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Showing posts with label MAGAZINE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAGAZINE. Show all posts

Monday, 6 July 2015

Black Friday 2015: the best Android deals we expect to see

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Black Friday - that time of the year when consumers stampede into shopping malls and click across the internet to get their hands on the best deals of the calendar year before someone else beats them to it. Black Friday 2015 lands on November 27 this year, but based on last year's sales we're prepared to make a few predictions about what deals you can expect from the biggest Android manufacturers.


Last year, there were some fantastic deals for Google Nexus devices, such as a Nexus 9 (16 GB) for $349.99, which had only been out for a month at the time. If you're looking to get your hands on a Nexus 9 in time for Christmas 2015, then we imagine that you'll be able to pick it up for under $200 / £150 on Black Friday 2015. You can already find it hovering around the $250 / £200 mark online.

androidpit nexus 6 hero 5
We expect the big, powerful Nexus 6 to come in at under $300 come Black Friday 2015. / © ANDROIDPIT

With the Nexus 6 already dropping in price to around $400 / £300, we don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that it'll be available for around $300 / £200 come Black Friday 2015. This seems particularly feasible given that the Nexus 5 could be found for around $300 during Black Friday 2014.
Even though it's no longer being manufactured, the Nexus 5 remains a much-loved phone, and based on Nexus 4 prices dropping to around $100 last Black Friday, we think you might be able to find a refurbished Nexus 5 for a similar price this year - especially if its anticipated successor, the Nexus 5 (2015), comes out by then.


To get an idea about what kind of Black Friday 2015 deals you should expect for the Galaxy S6, look no further than the Galaxy S5 in 2014. While prices for the Galaxy S5 dropped to around $500 with networks like T-Mobile and Ting, the best deal came from Target, which was offering the Galaxy S5 for just 1 cent when you bought it on the Sprint, Verizon or AT&T networks - saving $200 or so. Could the Galaxy S6 be in line for a similar bargain?

androidpit galaxy note 4 spen
While the Galaxy S6 will probably have some small price drops, we're expecting the Galaxy Note 4 to get super-cheap on Black Friday 2015. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy Note 3 dropped to around $400 during last year's Black Friday sales, so we're expecting the Galaxy Note 4 to get similar treatment this year. Expect to be able to pick up Samsung's powerhouse octa-core phablet for around $400 / £300 if you look in the right places. 
We expect to see some great deals for Samsung's tablet range as well. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 dropped to just $400 at Best Buy and £299 at John Lewis during Black Friday 2014, so a further $50 / £50 drop - or maybe more - is a reasonable expectation for this year. TheGalaxy Note Pro 12.2, meanwhile, came down to $450 last Black Friday on eBay, so keep an eye out for it to come down to $350 this year.


Last year, you could nab the HTC One M8 for just 1 solitary cent on Amazon if you got it on a two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. We're expecting a similar level of madness with the HTC One M9 - with Amazon and Target being the retailers most likely to deliver these crazy deals.

htc one m9 teaser photo
The HTC One M9 may look like a pricey piece of metal, but keep an eye out on Amazon and Target for it to be offered for free with two-year contracts. / © ANDROIDPIT


Motorola had its share of in-house Black Friday sales in 2014, so keep an eye on its official website for similar deals on Black Friday 2015. The Moto X (2014) dropped in price by $140 to $359 for the 16 GB model and $409 for the 32 GB variant. Of course, the Moto X (2015) hasn't yet been officially announced, but if it comes out in September as some rumors are suggesting, then we wouldn't be surprised to see a similar price drop for it. 
The Moto X (2014), meanwhile, should be available for well under $300 come Black Friday 2015.

moto x front homescreen
We're willing to wager that you'll be able to pick this up for under $300 this fall. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Moto G, meanwhile, was available for as little as $40 at Walmart, so bargain-hunters keeping tabs on the Moto G (2014) may be rewarded if they wait until November.


True to Amazon's Black Friday form, the shopping site offered the LG G3 for a mere one-cent down-payment on a two-year contract with Sprint last fall. As with many of these one-cent deals, it was super-short-term, so you better snap up equivalent deals for the LG G4 nice and quick come Black Friday 2015.

lg g4 side front three
The LG G4 price is already undercutting its rivals, but expect further drops to around the $450 / £400 mark on Black Friday 2015. / © ANDROIDPIT

We reckon the almost-forgotten LG G Flex 2 will have some great deals going for it. The LG G4 has stolen much of the spotlight, so what better way to attract interest in the crescent-shaped phone than to plummet its price? Currently going for around $450 / £300 , we reckon the G Flex 2 will drop as low as $350 / £250. That would be one of the best Black Friday 2015 deals around for an overlooked but excellent phone.

lg g flex 2 side 2
Remember this eccentric old thing? The LG G Flex 2 could come super-cheap on Black Friday 2015. / © ANDROIDPIT


There were some decent - if not exactly jaw-dropping - Xperia Z3 deals last Black Friday. T-Mobile dropped the Xperia Z3 price by $50, bringing it down to a still-pricey $580. We're hoping to see the Xperia Z3 come in at under $350 / £300 at Black Friday 2015. The recently-released Xperia Z3+ will also need relatively bigger price drops that the Z3 last year if it's to turn heads - especially considering how it didn't blow us away in our review.

androidpit sony xperia z3 plus 6
The Xperia Z3+ will need some great Black Friday 2015 bargains for people to notice. / © ANDROIDPIT

Are you holding out until Black Friday 2015 for any great deals, or can you simply not handle waiting until then to get your hands on a 2015 flagship? Tell us in the comments.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


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If you've got an Android phone, be it a Nexus 5 or a Galaxy Note 4, there are all kinds of cool things you can do with it. From custom ROMs to alternative launchers, apps, LED notifications, gesture controls, icon packs and tweaks - there is enough from here until the cows home. But there are really only seven things that every single Android owner simply must do. Here they are.
androidpit nexus 5 hero image 03 edit

1. The battery optimizations

No matter which Android device you have, there are ways to improve the battery life from the get-go. Firstly, you must turn off 'ambient display' or 'adaptive brightness'. This is a setting which changes the display brightness based on the current lighting conditions, but it's not perfect. 
The sensor used to determine the light levels is not as accurate as the human eye, you can set a better display brightness for the current circumstances, and as the display is a key area where battery life is lost, make sure you keep this at the lowest level possible.
Go to your display settings and make sure it's switched off. 
androidpit battery optimizations
Additionally, all of the major Android UIs come with some form of battery saving mode. While the strengths of each vary, they are worth digging into to see how they can be best applied for your particular needs. 
For example, Sony's 'Stamina mode' alters very little in terms of performance and it's one of those you can (and probably should) have enabled always. 
The stock Android approach is a battery saving function which quite heavily effects performance and app functionality, so it might worth considering using this only when it's necessary.  
HTC's 'Power Saver', on the other hand, has several options you can enable or disable within it, making it a little less rigid than the others. 
Investigate the battery functions on your device by going into the settings and looking for battery, power or something similar. 
androidit power saving htc sony

2. Enable always listening, start using Google Now

Google Now acts as a virtual personal assistant which you can use to retrieve information quickly and easily. But it's also so much more than that: Google Now can interact with your apps, take notes, set reminders along with a whole bunch of other clever tricks.
The more you use Google Now the more you realize what an excellent service it is. To give a simple example, say you wish to take an afternoon nap, but are already in that sleepy state and about to nod off. You don't need to reach for your phone and open your clock app, calculate the time you want to wake and then set it. Just say "Okay Google, wake me up in two hours." 
androidpit google now always listening screenshot
You can even set it to work from any screen by going into your Google Settings > Search and Now > Voice > OK Google detection > and enable from any screen.
We've listed more than 100 Google Now voice commands for you to make use of, try it out for yourself. 

3. Set up Android Device Manager

How Android Device Manager is not pre-enabled on every single Android phone I simply don't know. Android Device Manager is a great tool that lets you track a lost or stolen phone, remotely lock it, ring it, or delete its contents and even display a lock screen message for anyone that finds it. It may not be the sexiest thing you do with your Android phone, but it should be the first thing you do.
androidpit security features screenshot
You'll find the permissions for Android Device Manager in the Google Setting app under Security. You can enable Android Device Manager to remotely locate your phone as well as lock or erase its contents. But you'll also need to activate Android Device Manager as a device administrator. Go to Settings > Security > Device Administrators and check the box next to Android Device Manager.
  • Android Lollipop security: what you should know
androidpit device administrators
Android Device ManagerInstall on Google Play

4. Supercharge your Wi-Fi

Did you know in Google Chrome's settings you can tell your favorite browser to save you time and money by reducing your data usage? No? Most people don't. By using this setting, I've cut my data usage by 30 percent in the past month. How's that for easy savings? Go to Chrome > Settings > Data Saver and turn it on.
androidpit chrome data savings screenshot
Likewise, did you know you can tell your phone to keep Wi-Fi on during sleep? Just go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced and hit Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep.
Setting this to Always means not only will you download things while your phones display is off, but you will also save battery life, because your phone won't have to constantly reconnect to Wi-Fi every time you wake it up.
  • androidpit wi fi advance settings

5. Pushbullet everything

There aren't too many apps that I think absolutely everyone should use, because everyone has different tastes, needs and habits. But Pushbullet is different. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be using it. 
pushbullet 01
You can push links on your phone to your tablet, links from your PC to your phone or links from your phone to all of your devices. Copying and pasting URLs is like, so 1999. Pushbullet also notifies you of SMS or calls on your PC and you can transfer files between all of your devices with Pushbullet too.
androidpit pushbullet screenshot
PushbulletInstall on Google Play

6. Save time with NFC

Unless you're already an NFC fan, most people don't even realize what NFC is, how it works or what it can do for you. But NFC is brilliant. A single tap can pair your Bluetooth headphones to your phone, transfer all of the contents of your old phone to a new one, or even send a default message to a contact when you walk in the door at home.
Heck, some guy even implanted an NFC chip in his hand so he'd never have to unlock his phone again. You don't have to go that far, but some NFC-equipped devices and a pack of NFC tags will change your life and save you precious time. NFC is one of the coolest and underrated things to do with your Android.

7. Setup lock screen security

If your adventurous nature stops a little short of implanting an NFC chip in your person, the next best thing to do is setup your lock screen security. I am forever surprised by just how many of my friends don't have lock screen security set up.
If you lose your phone or have it stolen do you really want that thief to have access to all the intimate corners of your smartphone? No? Then set up a pattern or PIN lock right now. Just go to Settings > Security > Screen lock or on some devices Settings > Lock Screen to set up your preferred type of lock screen security. Seriously, do it right now.
What else should everyone do with their Android? Share your tips in the comments.
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Samsung Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1 update news

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We've known since mid-April that Samsung is working on bringing Android 5.1 Lollipop to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, and it is finally rolling out over-the-air (OTA). Those with T-Mobile have already been enjoying Android 5.1.1 and Sprint is now rolling out Android 5.1 as well. Here's everything you need to know about the Galaxy S6 Android update.
android lollipop update

Samsung Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1 update

The Android 5.1.1. update has just started rolling out internationally. First seen in France, the Android 5.1.1 update also includes RAW support for the camera and lower ISO values. You'll only be able to make use of these features with a third-party camera app like Camera FV-5 and a gallery app that supports RAW images like Adobe's Lightroom, but the features are definitely there. 
Camera FV-5 LiteInstall on Google PlayAdobe Lightroom mobileInstall on Google PlaySprint Samsung Galaxy S6 update  
Sprint is rolling out Android 5.1 to the Samsung Galaxy S6, bringing it up to software version G920PVPU2B0F7. The update comes in at around 563 MB and brings with it some typical bug fixes.
Make sure your battery is charged to at least 50 percent before attempting to download and install the update, and check our Android 5.1 features page to see what else is included with the new software version. 
T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S6 update
T-Mobile was the first major carrier in the US to begin rolling out the Android 5.1.1 update, bringing devices up to baseband version G925TUVU1AOF6.
Among the improvements noted by T-Mobile is a fix for the "camera LED flashlight" issue. Whether this is the same Galaxy S6 camera problem we've encountered previously, we aren't entirely sure, but we're inclined to believe it is. You can expect some improvements to the fingerprint scanner, as well as various bug fixes, also.
One unexpected addition is RAW support for the camera, as discovered by XDA Developers. The 5.1.1 update also brings lower ISO settings.
Go into your device settings and to About phone > Software update to see if your handset is ready to be updated. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge owners should be due for the upgrade too. 
androidpit galaxy s6 quick launch camera
The Galaxy S6 camera flash issue seems to have been fixed by the latest update. Hooray. / © ANDROIDPIT
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S6 update  
Verizon Wireless has released an update for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge bringing the device software up to version VVRU1AOD5. While this isn't the Android 5.1 update that many are eagerly awaiting, it does bring some minor tweaks and bug fixes. Among these are some changes to the layout of the HD Voice calling options, and a new drawing feature in the photo editor.  
AT&T Samsung Galaxy S6 update  
The Galaxy S6 update for AT&T devices is not yet available. More information as we get it. 

Galaxy S6 Android M update

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Android M update is not yet available. Android M is expected to launch globally in Q3, 2015. We will let you know when we learn more.
Are you the proud owner of a Galaxy S6? What are your thoughts on the new TouchWiz UI combined with the latest Lollipop version?

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Moto X (2014) Android 5.1 Lollipop update news

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The Moto X (2014) Android 5.1 update is now in full swing. After unlocked international versions of the Moto X (2nd generation) got the Android 5.1 update weeks ago, Moto X (2014) Pure Edition owners in the US are now enjoying the update and so are those on Verizon. Find out all of the latest Moto X (2nd gen) update news below. 
moto x front homescreen

Moto X (2014) Android Lollipop update in the US

Verizon Moto X (2014) update 
The Moto X update started to arrive to unlocked devices (as well as with Rogers) in the U.S., Canada and Brazil only recently, but now Verizon has begun its rollout too. 
The update brings Moto X (2nd gen) owners up to software version 23.16.3 and introduces new interruption controls, a means of altering the notification volume while media is playing, and factory reset protection. To read more about the Android 5.1 features, head over to our dedicated article. 
Verizon updates typically arrive to devices in stages, so it may take a few days to arrive to your handset. Make sure that you charge your device to at least 75 percent before starting the update, and for a full rundown of the Verizon improvements introduced, check out the Verizon Wireless changelog.
US Cellular Moto X (2014) update 
US Cellular has also announced the OTA Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the Moto X 2nd generation. The OTA brings the Moto X (2014) update to build number LPE23.32-21. 
The full changelog has also been posted on its customer support site, including a new ''chop chop'' gesture for launching the flashlight, priority interruptions, heads-up notifications, additional Quick Settings, Device Protection and improvements to the camera.
To see if you have the update waiting for you, head to Settings > About Phone > System Update.
AT&T Moto X (2014) update 
The AT&T Moto X (2014) Android 5.0.2 update rolled out in late February and the Android 5.1 update appeared in early May. The changelog for the AT&T Moto X 2nd gen. Android 5.1 Lollipop update include the same ''chop'' gesture.
Moto X (2014) Pure Edition update
As mentioned above, the Moto X (2nd generation) Pure Edition began receiving the Android 5.1 update on June 26.
moto x camera

Moto X (2014) Android M update 

The Moto X 2014 Android M update is not yet available. Android M is expected to launch globally in Q3, 2015. We will let you know when we learn more.
Do you think that Android 5.1 is taking to long to arrive to the Moto X (2nd gen)? Let us know in the comments below. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

5 reasons the Nexus 5 (2015) will be irresistible

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The Nexus 5 (2015) is a device rumored to be in development by LG, in partnership with Google. Though it’s yet to be announced, we suspect it's going to be a low-powered handset with an average camera, acceptable display, and middling battery life. And it’s probably going to be the best Android phone of 2015. Here are five reasons you’re going to want the Nexus 5 (2015).   

1. A great price

Part of the appeal of the Nexus 5 was its price-to-performance ratio. The Nexus 5 entered the market at 349 USD (299 GBP) for the base model and, the occasional sale notwithstanding, stayed there until Google stopped producing it.
nexus 5 hero image 10
It entered the market at its final price: a rarity in the world of smartphones and consumer electronics. If this alone isn’t a reason to be excited about the new handset, I don’t know what is.
Though you could be forgiven for thinking that the 349 for the last remnants of the Nexus 5 sold earlier this year was too much to ask, producing a smartphone and asking a reasonable price for it is a truly wonderful idea, and LG/Google achieved that at the launch of the original Nexus 5 (here’s hoping the OnePlus 2 once again delivers on this).
With LG back in the driving seat, there’s every possibility we’ll see the Nexus 5 (2015) enter the market offering exceptional value for money.  

2. Stock Android

It might seem obvious, but one of the reasons to buy the nexus 5 2015 is the stock Android experience. It goes without saying that the Nexus 5 (2015) will have the truest Android software (which I'm still tipping will be named Marshmallow), rather than a custom UI like TouchWiz, Xperia UI, or UX 4.0.
What are the benefits of such software? Namely, fast updates. Google devices receive the latest Android versions faster than any other handsets, with the factory images available for install directly from the Google Developers website. Whether OTA or by flashing yourself, you will be able to get updates faster than others when you own a Google-branded device.
nexus 6 android m apps 2
The next version of Android will almost certainly launch with the Nexus 5 (2015). / © ANDROIDPIT
Then there’s the interface itself: if you’re disappointed by Sony or Samsung-branded apps you can’t get rid of (though Samsung has certainly improved lately), you don’t have to worry about this on Google’s own handset, providing you’re okay with the Google apps package.
Anything added to the stock experience will have some kind of impact on memory (both random access and storage), and here is an area where few devices will be able to compete with the Nexus 5 (2015).

3. The size sweet spot

You might be worried that the new Nexus is going to continue in the phablet vein, but if there are two handsets in the making, and one by LG, it's a safe bet that one of them is going to be a more "pocket-friendly" device. LG shrank the G Flex 2 to size from the 6-inches of its predecessor to a 5.5-inch screen, seemingly of the opinion that 6-inches is too large.
nexus 5 nexus 6 size
The Nexus 5 (front) was far smaller than the Nexus 6 (behind). / © ANDROIDPIT
Why is this important? Size can be the determining factor in a smartphone purchase. I've spoken to dozens of people who have said "I was going to get phone "X" but I chose phone "Y" because it was bigger/smaller." Our own Head of Content chose against the Nexus 6 for this very reason. 
It's a cliché, but size matters, and 6-inches is too much for me. The Nexus 5 (2015) might stick closer to the size of the original at around 5 inches. And if a 5-inch Nexus phone doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will. 

4. This time charging is different

I’m not going to try and argue that the Nexus 5 (2015) will have excellent battery life. Honestly, it probably won’t. What smartphone has good battery life these days? I haven’t seen good battery life since the early 2000s.
But this Nexus 5 has much more going for it in the battery department than the previous one. Firstly, Qualcomm Quick-Charge 2.0 means that devices are charging faster than ever before. Even if your Nexus 5 doesn’t have a large battery capacity, it’s likely to charge faster.
The Nexus 6 has Qualcomm Quick-Charge, the LG G4 supports, with any recent Snapdragon processor, the Nexus 5 (2015) is likely to have it.
nexus 6 android m nexus 5 lollipop battery
Android M delivers a huge improvement to battery life. / © ANDROIDPIT
The Nexus 5 (2015) will also be able to take advantage of "Doze", a battery optimization which will be apparent on the next Android version. You can read more about the benefits of that at our dedicated Android M features page.
Then there’s wireless charging. For me it’s currently the least important component of the whole charging affair, but since the Nexus 5 can charge wirelessly (with a separate adapter), and its prevalence having increased since then, it will at least make the charging process more seamless, even if battery power isn’t vastly improved.

5. LG: Life's Good

In the past I’ve been quite vocal about my love of LG as a brand, and it stems from the rear button design. When this first appeared on the LG G2 it felt uncomfortable, for myself andother critics alike.
Despite an evident backlash, LG stuck with the rear-buttons, and I now love them. I think they are useful, I think they are comfortable, and I think it’s great to have this option: a flagship which provides this unique experience.
nexus 5 lg
If LG is making the Nexus 5 (2015), there's no telling how great it could be. / © ANDROIDPIT
Does this mean I expect rear buttons on the Nexus 5 (2015), absolutely not. What do I expect, then? Expertise.
LG has made stunning hardware. For at least the past few years it has produced standout Android handsets year-on-year. And LG knows how to iterate and improve upon its formula. Those fans who loved the rear button design received it again on the LG G3, and on the LG G4 — LG only needs to apply the same principles to the Nexus 5 (2015).
What did people like? They liked the price, they liked the performance, they liked the display and the design, and I think we can count on LG to deliver on those a second time around.


You need only read my last few device comparisons to understand my thoughts on specs. Numbers on paper don’t say much about the actual user-experience, modest specs can produce excellent results with the care and attention of experts (you’ll have to forgive me, but the iPhone series is just the best example of this).
I don’t think the LG Nexus 5 (2015) would produce a spec sheet that blows us away. Despite rumors, and my better judgement, I don’t even expect QHD resolution. 
nexus 5 nexus 6 camera
I expect a well-thought out device at a fantastic price which holds our attention of the next two years. LG has done it before, why can't it do it again?
Head over to our Nexus 5 (2015) device rumors and specs page for more, and sound off in the comments to let us know whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

How To Use LED Flash On Your iPhone As A Notification Light For Alerts

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Accessibility is an important aspect of any modern day operating system, and it may even be more important when it comes to mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. Apple takes accessibility as seriously as any technology maker does and venturing into the depths of the Settings app on any iOS device will unveil a raft of options to be toggled on and off with more seemingly being added with each and every new version of iOS.

Best phone plans for the Samsung Galaxy S6

One accessibility feature that has been present in iOS for a while now is the ‘LED Flash for Alerts’ option that can be found in the Settings app. Enabling it takes just a few taps and once you have, all incoming alerts will be met with a flashing LED on the back of your iPhone. If you leave your iPhone face-down on a table, the flashing LED will certainly catch your attention and it will continue to flash whether your iPhone is in silent mode or not.
Enabling LED Flash for Alerts is very easy indeed, and here’s how you can do just that in a few easy steps:
Step 1: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
Step 2: Now tap on General.
Step 3: Next, tap Accessibility.
Step 4: Finally, toggle the ‘LED Flash for Alerts’ setting to ON.
And that’s all there is to it. Pretty easy wasn’t it? We’re sure you’ll agree.
The option to have an iPhone’s LED light flash when an incoming alert is received is a big one if you are hearing impaired, but it’s useful regardless. There is one thing to keep in mind while this option is enabled though, especially if you’re an Apple Watch owner. For example, if your Apple Watch is paired to your iPhone then this option won’t work, as all notifications are pushed to your wrist and the iPhone’s LED won’t blink in that case, because Apple assumes that you won’t ever miss a tap on your skin. Ever. We don’t know why that is so, but there’s that to keep in mind.