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 tougher Galaxy S8 Active is here with a bigger battery and a shatterproof display

Peace of mind and battery.

By   Staff Writer, PCWorld

 

If there’s one criticism of the Galaxy S8 (aside from the terrible placement of the fingerprint sensor), it’s that it’s a little too fragile. So if you’ve held off on buying because you’re afraid of breaking it, the Galaxy S8 Active is here to quell your fears.

The Galaxy S8 Active is essentially same phone as the Galaxy S8—5.8-inch Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 835 chip, and a 12MP camera—but it’s outfitted to withstand a beating. Unlike the regular S8’s all-glass body, the S8 Active is constructed using “military-grade materials” and housed in a metal frame with four bumpers built to protect against “shock, abrasion, tilting or twisting.” Additionally, the screen has a shatter-resistant layer and the back of the phone now has a “rugged, tough texture” to make it less prone to slips and falls.

All that durability adds a bit of bulk to the device, measuring 151.9×74.9×9.9 mm vs 148.9×68.1×8 mm for the plain S8. At 208 grams, the new phone is a bit heavier than the 155-gram S8 as well. But you’re also getting a far bigger battery. The Galaxy S8 has a 3,000mAh battery, but the S8 Active has a massive 4,000mAh one, which should allow it to last well into a second day. And you can still charge it wirelessly.

The Galaxy S8 Active ships with full Bixby support (including Bixby Voice, which was missing on the Galaxy S8 until recently), and adds a new shortcut menu to quickly access the stopwatch, barometer, compass, and flashlight.

Samsung is selling the 64GB Galaxy S8 Active for $850 ($100 more than the Galaxy S8) in two colors, gray and gold. It is available for preorder at AT&Tfor shipment on Aug. 11. Samsung says the device will be exclusive to the carrier for a limited time.

Why this matters: Samsung has been making “active” variants of its Galaxy flagship phones ever since the S4, and they definitely live up to their name. They’re perfect for people who want a premium smartphone experience without babying their phone (or shoving it into a giant case. But like the other Galaxy S Active phones, we’re most interested in that battery. We’ll gladly sacrifice a millimeter of thickness of it means getting such a massive battery in the S9, but we’re not holding our breath, especially since the S7 Active had a 4,000mAh battery too.

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