Perhaps you've thought about rooting your OnePlus 5, but thought again when you heard SafetyNet would prevent you from using apps like Google Pay, Pokémon GO, or Netflix. Those are valid struggles when you root using traditional methods. There are no such worries when using Magisk, as it masks the fact that your device has been modified.
For some Android users, this guide is sacrilege — but for others, iOS is just an attractive operating system that can be admired without feeling like you've betrayed your own phone. If you're one of those Galaxy Note 9 owners that have peeked across the aisle and desired an interface as clean as the one on the iPhone XS Max, you can configure your Note 9 to look like its rival with some tinkering.
After the limited initial release of the massively popular game on the Android platform, many users have been stuck waiting to play Fortnite. That's because, initially, Epic Games only released the game to Samsung Galaxy devices, and asked non-Samsung users to join an invite list. Well, the wait is finally over.
Late last year, we got a little surprise from Razer. The gaming company released its first smartphone, and as expected, it targeted gamers. Branded as a gaming phone, it started a trend which several other companies followed soon after, including ASUS, Xiaomi, and even Samsung. So as you can imagine, many are excited about its successor.
The Pixel 3 XL versus Galaxy Note 9. Stock Android versus Samsung Experience. When I began this comparison, I thought the Pixel 3 XL would be unfairly outmatched. But after looking at the specs side-by-side, you'll see a different picture. This year, Google delivered a worthy alternative to Samsung's best offering.
Besides the Apple vs. Samsung competition, few battles are as vocal as the battle between the best Pixel and best iPhone. This year, it's the Pixel 3 XL and iPhone XS Max, two phones that are equipped with minor hardware updates from their predecessors, though both showcase significant OS-level improvements.
The battle between the Pixels and the iPhones has been heating up over the last few years, and this year's bout is the best one yet, with Google's Pixel 3 taking on Apple's iPhone XS.
With all the controversy around the Pixel 3 XL, the regular-sized Pixel 3 might be the phone of choice for most users. Thanks to the huge boost in screen size, the little brother is now an easier pickup for those who like a bigger screen. And once more, the internals are the same, giving you the same experience as the 3 XL without the display notch.
Ever since the announcement of the Razer Phone, a wave of gaming smartphones started to hit the market. With ASUS being such a big name in gaming, it made sense for them to throw their hat in the ring. The result is the ROG Phone. And with this first try, ASUS has topped the rest, creating a gaming phone others should try to emulate.
The Pixel 2 XL had what Google called a circular polarizer to ensure the screen would be visible from any orientation while wearing polarized sunglasses. They made a pretty big deal out of it at their 2017 event, but in 2018, there was no mention of whether or not this feature would return in the Pixel 3. It did.
In this jam-packed October, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has flown under the radar in the US. Due to Huawei's lack of presence in the States, many are unfamiliar with the second largest OEM in the world. Huawei has continuously put out amazing mobile devices, and this year they released a phone that's nearly perfect on paper.
The "controversial" Pixel. No phone in the history of Google's Pixel lineup deserves this title more than the Pixel 3 XL. For some (including myself), the design is a welcome change that embodies the modern design of 2018 flagship phones. For others, it has an ugly huge display notch that destroys symmetry.
Even with all the success HMD had with reviving the Nokia brand in 2017, it seems their second year is shaping up to be even better. Nokia has been steadily releasing sequels to last year's lineup, most with the new minimal bezel design language. The Nokia 7.1 is just their latest creation.
One of the issues with rooting your device is the inability to update your phone via OTA. Any security patches or software updates pushed out by the OEM are lost because your bootloader is unlocked. However, you still can update your device, it just a take a bit more effort.
Sorry Samsung. I know you really wanted Bixby to be the next Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa — but it just isn't. Burying the option to disable the app won't change that. Sure, Bixby has some redeeming qualities, but there are many of us who don't want it shoved down our throats. We'll show you how to disable the app to prevent it from launching every time you try to access just about anything.
Although the Galaxy Note 9 is an amazing phone, many members of the Android community won't even look at it. This isn't just because of the Samsung Experience skin, but the large amount of bloatware that comes with this device. However, with a little work, you can remove all of it.
Many apps claim to record phone calls on Android, but very few actually deliver. There's just too many different devices floating around out there for one app to be able to support them all — or so it would seem.
Despite its rocky start, the Essential PH-1 has a lot going for it. Not only does it get consistent security patches and system updates hours after the Pixels, but like the Google-developed lineup, it's also great for rooting. Not only is your warranty not void with rooting, but the process is pretty straightforward.
When you unlock the bootloader on your Essential PH-1, you open your device to a host of new possible tweaks. One popular modification is a custom kernel, which can not only speed up your phone, but give you new features that wouldn't be possible otherwise.
For modders, there are few tools more important than TWRP. TeamWin's custom recovery makes flashing mods like Magisk, Xposed, and custom ROMs incredibly easy, and it lets you root your phone at the press of a button. On top of that, it can make complete backups of your phone in case you mess up. That's why, for Essential users, this should be the first mod you add.
When I review apps, I'll oftentimes end up downloading at least one or two "bad" apps that either lied about their functionality or were riddled with ads. These apps, while not as harmful as malware, can still be a major headache. This got me thinking about the other bad apps on the Play Store and how to avoid them.
Despite Huawei's ongoing battle with the US government, the Chinese company has continued to release phones in the US under its Honor brand. The Honor X series has been consistently released for several years, offering midrange specs at ridiculously low pricing, and the Honor 8X is no exception.
Battery drain is a major pain point for Android users, though that promises to change thanks to Android Pie's new Adaptive Battery feature. But Google hasn't said much about the inner workings of this feature, only publicly stating that it uses AI to boost battery life. So we dug in to find out what's really going on under the hood.
Although the Essential PH-1 got off to a rocky start, thanks to steady updates, it has slowly become one of the best Android phones to come out in recent years. For $499, the Essential Phone is a cheaper Pixel, receiving updates almost as soon as the Pixel lineup does. What's more, you get a phone with an easily unlockable bootloader, which is the first step to rooting.
While Android does allow apps to use picture-in-picture mode (PiP), only a handful of apps actually support the feature. Most of the apps that do are video apps. The thing is, PiP is useful for more than just watching videos, and the Galaxy Note 9 has included a way to allow any app to offer a similar feature, video or not.
With the Galaxy Note 9's 6.4-inch AMOLED display, split screen is far more useful since each half of the screen is relatively large. The problem is that there are some noticeable omissions in the list of apps which support the feature. However, Samsung offers a fix for this.
Android does a great job at multitasking. Split-screen mode and picture-in-picture are terrific at letting you manage more than one app at a time. But there are some limitations. For instance, when you're playing a video and you open a second video in split-screen, the first one pauses. Thankfully, Samsung has a fix for this.
For the majority of phones, Android's volume rocker is wrong. A large vocal part of the Android community wishes the volume buttons' default control was the media volume, not the ringer. Although the Galaxy Note 9 is in the "wrong" camp, Samsung has included multiple ways to change it.
Thanks to Android Pie's gesture controls, features like split screen mode now take several additional steps to activate. This change is due to the revamped navigation bar which removed the recents apps button. Luckily, we can still change it back.
For some, the Galaxy Note 9's volume rocker doesn't have enough steps between silent and max volume. We all have different preferences for volume, and a higher number of steps would equal to more precise volume control. Good thing we can at least adjust this for the media volume.
One option you won't find buried in the Galaxy Note 9's Settings is the ability to return the navigation bar to black. Samsung changed the default color to white with the Note 8, removing any ability to bring the black color back. But thanks to a neat app, Note 9 users can do it themselves.
Despite a very vocal distaste for Bixby, Samsung continues to push their voice assistant on customers. For many, the button is not only a waste, but placed perfectly for accidental presses. While it appears Samsung has no intention of giving up on Bixby, with the help of an excellent app, you can get rid of it yourself.
Late last year, we got a little surprise from Razer. The gaming company released its first smartphone, and as expected, it targeted gamers. Branded as a gaming phone, it started a trend which several others companies followed soon after, including ASUS, Xiaomi, and even Samsung. So as you can imagine, many are excited about its successor.
After the first image leaked of the upcoming successor to the Razer Phone, many were taken aback by its design, specifically how familiar it was. Last year's Razer already stood out with its boxy design and large bezels, and many thought the successor would change this. It didn't. But what if the reason for the familiar form factor is a project they teased earlier in the year?
If you haven't heard, another big OEM has decided to drop the headphone jack. OnePlus, the hero of the people, has just announced that the OnePlus 6T will not have the popular port. With this decision, audiophiles and others are limited to just three big-name options.
Just because Developer Options is hidden by default doesn't mean you shouldn't unlock it. While for rooters its benefit are obvious, even for the average user it opens the door for tools which enhance your experience. From animation speed to improving gaming graphics, Developer Options has something for everyone.
Earlier this year, Samsung released the Galaxy J3 and J7 to select markets. These two devices are the latest in the J series, Samsung's super-budget series that tries to rewrite what it means to be a budget phone. Now, starting September 14th, you will be able to get them GSM unlocked.
Samsung makes more than just the Galaxy S and Note series. With a large portion of the world not able to afford phones with flagship specs, Samsung makes several different series that focus on price. The latest is the Galaxy A6, a budget option with a flagship feature.
Samsung Experience isn't for everyone. While it's a far cry from the TouchWiz days, it is still too heavy of a skin for Android purists. But you shouldn't let that dissuade you from a powerful device that checks nearly all other boxes — there are ways to make the Galaxy Note 9's software look and feel almost exactly like stock.
Xiaomi made a new phone with their sights set on picking up some ex OnePlus users. As a result, the Pocophone F1, or just Poco in some markets, is quite unlike most other Xiaomi phones. While you can't buy the F1 in stores in the US, you can get its home screen app on almost any phone right now.