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Smartphones in 2018: the half year report

It's hard to believe that we're halfway through 2018 already! So let's press 'pause' for a second and look back at the direction phone development took this year. We go to extraordinary lengths here at GSMArena to ensure that the data within our Phone Specifications pages are accurate and up-to-date. We've selected the most popular 140 phones to avoid outliers messing with the averages and trawled through this wealth of data we've accumulated to draw out stats and trends. Design & Build Size - In 2017, 'taller' displays with their aspect ratios of 18:9 and 19.5:9 resulted in the...

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A phone with Light's multi-lens camera tech is in the works

Remember Light's ludicrous L16 camera with 16 lenses on the back? Well, that tech is reportedly going to be used in a phone that will launch later this year. Thanks to Foxconn's big investment in the small firm, the tech is going in a smartphone with nine cameras. According to the Washington Post, the company already has a working prototype with anything between five and nine lenses that function together to deliver DSLR-like performance in low-light conditions and capturing whopping 64MP images. In addition, Light promises sophisticated depth effects and unmatched zoom capabilities,...

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Sony Mobile is investigating its operations in Africa, Turkey and the Middle East

It's no secret that Sony's Mobile division has been going through a rough patch, for quite some time now. After the fairly recent internal CEO shuffle, it seems that active steps have finally been taken to evaluate the state of the mobile branch, in hopes of bringing it up to speed with the Japanese giant's successful imaging and gaming divisions. Word of an ongoing internal investigation into the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa markets first came about through veteran leakster Evan Blass a few days ago. Bad news for Sony Mobile fans in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa: I'm hearing...

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Apple is re-building its Maps using data gathered from iPhone users

Apple is said to be working on a new version of its navigation app, Maps. The company has started from scratch and it uses not only the data gathered from its own fleet of cars, but also from iPhone users. But of course, Apple is doing so while respecting user privacy. The new Maps will first be introduced in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next version of IOS 12 beta. It should cover Northern California towards the end of 2018. Since it now incorporates user travel data when they open the Maps app - just like Google Maps does - it should speed up the process quite a bit....

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Weekly poll: face scanning vs. fingerprint readers

Even old sleuths like Sherlock Holmes know that a fingerprint can identify a person. Today, fingerprints are read multiple times a day - it's routine - thanks to the readers on modern smartphones. But is that the best way for a device to know that it's being handled by its rightful owner? What about 3D face scanning? "Wanted" posters have been used for even longer than fingerprints and they work because your face is unique. Well, most of the time, unless you have a twin or a sibling or a kid that looks like you. Capacitive fingerprint readers are fairly simple devices, readily available...

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T-Mobile LG G6 starts getting Oreo update

T-Mobile has started pushing out a new update to LG G6 units on its network. Arriving as software version H87220a, the update brings along Android 8.0 Oreo. As per the official change-log, several other bug fixes and software improvements are also included. So with this, all Big Four carriers - including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon - have rolled out the update to LG G6 units. Given the T-Mobile update - which weighs in at around 1.7GB - has just started rolling out, it may take time for the update notification to pop up on your screen, so be patient. Source 1 2

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Smartphone World Cup: quarter finals

We've reached the quarter finals of our Smartphone World Cup after some high-profile departures in the round of 16. You have until Friday to support your favorites and you can vote once a day in each match. Nokia 7 plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+ These two come from different walks of life - the Galaxy S9+ is a flagship representing the best that Samsung has to offer. Its screen, camera and chipset are among the best and there's no shortage of perks - waterproofing, stereo speakers, HDR10 screen, fast wireless charging, you name it. Nokia 7 plus • Samsung Galaxy S9+ The Nokia 7...

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Another mysterious glass-back Moto gets spotted in the wild

As we approach Motorola's August 2 Chicago event, device leaks have naturally been pouring in. As per the rumor mill, we have the proper Moto Z3 flagship to look forward to at the venue, as well as a new Motorola One family of handsets. Hot on the heels of a major render leak, for the Moto One and One Power, today brings a couple of new blurry photos of a mysterious new Moto smartphone. Leaked photos It clearly features a glass sandwich design, so our first guess would be it's either the Moto One or the One Power. However, there are a few problems with that theory. As per...

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2018 Galaxy J3 and Galaxy J7 are now available on Verizon

Samsung launched the new Galaxy J3 and Galaxy J7 in the US a few weeks back. At the time of the announcement, the company said these devices would be available for purchase in early July through carriers and retail partners. However, the new budget smartphones seem to be hitting the market a little earlier than announced.

The Galaxy J3 and J7 went on sale as the Galaxy J3 Achieve and Galaxy J7 Refine on Sprint and Boost networks just a couple of days back. They are also now available for purchase on Verizon as the Galaxy J3 V 3rd Gen and Galaxy J7 V 2nd Gen. Apart from the minor differences in names, the Verizon models appear to be identical to the Sprint and Boost variants.

Same specs as the Sprint models

The new Galaxy J3 V comes with a 5-inch HD TFT display, Exynos 7884 SoC, 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP selfie camera, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal storage, 2600mAh battery, and Android 8.0 Oreo. The Galaxy J7 V is a bit more well specced, with a 5.5-inch HD TFT panel, 13 MP front and rear cameras, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB inbuilt storage, and a 3300mAh battery. While the J7 V is also powered by the Exynos 7884 chipset, it is clocked higher at 1.6GHz compared to 1.35GHz on the J3 V.

Similar to the Sprint and Boost models, the Galaxy J3 V features Bixby Home, while the J7 V comes with Bixby Home, Bixby Vision, and face unlock features.

The Galaxy J3 V 3rd Gen on Verizon is priced at $168 upfront or $7/month for 24 months. The Galaxy J7 V 2nd Gen is, unsurprisingly, priced higher at $240 upfront or $10/month for 24 months. Prepaid customers can buy these phones at a discounted price of $125 and $190 for the J3 and J7 respectively.

You can read more and buy these smartphones from here, here, and here.

The post 2018 Galaxy J3 and Galaxy J7 are now available on Verizon appeared first on SamMobile.

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Microsoft working on a foldable Surface phone, LG to supply the displays

The so-called "Andromeda" project has been popping up in the news since last year but information is rather scarce. Now, a leaked email along with some new APIs found in Windows 10's latest preview gives us a bit more to speculate about. The Andromeda Surface Phone isn't going to be just a "phone." It's going to be a "pocketable device" following the steps of Microsoft's successful Surface line of laptops with flexible hinges. It aims to be in a class of its own due to its unique form factor and yes, we are talking about a foldable handset. The API allows applications to adjust...

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Video lock screen from Samsung Galaxy S9 now available on Galaxy S8 and Note8

The latest update for Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ and Galaxy Note8 included a cool new feature that remain largely unnoticed. The functionality in question allows you to set a video as your lock screen wallpaper. Here's the feature in action on a Galaxy Note8: The functionality - which debuted on the Galaxy S9 series - arrived on the S8 series and Note8 with the update that also brought along the June security patch to these devices. To access video lock screen wallpapers, head to the Backgrounds tab of Samsung themes. In case you want to use one of your own videos as lock screen...

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Verizon just released an eight-core Samsung Galaxy J3 V

Carrier-specific version of headsets are a pretty common occurrence these days. Besides a new confusing branding, these devices typically come with minor tweaks, compared to the generic model. The new Samsung Galaxy J3 V 3rd Gen - a new Verizon exclusive, however, offers quite a significant improvement over the regular Galaxy J3 (2018). The Exynos 7570 Quad, Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 chipset of the original, has been swapped for an octa-core Exynos 7884A. Frankly, this is the first time we are hearing of this particular silicon, but, with an eight core A73 (Dual/1.35GHz) + A53...

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Android P rollout for Nokia phones may start in August

So far, HMD has confirmed multiple times that all its Nokia branded smartphones will get the Android P update. In fact, the company recently launched a Beta program in China for the owners of Nokia 6.1, Nokia 7, Nokia 7 plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco. However, there has been no information on the availability of the update. Well, that changes now, as users are being told the roll out will begin anytime after July. As you can see, the information comes courtesy of Nokia Mobile Care. In an email sent out to a user, the support staff gave August as the time frame when Android P will start...

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New teaser suggests red OnePlus 6 is coming

Oneplus has released a new teaser video through its official Twitter handle. It's a small, 15 seconds video that doesn't directly reveal the product being teased. But it's easy to guess, given the extensive focus on red color in the video along with C61422 (which is hex color code for red) and the hashtag #Oneplus 6 in the tweet. Now initiating: C61422. Do you wish to continue? https://t.co/QTDxIcWP5N #OnePlus6 pic.twitter.com/mTyjqk5FZZ— OnePlus (@oneplus) June 29, 2018 So in all likelihood, a red OnePlus 6 is coming, and it's coming very soon - you'll see 'July 2' towards the...

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Xiaomi Mi A1 gets Android 8.1, but you might want to hold off updating

Xiaomi's Android One smartphone - Mi A1 - is getting a new update. Weighing in at around 1.2GB, it's a major update that bumps the Android version of the device to 8.1 Oreo. Aside from what the 8.1 update brings (like Pixel 2 launcher look as well as dark and light themes), the update also includes Android security fixes for the month of June. The official change-log isn't yet available, but here's an unofficial one from someone who received the update. The roll out seems to be happening globally, as users from markets like India and the Philippines are reporting getting the OTA...

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BlackBerry Key2 goes up for pre-order in the US

The BlackBerry Key2 is the second member of a rather unique family of smartphones with actual physical keyboards - a rare sight in this day and age. The Key2 was announced at the beginning of this month in New York, and starting today you can pre-order one if you're in the US. Both Amazon and Best Buy have listed it, for the same price: $649.99 unlocked. You can pick between silver and black color versions. The handset will be released on July 13. If you're not sure whether you should pre-order one or not, take a look at our hands-on review of the BlackBerry Key2. The device comes with...

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LG V20 gets Oreo in August in North America

We already expected the LG V20 to at some point be graced with an update to Android 8.0 Oreo, because T-Mobile promised to bring this version of the OS to its version of the phone back in March. Up until now, however, we had no rough timeline to speak of for the new software's release. Over in Canada, though, Fido has updated its own official update schedule page to give us a better idea about when the V20 should taste Oreo in North America. According to that carrier, its V20 units will receive the update at some point in August. We're hoping that no delays will occur. Obviously...

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Google Maps now shows when there's road work on your way home

Google acquired Waze five years ago but the majority of features weren't implemented into Google Maps like interactions between drivers, incident reporting, traffic cams, speed cams, police patrols, etc. Today, however, Google Maps is introducing road status to a limited number of users. Screenshot from Google Maps For now, Google Maps reports only road work but incident reporting such as crashes are bound to be implemented shortly after. The app prompts a message asking the user if the road work is still in place with "Yes," "No," "Not sure". The new feature has been...

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vivo NEX S review

In our mind, the most impressive aspect of the NEX S is that it even exists in the first place. In one impressive swoop, vivo managed to take what was initially showcased as a tech concept and actually polish and push it to an end-user release. Frankly, a move that took most of the industry by surprise definitely raised the collective bar, in more ways than one. As such, the vivo NEX S is an important and monumental device. It will go down as a landmark in smartphone history. But, does that make it any good as an actual daily driver? One, usable and dependable enough to invest in and have by your side? Join us on the following pages as we try and look beyond the flashy exterior to find out.

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Under Armour and The Rock launch a new pair of wireless rugged headphones

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and fitness band Under Armour have teamed up to launch their own pair of wireless headphones. Called the US Sport Wireless — Project Rock Edition, with Project Rock being Johnson's brand of apparel. The Sport Wireless are a pair of Bluetooth headphones. They are designed for use during workouts and especially in the gym. They feature a rugged design that can take a few falls and also happens to be IPX4 certified for some sweat resistance. The UA SuperVent ear cushions are designed to be breathable, light, durable and fast drying. They are removable and...

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Honor Note 10 with a 6.9-inch Super AMOLED display incoming

Recent reports pointed at Huawei ordering 6.9-inch Samsung Super AMOLED panels for its October release of the Mate 20 but the latest leak coming from Honor has something more to add to the story. The photo shows an order of 6.9-inch displays - probably AMOLED judging by the model number - intended for an Honor device code-named "Ravel". As you might remember, Honor released a bigger version of its Honor 8 smartphone called Honor Note 8 with an AMOLED panel back in 2016 but then skipped the Note 9 installment. Now, the company appears to be interested in a follow up probably called...

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Qualcomm unveils a Bluetooth audio SoC for budget wireless headsets

It's been a busy week for Qualcomm. First, the entry-level Snapdragon 632, 439 and 429 chipsets see daylight then a Snapdragon 2500 for kids' smart wearables gets announced and now the so-called QCC3026 Bluetooth audio SoC. The chip is aimed at entry-level to mid-tier Bluetooth headsets and the company claims that he TrueWireless Stereo protocols that the QCC3026 brings along will reduce power consumption by up to 50% compared to regular headsets. Here's the list of the key selling points of Qualcomm's new product. The chip is expected to ship with devices in the second half...

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Nebula Purple Honor Play and Dream Purple 9i will go on sale on July 2

Honor will hold a sale for the Nebula Purple and Dream Purple color variants of its Play and 9i smartphones on July 2. The Nebula Purple Honor Play will cost CNY 1,999 (€260) for a 4+64GB version and CNY 2,399 (€310) for the 6+64GB one. The Honor 9i starts at CNY 1,399 (€180) for a 4+64GB phone and CNY 1,699 (€220) for a 4+128GB variant. Honor Play and Honor 9i in Purple Both devices were announced in the beginning of July with Huawei's GPU Turbo tech for improved gaming performance. The Honor Play is the more interesting of the two with a 6.3-inch IPS LCD of 1080x2340px...

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FCC report reveals two new Fossil smartwatches

Fossil is among the few players to actually make gains in the smartwatch market with sales doubling last year and in early 2018 reaching 14% of the total smartwatch market revenue. Recently, 7 new smartwatches surfaced on FCC's website and now a couple of other devices were certified. Fossil DWA6 smartwatch Judging by the model numbers, all those seven smartwatches belong to the same family - DW7F1, DW7M1, DW7E1, DW7E2, DW7S1, DW7B1, DW7T1 but they have different straps, buttons and shapes of the chassis. The new DW6 and DW8 model numbers indicate that these are completely...

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T-Mobile starts rolling out Samsung Galaxy S7 Oreo update

After AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, now T-Mobile has also started rolling out the Oreo update to Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge units on its network. The update arrives as version G930TUVU4CRF1, and weighs in at around 1.7GB. In addition to the usual Oreo goodies, the update brings along some performance improvements, feature enhancements, and minor bug fixes. It also includes support for Universal Profile 1.0 Compatibility (which allows files up to 100MB in size to be shared via messaging). The official T-Mobile support pages for these devices are yet to be updated, but given the roll out...

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Exclusive: Samsung DeX to get dual monitor support

Samsung DeX will soon be getting dual monitor support, possibly when the Galaxy Tab S4 is released, according to our sources. We can confirm that the Galaxy Tab S4 will indeed support DeX, and Samsung will be adding the option to use the tablet display as the second monitor when it’s connected to DeX. The same will work with phones as well.

Dual monitor mode coming to Samsung DeX

Naturally, a tablet screen will be better suited in dual monitor mode, as it’s considerably larger than a phone’s display. However, we haven’t been made aware of exactly how dual monitor mode with work with a tablet. Neither the original form factor nor the new DeX Pad would be able to prop a tablet up for proper viewing, so it’s possible Samsung expects users to buy the Book Cover that is sure to be launched alongside the Galaxy Tab S4. Or, well, any such case would do the trick, though it would require a separate purchase.

DeX learned a few tricks with the Android 8.0 Oreo update, and the most useful of those was the ability to use the phone’s screen as a trackpad. Adding the option to use the connected phone or tablet as a separate display seems like the logical next step. The Galaxy Tab S4 is expected to be unveiled at IFA 2018 in Berlin, and we’re guessing a software update will be released for the Galaxy S and Note flagships around the same time to add dual monitor support.

Also Read: Samsung DeX review

The post Exclusive: Samsung DeX to get dual monitor support appeared first on SamMobile.

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T-Mobile starts rolling out Samsungh Galaxy S7 Oreo update

After AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, now T-Mobile has also started rolling out the Oreo update to Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge units on its network. The update arrives as version G930TUVU4CRF1, and weighs in at around 1.7GB. In addition to the usual Oreo goodies, the update brings along some performance improvements, feature enhancements, and minor bug fixes. It also includes support for Universal Profile 1.0 Compatibility (which allows files up to 100MB in size to be shared via messaging). The official T-Mobile support pages for these devices are yet to be updated, but given the roll out...

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Oppo announces O-Free Wireless earphones with 4 hour battery life

At its Find X event, where Oppo revealed the price and availability of the Find X and its Lamborghini Edition, Oppo also announced the O-Free wireless headset. The two truly wireless earphones are said to be very compact and come in Black with either Copper Blue and Bordeaux Red accent color. The O-Free Wireless Bluetooth headset supports TrueWireless Stereo which synchronizes the left and right earphone perfectly with the phone's streaming. The chip inside is a Qualcomm QCC3026 SoC. What's more interesting the O-Free supports voice translation (no details on supported languages...

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Samsung Galaxy A6+ review: A good phone let down by its high price tag

While the Galaxy J6 is all about offering an immersive viewing experience, the Galaxy A6 and Galaxy A6+ are about giving consumers the right mix of features taken from both the budget and mid-range Galaxy J and Galaxy A lineups. Or, well, the right price tag would be more accurate, as the new A6 and A6+ fill the gap between Samsung’s premium mid-range offerings (the A8 and A8+) and the J series devices.

The Galaxy A6+ is clearly the more interesting smartphone here. It’s got a 6-inch Infinity (18:5:9) display and also comes with a 24-megapixel front-facing camera, the highest we have seen yet on a Samsung smartphone. It also gets the leg up over the Galaxy A6 with its dual rear camera setup. You could say the A6 and A6+ are as different as the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, with the larger model getting the better features.

But the regular Galaxy S9 can still boast of flagship internals. The A6+, meanwhile, has only its cameras and that big Infinity display to set itself apart. In fact, it’s rather lacking in one key area: the chipset inside. The Snapdragon 450 SoC is all about efficiency, not unlike Samsung’s Exynos 7870 chip. For the starting price of a Galaxy A6+ (around $370/€369), the Snapdragon 450 is a bit too entry-level in capabilities, once again showing how Samsung continues to need to make important sacrifices as it attempts to fight the ever-increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers.

Then there are aspects like the microUSB port or the lack of fast charging that further work against the Galaxy A6+, so it’s ultimately up to the phone’s cameras and the Infinity display to make a solid impression. Whether they can actually do that is what we will find out in our Galaxy A6 Plus review, so let’s get started.

Galaxy A6 Plus review: Design

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

There’s no other way to say it: The Galaxy A6+ is a big, burly, and not-so-ergonomic device. It is the same size and weighs as much as the Galaxy A8+, but the metal unibody makes it less grippy and more prone to slipping out of the hand. It feels premium, though, even if the metal body is something we have seen on much cheaper Galaxy J series devices. But Samsung needs to work on reducing the size of its non-flagship phones with Infinity displays by reducing the bezels further, as there’s room to make these devices more compact.

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

At the back, the fingerprint sensor below the vertically placed dual camera setup is easy enough to reach, but you would need to reposition the device in your hand once you tap the fingerprint reader to unlock the device. Samsung isn’t willing to move the fingerprint reader a little lower on its smartphones, so only those with really big hands would find the current position truly comfortable, especially on Galaxy devices with 6 inch and larger screens.

A note about the colors: The blue Galaxy A6+ looks amazing, but if you want the Infinity display to be truly immersive, it’s best to pick up the black version. That’s because on the non-black models, the colored edges of the phone can be visible, which ruins the experience.


Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The 6-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display on the A6+ is excellent. It has vivid colors, deep blacks, and high brightness levels. The Full HD+ resolution (2220×1080 pixels) is more than sufficient to make everything look sharp. Since the front is all black, it makes for an immersive viewing experience when you’re watching videos. As I said in the design section, the bezels could be smaller. The A6+ is just a tad longer than the Galaxy S9+ despite a screen that’s 0.2 inches smaller, so shaving off the bezels a bit more on budget and mid-range Galaxy devices would further improve the attractiveness of the Infinity display.

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The Galaxy A6+ comes with software navigation buttons like all other Infinity display-toting devices. You can change the background color of the navigation bar and also swap the back and recents keys if you don’t like the default order. The navigation bar can be made to disappear so you have slightly higher screen estate and access the buttons by swiping up from the bottom of the display when needed.

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

Like the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S9, the A6+ offers customization of the screen mode as well. You can choose from the usual screen modes Samsung devices with AMOLED displays have always had, make the display’s color tone warmer or cooler, and also manually adjust the red, green, and blue values for deeper control over the overall look and feel of the screen. At night, you can enable the blue light filter to reduce eye strain and fall asleep faster.


Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The Galaxy A6+ has a 24-megapixel front camera, and it’s also equipped with a dual camera setup at the back. Let’s talk about the front camera first. As is usually the case, an increase in megapixels doesn’t necessarily translate to more detail in pictures taken by a phone’s front camera. There’s usually not enough room to put the kind of high-end sensors and other shenanigans at the front of a phone as there is at the back, so the Galaxy A6+ doesn’t offer the kind of selfies you would expect from a 24-megapixel camera.

But that’s not to say the selfie camera on the A6+ isn’t impressive. Indeed, when the lighting is right, it takes excellent shots with a fair amount of detail in the subject’s face. Noise is well controlled, and camera shake isn’t usually a problem. This is true for indoor shots with good lighting as well. Even low-light selfies can sometimes come out quite clean, though at other times things can be quite grainy if you’re taking selfies in artificial lighting.

The selfie flash helps in the dark. Its brightness can be adjusted in the camera app, and in most cases it’s not easy to notice that the flash was on, which is a bonus. As for the Selfie focus feature, well, let’s just say it’s a hit and miss affair. The background blur can be good at times, but you have to hold the phone still until the picture is saved. Detail is lacking as well with artificial lighting, so it’s ultimately the Galaxy A8 or A8+ that you would want to take bokeh selfies.

The 16-megapixel primary rear camera on the A6+ is pretty good as well. Daylight photos have good detail and accurate colors. It helps that the camera supports Auto HDR, which makes for good dynamic range in most situations. In good indoor lighting, the performance of the rear camera remains largely the same. Detail is slightly lower, though and a bit of noise can creep in. In low-light photos, if the scene has a few bright artificial lights, the camera keeps noise to a minimum as long as you tap on one of the light sources to adjust the exposure.

General low-light shots can come out quite grainy, though, and the camera also tends to take a few seconds to focus on a subject. In fact, if there’s one thing about the rear camera that irritated me on the A6+, it’s the tendency to take a few seconds to save a photo after you have tapped on the shutter button. The camera seems to refocus on the subject for no reason at all when the shutter button is pressed, and it was rather frustrating to see the phone taking more time to capture 16-megapixel shots from the rear camera over the 24 MP front camera.

The Galaxy A6+ also supports Live Focus (bokeh) pictures thanks to the secondary 5-megapixel rear camera, and I have to say the results are usually quite good. Edge detection is excellent for the most part, and unless you’re taking Live Focus pictures in poor lighting, there’s a good amount of detail as well. You can adjust the level of background blur after taking pictures, and also refocus on a different part of the picture. As for video recording, the phone captures Full HD videos that are usually quite detailed but suffer from problematic focusing at night and in low-light conditions.

The A6+ gets an older version of Samsung’s camera app despite running Oreo. You have the usual shooting modes, such as panorama, sports, night, and Sound & shot (which adds sounds to an otherwise still picture), and also a basic Pro mode for changing exposure, white balance, and ISO levels. You get a variety of stickers and filters to choose from, and Bixby Vision is also built into the camera app.

Note: The camera samples above have been reduced in size so the page loads quickly. If you want to take a look at the full-resolution samples, check out this Google Photos album


Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The Galaxy A6+ is powered by the Snapdragon 450 SoC, which simply does not belong on a device that costs almost $400. It has eight Cortex-A53 cores, like Samsung’s own Exynos 7870 (which powered the 2017 iterations of the Galaxy A5 and galaxy A7), with the clock speed going as high as 1.8GHz. But, as I’ve written before, Qualcomm seems to do a better job with its budget and mid-range chipsets than Samsung, which is why the Galaxy A6+ performs admirably in day-to-day usage. This is despite a Full HD display, which Samsung’s Exynos 7870 chip can’t handle as well as similar chips from Qualcomm.

The user interface is smooth for the most part. Stutters only show up when you try to do something too quickly, like switching to the last used app by double tapping the recent apps key, or while opening heavy apps such as the camera. Apps don’t take a lot of time to load, though I can’t say the same about something as simple as the screen waking up after I tap the fingerprint sensor. While it was a quick affair initially, my A6+ review unit now takes up to two seconds to register fingerprint input when it’s locked and the screen is off. I also notice slowdowns after long bouts of uninterrupted use of the phone despite the 4GB of RAM, so it’s clear some optimization is needed.

The A6+ also suffers with graphically intensive games like Modern Combat 5. Lighter games – or something like Asphalt 8, which isn’t as heavy as Modern Combat 5 – run fine, but is that enough for a near-$400 phone? Perhaps a lower screen resolution would have helped in this regard, although that would have meant a poorer viewing experience overall on a 6-inch display. And, well, maybe it’s a good compromise as most consumers tend to play simple games. If you’re interested in playing high-end games, this isn’t the right device for you.

Audio, call quality

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The Galaxy A6+ is one of very Samsung few devices that come with Dolby Atmos support. It works only when you use headphones or play audio via a Bluetooth connection, and the primary difference it makes is to the volume. There’s a slight increase in the volume and an even slighter increase in bass, but it’s not enough to be too useful. Samsung has also bundled low-cost earphones with the phone. Dolby Atmos ends up being less useful than on Samsung’s flagships as a result.

The speaker, placed above the power button, can get loud, but it’s too shrill at the highest volume and lacks depth. As for call quality, the A6+ didn’t disappoint. Network reception is excellent on both SIM slots and in-call volume is loud enough for all but the most noisy environments. Some callers did complain about not being able to hear my voice properly, but this was a rare occurrence and may be limited to our review unit.

Battery Life

Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

This is one area where the Galaxy A6+ excels. It wasn’t that great in the first couple of days, but once things settled, the Galaxy A6+ constantly made it through a day and a half of regular tasks. By regular, I mean a few hours of sharing memes on Facebook, taking a few pictures, checking out SamMobile’s Slack channel for work, and chatting on WhatsApp all day long. Screen on times regularly touched six hours, and at least five hours with heavier usage. Use it extensively with a mobile data connection, and you’re still looking at four hour screen on times.

But, sadly, the 3,500 mAh battery doesn’t do that well when you throw something like navigation into the mix. Navigation can take a toll on the largest of smartphone batteries, but it is more frustrating with the Galaxy A6+ because it lacks fast charging. That means you can’t quickly top it up after you have subjected it to heavy use. It doesn’t help that charging from 0 to 100 percent takes almost three hours with the default charger, which has the same power rating as those for Galaxy J smartphones (5 volts, 1.55 amperes).


Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The A6+ runs Android 8.0 Oreo with the Samsung Experience 9.0 UX. It’s more or less similar in terms of features to the Galaxy A8 (2018). You get Always On Display, Dual Messenger, Multi Window multitasking, facial recognition, fingerprint sensor gestures, and Bixby Home and Bixby Vision. The A6+ misses out on Samsung Pay, though. It has Samsung Pay mini if you’re in India, which supports UPI and wallet services like Paytm. Indian consumers also get Samsung Mall, allowing them to shop from various online stores from within a single app.

The A6+ also comes with a feature called Chat Over Video in India. This is an extension of the Pop-up View feature that Samsung phones have had for a long time. When you’re watching a video, Chat Over Video will show you a popup notification for messages received in WhatsApp and the regular SMS app, much like Facebook Messenger’s floating icon. You can reply to those messages without pausing the video using a transparent keyboard. It’s a neat idea, but it can be irritating after a while as WhatsApp and the Messages app remain open as a floating icon even after you’ve stopping watching the video, which you then have to manually close.

In case you’re moving from a Samsung device that ran an OS version older than Android 7.0 Nougat, you will also see a few changes to how the home screen works. There’s no apps button by default, so you have to swipe up or down on the home screen to access the app drawer. You can also set the swipe down gesture to expand the notification shade in the home screen settings, and get the old app drawer button back if you want. There’s an option to disable the app drawer completely and put all apps on the home screen, similar to how it works on the iPhone and Android devices from Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi.


Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus review

The Galaxy J6 punched above its weight by being better than expected for its price. The Galaxy A6+ is exactly the opposite. It’s a good phone, but at the asking price, it’s not good enough. Other than the less-than-ideal software performance, the A6+ does everything quite well. The 24 MP front camera is impressive, the rear camera takes nice photos, and it has long-lasting battery life.

Even performance isn’t bad when you consider the combination of the Snapdragon 450 and the Full HD display. And speaking of the display, this 6-inch AMOLED panel is excellent, but Samsung needs to shave off a bit more bezel. The takeaway? The Galaxy A6+ is an all-rounder smartphone, but with its current price tag, it’s not an attractive deal. If only Samsung could drop the price by around $50, and this would become an easy recommendation.

Pros Cons
Excellent Super AMOLED Infinity display Still plenty of bezels
Impressive front camera Performance inadequate for heavy tasks
Dual rear camera performs admirably No fast charging or USB Type-C port
Performance is good for most use cases
Fingerprint sensor takes time to wake up device
Long-lasting battery Dolby Atmos not very effective
Premium feel, blue version is beautiful Full Samsung Pay support would be nice to have
Always On Display, other software features
Price needs to be around $50 lower

The post Samsung Galaxy A6+ review: A good phone let down by its high price tag appeared first on SamMobile.

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Hello, my name is Kiran Neupane