Android Stuff: Order & Chaos 2: Redemption review

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MMORPGs take too much of your time, efforts and sometimes money. Choosing which you will play is of salient importance. After all, these are not games you just play for a little bit, or can finish in a few hours. A good MMORPG will keep you busy for months, or even years.

Is Order & Chaos 2: Redemption the one you will dedicate your time to? The series sure has plenty of followers, so there is an ample community that will tell you this is the mobile MMORPG to download. In fact, we did put its predecessor in our list of the top 15 Android MMORPG games.

I personally thought I should go ahead and take the bullet for the team by downloading the title and taking care of this review, risking months of MMORPG addiction that would surely obliterate my social life. I have been playing Order & Chaos 2: Redemption for a couple weeks and am ready to tell you my thoughts on it, so let’s dig into all the details.

The Story

Undoubtedly, RPGs are recognized for their deep narratives, which tend to be very well elaborated and provoke emotions no other types of games can achieve. And of course; these are all about role-playing, after all. Order & Chaos 2 is not the exception to this unwritten rule.

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As you would expect, this is the continuation to Order & Chaos Online. It has been 600 years since the destruction of the Primal Heart, which ended up causing an unexpected cataclysmic event that caused unbelievable damage to everything this world’s residents knew.

The world is now recovering from all the destruction and heroes are beginning to rise once again. Your goal is to help keep piece and find redemption (that is part of the title, after all).

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Characters

Character customization is a staple most MMORPGs adhere to, and Order & Chaos 2 is not the exception. The question is whether this game satisfies your needs for appearance modification or not.

Let’s start by saying I am definitely satisfied with the races and classes. There won’t be a plethora of choices,  but Gameloft did a good job at keeping each class and race under its own category and specific characteristics.

You can opt to be a human, elf, orc, mendel or kratan. By the way, the last one happens to be new. Kratans are these reptile-like, tall beasts with an immense amount of strength. They are kind of gentle giants, though, as they happen to prefer diplomacy if possible.

When it comes to appearance customization, the app does very well, but it also doesn’t come near other console-level games. Yes, you can modify your character’s looks a bit, but you only get a few options for the hair, skin color and face types.

I would like to see a deeper appearance altering system, as I am used to having the ability to change every single part of the face and body in my characters, but this will definitely do for a mobile game. Remember, Gameloft can’t go crazy and add even more MBs to their already sizable game app.

Weapon crafting and customization are also viable options. You can even add abilities to your weapons, which is actually quite helpful.

The world

Like any good MMORPG, one of Order & Chaos 2’s largest assets (literally) is its world. Gameloft calls it “a living and breathing world”, and that is exactly what it seems like. For starters, it’s huge. But it’s not like those RPGs that have immense maps with repetitive, lame visuals. You definitely won’t be walking through monotonous fields here (at least not most of the time).

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This world is very much alive. There’s plenty of scenery alterations wherever you go. Other characters will always be present, both players and non-players. I do wish I could see other live players more often, but there are enough out there to keep the social aspect active. And we can’t forget about those monsters, which you can always pick fights on and get loot from.

I do have to say it’s easy to get lost in the game, as the map is a bit hard to read and reach. But what MMORPG doesn’t have a confusing map? At least you can use the guidance line to lead your way when you are heading to a mission.

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Gameplay

Gameplay is important for any dedicated gamer. Especially when it comes to titles like Order & Chaos 2, in which the battle system will mean the difference between you totally loving or hating the game. Does Order & Chaos 2 do a good job? It’s definitely fun and active, but strategic gamers probably won’t like its button-smashing nature.

This is because you have to press a button every single time you want your character to do somethings. Otherwise he/she will just stand there and chill while the enemy depletes that precious health bar.

There are four buttons in the bottom-right corner. The main one is for the regular attack, while the other three can give you access to abilities you will continue to get throughout the progression of the game. By the way, these can be customized and switched at will.

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Moving around is an important part of the battle, as well, which does make things a bit more exciting. For example, I chose to be a ranger, which means I can back off and continue shooting while the enemies try to get close to me. In most cases I can walk away from a battle with zero damage.

If you need more help, it’s also possible to pull out a secondary menu that will grant you access to more skills, potions and other items. Do try to vary your skills and switch them around depending on your conditions. Sticking to the same attacks is easy, but it gets repetitive, and adapting with your environment can really give you the upper hand in combat.

Quests and missions

Things get interesting here. Order & Chaos: Redemption is certainly no casual game. Gameloft has managed to bring a near-console quality MMORPG to mobile devices. Nothing is lacking here, but we can definitely tell some casual mobile gaming elements were integrated.

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Remember those WoW quests and missions in which you had to walk for hours on end? Regular MMORPGs are a sit-down-and-spend-all-your-day-in-the-computer kind of experience. But you can’t do that on mobile. The battery won’t even last that long! Though Order & Chaos 2 can be fun if you continue playing for extended periods of time, it is also designed to be picked up for quick gaming sessions.

I believe my longest mission so far has lasted about 15 minutes. This means I could pull off a quest or mission during a work break, or maybe a bus ride. Just be careful with that data, which this game sure is good at consuming. And obviously, it has no offline mode.

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The user will have to get missions from specific characters in the game. These will ask for help and get you started on the intricate story. Don’t you worry, you won’t run out of things to do!

Final thoughts

Will you take on this quest or spend your precious time on another time-consuming hobby? That is the question we are trying to answer here, as an MMORPG like Order & Chaos 2: Redemption is no small investment.

Honestly, it had been some years since I last took on an MMORPG and can say I am satisfied with what Gameloft has put together here. For one, fans of the first Order & Chaos game will definitely have to give it a try. It is a direct continuation of the story, after all. But this doesn’t mean those of us outside this clique won’t find some fun in this game.

I spent some good time with Order & Chaos 2 and can say I am really enjoying the experience. You get the complex story, map, character customization and weapons system, but there is no time-consuming element involved. You can play this game in little spurs, as well as hard-core sessions. It’s a great balance that caters to both casual gamers and more dedicated users alike.

And did I mention it’s a free game? Yes, there are in-app purchases in here, but I found I never had to use them to really enjoy the game and move forward. Those who find pleasure in long, complex games that never really end will find a nice home in the Order & Chaos 2 world. I believe you can’t do much better than this when it comes to mobile MMORPGs.

Hit the button below to download Order & Chaos 2: Redemption straight from the Google Play Store. And don’t forget to hit the comments and tell us your very own experiences on the game. Have you been playing this title? What do you think of it? Do you have a preference for another similar game?

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/order-chaos-2-redemption-review-652960/

Android Stuff: Survey: 83 percent of consumers do not plan to buy a new tablet this year

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The folks over at Gartner conducted a good-sized survey this year, in conclusion, only 17 percent of respondents plan to purchase a tablet in the next 12 months.

19,000 consumers were surveyed across the U.S., UK, France, China, Brazil and India during May and June of 2015.

Two-thirds of households own a tablet

Looking a little closer at the numbers, the survey explains that more than two-thirds of consumer households already own a tablet, at least in the U.S., and more than 25 percent of households have more than one tablet. With 48 percent of respondents claiming that they do not plan to replace a device until they absolutely have to, a 17 percent purchase intention rate leads us to think that people are happy with their current tablets, but are they?

Preferred computing devices

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Smartphones have gradually become more capable and have hit the market with larger and larger displays in the last year or so. Where a 5-inch display was once considered to be a large device, a modern 5-inch screen often elicits feelings of budget and low-end production. With phones now commonly found in the the 5.5-inch and larger form-factor, consumers that once employed a two-device approach, including their phone and a 7-inch tablet, are now finding a tablet to be redundant to their 5.5-inch up to – as large as 7-inch phone as is.

While we are talking mostly of mature markets here, emerging markets are even less inclined to purchase a WiFi only tablet device. Without the free WiFi found in shops on every street corner, a WiFi only tablet serves little use as compared to a cellular connected phone.

Consumers do not know what to purchase next

Perhaps the most profound conclusion that Gartner reaches based on their survey: consumers don’t know what to purchase next. Despite showing that 65 percent of PC users plan to stick with a PC and 46 percent with their laptops, Gartner believes that users needs are not being met by current device offerings.

Hybrid devices like the newly announced Microsoft Surface Pro 4, iPad Pro or Google’s Pixel C demonstrate a melding of tablets and laptops. These devices are mostly larger than your typical tablet computer, coming in with 12-13-inch displays, they come with attached keyboards, and input such as touchpads and smart stylus.

With the plethora of computing form factors available, consumers are finding it an easy decision to purchase a highly capable smartphone, and continue with traditional-styled laptop and PC devices. From there, however, the large phones and excellent hybrid devices leave many uncertain as to what device they should purchase next.

Who wants a tablet?

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I recently wrote of my thoughts and frustrations on the dying 7-inch tablet market. With the numbers above providing context to what we already knew, it is not hard to see why manufacturers are not giving tablets their full attention. However, speaking for the 17 percent of us looking for a new tablet, I find there is a shortage of great devices to choose from, despite the flooding of low-end 7-inch tablets on the market.

In the end, Gartner believes that household penetration of tablets will drop below 40 percent. Hybrid devices, on the other hand, offer up the best of both world, providing the portability and battery life of a tablet with the functionality and productivity of a laptop, we’re all interested to see where they get to.

Are you still a fan of tablets, or have you moved on to a large smartphone and improved laptop or hybrid device?

This article originally appeared on our partner site TabTimes.

Show Press Release

Press release

Gartner Survey Shows 17 Per Cent of Consumers Plan to Purchase a Tablet in the Next 12 Months

Survey of 19,000 Consumers Studied Personal Technology Purchase Intentions

STAMFORD, Conn., 5th November, 2015 — As the slowdown in purchases of personal technology continues, a recent Gartner, Inc. survey found that 17 per cent of consumer respondents in mature markets intend to buy a tablet in the next 12 months. This will force strategic leaders to reassess market opportunities in this category, as basic and utility ultramobile upgrade rates could fall by 10 per cent through 2016.

 

The survey, which was conducted in May and June 2015, surveyed 19,000 consumers in the US, UK, France, China, Brazil and India.

 

“Tablet innovation is driven by applications rather than by the hardware. However, most applications work pretty well with first- and second-generation tablet hardware, and because the operating system (OS) can be upgraded for free, the user is not compelled to change the device,” said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Users are less interested in the hardware and more interested in the applications and how devices using the cloud can interact with each other.”

 

The survey found that less than one in five users in mature markets are planning to purchase or upgrade a tablet. The penetration of tablets has reached more than 66 per cent of households in the US, with more than 25 per cent of households having two or more tablets.

 

“Unless new compelling innovation or incentives to upgrade tablets are created, the churn of the mature installed base will continue to fall,” said Ms Escherich. “The worst-case scenario is that many tablet users will never upgrade or buy a new tablet as phablets and/or two-in-one convertible PCs (both with larger screen) envelop the benefits of a tablet. This scenario would result in real household penetration for tablets falling under 40 per cent in mature markets.”

 

In emerging markets, the penetration of tablets is lower and filled with many lower-cost tablets. In these markets, tablets need to complement smartphones. However, the availability of Wi-Fi connectivity is limited, and cellular-connected tablets are as expensive as entry-level smartphones with screen sizes larger than 5.5 inches.

 

“We believe that smartphone demand will split into two screen sizes: 5 inches, and 5.5 inches and larger (defined as a phablet),” said Ms Escherich. “Consumers choose between these two based on their device preference and lifestyle. Some consumers prefer smartphones at 5 inches or smaller for better portability. Others will opt for phablets for a more compelling mobile content consumption experience, finding little benefit in owning a 7-inch tablet that lacks phone capability. Some may choose 5.5 inches and larger if they tend to carry bags, while some may prefer 5 inches and smaller if they want to put their device in their pockets. Some budget-constrained consumers will prefer single-device ownership and will choose phablets as combining the best of both worlds.”

 

Overall, Gartner’s consumer survey findings indicate that 48 per cent of respondents do not want to replace a device until they absolutely have to. The purchasing process itself has become more complex, and consumers now have to prioritise which computing device is most important to them. About half of the survey respondents plan to remain loyal to their current form factor, especially desktops (65 per cent) and standard laptops (46 per cent). However, the survey showed that consumers seem increasingly uncertain about what device should replace their existing device, which points to users’ wants and needs not being clearly met by current product offers as overlapping offers make the decision process increasingly complicated.

 

“Opportunities appear in the form of hybrids. Demand for this two-in-one form factor is generated by tablet owners and standard laptop users. The dissatisfaction with standard laptops comes from issues around battery life, weight and boot up times. Others see the versatility of a hybrid meeting the needs of a tablet and a notebook, especially with the benefit of a keyboard,” said Ms Escherich. “It appears the traditional PC is no longer a compromised device compared with tablets or even smartphones and appeals to consumers in a new, more versatile form factor.”

 

More detailed analysis is available in the Gartner report “Notebook, Tablets, Hybrids, Phablets —Strategic Planners Need to Know What Devices Consumers Plan to Buy.”

 

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 7,100 associates, including more than 1,500 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/survey-17-percent-new-tablet-653819/

Android Stuff: Pebble Time Round starts shipping on November 9th, in stores same day

Pebble Time Round

Back in September Pebble unveiled the latest member of its Pebble Time family, and its very first circular watch, the Pebble Time Round. While the watch was made available for pre-order at the time, it wasn’t expected to start shipping until sometime in November. Now Pebble has confirmed the watch will ship to those that pre-ordered on November 9th.

Not only will the Pebble Time Round ship next week, it will also be landing in Target and Best Buy retail stores that same day.

Aside from a rounded display that gives it a unique look, the Pebble Time Round is essentially the same device as earlier members of the Time family. That means you still get an e-paper color display and battery life that should last at least several days, depending on your usage. The Round also features quick charging that can get you a full day’s use in just 15 minutes.


Pebble Time RoundSee also: Pebble announces its first round smartwatch, the Pebble Time Round17

The Pebble Time Round will set consumers back $249.99, the same price as it was offered for during its pre-order period. The watch will come in Black, Silver, and Gold – though the latter choice will only be available for the 14mm watch band size, with the other two being offered for both 14mm and 20mm bands.

Anyone pre-order the Pebble Time Round? Or do you plan on picking it up directly from a brick-in-mortar retailer next week? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/pebble-time-round-november-9-653963/

Android Stuff: Latest Android distribution numbers show Marshmallow running on .3% of devices

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Google has just released the latest Android distribution numbers for this past month, and we’re seeing a welcome addition to the chart this time around. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is now running on .3 percent of all active Android devices. Seeing as how it just began rolling out to Nexus handsets a few weeks ago, these are some pretty impressive numbers.

As for the other numbers, Android 5.0 Lollipop is now running on 25.6 percent of active devices, which is a 2.1-percent increase over last month’s numbers. Android 4.4 KitKat is still holding strong at 37.8 percent, a 1.1-percent decrease from last month. Jelly Bean saw a 1.2-percent decrease from last month, now sitting at 29 percent.

November distribution numbers


android 6.0 marshmallowSee also: Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates roundup – October 29, 201549

Ice Cream Sandwich saw a decrease of just .5 percent, now running on 3.3 percent of active devices. Both Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 2.2 Froyo didn’t see a change in numbers this month. Gingerbread is running on 3.8 percent of all Android devices, and yes, Froyo is still holding on at .2 percent. Any version of Android with less than .1 percent distribution isn’t listed on the chart, so hopefully it won’t be long until Froyo is kicked off.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the adoption of Android Marshmallow plays out over the next couple months. For now, though, it’s nice to see Lollipop making its way to more and more Android devices.

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/android-distribution-numbers-marshmallow-debuts-653957/

Android Stuff: Here’s how to enable double tap to wake on the Nexus 6P

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Some smartphone makers implement a feature in their devices called “double tap to wake”, which allows users to wake the phone’s display by simply tapping on the screen two quick times. This feature is put in place for good reason on smartphones like the HTC One M8 or the LG G4 that have oddly-placed power buttons. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for it to be on the new Nexus 6P, as it not only has a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and easily-accessible power button, it also comes with Google’s handy Ambient Display mode.

If you’ve been spoiled by other smartphones that have this feature and would like to use it on your new 6P, now you can. Thanks to XDA developer Flar2 who discovered the line, you can enable double tap to wake on your Nexus 6P in a few easy steps, as long as you’re rooted.

First, you’ll need to download a terminal emulator from the Google Play Store, then input the following command prompt in the terminal:

echo 1 > /sys/devices/soc.0/f9924000.i2c/i2c-2/2-0070/input/input0/wake_gesture

Congratulations! You’ve just enabled the handy feature on your device. It should be noted that it won’t survive a reboot, so you’ll need to redo this process if you’d like to get it working again. The developer does say he’s working on a fix to make it permanent. If we hear any news on a permanent fix, we’ll be sure to update this post.

So, will you be enabling this feature on your device, or are Nexus Imprint and Ambient Display enough for you? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/double-tap-to-wake-rooted-nexus-6p-653952/

Android Stuff: Vaporcade’s Jupiter is a phone you can smoke

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Phones with bendable or flexible displays, curved edges, second screens, shatterproof displays – we’ve seen a lot of devices that attempt to be unique by adding interesting hardware or design features that help them better stand out from the crowd. One thing we haven’t seen is a phone with a built-in vaporizer (nor did we expect to…), until now.

Startup Vaporcade is currently offering up 3G and 4G LTE variants of its “Jupiter” smartphone for pre-order, priced at $299 and $499 respectively. The big feature for both of these devices is the vaporizer, beyond that, Vaporcade tells its would-be consumers next to nothing about this phone – though it’s more than willing to take your money for a pre-order despite not telling you exactly what you’re getting. We know it runs Android 4.4 KitKat, but that’s the only spec detail we could dig up.

In addition to pre-orders for the Jupiter, Vaporcade also sells e-cigs, and apparently coffee. It’s hard not to be a little skeptical of whether this phone actually will ever get off the ground. For what it is worth, the website claims that it is working with Herbert A. Gilbert, the man who is recognized as the inventor of the e-cig. Reportedly Seamus Blackley is the co-founder of Vaporware as well, a man known for work in the video game industry and his role in helping create the team that would go on to build the original Xbox game console.

If we had to take a guess, if this phone actually ends up in the hands of consumers, it’ll be nothing more than an entry-to-mid-range device that is modified to have a vaporizer attached. In other words, most of the price will be paying for the privilege of having a novelty item. Still, we have to admit this is a unique idea and one that we hope actually comes to pass.

What do you think of the Jupiter? Would you consider this if the specs are at least of mid-range quality? For more details (though really not much more to be found) head on over to their website.

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/vaporcade-jupiter-phone-vaporizer-653944/

Android Stuff: Motorola Droid Maxx 2 review

Get it from Verizon

It has been a long since the Motorola Droid Maxx was launched; mid-2013, to be exact. Fans of the battery beast have been hoping for a successor, and this year Motorola has finally decided to bring the series back to life, again in collaboration with Verizon. The equation has been changed this time around, though. In fact, the Droid Maxx 2 is pretty much a re-branded Moto X Play.

Regardless, it is battery life that characterized the Maxx series, and the second iteration sure takes care of that department. Just how good is this phone, though? Does it deserve that precious spot in your pocket? Let’s find out!

Design

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The first thing you’ll notice on the back of the device is that Verizon logo on top of the ‘Droid’ branding. And this is to be expected, as both the Droid Maxx and Maxx 2 are Verizon exclusives, something that plays a huge part in setting this phone apart from the Moto X Play. Also on the back are the camera, flash and that beloved Motorola dimple we have gotten so used to, all housed in a metal frame. This dimple acts as a nice resting point for your finger.

To add even more comfort to the phone, Motorola has included a very nice rubbery material along the back. It has a different pattern than what we have seen in the Moto X Style/Pure Edition, which also feels a bit softer to the touch.

This material choice provides a great grip on the device, but it also comes with a downside – the phone does get dirty quite easily.

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There’s another caveat in the design department. Unlike its twin, the Moto X Play, the Droid Maxx 2 has no Moto Maker support. On the bright side, users are still able to remove the back plate, giving them the freedom to exchange textures and colors at will.

Flip the phone around and you will find a classic Motorola look. The speaker grills pop out ever so slightly, and the front-facing camera can be found up top. By the way, don’t mistake these for dual speaker grills; the bottom one is the only one that will output sound while playing media.

This can create a little bit of an awkward, unbalanced listening experience, but at least the speaker is on the front, which is definitely a plus. It’s nowhere near being the best audio around, but it does offer some crisp sounds and ample treble.

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Motorola is very good at making bezels small, and the Droid Maxx 2 is no exception. This makes the phone easy to hold, even with that massive 5.5-inch screen. What we do have here is some added volume and mass to the phone, as it measures in at 10.9 mm of thickness and weighs 169 grams. Regardless, it has a great grip to it and is among the most comfortable to hold.

Going around the handset we can also find the volume and power buttons on the right side. I do wish the power button had a Moto X Pure-like texture, though, as operating the Maxx 2 simply by touch makes things a bit confusing.

Display

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Speaking of that 5.5-inch screen: we have a beautiful HD LCD display on the front of the Droid Maxx 2. It does not consist of Motorola’s shatter-proof technology (like the Droid Turbo 2), but its Gorilla Glass 3 should hold up as well as most 2015 flagships.

While QHD is quickly becoming the standard in higher-end phones, FHD is a common resolution for mid-tier devices, and so the inclusion of a 1080p display here makes a lot of sense. Not to mention, this is one of the best FHD panels we have seen!

It’s interesting to see Motorola going with LCD technology, though, as one of their biggest features is Moto Display. This capability showcases notifications over a black background, which saves energy in the case of AMOLED screens. But then again, this is a more affordable handset, and some sacrifices had to be made. On the bright side (literally), this screen is quite vibrant and dazzling.

Performance & Hardware

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Under the hood, the Droid Maxx 2 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, backed by an Adreno GPU and 2 GB of RAM. And though it only comes with 16 GB of internal storage, users do have access to a micro SD card slot capable of handling 128 GB cards.

On paper, the new Droid Maxx 2 doesn’t seem like anything to write home about, but I must say the phone performs exceptionally well. It runs very smoothly while performing most tasks and handles multi-tasking with no hesitation. It may fall short of your needs if you are a heavy gamer, but for the most part it delivers pretty fast performance.

As for battery life, this remains one of the biggest selling points for the Droid Maxx series. The Droid Maxx 2 has a huge 3630 mAh battery (nonremovable). Along with the power-efficient 1080p resolution and lower end specs, you can surely get some great battery life out of this smartphone. It will last you an entire day, even with heavy usage.

With moderate usage we were able to get over 5 hours of screen-on time. Some days I was at around 40% by the time I went to sleep (light to moderate use). Taking that into account, you could say some users will get up to 2 days of battery life. The Droid Maxx 2 can also be charged with Motorola’s Turbo Charger, which is one of the fastest in the market. The sad part here is that the phone doesn’t come with this charger, but you can buy it separately.

Camera

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This camera is light years ahead of what we saw on the 2013 Droid Maxx. Just like other 2015 Moto phones, the Droid Maxx 2 sports a 21 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front shooter. Photos are consistently great, producing substantial amounts of detail, while keeping colors bright and vibrant.

With that said, I do have to mention the camera has a tendency to over-expose images a bit. But that is an area in which Motorola’s camera app really helps, as exposure is easily adjustable. However, the rest of the shooting experience can be a bit weird, at least if you are like me and dislike the whole drag-to-focus and tap-to-shoot mechanics.

As it goes with other phones, shooting in low-light scenarios will result in a significant quality degradation. That’s to be expected, but we did notice it even falls behind other 2015 smartphones. These images aren’t horrible, however. And though there is no OIS to help shots being blurry, the software stabilization found in video works great. By the way, 4K recording also works great.

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The 5 MP front-facing camera has a wider angle lens, which does create really nice looking selfies with a good amount of detail.

I would say the cameras on the Droid Maxx 2 are among the best Motorola has ever made, and there’s a lot to love here.

Software

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One of Motorola’s main lures is their near vanilla Android experience, which is something the Droid Maxx 2 inherits from previous generations. Our main gripe is that we do find plenty of Verizon bloatware here, however.

Out of the box, the Droid Maxx 2 is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which is a little disappointing considering Marshmallow is starting to spread out to some devices. Android 6.0 is starting to become something we expect out of new phones, given that it came out of the box with the HTC One A9. Sure, there is the promise of an update coming, but you know how things go with Verizon. We might have to wait longer than expected.

Besides those couple disappointments, everything else is great about the Droid Maxx 2’s software. You can expect the same Material Design look; from the pull-down menu to the settings and recent apps.

Motorola phones are interesting, because people praise their stock feel, but they also love their customizations. The Droid Maxx 2 may have slightly less features than other Moto handsets, but it’s still worth a look. Moto Display is still there, but since there are no movement sensors in the front, and so you can’t wave your hand over the phone to activate it. Users will have to move their phones a bit, instead.

Moto Voice also makes sure you can access content without having to touch the phone. It’s similar to the “OK, Google” command, but you can program it to listen to any phrase of your choice. This one is actually quite fun! Gestures like twisting your wrist to launch the camera are still there, but we are missing the chopping one, which turns on the flashlight.

The software itself does run perfectly. I found no shutters, hiccups of animation choppiness. Since you can uninstall most Verizon apps, bloatware also won’t be too much of an issue after doing some housekeeping.

 

Specifications

  Motorola Droid Maxx 2
Display 5.5-inch display
1920 x 1080 resolution, 403ppi
Gorilla Glass 3
Processor 1.7GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
GPU Adreno 405
RAM 2GB
Storage 16GB
MicroSD Up to 128GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
Universal LTE bands
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
GPS+GLONASS
Networks XT1565: VZW
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
CDMA (850, 1900 MHz)
4G LTE (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 20)
SIM card Nano SIM
Water repellent Yes
Camera 21MP rear camera, f/2.0 aperture
5MP front camera
Battery Non-removable 3630mAh
Software Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow coming eventually
Colors Black with Deep Sea Blue Back
White with Winter White Back
Interchangeable back plates also available
Dimensions 148 x 75 x 8.9-10.9mm
169g

Gallery

Pricing and conclusion

As the Verizon phone that it is, customers can purchase the Maxx 2 for zero dollars down and $16/mo over a 2-year period. It’s full retail price is only $384, though whether that’s a good or bad deal for the specs, depends on you. It is worth mentioning that Verizon is doing something pretty cool here, allowing users to trade in their old phones for up to $300 towards the purchase of the Droid Maxx 2.

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You get a lot with the Droid Maxx 2 for a relatively affordable price. With its great camera, fantastic battery life and great software, it’s definitely worthy of your consideration, especially if you were tempted by the Moto X Play and had hoped to see it come stateside. Sure, there are plenty of other phones that are priced and spec’d similarly or better, but this remains one of the best mid-range options out there for Verizon customers.

Get it from Verizon


Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/motorola-droid-maxx-2-review-653739/

Android Stuff: Throwback Thursday: a very special hands-on

There’s no doubt that the mobile phone industry has changed considerably since the turn of the century and in 2002, the concept of a smartphone was considerably different to the powerful beasts we know and love today.

Back then, three companies ruled the industry – BlackBerry, Motorola and Nokia – and for the latter of these, one handset would introduce a feature that would be iconic even to this day. Today, we’ve got something ultra special for you – hands on with the grandaddy of the smartphone: Introducing, the Nokia 3410!

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The other day, I was searching through an archive of mine and I found this phone in PRISTINE condition, having been used for just a few days before I put it away 13 years ago. The handset itself is one of the most iconic ever made by Nokia for a plethora of reasons but 13 years later, how does Nokia’s flagship of 2002 stack up in today’s rather-more-demanding environment?

Let’s kick things off with the display and this display is SO impressive, there’s no official classification for how big it is. The monochrome display supports 6 lines of text and has a resolution of 96 x 65 pixels which was considered impressive for a phone from this era.

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Beneath the display we have this iconic T9 keyboard that lights up in yellow like the display and the keys themselves are quite easy to press, although they do take a lot of getting used to compared to today’s touch screens.

Thinking back to mobile phones of this era, there’s a common misconception that they were heavy and thick bricks. I’m also guilty of this but what is quite surprising is that while the Nokia 3410 is thick, it’s quite light compared to today’s flagships.

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At a weight of 114 grams, it’s lighter than almost all smartphones of today’s era, except for something like the Vivo Air LTE, which weighs under 100 grams. The word brick is definitely apt though as at 22.5mm thick, it’s almost the same thickness as the Galaxy Note 5, Xperia Z5 and the Nexus 6P combined!!

Moving to the back and phones of this era had no cameras or speakers on the back. Instead, we had removable XpressOn covers that allowed you to customise the design of your phone. Under the back, we’ve got a removable 825 mAh battery that lasts for a lot less time than current handsets and a SIM card slot. Look at the SIM cards from that era compared to SIM cards used in current handsets and you can see how much technology has changed in the past decade.

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The Nokia 3410 was definitely a firm favourite of mine in the past but looking back on it now compared to modern smartphones, there’s only one feature I think that I’d like to have in all its glory. I am, of course, talking about Snake II!

Be sure to check out the video above for a hands on demo of Snake and if you’d like to see how the game has been reinvented for the modern world, check out Snake Rewind for Android!

So there you have it, a very special hands on in honor of one of the most iconic mobile phones ever made. Did you have the 3410 in the past? What other old phones did you have and do you have any that still work? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/nokia-3410-hands-on-653831/

Android Stuff: Deal: UE BOOM Bluetooth speaker for $50 off!

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Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand has done a great job at targeting the hip, young, audio-loving audience, and many younger users want good quality sound and an aesthetically pleasing design. The UE BOOM speaker is a symbol of pure fun, but even more exciting is the fact that now you can have one of these Bluetooth audio accessories for $50 off the standard retail price, and even $30 cheaper than what you’ll find on Amazon.

This awesome deal comes from the AA Deals Store, which we are always searching through to find the hottest offers our fellow Android fans will enjoy. Even with the discount, the UE BOOM may not be the cheapest option around, but we can assure you it’s worth every penny (and more, in this case).

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This bad boy offers a 360-degree sound that is sure to blow your friends away. And just in case one isn’t enough, you can connect these to each other and make for a surround-like sound coming from multiple UE speakers.

And because this speaker is meant for young, active users, you can bet it handles pretty much whatever you throw at it. It has an IPX7 rating. It is waterproof, dirt-proof and even shock-proof, yet it manages to look very good. Other specs include a 2.5-hour battery life, NFC pairing, Bluetooth connectivity, a specialized app and more.

The UE BOOM is currently going for $149.99 from the AA Deals Store, so go ahead and sign up for it! It’s a pretty good deal if you want a good-quality Bluetooth speaker.

Buy the UE BOOM Bluetooth speaker


Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/deal-ue-boom-bluetooth-speaker-for-50-off-653713/

Android Stuff: Chronos turns any watch into a smartwatch

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As smartwatches become more commonplace, we are starting to see more companies get involved in the wearables game, including traditional timepiece makers such as Fossil. Of course none of these smart devices have yet to master the iconic looks, design, or even feel of many of the high-end analog watches that attract watch enthusiasts.

Looking for ‘smart’ functionality, but not willing to give up on your traditional watch just yet? Chronos could be the perfect solution.

While much more limited than Tizen, Android Wear, or even Apple’s Watch OS, Chronos is a thin disc fits beneath a regular watch and brings vibration and light alerts for notifications. Beyond this, there’s also basic fitness tracking, the ability to skip tracks played on your phone, and a few other tricks that integrate with your existing Android (or even iOS) device.

chronos-wear

The Chronos does add a bit more thickness to your current watch, at 2 ½ mm thin and 33mm in diameter, but it’s actually not that noticeable, especially when paired with a larger watch.

While you would think the Chronos’ basic design should allow for extremely lengthy battery life, the add-on only lasts about 36-hours on a single charge – likely because it’s small size makes it hard to fit a very big battery. Still, 36-hours is better than most smartwatches on the market, though it pales compared to many fitness trackers and watches like the Pebble series.

The Chronos goes up for pre-order today for $99, or just $79 for the first 250 orders, and is expected to start shipping during the spring of 2016. What do you think of the idea, could you see yourself buying one of these?

Read more at http://www.androidauthority.com/chronos-watch-smartwatch-653857/