Ben Schoon

@NexusBen

Ben is a tech geek with a soft spot for Android, Pixel/Nexus in particular. Constantly switching between devices that literally surround him, he can be found reviewing the latest smartphones on the 9to5Google YouTube channel and writing up the latest news. Ben can also be found on the publication he started, YourTechExplained and you can also get in touch with him over Twitter or by Email.

schoon@9to5mac.com

Ben Schoon's Favorite Gear

Today

GOOG: 871.90

9.14
Stock Chart

The Galaxy S8 may not have the best battery life on a smartphone today, but it makes up for that with just about every charging method available. You’ve got standard and fast charging over USB-C, as well as compatibility with both Qi and PMA wireless charging. Further, the device includes fast wireless charging, but some users seem to be running into issues with that functionality…

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VIZIO is no stranger to the world of Google Cast, with the company offering multiple speakers and TVs with the functionality built-in. Now, VIZIO is back at it with a new soundbar that offers up Chromecast built-in for an affordable price, along with Google Assistant compatibility.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

9to5mac 

Most budget phones are pretty forgettable, but one that stood out to me in 2016 was the ZTE ZMax Pro. It packed a lot for its $99 price point, and proved very successful. Now, ZTE is hoping to follow up on that with the $129 ZTE Max XL.

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Yesterday

GOOG: 862.76

19.57
Stock Chart

The 2017 Nvidia Shield TV is one of the best set-top boxes you can buy, especially for 4K content. It’s one of the only Android TV devices to stream Amazon Video in 4K, and it pushes 4K HDR content without skipping a beat. Now, Nvidia has announced that its streaming box supports 4K content from Google Play Movies.

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Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and S8+ are two fantastic Android smartphones, and part of the reason for that is that they pack just about every top-of-the-line feature you would ever want.

However, it seems there’s one more interesting feature that Samsung might have been working on before shipping the phone that never quite made it to launch… expand full story

9to5toys 

Android TV is my favorite pick for putting content up on the big screen, but there aren’t a lot of options available when it comes to hardware. The best bang for your buck option is probably the Xiaomi Mi Box, but since this is Android, there are always some crazy ways to build on new hardware. Now, an XDA user has successfully gotten Android TV running on the Raspberry Pi 3.

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Some of the best aspects of almost any Motorola device over the past few years have been fast updates and clean software. While the former of those is long gone, clean software is still very much present. Now, a sketchy report making its way through the Android blogosphere misleadingly suggests that Moto is ditching that for a heavy-handed custom software layer over Android.

That concern, which seems to be spreading quickly, is pretty much unfounded…

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electrek 

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ may have just debuted, but that isn’t stopping Samsung from already working on the Galaxy S9. Well, at least one component for it. According to a recent report, Samsung and Qualcomm have started work on next year’s Snapdragon 845 chipset, which will make its debut in the Galaxy S9.

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April 22

GOOG: 843.19

1.54
Stock Chart

As I stated in my Galaxy S8 review the other day, Samsung’s new digital assistant, Bixby, is pretty pointless right now. Its functionality is very limited, to say the least, and it certainly isn’t worthy of its own physical button. Past attempts to remap that button to something else have been blocked, but there’s one that still works and it’s an app called “Bixby Button Remapper.”

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April 21

GOOG: 843.19

1.54
Stock Chart

As much as we loved the “final” crop of Nexus smartphones, neither have aged super well. One of the biggest issues facing Nexus 6P owners has been early, unexpected battery shutdowns. The cause has been unclear, but Google and Huawei haven’t done much to fix it. Now, they’re facing the consequences of that.

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9to5mac 

Samsung has put in a lot of work over the last few years trying to create a better smartphone. The Galaxy S6 — which brought a striking new premium design made entirely of glass and metal — was the first big step forward with this. And in the time since, the Korean company has iterated upon what that device offered. The original had both ‘Edge’ and ‘non-Edge’ versions, but that dichotomy is no longer — the ‘Edge’ is here to stay, albeit in a more nuanced way than in previous models.

Things just got better and better over time. The Galaxy Note 5 was great, and the Galaxy S7 duo were some of the best smartphones we had ever seen, offering up a plethora of features that, when combined, made up what was easily the best pair of devices available for the better part of 2017. Then, Samsung announced the Note 7, and it all blew up in their faces. When phones started exploding, customers started getting worried about their devices.

Now, Samsung faces a road to redemption, and that starts with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

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April 20

GOOG: 841.65

3.44
Stock Chart

Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are a very pretty duo of smartphones, but one thing that can make even the most beautiful of smartphones a bit unattractive is carrier branding. Thankfully, that won’t be a problem with the Galaxy S8.

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9to5toys 

Budget phones are a dime a dozen — almost literally. There are so many on the market that it’s hard for any one in particular to stand out. However, when you’re offering specs that generally cost more for a price that’s much less than the competition, you’re going to turn heads.

Recently, Alcatel quietly launched the A30. This barebones device has minimal, but reasonable specs and really packs nothing particularly special, but it also costs just $60 unlocked. Is it any good? I’ve spent the past several days finding out…

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April 19

GOOG: 838.21

1.39
Stock Chart
electrek 

Most of us can get online all day, every day, but from time to time our travels can lead to some spotty internet connections or circumstances with no connection at all. Today at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Instagram has announced a new feature that helps to combat that.

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Getting a phone packing the best specs available is expensive. You can simply look to the Galaxy S8 for proof of that. However, some manufacturers don’t charge the same premium. Xiaomi is the ideal example of that, and today, the Chinese OEM has announced its latest flagship — the Xiaomi Mi 6.

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