TIME Gadgets

Motorola Phone Promises 48-Hour Battery Life

Droid Turbo
Motorola's DROID Turbo smartphone promises 48-hour battery life Motorola

Looking for an Android smartphone with a huge battery that just won’t quit? You may want to check out Motorola’s newest entry in its DROID line of phones, the 5.2-inch DROID Turbo. The device will be available through Verizon Wireless starting on Thursday, October 30.

The most compelling feature of the DROID Turbo is easily its huge 3900-mAh battery. It promises to last a full 48 hours of mixed use on a single charge – approximately double the life of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. And when time is a factor, you’ll be glad to know the DROID Turbo charges quick: You can get up to eight hours of power out of a brief 15-minute charge when you use the included Motorola Turbo Charger.

The DROID Turbo’s other features are no slouches, either: A 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor powers the phone, the same chip found in the powerful Google Nexus 6 (also by Motorola). The 5.2-inch Gorilla Glass screen, meanwhile, delivers stunning 565 pixels-per-inch quad-HD resolution, perfect for watching the 4K video shot from the Turbo’s 21-megapixel camera. And lest you wonder, yes, the DROID Turbo comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, the latest build of Google’s mobile operating system.

The DROID Turbo will be available with 32 gigabytes of storage in your choice of Metallic Black, Metallic Red and Ballistic Nylon colors for $199 with a new two-year Verizon contract. A 64-gigabyte version will be available in Ballistic Nylon only at a price of $249 with a two-year contract. To learn more about the new DROID Turbo smartphone, visit the Motorola blog.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME How-To

Fixes for 5 Common Smartphone Photo Mistakes

Most of the time, today’s smartphones do a great job of capturing everyday moments in their default full automatic modes. However, there are times when adjusting your phone’s camera settings can make a huge difference. Check out these simple fixes to five of the most common photo mistakes and start taking better pictures.

1. Out of focus photos

face-detection-on-samsung-gs5-350px
Face detection option on the Galaxy S5 Samsung

When you don’t want the subject of your photo to be in the center of your image, your phone’s camera will often focus on the wrong spot. The fastest, easiest solution is to tap your subject on the screen to focus — an option that’s available on the iPhone and most Android phones. You can also press and hold on a spot to lock in focus and exposure and then move the phone to compose your shot. You can turn on face detection as well, and your phone will find and focus on the people in the scene.

2. Blurry fast-action/sports shots

When your subject is moving, like an athlete running down the field, movement can cause the image to blur. If you have an Android phone, like the HTC One M8 or the Samsung Galaxy S5, or Windows Phone, like the Nokia Lumia 1520, you can combat this by raising the ISO setting. With a higher ISO, the shutter speed can be faster, making it easier to freeze the action.

3. Dark faces in backlit and bright outdoor shots

In Auto mode, your camera tries to ensure that everything in your photo will be reasonably well lit. But when the person in the shot is back-lit or you’re shooting at a sunny beach or in a snowy setting, the background is much brighter than the people in your photo, so they can come out far too dark. For this problem, there are a few things you can do to make your photo turn out right.

Try setting your flash on so that it fires with each shot. In an outdoor scene, the flash can help light up faces even when the sun is shining. This is called a “fill flash.”

Another way to bring out details in all parts of a photo is to turn on HDR (high dynamic range). This mode takes overexposed and underexposed images and merges them together to bring out details in the light and dark areas of the photo. Most smartphones will have an HDR mode.

If neither of those options work, you can try manually adjusting the exposure to brighten or darken the overall photo. You’ll find this option on some smartphones, like the iPhone, HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nokia Lumia 920, which let you manually adjust exposure.

4. Dark, grainy low light shots

Getting a good shot in low light usually requires lengthening the exposure, which leads to blurriness from you or your subject moving. Taking shots too quickly results in under-exposed images. There are a few things you can try, though.

Like with fast action shots, you can try bumping up the ISO setting, an option on some Android and Windows phones. The higher the ISO, the faster the camera sees the scene with the available light. So you can take photos faster, which reduces the blur caused by camera shake.

Low light is another shooting scenario where HDR mode can help. In this mode, the camera takes two or three shots at different exposures and merges them together to get detail in the brightest and darkest areas of the shot. Because the camera is taking a few shots, it’s important that nothing changes between each shot or the resulting image will be blurry. So reserve HDR mode for landscapes and group shots.

You’ll also want to turn on optical image stabilization, which is available on the iPhone 6 Plus and LG G3.

5. Cluttered backgrounds

When you’re focused on the subject of your photos, sometimes you don’t notice what’s going on in the background. Then, when you look at the actual picture, we see a ton of distracting detail that ruins the overall effect of the image.

A few smartphones let you blur the background or foreground of an image — or even select your focus after you’ve taken your shot.

Phones like the Nokia Lumia 1020 accomplish this manually by letting you select the aperture. Lower numbers equal a shallower depth of field – you can turn distracting backgrounds into fuzzy abstract patterns that make your subject in the foreground the focus of attention. The Lumia 920, 1020 and 1520 also have Nokia Refocus (see the demo below), which lets you refocus your shot after taking it, blurring the other areas of the photo.

The Google Camera app (preloaded on some phones), which runs on Android 4.4 KitKat phones, also lets you refocus your shot after you take it with a feature called Lens Blur, as does the Magic Focus feature on the LG G3. Samsung has a similar feature called “Selective Focus,” which lets you set what you want to be in focus and make the rest of your shot blurred before you take the shot.

This article was written by Suzanne Kantra and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME FindTheBest

The Top 10 Smartphones on the Market for Fall 2014

With all the reviews in for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it’s time to take stock of the larger smartphone battlefield. At FindTheBest, we compiled specs, features and ratings for every smartphone on the market to determine the top 10 phones today. Here’s the methodology:

35% Tech Specs

Made up of 18 different specifications for each phone, including max video resolution, camera optics, pixel density, weight, RAM, megapixels, talk time and more.

33% Expert Ratings

Includes reviews from publications that post numerical scores. These include WIRED, PCWorld, PC Magazine, CNET and Laptop Mag.

26% Features

Can the phone charge wirelessly? Does it come with an FM Receiver? Is it water resistant? Can it do NFC payments? The more capabilities, the better.

6% Performance Benchmarks

Lastly, how does the phone perform using a handful of benchmarks, like Geekbench for overall performance and DxOMark for camera quality?

Here’s the list, followed by the biggest takeaways:

Biggest Takeaways

Year-old phones are still winners…as long as they’re flagship models

Over 120 smartphones have been released this year, yet four 2013 handsets remain in our top ten. The reason? The flagship phones from Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony are simply a cut above the rest of the industry. These manufacturers know how much of their bottom lines ride on hit devices, so they pour most of their resources into one or two handsets per year.

For this reason, saving $100 by selecting a year-old phone is no longer a terrible idea. A Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S is still a solid buy, and it’s certainly better than that budget Motorola at the Verizon store.

For the very best phones, release date matters

Once we get to the best of the best, however, release date does matter. There’s one big reason the iPhones outrank their rivals: Apple’s handsets are newer. Consider that the M8, S5 and G3 were released in March, April and May, respectively. Apple had all summer to pack in the latest tech and to gauge customer reaction to its competitor’s phones. Expect all three manufacturers to retake the lead as soon as they release their next products.

With this in mind, discerning smartphone buyers might consider following this principle: Just buy whatever the latest release is from a top manufacturer. If you’ve already bought into the iOS or Android ecosystem, it’s a different story, of course. But if you’re ready to start fresh, look for whichever top brand released a flagship phone most recently. Right now, that’s the iPhone 6. In a couple of months, that could be the Sony Xperia Z3. Early next year, that’ll likely be the Galaxy S6.

Bigger really is better…sometimes

Glance over our top 10 with screen size in mind, and you’ll find some inconsistencies. For the iPhone, smaller is better, with the 6 edging out the 6 Plus. For the Galaxy? The 5.7-inch Note 3 is still our #1 Samsung device, besting the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5. What’s going on?

The difference comes down to the intangibles, which are best captured in the expert reviews. While experts loved both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, they had a slight preference for the smaller device. To reviewers, the 6 Plus often felt like something new and interesting, but the 6 felt familiar and intuitive—enough to push it ahead of its bigger brother (despite inferior battery life).

For Samsung, things went the other way. The Note 3 was revolutionary, while the Galaxy S5 was evolutionary. Experts loved the stylus-equipped Note 3 for its size, audacity and productivity—a new landmark for big-screen handsets. The S5, while solid, didn’t captivate reviewers the same way.

So in the end, who really knows what the right screen size is? Perhaps smartphone size is more art than science.

Microsoft can’t crack the top ten

Microsoft’s Lumia line continues to miss the top 10 (the same thing happened when we did this exercise last year). It’s the honorable mention that’s increasingly more mention than honor. Experts continue to hit all the usual beats: The Windows interface is clever, but iOS and Android are more mature. The camera takes superb photos, but the app selection is weak.

Microsoft is planning a big rebrand this holiday season (dropping “Nokia” and “Windows Phone”), but unless the company coaxes more developers and customers from Android and iOS, it’ll have trouble sniffing the top 10. And at this rate, it’ll drop out of the top 20 soon (currently, our top two Lumias sit at #19 and #21).

China is knocking on the door

Take a look just outside our top 10, and it’s the Xiaomi Mi 4—not a Lumia phone—that threatens to disrupt the top 10 next year. The red-hot Chinese manufacturer already beats all of its rivals on price, and its specs are right in line with the best handsets on the market. The only remaining question: How long will it take for Xiaomi to come to the US?

Final Recommendations

If you want the best phone right now….

grab the iPhone 6.

If you want a great phone on a budget…

…get the Samsung Galaxy S4 or LG Nexus 5 — a year old, but still excellent.

If you’re willing to wait…

…a few months, get the Sony Xperia Z3.

…until next year, get the Samsung Galaxy S6.

If you want a fully unlocked phone with all the latest technology for ~$450…

…move to China, and get the Xiaomi Mi 4.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.

TIME Gadgets

The iPhone 6 Is Apple’s Easiest-to-Repair Phone to Date

Easy access to the screen and battery is a plus.

How easy is it to perform simple repairs and replacements on the brand new Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? The good folks at iFixit decided to find out. And they did it the only way they know how – by completely disassembling both phones to see how they’re put together.

Overall, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus were awarded repairability ratings of 7 out of 10, scores that the folks at iFixit call “respectable.” That’s the highest an Apple phone has ever scored – last year’s iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C both scored 6 out of 10. The iPhone 6 also scored better than its biggest competition: Samsung’s Galaxy S5 earned a sub-par repairability score of just 5 out of 10.

What did iFixit like about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Specifically, the site notes that the display comes out of the phone first, which makes repairing it much easier. That’s no small point, given that screen replacements are among the most common of iPhone repairs. iFixit also says that the battery is “straightforward to access,” another important point given that battery replacements are commonplace, too. The fingerprint sensor cable has been moved to a safer location than in the iPhone 5S, better protecting it from tears when exposed.

On the down side, both iPhone 6 phones use proprietary Penatlobe screws that you’ll need a special tool to remove. There’s adhesive to deal with in the repair process too, though iFixit calls removing it “not difficult,” unlike the mess hiding behind the screen of an iPad Air. Apple also gets dinged for not sharing info on repairing the device with independent shops, though given the results of this teardown, most should be able to easily figure out how to make common repairs on their own.

If you want to learn more, you can read the full teardown description of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the iFixit website. You can learn more about the phone itself by reading our iPhone 6 launch coverage. And don’t forget to check out our coverage of the new features waiting in the phone’s new iOS 8 operating system.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Paycheck Friday

5 Unique Cell Phone Gadgets for Under $50

Come on, you're making some decent money now. Live a little! Consider blowing your paycheck on these worthy splurges.

Bluetooth-to-FM Transmitter ($36.99)

streambot
Mpow

You pride yourself on owning the most bleeding-edge smartphone that money can buy. Your car, on the other hand, is a 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage with a tape deck. A tape deck! Sure, you could hook your Galaxy S8 — that’s a thing, right? — up to one of those gnarly tape adapters, but this is 2014, Jack. Let’s get with the program.

The StreamBot pairs to your phone’s Bluetooth connection and relays the audio to an open radio station. You can use it for music or as a speakerphone, and there’s a built-in USB port that allows you to charge your phone at the same time.

[Amazon]

iPhone-Android Combo Charging Cable ($27.99)

magic_cable_lightning_connection
Innergie

While the world around you fights over whether iPhone or Android is best, you quietly retreat to the window seat in your childhood bedroom. It reminds you of a simpler time. You feel safe there.

Oh, and you brought your Android phone and your iPad Mini with you. The world must never know. They wouldn’t understand. And seeing that you hate cable clutter, you’ve also packed this two-in-one charging cord. It’s got a Micro USB tip that snaps into a Lightning tip, allowing you to charge just about any device that’s currently on the market. It’s simple and safe. Like your childhood.

[Innergie]

Bluetooth Gloves ($49.99)

bluetooth gloves
hi-Fun

That guy walking down the street who looks like he’s talking to himself? He’s using a Bluetooth headset. He looks crazy, but you eat crazy for breakfast.

One-up the insanity by talking into these Bluetooth gloves like a lunatic. The pinkie acts as the mouthpiece, while the thumb serves as the earpiece. Sure, people will stare, but while they’re rubbing their eyes and breathing through their mouths in disbelief, you’re selling mildly abrasive cleaning supplies to the third largest school district in the county. Crazy like a fox!

[ThinkGeek]

Lipstick-Size Emergency Battery ($17.99)

ravpower
RAVPower

“Can I borrow your lipstick?” one of your sassy girlfriends will ask. “Not unless you need to recharge your FACE!” you’ll howl back. “You’re such a Samantha!”

Clearly, I have no idea how female relationships work, but this inconspicuous backup battery can provide more than a full charge for most modern phones and slips into your Kate Spade without taking up too much space. There are several color options available, including more masculine hues if you’re not into the whole lipstick motif.

[RAVPower]

Retro Handset ($6.99)

handset
Echo Logico

If you think Bluetooth is some sort of dangerous dental affliction, perhaps it’s time to uncomplicate certain aspects of your personal technology collection.

This retro handset plugs into the headphone jack of your phone and lets you telecommunicate like people used to back in the good old days. Back when kids didn’t sass their parents and gas cost a nickel. Get off my lawn!

[Amazon]

TIME How-To

Choosing the Best Insurance for Your Phone

broken phone
Getty Images

Phone insurance and extended protection plans aren’t cheap, but the investment can save you big down the line should your phone get lost, stolen or damaged.

Take the iPhone 6. While you may be able to get it for $0 down, a replacement will cost you $650 out of pocket and even a small drop can leave you with a cracked display that can cost hundreds to fix.

Fortunately, protection plan options are plentiful, but picking the right one can be complicated. Extended warranty plans only cover repairs when there’s a mechanical failure, not loss, theft or accidental damage. Other plans will cover accidental and mechanical failures but not loss or theft. And, different types of coverage come at varying price points.

So which is the right plan for you? If you, or your child, is forgetful or accident prone, a full coverage plan may be best. Or, you may have enough coverage from your credit card company or home owner’s insurance. Check out the following plans to see what’s right for you.

Retailers

Many large electronics retailers offer phone insurance. Best Buy, for example, will insure an iPhone 5S or 6 for two years for the lump sum of $199.98 or for $9.99 a month. That covers malfunctions as well as accidental damage to the phone, but not loss or theft. There’s a $149.99 deductible for claims that are not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty and you have to buy the Geek Squad protection with the product online or within 15 days of buying your phone in-store. There’s a limit of three claim submissions.

SquareTrade

For two years of coverage for mechanical and electrical failures as well as accidental damage—but not loss or theft—SquareTrade offers a warranty for the iPhone 5S or 6 for $99 for two years or $5 per month. That’s a better deal compared with Best Buy, even though they nail you with a $75 deductible for every smartphone claim.

You can buy a SquareTrade warranty on a retail item within 30 days of buying it or if the phone is currently insured by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile. For one you bought on eBay, coverage starts after the existing manufacturer’s warranty expires or on the 46th day after purchase, if there is no warranty.

Worth Ave. Group

An insurance policy from Worth Ave. Group covers a cell phone for accidental damage such as drops and spills as well as theft, fire, flood, natural disasters and lightning strikes. For an iPhone 5S (16GB model with $649 coverage), you’ll spend $130 for two years with a $50 deductible (iPhone 6 pricing isn’t available yet). For smartphones other than iPhones, a phone costing $649 will run $138 for two years with a $50 deductible. Loss and malfunction are not covered. You can buy insurance from Worth Ave. Group anytime, even on older devices.

Carriers

For $7 per month, AT&T offers coverage for loss, theft and out-of-warranty malfunction of your phone. When making a claim, you’ll need to pay a $50-$199 deductible (iPhones have a $199 deductible). You can make two claims per year for a total of $1,500.

For $8-$11 per month, Sprint offers full coverage–loss, theft, accidental damage and mechanical or electrical breakdown. You’ll also pay a deductible of $50-$200 (see the full list of fees and deductibles) for each claim. You can make two claims per year for a total of $1,500. New York residents can also purchase just insurance (loss, theft and accidental damage) for $5-$9 per month (iPhones would be $9 per month).

T-Mobile offers a few options for those looking for coverage. For $8 per month, you can get full coverage–loss, theft, accidental damage and mechanical or electrical breakdown–or you can choose to pay for an extended warranty for $5 per month or just insurance for $6 per month. A non-refundable deductible of $20 to $175 (iPhones have a $175 deductible), depending on your device, is applied for each claim. You can make two claims each year with a limit of $1,500 for each loss.

Verizon tacks $10 for the iPhone and $8 for other smartphones to cover loss, theft, accidental damage and electrical or mechanical failure after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. There’s a deductible of $99 for non-iPhone models and $99-$199, depending on which model iPhone you have. You can make two claims per year for a total of $1,500.

Major Credit Cards

There are two ways that credit cards can provide coverage for your phone. First, many major credit cards extended the manufacturer’s warranty by a year or longer, though it varies depending on the card. Check out Credit.com’s tutorial on the subject. Many also cover loss from theft or damage within the first 90 days after purchase.

You can also get theft and damage coverage from select cards if you use them pay for your cell phone service, including Wells Fargo and First Citizens Bank. MagnifyMoney.com has a list of more than 25 banks and credit unions offering the feature.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

For larger purchases, such as premium smartphones, some insurance companies will let you attach a rider to your homeowners or renters insurance, which will specifically cover that purchase. Smartphones are usually covered in general by homeowners and renters insurance under the same conditions of your general insurance policy. You’ll want to check with your provider to find out your options. You’ll also want to find out how filing claims for your smartphone, if you don’t have a rider, may impact the fees you pay for your overall homeowners or renters insurance and whether repeat claims could lead your insurance company to drop your coverage.

Pricing by Provider for an iPhone 5S

Best Buy Carriers Worth Ave. Group SquareTrade Major Credit Cards Homeowners Insurance AppleCare
Loss (first 90 days) Varies
Theft (first 90 days) Varies
Damage Varies
Mechanical / Electrical Defect
When you can purchase Within 15 days of purchase Varies Anytime Within 30 days of purchase or if the phone is currently insured by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon Automatic at time of purchase Within 60 days of purchase
Deductible $150 $200 $50 $75 $0 Varies $79
Cost for 2 years
$200 (lump sum) or $240 (paid monthly) $168-$264 $130 $99 (lump sum) or ($120 paid monthly) $0 Varies, but starts around $40 $99
Pricing by Carrier for an iPhone 5S

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon
Deductible $199 $0 (for first 2 claims if it can be repaired in-store), $200 $175 $199.00
Cost for 2 years
$168 (full coverage) $264 (full coverage) $120 (extended warranty only), $144 (insurance only), $192 (full coverage) $240 (full coverage)
Claims & coverage
2 claims per year, total $1,500 2 claims per year, total $1,500 2 claims per year, total $1,500 per claim 2 claims per year, total $1,500

All pricing and plan data as of 9/15/2014

This article was written by Suzanne Kantra and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Smartphones

See The $105 Android One Phone Google Is Selling in India

Only 10% of India's 900 million cell phone users have smart phones. The Android One's low-price could help change that

Google is launching a new smartphone in India that is only $105. The phone is part of Google’s efforts to expand their smartphone sales to emerging markets, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Android One has a 4.5-in. display, 1GB RAM, a rear and front facing camera, a built-in FM Radio, and a Quad Core processor. The Journal reports that an increase in smartphone sales in India should lead to more internet access and use of Google products. Google said it plans to expand to Indonesia and the Philippines by the end of 2014, according to the Journal.

[Wall Street Journal]

TIME Smartphones

Watch the Evolution of the iPhone

Relive the glory days of the iPhone

Apple is rumored to release its new iPhone at a special event Tuesday, and like any iPhone release, fans are eager to get their hands on the newest Apple smartphone. But before you chuck your old iPhone and stand in line for the new one, take a minute to appreciate how far your favorite device has come since its inception on January 9, 2007, when the first iPhone was revealed by the late Steve Jobs himself.

The event starts at 1 p.m. ET.

[Fortune]

TIME Smartphones

Watch Leaked Footage of What May Be the iPhone 6

This could be the new iPhone

Overseas tech sites released video over the weekend of what is said to be the new iPhone 6, according to Fortune.

The video shows a thinner iPhone with rounder edges. It also indicates a larger 4.7-inch, 1334 × 750-pixel screen and room for a seventh row of icons, Fortune reports.

The new Apple products are scheduled to be released today at a launch event. Also rumored for release is a 5.5-inch iPhone and the wearable iWatch.

Is this the new iPhone 6? We’ll only know for sure after the event, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET.

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