We lovingly called the $800 one 'the minus'
Motorola is having a good year and the streak continues, it seems, with the rollout of its new Razr+ and Razr(-) for 2023. Our Will Sattelberg shares his experiences at the hands-on event. Also on the Android Police podcast, we debate Apple's merits as it's rumored to be preparing a $3,000 consumer-focused AR/VR headset that's sure to please James Cameron. That and a lot more on this week's show!
Everything we know about Moto's big plans for the 2023 Razr and Razr+
The foldable game is really heating up this year, but for some companies, it's business as usual. Motorola was one of the first brands to follow Samsung into the world of folding phones, releasing a revived Moto Razr in 2019 before following it up with a 5G iteration in 2020. But after sitting out of the game for 2021 and keeping the third-gen Razr limited to select regions last year, it was unclear whether we'd ever get our hands on another flip phone from the company again.
Maybe it is what's on the outside that counts
Four years after Samsung invented the market with the launch of its first foldable, it feels like competition in the US is finally starting to really catch up. We've watched and waited as companies like Oppo and Honor pushed the envelope with devices limited to China and Europe, while cheaper alternatives like Tecno's Phantom V Fold made a folding future available to more buyers. All the while, Motorola remained the only competition that dared face off with Samsung in the US, but after the third-gen Razr skipped out on our shores last year, it seemed like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 might go unmatched for the third year in a row.
Oh, we poor unfortunate souls...
We take a look at Google's enhanced online search engine with generative AI results and... whew, we've got a long way to go. Surprisingly, we bounce around Sony a bit in the middle before discussing the next Moto Razr, the demise of YouTube Stories (you forgot those were a thing, right?), and yes, air out laundry in our impromptu Letterboxd segment. It's just another week on the Android Police podcast.
Comin' in hot
On the menu for the Android Police podcast this week, we'll be probing a Pixel 8 rumor much like how one temps a steak with a thermometer. We've got a few thoughts to dish out on the Montana TikTok ban, too. And, if that's not enough, for dessert, we'll be having BlackBerry pie... in the form of an impromptu movie review. Order up!
The Google Pixel series is still your best bet if you want a stable experience
Google released Android 14 Beta 2 earlier this month, following its annual I/O developer conference. And with it, Google also finally opened up the beta and developer preview program to more phones beyond its own Pixel lineup. Let’s be real — even on Google's own phones, Beta 1 was maybe the buggiest such release in years, with things only really getting better with Android 14 Beta 2. But now that new hardware is being supported, what do things look like on phones from other manufacturers?
108 megapixels surely looks tempting, but you can make do with your current phone
A flagship phone with 108 megapixels is nice to have for capturing moments with family and friends. But unless you plan to sell your photos as stock images or start a career in mobile photography, it's not worth splurging on a phone that's only used for occasional selfies. Sometimes, simplicity is key. While your phone's megapixel count matters, you won't see its full potential if you don't know how to take pictures.
From polished glass to integrated circuits in only 2,000 years
Smartphone cameras have evolved significantly in the last few years. It has come to a point where smartphones compete with point-and-shoot cameras and even entry-level DSLRs. Every bit of camera technology we use on our phones stands on the shoulders of prior insights and discoveries. Allow us to take you back to the game-changing moments in smartphone photography.
The dreaded F word
To find out what the issue is with camera apps on Android phones, we don't need to look any further than camera brand Moment. In 2020, Moment abandoned its Android camera app. At the time, co-founder Marc Barros wrote in an email to users that the company lacked the "engineering bandwidth" to keep up with an ever-growing selection of Android devices, each with different camera nuances and software requirements. Moment decided to shutter development for the Android version and focus exclusively on iOS to save resources.
Samsung's semi-spontaneous sale event is back again to remind us Google isn't the only one with fancy phones to sell
Samsung deals have been fewer and further between over the last six months, but this week, the deals are flowing free. Discover Samsung Week is back again, and with it comes discounts of every size, shape, and duration.
Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S23, S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra
As usual, Samsung kicked off 2023 with the latest entries in its mainline flagship series. The Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra aren't the most exciting phones we've ever seen, but if you've been holding off on upgrading that aging Galaxy Note 9, these devices are as good a trio as the company has ever released. Last year's Galaxy S22 series blew us away, after all, and this year, Samsung has brought the best of its design to all three models.
Plus how to take full-resolution shots — and why you probably shouldn't bother
Megapixel counts on Samsung's best phones have ballooned into the hundreds, with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra sporting a 200-megapixel primary camera. By default, though, that phone takes 12.5-megapixel photos, much the same way the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra defaults to 12-megapixel shots. But why is that? What's the point of all those megapixels if the cameras still kick out average-size pictures?
'A' used to stand for affordable, but now it's just ambiguous
Google surprised us all last week by dropping the Pixel 7a, its latest attempt at a more budget-friendly alternative to flagship Pixel models. This year's A-series phone pulls from its namesake more than ever, with the differences — and the price point — between the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7 hard to notice at first glance. It's left Google's lineup looking a little confusing, especially if you aren't following the smartphone market like our readers do. But that sense of uncertainty could help pave a new path for future A-series devices, one that maintains the core of these phones while rethinking why consumers might choose them over mainline Pixels.
Google Pixel 6 Pro camera guide: What you need to know about telephoto quirks, sensor size, and ‘macro' mode
Everything you need to know about the Pixel 6 Pro's cameras, including telephoto quirks, sensor size, and 'macro' mode, and more
Although we're all about the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro these days, both phones build on the legacy laid out by their predecessors. Just like on Google's 2022 flagships, the periscope telephoto lens was one of the main differentiators between the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, forcing photo bugs to spend an additional $300 for the additional sensor.
Software plays a huge part in mobile photography — here's how
Smartphone camera hardware is getting interesting. From the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra's 200-megapixel primary camera to the Xioami 13 Ultra, which sports a variable aperture over a one-inch sensor, it's an exciting time to be a mobile photography geek. But even in the best Android phones, computing power and software prowess play as big a role in getting great photos from our pocket-size cameras as hardware does. Smartphones employ what's called computational photography to compensate for their comparatively meager hardware. What most phone cameras lack in brawn compared to dedicated camera hardware, they make up for with clever computing.
The Pixels were mediocre and the AI ain't lookin' all right
It really felt like everything that you could tie back to the core product of Android took a back seat to some weird, rushed gimmickry through the power of artificial intelligence at this year's I/O conference. Already bad at keeping a lot of its secrets, Google has made none whatsoever about pushing applications for its various forms of AI modeling out to consumers. So, the Android Police podcast is taking the goliath to task on just how much neglect it is paying to the Pixel brand it has proudly cultivated and the shaky path ahead for its fleet of magic features to come.
You probably already know which model wins
If you're a shutterbug in the market for a new phone, you can't do better than the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro. The company's 2022 flagships combine premium sensors with industry-leading computational photography to create incredible images. All you need to do is point and shoot. The Pixel 7 series doesn't offer an identical experience across the board. Thanks to the upgraded ultrawide lens on the Pixel 7 Pro and its exclusive 5x telephoto lens, Google's premium smartphone offers the flexibility you won't find on the smaller, cheaper model.
There's no place for ugly apps on a well-curated homescreen
Material You has been around for a few years now, and with Android 14 right around the corner, it's easy to take this fantastic feature for granted. However, despite the improvements made in Android 13, I am still resigned to sending apps to my screen of shame two years after the feature debuted. It's a problem I expect to persist on everything from Pixel phones to budget Android tablets.
Google’s new hardware lineup is so close to greatness
Following an hour of announcements on how generative AI will fundamentally change your Google experience at the 2023 I/O developer conference, the company finally turned its attention to hardware. While AI is decidedly the theme of I/O this time around, hardware has become increasingly important to the event over the time, and this right now is Google's biggest push to date, culminating in three hardware launches this year.
The A-series has never seen a bigger upgrade, but a higher price needs bigger deals to match.
After years of the A-series packing the best value in Android — not to mention being some of the best Android phones you can buy, period — the Google Pixel 7a has arrived to bring us the last flagship features we've been waiting for. The screen is finally 90Hz capable — though you might want to leave it off for your battery — and it supports wireless charging! (Okay, it's only 5W wireless charging, but this is a big deal for a $500 phone.) While we may have to wait over a month for the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, the Pixel 7a is available for purchase right now.