Google just told us how to fix the worst thing about Androids and iPhones

No matter how strong your allegiance to Android or iPhone is, you’ll probably agree that the worst thing about Android phones and iPhones is battery life. Yes, most of the new phones will get you through the day, and the advantage is clearly on Android, as some vendors have equipped their devices with massive battery packs. But battery life is never enough, especially as the battery degrades over time. Thankfully, Google just told us how to improve battery life on certain Android and most of the new iPhones, admitting a mistake in Android design in the process.

It turns out it’s something as easy as switching to dark mode whenever possible. That’s something smartphone-savvy users have long suspected, that dark mode will help conserve battery life. There is a caveat, however. The screen has to be an OLED one. But that’s absolutely not a problem these days, as most of the flagship devices out there pack OLED screens, premium iPhone X versions included.

Image Source: Google via SlashGear

Google shared data about energy consumption on phones at this week’s Android Dev Summit, SlashGear reports.

The company studied energy consumptions on phones with white and dark themes and concluded that at max brightness, the dark mode on OLED always wins. With OLED screens, each pixel lights up independently, which is why dark mode helps preserve battery life.

Image Source: Google via SlashGear

Google also showed a comparison between the original Pixel and the iPhone 7 which is self-explanatory, as long as you’re aware of the screen differences between the two devices. OLED, on the original Pixel, does consume less power on dark mode compared to the iPhone 7, which has an LCD.

All Pixels since the Pixel 3 come with OLED screens, as do Samsung flagship devices like the Galaxy S or Note, and Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. But you won’t really find true dark modes for any of them.

Image Source: Google via SlashGear

Even Google admitted that it was wrong to impose white as the predominant color for Material Design apps. Apple’s iPhone UI, meanwhile, is also heavy on white, and there’s no dedicated dark mode on iPhone either. Interestingly, Apple launched a dark mode for Mac, although all Macs have LCD screens, which means it won’t help with battery life. Samsung phones, meanwhile, will get a dark mode via the One UI update, but not all its phones are eligible for it.

Image Source: Google via SlashGear

Just because Google told us how easy it is to “fix” battery life on OLED smartphones, doesn’t mean we’re getting dark modes from either Google or Apple anytime soon. But there may be independent apps that may offer users dark modes, with YouTube being one such example.

Samsung is working on a phone design that would finally be more exciting than any iPhone

5 Reasons To Buy Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Over The Apple iPhone X

Galaxy-s9-and-galaxy-s9+

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. Photo credit: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

The launch of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S9 means it’s time to ask the only question that matters – is it worth your money?

Or, more specifically, is it worth your money instead of the iPhone X? Don’t forget to check out my breakdowns and comparisons for most recent flagship smartphones.

It’s jacked

Who knew something as simple as the headphone jack would become such a contentious battleground for smartphone makers? With the other major Android phone – Google’s Pixel 2 – following Apple’s lead by removing the headphone jack, Samsung has smartly kept the 3.5mm connection.

Of the three big smartphone makers – Apple, Google and Samsung, only the latter has kept this technology, which is good marketing for the Korean company. Also, as someone who has tested various devices and lived with no headphone jack for the last year – this is a good consumer move.

Forget arguments about audio quality and design principles, having the headphone jack is better than not having it in purely practical terms – especially if you don’t want to venture into the murky world of wireless headphones yet.

Fingerprint scanner

Another feature that has disappeared – or is at least disappearing – from the Apple line of smartphones. Whilst Apple paves a new biometric path, Samsung revisits familiar ground by keeping its fingerprint scanner with a small location improvement.

Perhaps “location improvement” is a bit unfair, the much-maligned slightly-off-center reader was always an odd choice. It almost perfectly reflected the Galaxy’s image as a left-of-center choice of smartphone against the ever-popular iPhone.

But with a lower, central position, it’s easier to reach for small hands, more intuitive and gives users a familiar option to log-in to their device or authorize mobile payments. And, whilst Samsung is pushing its own biometric security tech “Intelligent Scan”, the Galaxy maker is smart enough not to force it upon its users as the only unlocking option….yet.

Super, super slow motion

Samsung’s new snapper has some impressive specs and features, more on that below – but one feature that stands out is the 960 fps slow motion. Check out my colleague Ian Morris’ hands-on below to see how good it is in action.

This isn’t exactly breaking new ground, Sony had similar slow-motion tech at a higher resolution (1080p) in the XZ Premium, but it’s still excellent on the S9 and obviously, it’s better than the iPhone X’s 240fps slow motion.

Always listening, desperate to be liked

This is less of a phone specific reason and more of a reason to buy Samsung devices over Apple devices in general. Simply, Samsung listens. Let’s take the S9 for example, Samsung took the criticism of the fingerprint sensor and moved it, it also kept the headphone jack – which is a debate that’s yet to be settled.

Samsung has form here, too. It kept the removable battery in the Galaxy S5 when others were heading over to a locked design, it also brought back expandable storage after removing it in the Galaxy S6. Where Apple forges ahead with new concepts – that may or may not work – and forces it upon iPhone fans, Samsung is so eager to please its entire strategy and roadmap is completely malleable. For consumers, that’s a good trait.

Price

Both the S9 and S9+ are cheaper than the cheapest iPhone X ($719 and $839 Vs. $999). That’s a big saving for an arguably on-par device.

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Jay McGregor is the editor-in-chief of a new documentary publication called Point. He also reports for The Guardian, TechRadar, BBC Radio and others. Follow on YouTube: youtube.com/pointreport

The best thing about Samsung’s new Galaxy S8, aside from the design

Galaxy S8 Review
April 19th, 2017 at 11:15 AM

With just two days to go until the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are released, the verdict is in: Samsung’s new flagship smartphones are fantastic. I published my full in-depth Galaxy S8 review on Tuesday morning, and my feelings on the new flagship were quite clear. Samsung has actually managed to out-design Apple with new smartphones that not only look better than the iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus, they feel better as well thanks to Samsung’s smart curved design, which helps the phones sit more comfortably in the hand.

Of course, the new Galaxy S8 is much more than just a pretty face. It also offers a new 10nm processor and software optimizations that come closer than ever before to matching the iPhone’s performance (closer, yes, but the gap is still quite wide), as well as a ton of nifty features users will appreciate.

While the design is clearly the best thing about Samsung’s new phones, there’s plenty more to look forward to — and the best thing about the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ aside from the design is actually something people were complaining about ahead of the phones’ unveiling.

If you haven’t already read our full Galaxy S8 review, you should definitely check it out ahead of this Friday’s launch. We also followed up the review with two supplemental posts that pitted the Galaxy S8 and S8+ against their top rivals, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In those posts, we covered 5 ways the Galaxy S8 is better than the iPhone 7 and 5 ways the iPhone 7 is better than the Galaxy S8.

There’s one terrific Galaxy S8 feature that wasn’t covered in either of those two supplemental posts, though, and it might come as a surprise to some smartphones fans.

Ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 announcement last month, all of the phones specs leaked before being confirmed by Samsung. We learned that Samsung’s new flagships would be powered by next-generation 10nm processors, we learned they would have huge new Super AMOLED displays with QHD+ resolution, and we learned about everything else Samsung had in store for the new phones. Among those details was the revelation that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ would feature the exact same 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera as the Galaxy Note 7 and the year-old Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. A number of Android fans were upset by the news.

When it comes to flagship smartphones, we’ve been trained to expect improvements each year in every key area. We want better displays, more powerful processors, bigger batteries, and of course better cameras. But in 2017, Samsung decided to use the exact same camera hardware that it has been using for the past year.

If Samsung’s flagship phones had a camera that was not on par with comparable smartphones from rival vendors, this would probably be a huge problem. But as anyone who has ever owned a Galaxy S7, S7 edge or Note 7 knows, that’s not the case at all.

Samsung’s Dual Pixel camera was one of the best in the world when it first appeared on the S7, and it’s still one of the best cameras in the world today. In fact, I would argue that its only real competition comes from the Google Pixel and the iPhone 7, both of which were release long after the Galaxy S7. Among these three phones, I think it’s impossible to name a clear winner. Also of note, Samsung says it has made several updates on the software side to help with things like low-light performance (which, by the way, was already quite impressive on the S7 and Note 7).

I’ve been carrying the Galaxy S8+ with me ever since I received my review unit last week, and I’ve been using it almost exclusively to take photos. I am thoroughly impressed. I’ve snapped all sorts of images, from outdoor shots in great lighting, to indoor close-ups, to portraits, and everything in between. Of course, I’ve also taken plenty of pictures of my dog.

Alongside battery life, the camera is obviously one of the most important features of a smartphone. Most people don’t even own a dedicated camera anymore because there’s really no reason to… especially if you have a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+. The Infinity Display design is definitely the best thing about Samsung’s new flagship smartphones, but the camera truly is a close second.

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