OnePlus has announced “The Lab,” which will include peer reviews for the OnePlus 3 and perhaps future devices that OnePlus releases in the future as well. OnePlus says that they’ve been able to build the company with the help of its customers over the years, and they believe that customer feedback and participation is the guide that sets them on their path.
The Lab is just one of many results of that, and it will launch with the OnePlus 3, which the company aims to receive “fair, honest, crowd-sourced feedback” regarding the new handset, its features, and capabilities. The goal here, according to OnePlus, is a “comprehensive community review.” What that will actually look like in the end, with so many voices, will be interesting.
OnePlus says that anyone in any region can apply to get into the reviewers slots, but in the end they’ll only choose 30 people. Once the reviewers get their phones, which they’ll get before anyone else, they’ll have several days to put the handset through its paces.
At the time of this writing, there are five days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes remaining to apply for the reviewer position with OnePlus’s The Lab, and 419 people have applied so far.
ASUS has yet to make a large impact on the global smartphone market, but the manufacturer is back again with a new family of flagship smartphones that look to be some of the best yet. The ZenFone 3 family continues to refine and improve ASUS’s flagship line, bringing in three new smartphones aimed at a variety of markets. Let’s dive in and see what we’re working with.
The ZenFone 3 is the base model of the family. The device is svelte and features a fairly compact body, featuring a 77.3% screen-to-body ratio that highlights the lack of wasted space around the display. The display itself is a 5.5-inch 1080p Super IPS+ display that prides itself on offering high brightness, even in direct sunlight. That display is protected with 2.5D Gorilla Glass, which also encompasses the rear of the device. A metal accent band runs around the edge of the device, offering the ZenFone 3 a classy and refined design.
Internally, the ZenFone 3 is packed with power. ASUS has powered the device with a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor and up to 4GB of RAM, though the exact amount of RAM in the device coincides with the storage size option you choose. Storage comes in 32 or 64GB options and is augmented by a microSD card slot. The ZenFone 3 features a 3000mAh battery, rear fingerprint scanner, broad network support, USB-Type C charging and Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0 overtop.
ASUS has made a powerful point with mobile cameras and the ZenFone 3 continues to improve upon that tradition. The 16-megapixel rear camera features a 6-piece Largan lens, f/2.0 aperture and ASUS’s TriTech autofocus technology. TriTech combines laser, phase detection and continuous autofocus to achieve focus in as little as 0.03 seconds. The rear camera also includes optical image stabilization and a powerful HDR mode. On the front, users will find a fairly standard 8-megapixel camera that should snap sharp selfies.
No availability details have been released, but pricing begins at $249 for the model with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. Three color options of Sapphire Black, Moonlight White and Shimmer Gold will be available.
ZenFone 3 Deluxe
ASUS has designed the ZenFone 3 with a full aluminum alloy unibody that’s free of plastic antenna lines on the rear. The device features a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display that covers over 100% of the NTSC color gamut, offering vivid and life-like colors. The device also has a rear fingerprint scanner and features a USB-Type C charging port.
The device is powered by a 2.15Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor and 6GB of RAM. Users can choose from three different storage size options of 64GB, 128GB, or even 256GB, all of which are supplemented by a microSD card slot that supports Apps to SD. The device also features a 3000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and a five-magnet speaker that’s accompanied by an NXP amplifier for loud, crisp sound.
The rear camera is a Sony IMX318 23-megapixel sensor that again features a 6-piece Largan lens, TriTech autofocus and an f/2.0 aperture. Additionally, the camera bring in OIS as well as three-axis electronic image stabilization when filming 4K video. The front camera is a wide-angle 8-megapixel shooter.
No availability details have been released, but the device pricing starts at $499 for the 64GB model. THree color options of Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray and Shimmer Gold will be available.
ZenFone 3 Ultra
The biggest of the bunch, the ZenFone 3 Ultra centers itself around an enormous 6.8-inch 1080p IPS display that’s covered in Gorilla Glass 4. The display also has a dedicated image processor that optimizes each pixel in every frame before it’s displayed. ASUS has given the ZenFone 3 Ultra an aluminum unibody with no rear antenna lines. Interestingly, this device features a physical home button that houses a fingerprint scanner within.
Powering the ZenFone 3 Ultra is a 1.8GHz quad-core Snapdragon 652 processor and up to 4GB of RAM. Storage options include 32, 64, or 128GB which are all accompanied by a microSD card slot. The device features a massive 4600mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support and the ability to charge other devices. Additionally, the ZenFone 3 Ultra packs two five-magnet speakers, an NXP amplifier and DTS Headphone:X virtual 7.1 channel surround sound through certified headphones.
The camera specifications of the ZenFone 3 Ultra are identical to those of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe.
No availability details have been released, but pricing begins at $479 for the 64GB model. Three color options of Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray and Metallic Pink will be offered.
HTC is hosting a Memorial Day sale and it’s a pretty good one. If you were looking to buy an HTC 10, now is a good time. The company is offering a free HTC RE camera with your purchase, regardless of the model you buy.
If you want the RE on its own, it’s 60% off, down to $80 from its $200 original price. There’s also a 40% sale on select accessories if you already own some HTC products.
If you want to take advantage of this sale, hit the source link and get buying. The sale ends on the 30th so you have the weekend to decide on what you want.
It looks like Verizon Wireless is on track to add another Android-based tablet to its roster, based on newly leaked information regarding the upcoming device.
Evan Blass (@evleaks) has released information and an image of what is being called the ASUS ZenPad Z8. Thanks to prominent branding on the front of the device, it’s obvious that this is headed to Verizon Wireless at some point in the future.
According to the leaked specs, the ZenPad Z8 will feature an 8-inch display with a resolution of 1536×2048. There will be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor making everything tick along, and it will have 2GB of RAM. It will offer 16GB of built-in storage, feature an 8-megepixel camera on the back, and a 1.8-megapixel front camera. It will also offer a microSD card slot for expandable storage.
That’s about all that’s known about the upcoming tablet for Verizon at this point. A launch date wasn’t teased, nor how much it will cost.
What do you think of the ASUS ZenPad Z8? A worthy tablet, depending on price?
It’s not a soap or a ranch. No, the Acer Liquid Zest Plus is a budget smartphone that features some pretty respectable specs. It has a 5.5-inch 720p display, a quad core MediaTek MT6735 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 13MP camera, Android 6.0, and a huge 5,000 mAh battery.
The surprising thing is that the device is officially coming to the US! Despite advancements in how we buy phones, carrier payment plans are still really popular. Off contract devices are gaining in popularity, but Acer will have an uphill battle to fight. Thankfully, the device is only $199.
The Liquid Zest Plus will be launching in the US in July in Moroccan Blue and Andes White, and for a device that touts 3 day battery life, $199 really isn’t much. It’s also coming to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for €199. Would you consider buying this device?
Samsung is jumping into the metal smartphone pool and extending the design to more phones. That includes two brand new handsets, the Galaxy C5 and Galaxy C7.
Samsung has made the two devices officially official, showing off the Galaxy C5 and C7 which are heading to the Chinese market. First up is the Galaxy C5, which features a 5.2-inch 1920×1080 Super AMOLED display, which is set over an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor. The device also boasts 4GB of RAM, will be available in 32GB and 64GB variants, and will include a microSD card slot for expandable storage and a battery measured in at 2600mAh. There’s also an 16-megapixel camera on the back, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a fingerprint sensor on the front below the display. It also has NFC support.
The other new handset is the slightly beefier Galaxy C7, which boasts 5.7-inch 1920×1080 Super AMOLED display. There’s an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, and the battery is measured in at 3300mAh. The other specs are similar to the C5: 16MP camera on the back and an 8MP front-facing shooter, 4GB of RAM, 32/64GB of built-in storage, microSD card slot, and NFC support. A fingerprint reader is included as well.
As mentioned earlier, Samsung is launching the devices in China and there’s no word on whether or not they’ll make it to any other markets. For those interested in the devices, the Galaxy C5 starts at 2,199 yuan ($335 USD), while the Galaxy C7 starts at 2,599 ($396 USD).
What do you think of Samsung’s newest Android devices?
The BlackBerry Priv may be a bit slow to get OS updates, but the flexibility of the Play Store allowing companies to update apps rather than the entire operating system has made adding features much easier. BlackBerry has just released a few app updates for the Android-powered device and the additional features are great.
The camera app has been updated with manual controls, a big deal for anyone who loves photography. You don’t have to have an amazing camera as long as you have some control over your photos. You’ll now be able to control shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. You’ll also get keyboard shortcuts, like space to take photos, swiping the keyboard to adjust settings, and hitting “A” to revert to auto.
The keyboard has also been updated with new shortcuts, many of which computer users are used to. Cut, copy, past, undo, redo, italic, underline, and bold were added. There’s also support for Korean Hangul and Vietnamese for both the virtual and physical keyboards.
To get these new features, head to the Play Store and update your apps. By default, your BlackBerry may have already done so automatically. Let us know how you like it!
However, it sounds like the support department for devices to enjoy those VR experiences on will be pretty thin at launch later this year. According to a report from RoadToVR citing a confirmation from Google’s VR chief, Clay Bavor, current devices that are on the market won’t be “Daydream-ready” when the platform launches. That includes high-end flagship handsets like the HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and others.
It’s an interesting turn of events, considering Google has been telling developers to use the Nexus 6P, last year’s flagship, as the platform to work for. Based on this report, it doesn’t sound like the Nexus 6P will be a certified Daydream-ready device. For what it’s worth, the 6P does feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor under the hood, which might be an important distinction, because as Engadget points out, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 is a chipset that supports VR out of the box. Of course, devices like the HTC 10 feature a Snapdragon 820 under the hood, so it sounds like the finer details will really make the difference.
As it stands, it sounds like those who want to make sure they have a Daydream-ready device should wait to upgrade until late in the year, or maybe even early next just to be on the safe side.
A recent Google Photos update may have appeared to include little more than bug fixes, but according to code found within the app, much more interesting features are coming soon, including unlimited original quality photo storage for Nexus devices, album sorting and more.
Today’s information comes courtesy of Android Police, who has torn down the latest Google Photos APK only to find some interesting change coming soon to the app inside:
Unlimited original quality storage for Nexus devices
Album sorting options
Device folders will appear as albums
New exposure and contrast controls
Album sorting options and more editing tools will be nice, but the big surprise here is unlimited original quality photo storage for Nexus devices for free. Right now, unlimited storage only applies to photos under 16 megapixels. And even for the photos under that limit, they are compressed a wee bit to help Google reduce data storage.
When, how or if these changes will be implemented remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance it will happen, and soon. Yet another reason to buy a Nexus phone. What do you think?
Google’s latest Project Ara update was a huge one, met with just as many jeers as cheers. The modular device is actually going to be released next year! But you can swap out far fewer components than originally planned, which kind of ruins much of what made Ara exciting in the first place. Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens has taken to his website to speak out on this, voicing his concerns.
Hakkens is essentially disappointed with two major aspects of Ara: the lack of modular components and Google’s complete control over the platform. From his website:
… the Ara skeleton is a fully equipped phone with things like CPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display. The 6 little blocky modules on the back of the phone are just add-ons like better camera’s, speakers, scanners etc. Things to customise your phone, for fun.
It means your phone still gets obsolete after a while. What if your screen breaks? Well you still need to replace the entire phone. And after a couple of years it gets slow and you need to replace your entire skeleton.
Originally their goal was to ‘create a phone for the entire world’, we loved this.
Ara is build on open standards, and developers can develop their own modules. Which is great. It creates and ecosystem of modules. However it isn’t truly open. Everything happens under the umbrella of Google. They are in charge, they make the rules. They can decided to suddenly change the connectors, or design. Making all previous modules you have obsolete. It’s a powerful ecosystem which shouldn’t be in the hands of one organisation.Dave HakkensPhonebloks
Hakkens’ concerns are valid and most certainly shared. How will Ara help reduce environmental waste? How is it really different than the LG G5 or upcoming Moto Z? While we’re still excited to see how Ara will turn out next year and how it will evolve, the first generation device sounds like it won’t be the modular phone we’ve been waiting for.