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29
Oct

Best nine ebook reading apps for Android


Like to read a quick chapter during your morning commute? In that case, you’re probably carrying a Kindle with you every day. But to be fair, with smartphones getting bigger and bigger these days, you don’t even need a Kindle anymore.

Simply install an ebook reading app on your phone and get your ebooks on board your mobile, and you won’t have to carry two devices around.

So for this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best e-reading apps you can download and use on your Android device when you feel like reading a chapter or two.

Moon+Reader

What it is:

An innovative eReader app with tons of functions and support for many ebook formats.

Why we like it:

  • The app boasts support for epub, mobi, pdf, chm, umd and lots more, so you won’t have to convert your files.
  • A user-friendly shelf-like interface where you can see all your books and from where you can easily import more files.
  • Offers direct access to free libraries like Project Guttenberg.
  • The eReader features a Day/Night mode.
  • Easily customize your reading experience by adjusting the font size, auto-scrolling mode and speed, or adjusting the brightness.

Note: Free to download. Subscription up to $4.99.

Download Moon+Reader

Bookari Free eBook Reader

What it is:

Previously known as Mantano Reader, Bookari is one of the most popular eReaders out there which also offers a discovery option.

Why we like it:

  • The app acts as a discovery tool, letting you browse the pre-configured bookstores, OPDS in-browser catalogues, or websites you have added manually.
  • Bookari lets you synchronize your library across devices, so you can easily switch between your phone and tablet and find your reading positions, bookmarks and more in place.
  • Allows you to search for books via quick access filters like tags, authors and rating.
  • Supports popular ebook formats like epub or pdf, but not mobi.

Note: Free to download. Subscription up to $5.49.

Download Bookari

Prestigio eReader

What it is:

A super-friendly eReader with Material Design which lets you keep all your books in one place, read, as well as discover new material.

Why we like it:

  • An intuitive and aesthetically pleasing user interface that allows you to easily scan your device for specific files.
  • Comes with different themes for the shelf.
  • The app has an in-built dictionary.
  • There’s also a store which you can browse which contains a Free section.
  • You can customize your reading experience by choosing your favorite, font type, size and style.
  • Offers support for a wide range of ebook formats including epub, html, mobi, pdf, fb2 and lots more.
  • Tired of reading? The app also has a Text-to-Speech function that will read out to you.

Note: Free to download. Subscription up to $2.99.

Download Prestigio eReader

AIReader

What it is:

A simple yet powerful eBook reader for Android that includes quite a lot of features.

Why we like it:

  • The app lets you open and load one book at the time and provides easy access to customization tools. Readers have the option of changing the font style, size or color, as well as margins and spacing. Screen rotation is also supported.
  • The Actions tab includes a Dictionary option, Autoscroll and Text-to-Speech.
  • AIReader supports a large number of reading formats including text, epub, html, doc, mobi and prc.

Note: Free to download. Subscription up to $9.72.

Download AIReader

FullReader

What it is:

A featured-packed eReader app with a visually pleasing user-interface that will help you get out the most of your library.

Why we like it:

  • One of the few eReading apps out there that offers support for more “exotic” formats like DjVu, odt, rar, 7z and even MP3 for audiobooks.
  • Offers integration with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, so you can sync books between several devices.
  • The app offers all the customization tools you need for a perfect reading experience. But it has some extra, like the built-in translator.
  • Users can set quick access to certain functions or tools.

Note: Free to download. Subscription up to $7.99.

Download FullReader

PocketBook Reader

What it is:

A fun eReader app with a beautiful interface and a unique floating customization menu.

Why we like it:

  • The unique customization menu which appears as a floating circle each time you open a book. Easily change the font size, text or background color and much more.
  • The app also supports audiobook and has a Text-to-Speech function, so if your eyes are tired you can simply switch to the audio option.
  • Among the few eReading apps out there that also comes equipped with a built-in ISBN Scanner.
  • Completely add-free!

Download PocketBook Reader

ReadEra

What it is:

A practical eReader app that automatically detects all the books and documents present on your device.

Why we like it:

  • ReadEra is very easy-to-use. The app auto-populates your shelf with the books and documents available on your device. It also lets you edit the font color, size or style, as well as line spacing and text alignment right from the reading window.
  • You can neatly organize your documents and books by author and series. There’s also the option to add files to the collection: To Read, Have Read and Favorites.
  • It’s completely ad-free!

Download ReadEra

Media365 Book Reader

What it is:

An eReading app that also doubles as a publishing platform for authors who want to get their names out there.

Why we like it:

  • Features a refreshing and vivid green theme
  • Includes a practical eReader function that supports all types of formats including comic book formats.
  • Offers a customizable reading experience by letting you choose from multiple font sizes and types, adjust brightness and page orientation.
  • Has a Discover tab where you can get and read free eBooks for free.
  • Authors can publish their work and start making money.

Note: Free to download. Subscription up to $4.99.

Download Media365 Book Reader

EBookDroid

What it is:

A full-featured reader app capable of displaying just about any book format you might happen to throw at it including Amazon’s AZW ebook format.

Why we like it:

  • Comes with a highly customizable document viewer that lets you adjust View Mode Settings, as well as Screen Orientation and more.
  • The app is specially designed to support DJVU and PDF files, but you can use it to view a ton of other documents.
  • The app comes with external dictionary support and offers access to OPDS catalogues like Project Gutenberg.

Download EBookDroid

Other apps, digital readers you might want to try:

  • Wattpad (if you want to discover free books and stories written by authors from around the world)
  • Kobo (bookstore that sells eBooks and audiobooks)
  • Google Play Books
  • Amazon Kindle (a reading app that’s also a book store)
29
Oct

The flagship-quality OnePlus 6T is here: Now here’s where to buy it


Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Flagship phones may have a lot to offer, but they’re really expensive, and getting pricier by the month. That, however, is where OnePlus comes in. The company has been building flagship-tier phones for a number of years now and usually offers them at a much lower price than other flagship devices. The latest is the new OnePlus 6T, which boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and more.

Of course, you may be wondering how you can get your hands on the new OnePlus 6T for yourself — which is exactly why we’ve put together this guide. This time around, for the first time, OnePlus is offering the 6T through a carrier in the U.S. thanks to its partnership with T-Mobile — essentially giving you more options than ever to buy the phone. On top of that, T-Mobile is offering the phone for half-off — if you get it on October 29 in the New York Times Square T-Mobile store.

No matter what your situation, here’s how to get your hands on the OnePlus 6T.

Does my carrier support the OnePlus 6T?

Before buying the OnePlus 6T, it’s important to note that like previous OnePlus models, the device is GSM-only. Unlike previous models, however, Verizon has certified the OnePlus 6T to work on its network, so you will be able to buy the phone unlocked and take it to Verizon. In other words, the only major network that the OnePlus 6T won’t work on is Sprint, so if you’re on Sprint you’ll need to switch in order to use the OnePlus 6T. That also means that Sprint’s mobile virtual network operators won’t support the phone — like Boost Mobile.

Buying the OnePlus 6T unlocked

As usual, the OnePlus 6T is available unlocked and you will be able to get it directly through the OnePlus website. Of course, if you do so you’ll have to pay for the OnePlus 6T upfront, which is something to keep in mind. The phone goes up for sale on November 1, and it’s available in a few different colors, though the color you get may impact pricing. Pricing for the phone can be found below.

  • Mirror black 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage: $550
  • Mirror black 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage: $580
  • Midnight black 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage: $580
  • Midnight black 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage: $630

Other than the OnePlus website, it’s likely you’ll be able to buy the phone through Amazon and other retail partners, though we’re not sure exactly when they will show up through those partners.

Buying the OnePlus 6T through T-Mobile

For the first time, OnePlus is offering the OnePlus 6T through a carrier in the U.S., and that carrier is T-Mobile. Like the unlocked version, the OnePlus 6T will go on sale at T-Mobile starting on November 1. Unlike the unlocked version, however, T-mobile is only offering one variant of the phone — the Mirror Black version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Through T-Mobile, the phone comes at $580 outright, which equates to $24.17 per month for 24 months on T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan. T-Mobile is also offering up to $300 off for an eligible trade-in, and if you get the full amount you’ll only pay $11.67 per month for 24 months.

If you live in New York, you may be able to get the phone before everyone else, and for less than everyone else. OnePlus will be taking over the flagship T-Mobile store in Times Square on Monday, October 29 at 5 p.m., where you’ll be able to get the phone for half-off its normal price.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • OnePlus 6T: Absolutely everything you need to know
  • OnePlus 6T review
  • OnePlus 6: Everything you need to know
  • The 6-inch OnePlus 5T: Everything you need to know
  • OnePlus’ ‘Crackables’ includes puzzles in both the digital and physical worlds



29
Oct

OnePlus 6T vs. OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The self-proclaimed “flagship killer” has come a long way over the last few years, with an aggressive policy of turning out new smartphones every six months. OnePlus has consistently offered close-to-cutting-edge specs at knockout prices that undercut the competition.

It looks as though the OnePlus 6T is the best phone the company has ever turned out, but how does it measure up to its predecessors? We decided to pit it against the last three OnePlus releases to see precisely what has changed and to help you decide whether it’s time to pull the trigger on an upgrade.

Specs

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6
OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5

Size
157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm (6.2 x 2.94 x 0.32 inches)
155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches)
156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm (6.15 x 2.95 x 0.29 inches)
154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm (6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches)

Weight
185 g (6.52 oz)
177 g (6.24 oz)
162 g (5.71 oz)
153 g (5.40 oz)

Screen size
6.41 inches
6.28 inches
6.01 inches
5.5 inches

Screen resolution
2,340 x 1,080 pixels (402 ppi)
2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 ppi)
2,160 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)

Operating system
Android 9.0 Pie
Android 8.1 Oreo
Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Android 7.1.1 Nougat

Storage space
128GB, 256GB
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
64GB, 128GB
64GB, 128GB

MicroSD card slot
No
No
No
No

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

Processor
Snapdragon 845
Snapdragon 845
Snapdragon 835
Snapdragon 835

RAM
6GB, 8GB
6GB, 8GB
6GB, 8GB
6GB, 8GB

Camera
Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front

Video
2,160p up to 60 fps, 1080p up to 240 fps, 720p up to 480 fps
2,160p up to 60 fps, 1080p up to 240 fps, 720p up to 480 fps
2,160 at 30 fps, 1080p up to 60 fps, 720p at 120 fps
2,160 at 30 fps, 1080p up to 60 fps, 720p at 120 fps

Bluetooth version
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0

Ports
USB-C port
3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port
3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port
3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port

Fingerprint sensor
Yes, in display
Yes, on back
Yes, on back
Yes, on front

Water resistance
No
No
No
No

Battery
3,700mAh

Fast charging

3,300mAh

Fast charging

3,300mAh

Fast charging

3,300mAh

Fast charging

App marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Google Play Store

Network support
T-Mobile, AT&T
T-Mobile, AT&T
T-Mobile, AT&T
T-Mobile, AT&T

Colors
Mirror Black, Midnight Black
Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White, Amber Red
Midnight Black, Lava Red, Sandstone White
Midnight Black, Slate Gray

Price
$550
$530
$500
$480

Buy from
OnePlus
Discontinued
Discontinued
Discontinued

Review score
4 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re looking for an area of compromise where OnePlus scrimps to keep its costs down, you won’t find it in the performance department. The OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6 both have the virtually ubiquitous Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor inside, which you’ll also find in everything from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 to Google’s Pixel 3. The older OnePlus 5T and 5 have the previous year’s Snapdragon 835, which is slightly slower and less power efficient.

All of them come with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, which may be overkill unless you’re a major multitasker. Storage has been upped from 64GB or 128GB to 128GB or 256GB in the newest phone. OnePlus is not keen on the humble MicroSD card slot, so you won’t find one in any of these phones.

The 3,300mAh battery found in the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6 has finally been upgraded in the 6T to 3,700mAh. Even accounting for the larger display, that should provide a boost to stamina. All of these phones support fast charging, but you won’t find any Qi wireless charging support.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Design and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We think this is a category where you can see the clearest evolution of the OnePlus range. We felt the OnePlus 5 was aping the iPhone a little too closely, but the fingerprint sensor moved around back in the 5T. The OnePlus 6 did adopt the notch, but it was smaller than the iPhone X’s and the central camera module and fingerprint sensor on the back gave it a feel of its own. The OnePlus 6T is perhaps its most distinct phone yet, with that teardrop notch, the slimmest of bottom bezels, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s a refined, attractive design that’s going to turn heads.

Water resistance is an area where OnePlus has cut corners. While most flagship smartphones nowadays can be submerged without damage, there’s no IP-rating for any of these OnePlus phones. The OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5 both had aluminum frames and backs, but the newer duo are glass front and back, so durability is definitely an issue here. It should be noted the OnePlus 6T is wrapped in Gorilla Glass 6, which is the most durable version from Corning yet.

Something that’s sure to disappoint some people is the lack of a traditional headphone port in the OnePlus 6T, especially since all the other phones here have a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The shift in the display from the OnePlus 5 through to the OnePlus 6T mirrors wider industry trends. We’ve gone from a 5.5-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio to a 6.4-inch display with an 19.5:9 ratio, which has prompted a resolution shift from 1,920 x 1,080 pixels to 2,340 x 1,080 pixels. Interestingly, all these phones have essentially the same pixel density and they’re all AMOLED screens. The extra size isn’t the only benefit of the OnePlus 6T’s display though, it’s also brighter, with better color accuracy and more software tuning options than its predecessors.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

On paper, it looks like these phones all have the same exact camera setup, a dual-lens 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel main camera and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera. There have actually been a few jumps in the hardware quality, with newer sensors, and lots of developments on the software and tuning side that mean you can see concrete improvements. The camera in the OnePlus 6 is definitely better than the cameras in the 5 and 5T. The OnePlus 6T also features some new artificial smarts for scene recognition and improved portrait and low-light capabilities, but we’ve yet to test it against the OnePlus 6, so we’re not yet sure if there’s any discernible jump in quality.

Only the 6 and 6T have super slow motion video support.

Winners: OnePlus 6 and 6T

Software and updates

With Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, the OnePlus 6T has a clear advantage. The OnePlus 5 and 5T can both be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo, which is what the OnePlus 6 launched with, and they will eventually get the update to Android Pie. The OnePlus 6 has received the Android 9.0 Pie update already. All of them have OxygenOS on top, which offers various customization options and shortcuts that you won’t find in stock Android. We expect the 6T and 6 to have a similar shelf life in terms of updates, so there’s no dividing them here.

Winners: OnePlus 6 and 6T

Special features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The in-display fingerprint sensor enabled OnePlus to hit new heights with its design in the 6T, but most of the other special features are nothing new for the range. As mentioned, OxyegnOS offers lots of gesture shortcuts and customization options, and there’s also a special gaming mode to prevent interruptions and ensure your gaming sessions are as smooth as possible.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Price

Price has always been a major selling point for the OnePlus range, but it has been creeping higher with each new phone. We’ve gone from $480 for the basic model of the OnePlus 5 up to $550 for the OnePlus 6T, but that’s still great value compared to other flagships on the market. OnePlus also discontinues its older phones as soon as the new ones are released, so there’s no option to go back and buy an older model unless you can find some remaining stock from another seller.

The OnePlus 6T is also available now from T-Mobile, giving you another place to buy it from. It’s also compatible on Verizon — a first for OnePlus — making it the most accessible OnePlus phone ever.

Overall winner: OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is the best phone that OnePlus has made so far, but it’s very, very similar to the OnePlus 6. We’re talking about some extra battery capacity, a better design, and a slightly bigger display. If you already have the OnePlus 6, then you should hold onto it for a while. For people with the OnePlus 5T or OnePlus 5, the 6T is going to be a more tempting upgrade, and you can add faster performance and a better camera to the list of temptations.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • OnePlus 6T: Absolutely everything you need to know
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. OnePlus 6: Does more expensive mean better?
  • The 6-inch OnePlus 5T: Everything you need to know
  • OnePlus 6T review
  • OnePlus’ ‘Crackables’ includes puzzles in both the digital and physical worlds



29
Oct

A new Windows Defender feature will better guard your PC against viruses


Microsoft is working on helping protect your PC from hackers and other viruses with a new feature for Windows Defender on Windows 10. A sandboxed mode for the free and built-in antivirus tool is set to raise its security by separating it from the rest of Windows to further prevent hackers from getting access to your system.

Announced on October 26, the sandbox feature for Windows Defender is currently in beta testing with Windows Insiders. Unlike free software, this makes Windows Defender the first complete antivirus solution with sandboxing, which is a feature that helps ensure that viruses and malware can’t hijack the tool itself to do damage to Windows 10.

“Putting Windows Defender Antivirus in a restrictive process execution environment is a direct result of feedback that we received from the security industry and the research community. It was a complex undertaking: We had to carefully study the implications of such an enhancement on performance and functionality. More importantly, we had to identify high-risk areas and make sure that sandboxing did not adversely affect the level of security we have been providing,” Microsoft said.

After the hard work to build Windows Defender in sandbox mode, more time is still needed to examine the feature based on feedback from beta Windows users and security researches. However, Microsoft is still making it easy for anyone to enable the feature, regardless if enrolled in the Windows Insider program or not.

If running the Windows 10 Creators Update or later, sandboxing can be force enabled on any machine by heading to the Command Prompt as an administrator, typing in “setx /M MP_FORCE_USE_SANDBOX 1”, and then restarting.

“The ability to gradually deploy this feature was another important design goal. Because we would be enabling this on a wide range of hardware and software configurations, we aimed to have the ability at runtime to decide if and when the sandboxing is enabled,” Microsoft noted.

In a world where viruses and other threats are always evolving, this is just one of the many steps Microsoft is taking toward innovating Windows Defender and making it secure. It has previously invested in research, artificial intelligence, and the cloud to better analyze and deliver protection to all Windows 10 devices.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best free antivirus for Mac in 2018
  • How to install the Windows 10 October 2018 Update right now
  • Windows 10 Home vs. Pro vs. S Mode
  • Apple’s latest feature ensures MacOS apps are safer than ever
  • Microsoft plans to overhaul a central feature of Windows 10



29
Oct

This cafe lets students trade their data for a ‘free’ cup of coffee


“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” says the narrator in Robert Heinlein’s 1966 science-fiction novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. As it turns out, there may be no such thing as a free coffee, either. At least, that’s our takeaway from Shiru Cafe, an international line of cafes with one United States branch near Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island — and more soon to open in the U.S. at Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities, and Amherst College.

Shiru offers a “brand new unique business model,” namely to give out free cups of coffee exchange for user data. In other words, it’s the same business model used by tech giants like Facebook, Google, and others — only with caffeine instead of “free” social media or email access. In order to get their free coffee, students must sign up with their name, email, college or university, major, year in school, and professional interests. This is then used to target them with information from corporate brands who essentially sponsor the running of the cafe.

“Through a free drink, we try to give students some information which sponsor company [sic] would like to inform exclusively for university students to diverse the choices of their future career,” the company’s website notes.

In an email to Digital Trends, a representative for Shiru Cafe said that it “takes students’ privacy very seriously and does not share this information with any third parties or directly with our sponsor companies.” Instead, the information is provided in aggregate and then used to arrange face-to-face meet-ups with recruiters in which additional information can be provided.

The Brown branch of Shiru Cafe opened in March and has “exceeded” the company’s expectations. The company estimates that more than 75 percent of Brown students will register with the cafe this semester and it is already receiving upward of 600 customers each day.

It’s definitely an interesting idea, although it’s certainly easy to see why some might find asking cash-poor students to instead trade their data for beverages could be troubling. Still, as noted, this is a business model that is well established among Silicon Valley tech giants. So if we’re worried about trading data for coffee, why are we happy to trade it for email, search engine results, access to social networks, and more?

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best laptops for college in 2018
  • Tinder wants to help you make friends at school this year with Tinder U
  • WatchOS 5: All our favorite new features
  • The best coffee makers of 2018
  • How to make money on Instagram (even if you don’t have a bajillion followers)



29
Oct

Text-based lie detector can help cops filter out fake robbery reports


Computational spell checkers and grammar checkers have been around for decades, but what if software was also able to act as a lie detector for text-based documents? That might sound crazy, but it’s a subject that researchers from the U.K.’s Cardiff University and Spain’s Charles III University of Madrid have been working on — and it’s apparently paying off. What computer science researchers have developed is a tool which can reportedly help police identify false statements regarding mugging-style robberies. This is a big problem in certain parts of the world and can lead to a range of negative outcomes — including false insurance claims, wasting police time, and, potentially, even wrongful arrests. The consequences of filing a false police statement can include heavy fines and even jail terms.

The new text analysis tool, called VeriPol, uses machine learning techniques to look at information such as the type of items which have been reported stolen and descriptions of perpetrators. According to its creators, it can then identify false police reports with more than 80 percent accuracy. Common recurrences in false reports include focusing more on the stolen property than the incident, a lack of precise details, limited details of the attacker, and lack of witnesses or hard evidence.

“The main goal is to create a tool that can be helpful for an early detection of these fake police reports, so it can be a complement to police expertise,” Dr. Jose Camacho Collados, a research associate at Cardiff University, told Digital Trends. “In particular, in [our research] we try to specifically study if such a tool can be automatically learned from the textual content of the reports, written by the police, and be applied to new police reports. We used classical machine learning approaches, taking as input police reports which were known to be true or false. The main findings were that people lie using similar patterns and that a classic machine learning approach can detect such patterns and be applied effectively in this problem with a high degree of accuracy.”

VeriPol has been used in several pilot studies, which demonstrated how it is can be successfully used to filter out false robbery reports. “We have now integrated this system in Spanish police architecture, together with an integral training program, and it is being used across a large number of police stations in Spain,” Camacho Collados continued. “As a side — and perhaps more important — effect, we expect that the awareness and communication of this problem will further prevent people from filing fake police reports.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • ProtonVPN and NordVPN patched up vulnerabilities before they became known
  • Amazon, Apple and government agencies deny Bloomberg’s hacking story
  • HP tries out a new premium laptop look with the leather-clad Spectre Folio
  • SEC sues Tesla CEO Elon Musk for securities fraud, Musk calls suit unjustified
  • Nikon says Z7, Z6 mirrorless cameras will ship on time in the U.S.



29
Oct

Startup to apply quantum mechanics to protect data in fiber-optic cables


A startup called Quantum Xchange has struck a deal giving it access to some 500 miles of fiber-optic cable running along the east coast of the U.S. to conduct trials of a new data transmission method. The system leverages quantum mechanics to encrypt data in a manner that would destroy that data if it were spied on, thereby, in theory, protecting the data from attacks on the network infrastructure.

One of the most damning revelations to emerge from the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013 was that the NSA had reportedly tapped into undersea fiber cables in order to facilitate its wholesale spying efforts on U.S. citizens. Driven by concerns over overzealous oversight from domestic sources, and foreign threats, Quantum Xchange is looking to pioneer a new way of securing data that should make it unreadable to anyone but its intended recipient(s).

It’s developing what it describes as a quantum key distribution (QKD) network. It encrypts the content (here’s how that works) using a quantum bit, known as a qubit. As TechnologyReview describes it, the data itself is protected by the encryption and the qubit key is protected through the fragility within its quantum state. If it were spied on by a party it wasn’t intended for, that would wipe out all the information it carries, thereby making it impossible to snoop on. Better yet, the attempted intrusion would be obvious and detectable.

To facilitate this kind of technology, the QKD will need to set up trusted nodes along the data’s route which act a little like repeaters to boost the signal. There will be 13 of those over the length of the test network that Quantum Xchange is creating.

Named “Phio,” the new network will be used first by banking and other business institutions to shepherd information between New York City and New Jersey. If the project proves successful, Quantum Xchange expects to expand its usage and expand the network in the future.

“We are incredibly excited about the launch of Phio for commercial use,” said Quantum XChange’s CEO and president, John Prisco. “It has raised the bar for modern-day encryption and key exchange, especially now as we sit on the cusp of quantum computers becoming a reality. This technology is essential for every organization that needs unbreakable encryption to keep their mission-critical data safe over any transmission distance – from banking, critical infrastructure, and healthcare organizations to telecommunications and government agencies.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Quantum computers could break encryption, so it’s going quantum too
  • Intel backs the U.S. government’s new bill for advancing quantum science
  • Firefox Quantum review
  • Australian student hacks into Apple, steals 90GB of data because he’s a ‘fan’
  • Faxploitation: Hackers can use old-school printers to invade your home network



29
Oct

AMD’s new Threadripper 2 CPUs offer improved performance at a discounted price


Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

AMD’s full range of Threadripper 2 CPUs is now available with the launch of the 2970WX and the 2920X. Both chips represent slightly weaker iterations of the flagship 2990WX and the more-affordable 2950X and expand the options for potential buyers and system builders. They’re still not cheap, but they do give those who don’t need the absolute extreme core and thread counts some alternatives at a reduced price tag.

AMD’s Threadripper CPUs have pushed the boundaries of the kind of core and thread counts we can expect from CPUs that aren’t aimed at server builds. The first generation was already impressive with up to 16 cores on the 1950X, but the second-generation offered even more, sporting up to 32 cores and 64 threads at the top end. The 2970WX isn’t quite so extreme at 24-cores and 48-threads, while the 2920X is more akin to the consumer-orientated Ryzen CPUs, with 12 cores and 24 threads.

Like its bigger brother, the 2970WX is targeted at professionals with heavy multithreaded workloads. It has a thermal design power requirement of 250 watts and it clocks up to 4.2GHz when boosted. The only real difference between the two is the drop in core count, though its price tag is also noticeably reduced at $1,300, $500 less than its bigger brother.

The 2920X is the most affordable of the second-generation Threadripper CPUs, sporting a price tag of $650. Its 12 cores can be clocked at up to 4.3GHz when boosted and requires a more reasonable 180 watts to cover its TDP. All the new Threadripper CPUs are built on the Zen+ architecture, the same as the Ryzen 2600, 2600X, and 2700X, and support a full 64 PCI Express lanes. They officially support DDR4 RAM up to 2,933MHz, though can go further with overclocking.

While the 2920X and 2950X are targeted more toward gamers and enthusiasts than their WX counterparts, AMD released an update for the more expensive Threadripper chips which can, we’re told, increase gaming performance by up t0 47 percent. Some of these chips will be making their way into Dell’s new generation of its Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition.

None of these CPUs are really targeted at even high-end gamers. We’d recommend the 9900K if you’re looking for the best gaming CPUs out there. If you want to do game streaming while you game though, or are a heavy multitasker, the new Threadripper CPUs are some of the best.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AMD vs. Intel
  • AMD’s new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper desktop CPU rips into wallets at $1,800
  • The best processors for gaming
  • AMD Ryzen 2500X and 2300X expand quad-core options for new CPUs
  • Intel Core i9 vs. AMD Threadripper



29
Oct

Should you buy the Acer Chromebook Spin 13?


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Best Answer The 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor really shows its teeth in the Acer Chromebook Spin 13. If you need a Chromebook that’s beautifully built, powerful enough for intensive business applications (or anything else) and have no qualms about spending $900 for it, this is the Chromebook to buy.

Acer: Chromebook Spin 13 ($900)

The best Chromebook ever made

I’ve used a lot of Chromebooks. Entry-level models costing under $300, the outrageously overpriced LTE Chromebook Pixel, and everything in between have crossed my desk or lived in my laptop bag, and I have no problem saying that the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 is the best Chromebook built as of October 2018. And at $900 it’s a steal if you need a Chromebook like the Spin 13.

How well it’s built and how good it looks play a part in how it earned this distinction. Everything is aluminum — from the sandblasted finish overall to the brightly polished 360-degree hinges to the keyboard pan and wrist resting area — and it feels absolutely fabulous to hold, and even more fabulous to look at. It has a modern design with attention to small things like the taper of the chassis and diamond-cut edges surrounding the Gorilla-Glass covered trackpad. Even the Wacom EMR stylus slot blends seamlessly into the overall look and feel. If you’re any sort of laptop aficionado, this thing is simply gorgeous to behold.

I have no problem saying that the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 is the best Chromebook built as of October 2018.

When a machine looks this good, it needs to perform equally as well, and the Chromebook Spin 13 overachieves here. At a glance, the specs seem to match other high-end Chromebooks: Core i5 CPU, 8GB of memory, 64GB of storage, and a big, bright 13.5-inch display. The Spin 13 has a trick up its sleeve though, as this is not the Intel Core i5 processor you find in other very attractive and very expensive Chromebooks like Google’s Pixelbook. It’s an entirely different beast and you instantly notice it if you foray into Linux software or intensive web apps.

The Spin 13 is something we’ve never seen before but hopefully will start a trend that other manufacturers follow as more Enterprise-grade Chromebooks become available.

8th generation power

passmark-results.png?itok=hUMDzAwJ Passmark PerformanceTest results for (left to right) Chromebook Spin 13, Core i5 Pixelbook, Core i7 Pixelbook. A higher total is better.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 13 is one of the first performance laptops to use the 8th generation Intel Core i5 8250U processor. To say this CPU is an improvement over last year’s popular mobile Core 7Y series of processors is a complete understatement. The processor in the Spin 13 is a 15-watt block of silicon and transistors that needs a fan (no worries it’s almost completely silent) and performs like a desktop CPU and not a 4-watt chip that while powerful, was radiant cooled, clocked low, and often throttled.

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You may have heard people mention the Google Pixelbook and how well it performs at any task — Chrome, Android, or Linux — that is thrown at it. That’s true and the base model Pixelbook is my current laptop of choice. The Chromebook Spin 13 not only destroys even the $1,650 Core i7 model while benchmarking, but it also shows a significant difference in the real world doing something like compiling a few hundred thousand lines of C code or playing a native Linux game like Extreme TuxRacer. The Pixelbook is plenty fast, but the Spin 13 is easily twice as powerful.

As a testament to Intel R&D (as well as frustrating mid-year process refreshes) you’ll still get a solid eight hours of use from the Spin 13 on a single charge. Appropriately-sized 54Wh battery plus Intel power management equals all day use.

Attention to detail

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A fast and sleek Chromebook is no good if it’s a chore to use. Time and time again we see Chromebooks that offer a great performance to price ratio, have the options we need but have a horrible keyboard or a bad trackpad — or both. Not this time.

The Chromebook Spin 13 has a backlit, full-sized, chiclet-style keyboard that isn’t quite as good as what you’ll find on a MacBook or Pixelbook, but still excellent and pleasant to use. Keys have a measurable amount of travel when pressed, bounce back satisfyingly fast, and can keep up with my frantic (and typo-laden) 85 WPM mixture of hunt and peck – Mavis Beacon brand of key-mashing. I type for a living and I’m very picky about keyboards, and I could use the Spin 13 all day, every day.

I also can’t heap enough praise on the trackpad, often another pain-point when it comes to Chromebooks. It’s large, covered with ice-smooth polished Gorilla Glass, and handles Chrome’s click anywhere and gestures perfectly. After a few inadvertent taps, because it is so responsive, I was scrolling and flicking naturally. The trackpad here is every bit as good as what you’ll find on a Pixelbook or MacBook.

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The display is breathtaking. It’s a 13.5-inch extra-bright backlit IPS LCD at 2256×1504 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Ten-finger multitouch and Wacom EMR are both integrated, so whether you use your fingers or the included stylus, you’ll get a fluid response. It’s also close to perfect when it comes to color reproduction and has an ultra-wide 170-degree viewing angle. If you’re not into specs, that translates into a large, ultra-high resolution display that’s nice and tall, easy to see from any angle, and looks incredible while watching a video or even working on a spreadsheet.

Other features are an integrated SD card slot, USB A and Type-C ports, a hardware-based Trusted Platform Management security solution, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and an integrated 720p HDR webcam. Everything you want is there, and it’s all high-quality materials and components.

The Price

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At $900, being the best Chromebook ever made isn’t always going to translate into the best Chromebook you should buy. There is no doubt the former is true and we’ve never seen a Chromebook this powerful while being built like a premium product should be built. But do you need a Chromebook this powerful, and are you willing to pay for it?

For an average consumer the Spin 13 is just too much of what you really don’t need.

The Chromebook Spin 13 was designed to be the next-generation of Enterprise laptop. Acer makes a point that it’s perfect for applications like Citrix or HealthCast, and DaaS solutions like Cameyo allow the use of a business’ legacy applications on Chrome OS. You **need* plenty of horsepower to manage this and the Spin 13 has it in spades. Combined with the security and ease-of-management that comes with a Chromebook, I’m sold and think this is the perfect laptop for any business, big or small.

It’s also a great tool for developers who need something with computational power that can travel to a factory floor at General Motors or just to Starbucks, and you’ll appreciate the speed of an unthrottled true quad-core CPU while compiling code or running simulations. I look at my old ThinkPad from another life and can only wish the Spin 13 was available back then.

However, for an average consumer, like the majority of people reading this, the Spin 13 is just too much of what you really don’t need. Sure, you could enable Linux support, install a VM manager through the package manager, or install your Steam library and play every game that doesn’t require a powerful gaming graphics card, but most of us won’t. For those that will, you may be better served by buying an actual Windows laptop or a mid-range gaming desktop with that $900.

For the right person, the Acer Chromebook Spin is the right laptop at the right price. But most of us aren’t that person.

Our pick

Acer Chromebook Spin 13

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$900 at Acer

The best Chromebook ever built

The sleek and modern aluminum design, attention to detail, and 8th generation Intel Core-i5 processor make the Chromebook Spin 13 a joy to look at and use. The $900 price tag makes it a specialty machine for people who actually need the power inside it.

29
Oct

OnePlus 6T review: 90% of the phone for 60% of the price


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As flagships get massively expensive, OnePlus still has a phone packed with value at a reasonable price.

OnePlus releases a new flagship phone every six months, unceremoniously killing its predecessor in the process. Every other launch is a so-called “T” version refresh: an opportunity to release a substantially similar phone with refreshed specs and a few feature changes, and of course introduce a small price increase. That’s what we have here with the OnePlus 6T.

With this rapid release cycle, it’s tough to break the stigma of feeling like a company trying to extract water from a stone through excessive iteration with small price increases. And yet, the system works. The latest OnePlus phone is always on the cutting edge of specs and hardware trends. The diehard fans get something to look forward to every six months, and casual observers never have to question whether they’re getting a “new” phone.

No matter how similar it may be to its forerunner, the OnePlus 6T is here to take over from the current “budget flagship” leader, the OnePlus 6, and therefore deserves evaluation. For just $549, you get a whole heck of a lot of phone — and yes, some new compromises.

Extreme value

OnePlus 6T



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$549 at OnePlus

You just can’t beat what the OnePlus 6T offers: amazing hardware quality, specs and features for the money.

As flagship phones keep getting more expensive, OnePlus sticks to what it does well. The OnePlus 6T’s hardware quality, specs, software and performance all matches phones that cost hundreds of dollars more. And the places where it comes up short are merely marginal differences or non-critical features. This phone offers incredible value: a flagship-like experience for a fraction of the cost.

Pros:

  • Blazing fast software
  • Full spec sheet
  • Huge high-quality screen
  • Great battery life
  • Above-average cameras

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • In-display fingerprint can be slow
  • Horrible haptics
  • No IP resistance rating

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More of the same

OnePlus 6T Hardware and design

OnePlus has never been the bastion of great design, and its mid-cycle “T” refreshes are even more ho-hum. That makes it tough to get too excited about the OnePlus 6T’s design. The company has graduated from the truly basic hardware of the OnePlus 3 days, but its model of keeping costs down and putting money into high-end specs necessitates basic design.

The 6T feels every bit as solid as a $1000 phone — the design is the only thing that’s lacking.

In the same mold as the OnePlus 6, you get a solid and efficient combination of a thick metal frame and excellently-placed glass on the front and back. The back in particular has a beautiful curvature that feels amazing, and in contrast to so many other phones the metal frame actually feels like metal without any extra paint or coating. The Midnight Black model has a lightly textured finish that looks great but is extremely slippery just like the OnePlus 6 — and far more so than the Pixel 3 XL — making me think the Mirror Black may be the better choice if you plan to run without a case.

The supporting cast makes a return, including the excellent physical Alert Slider on the top-right edge and nice clicky buttons for power and volume. There’s an adequately loud, if a bit hollow, single down-firing speaker … and yes, the headphone jack is gone. Like every other company, OnePlus says this was a space savings to make room for everything else — and while it doesn’t really bother me, this is likely to be a big hang-up for the target audience for the OnePlus 6T. There’s a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter in the box (#NeverSettle), but you’ll have to buy USB-C headphones if you want to plug in directly. OnePlus will gladly sell you a pair.

It’s tougher to excuse the lack of water resistance and horrible haptics when you also lose the headphone jack.

With each generation of OnePlus phone, it becomes tougher to excuse some of the shortcomings as the rest of the industry continues to standardize on many hardware features. The OnePlus 6T has no stated water- or dust-resistance IP rating, which I feel is table stakes for this level of phone in late 2018. It also has the worst haptic feedback of any phone over $200 I’ve used, which is really saying something. I once again had to disable haptic feedback across the system because it’s so shallow, rattly and disappointing — it’s also distractingly loud when you’re sitting in a quiet room. It’s these sorts of little things that remind you that you saved a few hundred dollars on your phone purchase.

The OnePlus 6T is marginally larger than the 6, but the only real way to distinguish them is by looking at the display. OnePlus increased the overall display size, now up to 6.41-inches, and also increased the usable real estate by shrinking the notch area to just cover the bare essentials. The softly rounded notch holds a dead-center mounted camera, and is flanked by other necessary sensors — it’s also accentuated by the earpiece right above. As far as notches go, this one’s easy to ignore; and I appreciate OnePlus isn’t even trying to hide it with a dark wallpaper in its advertising. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here.

This is a great display, and the notch is easy to ignore.

At 6.41-inches with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio you have tons of room to accomplish anything you want, yet the phone’s overall size is effectively the same as the Google Pixel 3 XL and smaller than the Galaxy Note 9. The display itself, aside from being positively huge, isn’t anything special. This is the same “Optic AMOLED” tech OnePlus has used for years, with particular attention paid to accuracy and customization so you can get a display profile that works for your eyes. The colors, reflectivity and off-axis viewing are all great to my eyes, but when you get up close you can start to see individual pixels — with a 1080p resolution (2340×1080) it’s just over 400 ppi, which is the threshold of pixel density you want to see nowadays. Peak brightness is also far better than I expected, getting way brighter than I’d ever want indoors and being manageable outdoors, which is a nice treat.

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Underneath the display is the most interesting — and controversial — feature: an optical in-display fingerprint sensor, replacing the traditional capacitive sensor on the back. From a user perspective, things don’t change much; these sensors are just as secure and interact with apps the exact same way, but you get a prompt on the screen to place your finger on a defined area instead of reaching to the pad on the back. The problem is how slow and potentially inaccurate the 6T’s sensor still is by comparison: unlocks sometimes happen in half a second, but regularly take upwards of 2 seconds. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but it really is when you’re just sitting there staring at an animation wondering if you need to shift your finger. A typical capacitive sensor will recognize or reject a fingerprint in 0.2-0.4 seconds. Our own Daniel Bader and Harish Jonnalagadda told me they’ve had issues with how often their fingerprints are recognized, but I thankfully haven’t — even still, the slow unlocking is a burden.

In-display fingerprint sensors have come a long way since I used the first commercially-available units, but they still have shortcomings that will annoy, if not outright frustrate, some people. To be clear, this isn’t unique to the OnePlus 6T — every other in-display fingerprint sensor this year has faced the same issues, from the Vivo NEX to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. They’re simply slower than capacitive sensors, and that’s the trade-off you take for having this sleekly integrated sensor that takes up far less case room (making room for other components, like more battery) than one on the back.

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Above average

OnePlus 6T Cameras

OnePlus didn’t make any camera hardware changes coming from the OnePlus 6, nor did anyone expect it to. OnePlus is claiming software enhancements to support the 16MP f/1.7 main and 20MP f/1.7 secondary cameras. The latter has small pixels (1-micron) and no OIS, making it scantly useful in low-light scenes but nicely fills a supporting roll for 2X zoom in good light and applying the portrait mode depth effect. The camera has new algorithms in play that identify common scenes and objects to adjust the camera parameters automatically, and has worked with professional photographers to tune the output for the best possible look.

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The 6T doesn’t “wow” you as much as the Pixel 3, but it’s incredibly consistent and takes great photos.

Shooting with the OnePlus 6T I was less likely to get mind-blowing photos than with the Pixel 3 XL, Galaxy Note 9 or LG V40, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a capable camera. OnePlus has nailed its exposure, white balance and HDR processing to take consistently nice-looking and accurate photos in all scene types, and I really like its color profile. The only gripe here is that those characteristics lead to photos that often look basic or a little bland; but they’re fundamentally solid, and in good lighting I never took an outright bad picture.

Flat surfaces are incredibly smooth, which looks great when viewed at full size but leads to some detail loss on items that should have texture or a sharper edge. It’s a fine line to walk, and in many cases just comes down to personal preference (or is unnoticeable), but I’d prefer processing that provides a sharper edge and lets various items in a scene represent their actual texture. This really is a pedantic level of critique, but it’s these little things that make the difference between the photos you get from the OnePlus 6T and the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Low-light shots continue to be the weak point, even with noticeable software improvements.

OnePlus has tuned its processing to improve brightness and colors while reducing noise in low-light shots, which is appreciated and noticeable even though the end result still lands short of the competition in the next price bracket up. I notice the enhanced brightness in low-light shots, and it comes with an insignificant increase of noise or grain compared to the OnePlus 6 — even though the camera doesn’t hesitate to take photos at ISO 1600 to 3200, which is incredibly high for such a small sensor. Low light shots exhibit the same consistently nice white balance, colors and exposure as daylight shots, but again don’t “wow” me like higher-end phones. The issue of soft edges and a lack of detail is exacerbated by poor lighting, but again is mostly only noticeable when zooming in on photos — if you don’t pixel peep, these shots look good and can easily convince people they came from a more expensive camera.

There’s also an altogether new “Night” mode that you can engage manually that focuses specifically on enhancing super-dark scenes. Not unlike what Google and Huawei are doing in the area, OnePlus effectively uses several frames with processing to brighten an image with less noise. Night mode can dramatically brighten a dark scene, and do so handheld, but it isn’t a miracle worker. It will bring out extra brightness from a scene without creating a blotchy mess, but it does so at the expense of fine detail — and you can immediately notice how soft (and even blurry) edges are. Sometimes it was useful for scenes that were so dark the automatic mode won’t get a usable photo, but I preferred to shoot in auto for everything above horrendous lighting conditions.

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Incredibly quick

OnePlus 6T Software, performance and battery life

The OnePlus 6T runs Android 9 Pie, which is effectively the same software we’ve been testing on the OnePlus 6 for months. That means you get all of Pie’s features, including Google’s gesture navigation (as an option), notification changes, battery life improvements, Do Not Disturb changes and a whole bunch of small under-the-hood tweaks.

OnePlus makes a clean, simple, fast and customizable software experience anyone can enjoy.

Having Pie underneath it all is important for the typical OnePlus buyer, but even more so are all of the OxygenOS improvements that OnePlus has added. Things like the gaming mode, reading mode, navigation bar choices, utilities and tools all add value — and do so without getting in the way. The system is also incredibly customizable, with controls to change all of the smallest functions and interface elements if you wish — though that’s only if you want to, because the out-of-box experience is simple and intuitive without superfluous tooltips or pop-ups. OnePlus has also kept its own app additions to an absolute minimum, and you can even uninstall most of what it has pre-loaded. That’s how every company should do it.

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OxygenOS is so incredibly fast, and never shows signs of slowing down no matter what you throw at it.

OnePlus must have some sort of voodoo in its “OxygenOS” software that makes it incredibly fast. For several generations, OnePlus has consistently had the fastest, sleekest software in the business. And it’s pretty easy to figure out why: OnePlus both aggressively cuts back on unnecessary features, apps and other cruft, while also axing or dramatically shortening animations throughout the system. When you lay this simplified, cut-to-the-point software on a Snapdragon 845 and 6 or 8GB of RAM, good things happen.

Yes, it means that sometimes animations can feel abrupt and sudden, but once again this is all done with an eye toward the kind of people who buy OnePlus phones. And honestly, anyone can see the benefit of every single function on your phone happening faster than any other phone. And with ample memory, I never saw any issues with app performance — and my history with OnePlus phones leads me to expect that’ll be the case for a year or two down the road.

Having a base of 128GB of storage also gives you plenty of runway to install apps and cache all sorts of media for the next couple of years. Or you can even jump up to 256GB (and 8GB of RAM) for a reasonable $80 surcharge.

Battery life

With a larger 3700mAh battery in tow, I had no worries about battery life on the OnePlus 6T — as I frankly haven’t on any previous OnePlus phone. With an efficient processor, lightweight software and plenty of capacity, this phone lasts just as long (or longer than) the competition. I don’t make any attempt to ease battery usage on my phone, which means I leave the screen on auto brightness, have all of my accounts and notifications on, use ambient display, stream audio over Bluetooth and don’t hesitate to turn on my hotspot when I’m out of the house.

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With this usage and 3-4 hours of “screen on” time in my average day, the OnePlus 6T got through the day with plenty of battery left, often as much as 30%, as I went to bed. It’s particularly admirable how little battery the phone uses when it’s not actively in use, but there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to drain the battery quickly. On a weekend with less time on my phone, I went to bed with 50% in the tank. That’s superb.

Recharging comes at you quickly … at least, if you use the included 20W charger and USB-C cable (or optional $30 car charger. It fills up the 6T extremely quickly, particularly from 0 to 50%, and does so without heating up the phone or faltering when the phone’s in use. I’m still not happy OnePlus doesn’t support one of the widely-adopted industry standards, such as USB-C Power Delivery or Quick Charge, meaning you’re locked into its own accessories for the best charging experience — but at least its own gear provides excellent charging.

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Flagship at a discount

OnePlus 6T Review

OnePlus has always operated in an awkward middle ground, landing well above the mid-range segment but also well under the true flagship phones. It purports to play in the latter area, but really doesn’t — and that’s okay, because its value proposition is so much more nuanced than that. The OnePlus 6T once again proves that you don’t need to spend nearly a thousand dollars to have an amazing phone. For $549 you can get a phone that’s built just as well, performs as well, has arguably better software, and has longer battery life than phones hundreds of dollars more.

Flagship phones keep getting more expensive, but OnePlus still offers an amazing phone for $549.

Perhaps the biggest thing OnePlus has going for it with the 6T is the general market shift to more and more expensive phones. With the average flagship phone now costing between $800 and $1000, the “budget flagship” segment the OnePlus 6T occupies has just that much extra breathing room above it. Sure the OnePlus 6T’s price increased to $549, but that feels minuscule when Samsung and Google’s last two big phones just released at $999 and $899, respectively.

There are also two seriously important improvements this time around that have nothing to do with the phone itself: the OnePlus 6T will be sold by T-Mobile, and unlocked models are certified for use on Verizon. Being able to experience the phone in person and buy it with a regular carrier financing plan from a great carrier like T-Mobile is one less barrier for average buyers to deal with. Knowing you can buy a OnePlus 6T and put a Verizon SIM in it, too, opens up another small (but quite vocal) market opportunity.

4
out of 5


It’s easy to argue that the $250+ price difference between the OnePlus 6T and the competition excuses its few shortcomings. Its display isn’t on the exact same level as the competition, the camera doesn’t reach Google or Samsung’s heights, it doesn’t have water resistance, the haptics are crude, its speaker isn’t outstanding, and the design is ho-hum. But those are all extremely marginal differences in the grand scheme of a smartphone. Those are all little things that, for most people, make up maybe 10% of the phone experience. The rest of the OnePlus 6T, the remaining 90%, matches or exceeds the competition — its spec sheet, performance, software, hardware quality and battery life are all top-notch. If you feel the same, the math works in favor of OnePlus; you get 90% of the phone for about 60% of the price.

$549 at OnePlus

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