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Verizon 5G Launching in NYC Next Week

Today, 8:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has revealed that it will light up its mmWave 5G service in New York City in one week, on September 26th. As with all mmWave deployments, it will focus on dense, downtown areas and public spaces, rather than broad citywide coverage. The coverage areas include parts of uptown, midtown, and downtown Manhattan, along with select parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. NYC is Verizon's 11th 5G city. The company has promised to launch 5G in 30 US cities by the end of the year. Verizon's lineup of phones with integrated 5G include the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G.


Unlicensed Band 48 Opens for Business

Tuesday, 8:37 AM   by Rich Brome

The FCC this week granted permission for initial commercial service to commence in the unlicensed part of band 48, also known as CBRS, a radio frequency band spanning the range of 3550 - 3700 MHz. In a new and unique arrangement, consumer phones will be able to cellular technologies like LTE in an unlicensed band that also has incumbent users such as the military and satellite operators. To prevent interference, five companies will operate central databases that coordinate access to the band in real-time. Having proven their systems in certified lab tests, it is these five Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrators that have received permission from the FCC to begin "initial commercial deployment", which is both a real-world test phase and a commercial launch. The five approved Administrators are Google, Sony, Federated Wireless, Amdocs, and CommScope. Verizon has been most vocal among the major US carriers about deploying service in band 48 for its customers. The most recent flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, LG, OnePlus, and Razer already support band 48. In mid-2020, the FCC plans to auction a different part of the CBRS band that will be licensed in a more traditional way for deployment of 5G service.


LG Brings a Tall HD Display to Its New Entry-Level Phone

Sep 8, 2019, 12:33 PM   by Rich Brome

Cricket is now selling the LG Escape Plus, a new phone with basic specs for $120. Its best feature is a 5.5-inch LCD display with and tall 2:1 aspect ratio and HD+ (720 x 1440 pixel) resolution. It also has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side, 32 GB of storage, an 8-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, 3.5mm headset jack, and a memory card slot. It's powered by a 3,000 mAh battery, Snapdragon 425 processor, and 2 GB of RAM. Regulatory approvals indicate versions of this same phone are planned for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Metro as well. If history is any indication, those versions are likely to be sold under different names.


Snapdragon 7-Series Chips with Integrated 5G Shipping by End of 2019

Sep 6, 2019, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Qualcomm today revealed an accelerated timeline for bringing integrated 5G to its Snapdragon chips for mid-range phones. An unnamed 7xx-series Snapdragon chip that fully integrates a 5G modem is already sampling to customers such as LG, Motorola, and Nokia / HMD Global (among others), with the chip launching commercially before the end of 2019, and phones using the chip available "soon thereafter". The chip fully supports all mmWave and sub-6 GHz frequency bands for 5G worldwide, as well as both NSA and SA networks, both TDD and FDD modes, and DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, which allows 5G and 4G to share existing frequency bands). The company also plans to bring 5G to its 6xx-series Snapdragon chips, with devices using those those chips expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2020.


T-Mobile, AT&T Connect on STIR/SHAKEN

Aug 14, 2019, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile and AT&T can now securely confirm caller-ID info between the two networks, an important step in fighting number spoofing widely used by robocallers. Both companies have now implemented the STIR/SHAKEN protocol between their networks, allowing caller-ID info to be authenticated, resulting in a "Caller Verified" banner on the phone screen when a call is incoming. T-Mobile and Metro currently offer 12 phones from Samsung and LG that support this banner. The FCC has urged US telecom companies — under threat of new regulation — to implement STIR/SHAKEN as a means of combatting robocalling and fraud. Once adoption is widespread, consumers will be able to block calls that cannot be authenticated. Verizon has announced that it is also working to implement STIR/SHAKEN.


LG Adds Magnetic Stripe Payments to G8

Jul 16, 2019, 6:51 PM   by Rich Brome

LG's flagship phone — the LG G8 ThinQ — now supports magnetic-stripe payment terminals with the LG Pay app, similar to a key feature of many recent Samsung phones. The feature can emit a magnetic signal when held near magnetic-stripe readers, which emulates a credit card being swiped through the reader. LG has signed up a list of just a few, but major, banks to support the feature, including Chase, PNC Bank, US Bank, and Regions Bank. LG says the feature will roll out to additional LG phones soon.


Sprint Launches 5G in Chicago

Jul 11, 2019, 12:33 PM   by Rich Brome

Sprint is launching its 5G network in Chicago this week. Utilizing the company's 2.6 GHz (band 41) spectrum, the network offers better coverage and building penetration than the mmWave 5G networks launched by other companies in Chicago to date. The coverage area reaches from the historic IL-64 in the north to Stevenson Expressway in the south, and as far as California Avenue in the west. It covers 700,000 people. Chicago joins Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City among Sprint's 5G cities, and the company promises to launch 5G in Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC "in the coming weeks". Sprint customers in Chicago will be able to buy a 5G device starting Friday, July 12th. Sprint currently offers the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.


LG Stylo 5 Debuts First on Cricket

Jun 28, 2019, 1:50 PM   by Rich Brome

Cricket launched the LG Stylo 5 today, an update to LG's affordable, large-screen phone with a stylus. Compared to last year's Stylo 4, the new model has Android 9 (Pie) and a slightly larger battery at 3,500 mAh. The Stylo 4 was offered by many US carriers, and FCC filings reveal that the Stylo 5 may also be offered by Sprint, T-Mobile, Metro, and Verizon. The Stylo 5 looks much like the 4 and has many specs in common, including a 6.2-inch full-HD display, 13-megapixel main camera, USB-C connector, 32 GB storage, and a memory card slot. Cricket is selling the Stylo 5 for $230. The Blonde Rose color is a Cricket exclusive; the company is also offering the phone in Platinum Gray.


Verizon Launching LG V50 Nationwide June 20th

Jun 18, 2019, 11:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will launch its second phone with integrated 5G — the LG V50 ThinQ 5G — for all customers on June 20th. As with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Verizon isn't restricting sales to areas where 5G service is available, as Sprint has done. Verizon is selling the phone for $1,000, or $41.66/month for 24 months. For a limited time, Verizon is waiving the $10/month 5G access fee. Verizon's 5G network uses mmWave frequencies and is currently available in part of Chicago and Minneapolis, with another 28+ cities coming by the end of the year.


Sprint Details 5G Coverage, Launching Tomorrow

May 30, 2019, 10:29 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint's 5G network launches tomorrow in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Kansas City, as previously announced. In the coming weeks, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC will also gain 5G service. At that point, Sprint's 5G network will cover a total of 2,180 square miles and 11.5 million people, the largest 5G coverage area in the US by far. Sprint is using the 2.5 GHz frequency band (band 41) for its initial 5G network, which offers much better coverage and building penetration than the mmWave frequencies that Verizon and AT&T have launched 5G with so far. Sprint also uses band 41 for LTE, and its new Massive MIMO antennas are delivering 4G LTE and 5G NR simultaneously in band 41, with similar coverage for each technology. Sprint's 5G network in Dallas-Fort Worth covers approximately 575 square miles and 1.6 million people. In Houston, Sprint 5G covers approximately 165 square miles and 800,000 people. In Kansas City: 225 square miles and 625,000 people. In Atlanta: 150 square miles and 565,000 people. Sprint's first 5G phone is the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, which goes on sale tomorrow in cities with Sprint 5G service. Sprint will offer the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G later this summer.


Sprint Launching 5G on May 31st

May 16, 2019, 10:20 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint's first 5G phone — the LG V50 ThinQ 5G — will launch on May 31st. Pre-orders start tomorrow, May 17th, and the company is offering special pre-order pricing on the LG V50: 50% off ($24/month with a "Sprint Flex lease"). The company is also offering a 5G mobile hotspot from HTC. Sprint's initial 5G coverage includes Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City. In "the next few weeks", Sprint will switch on 5G in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix. and Washington, DC. Sprint's initial 5G network uses band 41, which is near 2500 MHz, offering much better coverage and building penetration than the mmWave bands Verizon and AT&T are using for their initial 5G networks. Sprint is offering a free three-month trial of the Hatch game-streaming service on its 5G phones, including the LG V50.


LG G8 Launches mid-April on All Major US Carriers

Mar 28, 2019, 11:41 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 28, 2019, 1:38 PM

In two weeks, the LG G8 ThinQ will be offered by all major US carriers, with several offering major discounts at launch. This flagship phone from LG has a unique 3D depth camera on the front, supporting mid-air gestures, hand vein scanning, and 3D face scanning. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile will carry the G8, as well as Best Buy and B&H. The standard retail price is $820, although some carriers are offering significant discounts and deals. Read on for carrier deal specifics, color options, and pre-order dates.

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Hands On with the LG K40

Feb 27, 2019, 11:40 AM   by Rich Brome

LG's more affordable phones aren't always exciting, but US carriers love them, and sell plenty to US consumers. LG has three new ones this year, the smallest and most of affordable of which is the K40. It's basically a replacement for the K30. Improvements include a larger, taller display and batter cameras. It also adds a dedicated Google Assistant button and AI Cam automatic scene detection. What's it like in person? We checked it out.

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Hands On with the LG V50 ThinQ

Feb 25, 2019, 5:18 PM   by Rich Brome

LG's V50 ThinQ is the first 5G phone for Sprint, and the first phone in the US to use 5G on low-frequency bands that provide broad coverage. LG took the V40 and somehow added both 5G and a larger battery, without making it any bigger. It keeps the V40's triple cameras, and other hallmark features of the V-series like wireless charging, 3.5mm audio jack... and memory card support. LG didn't leave anything out. There's also a sleek new design. How is it? We took it for a quick spin.

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Sprint Details Initial 5G Network Launching in May

Feb 25, 2019, 6:16 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint today released new details of the 5G network it will launch this May and June. Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City will launch in May, while New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Phoenix, and Houston will launch in June. The NYC, LA, and Phoenix networks will each cover over 1 million people. Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Kansas City will all launch with over 100 square miles of 5G coverage, up to 270 square miles for the Phoenix area. The LA network will cover from downtown to the coast, The NYC network will cover most of Manhattan, La Guardia airport, and JFK airport. Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung are providing the network equipment. Sprint's first 5G phone will be the LG V50 ThinQ, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in the summer.

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LG V50 Packs 5G Without the Size Penalty

Feb 24, 2019, 1:46 PM   by Rich Brome

The LG V50 is the same size as last year's V40, but manages to include both 5G and a larger battery. Most other 5G phones this year are noticeably larger than their 4G counterparts. (The V50 is technically 0.7mm taller and 0.4mm thicker (8.3 vs 7.9mm) than the V40, a difference not obvious in person.) The V50's battery rates 4,000 mAh (compared to 3,300 in the V40). The V50 includes three rear cameras (standard, wide, and tele) plus two on the front (standard and wide). Its quad-HD OLED display measures 6.4 inches. A new vapor-chamber cooling system should reduce processor throttling during gaming sessions. Like the smaller G8, it has a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB built-in storage, stereo speakers, IP68 water resistance, fingerprint reader on the back, Quick Charge 3.0, NFC, stereo speakers, and 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC. It has both a memory card slot and 3.5mm audio jack. Sprint will carry the V50 ThinQ first, this spring, followed by Verizon in the summer.


Hands On with the LG G8 ThinQ

Feb 24, 2019, 1:46 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 27, 2019, 10:10 AM

The LG G8 ThinQ has some futuristic new features, like complex mid-air hand gestures and hand vein scanning. Otherwise it's similar to the G7, but makes numerous small upgrades and refinements. How well do the new features work? How does it look and feel in person? What else should you know about this new flagship phone? Read on to find out.

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LG G8's "Z Camera" Sees Mid-Air Gestures and Hand Veins

Feb 24, 2019, 1:46 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 24, 2019, 2:13 PM

The new LG G8 ThinQ has a 3D depth camera on the front that can sense and recognize detailed hand gestures such as turning a virtual knob in mid-air. The same sensor also provides two different kinds of biometric security: hand vein scanning and 3D face scanning. The sensor also provides a superior selfie portrait mode. LG calls it "Z Camera", referring to "z" as the axis of depth. There's also a fingerprint reader on the back, and all three biometrics (finger, face, and hand) can be active at the same time. The phone uses the whole top half of the display as a speaker, serving as the earpiece during calls, and one of two stereo speakers when watching video. The design is largely similar to last year's G7, but with a sleeker back that puts the standard and wide cameras completely under the smooth glass back. As LG's main flagship phone for 2019, the G8 ThinQ has a 6.1" quad-HD+ OLED display, Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB built-in storage, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, IP68 water resistance, and Android 9 (Pie). It has both a 3.5mm audio jack and a memory card slot. The battery rates 3,500 mAh and it supports Quick Charge 3.0. The main camera is 12 megapixels with an f/1.5 aperture, while the wide-angle camera has 16 megapixels and an f/1.9 aperture. A new night mode combines 10 burst shots into one, to reduce noise. It can also apply a bokeh (blurred background) effect to video. The standard portrait mode is adjustable and has studio-effect options. The G8 will be available from major US carriers, including T-Mobile, and national retailers "in the coming weeks", available in black, silver, and red.


LG Reveals New Mid-Range Lineup

Feb 20, 2019, 1:41 AM   by Rich Brome

LG's new mid-range phones for 2019 all feature tall 2:1 displays, fingerprint readers, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and "AI CAM" automatic scene detection and mode selection, a feature thus far found only on higher-end phones. LG announced the Q60, K50, and K40 today, ahead of the MWC trade show next week.

  • Q60: 6.26-inch display with a small notch, three rear cameras (16mp main, 5mp wide, and 2mp depth), 13mp selfie camera, 3,500 mAh battery, 3 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage.
  • K50: The same 6.26-inch display with a small notch, two rear cameras (13mp main and 2mp depth), 13mp selfie camera, 3,500 mAh battery, 3 GB RAM, and 32GB storage.
  • K40: 5.7-inch display, 16mp camera, 8mp selfie camera, 3,000 mAh battery, 2 GB RAM, and 32 GB of storage.
They all have memory card slots supporting cards up to 2 TB and DTS:X 3D surround sound. Further details of the three phones will be revealed next week at the MWC trade show.


LG Teases Features of G8

Feb 13, 2019, 10:16 PM   by Rich Brome

The LG G8 ThinQ, the company's next flagship phone, will have a 3D face scanner for biometric security, and use its screen surface as the phone earpiece. LG has made several announcements leading up to the phone's launch about its features, also confirming the phone's name — the LG G7 ThinQ — and that it will be fully unveiled at the MWC trade show, which takes place the week of February 24th. The 3D face scanner will provide "sophisticated security for phone unlocking and payment authentication". The scanner is an Infineon REAL3 image sensor chip. It's tuned to infrared light and uses its own infrared light source so it's unaffected by ambient light. It uses time of flight (ToF) technology, which measures the time it takes for light to make the round trip to and from objects the light reflects off of. The screen-based earpiece is technology LG calls Crystal Sound OLED (CSO). LG developed CSO in-house, and says it "repurposes the OLED display as a diaphragm, vibrating the entire surface to produce sound with impressive volume." The G8 will also have a speakerphone using more traditional technology on the bottom, including the "Boombox" design (also found on the G7) that uses the interior of the whole phone as a resonance chamber to boost bass and volume.


LG Brings In New Leadership for Mobile Unit

Nov 28, 2018, 8:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced leadership and organizational changes that it hopes will improve the fortunes of its mobile business unit, which has suffered losses perennially. The current head of LG's Home Entertainment Company, Brian Kwon, will add the Mobile Communications Company to his plate. LG says Kwon helped transform its TV, audio, and PC businesses. The company thinks Kwon can use his expertise to effect similar improvement to the mobile device business. The current president of LG's phone business, Hwang Jeong-hwan, who filled the role for just one year, will transition to a position with LG's Convergence Business Development Office. The overall CEO of LG Electronics, Jo Seong-jin, will focus on strategy and assign more of his responsibilities to president and CFO David Jung. Jung will be responsible for day-to-day business operations. In addition to the executive shuffle, LG renamed two business units. The Vehicle Components Company will be renamed the Vehicle Component Solutions Company and the Business-to-Business Company will become the Business Solutions Company. The changes go into effect December 1.


Google Assistant's Latest Powers Target the Smart Home

Nov 14, 2018, 9:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is adding a wide range of features to its AI-powered Google Assistant that focus on improving the experience at home. First, family members will be able to respond to broadcasts. The broadcast feature lets people send a voice message to their Google Home speakers or video displays from their phone. Until now, broadcasts have been a one-way feature. Moving forward, people who receive broadcast messages via Google Home speakers/displays can reply. The reply is transcribed and sent to the original broadcaster as a notification. Next, Google Assistant is targeting in-home chefs. Smart display users will now see recommended recipes on an info card. The recommendations will be based on previous recipe searches. Google says recommendations will be updated regularly based on the season and time of day. Users will be able to save their favorites for easy referencing. Alarms just became more fun for kids. Google Assistant can now set up alarms based on popular animated characters that include signature music, jokes, and other messages. The Read Along feature is being improved with more sound effects and music from select books, and the Assistant itself can read any of 25 family-friendly stories upon command. Google Assistant now hooks into more smart TVs from the likes of Panasonic and LG. It can provide a Home View dashboard for controlling media and entertainment devices. Podcast lovers have new control over playback speed. Last, Google is bringing routines to the clock app for Android phones. For example, after the user dismisses the alarm, Google Assistant can immediately begin a routine, such as reading the news, providing a weather or traffic report, or turning on pre-set lights. On the flip side, Assistant can turn on do not disturb mode on all devices with a single command. Google says these features will roll out slowly to Google Home speakers, smart displays, and Android phones over the coming weeks.


Netflix HDR Support Reaches More High-End Phones

Oct 24, 2018, 7:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Netflix has added more smartphones to the list of those capable of supporting HDR10 playback. The newest phones include the LG G7, and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium and Xperia XZ3. These phones have the high-contrast displays needed to boost colors and improve the visible range between bright and dark regions of each frame. HDR10 playback is already available to a number of flagship-grade devices, including the LG G7 One, V30, and V35; the Samsung Galaxy Note9, Note8, and S9; the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ2; and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, P20, and Honor 10. In order to view HDR10 content on mobile devices, people need to subscribe to the premium Netflix plan.


Google Updating Your Movies to 4K for Free

Oct 23, 2018, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said movies people own via the Google Play Store will automatically be upgraded to 4K at no extra cost. When Hollywood studios make their titles available in 4K, Google will upgrade previous purchases, even if those purchases were for originally SD or HD resolution. Google indicated that 4K movies will begin to cost less when purchased in the Play Store. The 4K content should be easier to watch on 4K TVs, according to Google, without additional hardware. It has updated the Play Movies & TV app for the majority of Sony's Bravia 4K TVs and Samsung's 4K Smart TVs, and Google is doing the same for LG. The app allows connected TVs to access the Play Movies service directly for streaming programs. Google will continue to make improvements to the app and bring 4K movies and TV shows to more devices over time.


OnePlus Says It Will Be In First Wave of Phones to Include 5G

Oct 23, 2018, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm expects to see two major waves of 5G handsets arrive throughout 2019. Speaking at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said, based on its viewpoint, there will be an initial set of launches along with the arrival of 5G mobile networks themselves. U.S. carriers are expecting to get their 5G mobile networks up and running during the first six months of 2019, and some may launch during the first quarter. Amon believes a second wave of 5G phones — all flagships — will hit the market in the latter part of the year ahead of the holiday shopping season. OnePlus CEO, Carl Pei, who joined Amon on stage, says his company will have one of the first, if not the actual first, 5G phones to reach consumer hands. Pei noted that OnePlus has already begun conducting 5G tests with partner Qualcomm in San Diego. OnePlus is prepared to launch the OnePlus 6T at an event in New York on October 29. It is likely the 6T's successor that will include 5G. Earlier this year, Sprint claimed it would be the first carrier to launch a 5G handset with partner LG. Given OnePlus' recent tie-up with T-Mobile, it's possible OnePlus' 5G smartphone will operate on T-Mobile's network. Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile has provided a firm 5G launch date for 2019.


T-Mobile Debuts 3-Year Device Payment Plan

Oct 17, 2018, 11:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced new handset and service promotions that offer new phones for low monthly payments with one big catch: the equipment installment plan runs for 36 months. That means it will be three years before customers pay off their device, rather than the customary two years. The basics are these. Beginning October 19, customers can trade in an eligible phone for a new Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Note9, LG G7, LG V40 ThinQ, and others for payments as low as $10 per month. T-Mobile hopes customers taking advantage of this promo will jump on the T-Mobile Essentials plan, which provides a family of four new phones with unlimited service for $40 per line per month, or $160 total. This breaks down to $30 per month per line for service and $10 per month for device payments. The actual device payment may be different. Customers who want the T-Mobile One plan will need to pay another $10 per month per line, or $50. This deal requires auto-pay. Eligible phone trade-ins will be credited to customer accounts monthly over a period of 36 months. The maximum trade-in value is $360 per device, but that will depend on the trade and its condition. T-Mobile didn't immediately list a set of devices eligible for trade-in. The trade can be applied to the purchase price of most phones LG sells, including the forthcoming iPhone Xr.


Fortnite for Android No Longer Requires An Invitation

Oct 11, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Epic Games today made its popular Fortnite game available without an invitation. The app has been available in beta since August, though an invite was required for access. Epic Games has dropped the need for an invitation and most anyone can download the game. Fortnite is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, people interested in the game will need to go to Epic's web site to download an installer. The installer then puts the game on the phone. The game started as an exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and was later discovered to have a major security flaw in the installer (since patched). Fortnite is best played on high-end devices that have Android 8 Oreo installed. Some compatible phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, and S9 series; all Google Pixel phones; the LG G5, G6, G7, V20, and V30; the Asus ROG Phone and 5Z; the Essential Phone; the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, Honor 10, and Honor Play; the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6; the HTC 10, U Ultra, U11+, U12+; the Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ2, and XZ3 series; as well as a handful of others from Xiaomi, ZTE, Nokia, and Lenovo.


AT&T Expands '5G Evolution' Footprint to 99 More Markets

Oct 4, 2018, 7:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said it has launched what it calls 5G Evolution in 99 new markets, bringing the total of pre-5G markets to 239. AT&T is on track to reach its goal of 400 markets by the end of the year, and nationwide coverage during the first half of 2019. The company says its 5G Evolution technology — which is not 5G NR — can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones. AT&T expects to launch true 5G mobile service in a dozen markets by the end of the year, with another seven joining the list in early 2019. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint to parts of 20 markets and expects to reach 24 by December. LTE-LAA can push speeds to a theoretical max of 1 Gbps. A handful of phones sold by AT&T are LTE-LAA capable, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8, Note9, and S8 Active, as well as the LG V30 and V35, the Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition, and the Netgear Nighthawk Mobile Router. AT&T's first real 5G NR mobile device will be a mobile hotspot.


Hands On with the LG Watch W7

Oct 3, 2018, 5:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG announced a hybrid smartwatch today, a wearable that includes physical, moving watch hands in addition to a full, Wear OS operating system and touch display. Here are our first impressions of this unique take on the wristwatch.

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LG's W7 Smartwatch Features Real Moving Hands and Digital Display

Oct 3, 2018, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 3, 2018, 4:20 PM

LG today announced the W7, a unique, hybrid wearable that combines certain aspects of regular watches and smartwatch. LG says the watch was developed with the help of Swiss watchmaker Soprod SA, meaning it has a traditional design with a chrome bezel and support for standard 22mm straps. The W7's signature feature is a set of physical, moving watch hands so the time always visible on the smartwatch. Despite the gearing necessary for the hands, LG says the watch sips power and can keep the hands moving for 100 days on a single charge, or run the watch for about two days when used with the screen and other features on. Beneath the hands is a standard 1.2-inch OLED touch display that supports all the normal functions of Google's Wear OS. The watch hands will move out of the way when needed to reveal the information beneath. The W7 includes two physical buttons and a knob for controlling aspects of the user interface. Other features include IP68 protection from water, a compass, stopwatch, timer, barometer, and altimeter. The watch hands can also act like a compass when needed. There is no heart rate monitor and no LTE connectivity, but the W7 does include GPS for tracking workouts. Preorders for the LG Watch W7 begin October 7, with in-store availability at Bvest Buy starting October 14. It costs $450.


Video and Photo Tour of the LG V40 ThinQ

Oct 3, 2018, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman and Rich Brome

The LG V40 ThinQ is a beast of a top-end, large-screen phone. In addition to our in-depth review, we have a video tour in 4K, and some bonus photos.

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LG's V40 ThinQ Ups the Ante with 5 Cameras

Oct 3, 2018, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today fully revealed the V40 ThinQ, its camera-focused flagship phone for the remainder of the year. The V40 adopts five cameras, with three on the back and two on front. The rear cameras include wide-angle (16mp, f/1.9), normal (12mp, f/1.5), and telephoto (12mp, f/2.4) lenses to offer people greater flexibility in capturing images. Using the new Triple Shot tool, the V40 can take pictures with all three lenses and then merge the result into a shareable GIF with zooming animations. The front of the phone features an 8-megapixel normal lens and a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens for selfies. Both front and rear cameras support portrait/bokeh photography. The V40 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a notch and quad HD+ resolution. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Other hardware features include support for microSD storage cards, 3.5mm headphone jack with quad DAC, USB-C, and a 3,300mAh battery. The device offers rapid charging and rapid wireless charging. Wireless radios include Bluetooth, FM, GPS, NFC, WiFi, and LTE with most U.S. bands on board. The V40 is made from metal and glass, with 2.5D glass on front and sand-blasted glass on the rear. The phone is rated IP68 for protection against dust and water. The V40 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with a number of software features provided by LG. The V40 will be available for preorder starting today, with in-store availability scheduled for October 18. Raw pricing for the device is as follows: AT&T, TBD; Sprint, $960; T-Mobile, $920; U.S. Cellular, $900; and Verizon, $980. Each carrier will have its own monthly rates and bundles available at launch.


LG's V40 ThinQ To Feature Cinemagraph Capture

Oct 1, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today revealed that its forthcoming flagship, the V40 ThinQ, can capture cinemagraphs. The feature, called Cine Shot, lets people record several seconds of video and then create a still image that has a moving segment. For example, a cinema graph can show a person blowing bubbles wherein the person is perfectly still but the bubbles float around the image. Cine Shots are stored in the .MP4 format and can be shared via most messaging apps. A similar motion capture tool is available from device made by Motorola and others. LG has already shown that the V40 ThinQ will be a metal-and-glass slate with a 6.4-inch screen. The phone will include five cameras. LG is expected to announce the phone in full on October 3.


LG Touts V40 ThinQ's 5 Cameras and 6.4-Inch Screen

Sep 27, 2018, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has revealed several aspects of its forthcoming flagship phone, the V40 ThinQ, in a promotional video shared in its home market of Korea. The main points revealed by the video are the V40 ThinQ's 6.4-inch screen and five-camera array. LG says it has reduced the bezels as much as possible, allowing the V40 ThinQ to boost the size of the screen compared to the V30/35 while keeping the phone's dimension's in check. Based on visuals shared in the video, the V40 has three cameras on the rear and two cameras on the front. The phone features a metal-and-glass design, with glass on front and back. LG says the rear panel, in particular, has been sand-blasted for smoothness and resistance to scratching and fingerprints. Other aspects of the phone include a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. LG plans to more fully announce the phone at an event in New York City on October 3.


Boost Mobile Picks Up the LG K30 for $150

Sep 25, 2018, 4:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 25, 2018, 6:14 PM

Boost Mobile today added the LG K30 to its list of inexpensive Android phones for $150. The K30 is a rebadged variant of the K10, which LG announced earlier this year. The K30 has a U-shaped metal frame and a 5.3-inch 720p display and a 1.5 GHz octa-core MediaTek processor. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Photo tools include bokeh/portraits and a Low Light Noise mode that works with HDR to reduce grain and provide more contrast in low-light shots. Other features include a 2,880mAh battery and fingerprint reader; GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, and FM radio; and a microUSB port. It comes in black and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo. Boost is also offering a deal to those who switch. The prepaid carrier will provide four lines for $25 each, with unlimited talk and text; optimized video, game, and music streaming; and unlimited music streaming from select partners. The deal for switchers will be available through Nov. 15.


Apple Gear Spared from Trump's Tariffs for Now

Sep 18, 2018, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods are not among the list of products that will be subject to a new 10% tariff directed against imports from China. The tariff, levied by President Donald Trump, covers some $200 billion of goods shipped into the U.S. Apple had feared its products would be among those hit with the tariff, but it has been spared. FitBit said its products were spared from this round of tariffs, as well, but some Cisco, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard components necessary for cloud computing equipment do fall on the list of taxed products. The 10% tariff goes into effect September 24, and rises to 25% on January 1, 2019. Trump has threatened to expand the tariffs to an additional $267 billion worth of goods. In that case, Apple's products would no longer be exempt from the added fees, nor would the phones from Samsung, LG, and most other manufacturers. Tariffs are generally viewed as a tax on consumers, as they often result in higher prices on goods.


Cricket Offering Galaxy S9 Promo and Open Enrollment for Insurance

Sep 14, 2018, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced several promotions timed with the arrival of the fall season. First up, customers who open a new line of service with Cricket and port in their number can buy the Samsung Galaxy S9 for $499, a savings of $120 off the regular price. Alternately, new customers can snag the LG Fortune 2 for free. This offer is available through November 8. Cricket is offering four lines of "unlimited data" for $100 per month. This plan includes 22 GB of high-speed data, after which the speeds may be slowed down when the network is congested. Cricket's network allows for maximum download speeds of 3 Mbps, with video streams capped at 1.5 Mbps, or standard definition. Last, Cricket is offering customers the opportunity to enroll in Cricket Protect. Cricket's insurance program includes quick and convenient phone replacements and covers broken glass and water damage. Cricket Protect costs $7 per month. The program is automatically offered to people when they buy a new device. The open enrollment lets people who don't have insurance sign up for the program. Cricket says people seeking to add their phone to Cricket Protect will need to bring their device to a local Cricket store for a quick inspection. The open enrollment period lasts through November 8.


Project Fi Offers Big Discounts On LG G7, V35 ThinQ

Sep 5, 2018, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google's Project Fi has slashed prices on most of the devices it sells. First, those who purchase the Pixel 2 XL can receive $250 in credit towards Project Fi service, which can cover at least 8 months of basic connectivity. Fi this week rolled out big price drops for the LG G7 ThinQ and the LG V35 ThinQ. The G7 has dropped from $749 to $449, while the V35 has dropped from $899 to $599, both representing savings of $300 with a new Fi activation. Fi has also discounted the Motorola Moto G6 from $249 to $199, and the Moto X4 from $399 to $249. These savings are available for a limited time and/or while supplies last. Google's Project Fi relies on T-Mobile, Sprint, and WiFi to provide coverage. Twenty dollars per month buys talk and text, and data costs $10 per gigabyte.


Hands On with the LG G7 Fit and G7 One

Aug 30, 2018, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG recently rolled out two new entries in its G7 range. The G7 Fit and G7 One have the same basic appearance as the flagship G7, but aren't quite the same when it comes to the in-hand experience. Here are our first impressions of these two mid-range phones from LG.

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LG Adds Two More Affordable Devices to the G7 Series

Aug 28, 2018, 5:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G7 One and G7 Fit, phones that share the basic design of the G7 ThinQ but dial back the specs in order to make them less expensive. Shared features between the two include 6.1-inch quad HD+ LCD displays (3,120 by 1,440 pixels), 3,000mAh batteries with QuickCharge 3.0, LTE 4G, WiFi, NFC, and USB-C connectors. The phones also include IP68 protection from water and dust, mil-spec 810G certification, face recognition, fingerprint sensors, and FM radios. On the audio front, the G7 One and G7 Fit offer LG's 32-bit quad DAC with 3D X surround sound, and LG's boombox stereo speakers.

  • G7 One: This variant of the G7 family runs Android One. LG says the Android 8.1 Oreo-based platform ships with only the most essential apps. The G7 One forgoes bloatware in order to keep performance smooth. The phone packs a Snapdragon 835 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with a standard 71-degree field of view at f/1.6. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with a wide(r) 80-degree field of view at f/1.9. It is assisted by LG's AI Cam software. The G7 One includes Bluetooth 5.0 LE and comes in black or blue.
  • G7 Fit: The Fit runs the standard version of Android 8.1 Oreo. It is powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor and comes with 4 GB of RAM and either 32 or 64 GB of storage. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with a standard 76-degree field of view at f/2.2. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with a wide(r) 80-degree field of view at f/1.9. It has LG's AI Cam software aboard as well as Google Lens. The G7 Fit includes Bluetooth 4.2 and comes in black or gray.
LG said pricing and availability will be announced closer to launch. The company didn't specify if these phones will be sold in the U.S.


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