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Thursday, July 21, 2016

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Clear photo of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaks

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 04:09 PM PDT

The release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is coming up, and the leaks are getting better and better as the debut nears. The latest photo is probably as clear as we're going to get, though it's only one photo.

It shows the Galaxy Note 7 in the Black Onyx color, one of three colors that'll be offered. The black color even applies to the metal frame, which is new for Samsung.

We'll get to see the final device debut on August 2, which is less than two weeks away. This gives us plenty of times for more comprehensive leaks, which seems to be common for upcoming Samsung devices.


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Samsung fixes Galaxy S7 Active manufacturing problem that caused water intrusion

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 03:08 PM PDT

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is supposed to be IP68 water resistant, just like its Galaxy S7 and S7 edge brethren. But unlike those two devices, the S7 Active did not pass Consumer Reports' dunk test. Two devices were tested by Consumer Reports, suffered from water intrusion and failed.

Thankfully, Samsung has acknowledged that there is an issue with its manufacturing process and that it has fixed this issue. Newer devices should not have any water ingress when operated within the maximum specifications (1.5m depth for 30 minutes).

Samsung isn't recalling older devices, so if you already bought an S7 Active, you won't be able to get it replaced unless it gets water damage. The device has a one-year warranty, so you'll be able to get it replaced until then. After that, you're out of luck, even if you have a known defective device. It's unfortunate, but Samsung claims that the problem affects a very small number of devices.

If you're about to buy a new Galaxy S7 Active, you'll likely avoid this issue. If you're already purchased one, well we hope you either have no problems at all or a conveniently timed water problem very soon.


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Google adds new Play Books feature called Bubble Zoom for easier comic book reading

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 02:09 PM PDT

Reading comic books on smaller screens is tough. To make out the text, you often have to zoom in, missing out on the complex layouts and art. Comics should be enjoyed as a whole, and that's tough when you're reading them on a phone or small tablet.

Google has come up with a solution based on machine learning, so this potentially applies to any comic book. Google Play Books can now recognize text and speech bubbles and zoom in on them individually, allowing you to read the text while still enjoying the art without zooming in.

The app is getting the feature as a technical preview starting today and it will be compatible with all DC and Marvel comics. Google is also hosting a sale on select DC and Marvel comics. Use the code SDCC2016 by July 24th, 2016 to get 50% off. Watch the video above and let us know what you think of this new feature in the comments!


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Top 10 new Android games this week: klocki, Tiny Archers

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 02:09 PM PDT

Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we're playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for next week's post.

Tiny Archers

DescriptionDRAW YOUR BOW AND SAVE YOUR KINGDOM from hordes of goblins and trolls that siege your tower! Crush your enemies and become the greatest Tiny Archer in this new challenging, fantasy, action game.

 

Age of Booty: Tactics

DescriptionAge of Booty: Tactics invites you to a world where the cannonballs fly, the rum flows, and swashbuckling pirates engage in light-hearted battle for the world's most coveted booty. The highly accessible, turn-based game play is easy to pick up and a true challenge to master.

 

klocki

Description"klocki" is my second puzzle game after successful "Hook". Its a relaxing game, that is loaded with a lot of different features. Your goal is to connect different types of lines together. Calming music and sounds were made by Wojciech Wasiak.

 

Card Wars Kingdom

DescriptionAssemble a team of awesome creatures and fight for Card Wars glory! -Unleash the power of spells, landscapes, and floops! With an all-new card combat system, smiting your enemies has never felt so good.

 

Warp Shift

DescriptionExperience beautiful visuals, challenging puzzles and intriguing sound design. Guide the little girl Pi and her magical companion through the maze-like confines of the enigmatic ancient chamber that keeps them trapped.

 

Quell Zen

Description: This serene puzzler has you guiding raindrops through a series of colorful mazes. Enhanced by atmospheric orchestral music, the game's subtle, sophisticated mechanics evolve as you navigate its many levels, delivering an absorbing experience that's familiar but always fresh.

 

Blue Angels – Aerobatic SIM

DescriptionBecome part of the BLUE ANGELS TEAM; try the aerobatic simulator licensed by the U.S. Navy! Experience flight at 400 mph just 18 inches from your partner's wing and face the challenge of official maneuvers aboard F/A-18 fighter jets and a C-130 transport aircraft.

 

Dog Mendonca

DescriptionSolve a criminal case beyond believe in this supernatural adventure game based on Dark Horse Comics' popular graphic novel trilogy! Written and illustrated by the guys who made the comics!

 

Super Stickman Golf 3

DescriptionThe award winning Super Stickman Golf series is back and better than ever! Super Stickman Golf 3 is packed full of new courses, power ups, collectable cards, game modes, multiplayer madness and a ton of new surprises for you to discover. It's a new spin on a classic game!

 

Dead Shell

DescriptionBlaster-wielding mercenaries vs beasts from the labyrinth: who will win? You're commanding a die-hard assault squad. Destination: Plutonia, a settlement on a Doom-4 class planet. Shuttle cargo: a range of lethal weapons, from axes and chainsaws to blasters and BFGs. Anything might come in handy in Plutonia, the Federation's most remote colony.

 


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Action Launcher 3 updated with Marshmallow-based launcher improvements, Google Now integration (root), and more

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 01:35 PM PDT

al

An update to Action Launcher 3 is currently rolling out with the usual assortment of improvements, feature tweaks, and fixes... but there's more going on here. This isn't just any update—the latest version of Action Launcher 3 moves to a Marshmallow launcher code base and adds (root-only) Google Now integration.

Here's the full changelog.

  • NEW: Update base code to Android 6.0.1's Launcher3 code. Notable usability enhancements include the addition of fast scroll in the All Apps drawer, a much improved widget picker and infinite paged folders and more.
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Action Launcher 3 updated with Marshmallow-based launcher improvements, Google Now integration (root), and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Sonos Android app gains Plex integration, currently in beta

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 12:52 PM PDT

PlexSonos

Here's an exciting update for those of you who have a Sonos sound system and use Plex to manage your media library — the two services are learning how to play along. Sonos has begun testing Plex integration in the latest version of the mobile app.

Plex for Sonos enables you to browse and play your entire music collection on any Sonos device. This feature works at home and remotely, so you can stream your library to a Sonos-equipped vacation home.

Read More

Sonos Android app gains Plex integration, currently in beta was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Soft Gold OnePlus 3 teased ahead of its launch

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 12:26 PM PDT

It hasn't been a secret that OnePlus has had two variants of the OnePlus 3, with the Graphite option being available right out of the gate and the Soft Gold model waiting in the wings for a launch this month.

While OnePlus isn't coming right out and announcing a date just yet, the company has taken to Weibo, the Chinese social media platform, and teased the device ahead of its launch. It's a pretty clear look at the upcoming handset, and it stands to reason that its launch should be right around the corner. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei already confirmed the Soft Gold variant would launch "some time in the latter part of July," and we're pretty firmly caught in that track of the month now.

If you've been waiting to get your hands on the Soft Gold OnePlus 3, it looks like it should be landing in the OnePlus online store any day now.

Do you plan on picking up the Soft Gold variant?


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Borderlands 2 makes its way to the SHIELD Android TV for $15

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 11:50 AM PDT

image (3)Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is probably the most technically challenging game on the SHIELD TV right now, and by extension, on Android as a whole. It's also the third entry in the popular shooter-looter series... but in terms of critical and fan appeal, it's a notable step below the game that proceeded it. Well there's good news today, Borderlands fans: Borderlands 2 is finally available on the SHIELD Android TV (though it's not showing compatible with the SHIELD Tablet at the moment).

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Borderlands 2 makes its way to the SHIELD Android TV for $15 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google introduces Bubble Zoom preview for an easier comic book reading experience in Play Books [APK Download]

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 11:50 AM PDT

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Do you read comic books from the Play Store? if not, you might want to start. Google just announced a great new feature at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that changes the experience of reading comic books. It's called Bubble Zoom and it quite literally makes speech bubbles leap off the page. Each blob of text is identified and sequentially pops up with the press of a volume button or a tap at the bottom-right of the screen.

Read More

Google introduces Bubble Zoom preview for an easier comic book reading experience in Play Books [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Play Books introduces Bubble Zoom

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 10:55 AM PDT

Whether it's reading up on the origins of Justice League or enjoying a reboot like Invincible Iron Man, we all love our heroes and villains and there's nothing more thrilling than flipping through your favorite comic when the battle is on — THWACK!


Last year, Google Play made it easier to find and read your favorite comics on your phone or tablet, including a new vertical scrolling experience. We wanted to use our superpowers, like machine learning, to improve the digital comics experience even further. Machine learning is the technology that makes the digital things in your life more useful, like finding the right image in Google Photos by searching for "hugs" to "dogs." So what happens when we bring our machine learning capabilities to the world of comics?

At San Diego Comic-Con 2016, we just announced Bubble Zoom: a new way to read digital comics on phones and tablets. Using the same technology to recognize objects in photos, we trained our system to identify speech bubbles in comics. Bubble zoom expands the speech bubbles of a comic one-tap-at-a-time, making them super easy to read on your mobile device. It's much easier to read digital comics one-handed as Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability. No more compromising the full-page experience or getting lost while panning around.

"Justice League (2011) Origin - Vol 1." and "Invincible Iron Man Vol 1." read using Bubble Zoom
Bubble Zoom will be available on the latest version of Google Play Books app for Android as a technical preview with all Marvel and DC collected volumes supported. We're also celebrating this preview with a 50% off sale on select DC Comics and Marvel comics in the Google Play Store — just use the code SDCC2016 by July 24th, 2016.

Rolling out today, you can upgrade Play Books and provide feedback on supported comic volumes in the app as this exclusive experience is only the first step. As we continue to teach our machines to read more comic book styles, our goal is to eventually bring Bubble Zoom to all the comics and manga ever made.

So stay on the lookout for Bubble Zoom and by Odin's beard…go read some comics!

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Head of Product, Google Play Books



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Verizon could force customers that use an ‘extraordinary amount’ of unlimited data to change plans

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 10:10 AM PDT

Right now, unlimited data on wireless networks like Verizon Wireless are a thing of the past, but there is a small number of customers that have yet to give it up and probably don't plan on letting go any time soon. But the jig may be up for those unlimited data subscribers who use an "extraordinary amount" of data each month.

According to a report from Droid-Life, Verizon is going to start contacting unlimited data customers with "extraordinary" usage today, July 21, and inform them that if they do not switch to The Verizon Plan, they'll have their lines shut off on August 31.

If that does happen, the customer will have 50 days to reactivate their line, but only if they do so with a new Verizon Plan.

Verizon has apparently stated that there is only a "small number" of customers that fall into this category of "extraordinary" usage, but just how much data that is remains a mystery.

It's not a surprise that Verizon wants to get more of its customers off its unlimited plans and subscribed to its tiered options; this is just another way to see that become a reality.

Do you still have unlimited data with Verizon? If so, how much data do you use every month?


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T-Mobile will offer unlimited high-speed internet for the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 09:09 AM PDT

If you plan on making it down to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to watch the 2016 Olympic Games and you happen to have T-Mobile, the Un-carrier has just announced a nice perk that should interest you.

T-Mobile has officially announced that Simple Choice subscribers in Rio will gain access to unlimited high-speed data while they're in Brazil. That means customers will be able to use 4G LTE while they share photos, check their social media accounts, and more, all without having to worry about data overage costs.

You don't need to do anything to make it work. The promotion begins on August 1. The Rio Olympic Games begin on Friday, August 5, and run until Sunday, August 21.

T-Mobile is also handing out free Samsung Galaxy S7 edge units and Gear 360 cameras to the family members of U.S. Olympic athletes.


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Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid launch July 28, pre-orders open now

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 09:09 AM PDT

It's been a while since Lenovo announced the Motorola Moto Z and Moto Z Force and their Verizon-branded variants, the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid. But for those who've wanted to buy the new handsets and their Moto Mods accessories, the wait is almost over.

Verizon Wireless has officially announced that both the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid will launch on Thursday, July 28. The Moto Z Droid will cost $624 outright, or $26 per month with an installment plan. The Moto Z Force Droid will be offered for $720, or $30 per month on an installment plan. Verizon has opened pre-orders for both phones today.

Verizon is also announcing a trade-in offer, giving up to $300 for a working phone that's also in good condition cosmetically, which can certainly help off-set the cost of getting a brand new phone.

We reviewed the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid, and you can check that out right here.

It's also worth noting that Verizon has a promotion going on right now where the purchase of a Moto Mod will get you 40% off the purchase of any additional Mods at the same time. This is a quick way and cheap way to pick up more than one Mod if you're looking for a portable boombox or boost to battery life. The Mods officially go on sale July 28 as well. Here are the Mods that will be available on July 28:

  • JBL SoundBoost Speaker — Instantly get powerful stereo sound that's perfect for the beach, the backyard and everywhere in between. The speaker features a kickstand, built-in battery for 10 extra hours of playtime and speakerphone capabilities. $79.99
  • Moto Insta-Share Projector — Snap the Insta-Share Projector onto your phone to share vacation photos from a recent trip or to play that movie everyone's talking about. The projector includes an integrated kickstand, up to 70″ projection and a built-in battery for up to an extra hour of projection time. $299.99
  • TUMI and kate spade new york Power Packs — Add up to 22 hours of battery life to your phone without adding bulk. The Power Pack snaps on so you can recharge on the run. Forget about fumbling with batteries or searching for open wall outlets…and get it done in style. Prices range from $59.99 to $89.99.
  • Incipio Back Plates — Personalize your Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid with Incipio Back Plates. Magnetic covers are available in Soft Touch, Iridescent, and Brushed Metallic. $14.99.

Do you plan on picking up either one of these new Verizon devices?


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[Update: Out of beta] SwiftKey's New Beta 'Swiftmoji' Keyboard Predicts What Emoji You Might Want To Use

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 08:50 AM PDT

swiftmoji

Emoji have gone from a weird, insular Japanese thing to a global phenomenon. Remember how upset everyone was when we didn't have that taco emoji? Now SwiftKey is looking to improve everyone's emoji game with Swiftmoji, a keyboard with predictive emoji. This is a giant leap for mankind.

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[Update: Out of beta] SwiftKey's New Beta 'Swiftmoji' Keyboard Predicts What Emoji You Might Want To Use was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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The latest game from Crossy Road dev is the endless runner Rooms of Doom

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 08:35 AM PDT

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What's a mad scientist without minions? There are plenty of those in Rooms of Doom, and you, being a mad scientist, will subject them to terrifying trials as part of your evil research. Don't worry, you can always make new minions—and you will. Lot's of them.

Rooms of Doom is an endless runner, like many of the games published by Yodo1. Crossy Road comes to mind, of course, but this sort of simple, highly accessible gameplay seems to be its hallmark.

Read More

The latest game from Crossy Road dev is the endless runner Rooms of Doom was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Messenger v1.9 is installable on Android 7.0 developer previews and restores Wear support [APK Download]

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 08:05 AM PDT

messenger

If you're among the crowd that both installs Android developer previews and also owns an Android Wear watch, you've probably noticed some of the apps that belong on your watch have been missing. This happens because the stock apps included with the developer previews are missing the the micro-apks for Wear. As the official release of Android 7.0 draws near, Google has been slowly releasing app updates that can install over the stock versions on the developer preview.

Read More

Google Messenger v1.9 is installable on Android 7.0 developer previews and restores Wear support [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Lenovo Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid Edition review

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 07:09 AM PDT

Those who were big fans of the Moto X series of devices were understandably a little hesitant when leaks eventually lead to an announcement of the Moto Z. Sometimes a name is just a name, but in this instance, the Moto Z looked like the next step above the Moto X. The hesitance came from the plenty of people who felt that where the Moto X line was — high-end specs, mid-range price, and friendly and fun design — was perfect.

So let's just get this out of the way right up front: the Moto Z is not the new Moto X. Cutting through the rumors and rhetoric, the Moto Z is not just an evolution of the Moto X. It feels like something that's a cut above. Just as the Moto G and X feel similar, but distinctly different, so too does the Moto Z.

And that's before we even consider how the device functions. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force are Moto's idea of a modular smartphone. One that can be modded and customized with different backs that do more than just add a pop of color or texture. They add a projector, triple the battery life or throw in a couple high-end speakers.

On paper and in theory, the Moto Z is more than just an evolution of the Moto X, it's an evolution of the smartphone itself. Let's take a look at how it all comes together in practice.

Hardware

The Moto Z and Z Force plus are pretty similarly spec'd, but there are some differences:

  • 5.5-inch Quad HD 1440p display (Moto Z Force has a Moto ShatterShield display, as opposed to the Z's Gorilla Glass 4)
  • Android Marshmallow
  • Snapdragon 820 with Adreno 530
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage
  • MicroSD expansion
  • 2600mAh (Moto Z) or 3500mAh (Moto Z Force) battery with Turbo Charge
  • Water repellent coating
  • NFC
  • 13MP (Z) or 21MP (Z Force) f/1.8 rear camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Bluetooth 4.2LE
  • USB-C
  • Fingerprint reader

The only differences specs-wise between the two devices are the battery, camera and glass on the display. The only thing that makes a major difference in everyday use, however, is probably the battery — the performance of which we'll touch on later — which makes the Moto Z Force considerably thicker. That's almost funny to write, becuase at 5.19mm, it's the thinnest premium smartphone out there.

Just talking about the raw hardware, it's easy to summarize by saying it's a high-end flagship through and through.

Design and Build Quality

We touched on this in our first impressions post on the Moto Z and Z Force, but it bears repeating and expansion. The Moto Z and Z Force are without a doubt the single most premium-feeling smartphones we have ever had the pleasure of holding.

While the Z Force is, again, slightly thicker, both devices share an incredibly slim all-metal body, flat black front with minimal branding, fingerprint sensor, pogo pins on the rear and stiff, satisfying volume and power buttons (the power button is ribbed, for everyone's pleasure).

They're kind of fingerprint magnets and the rear cameras really stick out on the back, but at least one of things isn't necessarily bad. In the hunt for the ever-thinner phone, all cameras stick out these days. Motorola has at least given theirs some flair, as it now shares the same "flat tire" aesthetic as the Moto 360. It actually looks rather charming.

Lenovo imagines that at the very least, Moto Z users will have a style shell magnetically attached to the back, but boy do we like using the phone without one. We'll touch more on Moto Mods later. The Moto Z and Z Force will come in a variety of colors, with a black and gray model, a gold and white one, and a black and rose gold combination.

This would probably be a good time to talk about the decision to use USB-C and leave out the 3.5mm headphone jack. Motorola does include an adapter for *ahem* legacy devices, but otherwise it's one-port-fits-all. There are certainly benefits to this approach, like thinness without having to sacrifice battery, but it's also a little scary. Out of the box, if you want to charge your phone and listen to music with wired headphones at the same time, good luck. The best we can say here is that Moto is only looking forward with the Z, as this is likely how it will be from here on out with most high-end phones. If you have a nice pair of Bluetooth headphones, there's nothing to worry about.

Finally, two quick additional notes: Moto left the divot behind here — it wouldn't really fit anyway — and the power button is below the volume buttons. After using so many phones with the exact opposite configuration, it just feels weird sometimes. But you get used to it.

The Moto Z is one of those phones where you simply have to try it. Holding it in your hands is something of an experience. It's hard to convey just how slim and solid both phones feel. Lenovo really knocked it out of the park here.

moto-z-side moto-z-layered moto-z-camera moto-z-side-by-side

Display

This will be short and sweet, we promise. Both the Moto Z and Z Force feature a 5.5-inch Quad HD 1440p display. They're both AMOLED, with the Z having Gorilla Glass 4 and the Z Force seeing the addition of a Moto ShatterShield.

Both screens look identical and fantastic. Thankfully, Moto has included a "standard" color mode, that makes colors more accurate and less like a cartoon. So you can choose without having to perform a hack or developer option run around. We like standard.

Viewing angles are good and text is impeccably clear. Smartphone displays don't get much better. Of course, there will most likely be someone in the blogosphere with tools and equipment that will say otherwise, but when this is the only display you have in front of you, it's hard to imagine there's anything better.

Software

Normally, the software on Moto phones is one of the biggest selling points. When you buy one unlocked, Moto throws in a couple custom apps for things like Moto Display, Actions and Voice, and that's it. It's fast, beautiful stock Android. As Droid Edition devices, the Moto Z and Z Force we have are only slightly different.

Verizon has included its messaging app, voicemail, navigator, blah, blah, and, as you might expect, blah. There's also a custom launcher that adds little, if anything, to the experience. But thankfully, this is Android, which means everything can be swapped out. Download Google's Messenger and Google Now Launcher and you're all set.

Just a couple customizations later and really, there's little difference between a Droid Edition Z and whatever comes later down the pipeline. Verizon is going to put their mark on everything they sell, so don't let it deter you here.

Moto's software enhancements are, like previous iterations, fantastic. Moto Voice lets you set up a custom wake line for interfacing with your phone; Moto Display is still better than Google's native solution; and Moto Actions are fun and quick. It's kind of hard to get used to flicking your wrist to turn on the camera, but it's hard to go back after you get it down.

All in all, the Moto Z Force and Z Force Droid Edition get a positive mark for their software, but they are dangerously close to neutral becuase of the Verizon bloat. They're still better than many alternatives, though.

Performance

With a Snapdragon 820 and Adreno 530, you'd expect the Z and Z Force to speed along no matter you throw at them, and you'd be absolutely correct.

The UI in incredibly fast and smooth, games loaded quickly, web pages loaded in an instant and switching between apps was seamless. There is zero lag when opening the camera and the fingerprint scanner is crazy fast. Call quality is also good, and the speakers sound good for a device so thin.

The unfortunate thing about reviewing a phone with such good performance is that it's hard to find much to say. If we had a complaint, we could go on and on. But the performance is so good on the Moto Z and Z Force that it really gets out of the way and let you use the phone as intended. That's all we can ask for.

Camera

Lenovo and Moto have been on a roll with their cameras, seeing success with phone after phone. We won't say the Moto Z and Z Force buck this trend, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't a little let down.

In good lighting, the cameras on the Moto Z and Z Force are very nice. Colors are bright and photos are sharp. But anywhere else, it's just a big letdown for us.

First of all, the camera differences between the Z and Z Force don't make a difference. They're practically impossible to distinguish between. Second, for a phone with laser autofocus, optic image stabilization, zero shutter lag, color correlated temperature, and deep trench isolation (whatever all that means), good photos were legitimately hard to capture. Night mode makes things even worse in low lighting conditions, and professional mode with its ton of options didn't help.

You can see the results for yourself in the gallery below, but compare these photos to even the ones we took with the recent Moto G4, and you'll be hard-pressed to see a drastic difference. On social media and in apps like Instagram, there is no difference at all.

There are plenty of great reasons to buy a Moto Z, but the camera is not one of them.

Moto Z photos
Moto Z Force photos

Battery

The Droid Maxx was the first giant battery phone that made those with busy lifestyles fall in love with the Droid/Moto brand. It lasted two days between a charge and didn't give up style to do it. And the Moto Z Force? It's two thumbs up.

If you care about battery life, then the Moto Z Force might be just what you need. Not only does it last the advertised two days (~40 hours) on a single charge once broken in, it also comes with a Turbo Charge 30 which can seriously give you a day's worth of juice in around 30 minutes. Pair all this with a battery pack Moto Mod and you can get through a three-day weekend without reaching for a charger. That's incredible by any measure.

The Moto Z is not as good, but its battery will still go over a day if you need it. And that same battery pack Moto Mod works on the Z as well. The Moto Z also comes with its own Turbo Charger, a 15 model.

Color us wholly impressed with the battery life on these phones.

Moto Mods

We finally get to perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Moto Z and Z Force: Moto Mods.

Motorola pioneered the customization of the modern smartphone with Moto Maker, allowing consumers to not just pick between two of three colors of phone, but completely customize everything from the color of the bezel to the material the back was made out of. Moto Mods kind of build on this.

The back of the Moto Z and Z Force have pogo pins and are magnetic. Motorola has provided us with three Mods that adhere very satisfyingly to the rear of either phone. We have a projector, Incipio battery shell and JBL speaker system, along with the wooden style shells that comes with the Moto Z.

First things first, these things will not accidentally come off. The magnetic connection is strong and works well. Almost too well in the case of style shells, which can be a pain to get off. We also have to add that each one comes with trade offs. They're all fun and add some awesome functionality to boot, but they are big and bulky. No one is going to walk around with the projector on their phone unless they have to.

Quality-wise, they're all great. We will bring you more on Moto Mods in the near future, but the battery pack adds a ton of juice (2220mAh to be exact), the projector works very well and looks relatively sleek and the JBL speakers are loud (if a little shrill at times), with a handy kickstand.

The best thing about Moto Mods perhaps is kind of ironic, in that you really don't need them. They are an awesome, fun addition and you will probably want at least one, but if you skipped them altogether, you wouldn't suffer at all.

Even without Moto Mods, the Moto Z is a fantastic phone, but Moto Mods elevate it to one of the best phones you can buy right now. Or next week, rather.

moto-z-mods-2 moto-z-mods
Lenovo Moto Z and Z Force Droid Edition9 / 10

Another high score for another Moto phone. Should you be surprised? Not at all. It seems Lenovo knows what they're doing with the brand. The Moto Z is a flagship device through and through. If the camera was a little better, we would struggle to find anything wrong with the device. As it is now though, we still have no problem recommending it to a wide variety of people.

As flagship phones, the Moto Z and Z Force do cost a little more than you may be used to with a Moto phone. The Z is $624 and the Z Force is $720, and both are launching July 28. But honestly, these phones really do fit the flagship bill.

As much as we'd love to see a new Moto X with all the fun and features of the Moto X Pure Edition but updated for 2016, we're not disappointed with the Moto Z. There is more than enough room for both phones.


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WhatsApp adds Voicemail and Call Back options, new Fixedsys font

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 06:05 AM PDT

whatsapp-callback-voicemail-1 copy

A few weeks ago, we reported about WhatsApp's plans to add a voicemail-like feature to its voice calls as well as an easy option to call back the person. At the time, all we had were translation strings, but now the feature is live on version 2.16.189 beta (which you can grab from APK Mirror here or by joining the Play Store beta). There are two other small features that were added a few beta versions ago that I'll cover in this post as well.

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WhatsApp adds Voicemail and Call Back options, new Fixedsys font was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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The successor to smash-hit Agar.io, Diep.io, has arrived in the Play Store

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 04:20 AM PDT

diepiohero

Miniclip's Agar.io has been a huge success - aside from getting featured in Netflix's House of Cards series, it has had over 50 million downloads from the Play Store alone. What could be thought of as the successor to Agar.io has now arrived on Android: Diep.io, a multiplayer tank game.

Like Agar.io, Diep.io was originally a browser-based game, but has been made available on Android and iOS. The aim of Diep.io is to destroy other players by shooting pellets at them - in my first round I survived for about two minutes before being destroyed.

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The successor to smash-hit Agar.io, Diep.io, has arrived in the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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