May 15

Best Phone For Gamers

Update May 2017: The Samsung Galaxy S8 has surpassed the Galaxy S7 as the best phone for gamers — but the GS7 is still remains a great option! Moto Z Play is still the best for battery life, and the HTC 10 still has the best touch responsiveness.

  • Best overall
  • Best value
  • Best for battery life
  • Best for touch responsiveness

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you’ll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that’s 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone’s thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you’re serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it’s easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8’s unique aspect ratio.

Why the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best

The best just keeps getting better.

What else can we say? Samsung has gone in and improved nearly every aspect of the things that made the Galaxy S7 the best phone for gamers in 2016, making the Galaxy S8 and easy pick in 2017. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has all physical components needed to handle the most resource-hogging games in the Google Play Store.

Both Game Launcher and Game Tools are back and better than ever, with Samsung making strides to improve their integration into the overall experience of the phone. Game Tools especially, which has been built into the navigation bar and appears any time you load up a game. It includes the same features for turning off distracting notifications while also including important new features for addressing the curved edges of the screen and temporarily turning off the “invisible” home button so you don’t accidentally press it during gameplay. If you’re the type that likes to stream as you game, you’ll love the built-in screen recorder tools which let you record at 720p and use the front-facing camera to record your reactions as you play.

Simply put, the Galaxy S8 is packed with all the specs and features you need for the gaming performance you desire.

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

Samsung’s 2016 flagship is still a great phone to pick up in 2017, and you’ll be able to get one at a discounted price with the Galaxy S8 now available.

Featuring a brilliant 5.1-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, the S7 will have your games looking great and running smooth as butter no matter how much of a resource hog they happen to be. With 64GB of on-board storage and a dedicated microSD slot you should easily be able to load up all your favorite games. Not only will current games run will on this phone, but Samsung’s decision to jump ahead of Google in supporting Vulkan APIs for higher quality gameplay meant the S7 was among the first to usher in a new wave of graphically superior mobile games.

On top of all the standard features that make the S7 an outstanding device, Samsung’s software includes built-in features that make gaming both fun and social. If you’re a serious gamer, you’ll definitely want to dive into the advanced settings and turn on the Game Launcher and Game Tools. They help to optimize the phone for gaming so you never feel bogged down or distracted from your game, and let you share that game with others through live streaming.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer’s best friend, from the top-tier hardware to its convenient software tools for gaming.

One more thing: There are deals to be had for the Galaxy S7 as carriers and electronics stores look to clear out last year’s flagship.

See at Motorola

We’ve all dealt with the battery drain of extended gaming sessions when you’re gaming on the go. There’s nothing worse than getting all caught up in the heat of the action, only to have a low battery warning ruin things. If you suffer from battery anxiety when gaming off charger, the Moto Z Play is the perfect device to alleviate that stress.

The latest in Motorola’s modular lineup, the Moto Z Play comes with a massive 3,510 mAh battery that’s optimized by a more efficient processor and a lower-resolution display. Granted this your display won’t get quite as bright as other displays, but the color calibration and viewing angles remain great. You’ll definitely enjoy the outstanding extended battery life you’ll get in exchange. When it’s time to top up, you’ll be able to give your phone up to 9 hours of charge in just 15 minutes with Motorola’s TurboPower wall charger.

Still not enough power? Take advantage of the Moto Z Play’s modular design and slap on the Incipio offGRID Power Pack and add an extra 2,260 mAh battery to your phone, along with charging efficiency and the added ability to wirelessly charge both the pack and your phone.

All this battery life business would be pointless if the Moto Z Play was a pain to use, but fortunately that’s not the case. As AC’s Daniel Bader wrote in his Moto Z Play review, if you’re a fan of the Motorola’s past offerings — including their handy gesture and voice controls — you’ll be happy to know they’re all present in the Moto Z Play.

Bottom line: Starting at just over $400, the Moto Z Play is the perfect companion for the mobile gamer with battery anxiety.

One more thing: Other awesome Moto Mods available for the Moto Z Play include a JBL Soundboost speaker, Hassleblad True Zoom camera mod and the Moto InstaShare Projector.

See at HTC

Serious gamers know that input lag is simply unacceptable. Any amount of lag can have a devastating effect whether it’s a coming down to a photo finish, or a frantic deathmatch shootout. While traditional gaming allows for full controller customization (whether we’re talking keyboard and mouse or controller), mobile gaming on a touch screen ultimately relies on the touch responsiveness of the sensors on the phone.

In that regard, there’s no better phone than the HTC 10. With its 2016 flagship, HTC boasts the 10 has the lowest touch latency of any smartphone on the market — iPhones included. While that’s not typically a frequently touted spec, it does make a difference for gaming.

Beyond touch responsiveness, as mentioned in our official review the HTC 10 is a fairly impressive phone that features outstanding high-definition audio output, a capable 12 megapixel camera, and fast performance thanks to the Quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. It’s all wrapped up in an aluminum unibody design with a curved back that’s ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.

Bottom line: Never blame your poor performances on lag again with the super responsive HTC 10.

One more thing: The beautifully designed HTC 10 is available in three stylish colours: Carbon Gray, Glacier Silver, and Topaz Gold.

Conclusion

For the best Android gaming experience, look no further than the Galaxy S8. It’s got all the top-end specs you need to any game in the Google Play Store at the highest settings, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If battery life is your biggest concern, the Moto Z Play is your best bet, especially with an optional Moto Mod to expand that battery life further. If you think lag is a real drag, the HTC 10’s touch responsiveness is what you want.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at AT&T   See at Sprint
See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you’ll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that’s 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone’s thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you’re serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it’s easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8’s unique aspect ratio.

Android Gaming

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May 08

HTC continues to see a decline in revenue ahead of the U 11’s launch

HTC has reported its revenue for the month of April which shows another drop for the company ahead of the official HTC U 11 announcement.

Apr 28

The Galaxy S8 is water resistant, not liquid resistant

Your phone has no fear when it comes to water but be careful with other liquids.

One of the features you’ll find in most top-end phones in 2017 is water resistance. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ from Samsung are no exception. Raining outside? No problem. The Galaxy S8’s IP68 rating means the rain has no effect. The same goes for a splash at the sink, a dip in the pool, and maybe even a spilled soda or beer.

Yes, maybe. Not everything wet is water and even things that are mostly water might be best kept away from your water-resistant phone.

This doesn’t only apply to the Galaxy S8, or even phones in general. Water resistant objects are designed to keep out water — exclusively. Because of the chemical composition of any liquid, anything water resistant might not be beer resistant. Or champange resistant, because science!

Rugged phone ratings: Everything you need to know

Liquids feel, well, liquidy. But all liquids have other things dissolved into them. Things like magnesium and calcium are in the water you drink and depending on where in the world you are you can have very hard water (lots of calcium and other dissolved minerals) or very soft water (very few dissolved minerals) or somewhere in between. The GS8 is designed to be soaked in good old tap water with no ill effects. You don’t have to worry, but we don’t recommend you take your phone snorkeling. (If you do, send us pics because that’s pretty cool).

Other types of water, specifically distilled water and really hot water, are probably something you don’t want to dunk your phone in. Science also means that distilled water is virtually free of any dissolved minerals and might be able to penetrate where “regular” water can’t. Hot water, on the other hand, can loosen adhesives and gaskets.

A quick rinse to wash away chemicals or sticky liquids isn’t going to hurt anything.

Other liquids like beer or antifreeze — or anything that’s not just plain water — might have chemicals that can penetrate the water resistant barriers or just make a mess in speaker holes, headphone jacks, and SIM card slots. If you get something that’s not water you’d drink on your phone, rinse it gently in the sink with room temperature water as soon as you can.

If you get the ports all gunked up, and it happens to the best of us, don’t go jamming toothpicks or sewing needles in the nooks and crannies to scrape it out. Wipe it down with a damp washcloth and let the fabric scrub away the surface dirt and sticky stuff or take a toothbrush and gently work at it. If you do end up having to dig in any holes with anything smaller than your elbow, be super careful not to cause any damage to parts or finishes. All that is part of being water resistant and needs to stay as intact as it can.

You don’t need to baby your Galaxy S8 when it comes to using it around the water. It’s built for it! Just be mindful for spills and splashes of other liquids.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

  • Galaxy S8 and S8+ review!
  • Galaxy S8 and S8+ specs
  • Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S8’s cameras
  • Get to know Samsung Bixby
  • Join our Galaxy S8 forums

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T-Mobile
Sprint

Apr 28

Nintendo not holding E3 press conference in 2017

Business as usual

Continue reading…

Apr 10

Where to buy the Galaxy S8 in Canada

The Galaxy S8 is officially coming to Canada on April 21, but it’s getting shipped to some people on April 17.

The Galaxy S8 will be available in Canada on April 21, and because it’s one of the most anticipated devices of the year, it will be widely available across the country.

The phone comes in two sizes, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, with about $80 difference between them.

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Samsung

Samsung is selling both models of the Galaxy S8 directly from its website and in its Samsung Experience stores. The Galaxy S8 itself will be available outright for $1035, while the larger Galaxy S8+ will go for $1115. These are the full retail unsubsidized prices, and will come with a free Gear VR + controller bundle if pre-ordered before April 20.

The phones are available in Midnight Black or Orchid Grey.

See at Samsung Canada

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Rogers

The Galaxy S8 will be available at Rogers starting at $249 on a 2-year Premium+ Tab plan and $489 on a standard Premium Tab plan. It is $1035 outright, which is the standard amount charged by Samsung. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $319 on a 2-year Premium+ Tab plan and $559 on a Premium Tab plan. It matches Samsung at $1115 outright. It’s available in Midnight Black and Orchid Grey and pre-orders will come with a free Gear VR + controller, and six months of Spotify Premium.

See at Rogers

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Telus

Telus is selling the Galaxy S8 for $250 on a 2-year contract with a minimum $90 monthly plan, or $490 with an $80 plan. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $320 on a 2-year contract with a minimum $90 plan, and $560 with an $80 plan. The company plans to give away a free Gear VR and controller with all pre-orders, and will actually begin shipping the phone four days earlier than other carriers, on April 17.

See at Telus

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Bell

Bell is selling the Galaxy S8 for $289.99 on a 2-year plan with a minimum 5GB plan per account, and $489.99 with a minimum 1GB plan per account. It’s also $1034.99 outright. The Galaxy S8+ is $359.99 and $559.99 respectively for the same minimums, plus $1114.99 outright. Like the other carriers, those who pre-order get a free Gear VR and controller, and the company is shipping as early as April 18.

See at Bell

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Videotron

Videotron is selling the Galaxy S8 for $279.95 on a 2-year $90 monthly plan, or $379.95 on a 2-year $80 monthly plan. It is $1029.95 outright, which saves $5 from the retail price elsewhere. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $349.95, $449.95 and $1119.95, respectively for the same minimums. Shipments start on August 17 as well, and those who pre-order — you guessed it — get a Gear VR and controller.

See at Videotron

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Virgin Mobile

The Galaxy S8 on Virgin Mobile goes for a bit more than the other carriers because it is less subsidized; it is $489.99 on a Platinum plan, and $1034.95 outright. The Galaxy S8+ is nowhere in sight on Virgin’s webpage at this point. The GS8 comes with a Gear VR and controller, too.

See at Virgin Mobile

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Koodo

Koodo is selling the Galaxy S8 for $490 on a 2-year contract and $994 outright, the cheapest of all the carriers. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $560 on a 2-year contract, and $1064 outright, also the cheapest of all the carriers. Those who pre-order get a free Gear VR and controller.

See at Koodo

Buy the Galaxy S8 from SaskTel

SaskTel is selling the Galaxy S8 for $249.99, plus $10 per month Plus Pricing, or $449.99, on a 2-year contract. The Galaxy S8+ goes for $319.99 with the same criteria. Everyone that pre-orders gets a free Gear VR and controller, too.

See at SaskTel

Buy the Galaxy S8 from MTS

MTS is offering the Galaxy S8 for a promotional $289.99 on a 2-year term with a $75/month minimum spend plus internet, and $1034.99 outright. The S8+ is $359.99 on the same 2-year term and $1,114.99 outright. Add $200 to those 2-year term prices with a $55 minimum spend and no internet bundle.

See at MTS

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Freedom Mobile

Freedom Mobile is making the Galaxy S8 available for $159 on a 2-year contract plus a $35 monthly addition to one’s bill. It’s available for $999 outright, which happens to be the cheapest outright cost in the country. The S8+ is available for $259 on a 2-year term and the same $35 monthly addition (for 24 months). It’s $1,099 outright.

Both versions are available in Midnight Black or Orchid Gray, and come with a free Gear VR + controller combo when ordered before April 20.

See at Freedom Mobile

Buy the Galaxy S8 from Fido

The Galaxy S8 is not yet available for pre-order from Fido.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

  • Galaxy S8 and S8+ hands-on preview!
  • Galaxy S8 and S8+ specs
  • Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S8’s cameras
  • Get to know Samsung Bixby
  • Join our Galaxy S8 forums

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Apr 07

Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 ad highlights Infinity Display’s best advantage, fails to address its worst flaw

Samsung is making a big deal about the Samsung Galaxy S8’s Infinity Display, so much so that it’s the standout feature in almost all its ads, even when they don’t mean for it to be. That’s not a bad thing, though, because it really is pretty nice. The latest Galaxy S8 ad shows how the …

Mar 24

Mint SIM vs. MetroPCS: Which is better for you?

How does Mint SIM stack up against MetroPCS? Here’s our comparison!

Mint SIM and MetroPCS are both mobile virtual network operators — MVNOs for short. They’re known as alternative carriers, offering consumers choices beyond the Big Four (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint).

Switching to an MVNO can save you money because they simply lease coverage from one of the larger networks and resell it to customers. Plans are often prepaid, so you don’t have to worry about overages.

Let’s take a look at two major players — Mint SIM and MetroPCS — and see how they compare to one another.

  • Mint SIM background
  • MetroPCS background
  • Mint SIM plans
  • MetroPCS plans
  • Best phones available from MetroPCS
  • Which should you go with?

Who owns it? Ultra Mobile

Which network does it use? T-Mobile 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 2016

Tethering allowed? No

Cheapest plan: $35 for 1 month: 2GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and 2G data

Who owns it? T-Mobile

Which network does it use? T-Mobile 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 1994 (originally as General Wireless). Merged with T-Mobile in 2012.

Tethering allowed? Yes, on all but the $50 unlimited data plan

Cheapest plan: $30/month: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited talk, text, and 2G data

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list of international rates here.

All plans from MetroPCS feature no annual contracts, with all taxes or regulatory fees included in the price. Voicemail and visual voicemail are included with each plan, along with Caller ID, Call Waiting and 3-way calling.

Music Unlimited is included on $40 and higher rate plans, which lets you stream from 40+ streaming music services including Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Napster, Spotify, and more without it counting against your monthly high-speed data allotment.

4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is included in all plans except for the $50 unlimited plan.

Additional Services

Napster Unlimited Music

For $10 a month, you get unlimited, ad-free access to the Napster app, which allows you to download and play your favorite music for offline listening or stream online. There are ad-free artist radio channels to choose from as well as live radio options available There are millions of songs available to be downloaded.

Mexico Unlimited

Do you have friends or family living in Mexico? Do you often vacation south of the border? For only $5 a month, you can add Mexico Unlimited to your plan and get unlimited calling to and from Mexico to mobile phones and landlines, unlimited data in Mexico just as you would receive in the U.S. (based on your $40, $50, or $60 base rate plan), as well as unlimited text messages, sending and receiving, while in Mexico.

Canada Unlimited

Essentially the same as Mexico Unlimited, except for our pals to the North. For $5 a month, you get unlimited calling to and from Canada (including mobile phones and landlines), unlimited data while in Canada (high-speed data based on your $40, $50, or $60 base rate plan), as well as unlimited text messaging while in Canada.

Value Bundle of Features

For just $5 a month, you can add five features to your account to make life easier. They include:

  • Name ID: Blocks calls from unwanted, restricted, anonymous, private or unknown parties. Also includes Reverse Number Lookup and Real Time Caller ID.
  • International Text Messaging: Send text messages across the globe. Find the full list of countries here.
  • Voicemail to Text: Converts your voicemails to texts and delivers them straight to your phone
  • Call Forwarding: Allows you to forward calls to any local number. Call Forwarding is easy to setup and use for those times when it might come in handy.
  • Unlimited Directory Assistance: Unlimited calls to directory assistance for business and residential listings in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

The Premium Handset Protection Program

For an added $6 a month, Premium Handset Protection covers your device against loss, theft, damage and out-of-warranty malfunction. Includes access to Lookout Mobile Security Premium, which helps keep your device secure by backing up your data including your contacts, photos and call history, and will also send you an email alert if they suspect your phone has been stolen.

Premium Handset Protection can only be added on the day of activation.

check compatibility first. If you don’t have a phone to bring, we recommend the following:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7: $549 (after offers)
  • iPhone 7 32GB: $649
  • iPhone 7 128GB: $749
  • iPhone 7 Plus 32GB: $769
  • iPhone 7 Plus: 128GB: $869
  • Samsung Galaxy S6: $299

What is an alternative mobile carrier?

  • What are the advantages of going with an alternative carrier?
  • How to make sure your phone works on a prepaid alternative carrier
  • 8 Important Considerations When Switching To An MVNO
  • These are the cheapest data plans you can buy in the U.S.
  • Mint SIM vs. Cricket Wireless: Which is better for you?
  • Mar 17

    Thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Netflix is bringing some changes to its service

    Plus, a new algorithm system for finding films and shows

    Continue reading…

    Mar 07

    Pixel 2: Sketchy rumor suggests Google may remove headphone jack

    Don’t freak out just yet, but there’s a small chance the next Pixel might exclusively use USB-C audio.

    It seems like just about every major phone announcement is accompanied by a rumor that it may ditch the headphone jack and, iPhone-style, force you to buy new headphones or life the #donglelife. Sometimes that’s accurate. Sometimes not so much.

    Today 9to5Google is reporting via a single source — apparently some internal Google documentation — that this year’s Pixel phones will ditch the jack, presumably going with a single USB Type-C port for both charging and audio.

    Multiple models of Pixel 2 are supposedly in development.

    Such a move would be unwelcomed by Android fans wanting to use their own 3.5mm cans with the upcoming phone, as well as highly ironic given the shade thrown on the iPhone’s single lightning port in Google’s own advertising.

    9to5 itself doesn’t seem especially confident in this single-sourced rumor, giving it a 6/10 score, and earlier rumblings have suggested that multiple Pixel 2 models are in testing anyway, which would be entirely understandable more than 9 months out from launch.

    So maybe it’ll happen. Maybe it won’t. In the meantime, be sure to share your thoughts down in the comments — would the removal of the headphone jack make you think twice about buying a future Google phone?

    Mar 07

    Rumor claims the Pixel 2 will drop the headphone jack

    An unverified rumor claims that the second-generation Pixel device will not feature a headphone jack.

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