Android ▪ August 29

GOOG: 630.38

-7.23
Stock Chart

There’s no denying the beauty of Samsung’s latest Note iteration. The Note 5 is simply amazing when it comes to its form, but how does that affect function, if at all? Today, we’re going to find out. The Galaxy Note 5 was unveiled and released within about a week and it seems to be the talk of the town in the mobile tech space, both good and bad.

Samsung’s previous iterations of the Note’s design have been more evolutionary than revolutionary, but this year that all changed. We now have a device that’s built from metal and glass, much like its smaller brother the Galaxy S6. It may prove to be quite fragile if you drop it, but damn it feels good in your hand…

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Just a few days ago, Motorola sent me its latest smartphone, the Moto X Play. It’s a sort-of halfway house between its super-affordable but awesome Moto G and the more premium unreleased Moto X Style/Pure. Although it’s not available in the US yet, it is available to buy in the UK and Canada, and evidence suggests it’ll be rebranded as a Verizon DROID of some kind. It costs under £300 in Britain, putting it in the same price range as devices like the OnePlus 2 and the 4GB Zenfone 2. In fact, it’s slightly more expensive than either of those.

I’ve been using the device as my daily driver since I unboxed it, and for the most part, but almost every part of my experience could be described as ‘I love it, but…”  Each part of the phone almost has something not quite right. It’s not perfect, but I still think it’s great overall.

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If there has been one thing missing from the Android smartphone market over the past few years, it’s a great device with a physical keyboard. In fact, ever since the T-Mobile G2 (HTC Desire Z) hit the market in 2010, there’s been nothing worth paying attention to. That’s why — to me — the rumored BlackBerry Venice is the most exciting phone of the year so far. At least, the most exciting unreleased phone of the year. As each week goes by, the chances of it becoming a real product get stronger. For the first time, the Android-powered BlackBerry has been shown of in real, leaked hands-on photos.

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Android ▪ August 28

GOOG: 630.38

-7.23
Stock Chart

One of Android’s best features is the ability to download and install custom third-party launchers. Don’t like the way your phone home screen looks or how the apps are organized? Fine. Change it. But finding the best one, or a good one for that matter, can sometimes be a daunting challenge. And which one you think is the best ultimately depends on what you value most: aesthetics, organization or productivity? I’ve rounded up what I think are some of the best launchers out there, as well as a wild card for you to consider in your quest for the perfect Android experience.

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