The Galaxy S7 Edge is the current highlight of Samsung's smartphone lineup... and boy, don't they know it. The 32GB version of the phone goes for approximately $800 unlocked in the US, well above the non-Edge version of the S7 and considerably more expensive than more budget-minded flagships like the Nexus 6P or the Moto X. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck when it comes to deal hunting. Right now an eBay vendor is offering the international, unlocked, dual-SIM version of the S7 Edge for just $669.99 . Silver, gold, and black models are available.
Saygus, the company that really will have an actual smartphone for sale any day now, they totally promise, has some more promises for you. A press release issued at Mobile World Congress lays out a series of improvements to the crowdfunded V-Squared phone, which should be easy to implement since the phone still isn't finished despite a first quarter manufacturing target. No less than four, count 'em, four new features have been introduced since... last year's Mobile World Congress. The fact that Saygus has missed multiple ship dates between now and then is conspicuously absent from the press release.
Those features are "waterproofing" (an interesting claim, since every other manufacturer has the sense to cover their asses with the term "water-resistant"), Android 6.0 software, dual-SIM card slots (a popular feature for unlocked and low-cost phones outside the US), and a USB Type-C port, a la that OnePlus 2.
We're well past the point where any Android enthusiast would be expecting (or perhaps more accurately hoping) that his or her phone will be getting an update full of Marshmallowy goodness, perhaps delivered by some confectionary fairy. Alas, for owners of the Xperia C4 and Xperia C5 Ultra, it's a bag full of Lollipops instead. Both phones are now being updated by Sony to Android 5.1, a version of the OS which we'll remind you is now almost a year old.
Both phones began receiving their respective software late last night, at least according to the updated pages on Sony's support site.
Remember when a low-cost phone meant something you were kind of embarrassed to pull out in front of your judgmental in-laws? A tiny screen, a chunky plastic body, and a processor with about as much kick as a grasshopper with polio - you'd be lucky if you could get Angry Birds to run on the thing. That's no longer the case - there are plenty of phones available for under $200 that look downright swanky. Case in point: the new VIBE S1 Lite, which Lenovo announced at CES in Las Vegas. It's quite a looker, and according to Lenovo, it will sell for around $199 USD.
The CyanogenMod ROM development team continues to add to its ever-expanding range of officially-supported devices. Today we get a little-known variant from a huge manufacturer and a huge phone from a little-known manufacturer (outside of China, anyway): the dual-SIM version of HTC's 2014 flagship One M8, and Xiaomi's Mi4, respectively.
No doubt about it, the mid-range market is heating up, even in places where unlocked and contract-free phones have typically undersold. This morning Chinese smartphone maker Huawei announced the Ascend P8 Lite, a new offering for the US that has its sights set on competitors like the Moto G. The $250 phone is available right now from Huawei's online store in black or white, and it doesn't look like the company is interested in selling through conventional carriers.
When I was in Istanbul last week, I saw street vendors waving selfie sticks (aka the wand of Narcissus) and offering for a few liras to hold your phone so you can take a selfie from a better angle. If something hits the hawker market, it's safe to say that it's pervasive and in-demand. That's the angle that the newly announced Sony Xperia C4 is coming from. Sony even has a name for all the cool selfles that this smartphone can take — PROselfies. Because regular selfies aren't enough.
The recipe for cooking up a PROselfie involves a 5MP 25mm wide-angle lens with Sony's Exmor R sensor, a soft LED flash, and HDR for balancing the exposure as much as possible and capturing both you and your background clearly.
Cerberus is a popular app that extends Android's tracking and anti-theft abilities with a host of new tools. Developer LSDroid tends to release updates often, and the latest one fixes an important bug and adds a few more features. Notably, Cerberus can now disable your phone's ability to lower the status bar on the lockscreen, where the Quick Settings menu displays by default in Android 5.0 and 5.1. That will keep thieves from easily disconnecting from Wi-Fi or data networks.
The AutoTask function has been extended to work with various Bluetooth triggers. AutoTask can react to certain conditions like an incorrect PIN or a low battery setting by enabling or disabling certain functions, or locking down the phone.
Android 5.1 is still only available on a limited number of Android One phones, but a few interesting tweaks are already on display. One feature that seems tailor-made for Android One has to do with the dual-SIM capabilities. Android 5.1 includes the ability to set a different dialer theme color for each SIM so you'll know which one you're using to place calls.
Sony's smartphones and tablets have had a nearly universal aesthetic over the last few years, focusing on hard angles and monochromatic designs. It's a good look, but the company seems to be shaking things up a bit with the low-end Xperia E4. This budget device translates Sony's industrial design into a softer, curvier plastic body. The white version is two-toned, Nexus-style, with a white housing and black screen bezel. Other touches, like the middle-mounted power button, are more familiar.
The phone uses a five-inch screen and a qHD LCD panel - that's a little q, 960x540, not the other QHD.