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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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Verizon’s Pixel Exclusive May Be Coming to an End

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Google’s Pixel phones get a lot of things right, chiefly the way they use AI-powered software to improve the camera. But an ongoing source of frustration for some shoppers has been Verizon’s exclusive hold on the phone since the original Pixel debuted in 2016.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideYou can buy a Pixel unlocked directly from Google to use with any carrier. But most U.S. phone shoppers don’t get their devices this way. Instead, they usually buy their phone from the wireless service that provides their cellular coverage. For the last three iterations of the Pixel, that’s been Verizon (though you could also buy the phone tied to Google’s own Google Fi wireless service if you prefer).

That may be about to change, according to a 9to5Google report, which cites a “trusted source” that claims the Pixel 3 and 3 XL could soon be offered through T-Mobile.

T-Mobile’s involvement with Google’s phones may not be limited to last fall’s Pixels. Another source tells 9to5Google that the Uncarrier is testing the Pixel 3a and 3a XL on its network. Those are the long-rumored lower cost versions of Google’s Pixel flagships, which sacrifice on some features like processing power to offer shoppers a lower price tag.

There’s no timeline for when the Pixel 3a and 3a XL would ship, though the phones did recently pop up on the Google Play Developer Console, suggesting a launch might happen sooner rather than later.

Reports of T-Mobile’s ties to the Pixel are looking even more solid, after Android Police added confirmation with sources of its own.

If the Pixel 3 and 3 XL do come to T-Mobile — and the rumored midrange Pixels follow suit — it would figure to expand the Pixel’s reach in the U.S. smartphone market. Verizon may be the biggest carrier, but having your phones available through multiple outlets increases the odds of them winding up in more users’ pockets.

It’s unclear from these initial reports whether future Pixel phones, such as this fall’s expected Pixel 4, would be tied to just one carrier or whether you’ll have the option of shopping around for Google’s next phone. Here’s hoping it’s the latter.

You’re Probably Doing 2FA Wrong: Here’s the Right Way

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Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Dropbox and many other online services offer two-factor authentication (2FA) as an option to protect your account.

Inputting a texted code is not the best way to do 2FA. Credit: golubovystock/ShutterstockInputting a texted code is not the best way to do 2FA. Credit: golubovystock/Shutterstock

With 2FA enabled, it’s much harder for a crook to break into your account, even if he or she knows or can guess your password, because the crook will be missing that crucial second factor that only you possess. We at Tom’s Guide urge our readers to enable 2FA whenever they can.

But there are several different forms of two-factor authentication, and, unfortunately, you’re probably using the worst one. Here’s how to beef up your 2FA game.

MORE: Best Password Managers

Two-factor authentication consists of providing a second form of authentication after you enter your username and password when logging in to an online account.

The second form of authentication, or factor, can’t just be another password or PIN. It’s got to be tied to something that you alone have, such as a smartphone or a hardware security key, or a unique physical attribute, such as your fingerprint or your face.

Least safe 2FA

— Texted or voice-called codes: The most common second factor for 2FA is a temporary four- or six-character digital or alphabetic code texted via SMS to your mobile phone. The code is automatically generated by the service you’re logging in to and is good for only a short time, usually less than 5 minutes. A variation is to have an automated phone call read out the code out to you, which also works with land lines.

This may be the kind of 2FA you have, but it’s also the least secure form. Text messages and voice calls aren’t encrypted, and they’re tied to your phone number rather than to a specific device. They can be intercepted by anyone who has stolen your phone number, who has changed your account to forward calls or texts to a second number, or who works at the phone carrier. You also need to have working cellular service for the texts to work at all.

SMS-based and voice-based 2FA are better than no 2FA at all, and many online services give you no other choice. There are better second factors available, however, some of them just as easy to set up as the texted-code system.

Safer 2FA

— Push codes: These are temporary codes sent over encrypted internet connections, rather than phone lines, to an app on your smartphone or to the phone’s operating system. Apple does this with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices running iOS 9 or later. (Android devices and older iPhones using Apple 2FA have to stick to SMS-based codes.)

— Code-generating hardware tokens: If you worked in a big company 10 or 15 years ago, you may have been given a little doohickey for your keychain that displayed a new six-digit number every 30 seconds. You typed in that number whenever you logged in to your workplace network from home or while traveling. These aren’t used much anymore, because it’s easier to generate codes on smartphones.

2FA, the old way: An RSA-type code-generating keyfob. Credit: Dave Clark Digital Photo/Shutterstock  2FA, the old way: An RSA-type code-generating keyfob. Credit: Dave Clark Digital Photo/Shutterstock

— Code-generating authenticator apps: Temporary verification codes don’t need to be sent to you; they can be generated right on your phone. Dozens of authenticator apps do this, and many of them are free. The best-known are Authy, Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, LastPass Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator.

Many online services — including Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, PayPal, Slack and Twitter — support authenticator-generated codes as an alternative to SMS-based codes. All the apps can be used for multiple accounts, and you don’t need to have a cellular connection, or even Wi-Fi access, on your phone for the codes to work.

Google's Authenticator app on an iPhone's app screen. Credit: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock  Google’s Authenticator app on an iPhone’s app screen. Credit: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock Setting up an authenticator app is easy. Log in to an online service on a desktop or laptop web browser, go to your security settings, and indicate that you want to set up an authenticator app for 2FA. The site will show you a QR code, which you capture in the authenticator app on your phone using your phone’s camera. That should do it.

However, no form of 2FA using temporary codes is immune to phishing attacks. Crafty criminals can fool you with a phony website that looks like the one where you’re supposed to type. The criminal then collects the code you enter and types it into the real site. Such attacks have been successful against Google accounts.

Even safer still

— Push approvals: What if you could just tap “Yes” or a checkmark on your phone rather than typing in a code? Microsoft offers this with its Microsoft Authenticator app; Yahoo has it built in to its Yahoo Mail app; and Google builds it right in to Android for G Suite enterprise users.

The catch is that you have to be logging in to your Microsoft, Yahoo or G Suite accounts, respectively. However, many third-party authenticator apps, including Authy and Duo Mobile, can handle push notifications for multiple services.

Also, malicious Android apps could mimic or hijack push notifications and get the user to mistakenly approve unauthorized account logins. This is less of a problem with iOS devices.

Safest 2FA of all

— USB security keys: These are small, key-shaped devices you plug into a computer’s USB port when you’re logging in to a website from a new computer. Some security keys also sport near-field-communications (NFC) to interact with smartphones.

The best-known USB security keys are made by Yubico and called YubiKeys, but there are several other manufacturers and a few different standards. The basic standard is universal second factor (U2F), and it’s the most widely supported one.

A standard U2F-compliant USB security key. Credit: IMG Stock Studio/Shutterstock A standard U2F-compliant USB security key. Credit: IMG Stock Studio/Shutterstock

To set up a USB security key, you register it with an online service from a computer that the service already “trusts.” You can use a single key with more than one account, and a single account can register more than one key.

Unfortunately, support for USB security keys isn’t widespread yet. Google supports U2F-based keys, as do Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter, but not many other online services offer this. The most widespread support is found with password managers: Dashlane and Keeper support U2F keys, while LastPass and 1Password support Yubico’s own standard.

The other downside is that USB security keys cost money. Prices range from $8 for the HyperFIDO U2F key without NFC to $60 for Yubico’s tiny USB-C YubiKey Nano. The best deal may be a $17 U2F key with NFC from Feitian, identical to what Google sometimes sells as part of its Titan security key bundle.

If you get a USB security key, you should get a second one as a backup in case you lose the first. Despite the cost and the limited support (for now), USB security keys are the best and safest second factor for 2FA.

Your Android phone: As of April 2019, Google lets you register a phone running Android 7 Nougat or later as a security key. The registration process (detailed instructions are here) is the same as that for setting up a USB security key, but you select a compatible Android phone instead of a key.

There are some catches: This will work only for your Google account; you have to log into the account using the Chrome desktop browser on a computer running Windows 10, macOS or Chrome OS (no Linux, apparently); and both the computer and your Android phone need to have Bluetooth turned on. (They don’t need to be paired.)

Screenshot credit: Tom's GuideScreenshot credit: Tom’s Guide

After you input your username and password into the desktop browser, you will be asked to interact with your Android phone. If you have a Google Pixel 3 phone, you can simply click the volume-down button.

For other Android phones, you will need to respond to a push notification on the phone’s screen. (This is safer than the regular push notification you get with G Suite, as the phone has to be within Bluetooth range of the computer you’re logging into.)

For the future

— Biometrics: Let’s not forget the unique identifiers you were born with: your fingerprints, your iris patterns and your face. At the moment, these are mostly used to log in to devices locally, such as by using your face or fingerprint to unlock your smartphone or laptop screen (as long as your laptop supports Microsoft’s Windows Hello).

But with the new FIDO2 standard, biometrics can be used to log in to online services as well. The best current example of this is Microsoft, which lets you log in to any of its online services using a Windows Hello-compatible computer. A few USB security keys sport fingerprint readers for use with Windows Hello.

Fingerprint-based remote 2FA. Credit: NicoElNino/ShutterstockFingerprint-based remote 2FA. Credit: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

No password is needed for regular usage, although you will need to use your Microsoft password to set this system up on a new devices. Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox also support FIDO2, but few non-Microsoft online services yet do.

We’re not quite at the point where you can set up 2FA itself without a password. But you can expect to see that in the future as FIDO2 and standardized biometric formats catch on.  

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More

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The Samsung Galaxy Fold is more than just a phone. It’s a foldable device that can transform from phone to tablet and back again, giving you a canvas as large as 7.3 inches.Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 1This futuristic clamshell can also run three apps on the screen at once. Now, this versatility does not come cheap, as the Galaxy Fold will start at close to $2,000. So what is the Galaxy Fold, who is it for, what are the specs and what can you do with it? Here’s everything you need to know and what to expect, including a possible crease in the screen.

Galaxy Fold release date, price and carriers

The Galaxy Fold has a release date of April 26th with a starting price of $1,980. Samsung says you’ll be able to get the foldable phone from AT&T and T-Mobile. It will also be sold through Best Buy and Samsung Experience Stores.

Pre-orders start tomorrow (April 12). You can sign up at Samsung’s website to be notified about pre-orders.

Don’t expect wide availability with this phone. In an interview with The Verge, Kate Beaumont, director of product, services, and commercial strategy at Samsung UK said, “We’ll have less supply than we would of the S10 at launch… This is a super premium device, and we want to make sure it has a concierge-like service and experience, so it’s not going to be on display in all stores.”

Galaxy Fold Specs: What we know so far

Starting Price $1,980
OS Android 9.9 with One UI
CPU Snapdragon 855
RAM 12GB
Storage 512GB
External display (closed) 4.6 inches (HD+)
Main display 7.3 inches (QXGA+)
Rear cameras 12-MP wide-angle (f/1.5 to f/2.4); 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4); 16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2)
Front camera (closed) 10-MP selfie (f/2.2)
Front camera (open) 10-MP selfie (f/2.2); 8-MP RGB depth (f/1.9)
Fingerprint sensor Power button
Colors Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue

Who is the Galaxy Fold for?

Samsung is targeting the Galaxy Fold at early adopters who crave a single device that can double as a phone and tablet–and are willing to pay for that versatility. Traveling executive could potentially use this device instead of an iPad or ultraportable laptop, especially given its multi-tasking capabilities.

What are the sizes of the screens?

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 2

The main display on the Galaxy Fold is pretty small at just 4.6 inches. It also has a pretty thick black border around the display. In a released Samsung video, it looks like it could be pretty tough to target smaller icons, such as the ones for toggling between the main camera, telephoto lens and ultra-wide lens.
Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 3When unfolded, the Galaxy Fold’s display stretches to 7.3 inches, which is larger than any phone in Samsung’s lineup. For example, the Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch screen, while the upcoming Galaxy S10 5G features a 6.7-inch display. This is why Samsung can call the Galaxy Fold both a phone and tablet. The 7.3-inch display is great for watching videos and playing games.

What is App Continuity?

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 4

Samsung is touting two key features for the Galaxy Fold. The first is App Continuity, which enables you to use an app in phone app and let you enjoy that app on the larger canvas instantly. So, for instance, if you’re using Google Maps, you can unfold the Galaxy Fold and zoom in on the address you just looked up. Or you could be scrolling through Instagram and then unfold the design when you see a photo you really like.

However, an early Galaxy Fold user says that he has experienced lag when transitioning between the small screen and larger display with apps.
According to the leaker, there’s a delay in apps recognizing the shift from one display to another that, in some cases, can last “a few seconds.”

Running three apps at once

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 5

The other key feature of the Galaxy Fold is Multi-Active Window, which allows you to run three applications on the screen at once. So, for example, you can text in one window while looking up restaurant recommendations in Yelp in another and the phone app open for making a reservation. Or you could be watching YouTube in one Window while checking your email in another and scrolling through Facebook in a third window.

How does the Galaxy Fold unfold?

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 6You open the clamshell design just as you would a book or diary. The hinge disappears behind the display as the two halves come together. This design approach is different than the outward “Falcon Wing” folding design of the Huawei Mate X, for which both displays are exposed front and back in closed mode and then come together as you unfold the device.

Samsung says it engineered a sophisticated hinge with multiple interlocking gears, which is housed in a hidden enclosure.

According to a report in ETNews, Samsung is also reportedly trying to sell its foldable phone technology to the likes of Apple and Google for its upcoming phones.

Does the screen have a crease?

Galaxy Fold Hands-On Shows Crease

Based on a leaked hands-on video of the Galaxy Fold, the phone does appear to have a crease on the screen where the phone folds up. It’s not clear whether the video is showing final hardware, but it does raise concerns about the aesthetics of the design if not the durability. The crease seems to be more noticeable when the display has a dark background.

For what it’s worth, Samsung put out a video of its own, showcasing the durability testing that the Galaxy Fold undergoes. The video doesn’t explicitly address concerns about a visible crease, though it does seem designed to re-assure potential Fold owners that the device will hold up to repeated use.

Galaxy Fold Durability

Galaxy Fold Color options

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 7The Galaxy Fold will come in four colors, including Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue. However, the blue color may not be available in all regions.

Lots of cameras

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 8Samsung packs the Galaxy Fold with six cameras. It starts with a triple camera setup on the rear that’s similar to the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s a main 12-MP wide-angle camera, a 12-MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom and a 16-MP ultra-wide camera that’s good for capturing landscapes and panorama shots.

When closed, the front camera on the Galaxy Fold features a 10-MP selfie camera. And, when unfolded, the front right side of the Fold sports both a 10-MP selfie camera and 8-MP RGG depth camera, which will come in handy for taking portraits with bokeh effects.

Key Specs: CPU, RAM and storage

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 9

The Galaxy Fold will be powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor and a whopping 12GB of RAM. You’ll also get 512GB of storage on board, which is a lot but less than the 1TB available on the highest-end configuration of the Galaxy S10 Plus. Also note that the Fold doesn’t have a microSD card slot for expansion.

Battery

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 10The Galaxy Fold has two batteries that combine to offer a robust capacity of 4,380 mAh. That’s more than what you’ll find on the Galaxy S10 Plus, which has a 4,100 mAh battery. On our battery test, the S10 Plus lasted an epic 12 hours and 35 minutes, but it also has a smaller display at 6.4 inches. We’ll have to see how the Galaxy Fold measures up.

Samsung’s foldable phone will also feature Wireless PowerShare, which allows you to charge other phones or gadgets, like the Galaxy Watch or Galaxy Buds, by placing them on the back of the Galaxy Fold.

Will it have 5G?

Samsung says the Galaxy Fold will come in both 4G and 5G versions, but there’s no word on the release date for the 5G Galaxy Fold and how much more it may cost.

More Galaxy Folds on the Way

According a report in Bloomberg, Samsung is working on two other foldable phone designs, including a clamshell and a more direct competitor to the Huawei Mate X with an exterior folding design. A patent shows what Samsung’s foldable clamshell could look like.

Outlook

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Specs, Price, Release Date and More 11

Given the high price, the Galaxy Fold is definitely a niche device, but it could very well find an audience among early adopters who want to be the first to own a foldable phone. But there’s also going to be competition from the likes of the Huawei Mate X, which has an even bigger screen, as well as foldable phones from Oppo, TCL and others.

We will keep you posted on the Galaxy Fold as we learn more and get closer to its April 26 release date.

Image credits: Samsung

Verizon 5G Availability: What Cities Are Live and What’s Coming Next

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5G connectivity for smartphones is finally here, and it’s Verizon that flipped the switch first.

Verizon 5G Availability: What Cities Are Live and What’s Coming Next 12Earlier this month, Big Red started offering 5G service in a pair of cities, though it plans to expand to other areas throughout the year. There’s just one phone capable of connecting to Verizon’s 5G network at the moment — and you’ll need a special accessory to make it work — but another 5G-capable device will be available soon, and Verizon’s got first dibs on offering it.

Here’s a closer look on the current status of Verizon’s 5G efforts, along with the devices that work on the network, and where the carrier goes from here.

Verizon 5G Cities: Where you can get it first

Verizon beat other carriers to the punch with a commercial 5G that serves smartphones. (AT&T turned on 5G service in 12 cities at the end of 2018, but the only device that could connect to its network was a 5G hotspot.) Initial service launched in just two cities — Chicago and Minneapolis — though the April 3 launch happened a week ahead of schedule.

Though Chicago and Minneapolis may have 5G service, it’s not widespread in either city at this point. In Chicago, Verizon said its 5G coverage is concentrated around the West Loop and the South Loop, typically around tourist attractions like the Willis Tower, Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. Verizon says 5G Ultra Wideband service is also available in its store on the Magnificent Mile as well as throughout the Gold Coast, Old Town and North River. Minneapolis customers will be able to get 5G service in the east and west parts of downtown, including at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Be warned, though, even in locations that have 5G connectivity, coverage can be spotty. When we tested 5G speeds in Chicago the weekend after Verizon turned on service, we found we could get a 5G connection on some street corners, while failing to connect from the opposite side of the street. In other instances, we’d get 5G connectivity at one spot, but then return 12 hours later to only be able to connect to LTE despite standing in the same location. Verizon’s 5G network has some growing to do, in other words.

Verizon’s aware of that, though, and is promising to build out its network in Chicago and Minneapolis. It also plans to have 5G connectivity in 30 cities by the end of 2019.

Mobile coverage is just part of the story for Verizon. Last October, the company launched home broadband service over 5G in four cities.

How fast will Verizon’s 5G be?

Much of the hype around 5G is focusing on 1 Gbps download speeds, but Verizon is tamping down on that expectation with this launch. For now, the carrier is promising average speeds of 450 Mbps, with an eye toward that speed increasing as its 5G network develops and improves.

Verizon 5G Availability: What Cities Are Live and What’s Coming Next 13From what we’ve seen, Verizon’s fledgling network can breeze past that average when it’s at its best. At a launch event at Verizon’s Chicago store on April 3, we saw download speeds reach 641 Mbps. And during our own testing, we saw speeds near 600 Mbps (though in some cases speeds were closer to 300 Mbps). For context, when we tested LTE speeds in Chicago last year, Verizon averaged a download speed of 85.8 Mbps, so even 400 Mbps speeds would be a huge jump.

MORE: 7 Things I Learned Testing Verizon’s New 5G Network

The problem is that while Verizon’s 5G can deliver fast speeds, the connection isn’t always stable, as noted above. And we also some confounding results during our tests. We downloaded a 152MB TV show from Netflix in less than a minute over 5G, while the LTE download took more than 13 minutes. But our attempts to download large apps off Google Play resulted in faster times on LTE than they did on 5G. We’re still scratching our heads over that.

Verizon’s First 5G phones

Verizon already offers a phone capable of connecting to its 5G network, even if that phone isn’t strictly speaking a 5G device on its own.

Verizon 5G Availability: What Cities Are Live and What’s Coming Next 14That would be the Moto Z3, which came out in 2018 and features an older Snapdragon 835 chipset. But attach the newly released 5G Moto Mod to the back of the Z3, and you’ll be to hop onto Verizon’s 5G network. Such connectivity comes at a price though — the Moto Mod costs $349 and that’s on top of the $480 you’ll pay for the Z3.

A true 5G-capable phone is on the way to Verizon in the form of the Galaxy S10 5G. Verizon will be the first carrier in the U.S. to offer this phone, which features a 6.7-inch screen and four rear cameras in addition to its 5G-ready modem.

The Galaxy S10 will reportedly ship on May 16, though neither Verizon nor Samsung have confirmed that date. We also don’t know how much the phone will cost, though it will reportedly be higher than the Galaxy S10 Plus’ $999 asking price.

What you’ll pay for Verizon 5G

Verizon customers will need to pay a little extra for 5G service on top of their regular data plan. The carrier is charging $10 a month for unlimited 5G data. That includes unlimited hotspot data over 5G, Verizon tells us — we haven’t been able to test that feature yet — and there will be no restrictions on video streaming. (Verizon’s lowest cost unlimited LTE data plan restricts videos to 480p resolution, for example.)

But that $10 gets added to what you’re already paying for unlimited LTE data. (Verizon requires you to have an unlimited plan if you want to add on 5G data.) Unlimited plans stat at $75 a month for Go Unlimited plans and range up to $85 and $95 for Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited, respectively. As of this writing, the first  three months of 5G coverage will be offered for free.

Outlook

Verizon beat its rival carriers to offering 5G mobile connectivity, even if its phone selection is limited and the network doesn’t always perform as advertised. AT&T figures to challenge Verizon once it starts supporting phones on its 5G network (which has expanded to parts of 19 cities as of this writing). Sprint will follow suit with a launch of its own in May while T-Mobile plans to make its push in the second half of the year.

That gives Verizon a bit of a head start over its rivals. It will be interesting to see if it can maintain its edge as the year goes on.

Image Credits: Tom’s Guide

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: What Should You Buy?

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It’s time to meet the latest iPhones.

Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/GettyCredit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max got good reviews, but the iPhone XR (which goes as low as $449 with trade-in deals) is more affordable and includes a lot of the same features. Both the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR made our list of the best phones. So what’s the best iPhone for you? Let’s take a closer look.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR

iPhone XS iPhone XS Max
iPhone XR
Starting Price $999/
£999/
AU$1,629 
$1099/
£1,099/
AU$1,799
$749/
£749/
AU$1,229
Processor A12 Bionic A12 Bionic A12 Bionic
Screen 5.8-inch OLED (2,436 x 1,125 pixels) 6.5-inch OLED (2,688 x 1,242 pixels) 6.1-inch LCD (1,792 x 828 Pixels)
Storage 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Face ID Yes Yes Yes
Rear Camera Dual 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4) Dual 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4) Single 12MP (ƒ/1.8)
Front Camera 7MP, ƒ/2.2 7MP, ƒ/2.2 7MP, ƒ/2.2
Battery Life (tested) 9:41 10:38 11:26
Metal frame Stainless steel Stainless steel Aluminum
Colors Gold, Silver, Space Gray Gold, Silver, Space Gray Black, White, Red, Yellow, Blue, and Coral
Weight 6.2 ounces 7.3 ounces 6.8 ounces
Size 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches 5.9 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches

Design and Size

2018 finds Apple believing that bigger is better when it comes to iPhones. The 5.8-inch iPhone XS is the smallest new phone in Apple’s lineup. The 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max is the biggest iPhone ever, and yet it doesn’t feel too big in the hand because this handset is the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus. Apple just got rid of the bezels.Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideBut if you’re looking for a design that sits in between, one that Goldilocks would call “juuuust right,” consider the 6.1-inch iPhone XR. This handset also features a different material, dropping stainless steel for aluminum. And while XS models come in gold, silver and space gray, the iPhone XR is available in black, blue, coral, red, white and yellow. If you expected to get a case that would cover up your colorful iPhone, Apple now makes and sells its own clear protective case for the iPhone XR.

MORE: iPhone XR Review: The Best iPhone for the Money

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: What Should You Buy? 16In terms of what these phones have in common, every new iPhone has that familiar notch that Apple debuted with last year’s iPhone X. Also, none of these phones have a home button, so it’s time to get familiar with how to close apps on the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.

Display

Not all new iPhone screens are equal. The 5.8-inch iPhone XS and 6.5-inch XS Max boast vivid Super Retina OLED panels, and based on our testing, their even brighter than the screen on the iPhone X. The 6.1-inch iPhone XR features an LCD screen, which Apple dubs the Liquid Retina display.

If you’ve never upgraded to an iPhone X (or seen one in public) you’ll likely be OK sticking with the LCD-based XR and its less vibrant colors. But you will notice the more perfect blacks from the OLED iPhones and wider viewing angles.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideThe iPhone XR’s 6.1-inch screen is 1,792 x 828 pixels, which makes it less sharp than the Super Retina screens in the 5.8-inch iPhone XS (2436 x 1125 pixels) and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max (2688 x 1242 pixels), though we doubt you’ll notice this at a glance.

If your hands prefer a smaller iPhone, though, you’re probably looking at this face-off with a bit of frustration, as the smallest iPhone here (the 5.8-inch XS) is still pretty big. We think that Apple’s new 2019 iPhones (rumored to be called iPhone 11) ought to include a more compact model, as releasing such a phone would please an underserved segment of the market.

Cameras

The iPhone XS and XS Max feature the same dual 12-megapixel cameras, with a wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) lens and and telephoto (ƒ/2.4) aperture. The iPhone XR has a single 12-megapixel wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) sensor. 

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideThose dual sensors give the iPhone XS and XS Max 2x optical zoom, and up to 10x digital zoom. The iPhone XR offers up to 5x digital zoom.

In terms of tricks, though, these phones are pretty similar. Both provide Smart HDR, which means greater detail and color in your photos. The XS and XR iPhones both also give you an improved Portrait Mode, with Apple’s Depth Control adjustment option, so you can adjust the depth of field after you shoot a portrait mode photo. You can also adjust this setting as you shoot.

See how Apple’s camera stacks up with Google’s and Samsung’s flagships with our iPhone XS vs Pixel 3 camera face-off and iPhone XS vs Galaxy S10  face-off, as well as where it sits on our list of best camera phones.

Battery Life

To keep its 6.5-inch screen aglow, the iPhone XS Max packs the largest smartphone battery Apple’s ever shipped. The XS Max lasted 10 hours and 38 minutes on our web surfing test. The smaller XS lasted only 9:41, which is a bit below the category average of 9:48. For the best battery life, you’ll want the iPhone XR, which lasted 11 hours and 26 minutes on our battery test, landing it on our list of smartphones with the longest battery life. Yes, that’s right, the “low-end” model provides enough battery life to compete with the model you may need a loan to afford.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: What Should You Buy? 17Each new iPhone is fast-charge capable, and all refuel half of their battery in 30 minutes (tested with Apple’s 30-watt and 87-watt USB-C power adapters). Note that those accessories aren’t included, and cost extra.

If that’s not enough, though, Apple’s now selling Smart Battery Cases for the the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. Apple claims the XR case will extend your talk time to up to 39 hours, while the XS Max case will raise talk time to a maximum of 37 hours and the XS case is rated for adding enough juice for up to 33 hours.

Performance

If speedy performance is your highest priority, each of the new iPhones will be just as compelling (except in one facet). The XR, XS and XS Max all feature the same A12 Bionic processor, the industry’s first 7 namometer chip (since it beat Huawei’s Kirin 980 to market) with 6.9 billion transistors.

The phones feature a 6-core CPU and a 4-core GPU, and the CPU feature dual high-performance cores, and four efficiency cores. Apps will launch up to 30 percent faster, and feature enhanced, real-time machine learning. You can also expect better AR apps, with 60 frames per second performance and improved low-light performance.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: What Should You Buy? 18

The iPhones XS and XS Max also dominated in the Geekbench 4 general performance benchmark, with scores of 11,420 and 11,515, respectively. The XR, was very close behind, with a 11,312. The Note 9 lagged behind with a score of 8,876, while the OnePlus 6 did a little better, at 9,088. The newer Galaxy S10 Plus, which has Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor, hit a very good 10,732.

In other testing, the iPhone XS and XS Max demonstrated world-beating speeds. For example, the XS and XS Max transcoded a 2-minute 4K clip to 1080p in 39 seconds, while the OnePlus 6 finished in 3:45. The Galaxy S10 Plus took 2:26.

Also, there’s a notable download speed difference between the iPhone XR and its pricier XS/XS Max siblings. Wireless network testing showed that the iPhone XS and XS Max offer cellular download speeds of 21.7 megabytes per second, while the XR topped out at a slower 17.6 MBps.

Apple didn’t note how much memory is in each phone, but an iFixit teardown says the iPhone XS and XS Max each feature 4GB, while a research note from Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the iPhone XS and XS Max will pack 4GB of RAM, while the iPhone XR will include 3GB of RAM. If true, the iPhone XS handsets could have snappier multitasking. 

Oh, and one more performance-related reason to upgrade today, rather than waiting, comes from cellular data speed news. A new report from Fast Company, which cites “a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans,” states that the 5G iPhone won’t ship in 2019. You’ll likey have to wait until 2020 or perhaps even longer.

Value

If you’re thinking of an XS, get ready to cough up a ton of money. The XS (just like the X before it) starts at $999/£999/AU$1,629 for the 64GB model. (The 256GB model costs $1,149.) The XS Max is even pricier, with a starting price of $1099/£1,099/AU$1,79 for 64GB. (You need to add $150/£150/AU$250 if you want a 256GB iPhone XS and $350/£350/AU$450 for the 512GB version.)

The iPhone XR starts at a more affordable (but not cheap) $749/£749/AU$1,229 for a 64GB model, and you’ll spend a lot more to bump it up to 128GB.

But for those who want a new iPhone for even less, Apple’s got a limited-time offer for those who can trade-in an older model. Apple’s knocking another $100 off the iPhone XR for a limited time for those users trading in an iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8 get $300 off their iPhone XR, lowering its price to $449. While some may have expected this deal to expire along with the holiday season, I’m surprised to report it’s carrying along into 2019.

iPhone 11 Rumors

If don’t see yourself slipping the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR into your pocket or bag, then we bet you’d like to hear about the 2019 iPhone rumors. The biggest news so far has suggested a third lens coming to the new iPhone XS Max and possibly the iPhone XS successor as well.

Apple may also shrink the notch, and give the new iPhones larger batteries, reverse wireless charging (similar to the Galaxy S10) and finally fast charging in the box.

Outlook

In terms of their performance and cameras, the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR appear to be more similar than their prices might suggest (except in mobile data speeds for the slower iPhone XR). The biggest difference, come in both in price and size, where you’re paying a pretty penny for having the biggest, boldest display in the iPhone XS Max. The other big difference is that the iPhone XR’s camera doesn’t offer optical zoom.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: What Should You Buy? 19The other huge difference is in battery life, where the iPhone XR beats both the iPhone XS and XS Max. If you want a modern iPhone design without splurging, it’s definitely the phone to consider.

First Verizon 5G Speed Tests: Fast But Frustrating

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CHICAGO — The launch of 5G networks means faster data speeds for phones capable of connecting to the next generation wireless network. And now that commercial 5G has arrived— at least in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis if you happen to be a Verizon customer — it’s natural to wonder just how fast those speeds are actually going to be.

First Verizon 5G Speed Tests: Fast But Frustrating 20Pretty fast, as it turns out. But only when you get a signal — something that proved to be a challenge when we spent a day testing Verizon’s newly launched 5G network in Chicago.

5G phones are few and far between at this point, so in our tests, we used a Moto Z3, a smartphone that’s been out since last summer, augmented with a newly available 5G Moto Mod. Attach that accessory to the back of Moto’s phone — it snaps right with ease — and your phone is now capable of connecting to Verizon’s 5G network.

How the Moto Mod works

Naturally we were eager to see this kind of performance for ourselves, so we bought a Moto Z3 and a 5G Moto Mod. (The accessory sells for $349, but we managed to get it for $199.) Having freshly burned that hole in our wallet, we were ready to hit the streets — though our out-of-the-box Z3 first needed to be upgraded to Android 9 Pie to work with the Moto Mod.

Like other Moto Mods, the 5G accessory snaps on easily to the back of the Moto Z3. It adds some weight to the phone: Without the 5G Moto Mod, the Z3 is a barely-there 5.73 ounces. The 5G Moto Mod adds another 4.5 ounces to the phone, and since it measures 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.28 in its own right, it increases the bulk of your otherwise svelte Z3 quite considerably.

Attach the 5G Mod to the Z3, and a message flashes across the screen that the accessory is starting up. (You’ll also get a notification as to how charge the 5G Moto Mod’s 2,000 mAh battery is.) And the 4G LTE notification in the upper right corner of the screen will convert to a very visible 5G UWB logo — if you happen to be in an area where 5G is turned on, which proved a little more challenging than we had hoped in our Chicago adventure.

What kind of speeds 5G delivers

Some good news before we dwell on some of the shortcomings with this fledgling network — 5G is fast.

First Verizon 5G Speed Tests: Fast But Frustrating 21Once we got our Z3 updated, we were able to score some of the same speeds Verizon demonstrated at its 5G launch event this week. In the lobby of the Verizon store, we saw download speeds between 575 Mbps and 579 Mbps with the help of the 5G Moto Mod. Once we removed that accessory, speeds dropped to 35 Mbps to 49 Mbps.

Outside the comforts of the Verizon Store, the speeds of 5G weren’t as jaw-dropping though still pretty fast. Our top speed came at the corner of Wells and Ontario streets in the heart of Chicago’s River North district, where we recorded download speeds of 604 Mbps. More typically, though, speeds ranged between 177 Mbps and 468 Mbps.

Those 5G speeds were improvements over the LTE speeds we saw around Chicago — but the gap wasn’t as big as you might think. Even at Wells and Ontario, where 5G download speeds were hitting 329 Mbps when not hitting the lofty heights of 600 Mbps-plus, our Z3 performed well on Verizon’s network with the 5G Moto Mod removed. There, the phone regularly saw LTE download speeds of 250 Mbps.

It was a similar story outside the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue. With the 5G Moto Mod attached, download speeds fluctuated between 367 and 468 Mbps; with the mod removed, our LTE speeds ranged between 163 and 204 Mbps.

The gap was most narrow outside the Merchandise Mart, which not coincidentally houses Motorola’s Chicago office. LTE speeds were a fairly consistent 220 to 231 Mbps. We got faster speeds with 5G Moto Mod attached to the Z3, but not by much — speeds peaked at 367 Mbps. And sometimes, our tests recorded slower 5G speeds than what we got over LTE, something we attribute to the phone switching back and forth between the two networks (more on that below).

Downloading apps and videos

Speed tests are one thing, but what will 5G mean in terms of real-world usage? For example, Verizon tells us you’ll be able to instantly download Spotify tracks and Netflix shows over the advanced network. And you would figure that hefty downloads would be no sweat at all for 5G.

On the Netflix front, at least, 5G proved to be worth its weight. Outside the Merchandise Mart, we were able to download a 152MB episode of Nailed It from Netflix in 43 seconds over 5G. A slightly larger 158MB took an excruciating 13 minutes, 30 seconds over LTE, and we don’t think the extra 6MB was to blame. 5G excelled at this task.

App downloads provided more puzzling results. We tried downloading PUBG Mobile, a 1.81GB file that Google Play begs you to download over Wi-Fi so as not to consume too much of your cellular data. We could download the app over 5G, but it took some time — 5 minutes, 35 seconds inside the Verizon store, 5:31 outside the Merchandise Mart and 6:03 at Ontario and Wells. Shockingly, 4G download times for PUBG were all faster in those locations — 2:54 at Ontario and Wells and 3:01 outside the Merchandise Mart.

A test by Crown Fountain in Millennium Park proved illustrative. We had such a hard time maintaining our 5G connection there, that the PUBG download fizzled, stalling out at 10 percent downloaded after 2 minutes. Once we removed the Moto Mod and tried again, the app downloaded over LTE in a relatively zippy 2:56.

5G Coverage: Hard to come by (for now)

That illustrates one of the biggest problems with 5G at the moment: Even though the network is live in Chicago, it’s got a very limited reach. (The same is also true in Minneapolis, where Verizon also flipped the switch on its new network.) In the Windy City, for example, 5G connectivity is concentrated around the West Loop and the South Loop, according to Verizon. Besides Verizon’s own store on the Magnificent Mile, you’ll also see 5G coverage in Gold Coast, Old Town and North River, Verizon says.

First Verizon 5G Speed Tests: Fast But Frustrating 22Walking around Chicago, we saw how fleeting 5G connectivity can be. It’s roughly a third of a mile from the Verizon Store on the Magnificent Mile to the CTA station at State and Chicago. Once we left the store, we never saw the 5G UWB logo flash up on our phone.

Some of the test sites where we had the most stable 5G connections proved how fleeting 5G connectivity can be at this point in its development. Standing on the steps of the Merchandise Mart, we enjoyed a fairly stable connection. But when we walked 13 paces to a sign with the Motorola logo, the logo on our phone fluctuated between LTE and 5G. By the time we crossed the street to the front of the Kenzie Chophouse, the 5G signal was gone.

It was a similar story at Ontario and Wells. Right outside of Al’s Beef, 5G connectivity was fleeting. It was stronger across the street though, with the signal becoming more consistent in the middle of the crosswalk. (We do not advise standing in the middle of Ontario Street to test 5G networks.)

Verizon is using mmWave technology for its 5G network which depends heavily on line of sight. Coverage figures to improve over time, as Verizon builds out its 5G network in this city and elsewhere — the carrier plans to launch 5G in 30 cities by the end of 2019. But if you’re expecting ubiquitous 5G coverage at this point, you’re going to be disappointed, something Verizon itself would readily acknowledge.

5G battery life

5G connectivity isn’t persistent enough at this point to where we could run our Tom’s Guide battery test, which involves continuous surfing over cellular networks until a fully charged phone runs out of juice. (There’s a lot we’re prepared to do in the name of science, but standing on a Chicago street corner for hours on end while a phone’s battery drains is not one of them.) We can share some anecdotal observations after a day of testing, though.

First Verizon 5G Speed Tests: Fast But Frustrating 23The 5G Moto Mod has its own 2,000 mAh battery, which it seems to draw on when in us, as that battery was draining much faster than the 3,000 mAh power pack on the Moto Z3. At one point during our tour of Chicago, we noted that the Moto Z3 battery was at 69% while the 5G Moto Mod battery was at 59%. After two more test stops that included running Ookla’s Speedtest.net app and trying to download PUBG Mobile, the Moto Z3’s battery had dipped to 59%, while the 5G Moto Mod was at 46%.

Other phones are likely to perform differently, especially with 5G modems built in instead of featured in a separate attachment with its own battery. The upcoming Galaxy S10 5G, for example, will sport a 4,500 mAh power pack, suggesting that phone makers want to make sure surfing 5G’s faster networks won’t drain your phone’s battery just as quickly.

What you can do with 5G (that you couldn’t do with 4G)

4G users have grown accustomed to all sorts of limitations, including throttling, video streaming capped at 720p. Verizon told us that you should be able to stream up to 4K. We watched a bit of Avengers: Infinity War over Netflix on a Chicago street corner — not an ideal viewing experience! —and though the picture looked a little sharper over 5G, it’s not something that was truly noticeably on the Z3’s 6-inch screen. (It’s worth noting our LTE unlimited plan with Verizon caps video streams at 480p.)

Verizon also claims that the 5G is truly unlimited, so there should be no data caps. (On unlimited LTE plans, if you go over a certain amount of data, carriers reserve the right to slow your speeds.)We certainly haven’t noticed any throttling during our tests, and we’ve really put the spurs to Verizon’s network.

Will the speeds hold up?

The 5G speeds we’ve seen around Chicago —when we’ve seen 5G speeds — could be slightly inflated. After all, there weren’t a lot of other phones connected to the network to slow things down. But then again, 5G is being designed to handle more traffic from more devices so it’s possible we won’t see the kind of bottlenecks that can happen on congested LTE networks. (LTE speeds are also expected to improve as more devices connect to 5G and free up bandwidth for the remain 4G phones.)

“The beauty of this 5G network is that what we’ve got is incredible bandwidth in the millimeter wave,” said Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon’s consumer division during last week’s 5G launch event. “That allows us to deliver all of the potential of 5G: Massive capacity, including burst capacity. Throughput speeds [are] incredible. The ability to support ten times the number of devices in a location. Massive improvement in battery life because of the efficiency. Huge increase in reliability. And essentially, when you put all those pieces together, what you create is a premium 5G experience that’s going to deliver the sort of connectivity that people will build new capabilities on.”

What you’ll pay for 5G

Verizon has announced what you’ll pay for those faster speeds. An unlimited 5G data plan costs $10 a month, but that’s on top of whatever other unlimited data plan you have with the carrier. (Unlimited plans start at $75 a month with Verizon, so you’re looking at $85 a month at a minimum.)

Overall Impressions

There’s a lot of promise for 5G — and at this point, a lot of frustrations. We’d guess that Verizon would be the first to concede that there’s a lot of work ahead, not just in cities still waiting for 5G, but here in Chicago where the network is just getting started.

For that reason, it’s still too early to reach any sweeping conclusions on how big a game-changer 5G networks will be. We’re seeing hints of faster speeds and snappier downloads, but the network isn’t far reaching enough at this point to have much of an impact on the few people who have 5G-capable devices. (And that’s just one device as of this writing.)

The switch may be flipped on 5G ins some areas. But we’ve got a ways to go before this next-generation network is truly ready for prime time.

Image Credits: Tom’s Guide

Best Galaxy S10 Deals Right Now

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There’s a Samsung Galaxy S Series phone for every budget, but select carriers and retailers are offering some great deals to make your Galaxy S10 purchase less costly. 

Besides BOGO phone deals from AT&T and T-Mobile, Best Buy also offers some of the best Galaxy S10 deals we’ve seen so far. For a limited time, Best Buy is tossing in a free Samsung smartwatch when you buy an unlocked Galaxy S10 phone.

For instance, you’ll score a free Samsung Gear Fit 2 smartwatch when you buy either the Galaxy S10e or Galaxy S10 smartphone. Alternatively, if you buy the Galaxy S10+, you’ll get a free Samsung Gear Sport.

You must add your phone to your cart to see your free Samsung smartwatch bonus at checkout. 

Carrier Unlocked Galaxy S10e Galaxy S10e (w/ contract) Unlocked Galaxy S10  Galaxy S10 (w/ contract) Unlocked Galaxy S10+ Galaxy S10+ (w/ contract) Trade-In Rebates?
Samsung $749.99 $31.25/24 months $899.99 $37.50/24 months $999.99 $41.67/24 months Up to $550
Verizon $749.99 $31.24/24 months $899.99 $37.49/24 months $999.99 $41.66/24 months Up to $745
AT&T $749.99 $25/30 months $899.99 $30/30 months $999.99 $33.34/30 months Up to $600
T-Mobile $749.99 $20.84/36 months
$0 down
$899.99 $22.23/36 months
$100 down
$999.99 $22.23/36 months
$200 down
Up to $530
Sprint $749.99 $15/18
months
$899.99 $20/18 months $999.99 $25/18 months Up to $680

Samsung

When you buy the S10 or S10+ direct from Samsung and have an eligible device to trade-in, you can get up to $550 off your new Galaxy phone. Phones that will get you the highest credit are more recent releases: the Galaxy S9, S9+, Note 9, Note 8, iPhone XS Max, XS, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, LV V40, Google Pixel 3, and 3 XL. 

Unlocked models are priced as follows: 

  • Galaxy S10e 128GB for $749.99 (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)
  • Galaxy S10e 256GB for $849.99 (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)
  • Galaxy S10 128GB for $899.99  (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)
  • Galaxy S10 512GB for $1,149.99 (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)
  • Galaxy S10+ 128GB for $999.99 (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)
  • Galaxy S10+ 512GB for $1,249.99 (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)
  • Galaxy S10+ 1TB for $1,599.99 (Samsung, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular)

If you don’t want to pay full price for the devices up front, Samsung’s Device Payment Program lets you finance the unlocked or carrier-tied Galaxy S10 or Galaxy S10+ for $37.50/month or $41.67/month, respectively. The S10e will cost you $31.25/month. All payment plans span 24 months. 

Best Galaxy S10 Deals Right Now 25

Best Buy

Best Buy is taking up to $450 off the Galaxy S10eS10, and S10+ with activation and trade-in of an eligible device. Verizon customers can expect $100 off their new Galaxy purchase (contract required), whereas Sprint will knock $150 off your new S10 when you upgrade. 

The retailer also offers AT&T’s BOGO deal which nets you a free Galaxy S10e or $750 in credits toward the purchase of an S10 or S10+ when you buy any Galaxy S10 phone. 

If you prefer the freedom of having an unlocked phone, Best Buy will give you a free Samsung Gear Fit 2 smartwatch when you buy the Galaxy S10e or Galaxy S10. Alternatively, if you buy the Galaxy S10+, you’ll get a Gear Sport. Your free smartwatch will automatically be added to your cart when you purchase the phone.  

Verizon

For a limited time, Verizon will give you up to $450 off with an eligible trade-in and a new line when you buy and activate a Galaxy S10e, S10, or S10+ on their network.

Alternatively, when you switch to Big Red and sign up for a Verizon Unlimited plan, you’ll get a $200 Prepaid Mastercard. After you purchase S10, you have must visit vzw.com/digitalrebatecenter and enter promo code, “APRILSWITCH” to get redeem this offer. 

Existing Verizon customers who upgrade their device can get save up to $200 with an eligible trade-in.  

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is getting first dibs on the Galaxy S10 5G and you can sign up here for updates. The 5G phone isn’t slated to come out until the second quarter of this year, though.

AT&T

AT&T will give you a free S10e with the purchase of a Galaxy S10e, S10, or S10+ on contract. Alternatively, you can get a $750 credit towards a higher 512GB or 1TB device of your choice. If you make your purchase online, you’ll also get a $100 Visa Reward card.

MORE: Samsung Foldable Phone Has a Name: The Galaxy Fold

Sprint

Currently, Sprint will let you lease the Galaxy S10e, S10, or S10+ for less money per month than other carriers. Under Sprint’s Flex leasing plan, you can get the Galaxy S10e for $0 down and pay $15 a month for 18 months. If you want to the S10 or S10+, you’ll pay no money up front and $20 or $25 per month, respectively. 

All deals require that you sign an 18-month Sprint Flex lease plan, which means after 18 months you can either choose to keep your phone and pay it off with additional payments or return it for a newer model.  

T-Mobile

For a limited time, you can get a free Galaxy S10e when you buy any T-Mobile Galaxy S10 phone and open a new line. You must activate your device on their network under a monthly leasing plan and your free phone will show up on your bill in credits of $31.25 for 24 months. 

Xfinity Mobile 

If you’re thinking about switching carriers, you might want to check out Xfinity Mobile‘s Galaxy S10 deal. The carrier is giving out $250 Visa prepaid cards to anyone who buys and activates a Galaxy phone on their network.

With a cap of up to five phones, this deal could put up to $1,250 back into your pocket, depending on how many phone lines you need. This deal ends April 17. 

Galaxy S10 Cases

If you want to keep your Galaxy S10 in pristine condition, now is a great time to grab a protective case. Amazon has select Otterbox cases for the Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10+ on sale. 

Best Galaxy S9 and S9+ Deals

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Now’s a great time to score a Galaxy S9 or S9+ on the cheap. Now that the Galaxy S10 phones have claimed their flagship status, carriers and retailers alike are offering solid deals on the previous gen device. 

Currently, Amazon is offering these deals: 

Other colors and capacities are also on sale, but these are the lowest prices currently available for Samsung’s previous-gen phones. 

If you purchase the phones direct from Samsung, you can expect to pay $499.99 for the unlocked S9 and $599.99 for the unlocked S9+.  

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s Guide   

Galaxy S9 & S9+ Deals: Samsung and Carriers Compared

Carrier Galaxy S9 Price S9 Monthly Payments Galaxy S9+ Price S9+ Monthly Payments Trade-In Rebates?
Samsung $499.99 $20.83/24 months $599.99 $25/24 months Up to $300
Verizon $599.99 $24.99/24 months $699.99 $29.16/24 months Up to $200
AT&T $599.99 $20/30 months $699.99 $23.34/30 months Up to $200 
T-Mobile $600 $25/24 months $700 $28/24 months + $28 down Up to $200
Sprint $599.99 $5/18 months N/A N/A $100

Amazon

Amazon is taking up to $111 off Samsung’s current flagships. Currently, you can get the Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 for $499.99 ($220 off) or the Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9+ for $588.99 ($251 off). 

Best Buy 

Best Buy is currently selling the unlocked Galaxy S9 and S9+ for $399.99 ($319 off) and $499.99 ($340 off), respectively. If you purchase the phones and activate them on the same day via Best Buy, you’ll save from $100 (Verizon) to $100 (Sprint). It’s one of the best deals we’ve seen for these phones. 

Walmart

Currently, Walmart is offering the 64GB unlocked Galaxy S9 for $499.99 ($220 off) and the 64GB unlocked Galaxy S9+ for $599.99 ($240 off). 

Verizon

Verizon isn’t offering any specific deals on the S9 or S9+. Instead, it’s offering a $250 pre-paid MasterCard when you switch to its network. 

AT&T

If you get the Galaxy S9 from AT&T, you’ll lease the device for $20/mo. for 30 months. That comes out to $599.99 which is $119 off its $719 list price. Alternatively, the Galaxy S9+ will cost you $23.34 per month or $699.99 over a 30-month period. That’s $140 off the phone’s $840 list price. 

MORE: Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy S9: Here’s What’s Changed

Sprint

If it’s the lowest monthly price you’re after, Sprint has Galaxy S9 for $5/month (normally $33/month). It requires an 18-month Sprint Flex lease, and you must open a new line of service. The carrier no longer offers the Galaxy S9+. 

T-Mobile

The UnCarrier Network currently offers a Galaxy S9 for no money down and $25/mo. for 24-months which comes out to $600. If you want the larger 
Galaxy S9+, that will cost you $28 up front and then $28/mo. for 24 months which totals $700. 

Galaxy Note 10 Rumors: Release Date, Specs, Price and More

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So far, 2019 has been a big year for Samsung flagships.

Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 9

First, the company launched the Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus — three smartphones that deliver fresh looks, the long-awaited in-display fingerprint sensor and much more. Next, Samsung is planning to release its Galaxy Fold, a bendable device that could change the smartphone game forever — if people can swallow its price.

But the year isn’t over. And as it has in the past, Samsung is readying a big launch this summer for the Galaxy Note 10.

Of course, at this early stage, Samsung isn’t saying much about its plans and why it might have something big and exciting to unveil. But the rumor mill has picked up the slack and shared a host of important details about what we could expect from the smartphone when it’s released later this year.

So read on through our rumor roundup and be sure to check back often to find out what Samsung could ultimately deliver when it’s time to showcase the Galaxy Note 10.

Price and Availability

For now, neither Samsung nor the rumor mill has much to say about the Galaxy Note 10’s pricing and availability.

Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 9

According to most reports, the Galaxy Note 10 will be unveiled sometime in August and make its way to store shelves in September. That certainly fits Samsung’s recent release pattern for the Galaxy Note 8 and 9, which both appeared in August allowing the company to get the jump on the September debut of Apple’s new iPhones.

Pricing hasn’t been confirmed just yet, but considering the Galaxy S10 Plus — arguably the best comparison to the Galaxy Note 10 — costs $999, there’s a good chance the device will be on the pricey side. That also happens to be the price at which the Galaxy Note 9 debuted last year, so $999 seems a likely ballpark for this year’s model.

Where Are the Buttons?

Here’s one Note 10 development you might not expect: Samsung could decide to ditch the buttons in its Galaxy Note 10 and go with a buttonless design.

The claim comes from ETNews, one of the more reliable sources out of Samsung’s home base in South Korea. The site’s sources say that Samsung is mulling the possibility of ditching the volume, power and Bixby keys, replacing them with gestures.

MORE: Galaxy Note 10 Could Have This Huge Design Change

Interestingly, Samsung has patented technology that places sensors on the sides of the device to activate certain features. It’s also possible that the way you touch or squeeze the Galaxy Note 10’s sides could prompt an action.

Plenty of Cameras

Samsung could try to top its Galaxy S10 models with a Galaxy Note 10 that offers not three, but four cameras on the rear. That would match a feature Huawei just introduced with its flagship P30 Pro phone.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G sports four rear cameras. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G sports four rear cameras.

According to SamMobile, the quad-camera setup would pave the way for Samsung to offer a standard camera, a telephoto lens and an ultrawide snapper like the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. It’s unclear what the fourth camera would offer, but it could be similar to the rear-facing depth sensor Samsung has bundled with the Galaxy S10 5G.

Massive Screen Size

Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 9

If you’re hoping for a big-screen smartphone, the Galaxy Note 10 could fit the bill.

According to a report out of Korea from iGeekphone.com, the Galaxy Note 7 could ship with a whopping 6.7-inch screen, making it much larger than the 6.4-inch Galaxy Note 9 display and notably larger than the 6.5-inch screen in the iPhone XS Max. There’s some precedent for Samsung to produce a device with such a massive display: The Galaxy S10 5G coming out this spring has a screen that same size.

A 5G Version

There might be more than one Galaxy Note 10 version in the works, if a recent XDA Developers leak is any indication.

The site recently discovered some code baked into Samsung’s kernel that points to a “davinci5G.” At first blush, that might not mean much, but Da Vinci is believed to be the code-name for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10. And the 5G mention is obviously a reference to a 5G version.

MORE: Hands-on Galaxy S10 5G Review: Now This Is Big

What’s unknown right now, though, is whether the 5G version will be the standard model or if Da Vinci will be the standard model and Da Vinci 5G refers to a higher-end version.

The Same Old Snapdragon

Samsung is expected to deliver the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 you can find in the Galaxy S10 lineup in the Galaxy Note 10.

Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 9

We don’t have any concrete rumors on this one yet, but Samsung in the past has used the same processor it delivers in the Galaxy S lineup in its Galaxy Note device. And there’s no reason to suggest Samsung would change tack here, since the Snapdragon 855 is still the most powerful Qualcomm smartphone chip on the market.

An Ode to the In-Display Fingerprint Sensor

Galaxy S10Galaxy S10

Again, this one hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung, but all signs point to the company bringing the same in-display fingerprint sensor it offered in the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy Note 10. The feature is one of the biggest upgrades in the Galaxy S10, and since the Galaxy Note 10 will aim for the same high-end market segment, it makes sense to look for it in Samsung’s next flagship.

The S Pen Gets a Refresh

Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 9

Some people believe that Samsung’s use of the “Da Vinci” code-name points to some big upgrades for the S Pen and its performance with drawing and art. There’s not much else to go on in a Softpedia report on the Da Vinci name and the S Pen, but the Galaxy Note does deliver S Pen upgrades each year — with the Note 9, Samsung added Bluetooth connectivity — so clearly something big could be in the works for artists.

So Long, Headphone Jack

Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 9

This one might not go over so well, but the Galaxy Note 10 could be the first Samsung smartphone not to ship with a headphone jack, according to a report from ETNews. The move could mean that future Samsung devices could similarly ship without a headphone jack. Bring on the adapters!

Credit: Tom’s Guide

All the Incoming Foldable Phones of 2019

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With Google betting on a foldable future for Android, it seems all phone manufacturers are getting these type of devices ready. Even Apple is reportedly looking into this form factor (though probably not this year) that offers the convenience of extreme portability when folded and a larger screen whenever you need it.Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesCredit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesClearly, foldable phones and the return of the slider phone will be the hottest trends this year. Here’s a look at the flexible phones that have been announced so far, and what we could eventually see.

Huawei Mate X

Huawei’s folding phone is here, and at €2,299, the Mate X is not going to come cheaply.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideStill, you get a lot for your money if you splash out for this folding phone. Unfolded, the Mate X acts as an 8-inch tablet. But fold the device, and you’ve got two screens — a front-facing 6.6-inch screen augmented by a 6.4-inch panel on back. That screen can double as a mirror when you take a photo of someone using the Mate X’s camera. (Huawei is keeping mum on the camera specs at this point.) The folded Mate X is just 11mm thin — there’s no gap between the screens — so it should fit easily into a pocket.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideThe Mate X packs plenty of power with a Kirin 980 processor and a Balong 5000 modem that lets this device connect to 5G networks. A pair of batteries combine to offer 4,500 mAh of battery life to keep the massive screens powered up.

We’re expecting to see the Mate X arrive in June, though in keeping with Huawei’s recent launch strategy, we’re unlikely to see this foldable phone in the U.S.

MORE: 7 Ways the Huawei Mate X Beats the Galaxy Fold

Samsung Galaxy Fold

After years where it seemed like a Samsung foldable phone was on the verge of being launched, Samsung finally made good on years of hype. The Galaxy Fold is coming April 26, with a starting price of $1,980. That version of the Fold will connect over LTE, but Samsung is also offering a 5G-ready version.

All the Incoming Foldable Phones of 2019 39The Fold will use the Infinity Flex display Samsung introduced last November. When unfolded, the display expands to 7.3 inches. Samsung’s App Continuity feature will let you resume using the app you had open on the folded-up 4.6-inch display in tablet mode. And multitasking supports lets you run three apps at once.

Get to Know the Galaxy Fold (Credit: Samsung)

The batteries are split into two, one on each side, for a combined power pack of 4,380 mAh. The 7-nanometer processor powering the device is aided by 12GB of RAM. And the Galaxy Fold offers six cameras total — three on the back panel, two inside, and one up front.

Credit: phoneoftime/YouTubeCredit: phoneoftime/YouTubeIn the buildup to the Galaxy Fold’s release, some users who claim to have gotten early glimpses at the foldable claim that you can see a visible crease on the Fold’s plastic display. Samsung isn’t alone in this regard; eagle-eyed viewers have cited similar issues in Mate X demo videos. Nevertheless, Samsung apparently wants to nip concerns about durability in the bud, releasing a video that shows the folding tests the Galaxy Fold has to endure.

Galaxy Fold Durability

The Fold may just be Samsung’s initial entry into the new field of foldable phones. Assorted patent filings indicate Samsung has other designs on the drawing board, from a phone that folds in two places to a device that can bend its way around your arm. These are just patents so they may never result in shipping products — and likely won’t in 2019 — but it shows just how serious Samsung is about folding devices.

MORE: Galaxy Fold vs. Huawei Mate X: Which Foldable Phone Will Win?

Royole FlexPai

The world’s first foldable phone already debuted last November. It isn’t as polished as Huawei or Samsung’s but, hey, the little Chinese David beat the two Goliaths to be first to market. Called the FlexPai, it has a 7.8-inch AMOLED screen with a 1920 x 1440 resolution and measures 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches.
Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideThe Snapdragon 855-powered Flexpai has two cameras rated at 16 and 20 megapixels, and comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in its $1,318 base model. You can already order it from Royole, though the company warns it may take 60 to 90 days for your order to ship.

We had a chance to go hands-on with the FlexPai during CES, and it’s a more polished experience than initial videos of the phone might have you believe. Folding the FlexPai is relatively fluid, and you can use the phone in full-screen, phone-sized and tent modes. The device also doesn’t feel that heavy. Still, the FlexPai felt a little unfinished, like it had been rushed to market to beat the bigger players. We hope to eventually test out the cameras and see how this phone holds up to everyday use.

Motorola

The brand now owned by Lenovo may resuscitate its legendary RAZR model in the form of a foldable phone, at least judging from US Patent and Trademark Office patents found by Dutch tech blog Mobielkopen and confirmed by a January report in the Wall Street Journal.

Credit: Yanko DesignCredit: Yanko Design

According to TechRadar, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that foldable screens may be the key to reintroduce the RAZR, a really compact flip phone that expands into a full screen similar to the 6.5-inch phones we have today.

“With the new technology, especially folding screens, I think you will see more and more innovation in our smartphone design,” he told TechRadar. “so hopefully what you just described [the RAZR] will be developed or realized very soon.” Patents spotted on the World Intellectual Property Office database seem to back that approach up. A firm named Yanko Design followed weeks later with a mockup, seen below, based on sketches filed in those patents.

Motorola essentially confirmed it will come out with a foldable phone in an interview with Engadget. Motorola has “no intention of coming later than everybody else in the market,” Motorola vice president of global product Dan Dery said.

MORE: Motorola Razr Rumors: Release Date, Price and Specs

Xiaomi

Xiaomi’s folding phone has gone from prototype to a more polished promotional video that emphasizes what an eye-catching design Xiaomi is working on. It’s a double-folding phone where the top and bottom of the tablet-sized screen fold down, leaving you with a compact (if chunky) smartphone.

Xiaomi Mi Fold

The latest video, posted to Weibo, shows us what the phone will look like when it folds and how it will work when unfolded. Xiaomi’s effort could be called the Xiaomi Dual Flex or Xiaomi MIX Flex, and it’s unclear when it will available.

Oppo

There have been rumblings about Oppo’s foldable phone plans, first uncovered by Mobielkopen in the form of patent filings. And now the Chinese phone maker has come out and said that it’s ready to build a folding phone — if there’s enough interest.

Credit: Brian Shen/WeiboCredit: Brian Shen/WeiboWhile there are few details about specs for this device, Oppo vice president of Chinese sales and marketing Brian Shen took to Weibo to post photos of a foldable prototype. Like Huawei’s Mate X, Oppo’s take on a foldable phone has the screen wrap around the outside of the fold, leaving you with two screens on either side of the device when it’s folded up.

In his post, Shen said the foldable phone could enter mass production if Oppo sees enough customer demand.

ZTE

Credit: MobielkopenCredit: MobielkopenThe 2017 Axon M was more flop than foldable, thanks to a dual-screen design that reminds me of the LG patent. But that’s not the end of the line for ZTE. In an interview, ZTE Marketing VP Jeff Yee said that they will get “something that’s truly bendable.” 

ZTE has filed patents not just for a phone that folds in in itself, but also a phone with a wrap-around display. While drawings reveal the general design of each, their size, price, and development progress is not yet known.

LG

Forget LG coming out with a foldable phone at Mobile World Congress, as had been rumored. Instead, the company showed off the new LG G8 ThinQ and 5G-ready LG V50 ThinQ phones, right after LG president Kwon Bong-seok, told the Korea Times that it’s premature to come out with a folding device. “We have reviewed releasing the foldable smartphone when launching 5G smartphone but decided not to produce it,” the LG executive said. Instead, the company is focusing on its 5G device for now.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom’s GuideLG is experimenting with a second screen, but it’s not quite the folding display that other phone makers have developed. When it unveiled the LG V50, the company also showed off an add-on called the Dual Display that clips on to LG’s new phone, adding a second 6.2-inch panel. The display lets you run two apps at once and it’s consistent with an LG patent discovered earlier by Letsgodigital.

The Dual Display add-on won’t be coming to the U.S. LG hasn’t announced pricing.

Still, let’s not assume LG has given up on a foldable device entirely, especially after IP Park, chief technology officer and president of LG Electronics, told us at CES that his company was working on both rollable and foldable phones.
Credit: Lets Go DigitalCredit: Lets Go DigitalIn a filing with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, LG has applied to register three brand names: Flex, Foldi, and Duplex. The latter may refer to the dual-screen phone. Flex is already in use in of LG’s curved phone, the G Flex 2. It seems logical to think that Foldi may refer to a foldable screen phone.

There’s also another patent — filed on November 20, 2018 — that shows this strange foldable by LG:Credit: Lets Go DigitalCredit: Lets Go Digital

MORE: Smartphones With the Longest Battery Life – A Comparison

Other prototypes

We’re doubtlessly going to hear from other device makers about foldable phone plans, especially if the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X prove to be popular once they ship. For now, though, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with concept designs.

Credit: Lets Go DigitalCredit: Lets Go DigitalOne of the more interesting efforts comes from Sharp and features a candy-bar shaped design that folds in two. Interestingly, Sharp’s phone leaves some of the screen exposed when folded, presumably so that you can check the time, see incoming calls and read notifications. Dutch blog Let’s Go Digital used Sharp’s patent filings to sketch out what such a device would look like.

Google has patents of its own for a phone that folds in two and three places. That, plus Google’s work on a version of Android that supports devices with flexible screens, has fueled speculation that we could one day see a foldable Pixel.

2020: Apple?

And finally, there’s Apple. The Cupertino company is not talking about its foldable plans at all, but there’s no doubt they are working on exploring different designs, as this patent on hinge designs show.

Credit: Patently AppleCredit: Patently AppleMost likely, Tim Cook and Jony Ive will wait until Google, Samsung, Huawei, and company iron out all the many technological kinks. But perhaps, if the format takes off as these companies and the Westworld scriptwriters think it will, Apple may be left behind in the Next Big Thing.

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