What is Night Mode and how does it work?

Night Mode

Those following the latest smartphone camera trends have probably heard of “Night Mode”, “Night Sight”, “Bright Night”, or  other similar terms. These new shooting modes seem to give smartphones night vision, and results have proved to be amazing.

What is all this Night Mode talk about, though? How does it work? Is it the right tool for you? Today we are here to tell you everything there is to know about these low-light smartphone shooting modes, so stick around to clear all your doubts.


Understanding low-light Photography and its limitations

Shooting photos in low light has been a challenge since the inception of cameras, simply because they work with light. Technology has come a long way, but certain limitations still stand.

Terms to consider: 

  • ISO: Refers to film sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive film is to light, making it quicker to expose an image. Raising the ISO also creates more noise.
  • Shutter speed: Refers to the time the sensor is exposed to light. Reducing the shutter speed can make images sharper. A longer shutter speed can be affected by movement, creating motion blur.

Size matters when speaking of image sensors. A larger sensor can handle higher ISO levels and produce less digital noise. More ISO sensitivity also reduces the need for longer shutter speeds, effectively making the image sharper.

Most smartphone sensors are 1/1.7-inches or 1/2.3-inches, with some going a little lower or higher. As you can see in the image above, that is not much. So why not throw a larger sensor in a smartphone and make it all better? 

The main problem here is size is also an important factor to consider with smartphones, as they are packed with technology yet have very limited space. It is very hard to throw a large sensor into the back of a phone. This means smartphone makers are tasked with improving low-light images while keeping sensors small, and the best way to do this is through software. 

Post-processing can increase exposure, tune white balance, level colors, and more. All these changes come with consequences that affect image quality, though. This is why Google and other manufacturers are opting to aid users with techniques known as “Night Mode”, or Google’s “Night Sight”.


How does Night Mode work?

These low-light enhancement modes are a bit complex to understand, but they essentially work similarly to the technique known as HDR.

Terms to consider: 

  • HDR: Stands for High Dynamic Range. It is a technique used to balance illumination levels across a photo. HDR is accomplished by shooting multiple images at different exposure levels (usually changing the shutter speed only). These photos are then merged to expose the shadows and lower the highlights, bringing more details cross the frame.
  • Bracketing: General technique of shooting the same image with different settings, then merging them together using specialized software. This is good for when taking a single image won’t suffice.

Essentially, Android Night Mode (or whatever your manufacturer may call it) uses artificial intelligence to analyze the scene you are trying to photograph. The phone will take into account multiple factors, such as light, the phone’s movement, and the movement of objects being captured.

The device will then shoot a series of images at different exposure levels, use bracketing to put them together, and bring out as much detail as it can into a single picture.

A comparison between the iPhone XS and Google's Night Sight.

Of course, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. The phone must also measure white balance, colors, and other elements, which is usually done with fancy algorithms many of us don’t fully understand.

In this post we’ve mostly discussed Google’s implementation. However, while different manufacturers may use slightly different techniques the overall process should be very similar across the board. 


How Night Mode helps

If we were to simply increase the ISO, the photo would come out either too dark, too noisy, or too softened. Unless you go with a long exposure shot, which requires taking the image over an extended period of time, in which case you need to keep the phone very stable (usually with a tripod). Manually bracketing an image also requires stability.

With Night Mode, the average consumer can forget about carrying heavy tripods, learning complex techniques, or settling with horrible low-light photos.

Edgar Cervantes

With Night Mode you get the best of both worlds. You can hand-hold the smartphone camera, shoot an image over a few seconds, and let the software do the rest of the work. The average consumer can forget about carrying heavy tripods, learning complex techniques, or settling with ugly photos.


Night Mode downsides

Everything comes with a cost in Photography, and Night Modes are no exception. The technique does have its downsides.

The main culprit is that Night Modes don’t do well with moving objects. Because the technique requires multiple shots, subjects in motion can be blurred out, or completely erased. The mode is better equipped to deal with static scenes.

Of course, taking any shot in Night Mode will also take longer. Life is full of fleeting moments, so if you don’t have 3-5 seconds to spare, you best stay away from these specialized shooting modes. You might be better off in Auto if you want to take a picture of that speeding Lambo.


Ready for Night Mode?

Now that you know what Night Mode is all about, you might want to use it for your nighttime adventures. Sadly, not every phone currently offers a night mode feature, but we will list a few of our favorites here. While the phones listed below are all flagships, there are certainly a few budget devices that have introduced the feature such as the Honor 10 Lite and Realme 2 Pro.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Pixel 3 XL hands on

Night Sight is available on all Pixel phones, but the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are obviously our favorites. These phones have an amazing camera quality, great image stabilization (which will help with Night Sight), and are awesome devices, overall.

Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro back standing up (37 of 60)

Of course Huawei’s latest and greatest camera phone does come with Night Mode. The Chinese company is well-known for its photography capabilities, so this could be another great option for you.

Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Back upright

Samsung’s Bright Night feature used to turn on automatically when it detected very dark environments, but an April update made it possible to activate the feature manually. The phone happens to also be an industry favorite. 

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T back

OnePlus calls its own mode Nightscape. Starting at $549, it is the most affordable flagship-level device on this list, but this doesn’t mean it falls behind. The OnePlus 6T is a great smartphone all around.


Wrapping up

Is Night Mode here to stay or is it a passing fad? It’s certainly a nice feature to have around when it’s especially dark, but hit the comments to let us know if you will be using this feature. 

OnePlus One with a Pie-based ROM: Does it change much?

A closeup of the back of the OnePlus One showing its single rear camera.

Opinion post by
C. Scott Brown

Recently, I did a week-long experiment where I exclusively used a OnePlus One as my daily driver in an effort to see how the device has held up over the years. As part of that experiment, I used the device running the last official ROM available, which is based on Android 5 Lollipop.

Although I preemptively noted in the article that this might ruffle some feathers for Android Authority readers, I did it that way for a reason. The device is no longer supported by OnePlus so the Lollipop ROM is the most genuine way to use the device as the company left it. I also wanted to experience the device as the average smartphone user would, i.e. someone who doesn’t know about flashing ROMs and the like.

Editor’s Pick

However, now that the experiment is over I figured I’d do a little follow-up: how much of a different experience is it to use the OnePlus One with a current version of Android? To find out, I flashed LineageOS 16 — which is based on Android 9 Pie — onto the One and used it for a little while (not a full week this time, and not as my daily driver).

Below, you’ll find my thoughts on the experience. Just like in the main article, I’ll spoil it all for you ahead of time: the experience was definitely better, but the One is still no modern smartphone.

Hellooooo faster speeds

A OnePlus One leaning on a bench with the About Phone page pulled up.

One of the major complaints of my experience with the OnePlus One on the Lollipop ROM is how slow everything was. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor in the One is ancient by today’s standards and navigating around the device on Lollipop was a slog.

Thankfully, Android 9 Pie all but completely fixed this. All of my usual apps worked, which was nice, and opening and closing apps seemed nearly as fast as my OnePlus 6T. Data speeds on the One seemed to be about the same regardless of the ROM, but using the internet, watching YouTube videos, and downloading apps went much smoother than before.

Pie made the overall speeds on the One so much better. It was like a whole new phone in this regard.

Obviously, Android 9 Pie brings in many new Android features not present in Lollipop which only made the experience more enjoyable and more modern. For example, the revamped settings page was much easier to navigate, the addition of features like Do Not Disturb and Digital Wellbeing gave me much more power and control over my experience, and better customization features allowed me to eliminate aspects of the OS I don’t need (such as certain status bar icons).

In other words, Pie is simply better than Lollipop and using the One became immediately better by using it.

Battery life is much, much better

A OnePlus One on a bench with the battery settings page pulled up.

Since I didn’t do a full week running the OnePlus One through the wringer, I don’t have a totally firm grip on just how much Android 9 Pie positively affected battery life. Anecdotally though, it seemed like battery life was much, much better.

Editor’s Pick

As a quick-and-dirty test, I booted up the fully-charged One and left it sitting for a full 24 hours on my desk. I didn’t do anything with it, just let it sit there powered on and connected to Wi-Fi. After 24 hours in this state, the battery was still at 90 percent. I’d call that pretty good.

As another quick-and-dirty test, I played a 10-minute long YouTube video on full brightness. The battery dropped by three percent during this test, which isn’t great but certainly acceptable.

Overall, Pie seems to simply do a better job of optimizing battery life than Lollipop could ever do.

The awful camera is now just mediocre

A photo of a hand holding the OnePlus One smartphone using the camera app.

One of the biggest problems with the OnePlus One, when you compare it to modern smartphones, is the camera. You can read my original article to see some comparison shots between the One and the OnePlus 6T, but I’ll save you a trip: the OnePlus One photos are very bad.

Thankfully, the default camera app that comes with LineageOS did a much better job when it comes to snapping photos. Not only did the photos come out looking better but the whole system was faster: opening the app, snapping a photo, snapping more photos, and then closing the app all happened at a speed I’m used to with modern phones.

Yes, the camera is better! No, the camera isn’t comparable to a modern phone.

However, the photos still didn’t look nearly as good as ones taken with a newer phone.

Unfortunately, I can’t easily flip-flop between ROMs so conducting a test to compare shots on Lollipop and Pie would be pretty difficult without having two OnePlus Ones. Suffice it to say that the update to Pie is absolutely worth it if you’re using an older device and want better photos.

The bottom line: Software can’t fix everything

The sandstone back of the OnePlus One.

As a few commenters pointed out (and as I pointed out in the original article), using a One with modern software absolutely makes things better. Battery life is great, speeds are up-to-par, and even the camera is actually usable.

However, the software upgrade doesn’t address many of the other issues I had with the device. There’s still no fingerprint sensor which is a usability nightmare. The phone still takes a long time to charge due to the ultra-slow MicroUSB port. The camera is certainly better, but still sub-par for any kind of regular use, especially if you’re a shutterbug.

Software simply doesn’t fix everything.

In the comments of my original article, one person called me out by saying that just because the OnePlus One doesn’t match up with modern flagships doesn’t mean it won’t work for people in certain situations. Not everyone can spend $1,000 on a new phone, after all.

Android 9 Pie makes the OnePlus One much better, but adding new software doesn’t magically add in new hardware.

Editor’s Pick

While this is absolutely true, the OnePlus One still can’t hold up to even most budget phones of today. You can easily find a brand new 2019 phone below $300 that will have USB-C charging, a larger battery, a fingerprint sensor, and a dual camera system. If $300 is still too much, you can buy a used smartphone for under $200 with all these features.

I’d like to close this out by reiterating something I said in the original article: I love this phone. This was the device that made me love smartphones and will honestly always be one of my all-time favorites, no matter how old it gets. I understand, though, that times have changed and what was once suitable for daily use just isn’t anymore.

This OnePlus One is going to go into a drawer where it will stay unused for a long time, but it won’t be forgotten.

NEXT: From OnePlus 6T to OnePlus One: A week with a 5-year-old phone

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.

Solid-state battery — the successor to Li-ion — takes another step closer to our smartphones

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the rechargeable cell of choice for smartphones and most of today’s other battery-powered gadgets. Despite their prevalence, Li-ion batteries are limited in power density, have reasonably short lifespans, and can become a fire hazard if damaged or incorrectly charged. These drawbacks could be a thing of the past in the not-too-distant future if gadgets move over to solid-state battery technologies.

New research out of a Columbia University Engineering team, via phys.org, has uncovered a method to stabilize solid electrolytes in lithium metal, a.k.a solid-state batteries. Utilizing a boron nitride nano-coating can produce batteries that offer up to 10 times the charge capacity of graphite based Li-ion batteries. In addition, ceramic electrolytes often used in solid-state battery design are non-flammable, reducing safety concerns.

Editor’s Pick

Solid state battery technology isn’t a brand new idea, but build materials, design safety, costs, and production techniques are hindering adoption. To understand why let’s dive into a little background on traditional Lithium-Ion batteries and why they aren’t so easy to replace.

The trouble with Dendrites

Besides costs, dendrites are the biggest problem with solid-state batteries. Dendrite is a crystal-like build-up of lithium metal that typically starts at the anode and can grow throughout the battery. This occurs as a result of high current charging and discharging, where ions in the solid electrolyte combine with electrons to form a layer of solid lithium metal.

Dendrite built-up reduces the available electrolyte capacity of the battery, reducing its store of charge. Worse still, large dendrite build-up will eventually pierce the battery cathode/anode separator, causing a short circuit that will destroy the battery and could cause a fire.

solid state battery dendrites

STRN Excessive lithium-metal dendrite growth can short-circuit a battery.

Today’s Li-ion batteries sidestep the dendrite issue by using liquid electrolytes for the conductive pathways, rather than a solid metal which would allow for ions to be packed closer together for greater capacity. Unfortunately, this liquid is flammable, which can cause Li-ion batteries to combust under high pressure, heat, or current. Graphite is then often used in the intercalated lithium anode material, offering long-term stability at some expense to maximum charge flow. Graphene and silicon-based alloys have seen their share of experimentation to improve performance.

Combined, Li-ion battery chemicals, materials, and construction limit the formation of dendrites by essentially reducing and controlling the flow of ions. The trade-off is a loss of battery density and capacity, and increased flammability and the need for safety protection. Solid state lithium metal batteries are considered the holy grail of rechargeable battery performance but are much more difficult to stabilize than liquid Li-ion cells.

How new research is solving the problem

Research from the Columbia University Engineering team, conducted with colleagues at Brookhaven National Lab and the City University of New York, offers a solution for the dendrites problem for solid state batteries.

Editor’s Pick

A  5 to 10nm boron nitride (BN) nano-film isolates the lithium metal and the ionic conductor. Insulating the two layers prevents a dendrite build up or short circuit, but is thin enough to maximize the battery’s energy density. The technology also uses a small amount of liquid electrolyte, but the design predominantly uses a ceramic, solid-state design for maximum energy capacity. This BN layer is designed with built-in defects, allowing lithium ions to pass through to charge and discharge the battery.

we’ve developed a lithium-metal-proof ‘vest’ for unstable solid electrolytes and, with that innovation, achieved long cycling lifetime lithium metal batteries.

Qian Cheng, postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University

In a nutshell, the team has created a very thin barrier that prevents dendrites from occurring. This, in turn, enables the use of very compact ceramic electrolytes, which offers greater capacity than traditional lithium-ion batteries, reduces the fire hazard risk, and prolongs battery life. The next stage of the research will investigate a broader range of unstable solid electrolytes and make optimizations for fabrication.

Liquid vs. solid-state battery tech

The Columbia University Engineering team isn’t the only game in town for solid-state battery technology. LiPON, LGPS, and LLZO material-based designs are also undergoing research in an effort to replace today’s Li-ion batteries. Most are aiming for similar goals, including higher battery capacities, longer lifespans, and lower risks of fire. The next major hurdle is bringing these battery designs out of the laboratory and into manufacturing facilities and products.

From a consumer perspective, the key benefits of stable solid-state battery technology are: up to six times faster charging, 2-to-10 times the energy density, longer cycle life of up to 10 years (compared to two), and no flammable components. That’s certainly a boon for smartphones and consumer electronic devices. The sooner it gets here, the better.

9 fun drones you can control with your smartphone

This post was originally published on our sister site DroneRush.com

Traditional RC toys rely on dedicated controllers to operate, but modern technology put an extremely capable smart device in your pocket and many manufacturers look to use it for their new toys. I’m being vague, I refer to quadcopter style drones you can control with your smartphone or tablet.

Higher-end drones still rely on a dedicated remote for actual flight controls, but many toy class units fly using nothing more than an app and a WiFi or Bluetooth connection. Let’s take a look at some of the best on the market today.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro

DJI Mavic 2 Pro in hand in New York at the DJI Mavic 2 launch event along with the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

Launched in August 2018, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro are the same drone, as far as connectivity to your smartphone goes. They have different cameras, offering different modes for different shooting styles, but they are, otherwise, two of the very best drones that DJI has put to market. Through the DJI GO 4 application, or other apps like AirMap and Litchi, you can put a highly capable, speedy but smooth drone into the air.

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is $1249 and the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is $1449 ($1849 in Fly More kit bundle.)


Skydio R1

Skydio R1 at InterDrone 2018

Taking things to an entirely new level for obstacle avoidance, the Skydio R1 is a powerful machine with the Nvidia Jetson computer on-board to help navigate. This 4K flying machine pretty much flies itself, just use your mobile device to tell it to take off and follow you, then head on down the road. It’s pretty impressive. Stay tuned for more coverage of this powerful drone. With a significant recent price drop, you’ll still need to save up $1,999 for the Skydio R1

Related reading: Skydio R1 update from InterDrone 2018


DJI Mavic Air

DJI Mavic Air review

I’m sure you’ve heard that DJI has announced the new Mavic Air, a compact, folding drone that packs the best of the Mavic Pro and Spark into one. Well, that goes for flying the quadcopter by hand gestures and using the mobile application. We’ll be bringing you plenty more coverage of this new drone soon, for now, if you like DJI products, were looking for a portable option and wondering which is the best, the Mavic Air is probably the answer. 

Learn more about the Mavic Air:

The Mavic Air is $697 alone, grab the Fly More combo for $894. Regular $799 and $999. 


DJI Mavic Pro

Also seen in our Best drones list, Best camera dronesBest professional drones and DJI Drones guide

DJI Mavic Pro flying mountain featured ch

DJI Mavic Pro reviewWe hesitated to add this here, the Mavic Pro, as with other DJI drones that can be controlled via smartphone, benefit greatly using the controller and smartphone in combination. Thing is, there is a WiFi mode that allows you to take control using just your phone. Range is limited, capabilities are not all utilized, but you can do it. Take the control method out of the equation and I can do nothing more than gush at how great of a drone you are getting here; the compact, folding design is unrivaled today, particularly in this capable of a 4K video recording drone with excellent autonomous features.

Learn more about the Mavic Pro

Check out the DJI Mavic Pro for $875 as the base package, $1,129 in the Fly More bundle from Amazon today. (Watch for sales as low as $800 and $1000. Regular price $999 and $1299.)


DJI Spark

Also seen in our Best drone and Best selfie drones lists

DJI Spark reviewForget your smartphone, control this drone with your bare hands! That’s right, the new DJI Spark was designed for the maximum in ease of use, where a controller can be cumbersome to transport and a smart phone can be used, but maybe you want to save the battery, you can use hand gestures to control the quadcopter. From start to finish, you can fly this drone, capture some aerial selfies and land it right back in your hand.

If you own a larger smartphone, you’ll find it is larger than this drone, it’s that small. I mean, the fuselage is small, there’s still propeller arms and the folding propellers to deal with, but hey, it’s still one of the more portable flying machines around.

Related reading:

Grab the DJI Spark for $310 for the drone alone, a Fly More bundle will run $509. (Regular price $499 and $699.)


Yuneec Mantis Q

yuneec-mantis-q-flying-indoors-6

The compact, folding drone market exploded for consumer class machines, and we’re happy to see Yuneec produce an offering. The Yuneec Mantis Q is one of the smaller offerings, with one of the longest flight times. As far as controlling this drone with your phone goes, it is, perhaps, the most fun around. Yuneec built voice control into this drone! Talk into your phone, it translates your words then transmits the controls to the drone. 

Related: Mantis Q review

You can grab the Yuneec Mantis Q for $439 on Amazon today.


Hubsan X4 H501S Pro

Also seen in our Hubsan drones at CES video

Hubsan Drones GuideWe spent some time with Hubsan at CES behind closed doors, they have some interesting and fun stuff in the pipeline, but next to hit the market will be the new Pro version of the brushless H501S. Despite using their advanced controller with FPV video screen, you can actually fly this drone, as with many other Hubsan drones, using just the app.

They have a special tiny controller in the works that seems little more than a phone dock, which, to be fair, is basically what it is. Put your phone to use on a number of Hubsan drones, including the X4 H501S Pro. or the lesser expensive X4 H501S Brushless for $178 on Amazon today.


Parrot MiniDrone rolling spider

Also seen in our Best drones for kids and Parrot drones guide

It’s a car, nope, it’s a quadcopter? Parrot is not offering both in one device, but the MiniDrone Rolling Spider has large wheels that can spin along, adding a new level of fun and safety to indoor flying. These are not powered wheels, but they do protect the drone from crashing, allow you to scoot along the floor when there is not enough battery life left to take off, and have fun ‘crawling’ up walls when there is power.

Equipped with a small camera, this small drone is controlled by smartphone or tablet and can be yours for $25 on Amazon


Sphero BB-8

Not on any other list, but it’s Star Wars!

What is a drone? The military builds them as highly capable unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance and more, the toy store says it’s a flying multi-rotor remote controlled toy, but if we are to be fairly exact about it, we’re looking at an unmanned craft of pretty much any sort. Under the water, in the air or across the ground, whether autonomous or remote controlled, there are many types of drones, and within these guidelines, Sphero’s BB-8 has got to be one of our favorite.

Control BB-8 with your smartphone, roll along the ground and enjoy some fun sound effects, augmented reality stories and more. Check out our initial thoughts on this toy. I might add that Edgar, who wrote the post, got his hands on this droid at CES 2016. We’re serious fans around here.

Check out Sphero BB-8 for $60 on Amazon today.


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Special considerations – phone and remote, plus VR

While there are few drones that accept your smartphone as the only input method, don’t forget that you can enhance or augment most flying experiences by adding your phone or tablet into the mix. DJI is a primary player in this setup, most of their drones are made to be control by remote, but then use your phone as FPV video screen.

Our favorite DJI Mavic Pro is a primary example of this, your connected phone displays what the camera on the drone sees. Further, you can control the camera from the phone and you initiate most advanced flying modes from the app on your mobile device.

In this regard, there are many, many drones that you can control, at least in part, using your smartphone.

In terms of VR capabilities with your smartphone and your drone, head on over to our partner site VRSource for David Imel’s take on the best VR drones.

While you’re looking into VR, and flying by phone, why not also check out the DJI Goggles. This new headset can connect to your DJI Mavic Pro, the new DJI Spark and has an HDMI input, so it can act as display for way more than just your drone.


Wrap-up

That sums up some of the best drones you can fly using your smartphone or tablet. There are many, but mostly just toy-class units that you can control completely via mobile device, however, keep your phone charged, it is a valuable tool for most drones even if you can’t directly control them.

Read: The best drones for kids

What is your favorite drone to fly using just your Android phone or tablet?

What’s next?
We’ve got all the Best drones here, or check out our master Drone Rush drones list!

Drone Pilot Training   |   Drone starter guide   |   Drone Manufacturers

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The 10 best documentaries on Netflix

best documentaries on netflix featured

The number of documentaries on Netflix has exploded in recent years. From classic features to original documentary series, there’s enough content to keep your evenings educational for months. However, finding the best documentaries on Netflix can be difficult due to its notoriously finicky algorithm and interface. To help, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best Netflix documentaries currently available on the platform.

Related: The 10 best movies on Netflix

We have included both documentary features and series covering a wide variety of topics. Whether you’re a political junkie, a nature lover, or a true crime fan, there is sure to be something for you.

Editor’s note – This list will be updated as documentaries leave and other new arrivals make their debut on Netflix.


Wild Wild Country

best documentaries on netflix Wild Wild Country

This first item on our list of best documentaries on Netflix is an original docuseries from the platform. It tells the story of the followers of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (A.K.A. Osho), who moved en masse to a rural community in Oregon. As the group grew in power and wealth, they began to assert their control in strange and increasingly illegal ways. What makes this series stand out is the extensive use of footage and interviews from the community itself, which were initially created as promotional materials.

There are 6 hour-long episodes in total, but at no point does it feel long. It’s engaging and binge-worthy, which is no small feat for a documentary.


Casting JonBenet

best documentaries on netflix Casting JonBenet

Casting JonBenet makes our list of the best Netflix documentaries not because of its topic, but rather because of the way it tells its story. It deals with the death of American child beauty starlet JonBeney Ramsey, who was found strangled in her home at age 6. Instead of simply telling the story and playing existing footage, the filmmakers put out a casting call for a fictional film in Ramsey’s hometown.

The result is a strangely intimate look at how the story evolved in the minds of everyday people once the media got hold of it.


Shirkers

best documentaries on netflix Shirkers

Shirkers isn’t about a global conspiracy or maniacal serial killer. It’s just a simple story of a group of young film makers in Singapore and their encounter with a strange man who would eventually run off with their film. That’s not a spoiler, it’s the premise of the entire documentary. What this documentary lacks in gravitas it makes up for in charm. Seeing how the group developed into adults and how it affected their professional and personal lives is fascinating.

If you’re looking for a lighthearted Netflix documentary that won’t leave you in tears, this is the one.


Strong Island

best documentaries on netflix Strong Island

Strong Island is yet another documentary focused on racial injustices in the United States. This time, the victim is the filmmaker’s brother, a 24 year-old African-American teacher, who was killed in 1992 by a white mechanic. The all-white jury ultimately accepted his claim of self-defense, leading to questions around the efficacy of the justice system.

The documentary relies heavily on pulling your emotional strings, so if you’re the analytical type it might not be for you. That said, the production quality alone merits a spot among the best documentaries on Netflix.


Planet Earth II

best documentaries on netflix Planet Earth 2

Sir David Attenborough is back with more stunning footage of the natural world. This time the production values are even higher with full 4K shots that will leave you breathless. That is, assuming your subscription plan gives you access to 4K streaming.

Planet Earth II follows the same patterns set by the first series, with each episode focusing on a specific type of environment. Even if you’re not a nature lover, check this one out while it’s still available because it’s not only one of the best documentaries on Netflix, it’s one of the best documentaries period.



Icarus

best documentaries on netflix Icarus

Icarus starts out as a simple documentary about how easy it is to fool doping tests in professional sports, but it quickly spirals out of control when the filmmaker enlists the help of head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov. Grigory is quite the character, and through his friendship with the filmmaker he reveals the secrets of Russia’s state sponsored doping program at great risk to his own life.

This thrilling Netflix documentary won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2017.


13th

best documentaries on netflix 13th

13th is easily the heaviest and most timely film on our list of the best documentaries on Netflix. The title is a reference to the 13th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which freed the slaves and prohibited slavery. While this was a major step forward at the time, it included an elephant sized loophole by excluding criminals. This documentary outlines how that loophole was exploited by those in power to keep African Americans and other minorities powerless and imprisoned.

This is not a feelgood Netflix documentary for a weekday evening, but it’s an important issue that continues to plague communities all around the country. It was nominated for an Oscar and took home several other awards, including an Emmy for Best Documentary.


Making a Murderer

best documentaries on netflix Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is one of the first original Netflix documentaries to gain popularity in the general public. It has a lot in common with other true crime series like Serial and HBO’s The Jinx, so if you enjoyed those then this one is for you.

The two-season docuseries tells the story of Stephen Avery, who was a frequent target of local law officials in a rural country in Wisconsin. A concerted effort was made to convict Avery for a murder despite a lack of strong evidence connecting him to the crime.


20 Feet from Stardom

best documentaries on netflix 20 feet from stardom

There are plenty of documentaries about famous singers and rock stars, but have you ever wondered about the lives of the background singers? Of course you haven’t. That’s what makes this Academy Award-winning feature documentary so interesting.

20 Feet from Stardom turns the spotlight to the back of the stage and highlights the careers of Darlene Love, Judith Hill, and several other backup singers. It’s tempting to assume this documentary is about unfulfilled potential, but in fact the opposite is true. These women are often more than happy to stay in the shadows and do what they love to do: sing.


The Pixar Story

best documentaries on netflix The Pixar Story

The Pixar Story does exactly what you think it would: it tells the story of the first years of Pixar Animation Studios. It features interviews with Pixar employees and actors that have worked with the studio throughout the years, including a younger Steve Jobs.

This documentary was released back in 2007, so many of Pixar’s more recent releases are not included. That said, it’s more than worth the 87 minute run time.


White Helmets

best documentaries on netflix White Helmets

This original Netflix documentary is short at just 40 minutes, but it packs a powerful emotional punch. The Academy Award winning short movie follows a group of volunteer rescue workers in Aleppo during the height of the Syrian Civil War, where daily air raids drove the number of casualties higher and higher. Rather than taking a political stance on the conflict, the documentary focuses on the rescue workers themselves as they deal with personal loss and jubilation when a survivor is found and rescued.

It’s a stark reminder of the personal cost of war for civilians that will leave you with a visceral new perspective.


Best documentaries on Netflix — Honorable mentions

There are countless great documentaries on Netflix that just didn’t make the cut. Here’s a look at a few other Netflix documentaries worth watching:

  • Evil Genius – The story of a bank heist gone wrong featuring some truly fascinating characters. From the producers of Wild Wild Country.
  • Quincy – A biography of influential music producer and composer Quincy Jones. Directed by his daughter Rashida Jones, the film provides an intimate view of his daily life.
  • Weiner – The fascinating and hilarious story of Anthony Weiner’s ill-fated 2013 campaign for mayor of New York. As is sometimes the case, the name writes the story.
  • Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World – This documentary feature from Werner Herzog explores the impact of new technologies on society and the human condition.
  • What Happened, Miss Simone? – A biography of Nina Simone, one of the most famous singers of her era. Features previously unreleased footage.

These are our picks for the best documentaries on Netflix, as of right now. What do you think of our list? Which documentaries do you think should be in our top 10? Let us know in the comments!

Up next: The 10 best funny movies on Netflix

25 Bixby actions to try with your new Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Home Screen

After unboxing your brand new Samsung Galaxy S10 and setting up all the basics, it’s time to let loose and start playing with the plethora of features the device offers. One of them is Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant that lets you interact with the device through voice commands. Bixby understands thousands of commands and lets you do things like play music and check the weather without even touching the device.

We won’t show you every single command Bixby understands in this post. Instead, we’ll focus on the most popular ones you’ll likely use often to get things done faster. Here are 25 useful Bixby commands you should try out with your new Galaxy S10.

1. Save a contact

  • Command: Hi Bixby, add Paul as a new contact with his number 1234-5678.

2. Get up to speed

  • Command: Hi Bixby, read me my last text message.

3. Delete sensitive info

  • Command: Hi Bixby, delete all messages that contain the word “PIN number.”

4. Capture and share

  • Command: Hi Bixby, take a screenshot and text it to Jennifer.

5. Download an app/game

  • Command: Hi Bixby, download Instagram from the Google Play Store.

6. Share it with the world

  • Command: Hi Bixby, post the last photo I took on Facebook.

7. Enjoy yourself

  • Command: Hi Bixby, play a funny cat video on YouTube.

8. Set a timer/stopwatch/alarm….

  • Command: Hi Bixby, set a timer for 27 minutes.

9. Get a ride

  • Command: Hi Bixby, get me an Uber to the airport.

10. Learn a foreign language

  • Command: Hi Bixby, scan this text (with the camera) and translate.

11. Pucker up

  • Command: Hi Bixby, take a selfie.

12. Get nostalgic

  • Command: Hi Bixby, show me my vacation photos from France.

13. Don’t forget the milk

  • Command: Hi Bixby, remind me to pick up milk at 7pm.

14. Find your car

  • Command: Hi Bixby, remember where I parked.

15. Check battery status

  • Command: Hi Bixby, how long will my battery last?

16. Turn on night vision mode

  • Command: Hi Bixby, turn on the flashlight.

17. Better safe than sorry

  • Command: Hi Bixby, delete my browser history.

18. Open an app

  • Command: Hi Bixby, open the Android Authority app.

19. Check your fitness level

  • Command: Hi Bixby, how many steps have I taken today?

20. Get your grub on

  • Command: Hi Bixby, find the nearest pizza place.

21. Dance into the night

  • Command: Hi Bixby, play dance music on Spotify.

22. Don’t get lost

  • Command: Hi Bixby, navigate to Oxford street.

23. Don’t get caught in a storm

  • Command: Hi Bixby, what’s the weather like?

24. Don’t be late for that meeting

  • Command: Hi Bixby, show my schedule for today.

25. Get rid of the clutter

  • Command: Hi Bixby, delete the last two images I took.

There you have it — these are the most useful Bixby commands to try on your Galaxy S10. There are plenty of others you could test out, some of which you can check out in our dedicated Bixby guide.

Beyond eSIM: How iSIM could turn phones into the ultimate Internet ID

Most modern smartphones still support the classic SIM card (well, the nano variant at least), but a gradually growing number of phones and other consumer gadgets are starting to support eSIM. We might not be too far away from yet another change in SIM tech, as devices could soon start using iSIM.

Earlier this year, Arm unveiled its vision for the iSIM – an integrated SIM that fits into a device’s system-on-a-chip. In the future, along with a CPU, GPU, LTE or 5G modem, your next phone SoC could also include the SIM card built inside it too.

While there might not appear to be a big difference compared to eSIM, iSIM could end up drastically changing the way we use a wide range of connected devices.

eSIM vs iSIM

eSIM and iSIM are rather similar in a number of respects. Both replace the transferable nano SIM cards with a hardware chip that’s permanently fixed inside a user’s phone, tablet, or other gadget. When you consider that nano SIM cards are around 12.3 x 8.8 mm in size, as well as the hardware necessary to house them, these ideas save on a lot of space.

Don’t fret, eSIM and iSIM are still configurable, allowing customers to select carriers, data plans, and to change their numbers at will.

These two SIM technologies can be reprogrammed as needed to change carriers and modify restrictions or permissions on your tariff. This also required the development of standards for remote provisioning. Here, SIM information is updated over the cellular network rather than by physically changing a card.

Better still, eSIM and iSIM can be used to register a single device on multiple operators, simplifying international roaming. Transfering between carriers won’t require you to replace your SIM, and in the future, it should be possible to manage credentials and access multiple devices using eSIM or iSIM using just a single tariff. This applies to both the business and consumer worlds.

The key difference between eSIM vs iSIM is in their implementation. While an eSIM is a dedicated chip attached to a gadget’s processor, an iSIM is embedded in the main SoC alongside the processor. That might only be a subtle difference, but it is an important one for a number of growing use cases that demand high levels of security.

iSim vs eSIM vs nanoSIM size comparison Arm

What are the benefits of iSIM?

Compliant with the GSMA Embedded SIM specifications, iSIM is primarily designed for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. A key reason for this is due to the security advantages afforded by integrating the SIM into the SoC. Hardware tampering with external nano or eSIM is prevented, and Arm devices also afford protection from SoC tampering thanks to the company’s latest PSA Certified initiative. It’s virtually impossible to break into an SoC and mess with the software or networking hardware.

Furthermore, the combination of Arm’s Kigen OS, TrustZone, and CryptoIsland capabilities means that secure data, cryptography, and other processing can all be handled locally. This reduces or eliminates the risk associated with sending sensitive data out to other bits of hardware that could be tampered with. Secure data is kept locked in secure software on secure hardware. For IoT, this enables the integration of an MCU, cellular modem, and SIM identity with all the required crypto elements into a single smaller, cheaper, more secure chip.

iSIM is designed for more secure IoT devices, but the benefits could apply to phones too

A tighter, more secure relationship between security and SIM could eventually have implications outside of IoT, such as for smartphones. More and more, increasingly sensitive data, from biometric fingerprints to credit card information, is stored on today’s smartphones. Securely tying these to our online SIM identity can open up a whole new range of use cases.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus fingerprint sensor

The future is mass connectivity

If the predictions about huge connected smart cities, intelligent factories, and a growing number of wireless consumer devices are to be true, we’re going to need a way to manage all of these products. Arm’s Kigen OS is a cloud-based service that can manage the provisioning of new profiles to devices in the field. In the not too distant future, consumers could end up using a cloud system to manage the various devices on their wireless iSIM contract too.

Consumers are already paying for multiple data plans that include connected security cameras and other IoT devices. These will surely eventually be brought under a single user account. Furthermore, household or family plans where users can control and revoke access to a wide range of devices on that plan become feasible. In other words, your master iSIM identity could control a ton of other devices that are on a single connected plan.

If you’re happy using your identity for mobile banking, why not combine biometrics with your SIM ID to manage accounts and apps across other devices?

But why stop there? Many of you are likely already using biometric identity information for mobile payments. Bringing SIM into the picture means that network access keys and data permissions, root of trust, and more can be brought into the picture. If you’re happy to use your identity for banking, why not use that information to link up with your SIM contract to manage multiple accounts and apps across all of the devices under your name?

Editor’s Pick

Of course, for that to happen you’ll want enhanced security on all of your devices. Google is helping to spearhead this in Android, which now supports secure external hardware security modules via Strongbox. This requires a secure module with its own CPU and cryptographic key algorithms, while also supporting key integrity with the main system’s Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).

Strongbox in Android, a secure enclave in OS, and other enclaves, for example in NFC, are all part of this picture. These are not standardized at the moment and are not likely to merge in the future. That’s not necessarily a problem though, as keeping keys separate can help with security. In the future, we could see a super secure enclave that can run multiple secure apps and system within it. But that’s likely five or more years out from now.

Could you trust an “Internet ID”?

Improved device and data security is quickly arriving, and integrating this security with eSIM or iSIM can really lead to some interesting use cases. Ultimately, what is required is a system secure enough that consumers can trust a form of “Internet ID.” This isn’t a new concept, Internet ID has previously been suggested for ensuring better accountability for online transactions and even social media accounts.

Other, more outlandish use cases could include integration with actual forms of real-world identity. If you’ve paid for memberships, such as the gym, with your phone, this could be tied to your SIM identity and use an NFC or other scanners to pass through a turnstile. The same could apply for public transport passes. Secure-enough devices could even be used for documentation such as digital driving licenses and ID cards with mobile passport capabilities, allowing you to pass borders with your phone rather than a paper document. Although, ideas like that might not sit comfortably with everyone.

Regardless of the form Internet ID eventually takes, we’re fast heading towards a future where our devices become even more closely tied to our identities.

The 10 best funny movies on Netflix

There are lots of funny movies on Netflix, from rom-coms to dark satires, to even superhero comedies. However, it can be very hard to find the funniest movies on the premiere streaming video service using just Netflix’s search algorithm. Fortunately, we can help out by giving our picks for the current best funny movies on Netflix. As you will see, this list of awesome comedy films includes some true classics, as well as more modern releases.

Editor’s Pick

A quick clarification on this list. We have concentrated on funny films on Netflix, and not all of the many comedy specials that are available on the service. We are also not diving into the many funny TV shows that are also available to binge on Netflix. We do consider original comedy films that have made their debut on Netflix, but as of right now, none of them made the top 10.

Editor’s note: This list will be updated as new funny movies leave and other comedy movies make their debut on Netflix.


Monty Python and the Holy Grail

After gathering a cult following for their work on the BBC comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and a movie based on it, this group of sketch comedians blew audiences away with their first original film. 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail remains one of funniest movies ever made and certainly deserves to be on our 10 best funny movies on Netflix. If you have never watched it, prepare to start quoting a ton of its lines. This may be the best movie ever made about the myth of King Arthur as well, and that’s saying something.

You can also catch up on the group’s earlier work on Netflix, which is streaming the entire run of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV series. Also make sure to watch another great film, Monty Python’s Life of Brian.


The Addams Family

If you like your funny movies on Netflix to be on the darker side, then The Addams Family is a perfect choice to stream and watch. The Addams Family was originally created by cartoonist Charles Addams, and later adapted into the classic 1960s TV sitcom. This 1991 film adaptation is laugh-out-loud funny as we encounter the members of this gothic and dark family. The film is lead by some terrific performances by the late Raúl Juliá as Gomez Addams, Anjelica Huston as his wife Morticia, Christina Ricci as the ultra-goth daughter Wednesday, and by Christopher Lloyd, who actually plays two roles (sort of): Uncle Fester and the person who is impersonating him in the movie (or so we think at first).

It was the first film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who went on to direct hits like Men in Black, Get Shorty, and this film’s sequel, Addams Family Values. It contains his trademark artistic style of over-the-top comedy that’s just perfect for this film.


Thor: Ragnarok

The Marvel Cinematic Universe films have always had a healthy dose of comedy, but none of them have the amount of humor than this 2017 release. Directed by Taika Waititi, this film does have its serious moments, but it definitely takes the crown as the funniest movie in the MCU series, and certainly one of the top funny movies on Netflix. Thor, as played by Chris Hemsworth, has to deal with his newly discovered sister Hela, who wants to destroy Asgard and everyone in it. He also has to escape from a planet where gladiatorial contests are held between aliens, and one of them happens to be the Hulk. This makes this film a bit of a buddy comedy, and Tom Hiddleston, of course, returns with all of his great one-liners as Thor’s trickster brother Loki. Then there’s Jeff Goldblum, who hams it up, in a good way, in his performance as the Grandmaster, the leader of this planet. Thor: Ragnarok is simply a good time all around, and a nice reprieve before we get serious again for Avengers: Infinity War (also on Netflix).


Hot Fuzz

If you are an action movie fan on Netflix, but also want some comedy, you have to check out this 2007 British film from director Edgar Wright. Simon Pegg co-wrote the film and stars as London Police Sergeant Nicholas Angel, who is so good at his job, his superiors want to get rid of him because he makes them look bad. As a “reward” for his hard work, Angel is shipped out of the big city and to the small country town of Sandford. Here he quickly discovers that there’s a very dark secret in this community that only he and his partner Danny, played by Nick Frost, can discover and stop. Along the way they meet some interesting characters, including former James Bond Timothy Dalton, who plays a grocery store manager who wants to do more than be “a slasher . . . of prices”.

Hot Fuzz is the rare action comedy that can hold its own with the best straight action movies, while also being a love song to the entire genre. It’s on both our 10 best action movies and our 10 best funny movies on Netflix for a reason. 


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Based on the Scott Pilgrim comic book series, this 2010 movie adaptation from Hot Fuzz writer-director Edgar Wright was a major box office bomb when it was released in theaters. Since then, the movie has finally found its audience that gets its mix of young adult romance with video game action. Michael Cera plays the title role of Scott Pilgrim, a bassist who falls for the pink-haired Ramona Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. One problem for Pilgrim: in order to keep dating Flowers, he must battle and defeat all seven of her ex-boyfriends. All of these confrontations are inspired by retro video games, and Wright’s use of gaming graphics and icons in Pilgrim’s fights with the exes is one of the coolest, and funniest, things you will likely see in movies in a long time.


Bull Durham

If you like comedies with a more mature and adult bent, then Bull Durham is for you. This 1988 film is also one of the best sports movies ever made. Kevin Costner plays “Crash” Davis, a long-time minor league catcher who is brought into the Durham Bulls baseball team to help mentor pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins, so he can go to “the show”, or the major leagues. Nuke is also taught some other “things” from the Bulls’ major league fan Annie Savoy, played perfectly by Susan Sarandon. The triangle between these three characters, all set around a small baseball team, wouldn’t seem like a comedy at first, but it is indeed one of the funniest movies on Netflix.


Swingers

Here’s another adult comedy that helped to launch the careers of both Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn. The 1996 film, which was also written by Favreau, centers on actors who socialize and party hard in both Hollywood and Las Vegas. It has a bit of a retro feel to it, as the characters look and act a bit like they are part of the 1940’s party and lounge scene, with swing music and heavy drinking. Vaughn’s character Trent helped to make the word “Money” and the phrase “Vegas, baby” popular among the cool crowd after Swingers became a cult hit.


The Interview

This is the movie that got so controversial, its studio Sony tried to pull it from theaters in 2014. The reason? The company’s computers were hacked into just before the film was to be released, and the group behind it threatened violence if Sony went ahead with its launch plans. Sony ended up releasing The Interview in a limited number of theaters, and also online for rent and purchase, in December 2014, and it was released on Netflix just a month later in January 2015.

All of that controversy centered around a very funny, if very dark, satire from directors and co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Two entertainment journalists get a chance to go to North Korea to interview its leader Kim Jong-un, but then they get sucked into a CIA plot to assassinate the leader. The Interview was already generating a ton of chatter due to its wild storyline, but the Sony hack and the terrorist threats couldn’t mask the fact that it was, and still is, a very funny movie.


National Lampoon’s Animal House

Ah, the joy of going to college; the learning, the sports, and of course the raging fraternity house parties. Director John Landis’s classic 1978 comedy took no prisoners. A group of students at Faber College that pledged Delta Tau Chi take it upon themselves to attack the stuffy Dean Wormer and the pretentious students at the Omega Theta Pi chapter any way they can. This still is one of the best funny movies on Netflix, and it helped to turn John Belushi from a TV sketch comedy actor into a major movie star. Just beware of the double secret probation and make sure to make your run at the Food King.


The Truman Show

funny movies on Netflix

Our last movie on our best funny movies on Netflix list seems more relevant today than it did when it was released in 1998. Jim Carrey gives the best performance of his career as Truman Burbank, a man who has lived his whole life in a literal bubble. He is watched 24/7 around the world on TV because, unknown to him, he is in a fake town, and all of its “residents” are actors in The Truman Show, even his wife. The film, in its own exaggerated way, predicted the rise of reality TV and now, with tons of internet celebrities live streaming nearly their entire lives on a regular basis, this show doesn’t seem nearly as fanciful as it once did. Having said that, the movie is still very funny and also moving at the same time, particularly as Truman finally begins to figure out that something is wrong with his life.


Best funny movies on Netflix – Honorable mentions

There are tons of great comedy films currently streaming on Netflix that just missed the cut. Here’s a look at just some of these still funny movies on Netflix:

  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Netflix has been hitting it big with original movies aimed at the teen audience, and this may be the best of the bunch. A girl writes secret letters to her male crushes to keep to herself, but those letters manage to get out in the open and hilarity ensues. A sequel to this movie is in the works.
  • Role Models – Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott shine as two “bros” who find themselves having to grow up a bit and learn from their young charges when they join a Big Brother program.
  • Stripes – Here’s another great Bill Murray early comedy, as he and his Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis join the Army, and manage to both tear it down and also make it look cool.
  • Happy Gilmore – This may be our favorite of Adam Sandler’s comedy films, as his hockey player character makes a switch to golf. He’s almost upstaged in this movie by Christopher McDonald as he plays the super-arrogant, but still a bit lovable, golf pro antagonist Shooter McGavin.

These are our picks for the best funny movies on Netflix, as of right now. What do you think of our list, and which comedy movies do you think should be removed and which ones should be in our top 10? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Price vs value

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs OnePlus 6T back

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost certain to be one of the best selling phones of 2019. It’ll also be one of the most expensive, but what if there was a premium smartphone you could buy instead that didn’t carry a premium price tag? Plenty of OEMs deliver affordable flagship smartphones, but none have garnered the same cult following as OnePlus — the Chinese brand from the BBK group that promises to “Never Settle,” delivering phones with top specs and stunning designs at relatively modest prices.

Editor’s Pick

The Android champion is returning to the ring with a whopping four Galaxy S10 phones, but we’ve decided to pit the vanilla Galaxy S10 against the OnePlus 6T to see whether the best value phone of 2018 can hang with Samsung’s marquee flagship.

It’s the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T! Who will win? Let’s find out! 

Editor’s Note: Yes, we realize the Galaxy S10e is probably a closer comparison (price, etc) and we’ll likely be making that comparison in the not too distant future. Still, the S10 is considered the ‘base’ model, so we thought it would be an interesting comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Specs and features

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is an absolute powerhouse and on paper is one of the most impressive phones in terms of raw specs to come from the South Korean giant to date. The OnePlus 6T is no slouch, though. OnePlus’ latest may be five months older than the S10, but it still boasts an impressive specs sheet.

Here’s a look at the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T specs:

  Samsung Galaxy S10 OnePlus 6T
Display 6.1-inch AMOLED panel
3,040 x 1,440 resolution
551ppi
19:9 aspect ratio
6.41-inch AMOLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
402ppi
19.5:9 screen ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Processor 8nm octa-core Exynos 9820 / 7nm octa-core Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Adreno 630
RAM 8GB 6GB/8GB
Storage 128GB/512GB 128GB/256GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 512GB No
Cameras Rear:
16MP f/2.2 ultrawide +
12MP f/1.5 and f/2.4 dual pixel with OIS +
12MP OIS telephoto f/2.4

Front:
10MP f/1.9 dual pixel

Rear: Dual-cameras with 16MP and 20MP sensors

Front: Single 16MP sensor

Battery 3,400mAh
Non-removable
3,700mAh
Charging Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
Wireless PowerShare
Warp Charge
Security Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner, 2D face unlock In-display fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock
IP rating IP68 No
Headphone jack Yes No
OS Android 9 Pie with One UI Android 9 Pie with OxygenOS
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5
NFC, MST
Cat20 LTE, 7CA, 4×4 MIMO
Wi-Fi: 2×2 MIMO, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Dimensions and weight 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm
157g
157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm
185g

The most obvious differentiator between the two phones is the processor. The Samsung Galaxy S10 series is one of the first phones to bring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC to the masses in the U.S. (Europe gets the Exynos 9820).

The OnePlus 6T, like so many from 2018, runs on the Snapdragon 845. The Snapdragon 845 is still a powerful mobile platform, but its successor does offer a tangible upgrade, though not quite the massive leap we’ve seen between previous Snapdragon flagship SoCs.

For the rest of the core specs, however, the OnePlus 6T goes pound-for-pound and sometimes beyond the Galaxy S10. The base model OnePlus 6T comes with 6GB of RAM, but this can be upgraded to 8GB RAM, or even 10GB RAM if you opt for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Speed Edition.

While you can go up to a ridiculous 12GB RAM on the S10 Plus, the regular Galaxy S10 sticks with 8GB for all variants. Turns out you don’t actually need more than 8GB RAM anyway, so there are no real complaints to be made here. The S10 has 128GB expandable storage as standard, which the OnePlus 6T matches (with no MicroSD card slot).

The Galaxy S10 has a 3,400mAh battery with fast wireless charging (15W) support. You can also reverse charge other phones and accessories — such as wearables or Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds — via Wireless Powershare. The OnePlus 6T doesn’t offer the latter, but it has a larger 3,700mAh cell and 20W fast charging the brand calls Warp Charge.

That’s the dull internal stuff out the way! Let’s talk features.

The OnePlus 6T was one of the first phones to hit the market touting an in-display fingerprint sensor. This initial batch of sensors, most made by Goodix, have been hit and miss across various phones. Samsung says it’s solved the problem and added further anti-phishing protection with an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10.

Samsung’s variation is slightly more consistent, but the OnePlus 6T’s implementation was far from the worst offender in the first place and has had multiple software updates since launch to improve its functions even further.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of speculation that the internal space taken up by the sensor was partly to blame for OnePlus ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack — a decision that stirred up no small amount of controversy.

Editor’s Pick

The Galaxy S10 may be bundled with true wireless earbuds for pre-orders, but Samsung still opted to retain the jack, which is a huge boon for audio connoisseurs. OnePlus users have to live with inferior USB-C audio, but it at least comes with an adapter and Dirac HD technology.

Elsewhere the Galaxy S10 inherits a bunch of hardware features from its predecessors, which OnePlus doesn’t try to match. These include Samsung DeX support, heart rate monitoring, and IP68 protection against dust and water, to name but a few.

The S10 also has a massive technical lead in the camera department and builds on the success of the Galaxy Note 9. We found the results to be a little soft in our review of the larger S10 Plus, which mirrors results from the S10, but there’s every chance this will be fixed in software updates.

Samsung’s flagship has a triple camera module which consists of a 12MP telephoto lens (f/2.4), a dual-pixel 12MP wide-angle lens (f/1.5 and f/2.4) with autofocus, and a 16MP ultra-wide lens at f/2.2 with fixed focus and a 123 degree FOV.

In addition, the S10 shooter is bolstered by AI via a neural processing unit (NPU) and can shoot video in 4K with an option to record in HDR10+. The selfie camera, meanwhile, is a dual-pixel 10MP snapper.

OnePlus made great improvements to the photography experience on its phones in recent years, culminating in the OnePlus 6’s dual-camera, with a 16MP main lens (f/1.7) with OIS and secondary 20MP depth-sensing lens, which is the same set-up found on its successor, albeit with a few post-processing tweaks.

Related: OnePlus 6T vs OnePlus 6: The many differences (and many similarities)

The camera is one of the few areas where the gulf between the two phones begins to show, but don’t be fooled: the OnePlus 6T has a perfectly solid camera. However, if you’re a pixel-peeper the S10 is the clear winner.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Design and display

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs OnePlus 6T at an angle

With the Galaxy S10, Samsung attempted to avoid any backlash against a notch with a variation on its Infinity Display design it calls Infinity-O, though it’s already widely called a punch hole display.

Samsung has essentially cut a hole in the display to house the selfie camera. It’s certainly a novel way to reduce the overall bezel size — the S10 has a huge 88.3 percent screen-to-body ratio — but it’s also drawn a fair amount of scorn from some prospective buyers.

The OnePlus 6T is the second OnePlus phone to launch with a display notch, however the second iteration slimmed the cutout down to a “waterdrop” style design borrowed from its BBK stablemate Oppo.

Punch holes still don’t completely fix the selfie camera issue facing bezel-less phones.

Display interruptions of any kind are a touchy subject for smartphone fans and you could quite happily argue neither option fixes the selfie camera issue facing bezel-less phones. This one comes down to personal preference and I’d strongly suggest you check out both phones in the flesh before parting with your cash.

Otherwise, the Galaxy S10 display is a 6.1-inch, 19:9 aspect ratio, Quad HD Plus AMOLED (550ppi), while the OnePlus 6T sports a slightly larger 6.41-inch AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 1,080 x 2,340 resolution (402ppi). Both are constructed from Corning Gorilla Glass 6, but the Galaxy S10 wins overall with HDR10 and always-on display support.

Editor’s Pick

In terms of overall design, each device has a glass back and a metal frame, although the OnePlus 6T is slightly chunkier and far heavier than the Galaxy S10, weighing in at 185g versus the S10’s 157g.

You also get far more color variety with the Galaxy S10, which comes in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, or Prism Blue. The OnePlus 6T is only available in either in the shiny Mirror Black or the matte Midnight Black, or Thunder Purple in selected regions.

Each phone also has its own unique design quirks. The Galaxy S10 has a (mercifully) remappable Bixby button, while the OnePlus 6T has a handy alert slider.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Software

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T camera

Samsung has seriously stepped up its software game with the Galaxy S10. It’s one of the few Samsung flagships to launch running the latest major Android update out-of-the-box. In addition to Android 9.0 Pie, it also features Samsung’s latest attempt to create the ultimate Android skin, dubbed One UI.

We’re a long way from the dark old days of TouchWiz. Samsung’s new UI has built on Samsung Experience to deliver an even more intuitive and less bloated skin.

There are still some niggles, however — most notably the continued presence of Samsung’s proprietary assistant Bixby, which isn’t exactly the most beloved digital assistant out there. Bixby received upgrades like predictive Bixby Routines, and the Bixby Home “feed” also returns on the left homescreen. Google Assistant is also jammed in there too.

Related: Galaxy S10 Plus vs Pixel 3 XL: The battle for Android’s soul rages on

In the other corner, OnePlus’ OxygenOS skin has been one of the main reasons people buy OnePlus phones since it debuted in 2014.

The OnePlus 6T’s stock-like look and feel continues that legacy, with truly helpful extra features like improved gestures, an app locker, parallel apps, and much more. That’s in addition to the best of Android Pie, as well as Google Assistant as the phone’s sole friendly AI companion.

OnePlus strives to keep its phones as up-to-date as possible, while Samsung has a patchy history with delivering updates on time. OnePlus is also incredibly open about upcoming updates, often ports new software features from its latest phones to older models, and is very welcoming to community feedback on its forums, Reddit, and other social platforms.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Price and which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs OnePlus 6T back on shelf

If you’ve come this far you’ve probably spotted the gargantuan elephant in the room: I haven’t talked about price.

The Galaxy S10 range maxes out at an eye-watering $1,599 for the largest Galaxy S10 Plus model. That max total will no doubt rise even higher when we get price confirmation for the Galaxy S10 5G.

The base model regular Galaxy S10 costs $899, which looks far more reasonable in relative terms. Until you see the OnePlus 6T’s price tag.

The cheapest OnePlus 6T variant is priced at $549, or if you want to match the Galaxy S10’s RAM count, that figure increases to $579. That’s still a whopping $320 savings over Samsung’s new phone. Even if you factor in the free Galaxy Buds available to pre-order customers, you’re still looking at almost $200 extra over the OnePlus 6T.

The million dollar question (or in this case the $320 question) is: does the Samsung Galaxy S10 earn that higher price tag? Yes for some. No for others.

You’re getting one of the best Android phones money can buy, no matter your budget.

It all depends on what you want from your phone. If you want an incredibly powerful handset that delivers, and then some, on all the essentials, with a stylish design and streamlined, yet highly customizable software, the OnePlus 6T offers far more bang for your buck.

Value is relative, however. For so many millions who flock to the Galaxy S series every year, the Galaxy S10’s triple-lens camera, industry-leading display quality, and overwhelming quantity of innovative, often best-in-class hardware features will once again justify the extra premium.

Whichever you choose, know you’re getting one of the best Android phones money can buy, no matter your budget.

What about the Galaxy S10e?

Before we close out I want to give a brief mention to the Galaxy S10e, Samsung’s cheapest Galaxy S10 variant and a brand new addition to the S family tree.

Compared to the regular Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, the S10e ditches the telephoto lens in favor of a dual rear camera. Its smaller 5.8-inch display also receives a bit of a downgrade, going from a 1,440 x 3,040 resolution to 1,080 x 2,280. This, along with a few necessary overall design changes, reduces the retail price to $749.

If you desperately want a Samsung Galaxy S10, but can’t stomach the price jump between an affordable flagship like the OnePlus 6T and the regular model, the S10e is worth considering.

Personally, I don’t think the price reduction is significant enough to lose any ground in the two areas (display and camera) Samsung phones have excelled at, it’s by far the best value Galaxy S10 model pound for pound.


Which phone would you pick in the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T showdown? Let us know in the comments!

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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

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