- Top 8 cases for the One Plus One
- Android Authority this week
- Nexus 5 International giveaway!
- 10 popular cases to protect your Moto E
- The latest Note 4 teaser gives us a glimpse of the phone
- 11 best new Android apps released in August 2014
- AT&T continues to threaten cities with lawsuits unless given what they want
- MPAA pushes site-blocking as a way to deal with piracy
- Xiaomi Mi 4 review – a very solid offering
- Video: detailed 4.7-inch iPhone mockup compared to Android flagships
The OnePlus One may be one of the hardest phones that money can buy but that’s not the same for the cases, money is accepted. We’ve put together a list of 8 of the top cases on the market today for the OnePlus One. There are two official cases made by OnePlus One, the protective case which is a minimal case that doesn’t bulk up your phone but adds some color. Then they have the official flip cover case which works with your phone so when you open the case the phone awakens.What is your favorite OnePlus One case?
1ORIGINAL FLIP COVER FOR ONEPLUS ONE
This flip case is one of the official cases made by OnePlus for the OnePlus One. It features a shock absorbent plastic layer with resistant premium Bi-cast leather, while the interior is made of soft velvet for the backside of your phone to have a comfortable place to rest on. The case is crafted to be resistant to shocks, falls, dampness and scratches. Your phone will automatically unlock* as soon as you flip open the front side. The volume button and the lock button be reached as easily either the flip cover closed or open. The backside of the case has an opening for the camera and the flash, and the front side will leave the loudspeakers unblocked, you can take beautiful images and talk to your friends, hassle free. It comes with different colors to choose from.
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Flip / Folio MATERIAL: Leather (polyurethane) RUGGED FEATURES: Anti-slip, Impact-resistant, Scratch-resistant SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Precise cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Precise cutouts), Molded buttons AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, Blue, Orange, White, Yellow TEXTURE / FINISH: Leather grain, Rubberized (Soft touch or soft feel)
2ORIGINAL PROTECTIVE CASE FOR THE ONEPLUS ONE SMARTPHONE
The OnePlus One protective case is barely noticeable while being used, yet gives quite a bit of protection and style to your smartphone. It is made of high quality polycarbonate (PC) that specifically distributes potential impact on your device throughout the whole surface of the cover, providing protection against sudden drops or bumps. The construction is treated with a hard finish material that is resistant to cracks and scratches. Easy access to the camera, and just enough space for the volume and lock buttons together with lines and curves meticulously adapted to the case. This protective clear case is easily bendable and flexible in all different ways, almost unbreakable. The slimness of the case compliments the phone as if the case is part of the device.
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Hard Shell, Skin MATERIAL: Hard plastic, Polycarbonate RUGGED FEATURES: Impact-resistant, Scratch-resistant SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Generic cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Generic cutouts) AVAILABLE COLORS: Green (Mint), Orange, White, White [Transparent], Yellow
3DAYJOY ULTRA THIN ALUMINUM BUMPER CASE FOR ONEPLUS ONE
Aluminum is one of the finest metals when it comes to strength and weight, and DayJoy has capitalized on that quality with its line of OnePlus One Aluminum Bumpers. This bumper case compliments the minimalistic look of the OnePlus One. You can enjoy having the feel and protection of a metal case without interfering with your phone’s reception. Aluminum bumpers are one of the most stylish ways to protect the corners of your new device because the bumper also protrude out from the rear and front just slightly, allowing you to place your phone flat down on a surface without it making direct contact and getting scratched or dirty. Inside the bumper are also soft pads which ensure your OnePlus One doesn’t get scratched up while inside. These are very luxurious cases and will look great on your OnePlus One!
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Basic MATERIAL: Aluminum RUGGED FEATURES: Impact-resistant, Scratch-resistant SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Precise cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Precise cutouts) AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, Blue, Gold (Metallic), Pink, Red, White TEXTURE / FINISH: Metal
4TUDIA ULTRA SLIM BUMPER PROTECTIVE CASE FOR ONEPLUS ONE
5BOXWAVE BLACKOUT SLIM-FIT CASE FOR ONEPLUS ONE
6CRUZERLITE BUGDROID CIRCUIT CASE FOR ONEPLUS ONE
7VOSTROSTONE ULTRA-THIN CASE FOR ONEPLUS ONE
8DAYJOY ULTRA THIN SIDE FLIP FOLIO LEATHER CASE FOR ONEPLUS ONE
The countdown to IFA has begun, and more info about the devices coming at the show surfaces every day. This week, Samsung teased us ruthlessly ahead of the Note 4 launch, HTC launched the 64-bit Desire 510 and hinted at the Desire 820, Sony’s new Xperia lineup leaked, LG launched the G3 Stylus, two new smartwatches landed, and Asus reminded us that it too has a wearable coming. At _AA HQ_, we’ve been busy preparing for the big show next week and the good stuff coming later this fall. Tech news is finally picking up again, and we couldn’t be happier! VIDEO ROUNDUP Check out Jayce’s popular weekly Android news roundup! IFA IS A BIG DEAL THIS YEAR Well, IFA is _always _a big deal because it’s the start of the busiest season in tech, the time when all companies put out their best products so they’re ready on the shelves when holiday shopping begins. Yes, the spring season is important too, but it’s the end of the year that _really_ matters. And this year, competition is intense. Not only we have a slew of cool Android devices duking it out against each other, but the long-awaited larger iPhone is going to make the mobile race more interesting than ever. It all starts next week: Note 4, Gear VR, G Watch R, new Moto X and Moto G, new Xperia devices, and more. James Cridland FUN, GAMES, AND A LOT OF HARD WORK Tech blogging can be hugely rewarding , especially if you’re passionate about the things you’re writing about all day. Attending shows like IFA, CES, and MWC is one of the best things about it. You get to interact with the people behind the devices, you get to see cool new toys before most people, and overall it’s just lots of fun. On the flip side, it’s also lots of work, especially if you’re part of a small team. Attending briefings, live-blogging, running from one booth to another (especially at IFA, which takes place at a huge and confusing expo complex), all while writing posts and coordinating with the team back home… it can be challenging at times. But don’t get me wrong – the sleep deprivation is totally worth it! #ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE We did it. Well, some of us did it. Our YouTube team (Kevin, Joe, Josh, Lanh) and our fearless leader Darcy accepted the challenge to get drenched in cold water _and_ donate to the ALS Association (Lahn also donated to Water.org, while Josh thoughtfully took the challenge on a patch of parched grass.) The results are in the video below – check out this post to learn where to donate and support the fight against ALS. COMING UP NEXT Obviously, next week will be dedicated to news from IFA, with the Note 4 front and center. Keep an eye on our tag page for round the clock coverage, and don’t forget about our YouTube channel. Motorola programed its autumn event on September 4, but for some reason it’s in Chicago, not Berlin. Keep an eye out for our Moto X+1 and Moto G2 hands-on impressions. A Gear Live is awaiting its new owner. And a Nexus 5 is going up for stakes through this Sunday Giveaway. Because what’s better than free gadgets? THE STUFF YOU SHOULDN’T MISS Here’s some of our interesting content this week, perfect for some weekend reading: * Preview: Bogdan walks you through the devices we expect to launch at IFA this year * Review: Josh reviews Nvidia’s Shield and he LOVES it * Guide: Snapdragon, Exynos, Tegra, MediaTek – what you need to know about today’s mobile SoCs / * Moonshot: Project Wing, Google’s latest moonshot, is all about drones * Apps: Joe rounds up 11 new apps that are worth your time * Review: What’s the fuss about Xiaomi Mi 4? We find out here TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK And here are the top news in the Android world this week: NOTE 4 RUMOR AND TEASERS: * Note 4 fingerprint features detailed in new leak * Second Galaxy Note 4 teaser is all about the S Pen * Get hyped up with the Galaxy Note 4 QHD wallpaper * Note 4 render lands in our inbox: real or fake?/ HTC GOES 64-BIT * HTC Desire 510, a solid budget-mid range entry to the Desire family * 64-bit capable HTC Desire 510 coming to Sprint, Boost, Virgin Mobile and Cricket * Upleaks: Desire 820 has a Snapdragon 410, HTC has two smartwatches in the works XPERIA Z3 AND 8-INCH TABLET * Latest Xperia Z3 pics show the device from all angles, gives us a peek inside as well * Sony’s 8-inch tablet and new smartwatch leak in promo image * Sony Xperia flagship reportedly coming to Sprint, likely the Z3 G3 STYLUS IS HERE * LG outs specs for the LG G3 Stylus ahead of IFA ASUS TEASERS * Asus teases metal curves in first video of Android Wear-powered ZenWatch * ASUS teases smartwatch, again, and launch event at IFA in Berlin GEAR S AND LG G WATCH R * Curved display SIM-equipped Samsung Gear S made official! * Stunning LG G Watch R announced ahead of IFA! * Did LG out-circle Motorola? Still excited about the Moto 360? * Is the Gear S capable of permanently replacing your smartphone? * Style comes at a cost – G Watch R to cost 100 euros more than G Watch in Europe SOUND OFF We always want to hear your feedback. Whether it’s criticism or praise, feel free to tell us what you think about _Android Authority’s _content, design, and community. Comment here or get in touch with us on our social channels: * AA Forums * Google Plus * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube Happy Sunday!
The Moto E is one of the best priced Android phones on the market but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be protected. In this article we have a list of the best Moto E cases currently on the market. If you are looking to add style to your Moto E you might consider the official Motorola shells and grip shells. These shells snap on the back of your Moto E replacing your current back cover, they won’t offer much in protection but make up for that with style. If protection is important then you could consider the Hyperion Explorer 2 piece rugged case which will give you more protection from drops and scratches.
1MOTOROLA MOTO E SHELLS
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Hard Shell HEIGHT: 7.8 in WIDTH: 2.8 in THICKNESS: 0.5 in WEIGHT: 1.9 oz MATERIAL: Hard plastic AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Red, Violet, White, Yellow
2TUDIA ULTRA SLIM BUMPER PROTECTIVE CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
The Tudia Ultra Slim bumper is a premium thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) flexi-skin that will protect your phone from scratches, scuffs, bumps and keeping it looking new. This long-lasting, durable skin is made with high-grade thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material both protecting and providing soft, comfortable surface to hold design. The melody graphic gives a cool and sleek style to the case. The front part of the case is raised to prevent the screen from getting damage when lay face down. All ports and buttons are easily accessible at your convenience.
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Basic, Skin WEIGHT: 0.3 oz MATERIAL: Rubber, Silicone, Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) RUGGED FEATURES: Anti-slip SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Generic cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Generic cutouts) AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, Blue, Pink, Purple TEXTURE / FINISH: Gel (Jelly), Rubberized (Soft touch or soft feel)
3MOTOROLA MOTO E GRIP SHELLS
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Hard Shell MATERIAL: Hard plastic, Rubber RUGGED FEATURES: Anti-slip, Impact-resistant SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Precise cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Precise cutouts) AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, Blue, Green (Lime), Red, White TEXTURE / FINISH: Rubberized (Soft touch or soft feel)
4TERRAPIN EXTRA SLIM FIT HYBRID CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Hybrid WEIGHT: 0.3 oz MATERIAL: Hard plastic, Rubber RUGGED FEATURES: Impact-resistant SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Generic cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Generic cutouts) AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, Pink (Hot Pink), Red TEXTURE / FINISH: Rubberized (Soft touch or soft feel)
5EXACT X-LINE SOFTGEL FLEXIBLE TPU MOTOROLA MOTO E CASE
DESIGN / STYLE / TYPE: Skin WEIGHT: 2.1 oz MATERIAL: Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) RUGGED FEATURES: Impact-resistant, Shock-absorbent SPECIAL FEATURES: Cutouts for buttons (Precise cutouts), Cutouts for ports (Precise cutouts) AVAILABLE COLORS: Black, White [Transparent] TEXTURE / FINISH: Gel (Jelly), Glossy, Matte
6TUDIA ULTRA SLIM BUMPER PROTECTIVE CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
7EXACT BILLFOLD SERIES CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
8SUPCASE UNICORN BEETLE HYBRID CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
9HYPERION HONEYCOMB MATTE CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
10POETIC FLIPBOOK SERIES COVER CASE FOR MOTOROLA MOTO E
Samsung has been liberal in its use of teasers for the Note 4, and today we’ve got another tantalizing little video drumming up the excitement for the September 3 launch. Like the other ones, this latest clip is focused on the Note 4’s stylus and its capabilities, but this time, we actually get a peek at the device, or actually, at its outline. The silhouette of the device doesn’t reveal much, but it lets us rule out as fake an earlier set of images showing a device with a distinctly squarer shape, as well as the alleged render that landed in our inbox earlier this week. Now that we know what the Note 4 _won’t_ look like, we can only wait for the official reveal next Wednesday. Check out our rumor roundup to get up to speed on all the gossip, and take a gander at our IFA preview for the rest of the exciting stuff coming next week.
August is coming to a close and that means a lot of things are about to happen. IFA is going to show us most of the autumn lineup of smartphones, people are going back to school, and the holiday season is officially almost here. Before all those exciting things happen, let's take a look at the best new Android apps released in August of 2014. ------------------------- BLUR - A LAUNCHER REPLACEMENT [Price: Free with in app purchases] Blur is a new application from the makers of EvolveSMS and Talon for Twitter. It brings with it Google Now Launcher style functionality and alongside Google Now, it allows users and app devs to create cards and customize the experience. It’s brand new but it’s definitely worth a shot if you like Google Now Launcher but wish it could do other things too. ------------------------- DEVICE UNLOCK [Price: Free] T-Mobile’s Device Unlock app is in its infancy right now but it’s primed to be a must have app for T-Mobile subscribers. The app’s premise is simple. It will unlock your device to work on other networks. For now the selection of phones it supports is very slim but eventually it should support more so keep your eye on it. ------------------------- DUET [Price: Free / $3.00] Duet is a fun minimal brain teaser game where you control two balls that revolve around a central point. You must spin the balls to avoid obstacles and continue on. The game features a bunch of levels for free and you can get more stuff if you fork out the $3.00 for the full version. It’s a lot of fun and the core game is free to play so why not try it? ------------------------- GOOGLE NEWS AND WEATHER [Price: Free] The once dead Google News & Weather has come back to life and is now available in the Google Play Store. The revived app also comes with a brand new card UI that brings a modern touch to the old app. It’s free in the Google Play Store right now if you want to give the revamped news and weather app a try. ------------------------- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: TUW [Price: $2.99] One of the best summer blockbusters of the year also came accompanied by a pretty decent mobile game. This is an action adventure game that also has some RPG elements. There are no in app purchases which will appeal to a number of gamers and it’s pretty cheap all things considered. ------------------------- HANGAR [Price: Free with in app purchases] Hangar is an application that essentially puts a small app dock in your notification pane so you can get to your favorite apps more quickly. It’s a great tool for minimalists who don’t like apps on their home screen or people who heavily multitask. You can customize it yourself or let the app choose based on your tastes. ------------------------- LOCKET LOCK SCREEN [Price: Free] Everyone remembers Locket Lock Screen as the app that used to let you tap on advertisements on your lock screen to earn money. Now it’s marching to a different tune as a news aggregator lock screen replacement. It’ll feed you news you want straight to your lock screen for you to check out every time you turn your device screen on. It’s in beta, but it’s also free so it’s worth checking out. ------------------------- SURGEON SIMULATOR [Price: $5.99] Surgeon Simulator is already a classic on PC but it’s not available for Android. In this slightly twisted surgeon game, you’re supposed to operate on people and save their lives. Keywords there are supposed to. In reality you can do pretty much whatever you want and you can have a lot of admittedly grotesque fun with it. It’s a paid game but there are no in app purchases. ------------------------- SWING COPTERS [Price: Free with in app purchases] While I personally dislike this game, I can’t deny that its popularity and ability to kill time by making you hate yourself is something to truly behold. It’s not a fun game but it isn't not fun if that makes sense. It’s free to play and you can hate yourself right along with all the rest of us who have played it. ------------------------- TAPPATH [Price: $0.99] TapPath is a potentially useful application that allows you to control how your device reacts to tapping on links. For instance, a single tap will open the link in a browser while a double tap may add it to Evernote and a triple tap will let you share it on social media. The possibilities are nearly endless and if you deal with third party links a lot then you should totally have TapPath. ------------------------- WALLY [Price: Free] Last and certainly not least this month is Wally. This is a beautifully designed wallpaper app that really shows off the elegance of material design. It has a really good wallpaper selection and it’s just really fun to use. If you want some new wallpapers, give this app a shot. ------------------------- WRAP UP If there were any more awesome apps released in August of 2014 that you'd like to talk about, leave us a comment below and tell us about it!
As this site has mentioned a number of times, it is rather unbelievable to see internet service providers (ISP's) continue to pass on wiring a large portion of the country yet then object to residents in those areas wanting to pay for fast internet themselves. Granted, the ISP's make sure to receive all the tax benefits from those areas whether they are wired or not. Whenever a major ISP is entering a new market, they scream about needing a “level playing field” yet they turn around and do everything they can to make it as difficult as possible for competitors to enter those same markets. AT&T can be seen as a prime example of a company who likes to cry about that "level playing field" yet turn around and threaten that area with a lawsuit if the city doesn't give AT&T whatever it wants. * When citizens in Georgia were tired of having JUST 3 Mbps connections through AT&T DSL with no alternative, AT&T tried to ban competition by claiming that the “rules of the road should be fair.” * When AT&T didn’t want to compete in Wisconsin, they lobbied politicians to try and pass legislation which banned such competition. AT&T whined about fairness and claimed that this bill was just “fiscal responsibility.” * When AT&T's state contract with Mississippi was coming to an end and a number of school districts in Mississippi were complaining heavily about the poor service that AT&T was giving them, AT&T simply got the state government to extend the state contract WITHOUT competitors even having a chance to bid. Oh, and the contract is hidden from the public. When politicians are trying to push through anti-municipal broadband bills and are also accepting donations from the corporate-funded groups, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, should we be surprised when the politicians screw the public for financial purposes?
_“Whatever happened to localism or local control? This amendment means the federal government will tell every local citizen, mayor, and county council member that they may not act in their own best interests. Any such amendment is an attack on the rights of individual citizens speaking through their local leaders to determine if their broadband needs are being met.” - Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), The Hill_Now, we have another shining example of how AT&T deals with local/state governments that are not playing ball with them. According to the Center for Public Integrity, State Sen. Janice Bowling, a Republican from Tullahoma, Tennessee, put forth a bill in Tennessee which would expand a cities ability to offer broadband when an ISP was not servicing that same area. Bowling had this crazy idea due to many of her rural constituents having little to no service from commercial providers, like AT&T and Charter. Meanwhile, a municipal broadband program would offer her constituents speeds about 80 times faster than AT&T and 10 times faster than Charter.
_“We don’t quarrel with the fact that AT&T has shareholders that it has to answer to,” Bowling said with a drawl while sitting in the spacious wood-paneled den of her log-cabin-style home. “That’s fine, and I believe in capitalism and the free market. BUT WHEN THEY WON’T COME IN, then Tennesseans have an obligation to do it themselves.” - Janice Bowling, Center for Public Integrity_Bowling eventually met the state’s three largest telecommunications companies in AT&T, Charter, and Comcast and was pushed to kill the bill. After Bowling refused to kill the bill, AT&T decided to tell Bowling how they would approach the situation if she did not do what AT&T wanted:
_Bowling, described as “feisty” by her constituents, initially beat back the effort and thought she’d get a vote. That’s when JOELLE PHILLIPS, PRESIDENT OF AT&T’S TENNESSEE OPERATIONS, LEANED TOWARD HER across the table in a conference room next to the House caucus leader’s office AND SAID TERSELY, “WELL, I’D HATE FOR THIS TO END UP IN LITIGATION,” Bowling recalls. The threat surprised Bowling, and apparently AT&T’s ominous warning reached her colleagues as well. Days later, support in the Tennessee House for Bowling’s bill dissolved. AT&T had won. - Janice Bowling, Center for Public Integrity_Or how about we ask a local mayor who found his residents to be extremely under-served by the incumbent broadband providers:
_When Tullahoma began planning its fiber optic network in 2004, “it got unpleasant real fast,” said Steve Cope, who was mayor at the time. “When you get into broadband you begin stepping on the toes of some of the big boys, the AT&Ts and Charters of the world. They don’t want the competition, and they’ll do anything to keep it out.” - Center for Public Integrity_As the Center for Public Integrity noted, restrictions are routinely put on the current municipal broadband programs which make those programs all but guaranteed to fail. For example, in a number of states, local incumbent providers get laws passed which force the municipal program to sign up an unrealistic percentage of the population within a short period of time or else the entire thing will be scrapped. When Kansas was considering an extremely restrictive municipal broadband bill, politicians used language written by the state's lobbying group who had members such as Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable. Basically, AT&T wants a free-market system that is free when it helps them and completely restricted when it hurts them. That is why they spent money on hiring 15 lobbyists in the state of Tennessee alone. In Tennessee, AT&T’s giving in the 2014 election cycle was more than $370,000, almost five times what it was in 2000. Source: Center for Public Integrity;
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been trying to figure out a way to curb piracy for many years. It seems that each year, they find a new, idiotic way of going about trying to stop customers from watching their content. Recently, Wired wrote a story detailing the difficulty, and therefore absurdity, of those looking to transfer completely legal files who are faced with a number of obstacles due almost entirely to copyright rules that the MPAA/RIAA have pushed onto the public. But the MPAA seems to have also taken a much sketchier tone in recent threats against MPAA customers. In one instance, TechDirt brought up the fact that the MPAA has been busy trying to act like they have the power to send DMCA notices to those working on Popcorn Time's open source project. In a number of other instances, the MPAA issues massively over-broad DMCA take-down notices to Google and other search engines and web-sites. A recent incident showed the stupidity of the MPAA's attack on public sites that are not well-known until the MPAA brings attention to them. Specifically, the MPAA turned a little-known Reddit sub-forum into a massive sub-forum once the forum got recognition as the place that the MPAA was attacking. Now, the MPAA seems to be of the belief that forcing ISP's to block selected web-sites is the way to stop piracy. As Torrent Freak states, the MPAA has conducted internal research to show that site blocking is effective. Included in the internal MPAA research is this statement:
_“Recent research of the effectiveness of site blocking orders in the UK found that visits to infringing sites blocked declined by more than 90% in total during the measurement period or by 74.5% when proxy sites are included.”_Except, we have no idea where they have gotten this data. As Torrent Freak correctly notes, the MPAA used their own data to come to the conclusion that piracy is being successfully stopped in the UK. TechFleece Then again, this is not exactly new to the MPAA. Two months ago, MPAA boss Chris Dodd stated that ISP blockades are one of the "most effective" ways to stop piracy.
_“Here in the United Kingdom, the balanced and proportionate use of civil procedures has made tremendous progress in tackling infringing websites. To date, access to over 40 pirate sites focused on infringing copyright for commercial gain, have been blocked.” - Chris Dodd_Therefore, it seems reasonable to think that this type of action will be shortly pushed by the MPAA onto US ISP's. I still think that the MPAA should continue support for throwing elderly women out of movie theaters in the hope that they can deter piracy. Source: Torrent Freak;
AT A GLANCEXiaomi is one of the leading OEMs in its home country, but the Chinese company has been pushing for a wider global audience. After finding success in emerging markets in Asia, Xiaomi is now hoping to continue that run with its latest flagship offering, which, at least on paper, should give the current crop of high-end flagships a run for their money. Whether it manages to do so, and more, is what we find out as we take an in-depth look at the Xiaomi Mi 4!
PROS* Great design with a metal frame * Flagship specifications * Vibrant display * MIUI is an unique take on Android * Better than average battery life * High resolution front-facing camera
CONS* Mobile networking can be spotty with HSDPA version * Unremarkable overall camera experience * MIUI is not for everyone
8.0The Xiaomi Mi 4 is the new creation of China's most popular phone manufacturer, and we were anxious to check it out. What you get in the Mi 4 is a great example of Xiaomi's ability to create a flagship - this time, with a metal frame. Plus, it comes in at a pretty great price.
DesignThe Xiaomi Mi 4 joins a growing list of smartphones, particularly out of the Chinese market, that are starting to feature some metal in their build. While it's not the full unibody metal construction that you'd get with the HTC One (M8), the metal skeleton of the Mi 4 contributes not only to the sturdiness of the phone, but also to its good looks. The buttons on the right side are also metallic, with the placement of the power button below the volume rocker making it very to reach. Up top is where you'll find the headphone jack, with the microUSB charging port and a speaker placed on the bottom. The rest of the build material is a glossy plastic, which makes the phone a little slippery, and a little bit of a fingerprint magnet. That said, the size of the phone makes it very easy to handle, with the flat sides of the metal frame allowing for good grip. The 5-inch display has relatively thin bezels around the sides, adding to the slenderness of the device, and one-handed use is also a breeze. The capacitive keys are found below the screen, along with an LED light, that is active when charging the phone. Handling the Xiaomi Mi 4, you definitely get the feeling that it's a sturdy device, and while the look may be somewhat unoriginal, that doesn't mean that it doesn't look good.
DisplayThe Mi 4 features a 5-inch 1080p display, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi, numbers we'd certainly expect from any device that is hoping to compete with current flagships. Colors are quite vibrant, and the contrast allows for some deep blacks, making media consumption and even gaming every bit as good as they should be. Viewing angles are great too, with the image losing fidelity only at extremely sharp angles. If you look closely around the screen though, you'll see a small black line framing the image, which adds to the overall bezel size. It's not a big deal by any means, and is not as big an offender as we've seen on some other displays, but is still something worth making a note of.
PerformanceUnder the hood, you'll find the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The processing package is par for the course when it comes to flagship devices, and offers the kind of power you'll need to do everything, from work to play, easily. Playing games in particular was a lot of fun on this phone, and I noticed little to no slowdowns in even highly processor-intensive games. One game I got sucked into, Shadow Fight 2, not only showcased the gaming prowess of the device, but also showed off the contrast possible on this display. One issue I have to mention is that the upper half of the device did get noticeably warm. While the heat did not affect performance in any way, it did make for a slightly uncomfortable handling experience while gaming.
HardwareWhen it comes to hardware, we start to see the issues with using a Chinese market smartphone outside its home country. For starters, this version of the Mi 4 connects only to HSDPA networks, making the internet experience less than ideal for US audiences. This is something I've faced with other smartphones in the past, but in the case of the Mi 4, I've unfortunately had a lot of connection issues, and have been unable to use mobile networks consistently. That said, a version that is 4G-capable and able to connect to Western mobile networks is coming soon, which is great. When I did find some connectivity, phone calls came in loud and clear. The external speaker at the bottom of the device is also capable performer. When listening to music or playing high-calibre games, sound is quite loud and rich, and I didn't feel the need to reach for my headphones all the time. If you do like to use the external speaker for media consumption, you won't have much to complain about. When it comes to storage, 16 GB and 64 GB variants of the Mi 4 are available, but there is no microSD support. The issue of poor network connectivity unfortunately made it difficult to have any conclusive battery testing, so instead I'll talk about my day to day experience with regards to battery life. Standby time seems to be really great, and letting the phone sit idle for almost an entire day didn't dent battery life. I did do one specific test using a looped season of a TV series at half brightness and volume, and while the phone died before I could get a screenshot of the battery usage, it definitely took at least 8 hours to reach single digits.
CameraThe Xiaomi Mi 4 comes with a 13 MP rear facing camera, and an impressive 8 MP front-facing unit, with the latter being above and beyond anything we've seen from popular flagship smartphones. The software interface is pretty simplistic, and can be changed from a basic to an advanced mode. The advanced mode does add some settings, but switching to it mostly removes the icon labels. Ultimately, functionality is on par with other high-end smartphones, and includes a panorama mode and even a selective focus mode if you want to play with the depth of field. Camera quality is about as standard as you'd expect. In broad daylight, the camera captures detail well, though it might produce the occasional photo that is too bright. The quality starts to taper off once indoors, with grain appearing and getting exponentially worse as the conditions get less than ideal. Colour also loses fidelity in darker situations. The 8 MP front-facing camera does produce some nice large photos, but its colour reproduction leaves quite a bit to be desired. Selfie lovers might love the higher megapixel count, but it doesn't bring anything extraordinary to the table.
SoftwareThe real difference between the Mi 4 and any other flagship device comes to the fore in the software department. While it's based on Android 4.4 Kitkat, much of what you'd expect from an Android-based OS is turned on its head on the Mi 4′s MIUI software. The biggest departure from the norm is the lack of an app drawer. Bubbly icons sprawl across all the homescreens, and the only way to organize them is to use folders. Keeping a clean interface is possible, but if you download a lot of apps, it will take some effort to keep things clean and organized. That aside, menus take on the same simplistic but attractive style, and just about everything moves about in some interesting transitions. Diving in deeper is where you'll find quite a lot of customization, which makes MIUI a hybrid of sorts, where you'll find the rigidity of iOS style homescreens, combined with Android's customization prowess in any other aspect. A powerful theming engine offers a slew of themes and options to personalize your device. The notification dropdown can also be customized by a good amount, with the option to sort icons in rows or grids, and even to show certain additional information, such as your current bandwidth speed. Long press functionality can also be programmed for the capacitive keys. Google Play Services are _not_ available with the Chinese version of the Mi 4, but it's not hard to install it yourself, and luckily, the Play Store was pre-installed on my unit out of the box. It's nice to have to ability to install your own apps, but I did see the Play Store crash quite frequently. Xiaomi's own apps are still in Chinese here, making them impossible to use for anyone who can't read the language. At the very least, you can say that MIUI is continually improving, with updates available on a weekly basis. Ultimately, it's a very attractive operating system that takes a different approach to Android, and shouldn't be discounted just because it doesn't have an app drawer.
SpecificationsDisplay 5-inch IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441 ppi Processor 2.5 GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 RAM 3 GB Storage 16/64 GB, not expandable Camera 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, IR Blaster Battery 3,080 mAh OS MIUI OS based on Android 4.4.3 Kitkat Dimensions 139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm, 149 grams
Pricing and Final ThoughtsThe Mi 4 isn't widely available just yet, but if you do want this phone right now, the currency exchange will make it about $350. That is definitely a great price for a device that has a lot to offer, which is the best way to describe this Xiaomi Mi 4. Of course, you'll have to make sure first that the device works on your mobile network! So there you have it, our Xiaomi Mi 4 review! In the end, this smartphones is another good example of how the Chinese mobile industry is trying to show the world what is capable of. And, in this regard, the Xiaomi Mi 4 is a proof of success. You get a package that is easy on the eyes, and easy to use, thanks to the somewhat controversial take on Android called MIUI. We're seeing a new batch of metal-clad smartphones in the Asian market, and it seems that they're all coming to the US, one way or another. In the case of the Xiaomi Mi 4, we're off to a good start.
Next week will be _intense_, to say the least. If you’re an Android fan, that is, because Apple devotees will have to wait another few days for _their_ big event, the launch of the new iPhone. On September 9, Apple will finally unveil a larger smartphone. Widely expected to be a 4.7-incher, the iPhone 6 will give iOS users what many of them have been openly demanding for years – a large, modern screen. At 4.7 inches, the new iPhone could finally go toe to toe against current Android flagships, most of which feature displays of about 5 inches. In the video below, from YouTuber _Macmixing_, you can get a sense of how the new Apple smartphone will compare to two of the best Android devices out there, the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8). The device in the video is obviously a mockup, but from all the leaks that have hit the web over the past months, we’re pretty sure the production device will look very similarly. And here’s another video from _GadgetJM_ comparing a mockup iPhone 6 with the newly launched Galaxy Alpha. So, what say you? Are you impressed with the new, larger iPhone so far? How about the design? Is there any reason for concern for Android phone makers? Via: Phandroid;