Every Sunday, we assemble the latest headlines, editorials, and exclusive content into the Android Police Newsletter and send it out to thousands of readers around the world. If you're not one of those readers, you might be missing out on the most important stories of the week, as well as content you'll only find in the newsletter, like the exclusive Galaxy Buds Pro Q&A you'll find below and our free wallpaper extravaganza. Here's all the important stuff featured in the Android Police Newsletter from January 24, 2021.
- Google Maps is rolling out ultra-accurate street-level details in these four cities.
- WhatsApp is desperately scrambling to keep users from abandoning ship.
- Google added a microphone toggle to the Chrome OS screen recorder so that you can narrate your screen captures.
- The first details have emerged regarding Android's upcoming app hibernation feature.
- Samsung's Good Lock 2021 arrived earlier than expected, touting a colorful new design and One UI 3 support. Download the APK here.
- This December Pixel Feature drop feature still hasn't arrived on all Pixels.
- Google promised that the Pixel 4a 5G touchscreen issue we reported on last week will be fixed in a February update.
- Nest Hubs are getting sunrise alarms, family sticky notes, and the Google weather frog wallpaper in an update rolling out now.
- Samsung's first update for the Galaxy Buds Pro is already here with new features and tweaks.
- The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a lot of cameras. Here's what they all do.
- New Play Store icons will let you see which apps are rising up and falling off the charts.
- Following in Huawei's footsteps, Xiaomi has been banned by the US government, and they have some things to say about it.
- Google is testing out a bottom navigation bar for its in-app browser on Android.
- After countless years of struggling to gain marketshare, LG is thinking about shutting down its smartphone business.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Q&A
Last week, we published our first Q&A of the New Year inviting you all to submit your questions about the Galaxy Buds Pro. Our Editor in Chief David Ruddock has been using them for a couple weeks now, and he's here to spill the beans:
Q: Is the spatial audio any good?
A: Not really. I found the effect was similar to being in large, empty auditorium, with a disorienting effect when I'd move my head around. It's safe to call this feature a gimmick.
Q: How do they sound with non-Samsung phones?
A: The Buds Pro support basic SBC and AAC encoding on all devices. There is no reason to believe the earbuds sound "better" on a Samsung phone, as these codecs support a wide range of bitrates.
Q: Did you give them to Artem yet to break?
A: He'll have to buy his own.
Q: Comparing it with the Buds+, how is it with phone calls?
A: I don't have the Buds+, but I've been very impressed with the call performance, both coming in and going out. Still, they're TWEs, and nothing gets around the physics of microphone placement.
Q: Do they produce the usual in ear suction feeling? Really hate that feeling.
A: I've never had an issue like this with sealing headphones, but given your description, I imagine the answer is yes.
Q: What are the Samsung exclusive features? Would they be a contender to replace Pixel Buds for Pixel owners?
A: Samsung exclusive features include seamless device switching, a low latency gaming mode, and virtual surround sound. The only one worth even wanting is the seamless switching, but it only works with Samsung's Android phones and tablets. I used them with a OnePlus 8T and missed none of these things.
Q: How do they hold in the ears compared to the AirPods Pro?
A: It's such a personal question. They feel very secure in my ears, I can say. And I had some other reviewers tell me they passed their workout tests, which usually bodes well.
Q: Do they work seamlessly with non-Samsung phones? (Meaning, are they automatically recognized and support advanced configuration without having to install multiple Samsung apps?)
A: I'd advise against not installing the app, at least initially so you can get any needed firmware updates installed. The app works fine on non-Samsung phones and while not crucial for pairing or using the Bud Pro, do contain some settings you may want to adjust from time to time.
Q: How is the call quality compared to the original Buds?
A: I couldn't tell you, but as I said in response to another question, I found the call quality quite good.
Q: Are there any in-ear stabilization options, like ear "fins," etc.?
A: No. Samsung includes 3 ear tip sets in the box, in 3 sizes.
Q: I have the Buds+. Is the Pro's sound worth the upgrade?
A: I haven't used the Buds+, so it's hard to say, but I've seen the Bud Pro audio compared to far pricier TWEs like those from Sennheiser and Bose. My guess is you'd find a substantial upgrade here.
Q: How is the latency for watching movies on a phone or a PC? The delay on my Pixel Buds is killing me.
A: Probably no better than the Pixel Buds, sadly. It's there and it's noticeable.
Q: What is the battery life of the buds on single charge?
A: I managed around 4 hours with ANC turned on. It's probably less if you really crank the volume up.
Wallpaper of the Week
Every week, we share one free, professionally photographed wallpaper with all of our newsletter subscribers. If you'd like to receive free wallpapers like this one, subscribe to the Android Police Newsletter. Don't worry, just like our wallpapers, the newsletter is 100% free.
Deal of the week: Pixel 4a 5G
By many accounts, the Pixel 4a 5G is the Pixel to get from 2020, packing many of the same features as its pricier Pixel 5 sibling — plus a larger screen — at a fraction of the cost. For a limited time, you can buy a new Pixel 4a 5G for $459.99 ($40 off) at multiple retailers. Here are the complete details.
Even more stories for you
- The iPhone 12 Mini has Ryne yearning for an equally tiny (and competent) Android phone.
- Corbin rounded up all the devices released at CES 2021 that came with Google Assistant support.
- Corbin also has you covered on all the Alexa-enabled devices that dropped at CES.
- Kent has the scoop on every new Chromebook and Chromebox announced at CES 2021.
- Corbin reviewed the LG K22, and it was a better device than its ultra-low price tag suggested.
- Ryan took the Moto G Power (2021) for a spin, and this thing is all about that honkin' battery.
- David spent some considerable time with the Galaxy Buds Pro, and they're the AirPods Pro for Android you've been waiting for.
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