Archive for July, 2015

Grab the OnePlus 2 without an invite from Gearbest

OnePlus has been making a lot of noise in the mobile tech industry. First, they shocked the world by announcing the OnePlus One at a seemingly impossibly low price point while maintaining top notch specs.

Following that, they quickly turned their positive press into negative press with their juvenile contests and a primitive invite system. It seemed to a lot of people that the only way to get a OnePlus One was to either be a OnePlus lapdog and jump through all of their hoops, or pay ridiculously high resale prices. (Retail – $299, Resale – $500+)

The invite system infuriated a lot of potential buyers who couldn’t get their hands on an invite so that they could purchase the phone. Fast forward to current times, they FINALLY removed the invite system and announced their second phone. The OnePlus Two. This thing is still market as a flagship killer even though that is highly debatable this time around.

Another thing OnePlus did is bring back the invite system for the OnePlus Two much to everyone’s dissatisfaction. They claim to be confident in their product, but apparently they are still afraid of the risks involved with selling a phone.

The good news is that the invite system can be avoided by purchasing the OnePlus Two off of Gearbest! Gearbest is offering the OnePlus Two at a bit of an upcharge, but you won’t have to wait until OnePlus finally offers you an invite to buy a phone.

For $397.89, you can purchase the 16GB model of the OnePlus Two that comes with 3GB of RAM and you can purchase a 4GB RAM 64GB internal memory device for $477.89.


Other key features of the OnePlus Two are a 5.5-inch display with a 1080 x 1920 screen resolution. The OnePlus Two is powered by a 3,300mAh battery that powers a Snapdragon 810 CPU (underclocked at 1.8 GHz) and an Adreno 430 GPU.

Pair that with its 16MP back camera and 5MP front shooter, you have a pretty good device. The Two features a USB Type-C port and is void of Qualcomm’s Quick Charging 2.0 and wireless charging. Another notable feature missing is NFC. Some people aren’t perplexed by the lack of NFC or other features because they claim to not use it much, but that is up to you.

The OnePlus Two runs a version of Android called OxygenOS which is created by former ParanoidAndroid team members. Their goal was to create a ‘pure Android experience with powerful enhancements’. OxygenOS actually is a pretty sweet operating system and works great with the OnePlus Two.

OnePlus also tossed in a fingerprint scanner on the front of the device where the physical home button would be on a Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6. However, the OnePlus Two fingerprint scanner isn’t an actual button that you can click. It is more like a capacitive button with added functionality.

While not a flagship killer, the OnePlus Two is still a solid device. For an increased price, you can purchase a OnePlus Two without an invite from Gearbest! Quick note, this is a preorder. The devices won’t start shipping until after September 7th.

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ZTE Overture 2 review

When those of us who aspire for the latest and greatest see a budget phone, diagnosis it’s only natural to shrug our shoulders and move on to something more interesting.  With that said, seek I don’t think the latest and greatest in smartphones has been that inspiring lately.  I’ll actually argue that there’s more action going on in the budget space right now.  As the gain of top-level components are slowing, entry-level components have way more advancement to be had.  And as that gap narrows, you get much more value with the inferior smartphone.

And this is exactly the perspective that I took with the entry-level ZTE Overture 2.  ZTE is no stranger to value in the smartphone space, and the Overture 2 is no exception with a price tag of $50, on Cricket Wireless.  What made this review particularly interesting to me is that fact that it runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and sports a Snapdragon quad-core processor.  Time to see how narrow that gap really is!



When you consider an entry-level smartphone, it’s not reasonable to expect a design that impresses, but rather, one that works.  It will be basic, but sturdy.  And if it excels, the user won’t be thinking about the cheap price tag.  I’m happy to report that this precisely describes the Overture 2.


Yes, the design is reminiscent of older plastic Android handsets, back when removable back covers were commonplace.  However, not once did I loathe holding the Overture 2.  It feels solid, doesn’t flex or creak, and the material doesn’t indicate that it won’t last.

I appreciate that the plastic back cover has a textured weave-like pattern.  It helps considerably with the grip.  There’s a small notch on one of the corners for easy removal of the back cover.  The cover easily snaps back into place.


It’s a bummer that while the back cover is removable, the battery isn’t.  I always dislike when manufacturers do this, it’s almost like a tease.  All is not lost as there is a microSD card slot under the cover.  The SIM card slot also resides here.


Although the Overture 2 runs on the latest Android OS, you won’t find the latest method for navigation buttons.  On the front you have capacitive soft keys on the bottom (in Lollipop style, at least), a ZTE logo smushed between the display and earpiece, and a front-facing camera.  My only gripe here would be the screen-to-body ratio of the phone.  At 62.9%, I feel like a 4.5″ device should be smaller than this.


Around the perimeter of the phone, we have a microUSB charging port on the left, separated volume buttons on the right, power button on the top right, and headphone jack on the top left.  There is only a microphone on the bottom of the phone.


The usability of the power and volume buttons were done well.  They’re clicky, instead of mushy.  Neither too hard nor too soft to press.


I was excited to put the Overture 2’s hardware through its paces.  Although this a budget phone, it’s running the latest version of Android (Lollipop 5.1).  Powering it is the current entry-level quad-core processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 410 (1.2 GHz).  In other words, I was curious to test out how much performance I would lose in comparison to my top-end daily driver.

Confirming my suspicions, the difference wasn’t stark.  The Overture 2 is sufficiently snappy with basic operations (sifting through panels and apps, opening/closing applications, web surfing).  There are some executions that do have a second or two delay that shouldn’t, but certainly nothing to cry about.  This could be attributed to the low 1GB of RAM.

And while we’re on the topic of low memory, something I dislike that’s common on budget smartphone is low internal storage capacity.  Unfortunately, the Overture 2 suffers the same fate, with only 8GB of storage space.  After installing a handful of standard apps (Facebook, FlipBoard, Pandora, etc.) and taking a few pictures, I was down to 1.38GB available.


Bear in mind that the OS takes up a chunk of the overall capacity.  Fortunately, Overture 2 is helped along by a microSD slot (expandable up to 32GB).

I loaded up a game (Leo’s Fortune) on the Overture 2, to test out the on-board Adreno 306 graphics chip.  I wanted to try either Modern Combat or Asphalt to stress test the system, but unfortunately with that little storage space, you won’t be able to install big games on this device.  But for what it’s worth, Leo’s Fortune played smoothly and without a hitch.


The largest red mark I would have to give the Overture 2 is on the display.  Its Achilles heel is without a doubt the display quality.  Let’s cover the specs first.

We have a 4.5″ LCD screen (protected by Dragontrail glass), with a FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels).  While the resolution is older than yesteryear, it is not unexpected for an entry-level smartphone.  The same ideal extends to the display quality, but here I’m particularly left feeling that ZTE could should have done better.

The display has this strange phenomenon that occurs at viewing angles.  I’ve seen this happen in cheaper screens before, so I don’t think it’s a screen defect.  When you tilt to one side you see dimmed color degradation (almost like inverted colors) and when you tilt to the other side the image is washed out (a more typical effect of cheap displays).


Both effects seem to merge at the middle (looking at the phone straight on), to give an OK image, but my eyes can tell something is not right.  The big problem is the viewing angle sensitivity.  It only takes a slight tilt for the image to quickly degrade in the manner determined by the direction you tilted it.  I have to keep the device steady and straight, or my eyes get a shot of unpleasantness.

If you can look past this issue, colors are alright, resolution is sufficient but not ideal, and outdoor visibility is modest.



The Overture 2 is equipped with a 5 MP rear camera with single LED flash.  You can record at 720p.  I was impressed by all the features that ZTE through in, separated by three categories:

  1. Fun mode – Special effects (filters), smile detection, HDR, automatic image capture at set time intervals, panorama, and multi-exposure to collate images.
  2. Auto mode – Simple point-and-shoot operation.
  3. Manual mode – Where you can control white balance, ISO, or exposure.


The quality of the images are in line with what I would expect for a phone at this price range.  In good lighting, we can get respectable capture.  But in situations with dynamic range, the camera can blow out lighting a bit.  Colors are decent, but lean a little on the dull side.  Detail matches what I would expect from a 5 MP shooter.  Image quality drops drastically in lower light, but this is not unexpected from a budget camera.

The front facing camera is VGA (0.3 MP).  It is similar to other VGA sensors I’ve seen, which produce grainy selfies.

Battery Life

The battery capacity is a respectable 2,100 mAh.  Although the back cover is removable, the battery is sealed in.  So you won’t be able to carry around extra battery packs.

On the bright side, it may be that you don’t have to.  I was left very impressed by the battery life this little guy managed to pull.  One day I charged it up in the morning and was out and about for half the day and only used 38% battery.  This was with typical operations:  Streaming music in the card, checking Google Maps, web browsing, and taking a few pictures.


I used it on and off connected to Wifi the rest of the day and went to bed with 35% battery.  My overnight test (leaving it on, connected to wifi, while I sleep and checking it first thing when I wake up) produced an average result of 15% battery drain.

The Overture 2 also has ZTE’s power saver option.  Testing it produced similar results as the power saver that comes in stock Lollipop, unsure if it’s the same or not.  What’s different is the very welcomed power management controls.



ZTE is known to add their own little touches to Android, and it’s no different with the Overture 2.  However, I do appreciate how minimal they keep it.  I can still see remnants of stock Lollipop in places, such as the sound priority control when you press a volume button, the drop-down notification/quick settings panel, and the dialer.


The most drastic changes are the following:

  • Instead of swiping up to unlock the screen, you press and hold.
  • ZTE’s custom app drawer, folder, and icon appearances
  • ZTE apps in place of Google apps (camera, browser, gallery)
  • Available options when you tap and hold a panel.  ZTE included theming and and different panel transitions to choose from.

I really like that ZTE’s alterations to Android don’t feel like they’re deep in the system.  I don’t feel bogged down, or that stock Android is handicapped in some way.  There are a few apps installed by default (bloatware):  Evernote, AccuWeather, Deezer, AskMD, and several Cricket apps.  As with other carriers, you can disable them but not uninstall them.  This is especially annoying when you consider how little internal storage you’re given.

Final Thoughts

I’ve very glad to have taken the Overture 2 through its paces.  The performance that today’s entry-level Android can pull has left me quite impressed.  If it weren’t for the main concerns I’ve raised (poor display, camera lighting issues, and miniscule internal storage space), I could go as far to say I wouldn’t be too unhappy using this instead of my flagship phone.

But from the perspective of a consumer on a budget, I still consider the Overture 2 a great value despite the some of the weak hardware.  You can’t ignore the $50 price tag, and you’re getting a solid build, a terrific performer, respectable battery life, and the latest version of Android.

ZTE Overture 2 Product Page

The post ZTE Overture 2 review appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Android M Developer Preview 3 is delayed, Google says they “need a little more time”

Google has been like clock work for the first two Developer Previews of Android M, generic but it appears their next one, Android M Developer Preview 3 is delayed after it was promised to be released at the end of July. The reason given by Google’s Wojtek Kalicinski is that they want Android M Developer Preview 3 to be “near release”, and it appears whatever that entails means they “need a little more time to get it out to you”. Naturally, the promise of a “near release” build of Android M will fuel theories about when Android M itself will be released in full, a fact that Kalicinski is quick to address:

“Please be patient and refrain from posting speculations about the release date in the community. We will announce the Preview 3 availability here and on +Android Developers as soon as it’s ready.”

But speculating is what we love to do!

Based on previous full Android releases, we’re expecting a release sometime in late October or early November, which will hopefully coincide with the release of at least one (if not two) new Nexus devices. Only time will tell whether any of this is right, but the next few months should be an exciting time for Android fans.

What do you think about about the fact the Android M Developer Preview 3 is delayed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Google+ via Phandroid

The post Android M Developer Preview 3 is delayed, Google says they “need a little more time” appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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Remove Grass Stains from Your Clothes with Sugar and Water

Grass stains on your clothes can be challenging to remove. But, rubbing in a little sugar before washing can help break down those stains so they come out in the wash.

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Remove Grass Stains from Your Clothes with Sugar and Water

Grass stains on your clothes can be challenging to remove. But, rubbing in a little sugar before washing can help break down those stains so they come out in the wash.

Read more…

Record Videos of Apps in Windows 10 with the Built-In Xbox App

If you ever need to record a video of an app on your screen in Windows 10, the built-in Xbox app has a recording tool that may fit the bill.

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Record Videos of Apps in Windows 10 with the Built-In Xbox App

If you ever need to record a video of an app on your screen in Windows 10, the built-in Xbox app has a recording tool that may fit the bill.

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Google Translate “instant visual translation” updated with 20 new languages

The Google Translate app has the ability to translate text through your device’s camera in real-time, help even without an internet connection, but until now there were only seven languages available. English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish were the first languages to be integrated into the live translation feature of the app and on Wednesday the Google Translate team introduced a new update that includes 20 new languages, including Fillipino, Dutch, Polish and Romanian. For the full list of new languages head over to the official blog post.

Along with new languages, the Translate team also introduced software improvements that increase the speed at which text is translated, making the app much more convenient to use. Voice conversation mode was also drastically improved with the new update. This mode allows two people speaking different languages to converse verbally with the Google Translate app acting as a translator, listening to what one person says and speaking the translated text to the second person. With this new update the feature becomes more reliable with slower network speeds, which is a great improvement for those who are traveling in areas where they don’t know the native language.

As for how instant translations work offline, each instant translation language needs a small ~2 mb download. To learn how their translation works with such small downloads head over to this Google research blog post.

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LG G Flex 2 Review: Gimmick turned useful

For awhile now, innovation in the mobile phone space has been stagnant in terms of hardware. These days new flagships simply have bigger, higher resolution screens, with faster processors and more RAM than most users know what to do with. In an attempt to make a name for themselves, both Samsung and LG have been playing with the idea of flexible touch screens. For Samsung, this came to fruition in the Samsung Note Edge and S6 Edge. For LG, it has come in the form of the LG G Flex 2 (say that five times fast).

When I first found I would be reviewing this device, it was more out of curiosity than any thoughts of the curve being useful. Yet, the more I used the G Flex 2, the more I found the curve to be a natural extension of my hand than another device. Read on for more information!

Software and UI

While doing the review, the LG G Flex 2 had Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, with LG’s new UX 4.0 skin on top. I have mixed feelings about the software on this phone, because it is (in my opinion) the most useful UI skin of all the manufacturers (except Motorola, but they don’t have a UI skin technically). At the same time, it is the most ugly UI of all the manufacturers. With Lollipop being such a beautiful piece of software, LG takes away all of that by placing ugly color combinations and nonsensical placement of words and icons. Luckily, with the use of other launchers, you really only see the UI in the settings.

Something that was originally seen as a gimmick has become very useful

Once I get past the look of their UI, the software is great. In fact, I didn’t seem to have any memory leak issues or major bugs many others have faced when dealing with Android 5.0. Further, the ability to customize a lot of the little aspects of the phone to my liking is very useful. I would have maybe liked to see more software tailored to the screen’s curve. However, one of LG’s newest features – called “Glance” – seemed easier to accomplish with a curved screen than other LG’s phones.

Navigating the software was smooth, with me never experiencing lag. LG’s Knock Code feature was as useful as usual. All-in-all, I enjoyed the software on the phone. Just wish it wasn’t so stinking ugly.



The LG G Flex 2 has a 5.5″ P-OLED 1080p screen, giving it a pixel density of 403 pixels per inch. While most top-end smartphones these days are opting for a Quad HD display (including LG’s own G4), the choice to go with 1080p on the G Flex 2 wasn’t a bad one, in my opinion. When the pixels per inch go above 400 (and arguably even over 300), you’re hard-pressed to see any pixels with the naked eye. Further, some people prefer the 1080p display as it doesn’t tend to drain battery life as quickly (which perhaps lends to the G Flex 2’s great battery life – more later).

The G Flex 2 feels like an extension of my hand

One choice I believe was in LG’s favor that changed from the original G Flex to the G Flex 2 was the screen size. The original was a whopping 6 inches, which was before the Nexus 6 made that size popular. While the G Flex 2 is no small phone, 5.5″ is much easier to handle than the original (I’ll talk about feel more in “Design”).

The P-OLED display allows for true blacks, and rich colors. The display is bright and crisp, and even viewable in direct sunlight. The curve of the display (in terms of viewing angles) was at times helpful, and at times not. Usually, the curve was helpful, because if one part of the screen had a glare on it, it was not present on the entire screen. However, whenever I placed the phone in a car dock, the phone would stand upright. This would cause the top to curve down ever so slightly, so that the auto brightness would not set for outside, but rather darker. This was solved by disabling auto brightness and manually setting it, but something that is a little annoying to do.



I am sure this is what most users are curious about. Let me put it this way: something that was originally seen as a gimmick has become, in my opinion, very useful.

Let me start with the fact that the phone does not feel like it has a 5.5″ screen because of the curve. That, coupled with the dimensions of the phone (149.10 mm x 75.30 mm x 9.40 mm) and the weight (152 grams), and the phone feels more like a 5.0″-5.2″ phone. Certainly a much easier hold than the original G Flex. While I couldn’t reach my thumb all the way to the other corner of the screen, I come pretty close.

Past that, and the curve allows the phone to just feel better/easier to use than just about any other phone. When I use it for a call, if actually feels like I’m using a phone, rather than a brick. When the phone is in my pocket, it just seems to form better against my leg, rather than a brick. And scrolling through web pages, flicking through images, and any other situation that calls for me to run my finger across the screen seems so much more natural… rather than a brick.

I think you get the idea: the G Flex 2 feels more like an extension of my hand, rather than a brick that can post cat photos on the internet.

Other than the curve itself, the phone certainly has a plastic feel, but the metal edge around the screen helps take away the cheap feeling you might otherwise get. Also, the buttons are on the back (a trademark of LG these days), and seem easier to reach because of the curve.

Here’s what I know: after using this phone for an extended period of time, going back to a phone without that curve just felt, unnatural.


The camera on the G Flex 2 isn’t anything to write home about, but it isn’t bad either. Included below are a few sample shots I took. It comes with a 13 MP rear shooter, and a 2.1 front-facing shooter. The rear camera has laser-focus, which I found to be quicker than most other cameras. It can shoot 1080p video. The camera does have Optical Image Stabilization, something that most smartphones are missing these days.

Otherwise, not a whole lot that is special about the camera on this phone.

Zoomed in 8X

Overall Performance

The G Flex 2 overall was a great phone to use. Actions were quick, apps loaded up smoothly, and I never noticed any lag. Probably the only thing I noticed was that the phone was able to get pretty hot when playing a game, or doing a lot of multi-tasking. This is likely due to the fact that it uses a Snapdragon 810, though. Otherwise, its 3 GB of RAM could handle everything I threw at it.

Battery life was phenomenal. I often tell people that LG is one of the leaders in battery performance, and the G Flex 2 is no exception. I played with the phone a lot, but thanks to the 3,000 mAh battery, I often went to bed with about 30% left, and almost 5 hours of screen on time. Had I not used it so much each day, I could have likely gotten 2 and a half days out of it, no problem.

To be honest, there’s not a whole lot more to say about its performance, which is a good thing.

LG’s G Flex 2 seems to be a big improvement from the original G Flex, but those who had adopted the original won’t feel left in the dust, as the curve certainly is prominent in day-to-day use. Otherwise, those looking for a phone with a big screen that durable, and has something unique to it, shouldn’t look too far, as the G Flex 2 is a great entry into the smartphone race.


The post LG G Flex 2 Review: Gimmick turned useful appeared first on AndroidGuys.

Reset Siri’s Training Data to Force It to Relearn Your Voice

Siri does a pretty good job of learning your voice and dialect so it understands you. However, if you’ve found that it’s not doing a its job, Mac Observer points out that it’s easy to reset and start anew.

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