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Here are the handsets with the best smartphone speakers

By John Callaham

smartphone speakers

Smartphones have evolved considerably in recent times in terms of processing power and even build materials, but one area that arguably hasn’t advanced nearly as fast is onboard speaker quality. While there are some handsets that pay more attention to audio, there are still plenty out there that have nothing more than a small slit at the bottom of the phone that produces very little audio prowess.

To be fair, there’s really only so much audio performance that you can pack into a small handset. That’s part of the reason why Bluetooth wireless speakers have become so popular for owners who want to play their song list on their phone, but also want to hear it at a higher and better sound fidelity. But what if you don’t want to always have to bring a stand alone speaker to play your tunes or podcasts on your smartphone? The good news is there are a few handsets out there that actually offer pretty solid audio performance for those times when you want to leave your headphones or blue speakers at home.

So what are the handsets with the best smartphone speakers? Let’s jump right in and find out!

Editor’s note: We looked into out own reviews of the most recent smartphones to help create this list, along with some additional research and team collaboration. Also keep in mind the phones are not placed in any particular order in this list.


Google Pixel XL

smartphone speakers

In our look at the best audio in Android smartphones for 2016, the Google Pixel XL came out on top as the phone that had the loudest speakers, with a decibel reading of 77.8dB. That’s actually pretty impressive considering that the phone only has a single speaker on the bottom of its case, along with an adaptive audio amplifier. Of course being loud isn’t the same thing as being one of the best smartphone speakers. Thankfully, the Pixel’s sound quality is also pretty decent though it certainly won’t come anywhere close to competing with most Bluetooth speakers.

While we would have preferred that Google put in front-firing speakers, like the company did on the older Nexus 6P, it’s clear that it wants owners to have a good audio experience out of the box without the need to use external speakers or headphones. It’s worth noting that there were some reported problems with the audio on the Pixel XL when it was first released in the fall of 2016, specifically with static distortion when the volume went up to its three highest levels. However, Google released a software update that fixed those issues in February.

It’s not just great smartphone speakers here, you’ll also find high-end specs including a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, and one of the best camera setups on the market.

Specs

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

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ZTE Axon 7

smartphone speakers
The ZTE Axon 7 may be a mid-range phone that was first released in 2015, but the company decided to pack in some serious speakers inside its body.
The Axon 7 has dual front-facing speakers that support the Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. In our review of the phone, we stated that the Axon 7 offered an “extraordinary” listening experience, with clear and loud sound coming from its two speakers. Indeed, in our 2016 picks for best audio in Android, the Axon 7 was the second loudest phone, just behind the Pixel XL. It’s more than just being loud though, what makes the Axon 7’s smartphone speakers shine is that the dual configuration which simply produces a richer, higher-caliber sound than you get with a single bottom-facing smartphone speaker.
Moving past the smartphone speakers, the Axon 7 is still an excellent phone with solid specs at a reasonable price for an unlocked device, and it recently received its update to Android 7.1 Nougat.. If you are looking for a handset that offers an excellent audio experience from its speakers, and are not looking to spend a ton of money, the ZTE Axon 7 is definitely something to check out.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6 GB of RAM
  • 64/128 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 20 MP front camera, 8 MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3,250 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9 mm, 175 g

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smartphone speakers
While the LG G6 may not have been a huge sales hit, it is still an excellent smartphone. In addition to all of its other impressive hardware features, it had some solid audio options. While the single speaker on the phone may not be extremely loud (our own testing recorded a level of 63.2dB), it still offers clear audio clarity. We’d say that the clarity is actually a tad above that of the Pixel, even if it isn’t as loud. It also goes to show that judging a phone just with cold tech numbers doesn’t always tell …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Here is how to become a MIUI 9 beta tester

By Brian Reigh

With MIUI 9 set to be unveiled later this month, Xiaomi is looking for beta testers. You can apply through the MIUI Forum app and test your luck!

See also:
Update: Leaked Xiaomi Mi 5X images leave little to the imagination

related image

Update: Leaked Xiaomi Mi 5X images leave little to the imagination

7 hours ago

Xiaomi is expected to launch the highly-anticipated Mi 5X as well as the latest version of its Android skin, dubbed MIUI 9, on July 26. Xiaomi’s custom UI is arguably one of the most controversial ones out there precisely due to the fact that it feels nothing like Android. Some users love its simplicity and resemblance to iOS – especially those in China – and some hate it for those reasons. If you are a fan, however, you might get a chance to try out MIUI 9 before everyone else.

Xiaomi is looking for people who are willing to test out MIUI 9 China ROM; the official MIUI blogpost explains that information regarding Global ROM will be available in the near future. Now, if you are a moderator of any sort or if you are a resource, app review, device, news, porting, fan site, designer, or photography team member, you will automatically get a chance to be a beta tester without having to complete additional applications.

You will have to submit an application through the MIUI Global Forum app before August 1 (Beijing Standard Time).

If not, you will have to submit an application through the MIUI Global Forum app, which is linked below, before August 1 (Beijing Standard Time). There are some terms and conditions though. First of all, the website specifies that all communication will be done via QQ messenger in English. You must be proficient in MIUI and ROMs and have any of the following devices from Xiaomi: Mi 6, Mi 5s Plus, Mi 5s, Mi 5c, Mi 5, Mi 4S, Mi 4c, Mi 4, Mi 3, Mi 2/2S, Mi MIX, Mi Max 2, Mi Max, Mi Note 2, Mi Note/Pro, Mi Pad 2, Mi Pad 1, Redmi Note 4X (MTK), Redmi Note 4X (SD), Redmi Note 4, Redmi Note 3 (MTK), Redmi Note 3 (SD), Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note, Redmi Pro, Redmi 4X, Redmi 4A, Redmi 4, Redmi 4 Prime, Redmi 3S/Prime, Redmi 3, Redmi 2A, Redmi 2/Prime, Redmi 1S, Redmi 1.

On the homepage of the app, select Recruitment and fill out the three boxes, and you’re done! The first wave of selected beta testers will be notified on July 25, and the rest will follow soon after.

Are you applying to be a beta tester for MIUI 9? What kind of changes would you like to see in Xiaomi’s latest Android skin? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google Play’s editorial pages put a human touch on finding high-quality apps

By Williams Pelegrin

The App Store and Google Play have led the way for folks to install applications on their mobile devices, but both have had their issues with organization and app discovery. Google hopes to minimize some of those headaches with an updated Editors’ Choice section that now features curated app lists.

See also:
Google Play Movies & TV now supports HDR playback

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Google Play Movies & TV now supports HDR playback

1 week ago

These app lists are organized by category, so you will find hand-picked lists for fitness apps and puzzle games, along with many others. When you dive into a list, each app is accompanied by a short write-up and reasons why the editors liked it. As typical with other curated lists, Google Play’s will be refreshed from time to time, so do not expect the same assortment of racing games in a few months from now.

The curated app lists will not eliminate the problem of app discovery, but it should help those on the hunt for high-quality apps and want some guidance as to how to cut through the garbage. Partly due to the sheer number of apps found on Google Play, it feels as if it is more difficult to find great apps when the majority of them are relatively low-quality.

By comparison, the App Store features very similar problems, with Apple planning to minimize those issues with its App Store redesign for the upcoming iOS 11 release. The redesign will feature curated and personalized app lists and blog posts, though the redesign will not arrive until iOS 11 also arrives this fall.

Meanwhile, Google Play’s curated app lists are now available for mobile and desktop in the US, as well as Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, and South Korea. The editorial pages will expand to other countries “soon.”

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

By Steve Raycraft

GoToAssist Seeit

New apps need lovin’ too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We’ve shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.

GoToAssist Seeit

Description: GoToAssist Seeit lets you share what you see on your camera with a GoToAssist Seeit agent. A Seeit agent starts a web-based session at https://seeit.gotoassist.com/ and then invites you to join. Join the agent’s session (Wi-Fi recommended), and then share your camera and microphone to resolve your issue.

ArtCanvas : draw & paint

Description: Main Feature – Multilayer , Palette (Color Mixer), Share & Export, Realistic Oil and Water Brush effects

4vid

4vid

Description: With 4vid you can download any video on several platforms with no limits. You don’t need to sign up nor subscribe to any service to download the video you want. Just paste the video url and you’re done.

CommBank Simplify Controls

CommBank Simplify Controls

Description: The CommBank Simplify Controls app gives you access to fraud management tools anytime and anywhere. Manage fraud rules, view processed and pending transactions and their fraud score.

CommBank Simplify Payments

CommBank Simplify Payments

Description: The CommBank Simplify Payments app makes it easy to accept payments from any major card brand. Stay on top of your business by viewing up-to-date transaction details, sending e-invoices and managing your account on-the-go.

Loopsie

Loopsie

Description: LOOPSIE IS THE FIRST FREE APP THAT LETS YOU CREATE STUNNING CINEMAGRAPHS (*) ON THE GO. No tripod or professional tools needed. Just a bit of creativity and your photos will come to life! Cinemagraphs are a mix between a picture and a video. They look like magic photos. (And with Loopsie, you are the wizard!)

CommBank Simplify Stores

CommBank Simplify Stores

Description: The CommBank Simplify Stores app allows you to quickly and easily manage your store on the go. With a quick snap from your camera, you can simply add new products or update existing ones in seconds. <span data-sheets-value="{"1":2,"2":"Using state of the art machine learning, Peek Launcher suggests the apps …read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Business level security for your smart home

By AA Picks

Smart homes are cool. We might not have rocket boots yet, but in terms of the future we imagined as kids the smart home is the next best thing.

The problem is that the more smart devices you have, the more attack routes there are for malware and hackers. Many of your devices won’t be protected by anti-virus software. A CUJO Smart Internet Security Firewall is the ideal guardian for your hi-tech pad.

Experience the innovation that the experts are talking about.

Just connect this digital centurion to your home network and it starts protecting against intruders. It uses machine-learning protocols to understand how you use every device on your system, and then protects against everything else. It’s business-level security against malicious sites, viruses, & hacks. You control it via a mobile-app and it won’t slow your network down.

CUJO is fresh off the market and was demoed at the 2017 CES Consumer Electronics show. Here’s what some of the critics had to say:

“9.6/10” – Digital Reviews

“CUJO goes beyond traditional security by using a multi-layer approach that combines firewall, antivirus, and malware typically found in separate devices” – Yahoo Finance

“CUJO provides the sophistication of its corporate counterpart, with the elegance and ease-of-use of a home appliance” – The Huffington Post

The retail price of CUJO is $249, but it’s currently on promotion to get the word out there. You can be an early adopter for just $224.99. Pretty affordable for peace of mind.

Experience the innovation that the experts are talking about. Check out this offer by clicking the button below.

Is this deal not quite right for you? Head over to the AAPICKS HUB for more savings you’re going to love! For notifications of offers and price drops, sign up for our Deal Alerts newsletter.
We may get a small percent from purchases made through our posts. However, the AA Picks team only showcases verified, legitimate deals. It’s a nice way to help keep the lights on around here, and it decreases our reliance on pesky ads. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out at aapicks@androidauthority.com.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

HMD Global, the company behind new Nokia phones, loses its CEO

By Brian Reigh

Arto Nummela, now former CEO of HMD Global, has left the company due to personal reasons just over a year after HMD acquired rights to use the Nokia brand.

See also:
HMD Global confirms Android O for Nokia 3, 5 and 6

related image

HMD Global confirms Android O for Nokia 3, 5 and 6

June 2, 2017

The return of the Nokia brand has been one of the most exciting news in the tech world, but if you’ve been following the story, you probably know that while the newly launched devices use the Nokia name, they are in fact manufactured and marketed by a Finnish startup called HMD Global. HMD Global licensed the beloved mobile phone brand more than a year ago and has seen a huge success with devices like the Nokia 3310 and Nokia 6 so far.

It’s too early to tell whether this sudden departure will have any impact on HMD’s strategy, portfolio, and relationship with Nokia.

This is largely thanks to its CEO Arto Nummela, who joined the company last year after having worked at Nokia for a decade as well as Microsoft, HTC, and Orange. Well, HMD Global announced today that Arto Nummela would no longer serve as the company CEO with immediate effect. In a prepared statement to the press, the company explains that Nummela has left the company due to personal reasons and that it was a mutual decision:

Through mutual agreement between Chief Executive Officer Arto Nummela and the HMD Global Board of Directors, Arto Nummela will leave HMD with immediate effect… Arto Nummela has played a key role in the creation of the HMD Global operation, building the team and launching our first products. On behalf of the whole Board, I thank Arto for his contribution and wish him well in his future endeavors. In addition to his current role as President, Florian Seiche has been appointed to the role of acting CEO, starting immediately.

The exact reason behind Nummela and the company Board’s decision remains unclear, and it’s too early to tell whether this sudden departure will have any impact on HMD’s strategy, portfolio, and relationship with Nokia. While the Nokia 6 has been doing well around the world, for a company to lose a senior executive right before the alleged launch of its first-ever flagship device can’t be a good thing.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Samsung may not be creating a Bixby speaker after all

By Evan Selleck

Earlier this month, a report surfaced that said Samsung was going to launch its own smart speaker that would run the Bixby digital personal assistant. The reason behind this device’s creation is that companies like Amazon and Google already had their smart speakers out in the market, each of which has their own digital personal assistant on board, and that Apple just announced the HomePod smart speaker with Siri.

However, that same market may be the reason Samsung isn’t going to launch a smart speaker after all. A report from The Investor says that the smart speaker, codenamed Vega, may not be going into development because the smart speaker market in South Korea is not big enough just yet and that Amazon is dominating the market in the United States.

What’s more, the report states that the engineers working on Bixby and Samsung’s overall artificial intelligence efforts are in much smaller numbers than what other companies have, so branching out into a new product isn’t feasible at this time.

This seems like a situation where it’s just a matter of time. The smart speaker market is only going to get more crowded, yes, but as Bixby gets better, a smart speaker feels inevitable. The report does say that Bixby will still be making its way to Samsung’s refrigerators, so there’s that.

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Google Play Store launches editorial pages for new curated content

By Evan Selleck

Content curation is a major focus for a lot of companies these days, usually as a means to help customers find music, games, or other content.

Google is no stranger to having people curate content for its digital storefronts, but it is getting even more curated content beginning today, thanks to “editorial pages” inside the Editors’ Choice section. Google says these new pages will include “hand-selected” apps and games from the Google Play editors. The goal is to not only highlight the best possible experiences on Android, but also make the content easy to find through specific themes like fitness, RPGs, puzzles, and more.

On top of that, the editors will be working to add context as to why they chose the apps that they did. One such category is “Puzzle Games to Test Your Logic,” which is compiled of a variety of puzzle games like Sally’s Law, After the End: Forsaken Destiny, and others. Each game has bullet points explaining why the editors chose a particular app.

At the time of publication, the Google Play Store has 14 editorial pages up, seven for apps and seven for games:

Apps

Games

Google will be expanding these editorial pages in the future. The new curation pages will be present in the United States, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, and South Korea to start. Google says it will be expanding to other countries “soon.”

How are you liking all this curated content? Are you finding new stuff you love more often?

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Google’s new security features will protect you from unverified apps

By Mitja Rutnik

Over the course of the last few months, Google has introduced quite a few safety measures including anti-phishing tools, among others, and revealed plans for improved security in Android O. Now, the company is taking things a step further with additional security features that block unverified apps and App Scripts.

Starting today, you’ll see a new “unverified app” screen when trying to access newly created web apps and Apps Scripts that haven’t gone through Google’s app verification system yet. When this happens, you have the option of proceeding at your own risk by typing “continue” in the text box that pops up, a process that should mitigate the blind clicking of ‘OK’ on any popup. You can see what this looks like in action below.

See also:
Apparently Google Glass isn’t dead, because a new version has just been revealed

related image

Apparently Google Glass isn’t dead, because a new version has just been revealed

23 hours ago

The new screen replaces the current “error” page that developers and users of unverified web apps receive today. For now, it will only pop up for new apps, but Google did say that it plans on expanding it to existing apps in the coming months as well.

Google notes that the new safety features are a good thing for both users and developers. The company claims that they will automatically inform users when they may be at risk, while at the same time making it easier for developers to test their apps, as they don’t have to go through the verification process first.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Samsung Galaxy S8 in Coral Blue arriving in the U.S. on July 21

By Evan Selleck

When Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ in the United States, it was available in Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, and Midnight Black. Now there’s a fourth color to choose from.

Samsung has announced that the Coral Blue Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will become available in the United States starting July 21. Both handsets will be available from Best Buy and Samsung’s online store, so unfortunately they won’t be available in any carrier retail shops.

The new Coral Blue Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be offered in Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint carrier-specific models at Best Buy. There will also be an unlocked option available from Best Buy and Samsung.com.

At Best Buy, if a customer buys the new Coral Blue option between July 21 and July 29, they can get up to $400 off the full retail price of the handset with a qualified purchase or activation.

We’re a few months out from the Galaxy S8′s launch, but finally getting the Coral Blue Galaxy S8 here in the States is a welcomed surprise. Did you already pick up a Galaxy S8 in one of the other colors, but would have preferred this blue option instead?

…read more

Source:: androidandme