HTC 10

HTC 10

HTC promises HTC 10 update news “in the next few days” as One M9 Nougat rolls out

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HTC EMEA lightning rod Graham Wheeler just took to Twitter again to announce that the HTC One M9 in mainland Europe, Turkey and South Africa is getting the Nougat update today, with “more countries to follow over the coming days”.

See also:

Flashbacks and Forecasts: HTC in 2017

6 days ago

When questioned in the comments about the halted HTC 10 update, Wheeler said he will have some news “in the next few days”. Wheeler also said the company is “still looking into an issue found” – indicating the halt may have been down to a single (albeit very large) problem rather than a number of them.

A screenshot shared on Wheeler’s Twitter shows a build number of 4.14.401.7 and a hefty 1.27 GB install file. So be sure you have ample space and battery on your device before making the jump to Android Nougat. Let us know how you like it when it arrives on your device.

HTC stops the HTC 10 Nougat rollout – again

The Android Nougat update for the HTC 10 in Europe has been stopped. Again. If you’re getting a little deja vu here, that’s probably because the same thing happened about two weeks ago. Apparently the bugs found and squashed in that first update hiccup weren’t all of them.

HTC’s product and services director for EMEA, Graham Wheeler, just announced the Nougat rollout in Europe has been “paused” once again while the company “looks into a technical issue”. Unfortunately, he doesn’t expect the HTC 10’s mainland Europe rollout to resume until some time next month.

Wheeler was quick to pre-empt his “No Nougat for mainland Europe” tweet with news that Nougat is now available in the UK, Russia, Turkey and the Middle East. With ZTE, Sony and others delaying or halting their Nougat updates recently too, we’re beginning to wonder if this is all just a coincidence or if there could possibly be a larger problem at hand.

Nougat update rolling out to HTC 10 and HTC One M9 in Europe

Looks like HTC is keeping its promises. About a week ago, Graham Wheeler, product and service director at HTC EMEA, announced on Twitter that European HTC 10 devices would be getting Android Nougat within the next two weeks. We are now happy to report that the Nougat update has begun rolling out in Europe.

Today, Wheeler again took to Twitter to announce that Android Nougat is making its way to HTC 10 devices in the UK. He also added that the update will be available in other countries soon. Although an exact time frame wasn’t specified, we expect that it will be released within the next couple of days.

Nougat update rolling out to HTC 10 and HTC One M9 in Europe

HTC is also rolling out Nougat to the One M9 in the UK, with several owners sharing screenshots of the install screen on Twitter. This is consistent with previous statements made by HTC, saying that the One M9 would get bumped up to the latest version of Android in the same timeframe as the HTC 10. The update should be available in other countries soon.

The next device HTC plans on updating to Nougat in Europe is the One A9. Although the company said that the update will be available at an unspecified later date, we have heard that the device has already been bumped up to the latest version of Android in some countries that are part of the MEA region (Middle East and Africa). This is good news, as it likely means that the update for the European One A9 is just around the corner.

See also:

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

2 weeks ago

It’s great to see that the Nougat update for the HTC 10 and One M9 is finally being released in Europe, as it has already been available in the US for some time. Across the pond, HTC updated both the 10 as well as the One M9 to Nougat back in December.

Have you got the update yet? Let us know in the comments.

Best Verizon Android phones (January 2017)

With the largest network and an excellent selection of phones, it is no wonder why Verizon is largely considered to be the “top dog” out of all the major U.S. carriers. For those on Big Red’s network, there are quite a few options to choose from, including major flagships that are universally available on all carriers, as well as handsets specific to Verizon only.

Related: Best Verizon prepaid phones

We’ve rounded up the best devices you can get on Verizon’s network. When you make your purchase, keep in mind that Verizon has done away with contract pricing. It’s also worth noting that some of these phones are even cheaper from Amazon, so we’ll try to include the relevant Amazon links if we can find cheaper prices for you. Without any further ado, here are the best Android phones available on Verizon’s network!

Editor’s note – We will be updating this list as more devices hit the market.


Google Pixel and Pixel XL

See more Google Pixel and Pixel XL photos

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features and some of the best smartphone cameras in existence.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, since this is a Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

Of course, you’ll be able to buy these devices through the Google Store and activate them on Verizon’s network. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of an unlockable bootloader, software updates from Google, and access to Verizon’s HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling.

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there.

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm, 143g

Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm, 168g

Read more

Buy the Google Pixel from Verizon
Buy the Google Pixel XL from Verizon

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Best Verizon Android phones (January 2017)

See more Galaxy S7 photos | See more Galaxy S7 Edge photos

Samsung did a killer job with their 2015 flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Design-wise, many would say those two phones were close to perfect. The company forwent a plastic design and instead included glass front and back panels with an aluminum frame. They weren’t without their flaws, though. The S6 and S6 Edge didn’t offer expandable storage or removable batteries — two features Samsung has been known to include in all its smartphones for years.

Now the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4GB of RAM, great 12MP rear-facing cameras and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Read more

Buy the Galaxy S7 from Verizon
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge from Verizon


LG V20

Best Verizon Android phones (January 2017)

See more LG V20 photos

The V20 is basically the phone for power users. It has a a big Quad HD display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, plenty of RAM and on-board storage, dual 16MP rear-facing cameras, and a removable 3,200mAh battery. Of course, the unique Second Screen makes a return this year, along with the addition of Quad DAC, military standard durability, and it’s already running Android 7.0 Nougat.

If top-of-the-line specs and an impressive feature set is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with the V20.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 513ppi
    • Secondary display: 2.1-inch IPS LCD display with 160 x 1040 resolution, 513ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 16 and 8MP rear cameras, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 3,200mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm, 174g

Read more

Buy now from Verizon

Motorola Moto Z / Moto Z Force (Droid Editions)

Best Verizon Android phones (January 2017)

See more Moto Z and Moto Z Force photos

Motorola (well, Lenovo actually) is doing something different with their flagship phones this year. Instead of releasing just one flagship under the Moto X moniker, they’ve decided to release two new smartphones that do things a bit out of the ordinary. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force not only bring flagship-level specs, but also support for modules.

These modules, called Moto Mods, attach to the back of both phones via magnets. There are only a few available right now, but they actually bring some handy features to the phones. You can purchase an external battery module, a powerful speaker, and even a projector!

They both have killer specs, too. Both devices come with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage, expandable memory, and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. You might be wondering – what’s the difference between these two phones? The standard Moto Z is super thin at only 5.2mm in thickness, but it only comes with a 2600mAh battery. The Moto Z Force is thicker, has a 3500mAh battery, and also has a shatterproof display.

These aren’t the cheapest phones on the market, but they’re certainly some of the best.

Specs

Moto Z

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2mm, 136g

Moto Z Force

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 21MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3500mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm, 163g

Read more

Buy the Moto Z from Verizon
Buy the Moto Z Force from Verizon

HTC 10

Best Verizon Android phones (January 2017)

See more HTC 10 photos

HTC needed a saving grace this year, and the 10 just may be it. The Taiwanese company finally designed a phone that’s different enough from its predecessor yet still sports a familiar design language. With an all-metal chassis, front-mounted fingerprint sensor and a new-and-improved speaker setup, the HTC 10 easily made its way to our best Android phones list.

Under the hood, the 10 comes with some killer specs. A 5.2-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM are in line with most other flagships this year, and it also comes with expandable storage up to 200GB and a 3000mAh battery that will have no problems lasting an entire day on a single charge. HTC also improved the camera this time around, which was a big flaw in last year’s One M9 flagship.

All in all, the HTC 10 is an awesome device. Great specs and a solid build quality are what you’ll get here… what more could you ask for?

Specs

  • 5.2-inch Super LCD5 display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 565ppi
  • 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 145.9 x 71.9 x 9mm, 161g

Read more

Buy now from Verizon

LG G5

Best Verizon Android phones (January 2017)

See more LG G5 photos

While the Galaxy S7 series is a minor refresh in terms of design, the LG G5 sees a massive departure from the design language used in the G series, ditching the rear volume/power setup that first debuted with the LG G2. The G5 also adopts a unibody metallic design that has a removable cap for access to the removable battery and a port for modules that allow users to expand the phone’s capabilities by adding a camera grip and other special accessories.

The distinctly different design of the LG G5 may not be for everyone, but there’s little denying that LG has went out of its way to try and innovate in a market where big changes like this aren’t all that common.

Spec wise, we’re looking at a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4GB RAM, a 5.3-inch display, and 32 GB storage with microSD for expansion. The specs here are certainly impressive all across the board. It’s also worth mentioning that LG has revamped its software, making it faster and less bloated. One controversial move with the software, however, is the removal of the app drawer in favor of what LG says is a “simplified experience.”

Specs

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 554ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 16 and 8MP dual rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Removable 2800mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm, 159g

Read more

Buy now from Verizon

How did you like our list? Do you have any other suggestions? If so, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below!

Next:

Best Android phones

2 weeks ago

European HTC 10 and One M9 to get Nougat update within two weeks

Last month, HTC started rolling out the Nougat update for its flagship device — HTC 10 — in the US. About a week later, the company also released Nougat for the One M9, while the unlocked One A9 devices started getting the update yesterday.

In Europe, HTC users are still waiting for the Nougat update, which is apparently just around the corner. Graham Wheeler, the Product and Service Director at HTC EMEA, took to Twitter to announce that the unlocked European HTC 10 devices will get Android Nougat within the next two weeks. Additionally, the HTC One M9 will also get bumped up to Nougat in the same timeframe.

European HTC 10 and One M9 to get Nougat update within two weeks

HTC is also working closely with operators in order to send the update to the carrier variants of both devices at roughly the same time. After the company updates both the 10 and One M9 in Europe, the next smartphone on the list is the One A9. Apparently, HTC is already working on the update for the device, however, it did not specify an exact time frame as to when it might be available.

See also:

Nougat update will roll out to the unlocked HTC One A9 starting tonight

2 days ago

It’s nice to hear that HTC will roll out Android Nougat to a few of its devices in Europe soon. Big updates like these are very important for users as they can change the look and feel of a device quite a bit, and make it a lot more fun to play around with.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

What is Best of Android?                

In Best of Android, we take the most important smartphones of the year and compare them side-by-side and in-depth. This year, with so many good phones available, we’ve stepped things up a notch and brought the 10 biggest Android phones of the year to the competition.

Read more about Best of Android and thanks for being such a valuable part of the Android Authority family!

If you’re anything like us, you constantly get asked “what is the best phone?” and “which Android phone has the best battery life?” Rather than relying on the infamous “moderate-to-heavy usage” yardstick, we’re getting technical.

You will have undoubtedly read the battery section in each device’s full review throughout the year, but Best of Android 2016 puts them all side-by-side through a series of specially calibrated Android Authority tests using our own custom battery tests and benchmarks, so you can compare apples and apples.

See also:

Best of Android 2016: Performance

1 day ago

The tests include our custom “general” battery test, comprising a variety of different tasks aimed at replicating average daily usage. We also have dedicated battery tests for Wi-Fi browsing, gaming and video playback, along with a battery recharge test because we know just how important fast charging has become.

There’s no guesswork to interpret here, just cold, hard data to reveal the true lay of the land. Each device was ranked for each individual test with those scores averaged out at the end to declare our overall winner. But first, lets get our hands dirty in each tested category. For reference, here are the actual battery capacities of each tested device:

Huawei Mate 94,000 mAh ZTE Axon 73,250 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge3,600 mAh LG V20 3,200 mAh
Moto Z Force Droid3,500 mAh HTC 103,000 mAh
Google Pixel XL3,450 mAh Xiaomi Mi 53,000 mAh
OnePlus 3T3,400 mAh Sony Xperia XZ2,900 mAh

Charging time

When it comes to charging times there are two main things to consider: the capacity of the battery and the charging tech involved. All things being equal, a smaller battery will charge faster than a larger battery (although all batteries charge faster at the beginning and slow down as they near a full charge). But each manufacturer also has their own custom fast charging tech, some of which is better than others. So, to keep things on an even keel, we’ve ranked our devices in two different ways.

The first is obvious: which device charged fastest, regardless of how large its battery cell is. This is the “real world” test. The second takes a more apples-to-apples approach so you can tell which device’s battery charges faster pound-for-pound. Based on the time taken in the real world test, we calculated the charge rate for each device, so you can see a relative comparison per unit of battery capacity, kind of like miles per gallon for your car. All tests were conducted using the supplied charger.

In 2016, the fastest phone to charge a full battery was the OnePlus 3T with its phenomenal Dash Charge tech. The 3T’s 3,400 mAh battery took just 87 minutes to charge completely. Second place was tied at 89 minutes, with the Huawei Mate 9 and ZTE Axon 7 sharing the podium, but considering the Mate 9 has a 4,000 mAh battery compared to the Axon 7’s 3,250 mAh capacity, the Mate 9 clearly has the edge. The LG V20 took fourth place, taking 90 minutes to charge its 3,200 mAh battery.

On the slow side of things, the Sony Xperia XZ won on all counts: the smallest battery that took the longest time to charge (2,900 mAh in 143 minutes). However, this is primarily due to the XZ coming with a standard 1.5A charger in the box rather than a fast charger that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge. The Xiaomi Mi 5 wasn’t far behind though, taking 139 minutes to charge its 3,000 mAh cell and it does have a Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the box.

As promised we also calculated how many mAh each device could charge in a standard time, in this case, one minute. This lets you know which device has the most efficient battery charger. The winner? The Mate 9, which juiced up 45 mAh per minute on average (remember, batteries charge slower as they near completion). The One Plus 3T was next, with 39 mAh/minute, followed by the S7 Edge with 37.5 mAh/minute and the Axon 7 with 36.5 mAh/minute. Not surprisingly, the slowest rates were the XZ (20 mAh/minute) and Mi 5 (21.5 mAh/minute).

Use time (Wi-Fi browsing)

The first benchmark test we ran was Wi-Fi browsing. Our Wi-Fi test repeatedly loads a selection of webpages until the battery goes from 100% to zero. Device displays are set to 200 nits brightness and pages are loaded over Wi-Fi with airplane mode enabled. Auto-updates and any battery saver modes are also disabled during the test.

Wi-Fi browsing isn’t such a taxing task, so we saw some pretty epic battery durations. Best of all though was the Huawei Mate 9 and it’s massive 4,000 mAh battery (the largest on our list) which managed to keep the lights on for an impressive 14 hours and four minutes.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

In second spot was the ZTE Axon 7 (3,250 mAh) with 11 and a half hours of browsing time, followed by the Xiaomi Mi 5 (3,000 mAh) and the Google Pixel XL (3,450 mAh) at around 10 and three quarter hours.

Interestingly, the device with the second largest battery capacity on our list – the Galaxy S7 Edge with a 3,600 mAh battery – came in second last, with just 8 hours and 11 minutes of web browsing before shutting down. But the HTC 10 was the worst of all with just shy of 7 hours and a half hours of browsing time.

Use time (gaming)

The next benchmark tests battery life for gaming. Games tax battery life more than browsing due to the enhanced graphical demands. Our test runs Epic Citadel, a 3D gaming simulation on a device with a fully charged battery on 200 nits brightness until the battery is depleted. The simulations run at the maximum resolution of the device (so keep that in mind when comparing devices with Full HD resolution versus QHD).

Best of Android 2016: Battery

3D gaming is amongst the most demanding tasks you can ask of your smartphone, but some phones are better equipped to handle those demands than others. In this test, our best battery duration was the HTC 10 with 8 hours and 29 minutes. A very impressive feat, especially considering the HTC 10 came in dead last on the Wi-Fi browsing test.

Second place went to the ZTE Axon 7 with 8 hours and 15 minutes, followed by the OnePlus 3T just short of 7 hours and the Xiaomi Mi 5 with just under 6 and a half hours. The Galaxy S7 Edge had the worst gaming performance of all, with just 3 hours and 46 minutes.

Use time (video playback)

Our last dedicated battery test is for video playback, perhaps the most common way to deplete your battery by doing just one thing. As you have probably guessed, our test runs an endless loop of video to see how long each device lasts before the battery runs from full to empty. The Full HD video file at 23.9fps, was stored locally and Wi-Fi was turned off.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

This test resulted in similar, but not identical, results to the Wi-Fi browsing test. The Huawei Mate 9 took first place, with 14 hours and 12 minutes, followed by the OnePlus 3T with just under 12 hours and the Xiaomi Mi 5 with 11 hours and 51 minutes. The worst performer here was the Google Pixel XL, which barely limped past 7 hours of video playback despite having the fourth largest battery of the bunch and the newest version of Android.

General battery test

Our general battery test uses a combination of the above three dedicated tests and extrapolates run time based on “general” usage. Of course, your mileage may vary, but because the test is identical on each device, it gives a good indication of how well each phone handles a variety of tasks. As you can probably tell from the results above, different devices excel at different tasks, so this test is designed to provide an “all-rounder” rating.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

In the general usage test, the results were a lot closer. The Xiaomi Mi 5 ultimately came out on top with 7 and a quarter hours, with the Huawei Mate 9 hot on its tail with just over 7 hours. But considering the Mate 9 has a 33 percent larger battery than the Mi 5, the Mi 5’s dominance in this category is even more impressive.

Third place went to the Axon 7, followed by a cluster of devices with very similar run times: the HTC 10, OnePlus 3T and the Moto Z Force Droid. The weakest performer was the Galaxy S7 Edge with 4 and a quarter hours.

Wrap up

While it’s interesting to know how each device performs on an even playing field, the fact of the matter is that all batteries aren’t created equal. Some devices have larger batteries, some have faster charging tech and some have better software optimizations for prolonging battery life. So, given the tests we ran on each device and the combined results, which Android smartphone has the best all-round battery in 2016?

The Huawei Mate 9

The Huawei Mate 9 has the largest battery of all the tested devices, but it also has the fastest per-minute charge rate and very good all-round performance. It’s clearly your best bet if you spend a lot of time watching videos or browsing the web, but hardcore mobile gamers are probably better off looking elsewhere. Second place overall went to the excellent ZTE Axon 7 and the OnePlus 3T’s battery bump helped it score third spot.

1. Huawei Mate 98.66. HTC 104.6
2. ZTE Axon 78.07. Google Pixel XL3.8
3. OnePlus 3T7.67. LG V203.8
4. Xiaomi Mi 57.09. Sony Xperia XZ3.6
5. Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid4.810. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge3.2

A note on results: Our overall battery scores were calculated by assigning points between 1-10 to each device in each category. The best performer scored 10 points, second place 9 points and so on, regardless of how close the margin was. Those category scores were then averaged for the final grading you see above.

Keep in mind that there are a whole bunch of factors at play when considering battery life: screen brightness, stability of your network connections, display resolution, whether GPS and location sharing are on, screen timeout settings, battery capacity, Android version, battery saving modes, background processes, syncing, auto-updates and so on. Each user will have different habits that greatly affect their battery mileage.

Of course, you may not be a gamer or perhaps you never watch videos on your phone. In these cases, our overall winner based on equally weighting each test may not be compatible with your particular needs or preferences. If so, just take a closer look at the categories that do apply to your usage habits and draw your conclusions from there.

Want the best phone for gaming? Get the ZTE Axon 7. The best phone for watching YouTube videos or browsing? Then you’ll want the Mate 9. The phone you can juice up the fastest as you rush out the door? The OnePlus 3T, and so on. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other categories in the Best of Android 2016 series.


Credits

Tested by: Gary Sims, Andrew Grush, Nirave Gondhia, John Velasco, Joshua Vergara, Lanh Nguyen
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsEdgar Cervantes, Kris Carlon
Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

Best of Android 2016: Performance

What is Best of Android?                

In Best of Android, we take the most important smartphones of the year and compare them side-by-side and in-depth. This year, with so many good phones available, we’ve stepped things up a notch and brought the 10 biggest Android phones of the year to the competition.

Read more about Best of Android and thanks for being such a valuable part of the Android Authority family!

We know how important performance is when it comes to a high-end Android phone. No one wants to fork out several hundred dollars for a phone and then suffer from lag. And if there’s a phone out there that costs half the price of most mainstream flagships and has better performance we know you’re going to want to know all about it.

See also:

Best of Android 2016: Display

19 hours ago

In this installment of the Best of Android 2016, we’re tackling the sticky issue of Android performance. Do the best specs on paper always result in the best stats under pressure? Or is software more important? What about RAM? Is more always better or can optimization be the key to heavy workload dominance?

We’ve run 10 of the biggest Android phones of 2016 through a series of popular benchmark tests, all available in Google Play so you can install them too and see how your phone stacks up against the best of the best in 2016. Results in each individual benchmark are ranked and at the end those results are averaged out to declare an overall winner.

DeviceCPUGPU RAM (GB)Display
resolution
Xiaomi Mi 5Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304FHD
OnePlus 3TSnapdragon 821Adreno 5306FHD
Huawei Mate 9Kirin 960Mali G71 MP84FHD
ZTE Axon 7Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304FHD
Moto Z Force DroidSnapdragon 820Adreno 5304QHD
Sony Xperia XZSnapdragon 820Adreno 5303FHD
HTC 10Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304QHD
LG V20Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304QHD
Samsung Galaxy S7 EdgeExynos 8890Mali-T880 MP124QHD
Google Pixel XLSnapdragon 821Adreno 5304QHD

At the heart of every smartphone is a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) that contains the CPU, the GPU and a whole bunch of other stuff like a DSP, ISP and the cellular modems. Obviously the choice of SoC will have a significant impact on the overall device performance, however it isn’t the only factor. The speed of the internal flash storage is certainly a factor, especially when it comes to app loading times. Secondly, the screen resolution will also influence performance as the CPU and GPU will need to work harder to maintain smooth animations.

Looking at the table above you can see that the Snapdragon 820/821 is the dominant SoC. The 821 is a slightly tweaked version of the 820 with improved performance and power efficiency. The only device not using a Qualcomm SoC is the Huawei Mate 9 which uses Huawei’s own Kirin 960. There are two versions of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, one with a Snapdragon 820 (which we used for the results in this test) and another that uses Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 SoC (which scored slightly lower on most benchmarks, hence using the 820 results here) .

AnTuTu

AnTuTu is one of the “standard” benchmarks for Android, it measures both CPU and GPU usage as well as a few other things like RAM bandwidth and I/O throughput. Although all of its workloads are completely artificial, meaning they don’t reflect real world usage, the benchmark is still useful for establishing a baseline about the general performance of a device.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

As you can see the OnePlus 3T gets the highest score from AnTuTu followed by the Moto Z Force Droid and the LG V20. Having said that, all the devices performed amazingly for AnTuTu. Last year’s winner was the Galaxy Note 5 with its Exynos 7420 SoC, however it scored less than 70,000. Now all the devices in our test score over 120,000! The Xiaomi Mi 5 was the weakest performer in AnTuTu.

GeekBench 4

GeekBench is another popular Android benchmarking tool, however this app only tests the CPU performance. The test is split into two parts, the single-core tests, which measures the speed of an individual core, regardless of how many cores there are on the SoC; and the multi-core tests, which exercises all the cores on the SoC simultaneously.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

The Geekbench king is the Huawei Mate 9 with its Kirin 960 SoC. The Kirin 960 uses four ARM Cortex-A73 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores plus the Mali G71 MP8 GPU. The Mate 9 gets the top score for both the single-core tests and the multi-core tests.

Next up is the OnePlus 3T and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The former does better on the single-core tests but comes third in the multi-core tests. Conversely, the Samsung comes third overall for the single-core tests but second for the multi-core tests. The weakest single-core performance was shown by the Mi 5, with the HTC 10 producing the poorest multi-core results.

Basemark OS II

Basemark OS II is an “All-In-One” benchmark that tests the overall performance of a device including system, memory, graphics, and web browsing. As well as these individual scores there is a overall rating calculated (graph below includes Vellamo scores).
Best of Android 2016: Performance

The OnePlus 3T comes out on top of the Basemark OS II tests with a score of 2,719. Next comes the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with 2,659 and the Huawei Mate 9 with 2,588. Interestingly there is only a 5% difference in score among the top three devices.

At the other end of the scale, the Xiaomi Mi 5 was weakest (2.091), followed by the LG V20 (2,188) and HTC 10 (2,197) in second and third last places, respectively.

Vellamo

Vellamo is Qualcomm’s own benchmarking utility, which breaks tests down into three main “chapters”: Browser, Multicore and Metal. We ran the Browser test on the default internet app on each device to see how well they handle web content and then ran Metal to evaluate single-core performance of the mobile processor.

For the Metal test of Vellamo the top scoring device is once again the OnePlus 3T with 4,238, the only device break the 4K barrier. Next comes the ZTE Axon 7, the first time the ZTE has appeared on the podium! In third place is the LG V20. The poorest result in Metal was the Xiaomi Mi 5 which was the only device to not make 3K (interestingly, the Pixel XL only just scraped by with 3,040).

Turning to the Vellamo web browsing tests the top place goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with 7,778. In second place comes the Huawei Mate 9 and after that the OnePlus 3T. The weakest Vellamo browsing result was from the ZTE Axon 7 (3,756).

Jet Stream

JetStream is a JavaScript benchmark tool that focuses on advanced web applications, performing tests for latency and throughout (sustained peak performance). Jet Stream covers a variety of advanced workloads and programming techniques to avoid the possibility of software tweaks to “game” individual benchmarks and runs 39 different tests to produce a single overall score.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

Like the Vellamo web browsing test, the top three phones are the S7 Edge, the Mate 9 and the OnePlus 3T, but this time the ordering is different. First came the Huawei Mate 9, then the OnePlus 3T and in third place the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The HTC 10 was the worst and the Xiaomi Mi 5 just a little better.

3DMark

3DMark is probably the world’s leading benchmark tool because of its cross-platform nature and because of its emphasis on 3D graphics. The Slingshot Extreme test is designed specifically for the OpenGL ES 3.1 standard. 3DMark not only has rules for manufacturers to avoid OEMs modifying the way the system runs when tests are being performed, but you can compare 3DMark results with over 3,000 Android devices as well as the latest iPhones and iPads.

It is worth re-emphasizing at this point that devices with lower screen resolutions rank better as the GPU has less work to do. In fact QHD displays have 77 percent more pixels than Full HD displays!

Best of Android 2016: Performance

As we can see the top three results all go to devices with Full HD displays: the OnePlus 3T, the ZTE Axon 7 and the Huawei Mate 9. However, what is even more impressive is that the score for the Google Pixel XL is only 17 percent less than the Huawei Mate 9 but yet the Pixel XL is pushing around 77 percent more pixels! The worst 3DMark performance came from the HTC 10 by a wide margin.

GFXBench

Like 3DMark, GFXBench is primarily concerned with GPU performance. It includes a new 1440p Manhattan 3.1.1 for OpenGL ES 3.1 test and other assorted benchmarks that test Android Extension Pack features like hardware tessellation on game-like content. We ran the demanding T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 benchmarks for our tests. Again, be mindful of display resolution differences.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

The winner for the T-Rex test is the ZTE Axon 7, in second is the Xiaomi Mi 5 and in third is the Sony Xperia XZ. Not too surprisingly, all three of them have a Full HD display. The leading device with a QHD display is the Moto Z Force Droid, which is just 2fps slower than the Sony Xperia XZ and only 1fps slower than the OnePlus 3T.

As for the Manhattan test, the top performers are the Sony Xperia XZ and the OnePlus 3T which both scored 32fps. Again, both devices have a Full HD display. Next comes the Pixel XL (30fps with a QHD screen) and in third is the Huawei Mate 9 (28fps and Full HD again).

Wrap up

Overall, the best performer came first by quite a wide margin. It came first in AnTuTu, Basemark OS II, 3DMark and GFXBench Manhattan (tied with the Sony). It also managed a top three result for all the other tests with the exception of the GFXBench T-Rex test, where it came fourth. So which Android phone has the best performance in 2016?

The OnePlus 3T

The OnePlus 3T sports the brand-new Snapdragon 821 SoC, combined with 6 GB of RAM and a Full HD display, a killer combination that made it unbeatable where these tests were concerned.

In second place is the Huawei Mate 9. It has the highest Geekbench score plus it came in first in the JetStream JavaScript benchmark suite. It also finished in the top three repeatedly across other tests, helped in part by its Full HD display (a feature our top three all share).

In third overall place is the Sony Xperia XZ. While it didn’t win any of the tests outright, it did come in joint first for the GFXBench Manhattan test and scored well for the GFX T-Rex test.

It is also worth mentioning the ZTE Axon 7, which took fourth place overall and was the highest performing device with a QHD display. The Moto Z Force Droid was next, followed by the Pixel XL, both of which also feature QHD displays.

1. OnePlus 3T9.076. Google Pixel XL5.29
2. Huawei Mate 97.797. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge5.00
3. Sony Xperia XZ6.798. LG V204.57
4. ZTE Axon 75.869. Xiaomi Mi 53.14
5. Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid5.6410. HTC 102.14

A note on results: Our overall performance scores were calculated by assigning points between 1-10 to each device for each tested benchmark. The best performer scored 10 points, second place 9 points and so on, regardless of how close the margin was. Those category scores were then averaged for the final grading you see above.

There are obviously a few things that can affect how well any given device performs in benchmarks. Screen resolution, CPU, GPU, RAM, firmware, software optimizations and so on can all affect the results.

As you can see above, devices with Full HD displays did better overall due to having fewer pixels to push around but we also had some standout results from QHD devices. If you don’t think 2K is worth the drain on performance and battery life, then the OnePlus 3T is the obvious choice. But if you’re looking for a QHD smartphone with top notch performance, you can’t go past the Axon 7. Interestingly, these are two of the most affordable devices on our list.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other categories in the Best of Android 2016 series.


Credits

Tested by: Gary Sims, Andrew Grush, Nirave Gondhia, John Velasco, Joshua Vergara, Lanh Nguyen
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsEdgar Cervantes, Kris Carlon
Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

Best of Android 2016: Display

What is Best of Android?                

In Best of Android, we aim to answer the single most important question that we get asked every day: what’s the best Android phone you can buy right now?

Looking at 2016, here are the 10 phones we feel make up the best currently available on the market from each of these manufacturers

Check out the rest of this year’s edition and find out more here; Best of Android. Thanks for being a part of Android Authority!

To kick off our Best of Android 2016 series we are going to delve right on into every smartphone’s big upfront piece of tech – its display.

This year’s phones are a mixture of LCD and AMOLED and are either Full HD or QHD. Interestingly they are all over 5.0 inches with the smallest entrant being the Xiaomi Mi 5 with its 5.15 inch display. The largest is the 5.9 inch Huawei Mate 9.

 SizeTypeResolutionPixel density
Galaxy S7 Edge5.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi
HTC 105.2-inchesSuper LCD52560 x 1440565 ppi
Sony Xperia XZ5.2-inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1080424 ppi
Pixel XL5.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi
Xiaomi Mi 55.15-inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1080428 ppi
Moto Z Force Droid5.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi
OnePlus 3T5.5-inchesAMOLED1920 x 1080401 ppi
LG V205.7-inchesIPS LCD2560 x 1440513 ppi
Huawei Mate 95.9-inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1080373 ppi
ZTE Axon 75.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi

Before we dive into all of the results, a quick word about our test. We paired up an X-rite’s i1 Display Pro spectrophotometer with CalMAN’s ColorChecker software and its MobileForge companion app, which is used to wirelessly sync up the test images between the phone and our PC software. We set the phone to our desired brightness for each test, attached the i1 Display Pro to the middle of the display, made sure that it was flush to the screen, and then ran the software. Some phones have the option to adjust the screen colors and temperature but each phone was set to its default out-of-the-box state.

How do they compare? Let’s find out.

Display Luminance

To start with, we ramped up each phone to full brightness and measured a white light output with the i1 Display Pro. Since some devices don’t actually use the absolute maximum brightness when set manually to 100%, we also set the displays to “auto brightness” and shone a torch into the light sensor. On some phones that makes the display go even brighter. For example, the LG V20 has a brightness of 526 nits on 100% manual, which is a good result. However on “auto” the same display can be pushed to 708 nits!

The LG V20 is by far the brightest display with a massive 708 nits, followed by Xiaomi Mi 5 and the Sony Xperia XZ with 650 and 613 nits respectively. The Huawei Mate 9 also manages more than 600 nits. At the other end of the scale we have the ZTE Axon 7 which can only manage 339 nits. The rest of the devices manage at least 400 nits. It is also worth noting that like the LG V20, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Moto Z Force Droid also have significantly different brightness levels on manual and auto.

Color temperature

Color reproduction and the science of color can be quite complex, but it is worth noting a few things that will help you understand the display on your smartphone. Incidentally it might also help you improve the photos you take and how to buy light bulbs! Color is a characteristic of light, and it depends on the frequency of the light you are seeing. The lower frequency colors are red and orange while the high frequency colors are blue and purple. In between are all the colors of the rainbow.

When you see something as red it is because that object is reflecting the red light waves better than the other colors. In fact some of the other light waves are being absorbed and turned into heat. When an object reflects all of the colors equally we see it as white. Now since color is an attribute of light you will have noticed that objects take on a different hue when seen under different light. The sun at dusk shows things differently to the sun at noon. The light from a football stadium portrays things differently to candle light, and so on.

To help define the composition of light we use the Kelvin scale. Candles and sunsets give off light that is closer to red (which we call ‘warm’) but the light from the sun when we have “clear blue skies” is… yes, bluer… or “cooler.” Cool colors like blue generally have color temperatures over 7000K, while warmer colors like red and orange lie around the 2000K mark. For a variety of reasons, that we won’t get into now, the sweet spot for white light is 6500K. Color temperatures lower than that will be “warm” and above it will be “cool.”

So, what does this all have to do with displays? Basically, the display on a smartphone is a light source, similar to a TV or the monitor on a PC. The light it generates has a temperature. The closer that temperature is to 6500K then the closer it is to that sweet spot for white.

We tested all the devices to get a color temperature reading and here are the results:

Best of Android 2016: Display

The first thing to note is that none of the displays on test are actually configured to 6500K by default. But we can see that the Samsung  Galaxy S7 has the closest color temperature to 6500K, followed by the Moto Z Force Droid and the ZTE Axon 7. At the other end of the scale are the LG V20 and the Huawei Mate 9, both of which have color temperatures in excess of 8700K, giving the whites a clear blue tint:

Best of Android 2016: Display

The reason that 6500K is important is because most media is calibrated to 6500K which means that the further a display is away from that sweet spot then the further away the reproduced colors will be from the intended colors.

Color range

Since displays produce the whole gamut of colors it is important to know how faithfully those colors are reproduced. You might think that red is red and green is green, but as always it is a bit more complicated than that! Starting from the white 6500K sweet spot, a display needs to generate colors by increasing the amount of one (or more) colors while decreasing others, this mixture of red, green and blue yields the desired color. But how well a display can do that will determine its color accuracy.

Here is a set of color space diagrams generated for each display. The closer the different plot circles are to the target squares then the better the accuracy.

As you can see the best display is the one found on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The white dot in the middle is almost on target and the different branches shoot off in the right directions. The display is particularly good in the blues (including cyan and magenta). However by contrast the color accuracy on the LG V20, the Huawei Mate 9 and the HTC 10 is disappointing. Starting with the LG V20 and the HTC 10 you can see that the cyan and magenta targets are way off and none of the colors (except blue) are on the right line. The graph for the Huawei Mate 9 tells a similar story to that of the other two, but with an additional twist, here the cyan and magenta lines actually curve!

One thing to note is that all three devices have LCD displays and not AMOLED displays. The other two LCD panels in our test are the Xiaomi Mi 5 and the Sony Xperia XZ. These both exhibit the same tendencies as the other LCD devices however to a less extent. However it is worth pointing out that the magenta line on the Xperia XZ starts to the left of the target (more blue) and crosses over the line to yield redder colors. On top of that the greens are certainly more blueish-green that normal green!

That doesn’t mean that all the AMOLED panels are automatically “better.” Take a look at the ZTE Axon 7, it shares many of the faults seen on the LCD panels, however at least its cyan and magenta reproduction actually hits the target in some cases! The closest device to the S7 Edge is the Moto Z Force Droid, which does well in the cyan, blue, magenta and reds, however it does wander a bit for the greens and yellows. Third place goes to the Google Pixel XL which is almost as good as the Moto Z Force Droid, but not quite.

Conclusion

In terms of color temperature and color accuracy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the clear winner. And while it has a display brightness of over 400 nits there are AMOLED displays that are brighter, most notably the Moto Z Force Droid. As for the LCD displays in our test, these tend to be brighter, however their color accuracy and color temperature are not as good.

If you want the brightest LCD panel with the best color temperature and highest color accuracy (among the LCD panels) then the Xiaomi Mi 5 is the winner, however it only offers Full HD rather than the QHD of the S7 Edge and the Z Force Droid.


Credits

Tested by: Gary Sims, Andrew Grush, Nirave Gondhia, John Velasco, Joshua Vergara, Lanh Nguyen
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsEdgar Cervantes, Kris Carlon
Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

Unlocked HTC 10 and One M9 both get updated with system improvements

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Owners of the unlocked HTC 10 and HTC One M9 can look forward to downloading new updates this week. However, these downloads will only have some unnamed system improvements for these devices, along with the latest Android security updates from Google.

See also:

7 problems with the HTC 10 and how to fix them

2 weeks ago

Unlocked HTC 10 and One M9 both get updated with system improvements

For those of you who love to get down and dirty with the specifics, the HTC 10 update has the software version number of 2.38.617.6, and the file size is 609.58MB. The HTC One M9 update has the software version number of 4.19.617.1 and has a file size of 559.85MB. Both of these downloads are fairly sizable, and the change notes recommend that users get these updates through the use of a Wi-Fi connection.

Both the unlocked HTC 10 and the One M9 have previously received updates that upgraded the Android OS up to Android 7.0 Nougat. The carrier variants for those phones should begin to see those same updates sometime in early 2017. The recently announced HTC Bolt, known as the 10 evo in Europe, already runs on Google’s latest version of the OS.

HTC has also confirmed that Nougat will be released for the One A9 at some point, but there is no specific date for when that will actually happen.

Deal: $200 off HTC 10 and a free pair of Jabra wireless headphones (US)

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We are heading into the holiday season, and HTC certainly is feeling it: the troubled Taiwanese company is offering $200 off its flagship phone in the US and is giving out free Jabra wireless headphones along with it. Hurry though, the offer expires on the 20th of December!

See also:

HTC 10 review!

April 14, 2016

HTC loves to give us deals; after all, even though the company saw some moderate success with the Google Pixel phones, its own lineup has been lagging behind considerably these past few years. These deals not only help increase sales but also promote its brand image.

If you’re an HTC fan, this may just be the best thing to ever happen this holiday season. HTC is slashing $200 from the original price tag of HTC 10 down to $499. The discount applies to any carrier version (or carrier unlocked) as well as any colour option. That is, you get to choose from Camellia Red, Topaz Gold, Carbon Grey, and Glacier Silver.

The discount applies to any carrier version (or carrier unlocked) as well as any colour option. That is, you get to choose from Camellia Red, Topaz Gold, Carbon Grey, and Glacier Silver.

Just as a quick refresher, the HTC 10 has a 5.2-inch Quad HD screen with a 12-megapixel low-light rear camera. On front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter with OIS, so you don’t have to worry so much about shaky, blurry selfies especially in low light conditions. The phone is powered by Snapdragon 820 and should last you a full day with its 3,000 mAh battery.

The $200 discount runs through the 20th of December, but HTC says the Jabra Move wireless headphones offer is valid while supplies last – so if you’re looking to save some money and get a decent pair of Bluetooth headphones (which usually go for $60), then you might want to hurry! Again, the offer limited to the US, and you can find more information on HTC’s official website.

Will you be getting the HTC 10? Or is your heart set on another device this holiday season? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!