Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE Review: A Worthy Successor to the Original (Video)
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Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE Review: A Worthy Successor to the Original (Video)

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When Sprint had debuted the original WiMax-capable HTC EVO 4G nearly two years ago, it was an instant hit on the Now network. Not only was the HTC EVO 4G the first 4G smartphone in the world taking advantage of Sprint’s then speedy WiMax network, but it brought some new features and pizzazz to the iPhone-less carrier. Along with quirky consumer-centric features, such as simultaneous voice and data capabilities, dual cameras to capture and share the moment, and a whimsical kickstand to replay and relive those memories and videos you’ve just captured, the biggest draw to the HTC EVO 4G at the time was its massive 4.3-inch display that quickly became Android’s anti-iPhone campaign.

Now, two years later, and though much appears to remain the same, a lot has also changed, including the fact that Sprint is now a carrier that supports Apple’s flagship iPhone smartphone. And despite now supporting the iPhone on its network at the same $200 base price that the EVO LTE is retailing for, join us as we review the EVO 4G LTE and find out why this is one of the best smartphones out there right now.

Video Review

Hardware

Design and Hardware. The HTC EVO 4G LTE improves a lot on the original with a larger, higher resolution, and brighter display. On the front of the phone, you’ll notice right away that the HTC EVO 4G LTE has a bright and massive 720p HD display that measures 4.7-inch from corner to corner on the super sharp Super LCD 2.0 display. And despite its larger size, thanks to the relatively thin bezel surrounding the screen, this phone is only slightly larger than the smaller 4.3-inch Motorola Droid RAZR and Droid RAZR Maxx on Verizon Wireless.

Despite growing in screen size, the HTC EVO 4G LTE manages to maintain a svelte footprint especially when compared with other 4.3-inch devices

The new screen technology makes the screen brighter and more comfortable to view over extended periods of time, like for e-book reading. The panel is bright enough to read even under direct sunlight.

In terms of resolution, the display is almost as good as Apple’s Retina Display on the iPhone. When viewing the New York Times to fit the screen on the HTC EVO 4G LTE’s browser, you can make out even the smallest of text. When viewing e-books through Google’s Play Books e-reader app (free on the app store), I noticed that there is less eye strain and fatigue and the screen is almost as comfortable as reading on e-ink. I am not sure if it’s the improved technology of the display, or the fact that Google has a greyscale background and black text that made e-reading more easy on the eyes, but the display is not to be dismissed on this device.

Beautiful, crisp 4.7-inch Super LCD 2.0 display with 720p HD resolution

A lot of the fun quirks that made the EVO franchise stand out is mostly gone now from the front of the device. From the front, you’d barely even know if it’s an EVO phone unless someone told you or you’re totally geeked out. By that, I mean the typical bubble motif that surrounds the standard Android navigation keys are gone, and HTC opted instead to go with cleaner Ice Cream Sandwich navigation keys. The trio of capacitive buttons sit just beneath the 4.7-inch display.

Top: HTC EVO 3D with bubble motif; bottom: cleaner HTC EVO 4G LTE button design

Up top, you have the mesh speaker grill and embedded within that is a blinking LED notification light on the right side of the speaker to give you visual notification of alerts without having to turn on the screen. To the right of that above the display is the front-facing camera.

The phone is held together by a brushed metal stainless steel band which surrounds the side of the phone. It’s an attractive feature that holds everything in place as well as gives the phone some added strength.

micro USB charge and sync port

The sides are relatively clean. On the left, you have a single port for the charge and sync micro USB port. Towards the top, you have the headphone jack, a noise cancellation microphone, and the power button. On the right hand side, you have the volume up and down rocker up top and towards the bottom there’s a dedicated dual-stage camera shutter button. And the bottom is clean save for a pinhole for the microphone.

 

Dual-stage hardware camera shutter button for photographers

The backside of the phone is intersting with the top third of the phone having a black piano glossy plastic finish while the bottom has a matte black metal finish. The two partitions are separated by a red band that divides matte from glossy.

That red band serves to house the kickstand, a popular feature and carryover from the original EVO 4G, but on this model, the kickstand is a bit harder to activate.

Kickstand in normal orientation

The kickstand is spring loaded so it will stay open even with the weight of the phone on it. The nice thing is that the kickstand can now be used in three different ways. You can use it the traditional way, upside down so that the charging port is exposed so you can watch a video and recharge at the same time. Or you can even use the kickstand in portrait orientation, though this is the least stable of the three methods to prop up your phone.

Phone propped up with kickstand in reverse position to expose micro USB charge and sync port

The glossy plastic piece can be removed to access the micro SDHC card slot. The phone comes with 16 GB of internal storage and users can add up to 32 GB additional storage through a memory card. The SIM/micro SIM card is non-user accessible and neither is the batter.

8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording and LED flash

Camera. On the rear side, you do have the same 8-megapixel camera resolution that’s found on the original HTC EVO 4G. The camera, along with the variable lighting LED flash, is housed in the center of the glossy piano black piece. On this year’s model, HTC included a dedicated image processor called HTC ImageSense to handle photos. Also, the lens has been retooled and redesigned to give users the best camera experience. The camera does have a wide angle frame of view, and can be activated either via software or with the shutter button. Of note, unlike with the Sony XPERIA S smartphone, the shutter button cannot activate the camera when the display is off or when the phone is locked; the hardware button can only activate the camera when the phone is on and unlocked.

Audio. Sounds came out loud and clear both for calls on the earpiece speaker as well as the loud speaker on the center bottom portion on the rear. The HTC EVO 4G LTE, like its cousin the HTC One X, is a Beats Audio enabled device though one that isn’t visually branded as such on the phone. However, the software audio profiles to enable Beats audio tuning is present.

Phone and Connectivity

4G LTE. The HTC EVO 4G LTE is a 4G LTE smartphone for Sprint, though one without a proper home right now. Early adopters of this device should know that they won’t be getting 4G LTE speeds at this time as Sprint has thus far not yet activated its 4G LTE network. Instead, users will be confined to 3G speeds right now as the EVO 4G LTE does not support 4G WiMax, unlike the original. When Sprint does finally activate 4G LTE in your area, you can expect to find faster mobile broadband network performance. Sprint’s rivals promise speeds up to ten times faster than 3G for LTE, so it will be interesting to see how the experience of LTE will shape up once the network is launched for Sprint.

And though 4G is not currently available right now, Sprint has tweaked its network to allow simultaneous voice and data over its 3G network. This means that you can still load webpages while in the middle of calls should you need to check information on the web while on the phone. In my experience, loading data and webpages while on a phone call was painfully slow and the feature worked some of the time, but not always.

HTC's contact app pulls in pictures, conversations, and galleries from social networks, emails, and SMS messages; also allows users to block certain callers.

HD Voice. Sprint also says that this phone will support HD voice capabilities for the carrier. This feature is not yet available and will come on at a later time. It should also be noted that HD voice will also require the other party to have an HD voice compatible phone for the feature to work. That said, calls sound good on both the earpiece speaker and the loud speaker without HD voice enabled at this time. Calls did sound a little hollow, but it’s no worse than any other phone.

HTC People App. HTC’s default contacts app called People gives users more control over how they integrate and manage their contacts. In addition to synchronizing with the pre-installed Facebook app and with HTC’s Twitter synchronization engine, users can pull in contact pictures, latest emails and SMS conversations with a contact, Facebook galleries, and also block callers as well through the app management.

Software

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The HTC EVO 4G LTE launches with Google’s most current Android 4.0 operating system. With Ice Cream Sandwich on board, you’ll get new features such as Android Beam and Face Unlock.

Also, rather than dismissing all your notifications, like on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, you can now dismiss individual notification from the Notifications Slider just by swiping each individual notification right or left. You can also tap on the Clear to clear all notifications. The Settings menu for the global device settings is also quickly accessible through the Notifications Slider, which is nice as the Android Menu capacitive touch button is no longer found on the device so rather than dig through the apps drawer, users can jump to their settings from inside the notifications tray.

Slide each notification to the left or right to dismiss them individually

For users upgrading from the original HTC EVO 4G, the most notable change is perhaps the user experience. Instead of four capacitive touch Android navigation keys on the front of the device (home, menu, back, and search), users now have three Android navigation keys for back, home, and multitasking. Gone are the menu and search keys–the former is now context-sensitive and placed within the app itself and the latter is just omitted in favor of on-screen search on the home screen or in the app itself. For an old-time Android user, I do miss having quick access to search key, especially for voice search.

HTC Sense User Interface. Like the original HTC EVO 4G, the new 4G LTE model comes with HTC’s proprietary skin on top of Android 4.0. The new version, dubbed Sense 4.0, adds a fresh look to Android and the skin does benefit in aesthetics thanks to the crisp 720p HD display of the device. The dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz as well as the 1 GB of RAM makes transitions and animations buttery smooth on the HTC EVO 4G LTE. I haven’t noticed any slow downs  while the phone is running in the time I’ve used the device so far. And unlike past EVO and HTC devices, I have not once gotten a pop up message stating that I was out of memory.

HTC Sense 4.0 is comfortably familiar for anyone who has used an Android HTC device in the past.

We’ve covered HTC Sense 4.0 previously in our review of the HTC One X–you can view that review if you need more information.

Memory Management. One complaint that has propped up is that HTC is using an over-aggressive background task management algorithm. Though this hasn’t really been much of a problem for me, power users will probably notice that sometimes background apps will close randomly to conserve memory.

Pre-Installed Apps. The good news for everyone is that while Sense maintains its attractive good looks and ease of use, HTC has managed to skim down on the bloatware and preloaded apps. On HTC’s side, custom social network apps, such as HTC FriendStream for Facebook and HTC Peeps for Twitter access has been removed in favor of native first-party apps–Facebook is preloaded and HTC only includes a small Twitter client to synchronize images with contact photos; users can download the official Twitter app or a third-party app through the Google Play Store.

On the carrier side, Sprint has shown much restraint in not pre-loading its suite of apps, which in the past include things such as Sprint Navigation for GPS, Sprint TV, Nascar, and others. Users can still get these apps through Google Play Store if they so choose, but this will create a cleaner device. Only Sprint Zone and a visual voicemail app comes on the device.

Also, the dearth of pre-loaded apps mean that a pre-installed Office app isn’t found on the EVO 4G LTE. Users can purchase or download one from Google Play Store if the need to be productive on the go. In the past, HTC had included Polaris Office on devices such as the EVO 3D and the EVO View 4G.

One of my favorite features on the old version of HTC Sense on the HTC EVO 3D is the quick access to starred, favorite, flagged, and unread emails through a carousel on the bottom of that display; HTC has instead opted to do away with this feature for a cleaner mail client on the HTC EVO 4G LTE

Email. HTC has also trimmed down its own email client. Gmail users can use the native Gmail client as well, but Exchange, IMAP, and POP email users can opt to get an Outlook-like experience through HTC’s email app. The cleaner interface really highlights the crisp 720p HD display as text and images do come through sharp and clear. The downside though is that you don’t have quick access to your starred (favorite) emails or your unread ones quickly, like you did with prior versions of HTC Sense, such as the one found on the HTC EVO 3D smartphone. The quick carousel strip on the bottom to give you easy access to unread, appointment requests, threaded view, starred, or all your emails is gone in favor of a simplified chronological list view of your messages that combines both read and unread mail messages in Sense 4.0 on the HTC EVO 4G LTE.

Productivity. It’s really a shame that HTC didn’t pre-bundle an application to open, edit, create, or view Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint files. Users instead will need to choose one from Google Play Store to install or purchase. On older HTC EVO devices, the company pre-bundled Polaris Office. It’s a small omission, but one that will surely be missed by enterprise customers. Fortunately, consumers who do not wish to shell out additional money for an Office client can instead opt to stick with Google Drive, a Google-based cloud offering that allows you to access your Google Docs on your device; that app is available free on the Google Play Store.

Multimedia and Camera

Digital Stills. The digital camera on the EVO 4G LTE may sound like it’s the same from the original EVO 4G, but it’s a world apart. The much improved camera definitely is a pleasure to use and the image quality shows too. For serious photographers who rely on their smartphones to capture photos, having a dedicated camera shutter button helps, and the EVO 4G LTE comes equipped with a dual-stage camera shutter button.

Menus and settings are easily accessible and nicely laid out on the camera's touchscreen UI

A minor quip about the shutter button is that you cannot quickly activate or call up the camera when the display is locked or off. This feature is present on the competing Sony XPERIA S, but on the EVO 4G LTE, your device has to be on and unlocked for it to work.

That aside, in bright and sunny outdoors lighting condition, the camera does remarkably well and automatically adjusts wherever you pan your camera. This is nice as it allows for absolutely painless and quick auto-focusing and the result is zero shutter lag. This means that you can capture burst modes for action or sports photography easily without having to wait for the camera to focus.

Effects similar to those found on popular camera app Instagram

There are also a number of filters a la Instagram, effects, and settings within the camera menus, which are easily accessible via the touchscreen. You can adjust ISO settings, white balance, and other features as well.

Panorama image capture and various scenes modes

 

Camera settings

The snappy performance of the camera is brought forth by HTC’s dedicated imaging chip called ImageSense on the phone. Additionally, HTC has utilized a wide angle lens so you can capture more of your scene in a single shot and the optics has been improved. Overall, it’s one of the best cameras available today on a consumer camera. HTC has done a lot right with this camera. Auto-exposure works much better than on prior HTC cameras. That means that if you tap to focus on a shot with high dynamic range, you can really highlight a darker area of your frame or a more bright area.

The variable lighting LED flash means that the flash adjusts its brightness output when you use it. This really helps in the dark so you don’t end up with a super bright and over-exposed photo. However, despite the flash being brighter and working fine, there is still considerable amount of noise when shooting photos in a dark environment and the LED flash doesn’t work quite as well as the Xenon flash that powers the Nokia N8 and the Nokia 808 PureView, for example. Most consumers, however, will just be happy to get better image results when they’re out with friends at a dimly lit restaurant, bar, or club, so for the purposes of most people, the camera flash works well and fine.

However, there are some minor quirks that hold the camera back a little. First, while touch to focus is still present–you’ll probably rarely need to use this as the continuous auto-focus will make this feature redundant most of the time, there is no confirmation really that the camera has locked focus or exposure for the capture. Sometimes, when shooting macro–or as HTC calls it Close Up mode–you’ll end up with blurry shots if you hold the camera too close to the subject, and the only way you’ll know this is by viewing the photo after you’ve snapped it.

Another quibble is that the auto white balance setting struggles sometimes in artificial light and has a hard time adjusting. That’s typical of most cameras and camera phones, and the HTC EVO 4G LTE is no exception.

Video Performance. Videos captured at both 720p and 1080p HD settings were smooth and clear. Audio was good as well. The nice thing about the video camera is that now you no longer have to choose between capturing a photo or a video for important moments. Now, you can record video and still press on the camera shutter button to capture photos simultaneously. Your photos, however, would be captured at a reduced resolution when compared to just taking photos solo.

Sharing

DLNA. Songs, videos, and photos on the device can be shared with other WiFi-connected devices through DLNA. HTC has an app on the EVO 4G LTE called Media Share that will facilitate this sharing.

Android Beam. As the device comes with Android 4.0, users can also share small bits of information quickly with other NFC-equipped devices through NFC.

Social Network. As with typical Android fashion, you can quickly share things quickly and easily to Facebook, Twitter, email, or SMS.

Google Wallet

The EVO 4G LTE comes equipped with an NFC radio inside. This allows the device to use the Google Wallet app as a form of payment at physical retail locations. Essentially, rather than paying for physical goods at a retail store by swiping your credit card, various retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, CVS, and McDonald’s have also installed the NFC RFID reader terminals. Here, all you need to do is power on your phone–the Google Wallet app doesn’t need to be running–and place it near the terminal. You can pay for goods this way and Google Wallet will handle the transaction with either a pre-paid Google Mastercard or a stored credit or gift card from select merchants.

Right now, with an NFC phone, if you sign up for Google Wallet, Google will give you a $10 credit on its pre-paid card.

NFC support isn’t ubiquitous yet, and it will take some time before this feature is more functional.

NFC can also be used to read tags and codes. Rather than using the camera to scan a barcode, venues may embed NFC chips to give patrons more information, discounts and promotions, or links.

NFC will also be used in locks as well. Rather than using a key to unlock your front door, you may buy an NFC lock in the future and use your phone to gain entry into your home.

Battery Life

Other reviewers have noted that with the LTE turned on, the EVO 4G LTE can manage about 10 hours of battery life. The thing to note with that estimate is that having the LTE radio on while there is no LTE network would consume battery quicker than if the phone has a lock on an LTE signal.

That said, when we disabled the 4G LTE radio under the settings and opted for a 3G-only connection–there is no LTE yet so it’s futile to have the radio on anyways–we managed to squeeze 20 hours of juice and that’s with the screen constantly on for over four hours trying to read an e-book. That’s double the battery life of what most reviewers are quoting right now.

The battery on the HTC EVO 4G LTE is non-removable, unlike on prior HTC and EVO smartphones. That means you cannot carry around a spare and swap a fresh battery in when you run out of juice. Fortunately, though, at least right now on 3G, it appears that battery life isn’t too much of a concern.

Compared to the Galaxy Nexus, which does have a removable battery, the HTC EVO 4G LTE has expandable memory. You’ll have to figure out which feature is more important to your mobile workflow.

Conclusion

The HTC EVO 4G LTE will retail for $200 on a two-year contract on Sprint. The device will contend at this time with the Smasung Galaxy Nexus on the high-end LTE market on Sprint’s lineup. At $200, it offers excellent value to those who are patient as LTE, the phone’s big feature, is still not yet quite readily available on the Now Network. Given Sprint’s claim to fame with unlimited data without throttling, power users who are willing to go through Sprint’s Network Vision expansion growing pains will be handsomely rewarded in the future with a device that’s fast, powerful, fun, and sleek all the while being able to consume, stream, and download as much as they want–and the EVO 4G LTE can handle it all.

There are some other minor cons that we’ve taken issue with in this detailed review, but nothing that would stop us from recommending the HTC EVO 4G LTE on Sprint’s network. A much refined design, improved camera performance, the promise of HD voice and LTE connectivity, a beautiful and vibrant display, and excellent battery life right now on 3G make this a standout offering.

After two years, the HTC EVO has undergone a lot of polished. Even advanced features such as simultaneous voice and data over 3G CDMA/EVDO are now possible on the EVO 4G LTE. Now, we’re just waiting for Sprint to polish off its own network and flip the LTE switch on.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. peterpressure

    05/23/2012 at 4:40 am

    Can it act as a usb host? Do usb sound devices like a DAC work?

    • Chuong Nguyen

      05/23/2012 at 11:42 am

      The device does not have USB host capabilities.

  2. twospirits

    05/23/2012 at 10:06 am

    Very good through review. I would love to see a side by side review with the Galaxy S3 (when it comes to Sprint in July) to compare the features.

  3. TLRLIVE

    05/24/2012 at 2:59 pm

    Chuong,
    You state in your review that Wimax is not supported, but Sprint reps are saying otherwise. I even called today because of this, and they are replacing my device.

    Can you tell me if you have anything in writing that states this?

    • Chuong Nguyen

      05/25/2012 at 11:04 am

      The only LTE device on Sprint that supports both Sprint 4G protocols LTE and WiMax is the hotspot modem right now. None of Sprint’s smartphones support both LTE and WiMax. Perhaps your Sprint reps are mistaking the HTC EVO 4G LTE for the HTC EVO 4G as the original EVO 4G does support WiMax.

  4. Ron

    05/26/2012 at 10:13 pm

    Any idea on what the battery size is? I read a few articles saying it has a 2000mah battery.

  5. Angel

    05/28/2012 at 11:29 am

    One of the better reviews I’ve read. Very thorough and in depth. You cleared up a few things I was a little confused about. This is being written from an EVO LTE and one of my biggest complaints has been the lack of confirmation for focus lock. For such an improved camera it seems like quite an oversite for users to have to actually take a photo and review to know if focus and range were correct.

  6. Burt Bochner

    05/28/2012 at 12:17 pm

    I pre-ordered my Sprint Evo 4G LTE, I have had it a couple days now and I am sad to say that the battery life is terrible. I have had the original Evo for the last two years and have been totally pleased with it but it’s time to upgrade and I did just that. the way I got around the poor battery life on the original was the fact that I carry around in my briefcase six fully charged batteries at all times. My phone before my original Evo was an iPhone, and one of the reasons I didn’t want to have the iPhone anymore was I was tired of looking for an outlet to plug in and charge. Getting back to the new Evo LTD, The screen on this thing is amazing the sound quality is superb.

    I am a sales engineer and use my phone for business quite a bit and I have a few apps that I use for quick dialing of my customers. I went to download some of them and find that they’re not on the App Store because they didn’t upgrade to 4.0. I have been on the Internet looking for replacement for these applications and haven’t been able to find anything else good as what I had. Talk about frustration. After waiting for this phone to be released from being quarantined until it was released the other day and then finding that the battery sucks and I can’t download apps that aren’t available. Other than that it’s a great phone, it’s definitely not as stable as the original Evo. I’m not sure whether it’s the operating system or the phone. knowing that I have gone two years waiting for 4G from Sprint I hope I don’t have to wait two years for LTE!BB cable guy

    • sdnative

      05/28/2012 at 6:52 pm

      Burt, can you be more specific as to the battery life you get? Let’s say you head out on a full charge at 6am. How many hours will the battery last with regular usage?

      I have to say if I had to carry around 6 batteries like you were doing on your previous phone, I’d think I was on a hiking expedition and would be having dreams about the Droid Razzz Maxx/Razr HD (if only they were available for use on other carriers).

  7. Ravi Rampaul

    06/04/2012 at 11:57 pm

    And that’s exactly why I own an HTC Evo 4G. Any chances of pitting it against the Samsung Galaxy S3? I know it’s going to come short, but I would like to know by how much.

  8. misterhock

    06/09/2012 at 8:58 pm

    1) on the Gmail app when trying to copy text you used to be able to just click on the highlighted text to copy it to clipboard, now you have to go down to the bottom left and click on the icon to do it. This is only on the Gmail app.

    2) The menu button will be sorely missed. Now the menu for each app appears, depending on the app, on a different part of the screen, as opposed to having it always on the same spot.
    The “Recent Apps” button is UTTERLY USELESS! With the original Evo, you used to be able to press and hold the home button and see the most recent 8 apps without having to scroll at all!! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?? (WERE THEY THINKING?!?!)

    3) The text app, and for that matter Handcent and GoSMS DO NOT show the count for the unread messages, neither on the icon, nor on the notification bar, UNLESS you actually scroll down the notifications, then you can see how many unread messages you have.

    4) Gmail app used to be awesome with the original Evo. Not only did it show the total unread messages you had but also, if you marked a message as unread (even a very old message), whether you did it from the phone or even from the computer, you would get a notification as if you just got a new message! Where’s that?!?!

    5) Sync seems to be having its own issues as well. On the regular email app, if I set it up to sync email every 5 minutes, it takes rather about 10-15 mins for the emails to come in. Original Evo was prompt at that…

    6) on the regular email app in order to be able to go to the next or previous email, one has to first click on menu and only then do you have the “next” or “previous” option, unlike on the original Evo.

    7) When already on max volume and want to make sure you still are with the volume rocker, you would hear a sound with the old Evo, now you got nothing are have to actually LOOK at the screen to make sure you got it to the max.

    8 ) No option to play YouTube videos out of the YouTube app when clicking on a YouTube video on the browser.
    That was a given with the original Evo. Annoying as hell on the LTE.

    9) You MUST use both hands when holding the phone vertically if you want to have access to the whole screen (if you’re laying down or sitting back on a sofa, for example), otherwise you will be unwillingly hitting the volume rocker or needing a chiropractor for your thumb. An issue which could be avoided with a gel cover, but could have been foreseen by HTC when producing such a smooth non-grippy back to the phone.

    10) Gmail and Tasks are incompatible?! I mean, what’s the point??

    11) The regular email app can only be accessed a limited amount of times per 15 minutes? I already got quite a few of those error messages…

    This isn’t a cellphone war between the 4G and the LTE, obviously the LTE has lots of stuff over the original Evo. I’m not here to bash the LTE, on the contrary I would love to find solutions to all (or most) of those issues.
    For the time being if I have to sum it up:
    I love the speed and I LOVE the battery life but, in terms of practicality, I would stick with the original Evo.

    P.S. I would rather not root my phone, and would like those problems to go away, help!

    Gimme your thoughts!

    • JL

      07/11/2012 at 2:19 pm

      You are so so so right.
      #6. wtf. Also, on the old evo, a link would show up as clickable. It does not on the EVO LTE

      Also, on the old evo you could use an app to enable wake by the volume buttons (Widget Locker). This does not work on the new EVO. Waking up the phone and unlocking it with one hand is tricky.

      Some of these things, it seems like they could fix with an update. Others are big design changes that will probably never be made.

      Also, did you notice that you only have 2GB for internal apps? there’s another 10GB for Phone storage, but we all know that not everything can be moved off the internal space.

  9. Chris

    07/06/2012 at 8:05 am

    Does it have an HDMI port? I didn’t see it in the review?

  10. Will

    07/14/2012 at 2:38 pm

    Nope, No HDMI port.
    I sat at Sprint for about two hours looking at the Evo LTE and the samsung 3S and I walked out of there with the EVO, Why? a few reasons.
    1. The Samsung looks cheaply made, And what were they thinking with the colors white or blueish purple? Me and I think most adult men out there over 30 want a phone either black matte or brushed metal. The Evo has both, Im not a fan of the gloss black upper half, But I bought a gost armor matte black skin to cover that half up.
    2. I like the Samsung’s touch to share photo deal, But are all your friends going to be carrying the 3S? Probably not, And bluetooth works fine for everyone, So thats not a great selling point in MHO.
    3. Looking at each screen, The emoled 3S looked dark compaired to the Evo, I did like the 3S apps over the wallpaper background more than the Evo’s apps over a black background better though.
    4. Home screens, I love the HTC Sense home screen with weather, Where it shows lightning or sunny sky’s moving through the clouds, It is more awesome than the original Evo 4G you actually appear to be flying through the clouds, While the 3S had a wallpaper that does something like that, It shows a grassy field with three wind turbines and the sun moving overhead, Not nearly as cool or awesome, By a LONG SHOT!
    My only hesitation with the EVO LTE was that you could not change out the battery, (I too kept a second one on hand with my EVO 4G) But after playing with this phone for over 48 hours now, I dont think that battery life is a problem, It’s actually pretty darned good, Best I’ve had so far in a smart phone, When I first booted it up it only had about half battery life on it, But that half lasted me most of the day, And you know when you get a new phone you are playing with it constantly, So that was pretty awesome, And when I did plug it in to charge, It only took around an hour to fully charge, So that was empressive. So far I am Extremely happy with this phone and believe I deffinately made the right choice between the two phones.

  11. gavin

    11/29/2012 at 8:02 pm

    is ther a removable battery

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Android

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Update Info (2020)

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With the official Android 11 roll out from Google underway, we want to take you through everything you should know right now Samsung’s plans for Galaxy phones and tablets.

In September, Google pushed its next operating system, Android 11, to Pixel users. That’s huge news for the Pixel community and it’s also big news for those who own other Android-powered devices. It means an official release is getting closer for those phones and tablets.

With Android 11 rolling out and Samsung’s Android 10 roll out slowing down, Galaxy smartphone and tablet users are starting to think about the future.

While some Android OEMs started talking about Android 11 months ago, Samsung remained silent. That changed after the launch of the Galaxy Note 20.

Samsung’s confirmed early Android 11 plans. And thanks to that information along with rumors and traditions, we can put together an overview for those of you curious about Android 11.

In this guide we’re going to take you through what you should know about Android 11 if you currently own, or if you’re planning to buy a Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, or another Galaxy device.

We’ll take you through what we know about Samsung’s version of Android 11. We’ll take you through what we know about the release date and we’ll outline which devices will get an upgrade to the new version of Android.

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Let’s start with what’s coming out before the official version of Android 11. Samsung is still rolling out Android 10 updates and it’s also pushing monthly updates to its stable of Galaxy phones and tablets.

Samsung Galaxy September Update

Samsung’s September update is pushing out right now.

The update is rolling out to the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy A70, Galaxy A50, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy M01s, Galaxy M31, Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab Active Pro, and Galaxy Tab S6 and you can expect it to hit more devices in the near future.

The company’s September update includes a ton of patches including 15 fixes that are for issues related to Samsung’s own software.

If you own a Galaxy Tab S6, your upgrade should include software features from the new Galaxy Tab S7. Namely, Wireless DeX and the ability to request Wi-Fi passwords from people on your network if they’re in your contacts list.

If you want to learn more about Samsung’s September security update, head on over to the company’s website.

As a reminder, here’s the current breakdown of Samsung’s current Android security update coverage:

Current Models for Monthly Security Updates

  • Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Fold2, Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Flip 5G
  • Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • Galaxy Note8, Galaxy Note9, Galaxy Note10, Galaxy Note10 5G, Galaxy Note10+, Galaxy Note10+ 5G, Galaxy Note10 Lite, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy Note20 5G, Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
  • Enterprise Models: Galaxy A8 (2018), Galaxy A50, Galaxy XCover4s, Galaxy XCover FieldPro, Galaxy XCover Pro

Current Models for Quarterly Security Updates

  • Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S8 Active
  • Galaxy A2 Core, Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2018), Galaxy A8s, Galaxy A9 (2018)
  • Galaxy A10, Galaxy A10e, Galaxy A10s, Galaxy A20, Galaxy A20e, Galaxy A20s, Galaxy A30, Galaxy A30s, Galaxy A40, Galaxy A50s, Galaxy A60, Galaxy A70, Galaxy A70s, Galaxy A80, Galaxy A90 5G
  • Galaxy A01, Galaxy A01 Core, Galaxy A11, Galaxy A21, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy A31, Galaxy A41, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A51 5G, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A71 5G
  • Galaxy J4+, Galaxy J4 Core, Galaxy J6+
  • Galaxy M10, Galaxy M10s, Galaxy M20, Galaxy M30, Galaxy M30s, Galaxy M40
  • Galaxy M01, Galaxy M11, Galaxy M21, Galaxy M31, Galaxy M31s, Galaxy M51
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8 (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8 Plus (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8.4 (2020), Galaxy Tab A7, Galaxy Tab Active2, Galaxy Tab Active Pro
  • Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S6 5G, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy View2
  • W20 5G

Current Models for Other Regular Security Updates

  • Galaxy S8 Lite, Galaxy Note FE
  • Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A6, Galaxy A6+, Galaxy A7 (2017), Galaxy A8+ (2018), Galaxy A8 Star
  • Galaxy J2 Core, Galaxy J3 (2017), Galaxy J3 Pop, Galaxy J3 Top, Galaxy J4, Galaxy J5 (2017), Galaxy J5 Prime, Galaxy J6, Galaxy J7 (2017), Galaxy J7 Duo, Galaxy J7 Prime, Galaxy J7 Prime2, Galaxy J7 Pop, Galaxy J7 Top, Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy J7 Neo, Galaxy J7+, Galaxy J8
  • Galaxy Tab A (2017), Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018), Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy Tab E 8 Refresh

So while devices like the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 probably won’t get Android 11, they will get security patches and bug fixes for the foreseeable future.

The company’s pushed One UI 2.1, the interface that arrived on board the Galaxy S20 series, to a number of devices including the Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy A51, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy M01s, and Galaxy M31.

These updates brought a variety of changes including:

  • Quick Share
  • Music Share
  • Single Take
  • AR Zone
  • Pro Video Recording

That said, the One UI 2.1 update for older devices was missing at least one feature that’s present on Galaxy S20 models: Bixby Routines.

The company’s also released another version of One UI, dubbed One UI 2.5, that brings a number of improvements to Galaxy devices. The software debuted on board the Galaxy Note 20.

Samsung is pushing One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 Lite, and Galaxy Tab S6 with more releases on the way.

The company is also planning to bring One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, and Galaxy Fold. It’s unclear when these updates will roll out.

One UI 2.5 is a fairly minor update, but it does bring a few notable changes including the ability for your device to remember the angle you used for your last selfie.

The camera app will also remember the last shooting mode you used (video, etc). There’s also support for full-screen navigation gestures in third-party launchers.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11: What’s New

Samsung’s version of Android 11 will look a lot different than the version Google releases for Pixel devices because it will utilize the company’s new One UI 3.0 user interface.

While we have some information, we don’t have the full picture because Samsung’s version of Android 11 is still in development. That said, it should bring a lot of Google’s features with it.

Google’s version of Android 11 includes features like:

  • Improved Quick Replies.
  • Mute notification sounds & vibrations during video capture recording.
  • Chat Bubbles.
  • Native Screen Recording.
  • Bluetooth improvements for headphones.
  • Memory Input/Output improvements.
  • Biometric Authentication Strength
  • Low Latency support.
  • Variable refresh rates.
  • Resume on Reboot.
  • And a whole lot more.

You can learn more about Android 11 on Google’s website.

As for Samsung’s version of Android 11 with One UI 3.0, we now have a full change log thanks to the company’s beta program.

As expected, the software is loaded up with changes. Here’s the first Galaxy Android 11/One UI 3.0 change log from the beta, courtesy of XDA-Developers:

Home screen

  • Touch and hold an app to add an associated widget.
  • Turn the screen off by double-tapping on an empty are of the Home screen. You can turn this on in Settings > Advanced features > Motion and gestures.

Lock screen

  • Dynamic Lock screen now has more categories,, and you can select more than one.
  • Lock screen widgets are improved.

Quick panel

  • See your conversations and media more conveniently in their own sections when you swipe down from the top of the screen.

AOD

  • Always On Display widgets are improved.

Accessibility

  • Get quick access to the most important accessibility settings during device setup.
  • Get recommended accessibility features based on what you use.
  • Set the Accessibility shortcut more easily in settings.
  • Sound detectors now work with your SmartThings devices such as TVs and lights to give you more visible alerts when the doorbell rings or a baby is crying.

Samsung Keyboard

  • You can find the keyboard in settings more easily under General management in Settings, and the settings have been reorganized to put the most important ones first.

Samsung DeX

  • You can now connect to supported TVs wirelessly.
  • New touchpad multi-gestures let you change screen zoom and font size more easily.

Internet

  • Added ability to block websites from redirecting you when you tap the Back button.
  • Added warnings and blocking options for websites that shot too many pop-ups or notifications.
  • Rearranged menus to make things easier to find.
  • Added several new add-ons, including one that translates websites.
  • Added option hide the status bar for a more immersive browsing experience.
  • Increased maximum number of open tabs to 99.
  • Added ability to lock and reorder tabs.
  • Improved design for tab bar which is now supported on all devices.
  • Ended support for Samsung Internet edge panel.

Contacts & Phone

  • Added the ability to edit multiple linked contacts at one time.
  • Added an option to help you quickly delete duplicate contacts.
  • Enhanced the search experience.
  • Extended the storage period of the Trash bin from 15 to 30 days.

Phone/Call background

  • Added the ability to customize the call screen with your own pictures and videos.

Messages

  • Created a Trash bin to store recently deleted messages.

Call & Text on other devices

  • Added the ability to turn Call & text on other devices on or off with Bixby Routines.

Calendar

  • Events with the same start time are now shown together in month and agenda view.
  • Reorganized options for adding and editing events.
  • Improved layout for full screen alerts.

Reminder

  • Improved layout for full screen alerts

Digital wellbeing and Parental controls

  • Added trends to your weekly report. You can see how your usage has changed since the previous week and check your usage time for each feature.
  • Added phone usage time while driving to the weekly report.
  • Added a lock screen widget so you can check your screen time without unlocking your phone.
  • Added separate profiles for personal and work modes so you can track your screen time separately.

Camera

  • Improved auto-focus and auto exposure functionality and usability.
  • Improved stabilization when taking pictures of the moon at high zoom levels.

Photo editor

  • Added the ability to revert edited pictures back to their original versions.

Bixby Routine

  • Grouped preset routines help you get started quickly and learn how to build your own routines easily.
  • You can now see what actions are reversed when a routine ends.
  • New conditions have been added, such as a specific start time, the disconnection of a Bluetooth device or Wi-Fi network, a call from a specific number, and more.
  • New actions have been added, including talking to Bixby and accessibility actions.
  • You can add a customized icon for each routine and add routines to the Lock screen for quick access.

The software is a work in progress and there’s always a chance Samsung adds, or subtracts, features from this list as the beta progresses.

For instance, Google’s smart home controls are reportedly missing from the pre-beta software, but we could see them added into the final version of the software. Time will tell.

Samsung’s also working on the software that will power the upcoming Galaxy S21 series. The firmware was, as expected, is based on Android 11.

We don’t know what the software will look like, but the devices will almost certainly be powered by a new version of One UI, probably dubbed One UI 3.1.

These Galaxy Devices Will Get Android 11

Samsung typically keeps devices updated with major Android software updates for two years. Fortunately, it looks like the company will change this policy for Android 11.

The company says it’s committed to providing three years of major software upgrades going forward. This is obviously a huge development.

Initially it looked like this might only apply to higher profile devices, but according to Samsung, lengthier support will also be extended to other devices.

Here’s the full list:

  • Galaxy S series: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20 in addition to Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 Lite and upcoming S series devices.
  • Galaxy Note series: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 5G, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 10 5G, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10 Lite and upcoming Note series devices.
  • Galaxy Foldable devices: Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Fold 5G, Galaxy Fold and upcoming Z series devices
  • Galaxy A series: Galaxy A71 5G, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A51 5G, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A90 5G and select upcoming A series devices.
  • Tablets: Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy Tab S7 5G, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab S6 5G, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and upcoming Tab S series devices.

As for Android 11, Popular phones like the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S10Galaxy S10+Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Note 10 are shoo-ins. The Galaxy Note 20 will make the move to Android 11 as well.

As for the company’s tablets, the Galaxy Tab S6 and Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) will get upgraded to Android 11. You can also expect the new Galaxy Tab S7 to get upgraded as well.

Mid-range phones and tablets from 2019 should also move from Android 10 to Android 11.

Here is a preliminary list of device we think will get upgraded to Android 11 in 2020 and 2021:

  • Galaxy S20
  • Galaxy S20+
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Galaxy Note 20
  • Galaxy S10
  • Galaxy S10 5G
  • Galaxy S10+
  • Galaxy S10e
  • Galaxy S10 Lite
  • Galaxy Note 10
  • Galaxy Note 10 Lite
  • Galaxy Fold
  • Galaxy Z Flip
  • Galaxy Z Fold 2
  • Galaxy A10
  • Galaxy A10e
  • Galaxy A10s
  • Galaxy A11
  • Galaxy A20
  • Galaxy A20e
  • Galaxy A20s
  • Galaxy A21
  • Galaxy A21s
  • Galaxy A30
  • Galaxy A30s
  • Galaxy A31
  • Galaxy A40
  • Galaxy A41
  • Galaxy A50
  • Galaxy A50s
  • Galaxy A51
  • Galaxy A60
  • Galaxy A70
  • Galaxy A70s
  • Galaxy A71
  • Galaxy A80
  • Galaxy A8s
  • Galaxy M01
  • Galaxy M11
  • Galaxy M21
  • Galaxy M30s
  • Galaxy M31
  • Galaxy M40
  • Galaxy Tab S7
  • Galaxy Tab S6
  • Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
  • Galaxy Tab S5e
  • Galaxy Tab Active Pro
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019)
  • Galaxy Tab A 8 (2019)
  • Galaxy Tab A 8 Plus (2019)
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  • Stunning 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard and Touch ID
  • Tenth-generation Intel Core i3 processor
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Fast SSD storage

These Galaxy Devices Might Not Get Android 11

Any Galaxy device that’s not on that list is currently on the fence when it comes to Android 11. That means popular devices like the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 series are very much in danger of getting left behind on Android 10.

Here are a few Samsung Galaxy devices that could stick around on Android 10:

  • Galaxy S9
  • Galaxy S9+
  • Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy A9 (2018)
  • Galaxy A8 (2018)
  • Galaxy A8+ (2018)
  • Galaxy A7 (2018)
  • Galaxy A6 (2018)
  • Galaxy A6+ (2018)
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

Older models like Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 probably won’t get upgraded to Android 11 either. Neither device has been upgraded to Android 10.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Beta

Google’s Android 11 beta included the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and the Pixel 4a.

Other companies that took part in the Android 11 beta included OnePlus (OnePlus 8 series), Xiomi (Mi 10, Mi 10 Pro, and the POCO F2 Pro), and OPPO (Find X2 and Find X2 Pro).

As for Samsung, it will host its own Android 11 beta for Galaxy devices.

The company has launched its Android 11 beta program. The program has started in the pre-release phase which requires users to register to become a Samsung developer partner. You can do that over on its website.

Samsung’s Android 11 pre-beta is limited to Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra models in South Korea and the United States, but the company will open the beta up to users in China, Germany, India, Poland, and the United Kingdom once the pre-beta process ends.

As for the start of the public Android 11 beta, it looks like it could happen soon. An update for the company’s Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app includes support for Android 11.

Samsung used to keep its Android betas exclusive to its Galaxy S flagship models. In 2016, the Android Nougat beta was exclusive to Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge users. In 2017, Samsung limited the Android Oreo beta to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

It took a different approach with Android Pie. Instead of keeping it limited to Galaxy S flagships, Samsung expanded the Android Pie/One UI beta to former flagships and mid-range devices. The Android 10 beta reverted back to the old days with a far more limited release.

While we don’t know how the Android 11 beta will work exactly, you can expect the Galaxy Note 20 to take part at some point. We also expect to see a release for Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 models down the road.

For more on the Samsung Galaxy Android 11 beta program, take a look at our guide.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Release Date

So when will Samsung release its first Android 11 update? Let’s start with what we know.

Now that the Galaxy Android 11 beta program is live, we know that the company is hard at work on updates for the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The Galaxy S20+ Android 11 update recently appeared in a benchmark on HTML5test which is a sign that testing is underway behind the scenes. The device being tested was running the company’s unreleased Samsung Internet 13.0.

The company is reportedly testing Android 11 on the Galaxy S10+. Earlier this year the device showed up in a Geekbench benchmark.

Last year, Samsung pushed its first public Android 10 beta in October, or, several weeks after Google pushed the official version of Android 10 to Pixel devices. With the official version of Android 11 out for Pixel devices, the public beta is getting close.

Samsung says the Galaxy S20 series will be the first to Android 11 and we expect the Galaxy Note 20 series to follow closely behind. These devices will followed by older models like the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10.

And while a lot of Galaxy models will probably get Android 11 in the second half 2020, many others will have to wait until 2021. Samsung’s Android roll outs typically span across several months.

We’ll continue to update this post with new information as the year goes on so make sure to check back in with us.

5 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy S21 & 5 Reasons Not To

Wait for Even Better Performance

Wait for Even Better Performance

You can expect the Galaxy S21 series to build on the foundation left by the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 20 series

A sketchy report out of China claims Samsung will utilize the Snapdragon 865 inside the Galaxy S21 to keep the price down. 

That said, there's also a chance the Galaxy S21 makes the jump to Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 875 processor. If true, that should lead to notable improvements in overall speed, multitasking, and battery life. 

91Mobiles has released potential information about Qualcomm's new processor. It will supposedly include a new X60 5G modem and an Adreno 660 graphics processor.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't shed any light on how much it'll improve upon the Snapdragon 865. We probably won't get those details until much later this year.

Another processor rumor hints at a new Exynos 1000 processor for the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra and an Exynos 991 or or Exynos 992 for the cheapest Galaxy S21 model.

The Exynos 1000 is reportedly codenamed "Olympus" and the "Exynos 1000" moniker is currently a tenative name. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the Exynos 1000 will still "lose" to the Snapdragon 875, he says power consumption should be improved. 

The company is also reportedly thinking about ditching the Exynos name for its in-house processors.  

The Galaxy S20's 120Hz screens are extremely smooth, but they can drain battery life and the hope is that Samsung's improvements to next year's models will help tone that down. The Galaxy S20 represents Samsung's first stab at the technology. 

The Galaxy S20's 5G connectivity can also have a heavy impact on battery life and bringing a new modem aboard the Galaxy S21 could help counteract that.

As for the size of the Galaxy S21's battery, Samsung-centric blog Galaxy Club has spotted information about its size. 

The information points to a 4,660mAh capacity battery. The Galaxy S20's battery is rated at 4,370mAh so this would represent a small bump. 

The same site has also leaked the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery capacity. According to Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S21 Ultra battery is rated at 4,885 mAh which means it could be marketed as 5,000 mAh.

So if you want a high-end Galaxy phone, but think you might want a little more polish, consider hanging around for next year's flagships. 

Last update on 2020-09-19. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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Apple

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 14 & 11 Reasons You Should

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Apple’s iOS 14 update could have a huge impact on your iPhone’s performance. While some of you should install the new operating system right now, others are better off waiting a few hours or perhaps even a few more days before moving up from iOS 13.

iOS 14 is out of beta and available to download. The new operating system is compatible with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the iPhone SE 2. It’ll also be on board Apple’s new iPhone 12 series.

The first version of iOS 14 is chock full of changes including improved Widgets, an assortment of changes to first-party apps, performance upgrades, and more.

The iOS 14 update requires a sizable download. It’s 2GB+ for iPhone owners moving their device up from iOS 13.7. It might be even bigger for those of you moving up from older versions of iOS 13. That’s because the features and fixes from the updates you skipped are baked into your version of iOS 14.

Those of you dealing with issues on iOS 13 could see a huge turnaround after installing iOS 14. We’re already hearing about positive changes. That being said, we’re also hearing about various bugs and performance problems.

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If you do run into an issue, you can try downgrading to iOS 13 though you can only downgrade back to iOS 13.7. Apple’s closed off the downgrade path back to older versions of iOS 13.

This means that those of you having a great experience on older versions of iOS 13 need to approach the iOS 14 upgrade with caution. Once you make the move there’s no going back.

If you’re really desperate, you could try moving your iPhone to Apple’s iOS 14.2 update which is currently in beta ahead of an unknown release date.

If you’re currently debating a move to iOS 14, allow us to walk you through the best reasons to install the software today and the best reasons to hang around on iOS 13 for a little bit longer.

Install iOS 14 for Better Security

Install iOS 14 for Better Security

If security is important to you, think about installing the iOS 14 update right away.

iOS 14 brings 11 new security patches to your iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.

If you skipped iOS 13.7 or any older versions of iOS 13, you'll get the security patches from those updates with your iOS 14 update. 

In addition to those patches, iOS 14 comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improvements to Home/HomeKit and Safari. 

For instance in Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.

With iOS 14 on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them. 

There is also a new recording indicator that will appear at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You can see if an app has used them recently in Control Center.

Last update on 2020-09-19. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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Apple

Apple Watch 6 vs Apple Watch SE: The Biggest Differences

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Here are the biggest differences between the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE.

This is how the Apple Watch 6 vs Apple Watch SE comparison shakes out in the most important areas. Apple announced two new Apple Watch models today, and if you are looking to buy a new Apple Watch in 2020, these are at the top of your list. Here are the biggest differences between the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE.

  • Price: Apple Watch 6 $399 and up – Apple Watch SE $279 and up
  • Display: Same Sizes, Apple Watch 6 Features Always On
  • Sensors: Fall Detection and Altimeter on Both, Apple Watch 6 ECG and spO2
  • Colors: Apple Watch Series 6 Gains Four New Colors
  • Performance: Series 6 Features Faster Processor

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest and greatest model with all the fancy new features. This is the model that you should buy if you have enough cash, plan to keep your watch for a long time and you want or need the latest sensors.

The Apple Watch SE is an entry-level model that is newer than the Series 3, with a nice display, the important health, and safety features, and with a faster processor than the Series 3.

Ultimately these are the biggest differences and the ones that you will notice the most are the price, the always-on display, and the performance. Obviously color is a factor, but only if you are concerned about how the Apple Watch looks. You can get the same bands across all of the models.

We expect that the performance is going to be a major factor for power users, and the sp02 sensor will be a big factor for users that workout a lot and that want to monitor this for overall health.

Apple Watch 6 Features

Apple packs in a ton of new features to the new Apple Watch Series 6.

The big new features on the Apple Watch 6 are the spO2 blood oxygen sensor, a brighter display, 5GHz WiFi, the U1 ultrawideband chip, S6 processor and it keeps the ECG sensor from the Apple Watch 5.

Apple Watch SE Features

Buy the Apple Watch SE for new features and better performance.

The Apple Watch SE is twice as fast as the Apple Watch 3, it includes a display in the same size options as the Apple Watch Series 6, but without the Always On option and it does deliver fall detection. It is swimproof, available with a cellular connection, and offers many of the same overall features.

63 Exciting Things You Can Do With the Apple Watch

Answer Calls on the Apple Watch

Answer Calls on the Apple Watch

You can answer a call on your Apple Watch using it as a small Bluetooth speakerphone. You only want to use this for shorter calls because the audio quality isn't as good as when you are talking on speakerphone on your iPhone. 

The Apple Watch only allows you to answer your calls on Speakerphone, so you won't want to use this all the time. It is very handy when you are working on a project or busy with your hands. Definitely be conscious of where you are taking calls. If you wouldn't talk on speakerphone, you shouldn't talk on your Apple Watch.

If you buy the new Apple Watch with LTE, you can even make calls on the Apple Watch without your iPhone nearby. This requires adding the watch to your plan for $10 a month. You cannot answer a FaceTime video call on the Apple Watch. 

Last update on 2020-09-19. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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5 Reasons to Buy the Apple Watch SE & 4 Reasons Not To

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Is the cheaper Apple Watch worth buying? Apple just announced the Apple Watch SE alongside the Apple Watch 6 and it offers a lot of the essential Apple Watch features at a cheaper price. if you are considering buying a new Apple Watch in 2020, you may want to go with the cheaper model instead of going big for features that you might not use.

The Apple Watch SE is a new 2020 model, that uses the same 40mm and 44mm screen sizes as the Series 6, but it does not include an always-on display. You don’t get all the new Apple Watch 6 features, like the spO2 monitor, but it is a perfect option for some users.

This is a great option for users to look at instead of the Apple Watch 3, especially this late in 2020. The newer model will get updates longer and it packs in some very important features that you won’t find on the older model. Apple positions this model to take on the Fitbit and other Apple Watch alternatives.

Should You Buy the Apple Watch SE today or wait?

The Apple Watch SE starts at $279 and you can get it at Apple today and soon at Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo, Walmart, Target, and other retailers. You can choose an LTE model and buy from Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. Apple allows you to finance at Apple for $12 a month on the Apple Card.

Here are the reasons that you should buy the Apple Watch SE today;

  1. Buy for a Bigger Screen
  2. Buy for New Health Features
  3. Buy for Fall Detection
  4. Buy for a Cheap New Apple Watch
  5. Buy if You Keep Your Apple Watch for a Long Time

There are also some good reasons not to buy the Apple Watch SE right now;

  1. Don’t Buy if You Need the Latest and Greatest
  2. Don’t Buy if You Love Your Current Watch
  3. Wait for Reviews
  4. Wait for Deals

Read on in the sections below to learn more about each of these reasons and then you can decide if this is the best Apple Watch for you to buy this year.

New Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm) - Gold Aluminum Case with Pink Sand Sport Band
  • GPS model lets you take calls and reply to texts from your wrist
  • Large Retina OLED display
  • Up to 2x faster processor than Series 3
  • Track your daily activity on Apple Watch and see your trends in the Fitness app on iPhone
  • Measure workouts like running, walking, cycling, yoga, swimming, and dance

Buy for a Bigger Screen

The Apple Watch SE offers a bigger screen than the Apple Watch Series 3. The two new models are 40mm and 44mm, which means you get access to newer Apple Watch faces and can see a little bit more on the screen. These aren’t massive display size upgrades, but after using the 44mm Apple Watch for two years, it is nice.

There is no always-on display option, so if you are looking for that feature you need to go with the Series 5 or Series 6.

Buy for New Health Features

The Apple Watch SE includes ECG support. These are two very handy features if you are concerned about your health. They are not found on the Apple Watch Series 3.

The ECG feature allows you to perform an on-demand ECG to check heart health. This can detect afib, and record your heart activity if you are feeling off, and then allow you to share it with a doctor.

Buy the Apple Watch SE for new features and better performance.

Buy for Fall Detection

Apple now includes Fall Detection in the cheaper Apple Watch. This is excellent if you live alone, are elderly, or often do work at heights.

Fall Detection uses sensors to know if you fall and then asks if you are OK. If you don’t respond in a timely fashion Apple can call emergency contacts or can call 911 or your local equivalent for you.

Buy for a Cheap New Apple Watch

If you are looking for a cheap Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE is now the best option. You get a new model that is more affordable and that you can still get with LTE connectivity if you want it.

Instead of buying an older model or a used model, you are getting a new model with a warranty and you can add AppleCare+ on if you want to protect it from accidental damage.

Buy if You Keep Your Apple Watch for a Long Time

Are you going to keep your new Apple Watch for years? if so, this is a better option than the Series 3 or an older model. Why? Well in addition to the reasons mentioned above, you are going to get longer support for the Apple Watch SE in the form of updates and new features.

Apple offers a lot of support for Apple Watch models, but buying the new one will help you keep it longer and get more value long term.

Don’t Buy if You Need the Apple Watch 6

Don’t buy the Apple Watch SE if the Apple Watch 6 is a better fit for you.

Do you want an always-on display, a spO2 reader, and other new features? If so, you should skip this model and go straight for the Apple Watch Series 6. This allows you to get the latest and greatest.

This plays into the reason above as well. If you aren’t upgrading every year, it can make more sense to spend a little more to get the latest features so that you can enjoy them longer.

Don’t Buy if You Love Your Current Watch

Is your current Apple Watch good enough for you? You might be lusting over a new gadget that you don’t even need. If you think about how you use it and if you would actually use the new features, you might be surprised.

If your Apple Watch is good enough, especially with watchOS 7 then you may not need to upgrade. If battery life is an issue, you can replace your Apple Watch battery pretty affordably, and this gives your model a new life. Upgrade the style with a new Apple Watch band and you’ve saved money and made a more sustainable choice.

Wait for Reviews

The biggest reason to wait is to see what the reviews say about the Apple Watch SE. These will let you know if the changes are worth it and how it stacks up to the latest model and older models in performance.

We should see Apple Watch SE reviews in the next week or so, which will let you make a more informed buying decision. While it may be hard to find an Apple Watch SE in stock this holiday season it is still a good idea for many buyers to wait.

Wait for Deals

This model is cheaper, which is great, but if you can save more money that is even better. We could see some Apple Watch SE deals start in early 2021, and there is a small chance that we see some deals during Black Friday, but that may be a stretch this year.

With in-store deals not looking the same, retailers have less reason to discount new products like this on Black Friday, which leads us to look out to Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day in 2021 as the big Apple Watch SE deal days. Decide if you want to wait that long for a deal.

We could see some deals at carriers when you combine with a new phone or use a payment plan.

63 Exciting Things You Can Do With the Apple Watch

Answer Calls on the Apple Watch

Answer Calls on the Apple Watch

You can answer a call on your Apple Watch using it as a small Bluetooth speakerphone. You only want to use this for shorter calls because the audio quality isn't as good as when you are talking on speakerphone on your iPhone. 

The Apple Watch only allows you to answer your calls on Speakerphone, so you won't want to use this all the time. It is very handy when you are working on a project or busy with your hands. Definitely be conscious of where you are taking calls. If you wouldn't talk on speakerphone, you shouldn't talk on your Apple Watch.

If you buy the new Apple Watch with LTE, you can even make calls on the Apple Watch without your iPhone nearby. This requires adding the watch to your plan for $10 a month. You cannot answer a FaceTime video call on the Apple Watch. 

Last update on 2020-09-19. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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5 Reasons to Buy the Apple Watch 6 & 4 Reasons to Wait

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The Apple Watch Series 6 offers a lot. Here is a look at the reasons you should and shouldn’t buy.

The Apple Watch 6 offers new health features, a faster processor and promises better battery life. It’s on sale today starting at $399 and you can get it with an LTE connection if you want to do more without your iPhone. This list will help you decide if you should buy the Apple Watch 6 today, or if you should wait a little bit.

You can buy the Apple Watch 6 at Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo, Walmart, and Target this week. The LTE model is coming soon to Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile as well as other carriers soon.

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes and you can get it in aluminum or stainless steel with a wide range of band options. Apple lets you choose the band you want, but you can also buy any band you want later to add style to your watch.

The newest model includes some carryover features from the Series 5 model including the Always On Display, compass, fall detection, and ECG support with Afib detection. If you are upgrading from an older model you need to factor those into your decision.

Here is a close look at the important reasons that you should consider buying the Apple Watch 6, and a few reasons to wait.

Reasons to Buy the Apple Watch 6;

  1. Buy for New Health Features
  2. Buy for Faster Processor
  3. Buy if You Own a Series 1 or Older
  4. Buy if You want the new Apple Watch Color
  5. Buy for a Better Display

Don’t Buy the Apple Watch 6 if;

  1. Don’t Buy if the Cheaper Model is Better for You
  2. You’re Happy With Your Current Model
  3. Wait for Reviews
  4. Wait for Deals

Read on for more details about each of these reasons so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

Buy for New Health Features

Buy the Apple Watch 6 for new health tracking features.

The new Apple Watch 6 includes a Blood Oxygen Sensor, sometimes referred to as a spO2 sensor. This detects the oxygen saturation in your blood, which is important to know if you have asthma, COPD, points to heart health items and it can also be very important to track during physical activity.

This can also prove helpful if you are concerned about COVID 19, as a low spO2 reading can point to the need for medical attention. In short, this sensor can help you stay alert to changes in your blood oxygen levels and let you know if you should seek medical help.

Instead of using a third-party option or a standalone sensor, this is built-in to the Apple Watch 6, and you also have a digital recording of your spO2 readings over time to share with a medical professional.

Buy for Faster Processor

Apple packs in a faster processor in the Apple Watch 6 this year. The Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 5 used the same processor, though Appel improved performance in the Series 5.

This year, the Apple Watch 6 uses a new processor that delivers better performance. This means better overall speed when using apps and general tasks. Specifically, Apple says that the new processor is 20% faster than the older model.

Apple packs in a ton of new features to the new Apple Watch Series 6.

Buy if You Own a Series 1 or Older

Are you using an Apple Watch Series 1 or older? If so, you won’t get watchOS 7 on your watch. This means no new features and security fixes this year. If you want to enjoy new features, you will need to upgrade to a new Apple Watch.

For users that keep their Apple Watch for years, it is a good idea to go to the Series 6, instead of to the new cheaper Apple Watch announced alongside it. Going to the top end will allow you to use your Apple Watch longer and ultimately provide more value for the next several years.

Buy if You want the new Apple Watch color

https://twitter.com/DetroitBORG/status/1305917357630672897

Apple finally adds a new Apple Watch color to the table this year. If you want to rock the new color, because you like the look or because you want people to know that you have a new model, then you need to get the Apple Watch Series 6.

Apple includes a beautiful new Blue and a bright red for aluminum colors. There are also two new Stainless colors including Dark Gray Stainless and a new Gold Stainless.

Buy for a Better Display

The new Always On Display is 2.5x brighter so that you can see it better outdoors without turning the watch on. This is a nice upgrade from the earlier models and a handy way to stay on top of the time without lifting your watch and looking.

I enjoy that this feature allows me to see what the time is at a glance, even while in a conversation, just like a normal watch.

Don’t Buy if the Cheaper Model is Better for You

Consider the Apple Watch SE instead of the Apple Watch 6.

Apple announced two new Apple Watch models this year. This is a major change, and it means that you can buy a new Apple Watch for less money and still get cool new features and a model that will last for years.

The Apple Watch SE is a cheaper model that starts at $279 and is available in the same sizes. You can use all the same accessories and Apple Watch bands with it. The cheaper model does not include a spO2 sensor, but you do get some handy features like Fall Detection, ECG support, and many of our other favorite Apple Watch features.

This is a really tempting option and something that you should research before you buy.

You’re Happy With Your Current Model

Are you happy with your current Apple Watch? As long as you have the Apple Watch Series 2 or higher you will get a free watchOS 7 upgrade with tons of new features.

If you need to give your current model a boost, you can buy a new battery for many models from iFixit and install the upgrade yourself. You can buy a new Apple Watch band and then you have a totally fresh look.

Keep your current setup going longer will save you some cash and it’s more sustainable than upgrading every year.

Wait for Reviews

The biggest reason to wait for the new Apple Watch 6 is to learn how well the new features work and to see how the changes hold up to the real world. We should see Apple Watch Series 6 reviews go online in the next few days or next week.

While you can order right now if you want to get it on release day, savvy buyers will hold off to read reviews and watch videos about the new models. This is especially important without the same hands-on coverage at an Apple Event.

Wait for Deals

If you are looking for a deal on the Apple Watch 6, you will want to wait, but keep in mind that you will likely be waiting until next year for a deal on the WiFi model. We could see some discounts near Black Friday, but with major changes to that shopping day, there is no guarantee.

Carriers may offer a discount on the Apple Watch 6 with LTE soon after release, or when the new iPhone arrives, but ultimately you will be waiting months for big standalone deals.

63 Exciting Things You Can Do With the Apple Watch

Answer Calls on the Apple Watch

Answer Calls on the Apple Watch

You can answer a call on your Apple Watch using it as a small Bluetooth speakerphone. You only want to use this for shorter calls because the audio quality isn't as good as when you are talking on speakerphone on your iPhone. 

The Apple Watch only allows you to answer your calls on Speakerphone, so you won't want to use this all the time. It is very handy when you are working on a project or busy with your hands. Definitely be conscious of where you are taking calls. If you wouldn't talk on speakerphone, you shouldn't talk on your Apple Watch.

If you buy the new Apple Watch with LTE, you can even make calls on the Apple Watch without your iPhone nearby. This requires adding the watch to your plan for $10 a month. You cannot answer a FaceTime video call on the Apple Watch. 

Last update on 2020-09-19. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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