 card has read speeds of up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s. It works great for recording video (even 4K), as well as playing mobile games, taking pictures, and more. The card comes with a full-sized SD card adapter as well so you can put it into devices that accept SD cards instead of microSD cards.

See on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: