The best AT&T phones available in February 2017

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The best AT&T phone for February 2017 now includes Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That’s not to mention two already great Samsung phones have been on the network for months, not counting the discontinued Samsung Galaxy Note 7, of course. No need to fret about decisions, because we’ve gone ahead and thoroughly tested then ranked all of the best AT&T phones available, from the iPhone 7 ($650, 32GB) to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge ($794) to help you decide which phone you want in your pocket for the next year or two. This is handset shopping made easy! Read on for the easy way to choose a new phone on AT&T.

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AT&T phones: The options explained

TechRadar’s guide to finding the best AT&T phone for you

To rank the best AT&T phones out there, we reviewed just about every contender and balanced the value of the phone compared to AT&T’s asking price. We also disregarded any personal preferences and/or biases towards specific operating systems, be it Android, iOS or Windows. All of these phones are available through AT&T’s main Mobile Share Value plan and can be financed with AT&T Next, which spreads the cost of the phone over a set amount of time. For this article, we’ll be looking at the AT&T Next 24 plan, which spreads the cost of the phone over 30 months, with an option for upgrade after 24 months. If you’re still shopping for a plan with AT&T, check out our breakdown of the best plans the carrier has to offer.

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How to choose the best AT&T phones for you:

AT&T features a wide range of handsets, ranging from around $5/month to over $30/month and everything in between. Essentially, you as the customer can pay as little or as much as you like, but naturally your phone will reflect the investment. A solid, cutting-edge phone will likely run you above $22/month every time, with a few notable affordable exceptions falling below that threshold. Instead of you having to manually peruse the AT&T site for a decent phone, we’ve compiled a list of the best the network has to offer, ranked as we see them. Let’s dive in and find the perfect phone for you before we rank all of the available options a bit further down the page.

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The best AT&T phone options for every budget:

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Best of the best: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Overall we found that the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the very best handset that AT&T has to offer, boasting a brilliant 12MP camera, a removable SD card slot and arguably the best display on the market. On top of it all, the phone is natively water resistant for 30 minutes in over 4 feet of water, adding some much needed peace of mind. We also like the newer and even bigger Galaxy Note 7, but Samsung has temporarily recalling its phablet. The S7 Edge is also cheaper, starting at $26.50/month.

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Best Apple phone: iPhone 7 Plus

AT&T’s best phone running iOS is the iPhone 7, or the iPhone 7 Plus if you like them big! Was Apple late to the phablet party? Of course. Does it matter? Not really. The iPhone 7 Plus makes up for its tardiness with Apple’s best camera because it has a dual lens system. It also has a brighter display and the longest lasting battery to date. This is the best Apple phone this carrier currently offers and starts at $25.67/month.

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Best Android: LG G5

The best Android is technically the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention at least one of the many other excellent Android phones that AT&T has to offer, including the surprisingly impressive LG G5. This phone also runs at lightning speeds on a glorious 5.3-inch IPS display with a 16MP camera that’s nothing to scoff at. This could be the Android dark horse on this carrier.

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Best value phone: Apple iPhone SE

If you’re like Bono and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you’re probably waiting around for a stellar value. The best bang for your buck at AT&T is without a doubt the iPhone SE. Don’t let its size fool you – the iPhone SE runs on the same guts as the ultra-powerful iPhone 6S and boasts a 12MP camera with 4K video capture. Starting at only $13.34/month for the 16GB version, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value.

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Best cheap phone: LG G Vista 2

If you’re not looking to spend much money, AT&T has no shortage in excellent affordable smartphones. The best is the LG G Vista 2, an oft-overlooked phablet that has some pretty impressive features, including a full-HD 5.7-inch display, a 13MP camera and an embedded stylus. Most impressive is that this behemoth starts at only $9.97/month, making this a perfect choice for the penny-pinchers out there.

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The 10 best AT&T phones for you…

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1. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge | Android 7.0 | 5.5-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $26.50/month
Simply put, this is the best phone on the market at the moment. As we mentioned, the native water resistance paired with a sharp camera and an even sharper design make this a phone to covet. I highly recommend this phone to anyone living an active lifestyle, especially around water, or to someone who simply wants the best phone available at the moment. It’s that good.

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2. Samsung Galaxy S7 | Android 7.0 | 5.1-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $23.17/month
This phone is so similar to the Edge that we’d be lying if we put it anywhere else on the list. The crystal clear 5.1 display along with the joyous return of the SD card slot to Samsung phones are just a taste of what makes the S7 and S7 Edge a cut above the rest.

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3. Apple iPhone 7 Plus | iOS 10 | 5.5-inch screen | 12MP/7MP camera | From $25.67/month
The iPhone 7 Plus is not only bigger than Apple’s iPhone 7, but it is more powerful, with a few groundbreaking features thrown in. The highlight is the dual-camera lenses on the back for better telephoto photography and an all-new portrait mode. Behind the 5.5-inch display is a bigger battery. At launch the iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black was almost impossible to find, so snap this phone up right away in the color of your choice.

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4. Apple iPhone 7 | iOS 10 | 4.7-inch screen | 12MP/7MP camera | From $21.67/month
The iPhone 7 is nearly as impressive as the 7 Plus. In fact, many would prefer the size on the 7 over the 7 Plus, even if it doesn’t come with the fancy dual-camera lens. This ranks just behind its counterpart, but if you’re looking to get an iPhone and still want a phone you can control easier with one hand, the iPhone 7 is probably the one for you. Even coming from the more powerful 5.5-inch iPhone, we greatly appreciate the one-handed operation of the iPhone 7.

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5. Samsung Galaxy Note 5 | Android 6.0.1 | 5.7-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $29.34/month
The Galaxy Note 5 is Samsung’s oversized phone that’s back on sale due to the troubled Note 7 launch. It’s still a quality big phone with a stylus. It has the same, larger 5.7-inch display and S-Pen stylus you can’t get on any other phone. It’s not water-resistant, like the Note 7, and you can’t swap out the battery. You’ll have to turn to LG for that perk.

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6. Samsung Galaxy S7 Active | Android 6.0.1 | 5.1-inch screen | 12MP/5MP camera | From $26.50/month We really like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active for its durable design that lets you take it almost anywhere. It’s shock, water and dust-resistant, meaning it’s basically the opposite of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. It has a huge 4,000mAh battery (no this one doesn’t explode) and comes in three colors. It’s an AT&T exclusive, so you Verizon friends can’t have this one.

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7. LG G5 | Android 6.0.1 | 5.3-inch screen | 16MP/8MP/8MP camera | From $22.97/month
While this is a stellar Android phone for a host of reasons, its modular design and easy battery access make this an unforgettable entry into the Android lineup. I would recommend this device to anyone who longs for the Android days of yesteryear and needs a steady, no fuss handset.

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8. LG V20 | Android 6.0.1 | 5.7-inch screen | 16MP/8MP camera | From $27.67/month
The LG V20 is yet another impressive entry lately from LG. Otherwise known as the selfie king, the LG V20 can take 135 degree wide angle photos with its front facing camera, negating the need to ever look silly with a selfie-stick ever again. Isn’t that reason enough to buy it? It also includes a second wide-angle rear camera so you can get the entire picture in the shot. Besides the impressive camera, the phone has a rich HD display and would appeal to just about any casual Android fan.

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9. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Android 6.0.1 | 5.1-inch screen | 16MP/5MP camera | From $23.84/month
Although the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both went through a bit controversy in the nixing on the SD card slot (a move which was undone by the S7 and S7 Edge,) the fact remains: this is a great phone. This ultra sleek handset is one of the best looking devices Samsung has released and has the features to back it up. While it’s not cutting edge, if you’re looking to save a bit of money compared to the latest generation, this is the ticket.

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10. Microsoft Lumia 950 | Windows 10 | 5.2-inch screen | 20MP/5MP camera | From $19.97/month
If you’re looking for a new flavor altogether, the Windows powered Lumia 950 just may be the way to go. With a high megapixel camera, Windows 10, and Windows’ personal assistant, Cortana on board, this handset is a welcome change up from the Android/iOS rat race. This phone’s for anyone who’s ready for a break from the two main competitors.

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Bonus: 11. iPhone SE | iOS 10 | 4-inch screen | 12MP/1.2MP camera | From $13.34/month
For those longing for the days when the iPhone could fit in the palm of your hand, the iPhone SE is likely exactly what you’ve been waiting for. This thing runs on the same heavy duty guts that the iPhone 6S runs on, with several other features that make it a formidable entry into the iPhone line.

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Apple Park opens in April – new HQ comes complete with sweet Steve Jobs homage

Apple’s futuristic ‘Campus’ HQ will finally open its doors to employees this April under its new name, ‘Apple Park’, situated in California’s Santa Clara Valley.

While there’s no word yet on whether or not it has a T-Rex, it will have a heartfelt homage to former Apple boss Steve Jobs. Jobs, who helped in the early stages of the site’s development, will have the 175-acre campus’s 1,000 seater theater named after him.

The Park, replacing Apple’s current One Infinite Loop base of operations, is fully powered by renewable energy, with its spaceship-like design measuring up at 2.8 million square feet of space.

‘The home of innovation’

“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. 

“The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”

“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments,” added  Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer.  

“We have approached the design, engineering and making of our new campus with the same enthusiasm and design principles that characterize our products.”

If a job at Apple didn’t already seem like a dream, the Apple Park has some great perks or its employees, with a 100,000 square-foot fitness center, apple orchards (obviously) and running paths to explore. 

The best AT&T plans in February 2017

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Choosing the best AT&T plan is among the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your phone this year. Don’t fret, we’re here to help you pick it.

You’ve already found a solid network in AT&T – that’s only half the battle; the real challenge is often picking the best data plan that fits your monthly needs. 

If you’ve landed on AT&T, we’ve done all of the heavy lifting for you. After hours of scrupulously research, we’ve broken down every plan and price from nation’s second-largest network.

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AT&T Plans: Explained

Since the days of waiting until 9:00pm to make a call is far off in the rearview mirror, data is the main selling point for the major networks. Following in the footsteps of Verizon’s plans, AT&T sent its various minute-based plan options flying out the window, opting for a more modern and streamlined data sharing option called the Mobile Share Value plan. With this shared data plan, the price is determined by the amount of data you choose to include in your plan, ranging from a measly 300MB to a monstrous 50GB. The best part: no matter which plan you pick, there are no more overage fees. We’ll explain further down.

Another perk with this plan is that the data (read: the cost) can be divided amongst as many as 10 devices, which could significantly diffuse a would-be heartbreaker of a monthly bill. The only catch is that every line on the plan is an extra $20/month (down from $25 per line a few months ago), which covers unlimited talk and text not only in the United States, but in Canada and Mexico as well.

Adding a tablet, dedicated gaming and wearable to your plan, like the SIM-card-accepting LG Watch Sport we just reviewed, costs $10 per device, while laptops and hotspots required a monthly $20 fee.

AT&T’s new Unlimited plan

You can also now get AT&T’s Unlimited Plan, as of February 2017. It’s back on! It’s $100 for a single line, but gets cheaper from there, costing $40 for each additional line. The tablets access fee are $40 or $20 for 1GB per month, while adding a Connected Car or wearable to the plan will run you $10 a month. 

There’s no throttling unless you exceed 22GB of data usage in a single month, and the Stream Saver option helps by that automatically setting video to 480p – you can be turned off and on as needed. That only big downside to this almost-all-inclusive AT&T plan is that you can’t turn your phone into a mobile hotspot.

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll be shelling out month to month for each level of data.

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How much data do you really need?

Unless you plan to constantly stream every season of The Walking Dead via 4G LTE, 15GB of data or less should be more than enough for a single-line customer. If you’re lucky enough to have some unused data when the phone bill comes around, AT&T’s Rollover Data will let last month’s internet scraps feed next month’s data. The only downside is that it’s kept in check by a pretty stingy one month expiration date, meaning you can’t keep rolling data over from month to month. Still, having last month’s extra data lying around is a pretty handy perk to have, especially for heavier-than-average data users.

AT&T Next: Helping you pay for your phone

Good news, you don’t have to pay $800 for the latest and greatest phone, as AT&T has a simpler payment plan by way of AT&T Next. It break up the cost of your device over a set period of time. While the option is always open to put a hefty down payment on your new device, or pay for it entirely before activation, AT&T Next is a reasonable and flexible way to take some of the financial burden from customers, while offering a clear path to trading for a newer device. Extremely well-qualified customers can expect to walk out of AT&T with a brand new phone, and not a penny down. Hard to beat, right? Let’s take a look at each level of AT&T Next, to see which one fits your needs the best.

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AT&T Next Every Year

This level breaks up your device payment into 30 monthly installments, with the option to trade-in and upgrade after 24 months, or 2 years. This is the lowest monthly fee that doesn’t require a downpayment for qualified customers. It was formerly called AT&T Next 24. See this plan on AT&T’s website

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AT&T Next

The next tier parcels out your new handset payment over 30 months, with the option to trade-in and upgrade every two years. Still no down payment for qualified customers, with a shorter obligation and a few more dollars every month. See this plan on AT&T’s website

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AT&T Next with down payment

Credit not exactly where you want it? No worries. After a down payment of 30% of the device cost, the lowered remainder is spread over 28 months and you’ve got the opportunity to trade-in and upgrade after a mere 12 months. In other words, it’ll sting to put down such a big fee upfront, but you’ll save some serious cash every month that follows. Some qualified customers may choose this over zero down payment. Every customer looking for a plan is unique and different in their needs. Only you as a consumer know exactly what your needs are and which financial path on AT&T Next is right for you. Overall, AT&T Next offers some surprisingly flexible payment options for people in all walks of life. See this plan on AT&T’s website

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The best AT&T plans for you:

Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks and break down all of what AT&T has to offer you as a customer. While we’ve done the tough research for you, it’s imperative to understand that every person with a cell phone is different in their needs. Some use data like renewable energy while others treat it as a precious commodity. Thankfully, AT&T has a plethora of pricing options to choose from, whether you’re opening one line or looking for a family solution. 

Good news: There are no more data overage charges, which always had a habit of sneaking onto the monthly phone bill. It used to be that every GB used beyond what’s on your plan amounted to an extra $15 at the end of the month. Now your bandwidth will slow down until you add more 4G LTE data to your plan.

Let’s take a look at each tier of AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plan and see which one fits your needs the best.

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1. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 1GB data | $30 per month
If you’re a moderate or even infrequent data user, this plan is not the one for you. 1GB evaporates quicker than Dasani in Death Valley making this a very specialized tier for users who only use data in a pinch. For most modern mobile users, 1GB is simply not going to cut it these. View this plan at AT&T

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2. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 3GB | $40 per month
For only $10 more, the 3GB tier is a much better deal for the average single line. 3GB should be more than enough for those simply using data to peruse Facebook or check up on emails. But for anyone interested in streaming a fair amount of music or video, 6GB might be more your speed. View this plan at AT&T

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3. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 6GB | $60 per month
Depending on how much you use data, 6GB would either be perfect for a single moderate user, or two lighter ones. For a couple who can live on just a fair amount of data, this plan is extremely affordable. View this plan at AT&T

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4. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 10GB | $80 per month
This brand new AT&T plan fits right in between the otherwise large gap of 6GB and 16GB. Rounding out to 10GB of data could be a perfect fit for a number of situations, ranging from a family of 5 to a Netflix-addicted single line. View this plan at AT&T

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5. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 16GB | $90 per month
As we enter the heftier data plans, we begin to see where the “shared” aspect becomes the main player. Although $90/month sounds steep, it’s only $18/person if you can split the bill 5 ways, which leaves a little more than 3GB of data per person for an unbeatable price. View this plan at AT&T

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6. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 25GB | $110 per month
The same story as the 16GB plan, depending on how you divide this, $110/month for this sizeable chunk of data could save some big bucks. View this plan at AT&T

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7. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 30GB | $135 per month
30GB sounds like a lot, until you introduce a family with 4 data-hungry teens. Still, this price, if you can divide it up across 6 or more lines, is cheaper than any single line you can open. View this plan at AT&T

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8. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 40GB | $180 per month
This is AT&T’s last data plan under $200, and it’s the same old song and dance. Depending on how you slice it, even $180/month can come out as the most affordable option. View this plan at AT&T

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9. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 50GB | $225 per month
If everyone in a AT&T-invested family of 5 wants 10GB per line, this is the best option. You run less a risk of going over at the end of the month. View this plan at AT&T

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10. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 60GB | $270 per month
Adding another 10GB to the previous plan does make the price skyrocket. However, when big families require big data, the price is worth paying without overage fees. View this plan at AT&T

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11. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 80GB | $360 per month
This is AT&T’s second largest data plan and it includes more data than even heavy users on a 5-person family plan can consume in a month. View this plan at AT&T

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12. AT&T Mobile Share Value plan | 100GB | $450 per month
Go big or go home, right? Admittedly, the thought of this monthly bill gives me the nervous fidgets, but for a plan with 7 or more lines, this tier could actually be fairly cost effective. If you max out the allowed devices at 10, each line is allotted and 10GB chunk of data at a surprisingly low price. View this plan at AT&T

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13. AT&T Unlimited plan | Unlimited everything | $100 per month Notice: this plan bucks the trend and gives you all of the data most people need for just $100 for the first line and $40 for each additional line. Granted, you have to stay below 22GB of a month in order to avoid 2G speeds, but that’s a reasonable amount of data for most users. There are very few reasons (like the need to use your phone as mobile hotspot to connect a laptop) to go with other data options if this data scheme suites your monthly needs. View this plan at AT&T

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AT&T Prepaid options with GoPhone

If none of AT&T’s plan options sound like the right fit , you may want to look into GoPhone, AT&T’s prepaid service. According to the network, GoPhone allows you to pay for your handset however you’re most comfortable, whether that’s by the minute, day or month. Although the latest smartphones aren’t available for GoPhone, many excellent 4G enabled devices are, including the iPhone 5S. If you’re looking to avoid anything that resembles a contract, don’t care about having the newest handset and are seeking total control over what your money pays for in your plan, GoPhone is certainly worth a look. Remember, it’s not enough to have a great plan — you need a great phone to go with it. AT&T’s entire lineup of phones is available with each plan, including the top of the line iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Each phone on your plan is an additional $20/month, which includes unlimited talk and text in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Best iPad games: the top free and paid-for titles around

You might balk at Pac-Man appearing in a best-of list for iPad games, but this isn’t your father’s arcade game. Sure, the basics remain: scoot about a maze, eating dots, avoiding ghosts, and turning the tables on them on eating a power pill. But Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is significantly faster, has neon-clad mazes and a thumping soundtrack, and the gameplay’s evolved in key areas.

First, the maze is split in two. Clear one side and a special object appears on the other, which refills the cleared side when eaten. Secondly, snoozing ghosts can be brushed past to fashion a spectral conga to shepherd, contain, and not blunder into –  until you eat a power pill, reverse course, and eat your pursuers to amass huge points.

In short, this game is superb, transforming an ancient classic into something fresh and exciting. And importantly, it works best on the large iPad display, because your fingers don’t get in the way of your frenetic dot-gobbling.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge: what we want to see

Update: We now have a clearer idea of the screen and battery size of the Galaxy S8 Edge, along with what colors it might launch in. But it might not even be called the S8 Edge, with S8 Plus now looking more likely.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is for our money the best phone you can buy right now, coupling the sheer power of the Samsung Galaxy S7 with a bigger battery, a more eye-catching design and genuinely useful edge screen features.

But there’s no such thing as a perfect phone, so there are still improvements which we’d like to see and will hopefully get with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, or, as it might be called, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.

With that in mind we’ve created a wish list for Samsung’s next curvy flagship, along with rumors and predictions of what it might include and when we might see it.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung’s next curvy flagship
  • When is it out? Early 2017
  • What will it cost? More than almost any other phone

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge release date

Hottest leaks:

  • A late March or April launch
  • A video tease at the end of February

Early rumors suggested we’d see the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus at MWC 2017 (Mobile World Congress) at the the end of February, which would have made sense, as the S7 Edge was unveiled at MWC 2016.

But this year it’s not to be, as Samsung itself has confirmed that the phone won’t be revealed at this year’s show – though we may get a brief teaser video.

For the full announcement, current rumors suggest we’ll be waiting until a March 29 launch event in New York, with the phone apparently set to hit shelves on April 21, though we’ve also heard talk of an April announcement.

Prior to that there had also been talk on more than one occasion that the phone had been delayed until April, and we’ve also heard rumors of an April 18 release date – following an announcement in late March or early April.

We’ll at least know when the launch date will be soon though, as Samsung has promised to reveal that much at MWC.

TechRadar’s take: A March or April launch date is looking all but guaranteed, but the exact date is still up in the air.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge news and rumors

You can look to the Samsung Galaxy S8 for an idea of what we’re likely to see with the S8 Edge, since other than the obligatory curves and possibly some differences in screen and battery sizes the two phones are likely to be more or less identical.

A number of rumors are emerging for both phones though, all of which you’ll find below, split into sections.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 6.1 or 6.2-inch curved screen
  • A QHD or 4K resolution
  • A built-in fingerprint scanner

The latest leaks suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will have a big 6.1 or 6.2-inch screen, which is a rumor we’ve heard more than once, and that the aspect ratio could be 18.5:9, rather than the more standard 16:9.

Of those two screen sizes 6.2 inches is looking the most likely, as an unnamed Samsung official has apparently said that’s what size it will be.

We’ve also heard leaked dimensions of 159 x 74 x 8mm, which would make the S8 Edge larger than the 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm S7 Edge, but not by as much as you might expect with a screen of that size.

And it’s likely to be an edge-to-edge screen, with no home button below, as you can see in the leaked image below.

You can see a similar design in the leaked screen protector shot below, but this provides a clearer look at the whole front of the phone, including what’s likely to be an iris scanner above the screen.

Even if the home button is removed there are still likely to be buttons on the front, just they’ll probably be on-screen ones, like you can see in the image below, which supposedly shows either the S8 or S8 Plus and was found in a system dump for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

(Image: © Android Police)

Removing the home button and placing the fingerprint scanner on the back would allow Samsung to keep the dimensions relatively manageable despite the larger screen, but growing the display does still seem an odd choice since it could impinge on the Note range.

So it’s always possible that the screen will stay at 5.5 inches, just like the S7 Edge. Samsung has shown off a 5.5-inch 4K display and if it wasn’t for the lack of curves this would seem an obvious fit for the Galaxy S8 Edge. 5.5 inches is how big the S7 Edge is and a 4K resolution is the next logical step after the QHD screens we’re seeing now.

S7 Edge

The display has a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch, so it’s incredibly sharp and while it hasn’t specifically been linked to either the S8 or the S8 Edge, Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech reckon a 4K display of some kind will hit Samsung’s next flagship.

That might sound like overkill, but it could be just what the next generation of smartphones need to really make the most of VR.

More recently we’ve heard rumors of a 5.5-inch curved panel, possibly with a 4K display, so that jump in resolution could well be happening, though a lot of rumors still point to a QHD panel.

Another possible change is having the fingerprint scanner built into the screen, as has been rumored on Weibo.

Similarly, we’ve now heard that Samsung is planning a 5.5-inch curved display with a virtual home button built in.

This rumor has gained ground, with a Samsung employee claiming that the company will launch a phone with a 90% screen-to-body ratio in 2017 – a feat which would basically require the removal of the home button, but it’s more likely Samsung will position the fingerprint scanner on the back than placing it under the screen.

Other rumors suggest that all the buttons will be going soft touch, and that they’ll have customizable functions, with the same source adding that the S8 could have a feature similar to the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch tech used by Apple.

TechRadar’s take: We’re sure to get a curved screen of at least 5.5 inches, and a jump to 4K resolution, while far from guaranteed, would help with VR. Don’t count on seeing the fingerprint scanner built in, but a move to the back is likely, as is a larger, possibly 6.2-inch screen.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge design

Hottest leaks:

  • A similar but further improved look
  • A “slick” design

So far, other than a claim from Samsung’s vice chairman that the standard S8 will have a “slick” design, the main S8 Edge design rumors stem from some leaked renders, based on factory CADs and showing the phone from all angles.

You can see that the design is similar to what’s come before, with a metal frame and a glass back. There are volume and power buttons on the left edge and another button – likely for launching the Bixby AI assistant – on the right edge.

The bottom meanwhile has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a speaker and a USB Type-C port.

You can also see a similar design in this leaked case image above. This is likely for the standard S8, but we’re not expecting any major differences in the appearance.

We’re also starting to get an idea of what colors to expect the Galaxy S8 Plus in. Leaks so far suggest we could get jet black, purple, blue coral, pink gold, gold, white, black and silver shades.

TechRadar’s take: While these renders could be wrong, there aren’t any obvious red flags and the design is believable.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens camera
  • Could be up to 30MP
  • A 3,500mAh battery

Several different camera rumors are doing the rounds at the moment. According to Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge might have a dual-lens camera, though they don’t specify whether that second lens will be for wide-angle shots like on the LG G5, monochrome like on the Huawei P9 or something else entirely.

S7 Edge

This rumor has popped up several times since, though more recent rumors suggest just a 12MP single lens camera, with optical image stabilization and an 8MP snapper around the front.

Another currently rumored possibility is that the S8 Plus will have a camera of between 18 and 24MP, with a wide f/1.4 aperture to let more light in. Samsung is supposedly building this sensor already.

While another source claims the rear camera will be 30MP, and the front one will be 9MP, so there are lots of possibilities.

Whatever the case, Samsung is likely to improve the camera over the already impressive snapper on the S7 Edge, and in fact the company’s vice chairman has specifically said to expect improvements.

We’ve also heard that the front-facing camera might get an autofocus, which seems a bit unnecessary, but could help it stand out.

The latest battery rumor, which supposedly comes from a Samsung official, states that the S8 Edge/S8 Plus will have a 3,500mAh juice pack.

That would be smaller than the 3,600mAh one in the S7 Edge, despite this probably being a bigger phone, but after the Note 7’s battery problems it’s believable that Samsung would opt for a smaller size.

It’s not confirmed though, and an earlier battery rumor points to a 3,750mAh juice pack.

TechRadar’s take: A dual-lens camera and a 3,500mAh battery are both likely, and we doubt Samsung will change the megapixel count too drastically, so expect a snapper in the region of 12MP.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A top-end Snapdragon or Exynos processor
  • 6GB of RAM

Samsung could go one of two ways with the Galaxy S8 Plus. It might use one of its own Eynos chips (rumored to be the 3GHz Exynos 8895), or it might use whatever the latest Snapdragon processor is (probably the 835), or, more likely, it might use both, depending on which region you’re in.

Whatever the case it’s sure to have a top tier processor, likely coupled with 6GB of RAM, especially now the OnePlus 3 has packed that much in. But Samsung might go even further, as the company has created an 8GB mobile RAM chip, though with 6GB still a rarity we doubt it would jump that high. In fact, it’s possible that we’ll get just 4GB.

The S8 Edge could also offer a high-performance “beast mode”, as Samsung has applied to trademark something with exactly that name. Such a mode could be a boon to VR – but probably at the expense of battery life.

TechRadar’s take: Expect to get the Snapdragon 835 in the US and the Exynos 8895 elsewhere, coupled with probably 6GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge other features

Hottest leaks:

  • An AI assistant
  • Stereo speakers
  • An iris scanner
  • A desktop mode

A recent rumor suggests the Galaxy S8 Edge won’t come with a 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead you’ll have to use Bluetooth headsets or a USB-C adapter for wired headsets, though leaked renders (above) show the headphone port intact, so don’t count on losing it.

But Samsung could also be adding some things, like the ability to plug the phone into a screen and use it with a mouse and keyboard, or optionally buy an S Pen stylus for it – both of which could boost productivity.

That desktop mode rumor is gaining ground, with another leak pointing to a DeX dock, which you would apparently be able to plug the Galaxy S8 Plus into and then from there plug it into a monitor using an HDMI cable.

An iris scanner is also looking like a likely inclusion at this point. Samsung has built one into the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and the feature has specifically been rumored for the Galaxy S8 too.

There’s also talk of a mini projector and an AI assistant known as Viv. This is made by some of the people behind Siri, and Samsung has already purchased the company. Plus, Samsung’s vice chairman has claimed the S8 will feature enhanced AI, so Viv’s inclusion is all but guaranteed.

More recently, Samsung has applied to trademark the names Bixby and Kestra, leading to speculation that these will be the final names for Viv and that it will have both male and female voices.

Smart Glow

We could also see the Galaxy S8 Plus get a ‘Smart Glow’ feature, which Samsung introduced with the Samsung Galaxy J2. This is a ring of LEDs that circles the rear camera, lighting up to alert you of notifications when the phone is face down.

But it goes further, with customizable colors for different notifications and even the ability to have it light up when it detects your face – so you can take selfies with the rear snapper.

We may also see – or hear – dual stereo speakers, according to one rumor, which adds that they’ll probably use Harman technology. That’s a company that Samsung recently bought, so it’s very possible.

The S8 Edge is also likely to include features from previous Samsung phones, like a USB-C port, a waterproof body and a fingerprint scanner. Plus, it could have up to 256GB of built-in storage, which would be a huge jump on the S7 Edge’s 64GB max capacity.

TechRadar’s take: We wouldn’t count on seeing Smart Glow, as it hasn’t been attached to the S8 Edge, while the talk of a mini projector seems a bit unlikely, but the AI assistant has been confirmed, while stereo speakers, a desktop mode and an iris scanner are all likely.

AMD Ryzen finally makes octo-core processors affordable

After months of rumors, leaks and teasing from AMD itself, Ryzen has finally risen and it’s the company’s most impressive processor lineup yet.

AMD is on a mission to bring high performance CPUs to the market and challenge Intel, so it has introduced a trio Ryzen 7 chips, its highest-end lineup of CPUs. Starting with the flagship, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X features 8-cores and 16-threads, as well as a 3.6GHz base speed and top speeds of up to 4GHz.

Based on AMD’s first ultra-small 14nm (nanometer) FinFET architecture, the flagship CPU achieves 52% more instructions per clock than AMD’s previous chips – so it’s both smaller and quicker. Performance-wise, AMD claims the Ryzen 7 1800X scored 1,601 points in the Cinebench R15 NT benchmark, beating the Intel Core i7-6900K’s 1,474 score.

The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X will be available for pre-orders for $499 (about £400, AU$650) – or about half as much as the $1,049 (about £999, AU$1,499) you would spend on the 6900K – starting today, and will arrive to shelves on March 2nd.

Triple threat

Just below the Ryzen 7 1800X, AMD also announced the 1700X at an introductory $399 (about £320, AU$520). This 95-Watt TDP processor comes with the same cores and threads as its bigger brother, while clocking in at 3.4GHz for its base speed and a boosted frequency of 3.8GHz.

With a Cinebench R15 nT score of 1,537 points it competes with the Core i7-6900K and Intel’s lower-end processors.

Last but not least, the Ryzen 7 1700 comes at an astounding value for $329 (about £260, AU$430). Not only do you get 8-cores and 16-threads as with all other Ryzen 7 chips, it runs pretty quick at a 3.0GHz base clock (3.7GHz boost clock), helping it to puts up a decent Cinebench R15 nT score of 1,410. 

Comparatively, Intel’s competing Core i7-7700K processor posted 967 points in the same test and goes for $349 (£339, AU$479).

Get your hands on Canon’s legendary EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM

If you fancy getting your hands on Canon’s mighty (and we should say, extremely rare) Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM telephoto lens, then head for Park Cameras’ Burgess Hill store in West Sussex on Saturday March 4.

The lens has a mysterious history, and its hard to say how many of them actually exist. What we do know is that this lens can chart its history back to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where five FD mount lenses were used by the press. 

After being returned to Japan they were converted to Canon’s EF mount, with the lens made available to purchase via special order. A $10,000 deposit was required, with the lens only going into production once several optics had been ordered.

There are now thought to be only around 20 in existence, with one used model appearing three years ago with an asking price of £99,000.

As well as the epic EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM, Park Cameras will also have every Canon EF lens currently in production available to get your hands on.

Technical experts from Canon UK will be on hand to answer your questions, while Canon geek and professional photographer David Newton will be holding a series of free seminars. 

To learn more and to book a space on a seminar, visit the Park Cameras website.

There are big discounts to be had on the PlayStation Store right now

If you’ve been looking to get stuck into a new PlayStation game, now is the time to do so as the PlayStation Store has announced big limited-time discounts across a whole range of excellent titles.

The discounts are slightly different depending on whether you live in the US or the UK, so read on to find out what exactly you can get for your money.

US PlayStation Store

The Oscars are this weekend and the US PlayStation Store wants to celebrate by offering discounts on the gaming world’s critical darlings. 

From February 22, US PlayStation owners will be able to get up to 60 percent off some of the biggest titles from 2016, with PlayStation Plus subscribers able to get discounts of up to 70 percent.

There are over 50 games on offer, all of them big titles; standouts include The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition from $49.99 down to $29.99 and the deluxe edition of Titanfall 2 for $39.99 down from $79.99. 

There are some titles that you’d expect to be there that aren’t (mostly first party titles like Uncharted) but it’s definitely worth taking a look at the full list to see if anything catches your eye.

There’s also a more direct nod to the actual Oscars with discounts on Academy Award winning movies from across the years.

These discounts will only run until 28 February so make sure you don’t miss out. 

UK PlayStation Store

On the UK PlayStation Store, things are slightly less thematic. Rather than a selection of critically acclaimed games, UK customers will be able to get up to 60 percent off a huge library of EA games and DLC for both PS4 and PS3 consoles. 

That means significant price cuts on a selection of franchises including Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront, Need For Speed, and Dragon Age. 

For PlayStation 3 owners it’s definitely worth noting that you can pick up the entire Mass Effect trilogy for just £10.99. Perfect timing for anyone who wants to get caught up ahead of the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

These discounts will run from February 22 until March 8. 

As well as EA discounts, the UK PlayStation Store is also significantly cutting the prices of Grand Theft Auto V game and its various bundles until March 1. 

That means you could pick up the game on its own for just £29.99 which is a decent 45 percent discount. However, there’s a much more significant discount on the game alongside the Megalodon Shark Cash Card Bundle – you could get it for £44.99 rather than its usual price of £101.99. 

That’s a lot of discounts to shop through, so we’ll let you get started.

This brain-computer interface lets paralysed people type faster than ever before

For several decades, medical researchers have been working on a way to turn brainwaves into instructions for an external device. These brain-computer interfaces, first developed in the 1970s, hold enormous promise – they could let paralysed people move again, and augment or even replace the way we interact with the world.

Unfortunately, existing brain-computer interfaces are slow and tricky to learn. But now a group from Stanford University has developed a new model designed for typing which outperforms every previous device to date.

Pill-sized

To use it, three volunteers suffering severe limb weakness disorders agreed to have a small pill-sized electrode array implanted in their brain. The array records signals from the motor cortex, which controls muscle movement, and uses an algorithm to translate them into instructions for the computer to move a cursor around an on-screen keyboard.

After a short training period, the participants were able to outperform all previous brain-computer interface tests on people with similarly impaired movement. One participant managed 39 correct characters per minute. It’s believed that with the addition of automatic word correction software, this could be boosted even further.

“This study reports the highest speed and accuracy, by a factor of three, over what’s been shown before,” said Krishna Shenoy, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator who’s been pursuing BCI development for 15 years. “We’re approaching the speed at which you can type text on your cellphone.”

No insurmountable challenges

The researchers believe that future versions of the device will be wireless, fully implanted, self-calibrating, and able to be used around the clock. “I don’t see any insurmountable challenges.” Shenoy said. “We know the steps we have to take to get there.”

Dennis Degray, one of the study participants, added: “This is like one of the coolest video games I’ve ever gotten to play with. And I don’t even have to put a quarter in it.”

The full details of the system were published in the journal eLife.

Best Kodi/XBMC streaming boxes 2017

Updated: The Amazon Fire TV streaming stick, which can have Kodi installed, has been overhauled with a new version that brings even more features and tricks to the table.

If you’re looking to use a box for streaming content to your television, then Kodi (or XBMC as it was previously known) is one of the best pieces of software out there to use, bringing flexibility, support for a huge range of streaming services and a TV-friendly interface that makes playing your media a joy.

As well as allowing you to stream video and music files over a local network, the software also includes the ability to install plug-ins to stream from a variety of services including Amazon Prime Instant Video, Spotify and YouTube.

The only downside of the software is that Kodi doesn’t actually make a set top box of its own for the software (and no, its branded Raspberry Pi case doesn’t count) so if you want to install Kodi you actually have a dazzling array of options.

Thankfully we’ve put together this handy guide with our top picks of the best boxes to install Kodi on, from low-powered Linux machines to Android set top boxes capable of outputting at 4K resolutions.

There are also boxes you can buy which have Kodi pre-installed on them, however it’s here you’ll have to be careful. Since Kodi is open-source software, a number of third parties have been modifying and selling it with third-party add ons that enable piracy.

Since we don’t know anyone who likes lawsuits from the Motion Picture Association of America, we have made every effort to include only those Kodi boxes which use a stock form of the software, without any piracy-enabling add ons.

And while you might think that there aren’t many clean boxes out there, there’s actually a huge range of choices, all of which you can find on the pages that follow.