Monday, March 7, 2016

Galaxy S7: 9 Things That Drive Me Nuts

In recent years, we have spent a whole heck of a lot of time talking about the reasons we love certain phones and why you should buy them. We do that because we’re positive people for the most part and would rather spend our time focusing on the good stuff that are a part of a phone or watch package rather than the bad. But that doesn’t mean we don’t run into things that drive us nuts and irritate us to no end. So, because I just can’t help myself sometimes and wanted to have a little fun, I thought we’d give the other side a try to kick off the 2016 smartphone season by taking a look at the things the Galaxy S7 does that make me want to punch a wall. These are the things I can’t stand about the phone.

Now, keep in mind that this post is by no means a thorough review or in any way me telling you not to buy it. As of today, I’m really enjoying the Galaxy S7 and will probably give it mostly incredibly positive remarks in our upcoming review. Instead, think of this as me pointing out the pain points involving TouchWiz, design ideas that Samsung continues to stick to, etc., many of which I can live with but that need a good scolding. That make sense?

Alright, you ready? 

samsung hate-2

1. My lord, the fingerprints.

During my unboxing video of the Galaxy S7, I mentioned that I chose the gold version over the black because I was afraid that the black would be a fingerprint monster that would take my Greasy Smear OCD over the top. While I still think the gold version shows them less prominently, the phone needs to be wiped constantly. As someone who records a lot of video with this phone as the star, man, it’s become a problem.

2. Samsung, your buttons are still in the wrong places.



3. Listen to me the first time, app drawer.

With Samsung’s TouchWiz, the app drawer is arranged out of the box as if a 5-year old were in charge. There are folders you didn’t ask for at the front of it, folders which remove the apps contained within them from the actual app drawer list of apps (WHY?), making it impossible to find them unless you go into the obnoxious folders you didn’t ask for. Outside of disastrous decisions like that, the app drawer is also almost always not in alphabetical order. Why that is, I cannot explain for the life of me. Doesn’t it make sense that if you open an app drawer, you’ll be able to find things faster if they are in some sort of order, typically one that runs A-Z? Samsung doesn’t think so. In order to get it alphabetically sorted, you have to hit this little A-Z button, then confirm that you indeed do want to “save” it that way, as if you are doing it wrong.

samsung hate2-3 samsung hate2-4 samsung hate2-2

But get this. Every time you install a new app or remove one, the f*cking thing doesn’t re-sort alphabetically. Nope. It puts the newly installed at the back of the drawer, which is the furthest place away from where you probably attempted to find it. And if you were to uninstall one, it just leaves a blank space instead of pushing all of the apps up one slot. So then if you want everything back to normal, you have to hit the A-Z button again to re-sort, manually. AND SAVE IT. Wtf, Samsung?

4. App drawer button location.

I don’t have a baby thumb. I also don’t have a 1-inch thumb. Asking me to press this dotted-white button to get to all of my apps gives me a hand cramp every single time. Put the button in the center where my thumb casually rests without effort. At the very least, let me move the damn thing.

samsung app drawer

5. The folder situation is a mess.

I try not to be the most anal of all, but I do like to keep a clean home screen and folder setup. Samsung, well, it’s just trying to give me a headache at this point. Look at this mess of a folder situation.

samsung hate2

Why is there a “+” button there at all times? I don’t want that there. There could be an app there! Not only that, but it’s throwing off my balance in some crazy sort of way because I have 3 apps in two rows and only 2 in another…along with this stupid “+” button. Also, if I were to put another app there, look at what happens.

samsung i hate you


Now I have a new line that needs more apps in order to have balance. BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY MORE APPS TO PUT IN THIS FOLDER. I hate you, folder Samsung creation employee. I do.

6. “Just Once” > Default by default.

A couple of versions of Android a-go, Google introduced better management over default apps and app linking. The idea was that someone might send you an Instagram link in Hangouts. Sometimes you want to open it inside of the Instagram app, but other times you may just want to quickly load it through Chrome. The beauty is that you, the owner of the phone, gets to decide how that works. You could hit the “Just once” button to choose on each occasion which app should open the link or hit the “Make default” button to choose an app that would always complete the task.


With Samsung, we’ve gone straight to #DEFAULT4LYFE. If you are given choices between multiple apps to open a link or complete a task, you better make sure your 1st choice is the right one, because Samsung will set that sonofa to default even if you didn’t tell it to. And if you want to remove that default, you need to dig through 8,000 of their settings to find and clear it.

7.  Horizontal scrolling sucks.

In the share menu, widget picker, and app drawer, Samsung has gone with paginated horizontal scrolling. There was a brief moment in time where we liked this action, but once you go back to a free-scrolling vertical experience that can get you from A to Z with a single flick, you’ll never go back. Just don’t expect that type of efficiency on the Galaxy S7. Nope, it’s thumb flipping gymnastics here. Flip. Turn. Flip. Turn. Flip. Turn. “Oh hey, I’m finally at the end of my 16 pages of apps to find that newly installed guy!”

8. Bottom-firing speakers get blocked, a lot.

I game and watch videos on my phones here and there, but wouldn’t consider myself to be a heavy consumer of either. With that said, I find that I have to go well out of my way to not block the single rear-firing speaker on the Galaxy S7. At times, I find myself cranking the volume to 11 before realizing that I wasn’t having volume issues, I was having finger block issues. Look at this placement when in landscape – how do you avoid not placing your finger squarely over that speaker grill?

9. LED lights should not show in Do Not Disturb mode.

Imagine this. Your phone’s Do Not Disturb mode is set to come on automatically around 10:30PM at night and you hit the sack around 11PM. Things are quiet, the room is dark, you’ve pulled the blankets up to your chin, the whiskey in your belly is making you plenty warm, and your phone is lying on your night stand, lookin’ hella comfy with its always-on display active. Seriously, bruh, you look good on my night stand, dancing pixels, telling me the time. RIP, traditional alarm clocks, S7 always-on has risen.Then at 5AM, when all the go-getter PR people on the east coast start firing off emails about products Indiegogo would be ashamed to carry, that little blue notification LED lights up. But wait? Aren’t we in DND mode? How is it possible that I’m now awake at 5AM, thanks to the aqua colored needle pulsing into my eye (That’s, like, a metaphor for the blue LED…which is now a needle…virtually stabbing me…you got that? Yay!) over and over and over and over.

galaxy s7 led light

That’s because the LED notification light is not a part of DND mode. Nope! It’s in the display settings, but it stands alone. So even though DND is turned to on, your Galaxy S7 will still pulse all of the notifications that come in throughout the night and into the morning. I don’t even know what to say to the person who made that decision…

Alright then, complaining session over. Back to the fun tomorrow. If I can get this needle out of my eye.

Galaxy S7: 9 Things That Drive Me Nuts is a post from: Droid Life

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Deal: Samsung 128GB Class 10 MicroSD Card for $40 on Amazon

Are you getting your hands on a brand new phone this week? Maybe a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge? If that’s the case, or you are in need of a mobile storage upgrade for any other phone, microSD cards from Samsung are on sale through Amazon, with a 128GB Class 10 card priced at just $40. Down from its usual price of $98, that’s quite the deal. 

Currently, a comparable card from SanDisk is priced at $50, so if you have no brand loyalty, the Samsung card will serve your needs well. Both the Samsung and SanDisk feature the same peak transfer speed of 48MB/s, and all are virtually indestructible unless a hammer is involved. As listed in the product descriptions, the microSD cards are waterproof, X-ray proof, temperature proof, and magnetic proof.

Is 128GB too much storage for you? If so, Samsung’s 64GB card can be purchased for under $20, and a 32GB card is priced at only $10. Either way, you’re getting a good deal for additional mobile storage.

Have at it.

Deal Link

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Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 38

We have a Galaxy S7 in-house, Galaxy S7 Edge should arrive any day, and we’ve gotten a few good looks at the HTC 10. With all of that, there’s so much to talk about. The DL Q&A Sessions are your chance to ask us anything that might be on your mind, whether it’s Android related, or anything else entirely.

For those contemplating a Galaxy S7 purchase, you can ask us anything about that device, or maybe you want to look ahead at what to expect from HTC and LG. We still have a bit before G5 pre-orders go up, but we have handled the device and can tell you a few things if you want to know. We could even talk Google I/O. Registration is right around the corner, after all.

This Friday, we will go through your questions and do our best to answer as many as we can.

To see all of our previous Q&A’s, check them out here.

Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 38 is a post from: Droid Life

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Sign-Up for Project Fi, Get a Nexus 5X for $199

For a limited time, those who activate a line on Project Fi will receive $150 off the retail price of a Nexus 5X, bringing the total for a 16GB model down to just $199, and 32GB to $249. Project Fi will allow you to pay for the device however you see fit, whether that’s via monthly payments or outright. 

For those who want to purchase the device from Google Store outright, then take it to Project Fi, the difference will automatically carry over to the payment method used when you purchased the phone. As long as you use the same Google account for Project Fi that you used when purchasing the device, no action on your part will need to be taken to receive the automatic refund.

If you do take advantage of this promotion, be sure that you activate the device on Project Fi within 30 days, or Google will take out the $150 to the match the retail price of the phone.

This deal is valid until April 7, so if a new Nexus on Google’s MVNO sounds delightful to you, follow the link below.


Via: Project Fi

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DEAL: Nest’s Thermostat (3rd Gen), Which is Almost Never Discounted, is Discounted $50 Today

Nest’s newest Thermostat, the 3rd gen model with bigger display, is discounted for the day by $50 over at eBay to $199.99. That’s a big deal and worth considering because Nest products are almost never discounted. I think we saw a deal around Black Friday, but other than that, this is just not a line of products that ever sees many price drops. 

It has been a few years since I reviewed the Nest Thermostat (2nd gen), but I can say that it’s still on my wall and still one of the best purchases I have ever made. I don’t know that we take advantage of all of the energy savings it provides. However, the convenience of controlling it from anywhere at any time has made a smart thermostat something I’ll never be able to live without. It’s also about to start working with Amazon Echo and Alexa!

The deal at eBay is through a highly rated seller and includes free shipping.

eBay Link

DEAL: Nest’s Thermostat (3rd Gen), Which is Almost Never Discounted, is Discounted $50 Today is a post from: Droid Life

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Project Fi No Longer Requires Invite, Open to All With Supported Phone

Project Fi, Google’s previously invite-only prepaid wireless service that takes advantage of both T-Mobile and Sprint networks, is now open to the public. Of course, you’ll still need a supported phone, but this means you will no longer need to request an invite to sign-up. Yay! 

As a recap on Project Fi, this is Google’s take on wireless service, where they ask you to only pay for what you have used. You start off by paying $20 for unlimited talk and text, then add 1GB per $10 depending on how much data you think you will use in a month. The cool thing here is that Google only charges you for the data you use, so if you were to pay for 3GB ($30) of data for this month and only use 1.5GB, they’ll take the $15 you didn’t spend and apply it to your next month of service. Neat, right?

For Fi’s network, Google is using both T-Mobile and Sprint’s networks, but they also attempt to attach you to as many public WiFi hotspots as they can. This allows you to (in theory) always have a rock-solid connection no matter where you are. You can text and place calls over WiFi, seamlessly transition from WiFi to network, etc. The service also comes with a really slick app and solid support from within.

Now, about the phones that are supported. At this time, only the original Nexus 6, along with the new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X work with Project Fi. If you don’t own one of those three phones, you can’t join in on the fun.

But hey, no more invites!

You can sign-up for Project Fi here.

Via:  Android

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March’s Android Security Update Kicks Off Today With Factory Images

This month’s Android security update will start rolling out shortly, now that factory images for the update have been posted by Google. At this time, the Nexus 6P is missing a new image, but we have files for the Pixel C (MXC14G), Nexus 5X (MMB29V and MHC19J), Nexus 6 (MMB29V), Nexus Player (MMB29V), Nexus 9 (MMB29V), Nexus 5 (MMB29V), Nexus 7 (2013, MMB29V), and Nexus 10 (LMY49H). 

As you can see, we are sticking to Android 6.0.1 for all devices, along with the Nexus 10 on 5.1.1.

Once we have the full security bulletin, we’ll be sure to update this post.

Factory images from Google can be found here. If you need helping flashing factory images, you can find instructions here.

March’s Android Security Update Kicks Off Today With Factory Images is a post from: Droid Life

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Facebook Messenger Update With Material Design Available to All

For anyone not a part of the Messenger beta program from Facebook, your app should receive an update today that includes a revamped UI. Featuring flashes of Material Design, the updated Messenger app is cleaner, and gives off an actual sense that it was created for Android users. 

Facebook does a poor job at explaining the changes, not even listing a changelog for the update on Google Play, but from what I can tell you with experience, users can change up the color theme of individual threads, change ‘Like’ icons to pieces of poo or other emoji, and set nicknames for individuals inside of a chat. Additionally, a new floating action bubble can start new threads easily.

If you would like to get these types of updates before the general public, sign up for the Messenger beta through Google Play here.

The update should be live now, but if you don’t see it yet, expect it soon.

Play Link

Via: @davidmarcus

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HTC 10 Could Arrive April 19, and Here are More Pictures of It

At the end of last week, we all tried to settle into HTC’s new flagship being called the “HTC 10” instead of the “HTC One M10.” We also got a good look at it from all angles for the first time and learned a bunch of its specs. Today, we think we might have a date for it to arrive or be announced or something along those lines, and that date is April 19. 

If you were looking at a calendar, you might notice that April 19 seems like an eternity away. It sort of is, especially when you consider the fact that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are officially out this Friday and the LG G5 is also supposed to be out in early April. That’s a tough situation there for HTC with its biggest competitors pushing phones into customers’ hands before they have even had a chance to show theirs off. Here’s to hoping the ultra-late arrival means they’ll make it available for purchase on that day and ship immediately.

Either way, we should know more before long on those launch plans.

For now, how about we look at additional colors of the HTC 10.

htc 10 colors-4 htc 10 colors

htc 10 colors-2 htc 10 colors-3

That looks like charcoal and black, silver and black, silver and white, and gold and white options. Do they all look like iPhones? Eh, only the front does to me. The back is most definitely HTC’s style.

Can you hold out on a new phone purchase until mid-April?

Via:  @evleaks | GSMArena

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Best Buy is Fulfilling Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Pre-Orders Today, Verizon’s Start Shipping

March 11 was supposed to be launch day for Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, but it’s pretty clear at this point that those who pre-ordered from just about everywhere will have their phones plenty early. T-Mobile kicked it everything off by shipping pre-orders almost two weeks early and then AT&T and Sprint turned it into a full-blown trend a few days later. Now, Best Buy seems to have been given the go-ahead to fulfill pre-orders, while Verizon orders started shipping as early as yesterday. 

Best Buy sources of ours told us that Best Buy will end their pre-order today (and that appears to be the case, since pre-orders online now say “in-store only“) and start filling pre-orders right away, assuming they receive stock. A whole bunch of users over at reddit seem to have received their pre-order pickup confirmations with dates as early as March 7 (today), so be on the lookout.

In even better news, we’re told that if Best Buy stores have any left over stock after all pre-orders are taken care of, they’ll open up those remaining units for sale. So, if you didn’t pre-order yet want a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge today, it may be worth stopping by or calling your local Best Buy to check and see if they have any devices for sale.

For those who pre-ordered from Verizon, we’re also seeing waves of emails in our inbox suggesting that your pre-orders are shipping. It’s tough to tell if any of those have actually made it onto a truck or if only the packing slips were created, but this is all at least a sign that orders should be at your doorsteps before this Friday.

Seems like a good year for Galaxy pre-orders.

Cheers n, Brian, Kyle, Michael, Wade, Erik, and 919CnynCrvr!

Best Buy is Fulfilling Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Pre-Orders Today, Verizon’s Start Shipping is a post from: Droid Life

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