Archive for October, 2018

How to set custom ring tones with Zedge

Android is a flexible operating system that allows for tons of customizations. And one of the most common ways to add a personal touch to your smartphone is set your own ringtones.

On Android, this feature is readily available, and it’s actually very simple to use. Here’s how to do it using Zedge.

There are many third-party apps out there that offer custom ringtones. But Zedge is one of most well-known out there. The app not only lets you customize your sounds, but also your wallpapers. There’s also a Games section, which recommends some of the best titles available.

How to set custom ringtones with Zedge

  1. Open the Zedge app on your Android device.
  2. Tap on the hamburger menu in the top left corner.
  3. Tap on Ringtones.
  4. Browse through the list of ringtone and choose your favorite.
  5. You can tap on the Play button to listen to the ringtone and see whether you like them or not.
  6. Once you’ve decided on one, tap on it.

  1. Tap on the Set button located below.
  2. From here you have four options:
  • Set alarm sound
  • Set notification
  • Set contract ringtone
  • Set ringtone
  1. Select which option you prefer and the app will set that particular tune as your ringtone, alarm sound and so on.
  2. In case you prefer to do it manually: tap the tree dot menu in the upper right corner and select Download.
  3. The ringtone should now be saved to your internal memory and you will be able to see it in your phone’s ringtone list.

How to set a custom ringtone to a contact

  1. Open up the list of contacts on your phone.
  2. Tap on the contact you wish to set a custom ringtone for.
  3. Tap on the three-dot menu in the top right corner.
  4. Tap on select ringtone.
  5. Because you’ve already downloaded the custom ringtone from Zedge, it should show up in the list of local ringtones..
  6. Pick the ringtone you want to set.
  7. That’s it!

So now every time you get bored with the sounds your phone makes, you can fire up Zedge and download a bunch of new ones. The app has an extensive database, so you won’t run out of them any time soon.

Get Zedge from the Google Play Store

Oukitel WP1 rugged phone has wireless charging, on sale now (Promoted)

On the market for a rugged smartphone that can take a beating? Well then you might be interested to know that the Oukitel WP1 is currently on sale at Banggood.

Until the end of October (and possibly beyond), the phone can be purchased for $159.99, down from the original $199.99 price tag. This will allow you to save 21% on your purchase.

Oukitel calls the WP1 a tri-proof smartphone because it’s waterproof, dust-proof, as well as shock-proof. Despite being so durable, it’s among the few rugged smartphones out there that comes with support for wireless charging. Using a 10W wireless charger, users can replenish the WP1’s battery in about 3 hours.

The WP1 is the first Oukitel phone with wireless charging

This outdoor device also comes with a 5.5-inch capacitive display with 720 x 1440 resolution (HD+) and modern 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s powered by a octa-core MediaTek MT6763 processor that’s backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Oukitel also throws in a microSD card slot for memory expansion up to 128GB.

While the WP1 is powerful and though, it can also take pretty decent snaps. The phone boasts a dual-lens primary camera comprised of 13MP+2MP sensors. On the front, Oukitel has implemented a 5MP camera, so you can use the rugged device for selfie taking purposes too, and not only for work.

Wrapping up the package is a large 5,000 mAh battery with support for 9V/2A fast charging. Keep in mind that the phone also supports wireless charging. The phone ships out with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. Sure, we’d have liked to see Android 9 Pie onboard, but who knows maybe the company will update the device at some point.

The rugged phone is waiting for you on Banggood, and if you order it now you’ll be able to get it for only $159.99. Hurry up!

Buy the Oukitel WP1 from Banggood

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New OnePlus 6 features, Google’s new Emoji movement, and more news you need to know

Welcome to In Brief, the AndroidGuys tech briefing. Today is Tuesday, October 30, and we’re taking a look at all the tech news you need to know. In this post, we want you to learn about the news the way you want to learn. We’ve embedded a podcast version of all this news below. If you don’t want to listen, you can read just like you normally would.

In today’s edition, we’ll tell you what OnePlus 6T features are now available on the OnePlus 6, how bad things look for Sony Mobile, and a security flaw that Google says isn’t that big of a deal.

We’d love feedback on this post, so please let us know what you think in the comments. If we can improve in some way, we’d love to know!

Open Beta 6 brings new features to the OnePlus 6 ahead of 6T launch

There’s quite a bit of excitement around OnePlus right now. Not only did it just announce its brand new flagship phone, but it also made waves by signing its first carrier agreement in the United States. Yes, if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you can go pick up the OnePlus 6T on Thursday.

But, what if you’re holding onto your current OnePlus 6? The 6T isn’t a massive upgrade so we expect plenty of people to continue rocking their phones for a while. Well, you’re all in for some good news as the brand new OnePlus 6 beta is bringing some brand new features to your phone.

In Open Beta 6, the OnePlus 6 now gains access to new features like Nightscape. Nightscape is a feature that uses computer learning to brighten up darker photos without adding distortion to the photos.

The OnePlus 6 now also has a new gesture system, improved UI for About phone, better options for screenshots, and the November security update. If you’re already enrolled in the beta program, you should see the update soon. If you’re not and would like to sign up, you can head to and sign up.

Gboard lets you customize emojis

Emojis are an important part of life. Now, that’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter, but its true. People use emojis more and more every day and now Google is giving users of its Gboard keyboard some customization options.

Starting in its newest beta, Gboard allows users to create “Emoji Minis” which are emoji-sized stickers that look like you. Now instead of sending a random winking face, you can send yourself winking. Not creepy at all, right?

Google stated in a recent blog that, “Emoji Minis are designed for those who may have stared into the eyes of emoji and not seen yourself staring back. These sticker versions of the emoji you use every day are customizable so you can make them look just like you.

Your customized emoji can have different colored hair, piercings, hats, head coverings, glasses and more. If you’d like to up your emoji game, head over to the Play Store listing for Gboard, then opt into the beta for the update.

Sony Mobile could be in trouble

Sony Xperia XZ3 1Sony is a well-known name, but its mobile division could be facing some bleak times. The company released its recent financial results and the numbers reveal that Sony only shipped 1.6 devices in the last three months — a record low.

On the back of the results, Sony reduced its full-year shipment expectations to 7 million, a third consecutive downgrade.

So, what’s the cause? It looks like Sony lost its momentum in Europe. The company makes several popular mid-tier devices that it sells in European and Asian markets, but sales are down and it’s not pretty.

Sony recently adopted a new design language that is very “love-it-or-hate-it.” It seems like more potential customers are on the “hate it” train and Sony knows it. The company’s Chief Financial Officer recently stated that “The competition is fierce and our products have not been attractive enough.”

Is the Google Home Hub secure?

Google’s new Home Hub is a cool little gadget. It puts a face to the voice of Google Assistant and displays relevant information. When it’s not displaying the weather, a recipe, or a YouTube video, it can play a slideshow of your Google Photos library. Pretty nifty.

But now security researchers are ringing the bell about the device. One researcher is claiming that the smart display is “beyond dismal”, a harsh rebuke of Google’s efforts. For Google’s part, it’s denying the claims.

Jerry Gamblin, the security researcher causing waves, says he spent a couple nights poking around with the Home Hub. What he found was that the Hub allows full remote unauthenticated control by an undocumented API.

Speaking to Android Authority, Google says the claim about security on the Home Hub is inaccurate. “The APIs mentioned in this claim are used by mobile apps to configure the device and are only accessible when those apps and the Google Home device are on the same WiFi network. Despite what’s been claimed, there is no evidence that user information is at risk.”

Huawei Watch and Watch 2 get an update that brings better performance

The Huawei Watch and Watch 2 are two of the most popular Wear OS watches on the market today. Despite their introduction the better part of three years ago, the watches remain as solid options until a new breed of watches come out later this year and early 2019.

Much to the surprise of everyone, the watches are still being updated. They recently were updated to Wear OS 2.0 which brought a new interface and features. Now, with version 2.17, the watches are getting even more improvements.

The update brings new swipe gestures, the latest Wear OS interface, and Google Assistant and Fit shortcuts. Users are also reporting that performance has received a boost too. We’ll be keeping an eye on this update to see if battery life gets better too, but it’s too early to tell right now.

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Hexologic review: A hexagon-based logic game that will twist your brain

Most of the times we play a game on our Android device, so we can relax and take our mind off things. Simple games like Cooking Madness or Candy Crush are a great way to tune out the daily noise, but what if you’re looking for something more challenging? Something that truly puts your mind at work?

Well, today we’re taking a look at Hexologic, a game that will challenge you to think differently, imagine and solve ever-changing problems that won’t allow you to get used to them and fly on autopilot.


Hexologic is a game developed by MythicOwl and costs $0.99 to download from the Play Store.

The game doesn’t offer a tutorial, but the gameplay is simple enough, so you won’t have to do much guessing.


First off let me tell you that Hexologic has a very calming overall feel. It features nice, soothing graphics in pastel colors that allow you to concentrate on the puzzles at hand. Although, they tend to be a little repetitive, boasting the same vibe throughout the entire game.

On top of that, you also get some nice ambient music thrown in, so for a moment, you might think you’re in a meditation app instead of a game.

The premise of this Sudoku-inspired game is pretty straightforward. It’s all about hexagons! You’ll need to combine the dots inside the hexes in three possible directions so that their sum matches the number at the edge.

As with any puzzle/logic game, the level starts easily enough, and you’ll find you can go through the first 10 stages quite fast. But by the time you hit level 30, things get a lot more complicated.

For example, more advanced levels feature linked blocks, so when you change the value of one of these hexes, others with the same colored outline will also automatically get the same value. Which means you’ll have to adapt your whole strategy based on that.

Alternatively, some tiles have numbers of them which you cannot change. Their value can larger than the three dots you’re normally allowed to add in the empty hexagons.

There are 60 levels in total, which are broken off in four worlds which have their own, unique gameplay mechanisms.

Unlike other puzzle games, Hexologic doesn’t have a timer. So you can take your sweet time completing the levels. Interestingly enough, there are no repercussions for incorrect moves, so you’ll never have to start from the beginning if you make a mistake.

So in that sense, the game poses no real challenge. But the satisfaction of knowing you’ve mastered the complete set of 60 levels is in itself a goal.

Additionally, the game has no real replay value. Once you’ve figured out the levels, there’s nothing else much to do. Yes, you can unlock certain bonus stages, but they are not so very different from the standard levels.

Honestly, Hexologic ends way to quickly – you could finish it in one day if you have a few hours to spare – and I think the game could have used a little bit more variation when it comes to gameplay. For example, it could have included a timer, as to prolong gaming sessions.


Hexologic is a fun and addictive puzzle game, set in a beautiful world. Yet, it feels a bit minimalistic when compared to other games in the category. You can complete it in a few hours, but again, that’s probably something that casual gamers will appreciate. After all, most of us don’t have the time to spend countless hours playing games.

Download Hexologic from the Play Store

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Save 59% on this smartphone gimbal and up your video game

It wasn’t that long ago when people were impressed by the ability to record video on a phone. It was only a few years back when we were cool with non-HD video. Now it’s 720p, 1080p, and 4K stuff.

It’s not enough to simply capture video. No, today we want optical stabilization and better overall quality. One such way to get a killer shot is to use a gimbal. A tool such as this could be the difference between a shakycam trip to the beach and one that’s smooth as butter.

Style counts. Shaky, handheld camerawork is unacceptable. It’s time for smooth pans and fluid focus with a gimbal like the Rigiet Smartphone Gimbal.

Now available in the AndroidGuys Deals Store, it’s yours for just $109.99. Discounted to the tune of 59 percent off, it will up your game in a matter of moments.


  • Shoot beautifully stable video and photos on your smartphone or action cam
  • Quickly switch between portrait, landscape, and underslung shooting positions
  • Easily adjust your camera’s position by hand
  • Switch between photo & video modes and front and rear cameras via the built-in controls
  • Stitch 5, 9, or 12 photos together to create stunning panoramas
  • Automatically track & follow objects by highlighting them
  • Easily use w/ a tripod or action cam
  • Livestream your videos online

Where to Buy

You can purchase the Rigiet Smartphone Gimbal through the AndroidGuys Deals Store. Hurry up and take advantage of the more than half-off discount before it ends.

Save even more!

In addition to the savings above, when you buy through AndroidGuys Deals, for every $25 spent, you get $1 credit added to your account. What’s more, should you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.

If this is your first time buying, then you are also eligible for a further 10% discount when you subscribe for email updates.

How about a freebie?

Not looking to spend any money today? That’s alright, we understand. Why not visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and take something anyhow? Go ahead, grab two!

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Best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 cases

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the big screen, stylus-totin’ powerhouse of a smartphone that gets better with every release. If you’re a fan of top-tier hardware and a modern approach to Android, this phone is high on your list.

Should you have one of these devices, you’ll want to protect your investment. We’ve picked out some of the best Galaxy Note 9 cases you can purchase.

See Also: Best cases for the Google Pixel 3

$20 and Under

Spigen Tough Armor Case

With a bad-ass carbon fiber design the all-black case looks mean and rugged. The military-grade certification tells us that it actually is. Still, it’s flexible enough to go on easily with buttons that respond nicely to the touch. It ain’t fancy, but it’s practical and affordable. $13 at Amazon

Maxboost Wallet Case

Keep your wallet at home because this case allows you to carry cash and credit cards. The magnetic lock design snaps things up tightly and hides your screen from life’s scrapes and scratches. Crafted by PU Leather, the case is convenient, tough, and has a lifetime warranty. $11 at Amazon

Vinve Carbon Fiber TPU Case

Available in a variety of colors, this one is a nice balance of elegance and practicality. There’s a subtle wire pattern that runs horizontally throughout the main part of the case with a carbon fiber approach at the top and bottom. Thin and flexible, it’s a little more stylish approach to protection. $8 at Amazon

Poetic Revolution Case

Want a phone case that looks like it was carved from a robot? This one’s gonna protect you from the front and back and it’ll keep all of your ports safe, too. It’s a great shell for the rough-and-tumble user and it just also happens to feature a built-in kickstand. Choose from blue, silver, and black. Blue, pink, or black, they all look awesome. $17 at Amazon

Mofi Fabric Case

Glass and metal are nice and all, but they can sometimes feel cold to the touch. What’s more, they open your phone up to potential scratches and scrapes. This flexible and case is slim and easy to hold and is wrapped in a fabric. Offered in three colors, it’s not going to add bulk or weight to your Note 9. Pick from Black, Brown, or Gray, all of which match any style. $13 at Amazon

Moko Clear Case

Transparent, but still reinforced for drops and bumps, this lets you show off that really cool color you picked for the Galaxy Note 9. The flexible and soft TPU rubber bumper edges and hard PC back work together to protect the phone from all angles. Cutouts give you full access to the speakers, cameras, and other ports. $7 at Amazon

Terrific Value

VRS Design Crystal Chrome Case

Because protection isn’t necessarily synonymous with bulky, black, and ugly. This is the sort of case you get when you want to let everyone know what color you picked for that beautiful phone. A TPU bumper and a hard polycarbonate (PC) backplate allow your phone to be seen, yet still provide flexible and tough protection. The raised edges keep you from resting your phone directly on surfaces while the corner air cushions ensure great drop protection. $24 at VRS Design

Tech21 Evo Check

Available in your choice of Orchid, Smoky Black, or Ultra Violet, this case lets you keep things nice and clear, but with twist. Yes, you’ll be able to see through the case to admire the color of the phone, but it also has a nice check pattern. It’s subtle stuff but makes a big difference in that otherwise boring black. Oh, and it also survives drops of 12 feet, too. $45 at Tech21

Otterbox Symmetry Case

Don’t worry about drops and dings when you’ve got one of these on as it comes from one of the first names in phone protection. It goes on in a single piece but shields your device like it has a dozen layers. Active Edge works surprisingly well with the case on yet its edges maintain a solid line of rigidity. For five bucks more we really like the Love Triangle and Gradient Energy color options but there are others to choose from. $50 at Otterbox

Lifeproof NËXT Case

For the most physically demanding of lifestyles, this is the case to get so you can sleep easy at night. Protected against drops of two meters, it also blocks snow, dirt, dust, and general debris. Transparent and more sleek than you’d expect, it’s your last line of defense. Pick from Black Crystal or the eye-catching Cactus Rose. $80 at Lifeproof

S-View Cover Case

More of a multi-purpose tool than a simple case, the official accessory protects the phone and works as a kickstand. Perfect for watching video on your lunch breaks, it’s a great way to grab selfies, too. Leave the cover on and access time, date, battery, control music, and and check notifications. $60 at Samsung

Obliq K3 Case

Features three interior card slots, one interior side pocket, and one exterior card slot. Design with premium synthetic leather, the case gives a smart and sophisticated solution to clean up and declutter your life. Internally, the PC material secures your device from drops and falls. Externally, the engineered cutouts are precise and allow for easy access to buttons and still allow for third-party jacks and ports. $21 at Obliq

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What should you get? OnePlus 6T vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The newly unveiled OnePlus 6T is one of the most powerful flagships right now. But if you’re on the market for a new Android phone then you’ve probably already checked out the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Indeed, Samsung’s latest flagship is a really great device, but it’s so very expensive compared to the OnePlus.

So which device is the way to go? In this article, we pit the OnePlus 6T against the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in an attempt to highlight all the major differences.

Design and Display

One of the first things any buyers looks at when considering to buy a new phone is the screen size. These days, the majority of people want a big screen, and these phones deliver exactly just that. Although there are a few design aspects that set them apart.

The Galaxy Note 9 features a 6.4-inch AMOLED QHD display that looks great. It doesn’t have a notch, so those who prefer the classic look will be very happy. Even so, the phone has the modern bezel-less look with razor-thin bezels all around encasing the huge display.

The Note 9 also features accentuated square corners, a characteristic of Samsung’s phablet family. A candy-shaped fingerprint scanner sits on the back of the device, below the horizontally-aligned dual-camera setup. The phone has an 8.8mm profile, but the OnePlus 6T is a bit slimmer at 8.2mm.

While the Note 9 keeps its classical look, the OnePlus 6T benefits from the latest trend in notches. The phone’s 6.41-inch AMOLED display has a tiny waterdrop-shaped notch at the top. The screen features FHD+ resolution (1080 x 2340), so it’s lower than the Note 9. Even so, if you ever used a OnePlus phone you’ll know that’s not really a problem, as the screen is more than capable of displaying vibrant and punchy colors and also has excellent brightness uniformity.

Unlike the OnePlus 6, the OnePlus 6T does no longer feature a fingerprint scanner on the back. That’s because the 6T is the first flagship to be made commercially available in the West that comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor. The company calls it “Screen Unlock”.

The technology powering it is similar to the one we’ve seen in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and basically uses light from the display to illuminate the finger as it’s being read. OnePlus says the in-display scanner can unlock the device in as little as a third of a second. Sounds quite impressive.

The OnePlus 6T marks another first for the company. Unlike its predecessors, the new flagship has dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack. A controversial change, which might sway some customers towards the Note 9, which retains the headphone jack.  What’s more, Samsung’s phablet is also IP68 rated, while the OnePlus 6T is yet to gain official certification in this sense.

Performance and battery

Both smartphones rely on the best Qualcomm chipset available now: the Snapdragon 845. This is the same processor powering other top flagships such as the Pixel 3 or LG G7.

The OnePlus 6T will be available in three configurations as follows:

  • 6GB of RAM + 128GB of storage
  • 8GB of RAM + 128GB of storage
  • 8GB of RAM + 256GB of storage

The OnePlus 6T does not offer microSD card slot, so you’ll be stuck with the configuration you choose to buy.

As for the Galaxy Note 9, it’s available with 6GB/8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 512GB of storage. In the case of the Samsung flagship, there’s a microSD card slot which allows for memory expansion up to 512GB.

Up next, we’re going to look at the battery. The Galaxy Note 9 benefits from one of the largest batteries even seen in a Samsung flagship. It’s of 4,000 mAh variety and should provide a satisfactory battery life. The phone also has support for wireless charging and fast battery charging.

As for the OnePlus 6T, it includes a larger 3,700 mAh battery, compared to the 3,300 mAh unit of its predecessor. This is expected to result in a 23% increase in battery life. Unfortunately, wireless charging is still not in the cards. However, you get the company’s rebranded Fast Charge (from Dash Charge) tech, which will juice up your phone in no time.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has one of the most impressive cameras around. The phone has the all-new variable aperture camera introduced with the S9. This means the aperture can change from f/1.5 to f/2.4 depending on lighting conditions. Just like the human eye adapts in different environments, so does the Galaxy Note 9’s camera.

Samsung pairs two 12MP sensors on the back, which is the same setup we find on the Galaxy S9 Plus. The first one has PDAF and OIS, while the second telephoto one, offers OIS and 2x optical zoom.

So the Galaxy Note 9 should be able to deliver some excellent results, photography-wise, similar to what we’ve seen on the S9 Plus.

Another major highlight is the camera’s ability to shoot super slow-mo video at 960 fps. The front camera is an 8MP selfie snapper with autofocus.

In the case of the OnePlus 6T, the main camera is quite similar to the OnePlus 6’s with a few new additions. We still have a 16MP (f/1.7) + 20MP (f/1.7) couple with OIS and EIS for stabilizing shots.

But on the new model, OnePlus offers a new Nightscape feature, which is basically an enhanced HDR night mode which combines info from several shots to enhance details and reduce noise and motion blur. There’s also a new Studio Lighting options which helps with enhancing portrait shots.


The OnePlus 6T ships with the latest version of Android and that’s Android 9 Pie. Obviously, the company’s own OxygenOS custom user interface is laid on top of that to provide a smooth and clean experience.

The new OS version includes refined gesture navigation and other useful features like Gaming Mode, Reading mode and a built-in dark theme.

As for the Galaxy Note 9, it runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Samsung Experience 9.5 on top. While Samsung’s UX has been gradually getting better over the year, it still pales in comparison to OxygenOS.

Samsung is yet to offer the Android 9 Pie update for the phone, although Samsung Experience 10 based on Pie did leak a while ago, so the company is working on it.

Other features

On top of what we already mentioned, the Galaxy Note 9 comes with a bunch of extra features including S Pen and DeX desktop experience support. The phone also offers the services of Samsung’s own virtual assistant, Bixby which has been improved compared to its original iteration. Stereo speakers are also part of the package.

The OnePlus 6T doesn’t have all of that, but you can activate the Google Assistant on it if you so desire.


The OnePlus 6T will go on sale here in the US starting on November 3 for $549 and up. OnePlus will be selling the unlocked model (compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon networks) right from its official store.

But this year, the OnePlus 6T will also be offered at T-Mobile. You’ll be able to grab the 8GB of RAM + 128GB of storage model from the carrier’s stores starting on November 1.

T-Mobile also lets you trade in an eligible phone, so you can get $300 off in monthly bill credits when you buy the OnePlus 6T. Or you can get the device for $24.17/month for 24 months.

As for the Galaxy Note 9, the phone is widely available in the US from all major carriers, as well as from the company official store. Unlocked the Note 9 starts at $999.99 which is a lot more expensive than the OnePlus 6T.


While the Galaxy Note 9 does have a better display, camera and overall more features, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a must-have. Not at this price anyway.

For those who like the idea of getting a flagship-specced phone, the OnePlus 6T is more than enough. Especially since it has a feature that the Galaxy Note 9 does not and that’s the in-display fingerprint scanner.

The OnePlus 6T is fast, boasts new technology and also has a big battery and a much lower price, so overall it’s a great choice. But if photography is super important for you, or you’re interested in stuff like the S Pen, then the Galaxy Note 9 is the way to go.

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Sony Xperia XZ3 Tips and Tricks

When it comes to smartphones in 2018, there are a lot of different features offered by each device. Some of these are available on flagship Android devices, but there are others that are specific to the device.

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is no different, and now that we have had some time with the device, we wanted to share some of the best. This is not the “end-all-be-all” list of tips and tricks, but there are some that you may not have known about.

How to disable the all apps button

Even though it’s obvious that gestures are the way of the future, some folks still like having buttons. One button that keeps returning is the App Drawer icon, and it’s here on the Xperia XZ3.

However, you can actually bring back the swipe-up gesture on your home screen. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Press and hold on the home screen
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Toggle Enable swipe up

This will remove the app drawer icon, and allow you to just swipe up to see all of your apps. This can then be turned off by following the steps and toggle the Enable swipe up switch to “off”.

Customize Home Screen

Unlike other handsets where you will want to immediately install Lawnchair or Nova Launcher, you may want to think twice with the Xperia XZ3. The included Xperia Home Launcher is actually quite robust and extremely customizable.

Here’s a breakdown of the options given when pressing and holding down on the home screen:

  • Widgets
  • Wallpapers
  • Shortcuts
  • Transitions
  • Grid
  • Settings

You can turn things up a notch if you want, by heading into the launcher settings itself. From here, you are greeted with a bunch of different toggles, including the option to have a Google feed on the home screen.

You can also change the icon size, icon appearance, icon background, and much more from here. This really is one of the best built-in launchers we’ve used in quite some time, and hopefully,x Sony will continue to improve it.

Disable bloatware/unwanted apps

Out of the box, Sony doesn’t actually install too many “extra” applications, and you won’t find carrier bloatware. This is because none of the four major US carriers are actually carrying the Xperia XZ3, but it’s refreshing to see just a little bit of bloatware.

One app that is frustratingly pre-installed is Facebook, but we also have Google News, Netflix, and Sony’s suite of apps. If any of these don’t really tickle your fancy and you want to get rid of them, the process is simple.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Apps & notifications
  3. Select See all ** apps

From there, you can see all the apps that are currently installed on your Xperia XZ3. In order to disable or delete the apps you don’t want, you can follow these steps:

  1. Scroll and find the app you want to remove or disable
  2. Tap the application
  3. Select Uninstall/Disable

We do want to note that if you are disabling one of Sony’s own applications, you may run into issues. This is primarily for apps like Movie Creator or 3D Creator, but many of the pre-installed apps can be uninstalled.

Don’t forget to accessorize

What’s the point of getting a new phone if you don’t get some accessories to go with them? Here are a few of the best accessories to consider for your new Xperia XZ3.


Wireless Chargers


Portable Chargers

Sony Dynamic Vibration

For some reason, Sony opted to only stick a single speaker in the Xperia XZ3. You may think that this is not a great move, but the speaker sounds surprisingly good.

Sony also packed a new feature called “Dynamic Vibration”, which aims to improve media playback. The way that this works is that your device will actually vibrate, hoping to create a more immersive experience.

In order to enable Dynamic Vibration, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down and select Sound
  3. Locate and toggle Dynamic Vibration

Sony does state that this functionality will not work with every application that plays media. However, for the ones that it does, the included vibration is pretty nifty, especially if you want to pump up the bass a bit.

Customize Sony Edge Touch features

There are only so many features you can add to the hardware side of a device. That means that OEM’s are turning to the software more and more to bring new functionality and make life a bit easier for users.

The Xperia XZ3 is no different, as Sony has included its Edge Touch features. This brings up an array of suggested applications based on your usage, along with a few key toggles.

In order to activate this, you’ll want to tap on the frame of your device twice. Then, the menu will appear, offering some of your most used applications. For example, my list includes the Camera, ESPN Fantasy, Hangouts, and others. As for the toggles, we have Wi-Fi, DND, One-handed mode, and others.

There are sensors built into the frame of the device, which will activate Side Sense when you’re ready. In the Settings panel for this feature, there are a slew of different options:

  • Side Sense Menu
  • Sensor sensitivity
  • Sensor enabled on
  • Navigate back
  • Apps with Side sense enabled

At first glance, this may seem like a bit of a gimmick, but it has come in handy a few times. But be prepared for some accidental activations from time-to-time.

What is 3D creator?

We told you that Sony was trying to include a bunch of new software to enhance your experience. Another one of these features is the 3D Creator.

This application allows you to scan various objects in 3D, while offering 5 different modes:

  • Selfie Scan
  • Face Scan
  • Head Scan
  • Food Scan
  • Freeform Scan

Before you can even get started, you are forced to calibrate the applications. This makes it possible for more accurate scannings without having to jump through hoops.

After you have finished, you can begin scanning whichever subject or object you want. You will want to follow the instructions on the screen to make the scanning become reality.

Ambient Display

One way that phone manufacturers are trying to combat battery usage is with the help of an Ambient Display feature. The reason this is helpful is that you can just glance at your screen when locked, and see what’s going on. Doing this, eliminates the need to turn the display on and off for no reason.

Sony has included its own version of Ambient Display with the Xperia XZ3. This is not as robust as the option provided by Google, but is still rather useful in its own way.

Without customizing any features, you are provided with a clock, the battery remaining, and any notifications that arrive. These notifications are displayed with a simple icon, but then can be expanded if you want to see what’s goign on.

In order to adjust the Ambent Display settings, here are the steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down and select Lock Screen & Security
  3. Tap Lock Screen Preferences
  4. Select Ambient Display

This will provide you with all of the different settings you need to make Ambient Display yours.

Super Slow Motion

It was interesting to see the Xperia XZ3 launched with just a single camera, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome features. Just as was the case with the XZ2, the XZ3 is capable of shooting in Super Slow Motion.

When recording, you can shoot super slow motion video at 960fps in Full HD. Sony states that this is done by letting you “capture the action 32 times slower than in a regular movie”.

If you want to jump in on this fun, here’s how to activate Super Slow Motion:

  1. Open the Camera app
  2. Swipe to access video recording
  3. Tap the Super Slow Motion clip button
  4. Tap Record
  5. Tap the Super Slow Motion button again to record a 0.18-second clip

After you record the slow motion video, the button will be disabled for 2 seconds. This is to allow the camera to properly store the data for later consumption.


As we stated before, this is not the “definitive” list of tips and tricks for the Xperia XZ3. However, these are some of our favorites, and we hope that you learned more about your new device.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Let us know some of your favorite tips and tricks for the Xperia XZ3!


Google Pixel USB-C earbuds review

One of the first things we noticed upon opening up our Pixel 3 XL was the inclusion of the Pixel USB-C earbuds. Odd, right? There was no mention of them in the phone announcement and they weren’t brought up in any of the press chatter immediately following the introduction.

Priced $30 separately, they’re white, simple, and somewhat basic — perhaps a smidge uninspired. They plug into the USB Type C port, naturally, and give Pixel 3 owners a little something for music, podcasts, and audiobooks.

We get why a lot of companies prefer to use the USB C port instead of the 3.5mm jack. We don’t really like it, but we get it. But, we really don’t appreciate being directed to go with wireless headphones or use a dongle attachment. To that end, we’re glad to see Google including some earphones.

Dig around the house or office and we bet you can find a pair or two of cheap headphones that you’ve used over and over. Whether for your phone, game controllers, or something else, your trusty, generic headphone are there for you and always pull through.

Chances are good that you don’t have the same thing in USB C. There are not a lot of options out there that that provide the same experience cheaply. Google’s new USB-C earbuds bridge that gap.


Save for the “G” logos, there’s nothing overtly Google about these earphones. If you’ve ever looked at Amazon Basics for cables or accessories, you know that the products work as required but they eschew fancy features or design elements. That’s what we have here.

These are comfortable to wear, offer a simple design, and work with an increasing number of devices. The best part? They’re affordably priced.

The exterior of the buds have a flat matte finish while the inner part is glossy. The tandem call to mind how Google treats the back of the Pixel phones.

Halfway down the cord you locate the controller. At a glance you only see one button but when you press or squeeze it you feel the tactile feedback. And, if you look closely, you can make out the microphone.

Similar to the Pixel Buds, the Pixel USB-C earbuds employ a looped cable to help ensure they fit in your ear. Think of earhooks that you can attach to your earbuds for running or more active lifestyles. It’s a design choice that we figured we’d see make its way to other OEMs but for now it’s definitely “Google”.

Out of the box we found them to fit nice and secure. Should you need to make an adjustment you may struggle a little bit; they’re a little slippery and require some effort to push into place.


For $30 we really like what we get here. It’s a price point we can work with and thus far the quality is commensurate, if not better.

Audio is even, smooth, and doesn’t have any distortion, even at higher levels. Spoken word from audiobooks and podcasts come across nicely with a crisp but warm sound.

You won’t get any anything piercing or chest thumping, but that’s partially due to them being earbuds and not over the ear headphones. Along those lines, we detected a bit of outside sound bleeding into the audio.This largely depended on the environment and the level of music.

If you’re listening to a couple of people chit chat over an NPR podcast, you might hear the sound of traffic outside of a coffee shop. But, punchier music or something that’s a little more “exciting” drowns out the world well enough to satisfy us.

Google Assistant

For many, the signature reason to purchase a set of Pixel Buds is the ability to translate language on the fly. But, at $160 that doesn’t come cheap. No more, though, as the $30 Pixel USB-C earbuds offer the same functionality.

If you’ve ever used it, there’s something really cool about the experience. It’s almost like being a member of the United Nations and having a translator in your ear. We’re really excited to see that these earphones are included in the box.

With that in mind, there will surely be other models to offer that same feature down the road. Google has promised that the tech is coming so we don’t know what price range we’ll have to work with. We suspect, though, that these will be somewhere in the middle or lower end.

We tested the Pixel USB-C earbuds with a variety of phones and found they worked as expected. The same goes for plugging into Chromebooks, too. Despite being the same port for charging or data transfer there’s no setup or or configuration.


If you’re at all in the market for a pair of USB Type-C headphones or earphones, these ought to be at the top of your list. The cost is right in line with the features and functions, plus the Google Assistant smarts add something you, for the most part, can’t get elsewhere.

We’re glad to see these were included in the box with the Pixel 3XL and hope they stick around for successors. There’s nothing we’d want to see evolved at this point as they’re a no-frills pair to get by. Anything more and we don’t think Google would throw them in.

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