Light up your home with these LIFX smart bulbs on sale today

Bring your home lighting into the future with these deals.

Amazon is currently offering LIFX smart light bulbs with up to 25% off their usual prices. The bulbs can be used as part of your existing smart home setup as they work great with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, or you can control them with the free LIFX app.

The A19 multi-color, dimmable LIFX smart bulb is down to $42.74, down from an average price of around $54. Make sure you clip the on-page coupon that saves you an extra 5% on top of the current price drop to $44.99. This bulb is equivalent to a 75W bulb and offers 1100 lumens of light.

For BR30 fittings, you’ll want to check out the LIFX+ bulb that is included in the promotion. It’s down to $59.99 and also has an on-page coupon for a further 5% off, bringing the final price down to $56.99. The main added benefit of LIFX+ bulbs is the ability to emit infrared light when turned off which is great if you have home security cameras that use night vision as they’ll be able to see more clearly in the dark.

The last item in the promotion is a 4-pack of LIFX Mini bulbs for $127.96. LIFX Mini offer all of the same smarts for a more affordable price due to their lower 800 lumens brightness. The 4-pack of A19 bulbs usually sells for $160 and individual bulbs are over $40 each, so you’re making a significant saving by buying the bundle today.

The great thing about LIFX bulbs is that they work without the need for a hub, which makes them simpler to use than other smart home devices and saves you money on having to purchase a separate hub or expensive starter kit.

See at Amazon

How to make sure you never lose your important data again

This holiday season, make sure your phone — and those of your loved ones — is adequately backed up.

Losing your stuff sucks. Fielding phone calls from family and friends who’ve lost stuff is even worse. That’s why you should take the time this year to get everything you need backed up and secure.

And even if your stuff is backed up, either to a physical disk or somewhere in the cloud, use the time you’re spending with friends and family to help them back up their most precious digital data — or you’ll inevitably be getting that 3 a.m. call you’ve been dreading for years.

Send it to the cloud

The best way to make sure your stuff is backed up is to send it to the cloud. If you use an Android phone, you may already have an account with Google Drive, and just by signing up for a Google account you get 15GB of storage to play around with. If you use collaboration services like Google Docs or Sheets, those files are already saved to Drive. Google makes things (scarily) simple in that regard.

But if you want to avoid Google, there are plenty of other places to store your stuff. We really like the speed and ease of Dropbox, and it’s available everywhere, from Android to Mac to your favorite browser.

If you’ve got a lot of stuff and don’t necessarily need constant access to it — say a huge movie, music, or archival document collection — we love Backblaze, and think it’s the best option for most people. Best of all, it’s really cheap for the amount of storage you get.

And finally, if you want to avoid the cloud altogether, we’d recommend getting a NAS and buying a couple of 2TB hard drives. Synology makes a great, easy-to-set-up solution that can automatically back up your computer on a regular basis and make the files available through the cloud — even outside your home network — on your Android phone.

Photos and music

We’ve got documents taken care of, but music and movies are incredibly important, too. Of course, you can store both in any of the above solutions, but I’d recommend moving to the cloud for both. In particular, Spotify and Google Photos are my picks for the best places to store and access music.

Let’s start with Spotify. You can go with a number of its competitors, including the Google-owned Play Music, but Spotify doesn’t limit the number of device authorizations per year, and it allows you to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline playback when you don’t have a signal. You don’t need to own music to hear it because Spotify has over 30 million songs, and anything you’d want to listen to is on there.

And then there’s Google Photos. You have to be using Google Photos — it’s so good. Not only does it come preloaded on practically every Android phone — only a problem when the app is bad, which in this case it isn’t — but Google offers free high-quality uploads for life. Yeah, yeah, Google gets your photos but Photos is amazing: it sorts photos by person and location; it performs magical optimizations to make them look better; and when you want to go for the manual touch, the editing features are incredible. Finally, if you want to store the full-sized version of a photo or video you can, too: you just need to pay for Google’s extra storage, which isn’t particularly expensive.

Passwords

You are using a password manager, right? These days, with the number of online services for which we have to remember login information, there’s no excuse not to be using a great password manager. Personally, I love 1Password, but you can’t go wrong with Enpass, Dashlane or LastPass — they all have awesome Android apps and are multi-platform for when you need to connect remotely.

Backing up passwords is probably the most important thing you’ll do for your mental health. While some of the services offer local or manually-controlled cloud backups, 1Password takes all the hassle out of the procedure by doubling down on security and storing them in the cloud. It’s a lot safer than it sounds, and it’s a hell of a lot more convenient, too.

The best password managers for Android

Launchers and themes

If you use an Android phone or tablet, chances are you’re using a third-party launcher, or at least some app that requires a bit of customization. If you want to bring everything over to a new phone when you upgrade, try Action Launcher or Nova Launcher; both have excellent remote backup solutions that allow you to restore any and all settings to a new phone. You’ll need Google Drive or Dropbox to store the backup file, but you’ve already done that, right? RIGHT?!

How to back up your Android launcher (and why you should)

Do the right thing this year

Take advantage of the downtime this holiday season to make sure that, if you were to lose your phone or laptop (heaven forbid) you won’t lose the important documents, photos, videos, music files and anything else you value. These days, there’s no excuse not to have a full-spectrum backup solution!

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Lite tipped to land on Verizon this Spring

Rozetked

Are Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL too expensive for you? If so, you might want to hold out on buying a new phone until Spring 2019 — that’s when Google is rumored to launch the affordable Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite. This rumor comes from our friends at Android Police, citing sources familiar with the company’s plans.

No exact release date was mentioned, but rumor has it both phones will land on Verizon. They’ll also likely be available unlocked via the Google Store, just like all of Google’s previous Pixel and Nexus phones.

The Google Pixel 3 Lite first leaked in mid-November on Russian website Rozetked, the same folks who got their hands on the Pixel 3 XL months ahead of its release. A few days later, the same website posted some alleged Pixel 3 Lite camera samples, followed by a ton of more hands-on photos from a different Russian website, Wylsa. Finally, we saw our first glimpse of the Pixel 3 XL Lite in CAD renders in early December.

Related

According to the recent leaks, the Pixel 3 Lite will come with a 5.5-inch LCD screen at Full HD+ resolution, a Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 2,915mAh battery, as well as a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. The only rumor we’ve heard about the 3 XL Lite is its screen size, which will reportedly come in at 6 inches and have a Full HD+ resolution. Both phones are rumored to have a headphone jack as well.

They’ll likely be made entirely of plastic, as opposed to the Pixel 3’s all-glass build. Oh, and one other notable design choice: Both of these Lite phones will probably look a lot like the smaller Pixel 3. That means they won’t feature the Pixel 3 XL’s gigantic notch.

Google hasn’t launched a mid-range phone since 2015’s Nexus 5X. Why launch one now? We know that the U.S. is significantly lacking in decent mid-range smartphones, so Google might see a market here. Also, the fact that these phones are launching on Verizon means customers will be able to pay for them in monthly installments as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars outright.

That’s it for now, folks. We’ll be sure to update you if we hear anything else regarding the Pixel 3 Lite or Pixel 3 XL Lite.

Unihertz Atom review: You won’t want to use it, and that’s the point

The Unihertz Atom is a tiny phone with a 2.45-inch display. It comes with decent specs, but the phone’s design is what’s really going to spark conversations. About 80 percent of the people I showed this phone to told me they totally wanted one.

Should they want one enough to fork out $260? That’s what we are here to find out.

Manufacturers have been making our phones bigger and faster for years. Now a new breed of smartphones is trying to satisfy the needs of minimalists, aimed avoiding virtual distractions and keeping people in touch with reality.

It makes sense! Phones can get addictive. It’s the same reason devices like the Palm Phone and connected smartwatches even exist. However, those still need to pair with a more capable device. The Unihertz Atom is an Android handset that can operate as your primary smartphone. With dual-SIM capabilities, it could even replace a couple handsets.

The real question is whether people will make a bit of room for this phone in their pockets, or if it’s just a cool novelty we only want at first.


Unihertz Atom review: Design & build quality

Unihertz Atom

The design of the Unihertz Atom is its biggest selling point. The idea is simple: take the power and functionality of the Android OS and compress it into a tiny package. Unihertz did this with the Jelly phone, but things are quite different this time around.

Design is the biggest selling point for the Unihertz Atom.

Edgar Cervantes

The mini smartphone now has a rugged design that should make it more resistant to the daily beating some of us give our handsets. The Unihertz Atom feels sturdier and more solid than its predecessor, but it is also thicker and bulkier at 96 x 45 x 18mm. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a problem — the phone still feels tiny.

Unihertz Atom

Unihertz Atom next to iPhone XS Max

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on top, which makes us wonder why manufacturers keep saying size is an important factor for removing these. The volume buttons along the left side are accompanied by a dual-SIM card slot, while the right side houses a power button, a PTT (push to talk) button, and a USB Type-C port. You will find a 16MP camera in the back. The front features a 2.45-inch display, dual front-facing speakers, an 8MP shooter, a fingerprint reader/home button, and two capacitive buttons.

Though it looks kind of like a toy, the Unihertz Atom certainly doesn’t feel like one.

Edgar Cervantes

It looks kind of like a toy, but it doesn’t feel like one. The rubberized plastic, textured back, and shock-absorbing corners are comfortable to hold and feel secure. It isn’t even a bit slippery! I wasn’t as worried about dropping it (never did), and its IP68 certification means exposing it to the elements shouldn’t be an issue either.

Unihertz Atom
Unihertz Atom
Unihertz Atom
Unihertz Atom

We wish the bezels were thinner (or the screen bigger), as the screen-to-body ratio is abysmal, but a smaller profile is something we really shouldn’t be complaining about. For what it’s worth, the Unihertz Atom seems to have it all, which surprised me and every other person I have shown it to.

Unihertz didn’t settle for the basics, it even threw in elements we never expected to see in a minimalist phone like this one. These include the fingerprint sensor, a 3.5mm headset jack, and even an additional button dedicated to PTT communications.

Unihertz Atom


Unihertz Atom review: Display

You would be right to assume a phone like this doesn’t get to tout an amazing screen. This tiny panel sports a 240 x 432 resolution, which translates to a 201.7ppi density. Compare that to the over-400 pixel density of current high-end phones and things start to look a bit blurry. You can definitely see the pixels in this screen, especially when reading tiny words.

You would be right to assume a phone like this doesn’t get to tout an amazing screen.

Edgar Cervantes

Colors are vibrant, but also seem very inaccurate. Not to mention weird color elements are usually present in most images and video.

Overall, it is not a screen you will enjoy looking at for long periods of time, but we suppose that is fine given the nature of the device. The Unihertz Atom doesn’t need a good screen, it just needs to be usable — and this one certainly is (even if just barely). Not to mention those who buy this phone aren’t exactly looking for a media-consumption device.

Unihertz Atom

I absolutely hated seeing my product photos in this screen. I also tried watching Netflix and YouTube. It was OK, but I never really got immersed in the experience. I was easily distracted by things around me and often pocketed the device, figuring I could just watch my videos when I got home.

In a way, this means the tiny display accomplished its mission to unglue from your phone.


Unihertz Atom review: Sound quality

Again, nothing to write home about here. The phone’s sound is passable, but ordinary. Call audio seems fine. I could hear people well, and they could hear me (or so my friends said).

I had a hard time understanding the loudspeaker when calling or listening to media in loud places, though. Don’t even try playing music with it while driving. It simply won’t work. Things sounded just fine when at home, in my quiet room, but compared to other phones audio was a bit tiny.


Unihertz Atom review: Performance & hardware

In terms of performance, the Unihertz Atom is an affordable mid-range handset. It costs $259.99 and operates just like a phone at that price range should. Its octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM keep it running smoothly as long as you don’t go nuts with it.

The unihertz Atom costs $259.99 and operates just like a phone at that price range should.

Edgar Cervantes

Don’t expect it to handle many games or intensive apps well. It can play Flappy Bird like a champ, so some casual gamers will be happy with it. I tried to run Asphalt 9: Legends for kicks, and it actually worked! I could race with it, but loading took forever, it crashed a few times, and there was obvious lag in button pressing. Not to mention the tiny screen and bad resolution made it really hard to do well in races.

Editor’s Pick

Normal processes like checking email, going through social media, messaging, and requesting an Uber ride showed no issues. Of course, you won’t get the smoothness of a Snapdragon 845 when scrolling and opening apps, but the Unihertz Atom takes on every casual task with no hiccups. Once again, it’s usable. You wouldn’t expect much else from any device at this price point.

I also love how it has 64GB of internal storage, which is plenty to store your music, apps, and other content.


Unihertz Atom review: Specs

  Unihertz Atom
Display 2.45-inch LCD
240 x 432 resolution
201.7ppi
Processor 2GHz octa-core processor
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB
MicroSD No
Camera Rear: 16MP AF
Front: 8MP FF
Battery 2,000mAh
Fingerprint scanner Yes
Headphone jack Yes
Software Android 8.1 Oreo
Dimensions 96 x 45 x 18mm
Weight 108 grams


Unihertz Atom review: Software

Fans of the stock Android experience will be happy with the Unihertz Atom. This is as close to pure Oreo as it can be. There are no apparent modifications in the UI, but Unihertz threw in some enhancements. The most obvious one is that PTT physical button, which can be used with Zello to talk to people Nextel style.

I have no need for PTT communications, so it’s good the phone has an option for changing the button’s functionality. You can choose to launch any app with the PTT button. I picked the camera, but any app of your choice will work the same. The one downside to switching the button’s functionality is that it won’t launch any other app with the screen off (it does with Zello).

Otherwise, there is not much to see here in terms of software, it’s just Android 8.1 Oreo. We would usually say this is a good idea, but with such a small screen we think the UI should have optimized, which is something Palm did with its companion phone. As it is, the Unihertz Atom feels unintuitive and cramped.

In addition, plenty of apps are not optimized for such a tiny display, which often an issue. Some elements will be too large. One clear example is the time stamp on Facebook Messenger. This is an issue you will encounter often, and it’s not exactly Unihertz’ fault. Developers should fix this, and unless these tiny phones become a trend, they likely won’t.

Another huge issue Unihertz should have given more thought to is typing. Oh my god… typing!

Edgar Cervantes

Another huge issue Unihertz should have given more thought to is typing. Even a seven-year old with skinny fingers had a hard time typing on this phone!

With my chubby fingers, I had to heavily rely on predictions, so I am glad I am a SwiftKey user. Typing was still hard, but using Flow (swiping) at least quickened my messaging. You could also go with voice typing and handwriting apps. Regardless, an official solution is needed to ensure a smooth experience.


Unihertz Atom review: Camera

Unihertz Atom

The Unihertz Atom camera is horrible.

Edgar Cervantes

I tend to dive deeper into the camera section of review, but there is no need here — this camera is horrible!

I wasn’t expecting much, but the Unihertz Atom camera went even lower than my underestimations. Images seem washed off, colors are dull, exposure is always off, there is often weird artifacting in direct light, and detail is lacking.




I am not saying Unihertz should throw a state of the art camera on a $259.99 phone, but this device is meant for adventures. More attention should have been paid to the camera.


Unihertz Atom review: Battery life

If the thought is to take you away from the distractions of the internet, battery life should be an important factor. You don’t want to be out camping and worry about charging your phone. While the Unihertz Atom doesn’t do too badly in this department, it is also no battery champion.

Unihertz Atom

Its 2,000mAh battery is small for today’s standards. The phone also isn’t as resource intensive, though. They small screen, lackluster definition, and modest specs should keep it alive for longer. That’s all theory, and I wasn’t exactly impressed with this phone’s battery life.

Editor’s Pick

I averaged about three hours of screen-on time. Overall the phone would last me all day on a single charge. By the time I went to sleep the phone was under the 20 percent mark, and I wasn’t even using it that much. Battery life is generally OK, but I expected more.


Unihertz Atom review: Final thoughts

Smartphones are addictive machines meant to keep you looking at a screen as much as possible. They are very immersive. The minimalists among us may want to live with no digital distractions, but they also need smartphones to go about their lives. Those are the users Unihertz is trying to cater to.

The Unihertz Atom is not a bad deal at $259.99. For people who want less, some of the Unihertz Atom’s shortcomings can be seen as advantages, and not in the silly way other manufacturers disguise mistakes as features.

Unihertz Atom

When you check your email on a regular smartphone, you are bombarded with information and distractions. What you mean to be a quick look can easily turn into a multi-hour hole filled with games and cat videos. With the Unihertz Atom you do what you have to do and get on with your life. The price and purpose make its shortcomings more bearable.

With the Unihertz Atom you do what you have to do and get on with your life.

Edgar Cervantes

Should I get the Palm Phone instead?

You could… but only if you can. It happens to be a Verizon exclusive, so there’s that bottleneck. And the fact that mostly makes the Palm Phone a waste is that it can’t be used as a standalone device; it needs to be linked to another line with a compatible smartphone. So technically, Palm and Verizon want you to own (and pay for) two phones.

Those willing to overlook said issues will get a more refined design, thinner profile, and what feels like a speedier experience, as the UI is actually optimized for the smaller screen. By the way, the screen is also better, and has a 1280 x 720 resolution.

That’s about where benefits end, though. Typing is also cumbersome with the Palm companion, even if not as much, thanks to the extra finger room you get from the 3.3-inch display. The battery is a joke at 800mAh. The camera is also bad.

In short: the Palm Phone is better, mostly because of design and the much better screen. I would gladly pay the extra $90 (plus $10 extra monthly fee) for it if I wanted a secondary phone and was with Verizon.  Those that don’t fit the requirements can go with the next best thing in tiny smartphones: the Unihertz Atom.

Nokia 5.1 Plus is latest device to get hot slice of Android Pie

The Nokia 5.1 Plus, also known as the Nokia X5. HMD Global/Nokia

HMD Global brought Android Pie to the Nokia 8 last week, but the firm isn’t finished just yet. The Nokia brand licensee has just announced that the update is now heading to the Nokia 5.1 Plus too.

Juho Sarvikas, HMD Global’s chief product officer, confirmed the news on Twitter. Exact details weren’t disclosed, but we’re expecting a phased roll-out over the next few days. Don’t panic if you’re not seeing the update on your device just yet.

Screenshots of the change-log show that the Nokia 5.1 Plus update weighs in at over 1.2GB, and is said to include new system navigation functionality, Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, and “predictive application actions.” The latter sounds like a fancy name for Android Pie’s App Actions feature. Otherwise, you can also expect the December 2018 security patches to be included in this update.

We’re happy to see Adaptive Battery apparently included in the roll-out, especially after this feature didn’t make it into the Nokia 8’s Android Pie update. HMD is reportedly bringing the feature to the 2017 flagship in a later update.

We’re glad to see the Finnish company upgrading its cheaper phones, but Twitter users have voiced their displeasure at the lack of Pie for the Nokia 8 Sirocco. Sarvikas previously said the Sirocco’s update would be “next in line” after the Nokia 8, so we can certainly see why owners of the pseudo-flagship would be upset.

NEXT: New Nokia smartphone hits FCC — Is it another low-end champ?

Motorola P40 leaks with punch-hole camera, 48MP primary snapper

The Motorola P30 was one of the more blatant iPhone clones of 2018, but it looks like the successor is going in the same direction as Samsung and Huawei‘s new phones.

OnLeaks and 91mobiles have teamed up to publish what they say are renders and a video for a P30 successor dubbed the Motorola P40. And the most noticeable design decision is the move to adopt a display hole camera on the front. Unfortunately, further selfie camera details aren’t known.

Moving to the back of the device, we have a similar vertically stacked dual camera setup as the older phone. Apparently, we’re looking at a 48MP primary camera (much like the Honor View 20), but we don’t know anything else about the secondary snapper.


Another look at the Motorola P30 successor.
The front of the Motorola P30 successor.
The back of the Motorola P30 successor.

The 48MP camera sensor isn’t merely just for detailed daytime snaps, as this new sensor is also technically capable of pixel-binning to deliver better low-light shots. It’s unclear whether Motorola will indeed be using this particular feature, but it seems like a no-brainer.

Editor’s Pick

Other noteworthy features include a 6.2-inch display, rear fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C, a 3.5mm headphone port, and the Android One branding. The latter means we could be in for a smartphone that delivers timely Android updates and prompt security patches. We also have a rather shiny back, with 91mobiles suggesting it could be made out of glass.

The Motorola P30 was seemingly limited to China, while the Motorola One and One Power (which were essentially variants of the P30 design) were available in more countries. Hopefully, this new device sees a wide launch too if it is indeed in the works.

NEXT: Mobile audio trends we hope to see in 2019

Slider phones have already overstayed their welcome

Slider phones look cool, but they aren’t the future of smartphones.

Death to bezels. This is something we saw non-stop from the smartphone industry throughout all of 2018, and going into 2019, that mindset doesn’t look to be going anywhere. The end goal of making bezels on phones as slim as possible while retaining all expected functionality is the goal every OEM shares right now, but the way in which different brands have been going about this has been interesting to watch.

Following the iPhone X, this year saw LG, OnePlus, Huawei, and plenty of other companies jump on board the popular notch train. The notch has been implemented in the traditional fashion with a black bar in the middle of the screen, but we’ve since seen this evolve into a small waterdrop that houses just a front-facing camera and nothing more. Similarly, some brands have also started toying with “hole-punch” notch styles with a small cutout in one corner of a display for the camera.

The notch is a good compromise for figuring out how to shrink bezels without ditching important sensors and components that need to live on the front of our phones, but if you’ve followed companies such as Vivo, Oppo, and most recently Lenovo, you’ll know that these brands have decided to avoid the notch by implementing a mechanical sliding mechanism into their phones.

The notch has already changed a lot in its short lifespan.

This has resulted in phones like the Vivo NEX, Oppo Find X, and Lenovo Z5 Pro GT. There’s no denying that these devices look cool, but if you ask me, they aren’t the answer for the bezel-less future we’re all clamoring for.

With the slider phones we’ve seen so far, things like the selfie camera, ambient light sensor, and earpiece are hidden below the display so that we get a screen that’s just that — all screen with no bezels to show for. However, if you want to take selfie, answer a phone call, or (in the case of the Oppo Find X) unlock your phone using face unlock, that slider needs to move, reveal these components, and then retract back. This all requires motors and introduces a lot more moving parts than we’re used to on phones. Vivo, Oppo, and Lenovo say that they’ve tested their designs so that these sliding actions can be performed thousands of times without fault, and while that may be true, no one really knows how well these mechanisms will hold up a year or two down the road.

Motors wear down over time. They get weaker with each use, and at some point, they stop working altogether. When a motor in one of these phones dies out, that’s going to be a problem.

Adding to that point, phones in their current state without these moving parts can already get pretty messed up with a good drop or fall. When you drop a phone with parts that move around like this, the end result isn’t going to be pretty. More moving parts always equal less structural integrity, and with smartphones being tools we take with us just about everywhere, that can create for a dangerous combo. I want my phone to be as sturdy as possible, not considerably weaker.

No matter how you look at it, slider phones just aren’t practical.

With notches, none of these problems exist. Sure, you get a cutout in the screen, but it doesn’t negatively impact the durability of your phone in any way. Plus, it still allows for the screen to stretch edge-to-edge in a way that wasn’t possible before.

For me, that’s reason enough to put up with a small blemish on my phone’s display.

Slider phones are becoming more common in Eastern markets, but I really don’t think they’ll get to the point where they’re commonplace in the U.S. Just like the notch, the slider design isn’t permanent. Instead, it’s a crutch that OEMs are using while trying to figure out how to eliminate bezels once and for all — but in the case of the slider, it’s an expensive and not very practical crutch. If anything, it’s a glorified proof of concept.

Don’t get me wrong — I love all the innovation and experimentation the war on bezels has been creating for in the smartphone space. The more companies are eager to try new things, the better. I’m glad some brands like Vivo and Oppo are releasing slider phones, but not because anyone should necessarily buy one. I’m excited because it gets us one step closer to a future where our phones have zero bezels in a form factor that doesn’t require a notch or sliding component.

Until that day comes, however, I’ll be sticking with my notches.

Deal: Save $90+ on the unlocked 64GB Moto G6 from Amazon

Moto G6 Amazon Deal

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly smartphone that has a premium look and feel, the Moto G6 is one of the best options. And if you hurry, you can save $90 to $100 on the handset from Amazon dropping the price as low as $199.99.

The Moto G6 features a 5.7-inch LCD with a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution. Under the hood, you will find a Snapdragon 450 CPU and a 3,000mAh battery charged via a USB-C port. 

Around back, the handset sports a 12MP primary camera accompanied by a 5MP RGB sensor for portraits. Users can then use the 8MP front-facing camera for their selfie needs. 

Editor’s Pick

For this sale, Amazon is discounting the higher-end model which features 64GB of built-in storage and 4GB of RAM. The trade-off is that the discount is only applicable on the black colorway. 

The unlocked Moto G6 can be used on pretty much every U.S. carrier including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. You can buy it right now for $229.99 using the button below. 

And if you want to save a bit more, Amazon is dropping the price of the Prime Exclusive model to $199.99. In exchange, you’ll get a phone with a bunch of Amazon’s apps pre-installed and Alexa set as the default voice assistant.

You can pick up the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 in Indigo Blue for $199.99 using the button below. 

Android in 2018 is the opening act for Android in 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

As the end of 2018 gets closer, we’ll start seeing the usual “Best of 2018” lists for smartphones and mobile devices. Android Authority will take part in all the fun as usual. No doubt some of these lists (and the comments) will mention how lackluster 2018 was for the mobile industry, with incremental updates and little innovation.

To be clear, 2018 hasn’t been bad. We’ve seen incredibly cool devices that slide, pop, and bend. We’ve seen great products made even better with subtle tweaks and refinements. We’ve seen established brands launch new sub-brands to rousing success. We’ve seen brands still establishing themselves achieve things few would have suspected.

There have also been incredible advancements in photography, with multi-lensed smartphones becoming the norm and AI-powered photography tricks empowering even novices to take professional-quality shots.

However, let’s face it: despite all that, 2018 has also been full of yawns.

It’s hard to correctly judge the future, but I think Android in 2018 won’t be fondly remembered in the Android history books.

Just look at how nearly every manufacturer jumped onto the notched display bandwagon, resulting in a deluge of iPhone X clones. Regardless of how you feel about the notch, it’s hard to deny there were a lot of look-alike devices this year, which makes for a pretty yawn-inducing market.

Editor’s Pick

We also yawned at the launch of “new” devices that look and feel so similar to the previous device they’re hard to tell apart. A lot of the major smartphone releases were just revamps of previous devices with a few extra bells and whistles added. Just look at the iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, LG V40 ThinQ, and the Sony Xperia XZ3, all of which are minor steps up from the previous models. It would seem appropriate to label 2018 an “S” year.

Even the Google Pixel 3 XL — one of the most talked-about devices of the year — fully leaked months before it launched, and landed to a chorus of yawns.

For these reasons and more, it would be easy for me to write an article where I bash this year’s Android devices. Instead, I’m going to spin things into a more positive take: Android in 2018 will likely be the competent opening act to the true main event: Android in 2019.

Android in 2019

Samsung Foldable Phone

Each major Android OEM has made a lot of promises about what it will have to offer next year. In fact, companies like Samsung and Motorola dedicated large parts of their 2018 device launches hyping up what is coming soon, rather than what they actually had on offer that day.

Let’s check out what a handful of the major OEMs have coming up.

Samsung

In early November, Samsung finally revealed its years-in-the-making foldable phone. The potentially game-changing device opens up into a bendable tablet, allowing users to do all sorts of things currently impossible to do on a standard smartphone. Samsung didn’t fully reveal the device at the event but promised we’d see it in 2019.

The 2019 iteration of the Galaxy S series (likely called the Samsung Galaxy S10) looks to be a complete overhaul from what we’ve seen over the past two years. We expect three (or possibly even four) variants of the S10 instead of the usual two, and we expect them to sport some unique technology like 3D mapping scanners and ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors. It’s also possible the S10 line could launch with an Infinity-O display, with a small hole cut out for the front-facing camera.

We also expect to see a 5G-enabled smartphone from Sammy in 2019. However, we aren’t sure if it will be part of the S10 line or something all its own.

Regardless, we know Samsung is currently in a “crisis” and working hard behind the scenes to get consumers excited about buying its smartphones again, which is good news for all of us.

OnePlus

OnePlus is revamping its entire smartphone strategy in 2019 by releasing a 5G model that won’t be a successor to the most recent OnePlus 6T. That means there will likely be two smartphone lines running concurrently from OnePlus. This will be the biggest strategy change for the company since it launched the OnePlus X in 2015.

OnePlus also might release a television in 2019, as weird as that sounds. The Chinese company gets bigger, more popular, and more ambitious every year. 2019 will likely be quite exciting for OnePlus.

The major Android OEMs have made some big promises in 2019 which are making us pretty excited.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi is doing some exciting things in 2019, too. It’s already started to trickle into new territories this year, including the U.K. The company is also selling products in the United States, but not smartphones yet. It’s absolutely possible we’ll see Xiaomi smartphones worldwide in 2019, even in the U.S.

The launch of the ultra-cheap Pocophone F1 was one of the surprise hits of 2018, and we fully expect Xiaomi to double down on its new sub-brand in 2019. While the Pocophone F1 was certainly awesome, it wasn’t without flaws, and we hope the Pocophone F2 (or whatever it gets called) will fix some of those issues.

As with most other OEMs on this list, Xiaomi is promising a 5G smartphone in 2019. It’s also promising a foldable phone to compete with Samsung (and possibly LG). Either way, we’d just be happy to finally be able to buy Xiaomi devices in the U.S.

Huawei

Like Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, and others, Huawei has promised a foldable phone in 2019. However, it is one-upping the competition by claiming its foldable device will be 5G capable and possibly even the first one from a major OEM to market.

Huawei will be pushing its very popular sub-brand Honor hard in 2019. In certain areas of the world, Huawei’s biggest competitor is Honor, which is the best kind of problem for any company to have. As such, you can likely expect more powerful mid-range and budget devices for incredibly cheap prices.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Huawei devices in the United States in 2019. The company could surprise us, but it looks like we’ll still be watching Huawei’s success from afar in the immediate future.

LG

Let’s face it: 2018 hasn’t been the greatest year for LG. After a controversial decision to abandon its original plans for the follow-up to the LG G6, the company launched the LG G7 ThinQ later than planned and to lukewarm sales. The company’s smartphone lineup has gotten incredibly confusing, with the LG V30 quickly followed up by the LG V30S ThinQ and then the LG V35 ThinQ after that, and so on.

However, 2019 could be a new dawn for LG. It’s even apparently hired a “turnaround expert” to solve its mounting financial woes in the mobile sector.

Nothing would please us more than to see LG make a true comeback. LG devices are usually pretty awesome, albeit with a few caveats, but those caveats combined with a usually-very-high asking price make them hard to recommend. Hopefully, LG’s future strategy will take this into account.

Choose your perspective

Many of you reading this might be disappointed with 2018’s phones. You might be holding on to your 2017 device because nothing this year motivated you to run out and replace it. That makes sense.

However, just because 2018 didn’t blow us away, it doesn’t mean we should start with the doomsday talk. We can choose to see 2018 as a stepping stone year, building up the hype for what’s going to really wow us in 2019. There are certainly enough potentially awesome things on the horizon to warrant a positive outlook.

Do you agree? Do you think 2018 is paving the way for an awesome 2019, or do you think next year will be more of the same? Sound off in the comments!

NEXT: Google dev hints Android Q previews could come to more users, sooner

Canada readers! Here are the best Boxing Day deals

Christmas is over, but the deals haven’t gone with it just yet! Thankfully, Boxing Day is here with one more chance to score a deal on several best-selling products before the year ends. Most of these could be very handy for 2019, so don’t delay! These deals won’t last past the end of the day.

Master Chef

Instant Pot DUO Plus

The Instant Pot is one of the hottest selling kitchen appliances in recent years. There are a bunch of different models, but this one offers an eight-quart cooking capacity along with nine cooking functions from pressure cooking to steaming to warming and more.

$99.99 at Amazon

HQ Audio

Sennheiser headphones

Whether you’re looking for wireless Bluetooth headphones or a reliable pair of wired headphones, Sennheiser has several great options which offer high quality audio at fantastic prices.

From $79.95 at Amazon

Helping Hand

KitchenAid 6-Qt. Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer

This powerful stand mixer lets you create high-quality baked goods from the comfort of your own home, with the ability to purchase additional attachments to expand its functionality.

$299.99 at Amazon

Who Are You?

23andMe DNA Test Kit

With one of 23andMe’s DNA Test Kits, you can discover a breakdown of your ancestry and connect with your heritage in a new way.

$89 at Amazon

More Control

Smart Home Device Discounts

From bulbs to thermostats to deadbolts and more, there are so many ways to can make your home smarter piece-by-piece, and at these prices, it’s not too expensive to do so either.

Up to 30% off at Amazon

iLove To Save

Refurbished Apple iPad and iPhone

Whether you’re on the hunt for an iPad Mini, an iPad Pro, or maybe the iPhone 6 Plus, there’s a good variety of Apple devices here which are certified refurbished and now available at a discount.

From $259.95 at Amazon

Boxing Day only comes once a year, so don’t take it for granted! If you’re interested in seeing deals like these year-round, make sure to follow Thrifter Canada on Twitter to get the latest updates.