ZTE

ZTE

Deal: Get the ZTE Axon Pro for $199.98 (64 GB) or $175.99 (32 GB) over at Newegg

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Newegg has a great deal on the ZTE Axon Pro. The retailer is selling the 64 GB version of the device for $249.98, which is $100 off its list price. And that’s not even the best part. You can also get an additional $50 off by using a promo code — 0210CLS03. This means that the Axon Pro can be yours for just $199.98, but only if you opt for the Gold color option.

If you want to save some additional money, you’re better off getting the 32 GB version of the smartphone. It currently retails for $219.99, but it can be yours for less during the promotional period. The retailer is offering a 20 percent discount on the device which means you can get your hands on it for $175.99. Unfortunately, the company only has the Phthalo Blue color in stock. To secure the discount, use the same 0210CLS03 promo code.

Additionally, the retailer is throwing in a few extra goodies. You’ll get the JBL E13 in-ear headphones for free with your Axon Pro purchase, along with ZTE’s Passport 2.0 coverage, which offers a full two-year warranty, free two-way shipping, and up to a $100 discount on your next ZTE device, among others.

See also:

ZTE Axon 7 update brings Nougat, Daydream View support, and more

1 week ago

As a refresher, the ZTE Axon Pro comes with a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. You’ll find the Snapdragon 810 chipset under the hood along with 4 GB of RAM. The device features a 13 MP + 2 MP dual camera setup as well as a selfie snapper with an 8 MP sensor. Other features of the device include a non-removable 3,000 mAh battery, a metal body, and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

If you want to get the ZTE Axon Pro, visit the retailer’s website by clicking on a button below. But you better hurry up, as both deals will end on February 16.

Get ZTE Axon Pro (64 GB)
Get ZTE Axon Pro (32 GB)

LineageOS builds now available for OnePlus 3T, ZTE Axon 7 and more

LineageOS, the Android-based custom ROM project launched late in 2016 by many of the former team members of CyanogenMod, has been quite busy adding new phones that can support the ROM. After launching its first official builds for a number of phones in mid-January, it has now added several more devices that can run the Nougat-based LineageOS 14.1.

See also:

The current state of custom ROM development

4 weeks ago

The biggest new addition is for the OnePlus 3T, and in fact that build has now been merged with the previous version for the older OnePlus 3, so both should now be updated for LineageOS at the same time from now on. Another new addition is the ZTE Axon 7, which recently got its own official update to Nougat.

The other devices are a bit older, including the HTC One M7, in both unlocked and Verizon versions, along with the Sprint version of the LG G3. Finally, you can download a build of LineageOS 14.1 for the 2016 versions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablets in 8.0-inch and 9.7-inch models.

You can check out all the newly added builds on the LineageOS download page. The group’s statistic page shows that overall, it has gotten close to 440,000 total build downloads, at least as of this writing. It also shows that the OnePlus One (which is identified by the name “bacon”) has continued to get the most downloads, with over 35,000 recorded. That’s nearly twice as much as the second phone on the stats list, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (given the name “kenzo”).

Hopefully, the team will continue to add more phones to the LineageOS support list, and will also keep updating the custom ROM itself. If you have downloaded and installed LineageOS on your phone, what are your initial impressions? Do you think it’s a good successor to CyanogenOS? Let us know your first-hand impressions in the comments!

This could be the first look at the ZTE Quartz Android Wear 2.0 watch

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ZTE has already confirmed plans to launch a smartwatch based on Android Wear 2.0 later this year. Today, a new report claims to have the first image of that watch, which it says will be called the ZTE Quartz.

See also:

ZTE CEO Lixin Cheng talks growth, the future of 5G and more at CES 2017

January 7, 2017

The report and image comes from VentureBeat and noted gadget leaker Evan “@evleaks” Blass. The report doesn’t have much more information on the ZTE Quartz, but a recent Bluetooth certification listing for the device confirmed it will have cellular wireless hardware. Previously, Lixin Cheng, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, stated in an interview that the watch would support LTE connections, meaning it could be used without the need of a smartphone to make and receive. He also indicated that the company has already lined up a major US wireless carrier to sell the watch, but declined to give that name.

The image does show that the ZTE Quartz will have a circular watch face, and it possibly could have a number of different watch band color options to choose from. Hopefully we will learn more about the smartwatch, including more specific hardware details and pricing, in the very near future.

Meanwhile, rumors claim that tomorrow, February 8, will be the day that Google will officially launch Android Wear 2.0. The company has released a number of preview builds of the OS over the past several months, which include the ability to download and install watch apps without needing a linking smartphone. It also has support for the Google Assistant AI.

Google is also rumored to have partnered up with LG to launch the first Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches this week as well. Both of the user manuals for the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style devices have already been leaked, as well. The LG Watch Sport is rumored to have a price of $349, while the LG Watch Style will reportedly cost $249.

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 2017)

A few years ago, smartphones with expandable storage were starting to become a dying breed. It makes sense, too – Google hasn’t included support for microSD expansion in their Nexus handsets for years. Something must have changed, though, because the company included support for adoptable storage in Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Related: Best Android phones

This is making microSD support popular again, and today we are making it easy for you to find a good smartphone with expandable storage. We have created a list of our very favorite phones with microSD support, so let’s get started!

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

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

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 7.0 Nougat
  • 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 7.0 Nougat
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Read more

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7
Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Huawei Mate 9

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 2017)

See more Huawei Mate 9 photos

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, microSD expansion up to 256GB, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

LG V20

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 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, expandable storage up to 256GB, 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, 513 ppi
  • 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 Amazon

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 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 Amazon
Buy the Moto Z Force from Amazon

ZTE Axon 7

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 2017)

See more ZTE Axon 7 photos

ZTE’s Axon Pro from 2015 was a good phone, but it fell short in a few key areas. It came to market with only one storage option, no expandable memory, and the dual camera setup on the back of the device felt a bit gimmicky. Not only does the company’s latest flagship fix all of those problems, it brings much more to the table.

It has a big 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon processor, plenty of RAM, multiple storage options, and yes, expandable memory up to 256GB. It also sports some killer front-facing speakers, all-day battery life, a great camera, and a sleek, attractive design. While certain parts of the software could use a little more polish, the ZTE Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with the best in the Android market. It’s also inexpensive at only $400, making this an even more attractive option for folks looking to score a solid flagship device.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 20MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3250mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm, 175g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

HTC 10

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 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
  • 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 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 the HTC 10

LG G5

Best Android phones with expandable memory (February 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 4 GB RAM, a 5.3-inch display, and 32GB 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 the LG G5

Those are our favorite microSD-compatible smartphones! Do you have a favorite that is not listed? Is microSD support even a big deal to you? Hit the comments to let us know in the comments!

Check out our related best lists:

ZTE Axon 7 update brings Nougat, Daydream View support, and more

After what turned out to be a small delay, ZTE has announced that its Axon 7 smartphone is the latest device to get an over-the-air update to Android 7.0 Nougat. Previous reports said the update would become available in January, so it missed that time frame by about a week.

See also:

Best ZTE Axon 7 Cases

December 22, 2016

In addition to the Nougat update, the Axon 7 also now supports the use of the optional Daydream View smartphone virtual reality headset. The Axon 7 is one of just a handful of phones that supports both Nougat and the Daydream View hardware.  Normally the headset costs $79, but a current promotion from Google has lowered it price down by $30 to just $49 until February 25.

With the Nougat update, Axon 7 owners will be able to access features such as a way to run two apps on the same screen, along with better battery life and access to a whole new set of emoji.

In related news, ZTE has revealed that starting today, Axon 7 owners can access free and fully integrated caller ID, spam detection and call blocking features on the phone, via a new partnership with Hiya. ZTE claims it is the first US mobile phone manufacture to offer those kinds of services for free.

Axon 7 users will now be able to block unwanted callers, and the phone will also have an auto-blocking feature designed to keep already known scam numbers from reaching the phone’s owner. This due in part to the phone being able to access the 1.5 billion active mobile and landline phone numbers that are available in Hiya’s proprietary data set.

If you own an ZTE Axon 7, how do you feel about the new caller ID and call blocking features? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Get ZTE Axon 7 at Amazon

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

Now that an increasing amount of smartphone manufacturers are selling their phones at cheaper price points, it’s much easier for consumers to afford an off-contract device rather than purchasing one with a two-year contract. At least in the United States, the way smartphones are priced has changed dramatically, and that’s a good thing.

So, what are the best smartphones out there for those who’d like to forgo the standard contract and buy unlocked? We’re here to take you through the best unlocked Android smartphones for under $250, under $500 and over $500. As always, if you have anything you’d like to suggest, be sure to speak up in the comment section at the bottom of the post.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list regularly as new devices launch. It’s also worth noting that this article is written for a U.S.-centric point of view, though (since they are unlocked) pretty much all of these devices are available outside of the U.S., at least in some capacity.


Best phones under $250

Honor 6X

See more Honor 6X photos

If you’re looking for a phone under $250, you should definitely check out the Honor 6X. With its big 5.5-inch 1080p display, long-lasting battery, metal construction, dual-SIM support and super fast fingerprint sensor, the 6X gives many other budget phones a run for their money.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this device is its rear-facing dual camera setup, which features 12 and 2MP sensors. While every dual-camera setup utilizes the secondary camera differently, the 6X uses the 2MP sensor to capture depth information that can be taken advantage of when using the camera’s wide aperture mode.

This phone isn’t perfect, though. It doesn’t come with USB Type-C support, EMUI is a little unpolished, and the device’s bottom-firing speaker isn’t the greatest. If you can get past those few caveats, though, the Honor 6X might be well worth your money.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403ppi
  • Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655 processor
  • 3/4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 12 and 2MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,340mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm, 162g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Moto G4 Plus photos

Instead of announcing just one Moto G variant this year, Lenovo brought us three different devices – the Moto G4 Plus, Moto G4 and Moto G4 Play.

The highest-end of the bunch is the Moto G4 Plus, and it brings a handful of notable improvements to the Moto G range. It has a big 1080p display, capable processor, expandable storage, and even a fingerprint sensor this time around. While we had a slight problem with the volume/power buttons and the camera in low light, we can honestly say this is one of the best budget offerings in 2016.

Right now you can buy it in the U.S. for $249.99 through Amazon or Motorola.com.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2/3/4GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm, 155g

Read more

Buy now from Motorola

Moto G4 Play

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Moto G4 Play photos

Lenovo’s Moto G4 Play enters the market with a low price tag, solid specifications and a familiar design language we’ve all grown to love.

It sports a 5.0-inch HD display, solid Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 8MP rear camera that’s great for snapping the occasional photo. Plus, you get a removable 2800mAh battery, which is a feature many manufacturers have been leaving out of their phones lately.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 2800mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 144.4 x 72 x 9.9mm, 137g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Best phones under $500

OnePlus 3T

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more OnePlus 3T photos

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T now sports 16MP rear and front-facing camera sensors, a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

ZTE Axon 7

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more ZTE Axon 7 photos

ZTE’s Axon Pro from 2015 was a good phone, but it fell short in a few key areas. It came to market with only one storage option, no expandable memory, and the dual camera setup on the back of the device felt a bit gimmicky. Not only does the company’s latest flagship fix all of those problems, it brings much more to the table.

It has a big 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon processor, plenty of RAM, multiple storage options, and yes, expandable memory up to 256GB. It also sports some killer front-facing speakers, all-day battery life, a great camera, and a sleek, attractive design. While certain parts of the software could use a little more polish, the ZTE Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with the best in the Android market. It’s also inexpensive at only $400, making this an even more attractive option for folks looking to score a solid flagship device.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 20MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3250mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm, 175g

Read more

Buy at Amazon

Best phones above $500

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

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, if you buy the 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).

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 now from the Google Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Best unlocked Android phones (February 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 7.0 Nougat
  • 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 7.0 Nougat
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Read more

Buy the Galaxy S7 from Amazon
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge from Amazon

Huawei Mate 9

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Huawei Mate 9 photos

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

HTC 10

Best unlocked Android phones (February 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 HTC

There you have it – our picks of the best unlocked Android phones you can buy right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

Check out our related best lists:

ZTE returns to the Indian market with Blade A2 Plus

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In a press conference in New Delhi today, ZTE officially launched its Blade A2 Plus mid-range smartphone in India marking its comeback in the market.

The highlight of the smartphone is its large 500mAh battery capacity. The device runs the dated Android 6.0 Marshmallow with their proprietary Mi-Favor skin on top of it. The 5.5-inch display device is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6750T processor with 4GB RAM and Mali T860 GPU for the graphics.

ZTE has established high-trust and credibility of consumers and clients globally through its path breaking innovation, customization and high-quality services. We are committed to establish ZTE in the Indian market by launching innovative products at disruptive prices to connect with the consumers.

– Sachin Batra, CMO, ZTE India Terminal

ZTE Blade A2 Plus Specifications

  • Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Display: 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD | Pixel Density 404ppi | 2.5D curved glass display
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6750T 64-bit processor | Mali T860 GPU
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Internal Storage: 32 GB; expandable up to 128 GB via microSD card
  • Rear Camera: 13MP | Dual-tone LED Flash |PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP | LED flash
  • Battery: 5000mAh with Ultra-fast charging
  • Dimension: 155 x 76.2 x 9.8mm
  • Weight: 189g

Priced at ₹11,999 ($178), the ZTE Blade A2 Plus comes in Gold and Silver color variants and will available exclusively from Flipkart starting from February 6. On the specifications sheet, the Blade A2 Plus packs a punch considering its price. What are your thoughts on the smartphone, and the company’s reentry in the Indian market? Tell us in the comments!

ZTE may kill ‘Hawkeye’ Kickstarter, do a new version with better specs

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ZTE has already admitted that the specs of its crowd-sourced phone weren’t sufficient to draw real interest. The company now says it will “most likely” kill the current Kickstarter campaign but is considering bumping one or more of the specs to see if that is enough to generate real interest.

See also:

ZTE’s dual-camera Blade V8 Pro officially goes on sale

1 week ago

In an interview with Mobile Syrup, Jeff Yee, ZTE’s vp of technology planning and partnerships, said that the company’s original plan was to make the price point as appealing as possible, and that meant mid-range specs:

So when the phone became hands-free with the two key features becoming eye-tracking and adhesive we thought: there’s 170 countries represented by people that have voted […] let’s make it a phone that can go around the world. That means mid-range because you can’t sell flagships in a lot of countries, they just don’t have the money.

But the lukewarm response to the Kickstarter campaign demonstrated folks were expecting better specs than they found. Yee said ZTE then realized that “Kickstarter people are early adopters therefore they want flagship specs”.

Fortunately, the company has the luxury of either changing some key specs in the existing Kickstarter – while retaining the current $199 price tag – or pulling it down, beefing up a lot of the Hawkeye specs and posting a new Kickstarter campaign with a new price tag.

For now though, the changes to be made are uncertain, as Yee notes “so many people are giving free-form comments that it’s a little bit difficult to digest what exactly people want.” Fortunately, the company also has the luxury of time. Yee said, “we’re doing everything with transparency and so early in the process that we can still change and shift.”

The interview goes on to cover how ZTE’s eye-tracking tech works and the adhesive case for the Hawkeye phone, so feel free to hit the source link for the full transcript.

OEMs need to stop promising updates they can’t deliver

The rollout of Android Nougat appeared to be off to a good start this year, with a number of handsets seeing the update and many more promises being made about upgrades arriving in the not too distant future. However, waiting for Nougat is becoming an increasingly frustrating situation for many, as a number of manufacturers have delayed, postponed, and even cancelled their upgrades recently. Quite frankly, this easily avoidable situation is becoming a bit of a mess.

See also:

Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

2 weeks ago

For a recap, just a few days ago Sony halted the roll out of Nougat for its Xperia Z5, Z3+, Z3+ Dual, and Z4 Tablet. The reason, a number of bugs related to audio playback.

HTC has also previously twice delayed its roll out of Nougat for the HTC 10, first pulling the update for a number of bugs and issues, then appearing to suffer from similar problems again just a couple of weeks ago, and today we have another delay in Europe for “technical issues”.

That’s not all either: ZTE is now declaring that Nougat for its Axon 7 won’t be arriving in January, stating that the software does not currently meet its “quality requirements”. Instead, the company aims to send the upgrade out to customers some time later in the quarter, possibly as late as March.

I’m sure you can spot the common theme here: software bugs. While these are often unavoidable in one form or another, the fact that so many manufacturers are struggling to roll out stable software is a symptom of a larger industry problem – manufacturers are simply promising more than they can deliver and shipping unfinished products. The practice needs to stop.

OEMs need to stop promising updates they can’t deliver

After initially promising an update in January, ZTE has had to push back its Nougat update for the Axon 7 until sometime later this quarter.

Delays > bugs

Of course, a short delay is better than a buggy release, but companies and consumers would be better served by OEMs not setting themselves deadlines that simply can’t be met in the first place (something HTC learned in the past). Unfortunately we’re now trapped in this cycle of over-promising due to consumer eagerness for the latest version of Android, combined with the brownie points on offer for manufacturers that promise to have an update out the fastest.

Social media certainly hasn’t helped this trend, with a never-ending stream of questions and criticisms about slow updates, so it’s ever so tempting for PR departments to promise the world just to score a few pleasantries.

Fast updates are certainly welcome, but we've reach that point where the race is starting to negatively impact the quality of products coming out.

Of course, prompt updates are certainly a welcome side effect of the competitive Android landscape, but we’ve reach the point where the race is starting to negatively impact the quality of products coming out. Sure, making the update deadline is great, but missing it only causes consumer resentment and a PR backlash that has to be dealt with.

Free beta

Even the increasing prevalence of beta updates is starting to become a worrying sign. Operating a small closed beta to iron out the last few bugs is one thing, but we’re seeing a number of companies running highly open betas for months and still shipping bug-filled updates that need to be halted.

This essentially encourages consumers to test out a company’s software for free, something which they should really be paying professionals to do effectively and promptly. Consumers shouldn’t have to keep up with the latest betas to first get and then fix issues; companies should be providing stable releases suitable for mass consumers who don’t want or have the time to spend keeping up to date with changelogs.

Companies run open betas for months and still ship bug-filled updates that need to be halted.

If we start seeing an increasing number of OEMs offering beta updates, you can bet that this is just a cop out to side-step the issue. It effectively allows manufacturers to promise fast updates but then not have to bother polishing them for the majority of consumers until months later. These days we treat availability of a beta program as though it were an actual public release. As consumers, we should be incredibly sceptical of this.

Mirror, mirror

All of this is building to a potential major shaking up of consumer confidence in manufacturers’ software, and this could eventually trickle down into a more widespread scepticism about the quality of Android on the whole. With so many updates running into issues, how can consumers trust that their next OTA isn’t going to ruin their experience?

The buggy mess OEMs bring to the market reflects badly on Android as a whole.

It won’t take many reports of bricked handsets or crashing software before general consumers begin to build the impression that Android is a bug-riddled mess, and may be tempted to try iOS for its “just works” reputation.

As Android enthusiasts, we know that this isn’t true of the actual source code, but if a buggy mess is what OEMs bring to the market then that’s effectively what Android becomes.

OEMs need to stop promising updates they can’t deliver

We know that Nougat itself is not bug riddled, but slap-dash OEM implementations risk damaging the reputation of the entire Android ecosystem.

Great expectations

That said, I’m certainly not suggesting that OEMs don’t announce which phones they plan on updating, but an attitude of “it will be ready when it’s ready” would help avoid the disappointments and frustrations while at the same time ensuring better quality rollouts. After all, good communication is about keeping people informed accurately, not about making unrealistic promises.

For their own sake, companies need to slow down and polish their products.

For their own sake, companies need to slow down and polish their products, less they risk damaging their reputation and that of the broader Android ecosystem for a few positive replies on their Twitter accounts.

We as consumers can help ease the situation too by putting less pressure on OEMs to update their devices too quickly and not buying handsets simply because a company promises us something in the future. Instead, we should be willing to accept that a good update is worth waiting for, while still holding companies fairly to account when they fail to deliver on their promises and/or quality.

Android Nougat update for ZTE Axon 7 delayed; will be released within Q1

The ZTE Axon 7 is one of the best budget smartphones on the market, along with the OnePlus 3T. It was announced back in May 2016 and ships with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow on board. A few months ago, ZTE Mobile Germany announced that the Nougat update for its flagship device would be available in January. But unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

According to a recent Facebook post from ZTE Mobile Germany, the Nougat update will be delayed. The company said that in its current state, the software doesn’t meet their quality standards. Those of you who have been waiting for the update will have to be patient for a bit longer, as it is scheduled to hit the Axon 7 sometime in the first quarter (Q1), which means you might not get it until the end of March.

See also:

Best ZTE Axon 7 Cases

December 22, 2016

The company wants to speed things up as much as possible and has said that it doubled the number of beta testers — in Germany at least — in order to get the Nougat update out faster. Let’s hope that ZTE keeps its promise this time and gets the update out soon. The last thing users want is another delay, although a delayed rollout is probably still preferable to a botched rollout, as HTC 10 owners know only too well.