This week in Android: The world’s a Stadia

google stadia logo at gdc 2019

This week at GDC Google announced their upcoming Linux-based cloud gaming service, Google Stadia. The announcement brought up more questions than answers, but it seems like it might just be the future of gaming. The high was short lived though, as a few days later the EU hit Google with a 1.5 billion euro anti-trust fine.

As for devices, we dropped a number of reviews, including the fantastic mid-range Samsung Galaxy A50, the ridiculously tall Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus, and the media-focused Huawei Mate 20 X. We also got a sneak peek at the Galaxy Fold, screen crease and all, and some details on the impossibly cheap Redmi 7.

Next week sees the official release of the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro, although most of the interesting stuff has already leaked. Still, stay tuned for our coverage of the event!

Here are the top 10 stories for the week


Learn more on the Android Authority Podcast

On this week’s edition of the podcast we discuss the good and bad of Google Stadia and the state of Wear OS. Just click play to start listening now!

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Who wants to win a Pixel 3 XL?

This week, we’re giving away a brand new Pixel 3 XLEnter this week’s Sunday giveaway for your chance to win!


Don’t miss these videos


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Google Pixel 3 XL international giveaway!

It’s time for the Sunday giveaway! Like every week, we’re giving away another a brand new Android phone to one lucky Android Authority reader.

A big congratulations to the winners of last week’s Umidigi F1 Play giveaway, Roberta F. from the U.S., Joelle P. from France, and Vijay K. from India.

This week we’re giving away a brand new Google Pixel 3 XL, brought to you by the Android Authority app!

If you’re looking for the best way to stay up to date with AndroidAuthority.com, look no further than the AA app for Android. Available for free in the Google Play Store, the official AA app is the fastest way to get all the latest news, rumors, tips and tricks, and device reviews on your mobile device.

It’s fast, looks good, and gives you breaking Android news at your fingertips — what more could you want?

While the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL may not rival the Galaxy Note 9 in terms of specs, these phones improve on the very aspect that made the Pixel 2 so great — the camera. They still sport the same single rear cameras as the Pixel 2, but there are a ton of camera software improvements here. Top Shot mode takes multiple pictures of your subject and recommend the best one. Night Sight mode also brings next-level low-light photography thanks to computational photography.

They both have 18:9 screens (well, 18.5:9 for the XL), yet they still look very different from one another. The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch Full HD+ screen that makes it look like a smaller Pixel 2 XL, while the Pixel 3 XL has a big ol’ notch at the top of its screen. Both phones also come with Qi wireless charging support, no headphone jack (womp womp), and still manage to squeeze in front-facing speakers.

To learn more about the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, head to our related coverage below:

Enter the giveaway here

Google Pixel 3 XL international giveaway!

Don’t miss: Razer Hammerhead USB-C ANC earbuds giveaway

Winners gallery

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More: Android Authority international giveaway FAQs

The best replacement bands for the Fitbit Charge 2

If you’re still rocking a Fitbit Charge 2, chances are you’re getting tired with the band that came with it in the box. Thankfully, replacing it with a new one is both easy and affordable. Here are some of our favorite options!

Just like the original

POY Replacement Band

Staff pick

The band that comes with the Charge 2 is already pretty great, but what if we told you that you could buy ones that look just like it in a lot more colors for a lot less money than what Fitbit asks? That’s exactly what POY offers. The bands are cheap, look great, and are offered in a variety of colors/textures.

From $6 at Amazon

Milanese magic

SWEES Metal Band

This metal band from SWEES is a great way to spruce up the look of your Charge 2. The Milanese loop is easy to take on and off, the band’s available in a ton of different finishes, and the breathable design means your wrist won’t get too hot or sweaty.

From $9 at Amazon

Luxurious leather

Hotodeal Leather Band

If you aren’t a fan of metal bands but still want to dress up your Charge 2, Hotodeal’s leather band is another great option. Available in a wide variety of colors, this band is suitable for wrists of all sizes, is made out of genuine calf leather, and is super easy to install.

From $12 at Amazon

Stay cool

Humennn Sport Band

Fitbit’s Charge 2 is a great exercise companion, and when you’re in a particularly intense workout, the last thing you want is an extra-sweaty wrist. With this sport band for Humenn, the perforated design allows your wrist to breath and stay cool no matter how much effort you’re giving. It also comes in a bunch of colors!

From $5 at Amazon

Copycat

GHIJKL Sport Band

We’ll come out and say it — this band is pretty much a copy and paste replica of the default Apple Watch band. And you know what? That’s not a bad thing. GHIJKL sells this in quite a few colors, the build quality is great, and it comes with a 1-year money-back guarantee.

From $8 at Amazon

All about comfort

Bayite Fabric Band

Treat your wrist to something special with this fabric band from Bayite. The heavy-duty fabric material is lightweight, durable against day-to-day wear and tear, breathable, and oh so comfy. It comes in a few different colors, has a 1-year warranty, and looks downright great. If you want your Charge 2 to stand out, this is the band to get.

From $10 at Amazon

Fitbit’s own band that comes with the Charge 2 is already pretty incredible, and that’s why we recommend most people check out the POY Replacement Bands. They copy Fitbit’s design but come in a lot more colors and are considerably more affordable than the real thing. Even better, they’re still built incredibly well, are comfortable to wear, and are backed by a year-long warranty to give you some peace of mind with your purchase.

We asked, you told us: Most don’t see the benefit of a smartwatch or fitness tracker

fossil sport neon yellow oled display on wrist

Several years ago, it looked like wearables might be the next big thing in the technology world. As you can probably assume, they haven’t taken off in the way many hoped they would.

Despite this, over the last several years, we’ve seen a growing number of companies try their hand at making smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wearables. So we decided to ask you, do you own and use a smart wearable? Here is what you had to say.

Do you own a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or other wearable?

Results

When we average out the roughly 50,000 votes between the poll on the website and YouTube, we’re left with the above results. Surprisingly, despite a seemingly large adoption rate of various smart devices, most of you don’t wear or even own a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or other wearables.

It is interesting to learn that more of you have smartwatches than fitness trackers. Looking through the comments, it’s pretty clear that most wear smartwatches so that they can look at notifications in addition to tracking their fitness. Personally, this is why I wear a smartwatch over something like a Fitbit.

Editor’s Pick

Going forward, I can see the adoption rate of smartwatches continue to grow. While Wear OS has been stumbling, Samsung’s Tizen-powered smartwatches and the Apple Watch continue to be more popular. As companies bake in reliable fitness tech, sales of dedicated health trackers might drop.

Noteworthy comments

Here are some of the best comments from last week’s poll explaining why they voted the way that they did:

  • I wear a regular watch, it tells the time.
  • Galaxy Watch(Midnight Black), every day and night. I charge it in the mornings and evenings when I have little use for it so that I have it throughout the day to help manage notifications, communication & small tasks and then can also track my sleep at night with Samsung Health.
  • I own a Swiss watch which increases (or at least holds) value over time, best decision over any of these options
  • I use a Mobvoi ticwatch E. I got it and Mobvoi’s ticpods free on indigogo last year and both have been really great!
  • Apple Watch Series 4. The best of the best.
  • I own a bunch of them. The only one I use, though, is my Gear S3. It’s reliable and useable. It has MST too.
  • Well for rough step tracking the pedometer inside my smartphone is more than enough and is very consistent so no need for me.
  • It got damaged. So now I used my regular watch

That’s it for this week, everyone. As always, thanks for voting, thanks for the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the results below.

How to set up Gameshare on your PlayStation 4

Games are expensive, and not everyone can afford to purchase multiple titles a year at $60 a pop. Since digital media is taking over, it’s becoming rarer that we simply lend friends or family physical copies of our games, but if you’re looking to share your digital library of games, there is a way to do so on PlayStation 4.

How to set up Gameshare on your PlayStation 4

  1. Log in to your account on the PlayStation 4 console that your friend or family member uses.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Select Account Management.
  4. Select Activate as Your Primary PS4.

  5. Select Activate.

Once this is done, your friend or family member can download any games from your library to their console. They can then access these on their own accounts, even if you are not logged in on their console at the time.

Though you can do this process with an unlimited amount of people, only two people can be playing the same game simultaneously, meaning you can’t share your library with several other friends and all hop into the same online game with each other.

Why bother Gamesharing?

Gamesharing is the easiest, most pain-free way to save money on new games. Not everyone can go out and spend hundreds of dollars on multiple games each fall. When you don’t have a physical disc to loan out, this is the next best thing. Think of it like sharing your Netflix account.

Pick up these great PlayStation 4 accessories and gift cards

PlayStation Network Gift Card

From $10 at Amazon

You can never go wrong with a PlayStation Network gift card. Whether you’re looking to purchase a game, some DLC, or your favorite app you’ll want to have some extra funds in your PSN wallet.

EasySMX VIP002S RGB Gaming Headset

$36 at Amazon

Good headsets tend to get expensive, but the EasySMX VIP002S headset gives you the best of both worlds: affordability and quality. If you’re looking for a cheap and comfortable headset, look no further.

HyperX ChargePlay Duo

$30 at Amazon

Charge up your controllers without taking up that precious USB space on your console. The HyperX ChargePlay Duo can charge two at once in two hours through an AC adapter.

WD 2TB Elements External Hard Drive

$65 at Amazon

If you’re deleting a lot of games, you may be looking for more space on your PS4. The WD 2TB Elements External Hard Drive saves you from the hassle of choosing which to delete and re-download when you want to play by giving you tons of extra storage.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus review

There was a time when, if I wanted to watch a movie at home, I needed to get a copy on a VHS cassette! Then came DVDs, and VHS went the way of the dodo. But that was then, and now DVDs look almost prehistoric due to streaming services. We stream movies from services like Amazon Prime or Netflix. We watch videos on YouTube and we catch up with our TV viewing via TV streaming services like Hulu or iPlayer.

Watching streaming video on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop is easy. You just point your web browser at the relevant website. But what about on your TV? If you have a “smart” TV, then it probably has built-in apps for YouTube, Netflix, Plex, etc. It might also have access to Amazon Prime and Google Play Movies & TV.

But how do you watch streamed video on a not-so-smart TV? Or on a TV that has an app missing for one of the services you use? Roku, that’s how!

Roku has a range of “players” that connect to the HDMI port on your TV and allow you to use services like YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play Movies & TV directly on your TV. I have been testing out one of the more high-end players, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus.

Here’s my Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.

Setup

In the box you get the Roku Streaming Stick Plus itself — which connects directly to the HDMI port on your TV — as well as a Roku remote control, a USB power supply to power the stick, the USB power cable, and a USB extension cable in case your main outlet isn’t close to your TV. The USB power cable is proprietary, as it has some extra receiver tech built into a small capsule part way along the cable.

The physical setup is easy. You put the Streaming Stick Plus into the HDMI port of your TV, connect the USB cable to the stick and the power supply, and then plug in the power supply. If the space around the HDMI port is tight, then you will need a male-to-female HDMI cable, sometimes known as a “port saver” or a HDMI extender. You don’t get one in the box, but apparently Roku will send you one for free.

Your TV will probably switch automatically to the new HDMI input. If it doesn’t, you will need to select the right “source” using your TV’s remote.

Now you need to configure your Streaming Stick Plus. First, you may need to pair the Roku remote with the Roku stick. Then you need to connect the Stick Plus to your Wi-Fi network. A list of available networks will be shown and then, using the remote control, you can pick your network. You will also need to enter the Wi-Fi password using an on-screen keyboard and the remote. It’s a little laborious, as you have to pick each letter individually using the remote, but you only ever need to do this once, so fear not!

Along the way you will be able to pair the Roku remote with your TV, so you can control the volume and power using the Roku remote.

At this point, the Roku will check if there are any software updates available. They will be downloaded and installed accordingly.

Next, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus needs to understand what type of TV you have, what type of resolution it supports, and what type of HDMI connection you have. I found that all the automatic tests for this worked flawlessly and it guessed the configuration correctly.

Once the Stick Plus is talking to your remote, network, and TV correctly, you need to activate the device. This means you need to use a smartphone or a PC to connect to Roku’s website (using the website address shown on your TV).

You will need to create a Roku account if you don’t already have one. After that, you will need to enter the shown unique code from your Stick Plus. Once the activation is completed on the Roku website, the Stick Plus will automatically move onto the channel setup phase.

The biggest problem with the whole setup process is that you must enter some form of payment details to progress any further. This step is mandatory and can’t be skipped. Payments are accepted via credit/debit cards and via PayPal. While it is possible to use Roku without ever incurring any charges, the service asks for these details so that you can “easily rent/buy movies on demand or try popular streaming channels.”

I double checked with Roku and unfortunately this stage can’t be skipped. This might be a dealbreaker for some people. However Roku did add that “you will never be charged without your explicit consent.” In fact, there are several warnings before you actually make a purchase, meaning it is nearly impossible to be charged by accident.

Roku’s players borrow the vocabulary of broadcast TV, so each streaming service is called a “channel.” During the channel setup phase, you select different services from the list of available services. Popular services include Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play Movies & TV, and Plex. There are also simple games which can be added, plus some media apps like wallpapers from the popular photos sites, or playing video from any DLNA servers on your network.

Usage

Using the Stick Plus is simple enough. The remote is a “point anywhere” device, which means it doesn’t need to be pointed directly at the Stick Plus. If you think about it, that’s quite handy because the dongle itself is probably around the back of your TV!

To watch a channel you just select it from the main channel UI and it will load an app. Then, you will be presented with the relevant UI for that service. In other words, YouTube looks like YouTube, Netflix looks like Netflix, and so on!

Also read

The biggest headache is when you need to search for content inside the channel. If you are looking for a certain video clip in YouTube, then you need to go to the search function and then peck away at the remote to find and enter each letter for your search term.

Thankfully, there is also a remote Roku app for Android. The remote app mirrors the functionality of the physical remote, but it also adds new capabilities. For example, the home screen allows you just to tap the channel you want (without having to navigate to it with the direction keys); there’s also the ability to use the on-screen keyboard to enter text directly on the Streaming Stick Plus.

My favorite functionality of the Roku app is the “Private Listening” feature. With Private Listening, the audio from the Roku doesn’t come out from the TV, it is rerouted to your smartphone. This means you can plug headphones into your smartphone and listen to what is being streamed. Great for those who live in busy households!

Performance

As you would expect from a device designed specifically for streaming video over the internet, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is very good at streaming video over the internet.

During my time with the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, I never noticed any glitches or lags that would be attributable to the stick itself (sometimes my internet connection can be a little temperamental).

The Streaming Stick Plus sets itself apart from many other sticks/dongles (from Roku and others) in that it supports 4K at 60 frames per second, it supports HDR, and it has 802.11ac dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi, with an enhanced wireless receiver that offers up to 4x range.

Obviously, to watch 4K movies, you need a 4K TV, plus the source needs to be 4K. Likewise for HDR, you need an HDR-compatible TV and the content needs to be in HDR. For both 4K and HDR, your TV needs to support HDMI HDCP 2.2.

Alternatives

The Roku Streaming Stick Plus costs $59.99. 

If you don’t need 4K or HDR support, then Roku also offers the standard version of the Streaming Stick sans the “plus” for $49.99. It supports 1080p and also has built-in 802.11ac dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi. If you don’t need 802.11ac, then the Roku Express also supports Full HD and uses 802.11 b/g/n. You can pick up a Roku Express for just $29.99.

Besides Roku’s offerings, there are alternatives from Google — Chromecast Ultra — and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. Then there are also a plethora of no-name Android media boxes.

The verdict

Streaming is a big part of how we consume media in our household. We actually haven’t watched broadcast TV for a couple of years and our satellite receiver is no longer connected to the TV.

However, we do have lots of streaming devices. I think it is fair to say that the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is one of the most comprehensive and yet easy to use devices that I have tested. Compared to the other devices we use in our house, the Roku has the advantage that it isn’t from Google or Amazon. Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV are probably the most popular streaming devices for Android users, but the two companies also happen to be rivals (Amazon Video vs Google Play Movies & TV; Google Home vs Amazon Alexa; etc). That means each would prefer you to stick within the confines of its walled garden. For example, Amazon Video isn’t compatible with Google’s Chromecast. Roku doesn’t suffer from this problem and is able to offer support for a full range of services including those from Amazon and Google.

If you have Google and Amazon subscriptions, maybe the Roku is the easiest way to get the best of both worlds.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Smartphone stills are getting so much better, but what about video?

Xiaomi Mi 9 three triple camera details

Opinion post by
C. Scott Brown

If you watch any smartphone launch event from the last few years, chances are exceptionally good that a large part of that presentation will focus on the phone’s camera. The phone will likely have multiple lenses, state-of-the-art sensors, and software tweaks that will make your photos really pop.

However, you likely won’t hear much about the smartphone video capabilities of the device. If it is even mentioned at all, it’s likely it will be just a brief statement and that’s it.

When it comes down to it, the video capabilities of smartphones appear to be more of an afterthought than anything else.

Yes, most every smartphone will shoot high-definition video — likely in 4K — and feature settings tweaks that will allow you to get some pretty decent footage. When you compare smartphone video features to smartphone still photography features though, there’s likely no comparison. Why is that?

A very common omission

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6 camera

To illustrate how prevalent the omission of smartphone video capabilities really is, take the camera review site DxOMark. However you might feel about DxOMark’s reviews, the organization is a common starting point for many people when it comes to determining the “best” smartphone camera.

Editor’s Pick

If you pick any of DxOMark’s reviews at random, you’ll likely find that the overwhelming bulk of the page — let’s say over 80 percent — will be devoted to the still photography capabilities of the phone. The video capabilities will be nestled at the bottom of the page, taking up maybe only a few paragraphs of space. If you want to see for yourself, check out the DxOMark reviews for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the HTC U12 Plus.

If DxOMark — one of the leading smartphone camera analysts — is all but ignoring video capabilities, what kind of message does that send?

Let’s move to another example — take a look at this official promotional video for the Google Pixel 3:

The camera has always been the crown jewel of the Pixel line, and the first third of this video is all about the Pixel 3’s camera — but only when it comes to taking still pictures. The only thing in the promo that references video capabilities of the device is when it mentions Google Playground and its AR characters. Even that is not really “video” related — it’s more of an AR feature than anything else.

Here’s a further example of this: the launch video for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. In this video, Samsung pushes smartphone still photography pretty hard in the middle of the promo, but makes no mention at all of its video capabilities:

If smartphone manufacturers are also all but ignoring the video capabilities of their own products, why should consumers care?

It’s not just the smartphone manufacturers or the camera analysts that are guilty of ignoring video features — it’s review sites like ours, too. If you read a smartphone review here at Android Authority, you won’t find much about how well the smartphone shoots video.

Editor’s Pick

In our review for the OnePlus 6T, for example, there’s no mention at all of the phone’s video capabilities while there’s plenty of talk of its photo features and upgrades as compared to the OnePlus 6 (the review for that phone has two sentences on video shooting). I’m sure if you go to other smartphone review sites, you’ll find similar omissions.

While it’s certainly not the end of the world, it is quite perplexing that video creation — one of the hallmark features of any smartphone — is brushed aside by the media, the analysts, and even the smartphone manufacturers themselves. Why does video get the cold shoulder?

The likely explanations

A photograph of the Google Pixel 3 XL taking a picture of a cat on a bed.

There isn’t really a “smoking gun” explanation for why smartphone video capabilities aren’t more prevalent, but there are a few big reasons why this happens.

The first and likely most important reason is marketing jargon. When companies are trying to push a new phone, they need simple, easy-to-explain reasons why their product is better than another brand’s product. In most cases, still photography features are simply easier to explain over video capabilities.

Editor’s Pick

As an example of this, take Google’s Night Sight, the camera feature that makes a photograph taken in the dark magically look like it was taken with perfect lighting. This feature is incredibly easy to explain just with the name alone, and it’s a feature that most everyone who’s taken a picture in the dark with a smartphone will appreciate. It’s an easy sell that’s easily explained.

On the flip side, imagine a marketing campaign trying to explain why shooting at 60fps is better than 30fps. Sure, 60fps is twice as many frames per second, but how would you explain that to someone who has absolutely no idea of why the number of frames in one second of video footage should matter? It’s not an impossible task, sure, but certainly not as easy as “This phone takes good pictures in the dark.”

One of the big reasons for this is the simple fact that selling a photography feature is more straightforward than selling a video one.

The second of the three main reasons that video capabilities tend to be ignored is the technical difficulties of creating really cool features for video shooting. R&D teams working for smartphone manufacturers will likely have a much easier time creating the next-big-feature for smartphone still photography than they would creating something similar for video. The reasoning for that is pretty simple: a photograph is one static image, while video is far more complicated.

As such, you can imagine a smartphone OEM seeing that it will spend more time and money on one tough video feature than it would spend on several still features. In that case, the decision of what to do going forward becomes pretty clear.

RELATED: Here’s how Night Sight on the Google Pixel 3 works

When it comes to reviews sites like Android Authority or analyst sites like DxOMark, the most likely reason for the omission of video functions in reviews is that readers don’t seem to mind that the topic is omitted. Here at Android Authority, we don’t see many comments from readers asking about video features, and we imagine DxOMark might have noticed similar trends.

Video can’t be ignored forever

Despite the current shortcomings when it comes to smartphone video, it won’t be like this for long.

Head to a public park on the next nice afternoon and take a look around. Chances are good you’ll see at least a few people taking video footage of some kind, whether it’s filming their children playing, vlogging, or trying to nab a cool slo-mo image of a skateboard trick.

Editor’s Pick

After the park, head to a local nightclub and see how many people take video of their adventures to post on social media. You’ll likely see quite a bit.

It’s clear that people are already heavily integrating video in their lives, and that’s a trend that isn’t going away. With 5G service on the horizon, it’s going to be easier than ever for people to transfer and upload high-definition video content to social platforms or directly to friends and family. With internal storage on smartphones getting bigger and bigger — and cloud backup platforms getting cheaper and cheaper — people also won’t need to worry as much about “space” when filming.

It’s clear that people are only going to be using video features more going forward, not less. OEMs will have to respond to this trend.

It should also be mentioned that most social media platforms are pushing for more video content creation on their platforms. Just look at the popularity of Instagram Stories or Facebook’s push for more video content appearing in people’s feeds.

Also, YouTube is only getting bigger and a new generation of YouTube stars is just around the corner. Those stars are going to want access to the best video-creation tools they can get, and they are going to be looking for them from smartphones. It’s in every OEM’s best interests to create those products for them.

It should also be acknowledged that new video features are appearing on devices, despite the fact that few OEMs are heavily promoting them. For example, LG has manual video controls (letting you adjust bit rate, audio levels, etc.) while Sony offers 4K HDR video recording. Huawei has video bokeh as well as color pop (which films in black and white but certain objects are still in color) and Pixel devices have motion autofocus. You may or may not have known these features exist, but they do.

This lack of promotion is changing, though. Remember those promotional videos I shared earlier in the article? Check out the one below which is for the just-released Samsung Galaxy S10:

This promo video contains a huge chunk on the video capabilities of the Galaxy S10, including filming HDR10+ footage, optical image stabilization, and automatic filtering and retouching. This is just the beginning — expect more companies to start pushing smartphone video capabilities going forward.


Tell us what you think! Would you like to see Android Authority reviews focus more on smartphone video capabilities? Let us know by casting your vote in the poll below!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

NEXT: 10 best video editor apps for Android

Buyers guide: phones that support third-party fast chargers and accessories

Tommox third party fast chargers USB PD

Proprietary fast charging technologies are great for juicing up your empty handset, but they have their limitations. Power banks don’t support proprietary standards, neither do car-chargers nor multi-device power hubs. If you use any of these, you’ll want a phone that supports one of the popular standards used by third-party fast chargers. Namely USB Power Delivery and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge.

Unfortunately, even when manufacturers note support for one or more of these standards, there’s often no way of knowing whether you’ll receive the very fastest charging speeds or not. This makes buying accessories a pain. To help you out, we’re testing a bunch of phones to help make these buying decisions easier.

To test, we picked up a Tommox 75W USB-C charger, sporting USB Power Delivery, Quick Charge 3.0, and 2.4A USB outputs. We also grabbed a 60W rated USB-C cable, to make sure the cable isn’t a bottleneck, along with a USB-C power meter, and began testing phones that were running out of battery.

Best picks for 3rd party charger support

Out of all the phones we’ve tested so far, only three support high charging speeds with all third-party fast chargers. These models are the Xiaomi Mi 9, the Nokia 7.1, and the new Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. All three offer around 15W or more of power with their own charger, USB PD, and Quick Charge 3.0.

Editor’s Pick

Many other phones work with all three standards, but certainly not at these speeds. Typically, a phone’s proprietary charger and cable produces by far the fastest charging results. There are only a couple of exceptions to this rule, including the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite.

In other good news, USB Power Delivery support is becoming increasingly common in modern smartphones. More manufacturers could be outright supporting the standard now that they have a better handle on USB-C. Alternatively, some handsets are also making use of the cross-compatibility feature of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4 standard.

The Xiaomi Mi 9, Nokia 7.1, and Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus all offer 15W+ of power with their own charger, USB PD, and Quick Charge 3.0.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Worst proprietary offenders

As we covered previously, OnePlus’ Dash and Warp Charge technologies simply don’t play nicely with third-party chargers. You won’t receive anything above basic charging speeds when connecting your OnePlus handset to USB Power Delivery or Quick Charge devices. This is a prime example of proprietary technology done badly. There’s no excuse for it as faster charging technologies, such as Huawei SuperCharge, are also compatible with third-party protocols.

The oddest phone I’ve tested so far is the Nubia Red Magic Mars. The phone starts working with USB Power Delivery but then negotiates itself out of charging, hitting 12V with no current draw. So plugging the Red Magic Mars into a USB PD port won’t charge the phone at all. It’s likely this could be fixed with a software update, as it’s an example of someone borking their implementation of a charging standard.

Editor’s Pick

LG is by far the worst of the big names tested so far. The V series charging ports repeatedly renegotiate and drops current, prolonging charging times. This also makes it very difficult to read exactly how much power this phone receives. In this instance, Quick Charge works better than Power Delivery.

In general, budget smartphones are more hit and miss with third-party fast chargers compared to more expensive models. Although the Honor View 20 and Nokia 7.1 are clear exceptions. Most mid-range models will provide passable charging speeds from at least one third-party standard. Just double check with the manufacturer, or our master list, to make sure which standard is supported.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro charger.

The full results

To view the full dataset, check out the spreadsheet below or click the link here. Devices receiving less than 10W of power aren’t classified as fast charging, and between 10 and 15W is the minimum we classify as faster than regular charging speeds. Around 15W and above indicates a good fast charging implementation, while above 20W is super fast. The results are color-coded for easy identification to help spot which phones or charging accessories you should buy.

We will continue to flesh out this list as more smartphones pass through our test suite.

The Elgato Stream Deck Mini on sale for $70 helps you produce your own show

Stream like a pro.

The Elgato Stream Deck Mini live content creation controller has dropped to $69.95 on Amazon and Best Buy. Today’s deal matches one we saw back in February.

This mini deck has six LCD keys you can customize to perform unlimited actions. If you need to switch scenes, adjust your audio, send out social media messages, or anything else, you can assign these keys to do that on the fly. In fact, one key can perform an unlimited number of actions so you can get your routine down to just a button. The controller has direct integration with programs like OBS, XSplit, Streamlabs, and more. Users give it 4.6 stars based on over 560 reviews.

See on Amazon

The Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth speaker is on sale for $150 at Best Buy

Bluetooth and Beautiful.

The Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth speaker is down to $149.99 through Best Buy’s eBay store and the main site. Most places still selling this speaker, like Amazon, sell it for around $350. Today’s deal is one of the best we’ve ever seen for a speaker that rarely goes on sale at all.

Marshall’s speakers have some of the best and most unique designs in the speaker world. Despite the vintage style, they still have very modern insides with Bluetooth tech that works up to 33-feet away. The speaker has a 5.25-inch woofer and a pair of 3/4-inch tweeters. If you don’t want to use Bluetooth, you can also connect via the 3.5mm aux input, RCA input, and more.

See at Best Buy’s eBay Store