The Pixel and Pixel XL both use AMOLED screens, which are noted for their deeper blacks and sharper contrast ratios when compared to traditional LCD panels. However, AMOLED displays still have one fairly major downside, and that's the fact that they're vulnerable to screen burn-in.
Google's own devices have always been the first to get new Android features—but unlike the Nexus series, this year's Pixel phones have a handful of exclusive tweaks that were never intended to trickle down to other devices once the newer Android version rolled out to them. These Pixel exclusives include the Google Assistant, a new launcher, and, of course, a unique set of on-screen navigation buttons.
Now that Android Nougat lets you add your own custom Quick Settings tiles, your pull-down menu is probably getting a lot more crowded than it used to be, with all sorts of new and useful toggles. But the trouble is, you can only add up to nine entries before your Quick Settings tiles spill over into a second pane that you have to access by swiping, and that's not exactly "quick."
Android is a highly customizable operating system. Sometimes, we use these capabilities to add core functionality or streamline the user experience, but there are other times when customization is just about having fun and making your smartphone's interface more enjoyable.
Considering that Google makes Android, it's rather strange that the operating system doesn't have a baked-in solution for doing a reverse image search. Sure, you can long-press pictures in Chrome to search for other instances of a photo, but it's not possible with pictures you find in other apps, or photos you've downloaded to your phone.
Almost every Android device comes with a Google search bar embedded directly into its stock home screen app. But Google search is available in so many different places on Android that having this bar in your launcher is almost overkill. On top of that, Google recently changed the logo overlay to a more colorful one that may clash with your home screen theme, so there's plenty of reasons to dislike this feature.
If you have a long commute, it only makes sense to catch a bit of shuteye while you're headed to work on the train or bus. The only problem with this is that, if you're napping a little too hard, you might end up oversleeping and missing your stop when the subway pulls into your station.
How To: Get CyanogenMod's 'Caffeine' Feature to Keep Your Screen Awake Longer at the Press of a Button
Sometimes it's the smallest feature in your smartphone that makes the biggest difference in user experience. Take screen timeout, for instance. You can probably think of plenty of times when your handset's display blacked out while you were in the middle of something. You could have been cooking with a recipe on the screen or looking at chords while you learned a new riff on your guitar.
If you're ever in a major accident or have a bout with acute onset health problems, first responders will need to know as much information about you in order to provide proper care. For this reason, paramedics and firemen have been trained to search a subject's cell phone to find ICE (in case of emergency) contacts that know your allergies, blood type, and other vital details.
Android is Google's project, so of course you can see the search giant's fingerprints all over the operating system. Aside from the obvious user-facing apps, there's Google Cloud Messaging, Google Connectivity Services, and the much-maligned Google Play Services running in the background, to name a few.
If your phone has an AMOLED display, it doesn't waste any battery to power black portions of the screen. This is because the individual pixels that make up an AMOLED screen emit their own light, which means the backlight you'd find behind a traditional LCD screen is not present. In other words, showing a full-screen black image on an AMOLED phone is like turning your display completely off.
Nintendo's first ever game for Android has finally touched down (unless you actually count the abomination that is Miitomo). Fire Emblem Heroes, a classic turn-based RPG optimized for mobile gaming, has come out for Android and iOS in Australia, Europe, and Japan, and is due out in North America and other worldwide locales very soon. Due to Nintendo's staggered release, the game isn't available to us in the United States at the time of this writing, but fret not—there's another way to downloa...
The YouTube app for Android doesn't exactly offer the greatest user experience. For one thing, it opens to an arbitrary "Home" tab instead of your subscriptions, so you see a list of what YouTube thinks you want to watch instead of your favorite channels. In addition to that, videos are loading at a mere 144p playback resolution for many users lately, which is downright terrible quality.
Emoji, emojis, smilies, or smileys—whatever you want to call them, those little yellow icons have firmly implanted themselves in the human lexicon. However, just like with localized languages and dialects, emoji can be very different from one another depending on the device or operating system you're using.
For years now, Xiaomi's smartphones, as well as any phone running Xiaomi's MIUI ROM, have had a subtle feature that makes the interface look all the more refined: Rounded display corners. But now, LG and Samsung are reportedly getting in on the rounded corners craze, as the upcoming Galaxy S8 and LG G6 have both been tipped to feature a subtle curve at the corners of their screens.
Android has separate volume levels for various system sounds like incoming calls, notifications, alarms, and media. This means that when you want to adjust volume levels for just one of these categories, you usually have to press the physical volume rocker, tap a button to expand the volume menu, find the category that you want to adjust, then finally raise or lower the volume.
The iPhone has a handy feature called AssistiveTouch that lets you quickly adjust volume, lock your screen, rotate your display, and even navigate through the phone's interface using a virtual home button. In a way, it's a lot like the on-screen navigation bar that you'll find on some Android devices, but with a lot more functionality, and bundled together in a floating bubble interface.
One of the biggest things that differentiates Android from iOS is the app drawer. Instead of the operating system just tossing all of your app icons into a cluttered heap on your home screen, most can be tucked away neatly in the app drawer, which, in essence, is very similar to the Windows Start menu.
Android apps check your system locale settings to determine which language they should display. For the most part, it's a seamless experience—except for those times when an app has not been translated into your language of choice, in which case the app will usually default to English.
If you have multiple Bluetooth accessories, Android's volume system can be pretty annoying. For one thing, most phones reset to a "Safe Volume Level" every time you reconnect a pair of headphones, which means you'll probably need to turn up the volume once or twice a day. But even if your phone doesn't exhibit this obnoxious behavior, you might want your car's Bluetooth connection to be louder than, say, your home stereo or your wireless earbuds.
According to a study done by internet provider Tencent, a whopping 27.44% of Android users root their phones. With over 1.4 billion Android devices out there, that works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million rooted phones and tablets. In other words, there may very well be more rooted Android devices than there are Americans, so root nation is an important demographic that deserves being catered to.
Android's notification system is quite robust, especially now that Google added bundled notifications and quick reply features to Android 7.0 Nougat. However, things can still get quite cluttered when you have several unread messages, which fills your status bar with icons and makes your notification tray take up half of the screen by itself.
With smartphone makers ditching the headphone jack in the hopes of a truly wireless future, we're having to rely on Bluetooth devices like earbuds and headphones more and more. But the downside here is that these devices aren't physically connected to your phone in any way, which makes it way too easy to leave an important accessory behind.
Locking individual apps on your Android device gives you an added layer of security by safeguarding app data from unwanted attention. I personally prefer using an app locker over a standard lock screen because my kids play with my phone, and they've completely disabled it after inputting the wrong PIN. So app lockers give me the right balance between giving my children access to my device, and the security of locking down my data from would-be intruders.
Let's say you gave your Wi-Fi password to your neighbor a while back, under the assumption that they'd only use it while they were at your house sharing stuff via Chromecast. But now, your connection is slower than it normally should be, and you have this sneaking suspicion that the dude in apartment 3C is flat-out piggybacking off of your home network.
Everyone loves sharing pictures and quick video clips with Snapchat, but while the service itself is tons of fun, the Android app is one of the worst on the market. For one, Snapchat takes terrible photos even on high-end Android phones. And to make matters worse, the app is a notorious data-sucking battery drainer.
If your mechanical home button or capacitive navigation keys are on the fritz, doing something as simple as navigating your phone's interface becomes a tedious chore. In this situation, some users have turned to root mods that enable Android's software navigation bar to solve the problem, but not everyone is willing or able to root their device.
Android 7.0 Nougat brought a lot of multitasking improvements along with it, but the most notable addition is a unified multi-window mode (which shines bright in Google's Pixel phones). This means that every Android device can now use the same split-screen interface, and the days of software fragmentation caused by differing multi-window implementations by LG and Samsung are now over.
Ever since QuickPic was sold to a known adware company, there's been a glaring need for lightweight and fast third-party gallery apps on Android. For the folks that don't want to use Google Photos and other cloud-based solutions, a gallery app that loads your locally-stored pictures quickly without taking up much storage space is the best possible fit.
Ever since the update that turned Google Keyboard into Gboard rolled out, a lot of people have been noticing that word suggestions and auto-correct features are downright slow. The issue seems to affect users with multiple languages installed more than anyone, though it can also happen if you have a midrange phone or older device with only one language installed.
If you have a mobility impairment that affects your hands, arms, or manual dexterity, a smartphone's touch-based interface can almost be a barrier between you and the mobile internet. Eye-tracking software requires too much computing power for today's smartphones to handle, so it might seem as though there's no good way to interact with an Android device.
After months of it being exclusive to iOS devices, Google finally made their popular Gboard app available for Android phones and tablets. It's a snappy keyboard with the power of Google search built right in, which allows you to search for and share images and GIFs right from your favorite messaging app.
Starting in October, many Nexus 6P users have been experiencing a bug that causes their phone to completely shut down, even though there was 20% or more battery life remaining. At first, it was thought to be a direct result of the recent Android Nougat update, but a combination of factors indicate that this isn't necessarily the case—or, at least, it's not the only problem.
Cyanogen, Inc., the for-profit company that spun off from its CyanogenMod roots several years ago, has announced that they're shutting down all of their services. The company's impending demise shouldn't directly impact many Android users, but the announcement does have one major repercussion: The servers that used to host the popular CyanogenMod custom ROM have now been shut down.
If you were a particularly good little girl or boy this year, Santa might have finally brought you that cool new smartphone you've been wanting. Or perhaps you just took advantage of a great sale and treated yourself to a new gadget this holiday season—totally justifiable, and surely a well-deserved gift.
WhatsApp recently updated their emojis (or emoji, depending on your preference), but it wasn't exactly a welcome change. Many users have complained that the new smilies are just way too big, others aren't too fond of the shinier appearance, and countless folks have been venting their frustrations on Twitter.
If you need to do some hardcore multitasking on your Windows PC, a second monitor can go a long way towards getting things done. If you opt to "extend" your Windows desktop across a dual monitor setup, it's as if you have two computers side by side, with each display getting its own set of windows and programs that can be open simultaneously.
Thanks to live-streaming video and social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, we're all on camera nowadays. Unfortunately, though, we don't have a script to work with when we're shooting selfie videos, so it's hard to come off as perfectly eloquent when you're just freestyling off the top of your head.
With the exception of New York, D.C., and maybe San Francisco, public transportation in the United States is downright abysmal. Like it or not, you need a car to get around. This is why Uber and Lyft have seen so much success in recent years. Both ride sharing services get you from point A to point B in an efficient manner, and they do it without costing an arm and a leg. Well, in most cases.
YouTube is a great place for all your mainstream audio and video needs. Too bad you can't simply plug in your headphones, choose a playlist, and put your phone back in your pocket. Oh wait, you can... with YouTube Red and its absurd $9.99/month pricing for ad-free and background playback.