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Posts from the ‘Comparison’ Category

15
Sep

Microsoft is still bragging about Edge’s battery superiority


Microsoft says it has made the Edge browser on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update even more efficient than the previous version, and is again boasting about its performance compared to rivals. When streaming Netflix, the new tweaks will help your Windows 10 PC last 45 percent longer than with Chrome, and 69 percent longer if you’re using Firefox. For general purpose browsing, PCs running Edge last 24 to 43 percent longer than with other browsers, according to Redmond.

Microsoft said it achieved a 12 percent efficiency improvement over the last version thanks to tweaks in both the browser and Windows 10 itself. Other tests are closer, though — Chrome sucks just 11 percent more power on a Vimeo test, for example. In real-world tests, however, Edge trounces both browers, consuming around 450 milliwatts of power compared to 550 milliwatts for Firefox and about 770 milliwatts with Chrome.

While Microsoft called the tests “realistic and transparent,” it’s still running them on its own Surface Books, not third party hardware. And power consumption isn’t everything — Google app users may prefer to stay within the Chrome ecosystem, for one thing. In any case, Edge’s share of the desktop browser market hasn’t budged from around 4.2 percent recently, so Microsoft’s efficiency message doesn’t seem to be getting across.

Its also as much an indictment of Chrome and Firefox as a pat on the back for its own browser. Chrome users have already noticed a significant degradation in performance, and even Google admits that it’s time to fix that. Still, if you need to eke the maximum endurance from a Windows 10 laptop, the latest tests give you a solid reason to consider Edge.

12
Sep

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 5


With the latest addition to the popular Galaxy Note series, Samsung decided to make the leap from 5 to 7. As is the case whenever a new generation of a device comes out, the question on everyone’s mind is whether it is a worthy upgrade.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 videos

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    Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review

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    Galaxy Note 7 S Pen: everyth…

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    Samsung Galaxy Note 7 iris s…

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    Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Color …

In doing so, we can also revisit the 5th version of the Galaxy Note, and find if it is still a phone you can keep in your pocket, or save a little bit of money on, instead of the latest and greatest that Samsung has to offer. This is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs the Galaxy Note 5.

Buy the Galaxy Note 5

Design

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (5 of 22)

The glass and metal unibody construction that was introduced with the Galaxy S7 was not just an experiment, but rather the baseline for the design that Samsung was going to use going forward. This was made abundantly clear when the Galaxy Note 5 was released, even though plenty believed that having the Galaxy Note device taking the lead of the S line, and not the other way around, brought the former down a peg in importance.

One design aspect helped soften the blow, however, which was the curve on the back of the device that made it easier to hold. This curve, when on the front, was rather controversial with the Galaxy S6 Edge and its larger, S-Penless brother, but putting it on the back was a simple, but significant glimpse, into how it could help with handling.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (10 of 22)

That said, the Galaxy Note 5 is still a large device, through and through. Since we have the Galaxy Note 7 in our hands now, it seems like a long time ago that such a large phone with a sharp metal frame was the norm. While the Galaxy Note 5 feels a little larger than the two, both have the same large canvas that plenty of users clamor for.

Now, that curve on the back of the Galaxy Note 5 makes even more sense , because it has been married to the front curve, with its successor. There’s no getting around it, this is the next baseline going forward. The edge is the norm for the Galaxy Note 7, not an extra version that will be built alongside what used to be the existing flagship. It’s a feature, not a novelty, and Samsung wants that to be official.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (16 of 22)

Samsung continues to provide the familiar aspects, including the home tactile button, button layout, and even the heart rate sensor, with the S Pen nestled to the bottom right portion of the phone, and now, the curved display is a part of that lexicon.

In the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung threw everything at their flagship device and the result is a phone that does continue the path that the Galaxy S7 Edge paved, but surpasses it. Unlike its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 7 can stand alone, and it does. Handling is better on the Note 7 in pretty much every way, and seeing and holding both phones together plainly shows the evolution.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (11 of 22)

Some key issues were also addressed in the new Galaxy Note, most importantly, the S Pen going in backwards and breaking. This time around, the Pen won’t even go into the slot backwards more than just a little bit. If you aren’t careless with the S Pen, this probably won’t be a big problem anyway, but Samsung did well to address one of the few issues that actually got a lot of press.

Display

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (7 of 22)

The screen of the Galaxy Note 5 is still one of the better ones out there, featuring a Quad HD resolution, and sporting the Screen Off Memo that proved to be a useful, quick tool for jotting down notes or small pieces of information. That returns in the Galaxy Note 7, which has the same Super AMOLED display with the same specs, but sports a couple of enhanced features.

Basically, the Screen Off Memo returns again, but can be pinned to the new feature, the Always On Display. Coming straight from the Galaxy S7 line, the AOD can show a clock, some text, an image, or a calendar, so there is always information available even in standby.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (1 of 22)

Of course, there is also the new Edge UX, which comes from the S7 Edge and provides no new features. Empirically, this is one of the new features that the Galaxy Note 5 simply doesn’t boast, making the Galaxy Note 7 the easier device to recommend overall.

Performance

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (3 of 22)

Performance on the Galaxy Note 5 continues to hold up, but that brings up an interesting aspect of this comparison, and when revisiting the old device, which came out at a time when Samsung was sticking to its own guns.

The Exynos 7420 is a more than capable processing package, enough to power all typical tasks of today’s smartphone user. We’ve even had a good time with Pokemon GO on the Galaxy Note 5, even it doesn’t last too long because of its smaller battery.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (17 of 22)

With the Galaxy Note 7, the Exynos is kept to markets outside of the US, while the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 reigns in the West. That doesn’t pose a problem for performance though, because both do a great job with keeping the phone speedy.

Where we found a little bit of an issue was in the amount of RAM. Going over the standard 4GB is still a bit of a rarity in today’s smartphone world, but considering the exorbitant amount of features and capabilities in the Galaxy Note 7, it felt like having a bit more could have kept the phone from getting bogged down. Or, at the very least, it would keep the user from having to clean it up in the the Device Maintenance area from time to time.

Hardware

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (2 of 22)

Part of what made the design change in the Galaxy Note 5 a bit harder to handle was the move away from what power users wanted. The move to glass and metal bodies made removable backings impossible, which cut off the access to the replaceable batteries and expandable storage. The lack of both hurt plenty of users, but expandable storage was more missed, when users had to settle for 32GB.

We have a plethora of users at Android Authority with different needs, and found that the power users who did a lot of gaming definitely had an issue with this, while the more moderate users were able to make it work for a long time until the pictures and videos took up all the space. No matter where users are on the spectrum, that amount of space was about as finite as it could get.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (18 of 22)

Which is why the Galaxy Note 7 continues to impress, mostly because it was able to address all of that in a couple simple moves, with 64GB of on-board storage, and the return of microSD card expansion. Not to mention Samsung put another foot forward by releasing a 256GB microSD card that will make all storage woes go away.

The speaker is still bottom mounted and just isn’t very good at overall sound and volume. The headphone experience gets enhanced with customizable EQ settings, though.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (14 of 22)

3,500 mAh brought the Galaxy Note 7 to a proper part of the power spectrum, where we’ve so far found a nice long amount of battery life, especially with moderate usage. Thankfully fast charging has really moved forward in efficiency as well, so the Note 7 benefits from even just half an hour of charging to get to 50% battery.

Wireless charging returns, too, so that getting power doesn’t have to be a tethered affair. If better battery life and faster charging are important, and we know it is, the Note 7 continues to iterate in the right ways.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (9 of 22)

Which makes Samsung’s main addition a pretty big deal for the Note 7. The fingerprint reader on the Note 5 was already a good and fast biometric security feature, but the next step in such measures comes in the form of iris scanning.

A dedicated camera near the front facing camera does an infrared scan for a registered pair of eyes. Simply swipe up on the lock screen and gaze into the camera. For anyone that is looking for a little more security and ways of unlocking the phone, the Iris Scanner is definitely a “wow” feature, and can be used in conjunction with the fingerprint reader.

Camera

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (19 of 22)

The cameras of the Galaxy Note 5 still have the specs of a high-end device, and continue to be reliable even a year after the phone was released. Compared to Galaxy the Note 7, it is just a few steps back in terms of sheer capabilities, but overall it continues to be a very good picture companion.

Sporting 16 MP shooter with a f/1.9 aperture, the Galaxy Note 5 doesn’t quite have the low light performance of the Note 7, that has 12 MP dual-pixel camera with a f/1.7 aperture. While the focus speed of the latter is definitely faster, it is one of the only advantages that can easily be experienced.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (20 of 22)

I used the Galaxy Note 5 in New York when we were getting to know the Note 7 for the first time. It proved to be an easy companion to have for all sorts of pictures and videos, including the occasional vlog or Instagram story.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 camera samples

So, to that end, the pictures between these two aren’t too far off in quality. Structurally speaking, the lower aperture of the Note 7 means slightly better bokeh for softened backgrounds, and that is also true for the front-facing camera.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera samples

Overall, the pictures and videos coming out of either phone show that Samsung has continued to provide some of the best camera experiences in the world of Android. While there are definitely some advantages to having the Note 7’s cameras, we don’t see there being much problem with the Note 5, given that video and picture quality hasn’t made any big steps or leaps since its inception.

Software

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (13 of 22)

Finally, the software for both of these phones is still pretty similar, with the Galaxy Note 7 basically adding a few coats of polish over the existing Samsung UI. Touchwiz isn’t quite the name that they use for the software anymore though, and for good reason.

Especially with the Note 7, there has been some cleaning up in what used to be a bloated and very cartoonish interface. While some of those elements are still around, there is a noticeable unification to it all, that makes the Note 7 look a bit better on the inside.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (15 of 22)

That said, these are still some of the most feature packed software packages available, and more so with the Galaxy S7, because of the addition of the Iris Scanner, the Edge UX, and the Always On Display. Some other additions include the the Blue Light Filter and the enhancements to the S Pen.

The S Pen can now translate words, magnify elements on the screen, and create GIFs. All of these features were delved into more in the full review of the Note 7, coming eventually to the conclusion that they do add to the overall S Pen experience, even if they are tools that are situationally useful.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (8 of 22)

Strip that all away and the software experience is essentially that of the Note 5. Which makes this comparison a bit simple. If all that was added onto the Note 7 experience doesn’t really entice you to upgrade or even go further than the 5th version of the line, then the Note 5 can provide all of the elements that you may be used to already.

MultiWindow, Pop Up View, existing Screen Write and Notes capabilities, and even theming abilities are still all available and viable. It comes down to one simple question – are the additions in the Note 7 and the interface polish enough to put it over the top?

Specs comparison

Display 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 518 ppi
5.7-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 534 ppi
Processor 2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
2.1 GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor
Mali-T760MP8 GPU
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
32/64/128 GB
not expandable
Camera 12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens
16 MP rear camera, f/1.9 aperture, OIS, LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
USB Type-C (USB 3.1)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
microUSB 2.0
Battery 3,500 mAh 3,000 mAh
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm
169 grams
153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm
171 grams

Gallery

Final thoughts

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (6 of 22)

So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy Note 5!  A lot of this comparison shows how the Note 7 is the definitely the phone to beat. Better on-board and expandable storage, a bigger battery, and the new features make the Note line feel fresh again. Or at the very least, it makes us feel the way the Note 5 failed to when it was first released.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Galaxy Note 5 isn’t a good value in and of itself. Even without the leaps forward, it was still a top 2015 device, and some believed it could only be surpassed by the next Galaxy S and, in this case, the new Galaxy Note.

samsung galaxy note 7 vs galaxy note 5 aa (4 of 22)

Without some of the many features that make up the incredibly stacked package of the Note 7, the Note 5 continues to be a good and reliable daily driver. If you need the best, the latest, or the capabilities that appeal to the power user, then the Note 7 might be the phone that you’ve been waiting for.

That said, users still using the Galaxy Note 5 have a lot to be happy about. If you have, however, been holding onto an even older phone and need to save a little bit of money, the tradeoffs between these two devices, while significant, are not immediately dealbreaking. The Galaxy  Note 5 still has ability to be a viable choice in today’s smartphone climate, which makes it a value that users should definitely consider if these are the two phones in contention.

Buy the Galaxy Note 5

8
Sep

The PlayStation 4 Pro vs. the original PS4: What’s changed?


With only three years since the release of the PlayStation 4, Sony isn’t quite ready to give us a completely new console. But while it did unveil a new slim redesign, there’s also the PlayStation 4 Pro: Not quite 4K gaming, but the new HDR looks good enough to give players a taste of the next generation. We’ve pitted the stats of the new systems up against the OG PS4 to see how far we’ve come in the past few years.

PlayStation 4 Pro
PlayStation 4 Slim
PlayStation 4 (2013)
Price
$399
$299
starts at $349 (originally $399)
Dimensions
295 x 327 x 55mm (11.61 x 12.87 x 2.17 inches)
265 x 288 x 39mm (10.43 x 11.34 x 1.54 inches)
275.1 x 305.1 x 53.1mm (10.83 x 12.01 x 2.09 inches)
Weight
3.3kg (7.28 pounds)
2.1kg (4.63 pounds)
2.8kg (6.17 pounds)
Output resolution
480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 4K (video only), HDR
480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 4K (video only)
480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 4K (video only)
CPU
AMD Jaguar x86-64, 8-core
AMD Jaguar x86-64, 8-core
AMD Jaguar x86-64, 8-core
GPU
AMD Radeon, 4.20 TFLOP
AMD Radeon, 1.84 TFLOP
AMD Radeon, 1.84 TFLOP
RAM
8GB
8GB
8GB
Internal storage
1TB
500GB / 1TB
500GB / 1TB
Physical media
Blu-ray, DVD
Blu-ray, DVD
Blu-ray, DVD
WiFi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
802.11 b/g/n
Wired network
10/100/1000 Ethernet
10/100/1000 Ethernet
10/100/1000 Ethernet
Bluetooth
v4.0
v4.0
v2.1
Ports
USB 3.0 (x3), HDMI 2.0a, S/PDIF
USB 3.0 (x2), HDMI 2.0a
USB 3.0 (x2), HDMI 1.4, S/PDIF
Controller
DualShock 4
DualShock 4
DualShock 4

While we won’t have a full review until the systems are released in the coming weeks, stay tuned for further impressions of the PS4 Pro here on Engadget.

Find all the news from Sony’s big PlayStation event right here.

8
Sep

The iPhone 7 vs. the competition: Win some, lose some


The new 4.7-inch iPhone is here and, just like the rumors predicted, the headphone jack is no more. If you’re not thrilled with having to shop for a new pair of earbuds, it might be worth looking to see how the new water-resistant handset stacks up against its Android competition. We’ve taken a few recent flagships and laid out their specs for your perusal, including Sony’s new Xperia XZ. With most top-tier Android devices running Snapdragon 820, these phones end up having a lot in common. However, there’s a few key differences to keep things interesting.

iPhone 7
Galaxy S7
LG G5
HTC 10
Sony Xperia XZ
Pricing
$649, $749, $849 (off-contract)
$200 (on-contract)
varies by carrier on contract; $650 off-contract
$699 (off-contract)
Not available
Known dimensions
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches)
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm (5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches)
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3mm (5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches)
145.9 x 71.9 x 3.0-9.0mm (5.74 x 2.83 x 0.12-0.35 inches)
146 x 72 x 8.1 mm (5.75 x 2.83 x 0.32 inches)
Weight
138g (4.87 ounces)
152g (5.36 ounces)
159g (5.61 ounces)
161g (5.68 ounces)
161g (5.68 ounces)
Screen size
4.7 inches (119.38mm)
5.1 inches (129.2mm)
5.3 inches (134.62mm)
5.2 inches (132.08mm)
5.2 inches (132.08mm)
Screen resolution
1,334 x 750 (326 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (577 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (554 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (564 ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 (424 ppi)
Screen type
Retina HD
Quad HD Super AMOLED
Quad HD IPS LCD Quantum
Quad HD Super LCD 5
Full HD TRILUMINOS LCD
Battery
Size not available, but up to 14 hours usage on WiFi
3,000mAh
2,800mAh
3,000mAh
2,900mAh
Internal storage
32/128/256GB
32GB
32GB
32GB
32GB
External storage
None
microSD
microSD
microSD
microSD
Rear camera
12MP, f/1.8
12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixel size
16MP, f/1.8, 1.12µm pixel size
12MP, f/1.8, 1.55µm pixel size
23MP
Front-facing cam
7MP, f/2.2
5MP
8MP
5MP, f/1.8, 1.34µm pixel size
13MP, f/2.0
Video capture
4K at 30fps
4K at 30fps
4K
4K
4K
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Bluetooth
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
SoC
Apple A10 Fusion
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
CPU
Not available
2.15GHz quad-core
2.15GHz quad-core
2.2GHz quad-core
2.15 or 2.2GHz quad-core
GPU
Not available
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
RAM
Not available
4GB
4GB
4GB
3GB
WiFi
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system
iOS 10
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Standout features
Touch ID, IP67 certified, Lightning connector
Fingerprint sensor, IP68 certified
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, IP68 certified, USB Type-C
Accessories
Not applicable
Not applicable
LG Friends: Cam, Cam Plus, Hi-Fi Plus (not available in US), VR
Not applicable
Not applicable

* Specs in italics are unconfirmed, but we will update as more details become available.

Keep an eye out today for hands-on impressions of the new iPhones, and stay tuned to Engadget for our full review later this fall!

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “See You” event.

8
Sep

The iPhone 7 Plus vs. the competition: How even is the field?


The iPhone 7 Plus finally brings a dual camera to the iPhone line. But there are plenty of other big handsets out there with their own stellar features, including the LG’s newly unveiled V20 and its Hi-Fi Quad DAC. Check out the table below to see how these two compare to phones like the Moto Z which, just like Apple’s new lineup, ditched the headphone jack in favor of USB-C. We’ve even thrown in the Galaxy Note 7 — sure, it’s been recalled, but when it’s not randomly exploding the Note is still one of our favorite devices this year.

iPhone 7 Plus
Galaxy Note 7
OnePlus 3
Moto Z
LG V20
Pricing
$769, $869, $969 (off-contract)
varies by carrier, starts at $850 (off-contract)
$399 (off-contract)
$624, $674 (off-contract)
Not available
Known dimensions
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm (6.04 x 2.91 x 0.31 inches)
152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm (6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 inches)
155.3 x 75.3 x 5.19mm (6.11 x 2.96 x 0.20 inches)
159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm (6.29 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches)
Weight
188g (6.63 ounces)
169g (5.96 ounces)
158g (5.57 ounces)
136g (4.8 ounces)
Not available
Screen size
5.5 inches (139.7mm)
5.7 inches (144.78mm)
5.5 inches (139.7mm)
5.5 inches (139.7mm)
5.7 inches (144.78mm)
Screen resolution
1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (515 ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (535 ppi)
Main: 2,560 x 1,440 (513 ppi)
Secondary: 160 x 1,040 (513 ppi)
Screen type
Retina HD
Quad HD Super AMOLED
Full HD Optic AMOLED
Quad HD AMOLED
Quad HD IPS LCD (main display)
Battery
Size not available, but up to 15 hours usage on WiFi
3,500mAh
3,000mAh
2,600mAh
3,200mAh
Internal storage
32/128/256GB
64GB
64GB
32 / 64GB
64GB
External storage
None
microSD
None
microSD
microSD
Rear camera
Dual cameras, 12MP, f/1.8 and f/2.8
12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixel size
16MP, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixel size
13MP, f/1.8, 1.12µm pixel size
Dual cameras, 16MP f/1.8 and 8MP f/2.4
Front-facing cam
7MP, f/2.2
5MP, f/1.7
8MP, f/2.0, 1.4µm pixel size
5MP
5MP, f/1.9
Video capture
4K at 30fps
4K
4K at 30fps
4K at 30fps
4K
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Bluetooth
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
SoC
Apple A10 Fusion
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
CPU
Not available
2.15GHz quad-core
2.2GHz quad-core
2.2GHz quad-core
Not available
GPU
Not available
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
RAM
Not available
4GB
6GB
4GB
4GB
WiFi
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system
iOS 10
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Android 7.0
Standout features
Touch ID, IP67 certified, Lightning connector
Iris scanner, fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC
Accessories
Not applicable
S-Pen, Gear 360, Gear VR
Not applicable
Moto Mods: Insta-Share Projector, SoundBoost speaker, Power Pack
Not applicable

* Specs in italics are unconfirmed.

While we can’t take a deeper dive just yet, keep an eye out for our hands-on impressions of the iPhone 7 Plus later today.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “See You” event.

27
Aug

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy S7 Edge


Unlike last year, a Plus variant of the Galaxy S7 Edge was no longer necessary, with the display size of the device being bumped up to 5.5-inches. Instead, Samsung decided to incorporate the dual curved edge display feature into the Galaxy Note series, with the Galaxy Note 7.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review

Samsung has always managed to maintain some separation between the Note line and the Galaxy S series, but things being more similar than ever between the two has led to a lot of people to dismiss the Galaxy Note 7 as a Galaxy S7 Edge with an S-Pen. Is that really a fair way to assess the Galaxy Note 7, and are there significant differences between the two Samsung flagships? That’s what we aim to find out, in this in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy S7 Edge!

Buy the Galaxy Note 7!
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge!

Design

There are obviously a lot of similarities between the Galaxy Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, and that starts with the design and build quality. Both smartphones feature a metal and glass unibody construction, and with the Galaxy Note 7 also coming with a curved display, they do look and feel very similar.

Of course, this is by no means a bad thing, and what you get are two beautifully designed smartphones that feel extremely solid in the hand. However, as is the case with any smartphone that features a glass backing, both devices are fingerprint magnets, and you do have to wipe them down continuously to keep these phones looking pristine.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-9

While the Galaxy Note 7 does borrow heavily from the design language of its flagship counterpart, Samsung has managed to further refine the design with the former. While the curved edges on the front of the Galaxy Note 7 are noticeable, they are not as drastic as what is seen with the Galaxy S7 Edge, and does help avoid accidental presses with your palm or fingers.

The metal frame has also been more seamlessly integrated into the glass of the Galaxy Note 7, making the phone feel like an unified piece of hardware. While this may seem like a minor design element, it actually makes a huge difference when considering how much smoother and more comfortable the device feels in the hand. Of course, the Galaxy S7 Edge does feel incredible as well, but the Galaxy Note 7 takes it to another level, and how Samsung continues to improve the metal and glass design with every flagship is certainly very impressive.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-10

The Galaxy Note 7 is the larger of the two smartphones, but not by much, and the curved glass allowed for it to be smaller than its predecessors, despite featuring the same display size. One difference between the two devices, that isn’t easily seen, is that Galaxy Note 7 is protected with Gorilla Glass 5 panels, an upgrade from the Gorilla Glass 4 that is found with the Galaxy S7 Edge. Granted, there is some controversy surrounding this with regards to its scratch resistance, but overall, it is supposed to be the stronger and more durable of the two.

The rest of the design elements of both the Galaxy Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge are typical Samsung. The power button and volume rocker are on the right and left sides respectively, and up top is the SIM card slot, with the SIM tray also housing a section for a microSD card. On the bottom is the headphone jack and single speaker unit, and with the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung has finally made the move to a USB Type-C port from the standard microUSB that is found with the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-7

The Galaxy Note 7 also has a slot at the bottom that houses the S-Pen, and in case you were wondering, Samsung has re-designed the S-Pen to make it impossible for it to slide into the slot the wrong way.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-2

The Galaxy Note 7 comes with a larger 5.7-inch display, compared to the 5.5-inch screen of the Galaxy S7 Edge, but other than the slight difference in size, these displays are practically identical. Both are Super AMOLED screens with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in both being extremely sharp, and offering colors that are vibrant and saturated, along with deep inky blacks.

Samsung’s display prowess is well known at this point, and it’s not surprising that both devices feature stunning displays, making doing anything, from watching videos, browsing the web, or playing games, an absolute joy on either smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-14

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 does offer an interesting feature, and that is support for streaming HDR content, which makes watching movies and TV shows, on Amazon Video or Netflix for example, even more enjoyable, on this already bright and beautiful display. This is something you really have to see in person to truly appreciate, and things will only get better, as more and more HDR titles are released.

Another really useful feature of the Galaxy Note 7 is the ability to downscale the display resolution to 1080p, or even 720p, to get that little bit of extra juice out of the battery.

Performance

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-17

Under the hood, both smartphones come with the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, that is backed by the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. Depending on the market, and Exynos 8890 variant of both smartphones are available as well. With the same processing package and software package, the day to day performance you get with both is understandably identical as well.

While some may be disappointed with the fact the Galaxy Note 7 doesn’t feature an upgraded processor or more RAM, the available setup is definitely plenty powerful. Both smartphones are blazing fast, and everything, from opening, closing and switching between apps, to processor-intensive gaming, is easily handled. There also finally some Vulkan-supported game titles available on the Google Play Store, allowing for superior graphics and gameplay on both the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

Hardware

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-12

While the Galaxy S7 Edge is available in 32 GB and 64 GB variants, 64 GB is the only on-board storage option available with the Galaxy Note 7. If storage is still a concern, both smartphones also offer expandable storage via microSD card, up to an additional 256 GB. In some markets, both smartphones come with dual SIM capabilities, but since a hybrid slot is utilized, users will have to choose with dual SIM or expandable storage.

Right below the display of both smartphones is a fingerprint scanner that is embedded into the physical home button. At this point, we are all aware of how well Samsung’s fingerprint sensors work, and in both cases, they are fast, accurate, and reliable, and provide a nice additional layer of security.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-19

However, with the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung has taken bio-metric security a step further, with the inclusion of an iris scanner, which uses infrared to scan your eyes and unlock the phone. It actually works surprisingly well, given that it is a first generation feature, but does take a little bit longer than when using the fingerprint sensor, because of the additional steps involved.

After waking up the phone, you actually need to swipe up before it starts scanning your eyes. The swipe gesture is meant to prevent the phone from scanning your eyes when you don’t want it to, but the option to disable this would have been nice to have.

Samsung re-introduced dust and water resistance with their 2016 flagships, and both the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge come with an IP68 rating for protection against the elements. In the case of the Galaxy Note 7, the S-Pen is also protected, which means that if you ever find the need for it, you will be able to take notes while the phone is submerged.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-20

Speaking of the S-Pen, as is the case with every iteration, the new stylus brings with a lot of improvements. It has a much finer point and more levels of pressure sensitivity, allowing for a more accurate and precise writing experience. However, perhaps the most important change is the fact that the S-Pen cannot be put into its slot backwards anymore.

Samsung has also added a slew of features to take advantage of the revamped S-Pen. You can now hover the stylus over the screen to translate text or images, magnify the screen, or create a GIF from something like a Youtube video to share with friends, assuming that it is not DRM protected content. The Screen Off Memo has also been improved, giving you the ability to scroll and write much longer memos, that can also be pinned for up to an hour to the Always On display, to make it more easily accessible.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-8

The Galaxy Note 7 packs a 3,500 mAh battery, which is the largest we’ve seen with a Galaxy Note device, but is still slightly smaller than the 3,600 mAh unit of the Galaxy S7 Edge. The difference in capacity is negligible when it comes to the battery life that is available with both.

If you are looking for a smartphone that provides five or six hours of screen-on time on a consistent basis, and can comfortably last a full day even with heavy usage, both devices will do the trick. Both devices also come with fast charging capabilities and fast wireless charging as well, so no matter how you decide to charge your phone, you will be able to do so quickly.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-3

Both smartphones also feature the exact same camera package as well. On the rear is a 12 MP camera with a f/1.7 aperture, OIS, and the super fast dual pixel autofocus technology, and up front is a 5 MP shooter with a wide angle lens, which works really well to put a lot of detail into your selfie.

Given that the camera of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are widely considered to be some the best smartphone cameras around, Samsung can’t be blamed for deciding to stick with the same sensor. It takes fantastic images in almost all lighting conditions, with plenty of detail, sharpness, color, and depth.

The pictures do look similar for the most part, but it appears as though Samsung has tweaked the image processing. First off, the image sharpening looks a lot more natural with the Galaxy Note 7, and isn’t as aggressive as what is seen with the Galaxy S7 Edge, and secondly, the white balance issues that plagued the latter in low-light conditions aren’t to be seen with the former, which is amazing, and just these two changes help make the Note 7 camera even better.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 camera samples

The most notable improvements with the camera experience actually have to do with the camera application. While the camera app of the Galaxy S7 Edge is already clean and easy to navigate, Samsung has made the camera software more intuitive with the Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge camera samples

A double tap of the home button launches the camera as usual, and the app comes with all of the same features as before, including selective focus, live broadcast, and a robust Pro mode, but the interface of the Galaxy Note 7 camera app has been revamped with a much flatter and more simplistic look. It is also much easier to navigate with one hand, using swipe gestures. You can swipe to the right to access the camera modes, to the left to bring up the various camera filters, and swipe up or down to switch between the rear and front cameras.   

Software

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-19

On the software side of things, both the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with the TouchWiz UI on top. As expected, the general look and feel of the software package is similar, with features like Multi Window and a Themes store available with both. However, Samsung has made a few changes to the TouchWiz UI that is available with the Galaxy Note 7.

If you look closely, you will see that many of the app icons have been revamped with new graphics and a more uniform look. Certain UI elements, like the notification shade and the Settings menu, have also been given a slight facelift to match the rest of the changes that have been throughout TouchWiz.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-18

The settings menu is cleaner and a lot more streamlined, making is much easier to find what you’re looking for. They have also dialed back a lot of the colors to allow for a more minimalistic appearance. Instead of the bright bold colors that are seen with the Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung has opted for a softer, more eggshell like color scheme that is more appealing and easier on the eyes. This change can be found throughout the interface, and especially with Samsung’s own applications.

Samsung also consolidated all of their different note taking applications into one app called Samsung Notes, and whether you use the app or not, this change makes the process of finding the appropriate app for making a note or drawing a lot less confusing, while also helping reduce some of the bloatware. The only change that I’m not a fan of is that the toggles in the notification shade on the Galaxy Note 7 are no longer scrollable like they are on the Galaxy S7 Edge, and to get to the brightness slider, it now takes two swipes down on the notification shade instead of one.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-13

The Galaxy Note 7 also brings a new secure folder to lock away any apps or sensitive information that you don’t want anyone else to access, and this can be locked with a standard password, pin, lock pattern, your fingerprints, and even the brand new iris scanner. Touchwiz is surprisingly pleasant to use on the Galaxy Note 7, with Samsung making a lot of really nice changes,  and hopefully we’ll see this trickle down to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge in a future update.

Finally, with the Galaxy Note 7 also featuring dual curved edges, it’s only natural for the Edge Panels to make their way over from the Galaxy S7 Edge. The Edge features include panels to easily access your favorite contacts, most used applications, and tasks, along with a variety of other information, including sports scores and the weather, all available with a simple swipe from the edge of the display.

Specs comparison

Display 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 518 ppi
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 534 ppi
Processor 2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
Camera 12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens
12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
USB Type-C (USB 3.1)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
microUSB 2.0
Battery 3,500 mAh 3,600 mAh
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm
169 grams
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
157 grams

Gallery

Final thoughts

So, there you have it for this comprehensive look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Galaxy S7 Edge! As we have seen throughout this review, the Galaxy Note 7 borrows a lot from the Galaxy S7 Edge, but it is an entirely different phone that offers its own unique experience. Despite how much it has in common with the Galaxy S7 Edge, it does feel the way a Note device should feel, and it certainly is more than just the Galaxy S7 Edge with an S-Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 versus Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-16

With Samsung getting a lot right with the Galaxy S7 Edge, it’s not surprising to see a lot of these hardware and software features make their way over to the Galaxy Note 7, and this does, in fact, help simplify the decision making process for consumers. The Galaxy S series, and now the Galaxy Note 7, all offer the same core specifications, the identical camera setup, and largely similar software experience, so when making a choice, it all boils down to which features you are looking for.

If a small and compact device is your need, the Galaxy S7 is the way to go, and if durability is a concern, the Galaxy S7 Active is a great companion. The Galaxy S7 Edge gives you a slightly larger display, with curved edges, and a bigger battery. However, if the S-Pen is important, and an iris scanner seems interesting, the Galaxy Note 7 is the answer.

The Galaxy Note 7 is certainly not a worthy upgrade from the Galaxy S7 Edge, but it isn’t meant to be. Instead, of you are looking to make the jump from older Samsung flagships like the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy S6 series, or the Galaxy Note 4, it will definitely feel like an amazing upgrade, and you won’t regret making the leap to any “7.”

Buy the Galaxy Note 7!
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge!

23
Aug

Motorola Moto Z / Force vs Samsung Galaxy S7 / Edge


When it comes to flagship smartphones, consumers certainly don’t suffer from a lack of choice, but on the flip side, with so many great options available, it is quite difficult to select which device is best suited for you. In today’s comparison, we pit two of the hottest smartphones in the market right now, and they couldn’t be more different from each other.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
  • Moto Z review

On one hand is the Galaxy S7 Edge, with Samsung continuing to refine and improve what it started last year with its predecessors. On the other are the latest Motorola flagships, that are poles apart from anything we’ve seen from the company so far, and bring something unique to the table in the form of Moto Mods.

How does Motorola’s take on the Android flagship compare to one of the best and most well rounded smartphone offerings from Samsung? We find out, in this in-depth look at the Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge!

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge
Buy the Motorola Moto Z / Z Force

Design

Starting with design and build quality, both of these phones are made with some high quality materials, and not only look fantastic, but also feel extremely sturdy. The Moto Z features glass on the front and back, with a smooth metal frame holding it all together.

The corners have been rounded off to allow for a more comfortable feel in the hand, and there is a subtle curve to the glass panel up front. However, for the most part, the phone is completely flat on the front and back, save for the rather large protrusion of the rear camera.

The Galaxy S7 Edge also features a metal and glass unibody construction, but unlike the Moto Z, you get curves everywhere, including the tapers along the sides of the back, the rounded corners, and of course, the curved edge display up front.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-5

It’s not only of the most solid and comfortable feeling phones that Samsung has ever made, but comes with a sleek and eye-catching design. Samsung has done a good job with reigning in the camera protrusion with the Galaxy S7 Edge when compared to its predecessor, and is nowhere near as prominent as what is seen with the Moto Z.

The downside to any phone made predominantly with glass is that the device becomes a complete fingerprint magnet, so either have to clean it on a regular basis or use a case, to avoid this. Motorola offers a simple solution in this regard with the Style Shell covers, that gives the Moto Z some extra flair, while also adding enough thickness to cover that camera bulge.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-4

Without any covers or Moto Mods attached, the Moto Z is an extremely thin smartphone, with a thickness of just 5 mm, and it’s certainly very impressive how thin Motorola has managed to make it. The Moto Z Force is slightly thicker at 7 mm, which is still quite thin, and you really have to hold these phones in your hand to truly appreciate this design aspect.

That said, apart from the thickness, the Moto Z is actually larger than the Galaxy S7 Edge in every other dimension and has a much larger footprint, despite both smartphones coming with 5.5-inch displays. Samsung has managed to make the Galaxy S7 Edge the more compact phone by having a smaller top and bottom chin, thinner bezels, and adding curves to the glass on the left and right sides.

Display

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-11

Both smartphones come with 5.5-inch AMOLED displays, or Super AMOLED in the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge, with Quad HD resolution. As expected, both displays are plenty sharp, and are very vibrant, saturated, and with deep, inky blacks. The display of the Galaxy S7 Edge is a touch brighter and offers slightly better viewing angles, but for the most part, these are very comparable displays, and things like gaming and watching videos are very enjoyable on either of these screens.

One benefit of the Samsung flagship is its Always On display feature, which lights up only the necessary pixels to let you see important information like the time, date, battery life, the calendar, and notifications, with a quick glance.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-9

While the Moto Z doesn’t come with this feature, it offers the next best thing with Moto Display, which remains one of the best features to ever grace Android. The display will periodically pulsate whenever you have any notifications, and you can manually wake it by either picking up the phone, or simply waving your hand over it.

Worth mentioning here is that the Moto Z Force comes with a shatterproof display, that makes it far more durable when compared to the standard Corning Gorilla glass 4 panels that are found with the regular Moto Z and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Performance

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-17

Under the hood, both smartphones feature identical specifications, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, Adreno 530 GPU, and 4 GB of RAM. This is the same processing package that is found with almost every current generation flagship smartphone, and it’s not surprising that both these devices are blazing fast, and can handle anything, including multi-tasking, web browsing, and playing high-end games, with ease. Despite offering two very different software experiences, the overall performance with both is very smooth, and you will be hard-pressed to find a noticeable difference between them.

Hardware

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-8

Both smartphones are available with 32 GB or 64 GB of on-board storage, and both offer expandable storage capabilities via microSD card up to 256 GB, so storage will not be a concern with either device.

Sitting right below the display of both devices is a fingerprint scanner, with the difference being that while the fingerprint sensor of the Galaxy S7 Edge is embedded into the home button, that isn’t the case with the Moto Z, which uses on-screen navigation keys. This can certainly take some getting used to, especially if you are already comfortable with also using a front-facing scanner as a home button, and when using the Moto Z, you will find yourself occasionally reach for the fingerprint sensor for no reason.

As far as accuracy and reliability of the fingerprint sensors are concerned, both work extremely well, but you will find the one of the Moto Z to be a tad quicker, mainly because of the fact that is reads your fingerprint simply when you touch it, instead of needing to press down on the button as you have to do with the Galaxy S7 Edge. Even though the scanner of the Moto Z does not double as a home button, it does function as a lock key to put the phone back to sleep, which is a nice touch.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-2

A big difference in hardware between the two is that the Moto Z comes with a USB Type C port, while the Galaxy S7 Edge features a microUSB port. The latter also comes with a headphone jack while the Moto Z does not, which is one of the compromises that had to be made to keep the sleek profile of the device. Instead, you will have to use a Type C adapter to use your regular headphones with the Moto Z.

The Moto Z does offer a better sounding speaker, with its front-facing position better than the bottom-firing speaker of the Galaxy S7 Edge. That said, neither speaker is particularly impressive, but you do have the JBL speaker Moto Mod with the Moto Z to make up for this deficiency.

Speaking of Moto Mods, there are only a few that are currently available, including the JBL speaker, the projector, and the Incipio power pack case, but there should be more coming soon, as more third-party manufacturers jump on-board and create new Moto Mods. These Moto Mods are certainly a big selling point when it comes to the Moto Z, given how they work and the extra functionality that they offer. Just keep in mind that these Mods aren’t exactly cheap, and do add a significant amount of heft to the phone.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-15

The speaker of the Galaxy S7 Edge is also more muffled and distorted due to the built-in water and dust resistance, which many will agree is a small price to pay to keep your device protected from the elements. The Moto Z is also water resistant, but does not come with the IP68 rating that the Galaxy S7 Edge features, so while the former can survive a splash or a small spill, it certainly won’t work if submerged entirely.

When it comes to battery life, the Moto Z packs a rather small 2,600 mAh battery, compared to the 3,600 mAh unit of the Galaxy S7 Edge, but the playing field is a lot more even when considering the Moto Z Force and its 3,500 mAh battery. Battery life is obviously going to vary depending on your usage, and while the Moto Z does allow for a full day of use, you will be able to do that far more comfortably with the Moto Z Force and the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Both devices come with fast charging capabilities, so you will be up and running in no time, and in the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge, you also get fast wireless charging. If battery life is a concern, Motorola has a simple solution for the Moto Z with the Incipio power pack case, which to me, is currently the most useful and practical Moto Mod that is available.

Camera

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-1

The Moto Z comes with a 13 MP rear camera with a f/1.8 aperture, OIS, and a dual tone LED flash, while the camera of the Moto Z Force is bumped up to 21 MP. On the other hand, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge come with a 12 MP rear shooter, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, and a blazing fast dual pixel auto focus system that allows it to focus much faster than any other smartphone camera currently available.

When it comes to the camera software, Motorola keeps things pretty simple by only offering the most basic of camera modes, while Samsung gives you a bevy of options with a slew of modes and camera effects to choose from. Both do offer fairly robust manual modes however.

Moto Z camera samples

If I had to pick either one of these cameras, the Galaxy S7 Edge would be my choice. The Moto Z can take some decent photos, but it really pales in comparison to the Samsung flagship. Photos taken with the latter are sharper and more detailed, and with better dynamic range, while the Moto Z has the tendency to overexpose and blow out highlights.

Galaxy S7 Edge camera samples

The Galaxy S7 Edge camera is also the much faster one overall. In low light situations, the Moto Z is quite slow to capture an image, especially if you are using HDR, while the Galaxy S7 Edge remains really fast when it comes to focusing and taking a shot. The Samsung smartphone camera does have some trouble with white balance in low light conditions, but the photos still come with a lot more detail when compared to shots taken with the Moto Z.

As far as the front cameras go, both phones are utilizing a 5 MP sensor, which work well enough for taking selfies, but the Moto Z has an advantage here with its front-facing flash, which can be extremely helpful when taking selfies in low light.

Software

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-10

One of the best parts about Motorola is that they keep the software experience pretty close to stock Android, but with a few very useful additions built in. The Moto Z is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it is as close to stock Android as you are going to get without the device being a Nexus smartphone. Motorola’s customizations aren’t numerous, but they are some of the most useful features we’ve seen on an Android smartphone.

You have features like the Moto Display that we mentioned earlier, and there is also Moto Voice, that lets you call upon your Moto Z from across the room. Also available are a slew of gestures, such as the double chop to turn on the camera flash, and the double twist of your wrist to launch the camera.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-18

The only real down side now is that the Moto Z is a Verizon exclusive, so it comes with a lot of Verizon bloatware, and a host of pre-installed games and third-party applications. An unlocked version will be coming soon though, but if you are looking to get the Moto Z right away, the bloatware is something you will have to deal with.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is also running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but Samsung’s take on Android, with the TouchWiz UI, couldn’t be more different from stock Android. Samsung has been doing a better job with streamlining the software experience as much as possible, and what you get is a much cleaner and less bloated user interface than before.

With the Galaxy S7 Edge, you also get the Edge panels, that can give you quick access to apps, sports scores, the weather, your contacts, and a variety of other shortcuts, but just swiping in from the edge of the glass. These panels can be useful, but like any new smartphone feature, you will have to train yourself to get used to them.

Specs comparison

Display 5.5-inch AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 535 ppi
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 535 ppi
Processor 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
Camera 13 MP rear camera, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, dual tone LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera, front-facing flash
12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, dual pixel autofocus, LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
FM Radio
GPS + GLONASS
USB Type-C 1.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
microUSB 2.0
Battery 2,600 mAh 3,600 mAh
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm
136 grams
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
157 grams

Gallery

Final thoughts

So, there you have it for this in-depth look at the Motorola Moto Z and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge! Both of these devices are two really fantastic smartphones in their own right, but what it is really going to come down to is how much you value the Moto Mods, and how easily you can get your hands on one of them. The Galaxy S7 Edge is the easier phone to get right now, with it being available from all major network carriers, and while an unlocked version of the Moto Z will be arriving soon, Verizon is your only option currently.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-6

The Moto Z is a very solid option however, and the Moto Mods are just icing on the cake, providing a very elegant and simple way of modifying your smartphone. If you are willing to spend the extra money, you certainly won’t be disappointed. While the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t have any crazy bells and whistles, or extra moving parts, it’s an all around great smartphone that ticks all the right boxes, and for most people, that is going to be more than enough to suit their needs.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge
Buy the Motorola Moto Z / Z Force

18
Aug

Motorola Moto Z Force vs LG G5 – Modular or Mods?


It just might be the future of smartphones: modularity. Though there are a number of different ways to look at this new technological step, we have here the first two phones to bring the concept to users’ hands. In one case, it is an involved process of removing parts of the phone and rebuilding it into a more capable device.

  • LG G5 review
  • Moto Z and Z Force review

In the other, it is a matter of simply slapping the new features onto the magnetic back. Which one does mods better? We find out in this comparison between the Moto Z Force and the LG G5.

Design

Before we get started, we want to make it clear how we want to name these features. While modularity is definitely what you can call what the LG G5 does, it is a bit different in the Moto Z. For that reason, we will generally call the act of adding features to a phone ‘modding.’ When speaking specifically, ‘modularity’ will be used primarily when describing the LG G5.

Before we even get into the two different methods of modding, it’s important to remember that we are still dealing with two standalone smartphones, capable of plenty on their own. The LG G5 was a drastic change from previous flagships, putting aside the curved body and display that defined the G4, and instead employing a different design language.

moto z vs lg g5 aa (6 of 13)

While the power/wake button is still found on the back, it now has a fingerprint embedded into it, and the volume rocker is now in a more conventional spot on the side. The metallic body has a rather rounded shape, but a noticeable sharpness can be felt due to the slightly protruding metal skeleton.

A slight curve can be found at the top of the display, there to provide a little more comfort when actually talking on the phone. And, of course, there is the removable bottom portion that is the crux of the phone’s modularity. Overall it is a rather drastic change that longtime LG fans may have needed to get used to, perhaps alleviated by the new modular features.

moto z vs lg g5 aa (10 of 13)

The same can be said for the Moto Z Force, the more powerful device in the brand new Moto line. What made the Moto X line well received is here in a few tiny ways, including the wooden cover that slaps onto otherwise shiny and fingerprint prone backing. Taken alone, however, much has changed as this fully metal body almost looks like blank canvas with obvious cues to its capabilities.

The chamfer on the sides makes it clear this is the thicker device with the bigger battery, and all buttons are where they should be. A new fingerprint reader is denoted by the small square under the display, which can be an eyesore and confusing because it is not a button. A large bezel above and below the display adds to the overall size of what is already a 5.5 inch phone, though on the backside of these areas are the magnets and connector pins for Moto Mods. The main issue we had was with the very large camera hump, which protrudes out quite a lot – thankfully, the Moto Covers make it flush.

moto z vs lg g5 aa (9 of 13)

It’s clear that both phones had to take on pretty drastic changes in design language to make modding a reality – whether or not that is a sacrifice of what made previous phones so recognizable is up to the user.

Display

moto z vs lg g5 aa (12 of 13)

Power is not lacking in either case, however. Though the displays are slightly different in a few key ways, Quad HD is the resolution across the board. The LG phone is 5.3-inches in size and is an IPS panel, making it less saturated than the 5.5-inch AMOLED display found on the Moto Z.

Color output is a rather subjective matter, but we will say that there have been no problems with either of these phones when enjoying everything from sharp text to gaming. AMOLED is generally a little more pleasing to users’ eyes, so the Moto Z may be the way to go if you want the more punched up colors.

Performance

moto z vs lg g5 aa (11 of 13)

Underneath the hood, the stories are the same however, with both featuring the Snapdragon 820, the Adreno 530, and 4GB of RAM. There’s no questioning the speed of either device, as these are what flagships are supposed to sport, and it’s more a question of what the software feels like in this case, and a bit of streamlining on LG’s part helps the G5’s case.

Though a pretty stock-like experience in the Moto Z is bolstered by a number of Moto additions like the Moto Actions and Voice, there isn’t too much bogging down the system. On the other hand, the G5 still rocks a very familiar looking LG UI, but has shed a few features so that they’re not all up in one’s face. LG even opted for no app drawer in initial builds of the interface, but that can be rectified with a downloaded UI update.

Hardware

moto z vs lg g5 aa (7 of 13)

Hardware features keep things pretty simple, minus the mods, of course. The lone 32GB of onboard storage in the Moto Z Force goes up against the 32 or 64GB options for the G5, but no matter which phone you get, there is still microSD card support to bolster it all.

The Moto Z also sheds the microphone jack, opting for an adapter that requires insertion into the USB type C port. In either case, the USB-C ports provide fast charging, though Quick Charge 3.0 for the LG phone seems just a step behind Moto’s own solution. In either case, a short stint connected to the wall can mean all the difference between no power and half battery in about half an hour.

moto z vs lg g5 aa (8 of 13)

Speaking of the battery, the Moto Z Force has the advantage here, with it packing a larger 3,500 mAh battery, compared to the 2,800 mAh unit of the LG G5. Both will comfortably allow for a full day or day and a half of use with average usage. Of course, if battery life is a huge concern, the battery of the G5 is replaceable, giving you the option of carrying around a spare. And in the case of the Moto Z Force, Motorola’s solution is a 2,200 mAh battery mod that you can easily attach to the device.

Camera

moto z vs lg g5 aa (3 of 13)

The first thing worth mentioning when talking about the cameras of these two devices is the 8 MP wide angle lens on the back that is coupled with the primary shooter of the LG G5, giving you something extra without needing any mods to be tacked on. Along with this wide angle lens is a 16 MP rear camera, with a f/1.8 aperture and OIS, while the Moto Z Force features a 21 MP rear shooter, also with a f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization.

As we mentioned during the full G5 review, the wide angle lens of the LG G5 is an absolute joy to use. It may not offer the highest quality or the sharpest image, but it’s great to use when you want to do things like take interesting selfies, or footage for vlogging. You get a lot more of the scenery into the shot with the secondary camera of the G5, and is certainly better suited to taking a picture of a landscape.

moto z vs lg g5 aa (13 of 13)

The more conventional camera setup found with the Moto Z Force are pretty standard. It doesn’t particularly excel in any single aspect, but the camera certainly isn’t bad by any means, and works well as a daily companion. When comparing the two, we did notice that the shots taken with the Moto Z Force feature a warmer tone than those taken with the G5.

Looking at the respective camera applications, there are quite a few features LG has packed into the app of the LG G5, including a variety of modes, and also returning is a robust manual mode that we have praised in the past. The Moto Z Force comes with a good manual mode as well, but in both cases, the viewfinder can get cluttered and messy pretty quickly if you are looking to make adjustments to a lot of aspects.

LG G5 camera samples

One very nice feature of the Moto Z Force camera is that it can be launched really quickly by using a gesture that involves a double twist of your wrist.

Moto Z Force camera samples

Up front, the LG G5 comes with an 8 MP front-facing camera, while the Moto Z Force features a 5 MP unit. However, users may prefer the latter, with the Moto smartphone coming with a front-facing flash. It’s certainly a rarity to see this feature with smartphones, and the Moto Z is one of the few that is available with it.

Software

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The standalone experiences end on the software, in which the LG phone got a welcome streamlining. The LG UI still retains the rather bloated and somewhat cartoonish look – with icons stretching when reaching the homescreen threshold – and the initial lack of an app drawer that expected users to put up with all these icons crowding the homescreens.

LG G5-21

Thankfully users were given the option to put the app drawer back on, and in the same vein, much of what used to be way too in people’s faces has been toned down. QSlide doesn’t take up so much space in the notification shade, and there are far fewer prompts for features that people simply weren’t using in previous LG devices. The bottom line here is that if you were not a fan of LG’s UI in the past, there might not be enough change here to make you feel differently. That said, we notice and appreciate what was slimmed down, minus the app drawer (which, again, isn’t much of a problem anymore).

moto z review aa (19 of 24)

It might come as no surprise that the Moto Z software is an easier pill to swallow. Historically, the Moto line has used interfaces that are very close to stock Android, with quite a few extras that are mostly out of the way. That is definitely the case with the Moto Z, which might have a few miscues, but overall provides a familiar but powerful suite of features.

Putting aside the fact that the fingerprint reader looks like a home button, holding it down to lock the screen is a very nice touch. Moto Actions still bring useful gestures like chopping twice to turn on the flashlight and the double twist to open up the camera. Finally, sing a custom phrase to wake the phone straight into a Google Voice Search never gets old. Here at Android Authority we tend to gravitate toward feature sets that have more we would use rather than options we would never touch. In this case, the Moto Z line succeeds where the LG G5 falls just short of the mark.

Modularity vs Mods

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Coincidentally, this is the same story when it comes to the mods. In a nutshell, the Moto Z line is simply a more accessible and easier way of doing mods than LG’s brand of modularity. If you want another one liner to describe this battle, you need look no further than how many mods we have for either phone.

LG G5 with HiFi DAC

Modularity on the LG G5 is a process. Basically, one has to press a small release button on the bottom left side of the phone so that the bottom portion can be pulled and slid out. Bear in mind that the phone should be turned off before doing this, much like clicking “Safely Remove Hardware” before pulling out a USB device in Windows. The battery that is quite literally clipped into the bottom piece then has to be snapped off in what can only be described as a precarious manner, so that it can be snapped into any of the LG Friends (the name they gave the mods).Then the phone needs to be powered on again.

lg g5 camera module demonstration aa-6

These mods are a CAM Plus camera module that gives the phone more battery, and hardware buttons to use for picture and video taking, and a Hi-Fi audio DAC by Bang & Olfsen, that can enhance headphone listening experiences. The usefulness of either Friend can depend on the user, but in our experiences with the CAM Plus, we found that although the hardware buttons and grip made picture taking pretty comfy, the added bulk and odd shape quickly took away from its practicality.

Ultimately, the biggest issue with LG’s modularity is the process, but there is also the problem of Friend availability. Even though the G5 has been around for months, there are only two currently on sale with no news of any other ones even in development. The usefulness of LG’s modding way requires proofs of concept, and that simply is not the case for a phone that will become old news by the time the LG V20 arrives soon in less than month, or when the next G device comes around the time of the Mobile World Congress next year.

Proof of concept is probably the best way to describe how Moto presented modding. While it is not full modularity by nature, it is still a way to add features not already available on the standalone device. The procedure to add these Moto Mods is simple – almost too simple – and just requires a lining up of the connector pins and magnets. Easily snap the phone and the mod together and it works immediately.

moto mods review projector aa (1 of 8)

The Moto Mods include the Moto Covers for further customization, Incipio battery pack mods for much more available power, the JBL SoundBoost speaker for better onboard audio, and a Moto projector mod that is surprisingly powerful and fun but ultimately impractical. A closer look at the different mods is available here on Android Authority, but here is the gist – the most useful of them is definitely the Incipio Power Pack, which adds much more available battery life to the normal capacity Moto Z and the large unit in the Moto Z Force.

moto mods review soundboost speaker aa (1 of 5)

Moto’s way of modding is the clear winner when it comes to convenience, because simply attaching the mod makes it work immediately, provided each unit is charged – yes, each Mod has its own batteries so they don’t just feed off of the phone’s own battery to work. There are three main types of Mods with the promise of more to come, but at the very least there are different colored and styled Covers and Power Pack Mods so the look of the Moto Z can be changed in multiple ways. Though all of the mods add a significant amount of heft to the phone, only the Power Pack Mod has to be handled on the phone – even then, it isn’t weirdly shaped so as to make it a pain to use.

moto mods review projector aa (8 of 8)See also: Moto Mods Review: Blast, Power and Project in a snap8

Though LG was the first one to bring modularity to the mainstream, it just wasn’t accessible enough for the masses. Moto’s version of modding is the clear winner, not just because it is a simple plug and play method, but also because every Mod has proven their usefulness, even if overall practicality is up to the end user.

As far as cost goes, the Moto Mods can range in price, with the Power Pack costing $60 and the Projector costing a whopping $299. In the other camp, the CAM Plus for the LG G5 can be bought for $70. So adding features via mods to these phones can cost a pretty penny, but when judging them by cost and value, the Power Pack Mod is rather nicely priced for its utility – the rest of the Mods and Friends, maybe not so much.

Specs comparison

Display 5.5-inch AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 535 ppi
5.3-inch IPS LCD display
Quad HD resolution, 554 ppi
Processor 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
32 GB
expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
Camera 21 MP rear camera, f/1.8 aperture, dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
16 MP (f/1.8) + 8 MP (f/2.4) rear cameras, LED flash
8 MP front-facing camera
Battery 3,500 mAh 2,800 mAh
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions 155.9 x 75.8 x 7 mm
163 grams
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm
159 grams

Gallery

Final thoughts

Taken alone, there is a lot to like about either of these devices. The Moto Z line has a new design language that may be different but it retains much of the DNA that made the Moto X line so well liked. It’s nice to have a powerful phone with the option to use the Mods and yet never truly need to.

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On the other hand, quite literally, the LG G5 has some trouble convincing us to use its modularity. And not just us, either – I personally have come across a few people recently who were using the G5 without mods. Upon asking, these people said that they didn’t ever get a Friend or use the ones that may have come with their phones. What they did enjoy was the camera package, where the wide angle shooter totally added to their picture and video taking experiences. We tend to feel the same way, as the wide angle camera is the most fun we’ve had shooting with a smartphone in a while.

Is that enough to put the overall package of the LG G5 over the overall package of the Moto Z? Probably not, as nearly every other aspect favors the Moto Z – software, modding, and even customization.

  • LG G5 review
  • Moto Z and Z Force review

And so, there you have it – the Moto Z and the LG G5. The two main modularity or modding smartphones available right now. As we said in our full LG G5 review, we applaud LG for taking a chance and a crack at modularity, but Moto simply put a little more thought into its execution and accessibility. Taken alone as phones, there’s plenty to enjoy from either company’s brand of Android, and it is ultimately up to you to decide which one better suits your needs. Which one would you pick? Let us know in the comments below!

14
Jun

The Xbox One S vs. the original Xbox One: What’s changed?


It’s been three years since the Xbox One’s launch, which means we’re due for a console redesign. But rather than give us the same system in a slimmer case, the Xbox One S also features a few tweaks under its stylish hood. The inclusion of 4K video is a welcome addition, but what else has changed? We’ve gathered all the relevant specs right here so you can start planning that next console purchase.

Xbox One S
Xbox One (2013)
Price
starts at $299
starts at $299 (originally $499)
Dimensions
40% smaller (exact dimensions unavailable)
333 x 274 x 79mm (13.1 x 10.8 x 3.1 inches)
Weight
Not available
3.2kg (7.05 pounds)
Output resolution
720p, 1080p, 4K (HDR)
720p, 1080p
CPU
Not available
AMD Jaguar APU, 1.75 GHz 8-core (2 quad-core modules)
GPU
Not available
AMD Radeon GCN, 853 MHz
RAM
Not available
8GB
Internal storage
500GB / 1TB / 2TB
500GB / 1TB
Physical media
4K Blu-ray, DVD
Blu-ray, DVD
WiFi
Dual band, 802.11 a/b/g/n
Dual band, 802.11 a/b/g/n
Wired network
10/100/1000 Ethernet
10/100/1000 Ethernet
Ports
HDMI, USB 3.0, IR blaster
HDMI 1.4, S/PDIF, USB 3.0, Kinect port
Power supply
Internal
External
Controller
Redesigned wireless controller with Bluetooth support
Xbox One wireless controller

Specs in italics are unconfirmed, but no significant performance changes have been announced. We will update this post as more details become available.

While the specifications mentioned today for Project Scorpio are promising, we don’t have enough data to do a proper comparison yet. We’ll be sure to take a closer look as more information becomes available over the next year.

Follow all the news from E3 2016 here!

10
Jun

The Moto Z vs. the competition: Much more than a gimmick


The biggest selling point of the new Moto Z and its fancier sibling the Moto Z Force might be the trio of “Mods” that let you boost the device’s battery life, pump up the volume or even make the it into a handheld projector. But how does this new handset compare with the other big accessory-adorned handset on the market, the LG G5? And should you choose either phone over more straightforward flagships like the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6s Plus? We’ve lined up the specs of the Moto Z against these formidable competitors to see what it brings to the table, no frills attached.

Moto Z
LG G5
HTC 10
Samsung Galaxy S7
iPhone 6s Plus
Pricing
TBA
varies by carrier on contract; $650 off-contract
$699 (off-contract)
$200 (on-contract)
$299, $399, $499 (on contract); $749, $849, $949 (off-contract)
Known dimensions
155.3 x 75.3 x 5.19mm (6.11 x 2.96 x 0.20 inches)
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3mm (5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches)
145.9 x 71.9 x 3.0-9.0mm (5.74 x 2.83 x 0.12-0.35 inches)
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm (5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches)
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
Weight
136g (4.8 ounces)
159g (5.61 ounces)
161g (5.68 ounces)
152g (5.36 ounces)
192g (6.77 ounces)
Screen size
5.5 inches (139.7mm)
5.3 inches (134.62mm)
5.2 inches (132.08mm)
5.1 inches (129.2mm)
5.5 inches (139.7mm)
Screen resolution
2,560 x 1,440 (535 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (554 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (564 ppi)
2,560 x 1,440 (577 ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
Screen type
Quad HD AMOLED
Quad HD IPS LCD Quantum
Super LCD 5
Quad HD Super AMOLED
Retina HD IPS LCD
Battery
2,600mAh
2,800mAh
3,000mAh
3,000mAh
2,750mAh
Internal storage
32 / 64GB
32GB
32GB
32GB
16 / 64 / 128GB
External storage
microSD
microSD
microSD
microSD
None
Rear camera
13MP, f/1.8, 1.12µm pixel size
16MP, f/1.8, 1.12µm pixel size
12MP, f/1.8, 1.55µm pixel size
12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixel size
12MP iSight, f/2.2, 1.22µm pixel size
Front-facing cam
5MP
8MP
5MP, f/1.8, 1.34µm pixel size
5MP
5MP FaceTime HD, f/2.2
Video capture
4K at 30fps
4K
4K
4K at 30fps
4K at 30fps
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Bluetooth
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
v4.2
SoC
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Apple A9
CPU
2.2GHz quad-core
2.15GHz quad-core
2.2GHz quad-core
2.15GHz quad-core
1.8GHz dual-core
GPU
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600
RAM
4GB
4GB
4GB
4GB
2GB
WiFi
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
iOS 9
Standout features
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, IP68 certified
3D Touch, 2nd-gen Touch ID, Retina flash
Accessories
Moto Mods: Insta-Share Projector, SoundBoost speaker, Power Pack
LG Friends: Cam, Cam Plus, Hi-Fi Plus (not available in US), VR
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable

* Specs in italics are unconfirmed.

You’ll have to wait for our review to get the final verdict on the Moto Z and its Mods, but be sure to check out our hands-on post from today’s event for some initial impressions.

Get all the news from today’s Lenovo and Motorola event right here!

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