Android Police

Editorials

21

The time for a pair of OnePlus true wireless Bullets earbuds is now

When OnePlus announced the Bullets Wireless Z earlier this week, we already knew we were in for a new generation of the company's neckbuds. And perhaps the most compelling thing about them is the price: they're just $50 (free if your pre-ordered a OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro), and you can probably expect the same respectable sound and strong battery life previous generations have offered. But in 2020, neckbuds are decidedly not the kind of audio accessory befitting a $900 smartphone: it's true wireless or bust, OnePlus, and everyone knows it.

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102

Android's backup and restore features still haven't caught up to the iPhone

Android’s built-in backup system has improved immensely over the years, but it still falls short in a number of key areas, leading to much frustration for users. Its shortcomings are even more apparent when compared with Apple’s iCloud backup for iPhones, which — while not perfect — is better at copying over app data so users don’t have to spend hours setting up a new phone.

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26

OnePlus still makes using Android 10's dark mode needlessly annoying

Ever since the company's short-lived relationship with Cyanogen, Inc. collapsed, OnePlus has shipped a custom build of Android called OxygenOS on its phones. It's generally regarded as one of the best manufacturer skins, since it adds useful features on top of stock Android, while not modifying the core Android experience (which can sometimes break apps). However, there is one aspect of OxygenOS that is a clear regression compared to stock Android: dark mode.

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96

6 months with Face Unlock on the Pixel 4: Anecdotes, surprises, and disappointments

Although some form of face unlocking has been available on Android for years now, the secure method that relies on IR only started popping up on devices in the last year or two. Adoption of the feature has skyrocketed in recent times, and Google finally added face authentication to the biometrics API in Android 10. Since most flagships are now launching with no fingerprint scanner and just face unlock as a security method — to the joy and dismay of many — I decided to step back and take a look at my personal experience with the feature.

If you've used face unlock before, be it on an iPhone or other Android device, my observations should be very obvious to you.

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89

Google completely ruined shared folders in Drive (Update: Workaround, Google shares longterm plan)

Several weeks ago, Google rolled out a change to Drive that lets you create shortcuts to files and folders. The feature had been in testing since August 2019, and its goal is to help you better organize shared files and folders without duplicating them, thus saving you storage and reducing the redundancy and confusion when you move things around. However, this seemingly benign improvement has completely ruined shared folders for anyone who syncs Drive locally to their PC or Mac.

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153

Sorry Huawei, the P40 Pro without Google apps is just too broken to live with

When Huawei launched the P30 Pro this time last year, we knew it could be the last for some time to ship with a full-fat version of Android. Huawei had been added to the US Entity List as a result of the intensifying trade war with China, and the company's ability to do any kind of business with Google and other US firms had been severely limited. Even so, David called the P30 Pro the “world’s best camera phone” in his review and Huawei's photography credentials have only been strengthened since then — the more recent Mate 30 Pro competed directly with the Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 for the honor of best smartphone camera.

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34

After using a Netgear Orbi mesh router for a year, I can wholeheartedly recommend it

Frequent readers of Android Police may have noticed me mention a few times how slow and limited my home internet connection is. In ideal circumstances, it maxes out at 16Mbps; on regular days, it's half of that, and that's considered good for Lebanon. There are places where you can barely get 2Mbps. One single gadget has made that speed tolerable in 2020: the Netgear Orbi mesh router.

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65

Public webcams show just how empty coronavirus has made our world

With quarantines being imposed in many countries across the world, I've been wondering what our planet must look like right now. Empty streets, empty squares, empty towns, everything just... empty. If you surveyed from above, would it seem like humans have deserted Earth or are there still signs of our lives, if you looked closely? Then it occurred to me that I can easily snoop in on the world from the safety of my couch and discover its new, unprecedented facet with all the signs of civilization but no people. I started looking at live public CCTV camera apps and feeds and, after spending hours lost in the desolate streets, I ended up liking three apps, each for a different reason.

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60

Nest outages prove that the smart home needs a local fallback

Google's Nest service has been down once, twice, thrice, four times, no, scratch that, at least five times in five months, four of which were in the last few weeks. A similar thing happened toward the end of 2018. After each failure, a fix, an apology, more disgruntled users, and hours lost without any security recording for owners of the brand's cameras. Seeing the same headline with the same story every day proves that we can't solely rely on remote servers for the smart home, and local fallbacks need to be the first feature baked in, not an afterthought or a bonus.

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