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Google Pixel 5 buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

The Google Pixel 5 is finally official and we have all the details. In this Google Pixel 5 buyer’s guide, we’ve got the info you’ll need to make a smart purchase decision and we answer your frequently asked questions.

Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this Pixel 5 guide with more tips, resources, and details, so stay tuned.

Google Pixel 5 at a glance

Google Pixel 5 Google’s first 5G smartphone
The Google Pixel 5 may not be the high-end Pixel we were expecting, but it’s a pretty compelling mid-range option. Google is going back to basics with the Pixel 5, ditching higher-end features like face recognition and the quirky Motion Sense gestures.

The Pixel 5 was announced on September 30, 2020 at Google’s Launch Night In event. This is Google’s top-end phone of 2020 and it’s a great option if you want:

  • A more affordable 5G phone with some flagship-level features
  • A great camera experience
  • A smaller-than-typical size
  • Quality software and guaranteed updates

The Pixel 5 costs $ 699 in the US, where it’s available in only one size, two colors, and one storage configuration. It competes with the LG Velvet, the OnePlus 8, OnePlus Nord (outside the US), the Samsung Galaxy A71, the Galaxy S20 FE, and a slew of other upper mid-range to flagship 5G phones.

You should avoid the Pixel 5 if you want:

  • The best performance possible in a phone
  • Two-day battery life or more
  • The best zoom capabilities

Further reading: The best Google products

Is the Google Pixel 5 worth buying?

The $ 699 Google Pixel 5 looks like a great phone on paper in North America, with brands like Realme and Xiaomi not a factor on the continent. But it still seems like a good purchase in general if you want a 5G phone with brisk updates and flagship-style features but don’t want to pay 2020 flagship money.

In saying so, Google’s Pixel phones have previously suffered from hardware problems, while Pixel spec sheets traditionally tend to be pretty anemic compared to phones from other brands. Those on the hunt for the most bang for their buck or the most reliable phone should keep this in mind.

In the case of the spec sheet, the Pixel 4 was arguably the least impressive flagship of 2019, packing a small battery and lacking a triple rear camera setup seen on rival phones. For the Pixel 5, it looks like Google has beefed things up in some ways, but not in others.

What other AA readers think of the Google Pixel 5

This marks the first time that Google ditches flagship silicon for its high-end Pixels, adopting an upper mid-range Snapdragon 765G processor. Is this a no-go for Android Authority readers though? Well, over 1,600 readers took our poll back in June, with almost 57% saying it wasn’t a dealbreaker.

Pixel 5 mid range chipset poll results

Credit: Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

This suggested that Android Authority readers were willing to overlook the lack of top-end power if the Pixel 5 delivered in other areas (e.g. pricing and extra features).

Earlier this week, we also asked readers whether the then-rumored price tag for the Pixel 5 was worth it. This question was asked prior to specs and other features being disclosed by Google. As of writing, the most popular choice was “it’s a bit expensive but worth it for a Pixel.” Check out the results below.

Pixel 5 worth it poll results

Credit: Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Just over 25% of readers said that the phone is outright overpriced. But between respondents wanting to see the spec sheet, those who think it’s a bargain, and those who think it’s worth it for a Pixel, it looks like Google might have landed on a solid price.

Google Pixel 5 specs

The Google Pixel 5 isn’t going to win any awards for sheer horsepower, but the phone still brings quite a few features to the table anyway. Check out our Google Pixel 5 specs overview below.

  Google Pixel 5
Display 6-inch OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
19.5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
2x Cortex-A76
6x Cortex-A55
GPU Adreno 620
Storage 128GB
No microSD slot
Cameras Rear:

12.2MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixels, optical + electronic image stabilization

16MP, f/2.2, 1 micron pixel, ultra-wide (107 degree FoV)

8MP sensor, f/2.0, 1.12µm pixels, fixed focus, 83-degree field-of-view

Headphone jack No
Battery 4,080mAh
18W charging
Wireless charging
IP rating IP68
Software Android 11

What should you expect from the Pixel 5 camera?

Google Pixel 5 cameras

Credit: Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Pixel 5 adopts the same 12MP IMX363 main camera we’ve seen on several generations of Pixels now, including the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a. If anything, we’re expecting software to make the difference when shooting via this main camera.

The secondary camera is a completely different story though, as Google has eschewed the Pixel 4 line’s 16MP telephoto camera in favor of a 16MP ultra-wide shooter. This new camera means you can capture many scenes without having to take a few steps back, such as cityscapes, landscapes, and groups of people. But what does this mean for the phone’s zoom capabilities?

Google touted its Super Res Zoom solution on the Pixel 3, using super resolution algorithms and more to deliver hybrid zoom that was better than traditional digital zoom. However, results still fell short of phones with dedicated telephoto lenses, especially when going beyond 2x or 3x shots. The Pixel 4 then introduced the 2x telephoto camera, and this allowed for a big step up in quality at short range zoom levels, while also delivering improved Super Res Zoom images up to 8x.

We’re expecting the Pixel 5 zoom quality to be something akin to the Pixel 3’s quality. Super Res Zoom without a telephoto lens should still produce fine results when taking 2x or 3x zoom shots. Nevertheless, check back here soon for our thoughts on the Pixel 5’s zoom abilities once we’ve had a go with it.

More on zoom: Don’t believe what smartphone manufacturers tell you about zoom

Google Night Sight Portrait Mode

Credit: Google

In addition, Google is giving HDR+ a “serious upgrade.” Google is introducing exposure bracketing on the Pixel 5 that should result in all-around clearer photos with the new wide-angle lens.

Night Sight, Google’s fantastic low-light camera mode, is also coming to portrait mode. Portrait Light is coming to portrait mode, too. You can add this effect to your portrait photos after you’ve taken a picture if your subject is too dark.

Google is finally focusing on video, at least a little bit. It’s adding three new stabilization modes to the Pixel 5: locked, active, and cinematic pan. The latter video mode “creates sweeping, dramatic Hollywood effects” through stabilizing and slowing down the motion of your video at 2x.

How is the Pixel 5 battery life?

We haven’t spent enough time with the Pixel 5 yet to answer this question, but we do know the phone packs a much bigger battery than the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 4. In fact, the Pixel 5 battery is over 1,000mAh bigger than the Pixel 4’s 2,800mAh pack.

The Pixel 5 does offer 5G connectivity, which consumes more power than 4G, but we’re still expecting longer battery life than the Pixel 4. Judging by the Pixel 4a’s good endurance with a 3,140mAh battery (6.5 to seven hours of screen-on time), we’re hoping that the Pixel 5 will be able to reach similar heights.

Google is also introducing extreme battery saver mode on the Pixel 5. This allows you to decide which apps you’d like to keep on while everything else is paused. Google says this will get you up to 48 hours of extra battery life.

Is the Pixel 5 fast enough?

One thing that’s a certainty is that the Pixel 5 is weaker than the Pixel 4 and other 2019 flagships (let alone 2020 flagships) when it comes to sheer CPU and graphical power. Our own Robert Triggs compared the Snapdragon 765G to 2020 and 2019 flagship silicon, and the results tell us a lot.

The CPU performance gap is pretty small between the Snapdragon 765G and the Snapdragon 855 when it comes to single-core performance. But the Snapdragon 855 streaks ahead when it comes to multi-core results, owing to it offering more heavyweight CPU cores. We also see a pretty big gap when it comes to graphical performance.

In other words, those wanting to play the most advanced games and emulators at a smooth framerate might want to buy a Snapdragon 865 or Snapdragon 855 phone. But the Pixel 5’s chipset should still deliver great performance in general and in most games.

Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4: What’s new?

google pixel 4 xl oh so orange camera module

The Pixel 5 lacks two main features compared to the Pixel 4, and that’s the flagship silicon and Motion Sense/face unlock technology. We’ve already covered the chipset disparity, but the lack of Motion Sense and associated face unlock tech is pretty notable.

Motion Sense gestures weren’t to everyone’s liking, while face unlock has become less important than ever thanks to COVID-19. Google has however resurrected the rear fingerprint scanner, allowing you to unlock your phone while still wearing a mask. Furthermore, fingerprint unlock is supported by a ton of apps (unlike face unlock).

Otherwise, the Pixel 5 also sees RAM and base storage upgrades. Instead of the Pixel 4’s 6GB of RAM and 64GB of base storage (with an option for 128GB), you’ve got 8GB of RAM and 128GB as the sole option.

Moving to photography, Google has ditched the Pixel 4 family’s 16MP telephoto secondary camera in favor of a 16MP ultra-wide secondary shooter. It’s disappointing that Google didn’t offer a flexible triple rear camera setup, as we’ve seen from rival manufacturers. Nevertheless, we’re glad to see an ultra-wide rear camera on a Pixel, and Super Res Zoom should still deliver decent results at short range zoom factors.

We also see a battery capacity bump compared to the Pixel 4 series, leaping to 4,080mAh. Meanwhile, the Pixel 4 packs a 2,800mAh cell while the Pixel 4 XL offers a 3,700mAh battery. We’re guessing that endurance will be somewhere between the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL (owing to the Pixel 5’s 5G support), but hopefully it’s closer to the XL model.

The screen size falls in between the Pixel 4’s 5.8-inch panel and the XL’s 6.3-inch screen, coming in at 6-inches (19.5:9, 2,340 x 1,080). Much like the Pixel 4a though, the Pixel 5 packs a more modern punch-hole cutout instead of a bezel or notch.

What about the Google Pixel 4a 5G?


Credit: Google

The cheaper Pixel 4a 5G has quite a bit in common with the Pixel 5. The biggest shared feature is the Snapdragon 765G chipset and associated 5G connectivity. You’re getting less RAM with the cheaper phone (6GB), but the common silicon means you can expect a similar level of performance on the whole.

Other common features include the same dual rear camera setup (normal and ultra-wide), 128GB of storage, and 18W wired charging. There are a few compromises to consider, though.

Read: The best 5G phones you can buy right now

The biggest cutback might be the 6.2-inch OLED screen, which lacks a high refresh rate compared to the 90Hz-toting Pixel 5. This might not be a dealbreaker for most, but those looking for a smoother, more responsive screen or upgrading from a phone with a high refresh rate panel already might be disappointed.

Other notable cutbacks include no wireless charging, no significant IP rating, a plastic back, and a slightly smaller battery  at 3,885mAh. Then again, the lack of a high refresh rate means that a small drop in battery size is understandable.

The Pixel 4a 5G will retail for $ 499, making it $ 200 cheaper than the Pixel 5. Is it worth splashing out that much more for the flagship? Well, that depends on what you want in a smartphone.

What are some good Google Pixel 5 alternatives?

Google Pixel 5 Google Store

Credit: Google

The Pixel 5 is a rather interesting proposition, packing upper mid-range power, a slightly cheaper price than current flagships, as well as premium features like an IP rating and wireless charging.

There are quite a few Pixel 5 alternatives though, but you’ll need to weigh up pricing, features, and regional availability when making a decision to buy one of them.

Here are some Pixel 5 alternatives you should consider:

  • Pixel 4a 5G ($ 499): The Pixel 4a 5G lacks features like water resistance, wireless charging, and a high refresh rate screen. But you’re getting 5G, the same processor, and that familiar stock Android. You’re also getting brisk updates by opting for this phone.
  • Apple iPhone 11 ($ 700): Don’t mind switching to iOS and can’t wait for the iPhone 12? Then the iPhone 11 might be for you. It packs a similar dual rear camera setup, plenty of power for smooth performance, water resistance, and wireless charging. There are a few features missing from the iPhone 11 though, such as 5G, a high refresh rate, OLED screen, and a fingerprint scanner.
  • OnePlus Nord (~$ 500): The OnePlus Nord is roughly $ 200 cheaper than the Pixel 5, but packs the same 5G processor, a 90Hz OLED screen, and a similar sized battery. It lacks wireless charging, water resistance, and stock Android, but delivers two selfie cameras (one for ultra-wide shots) and four rear cameras. We think two of these rear cameras are just there to increase the numbers, while the main and ultra-wide rear snappers aren’t exactly great. You can also pay up to $ 200 extra for the OnePlus 8 if you must have a OnePlus phone with top-end power, but the Nord delivers most of the overall experience anyway.
  • LG Velvet ($ 600): This might be one of the closest phones to the Pixel 5 in North America, aside from the Pixel 4a 5G. You’ve got a similar level of horsepower, 5G, a slightly bigger battery, and a similar price tag. The LG Velvet also sports an optional second screen case, wireless charging, water resistance and, unlike the Pixel 5, a headphone port. Just don’t expect fast updates, a high refresh rate, or class-leading photo quality.
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (~$ 700): Samsung’s latest S20 series phone ups the ante over the Pixel 5 by bringing proper flagship power, a 120Hz OLED screen, a bigger battery, and a flexible triple rear camera combo. It also delivers wireless charging and IP68 water resistance, as well as three years of OS updates. Looking for a cheaper Samsung phone as a Pixel 5 alternative? The Galaxy A71 is $ 100 cheaper than the S20 FE and costs $ 100 less than the Pixel. You’re missing out on a high refresh rate screen, wireless charging, and water resistance.
  • Realme X50 Pro (€600): Realme dropped its first 5G flagship in the first half of 2020, and it still makes for a very attractive proposition. A powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset, 90Hz OLED screen, flexible quad rear cameras, and a 4,200mAh battery with 65W charging make for a great combo. Unfortunately it lacks wireless charging and an IP rating. Realme isn’t quite on Google or Samsung’s level when it comes to update commitments either.

Should you buy the Google Pixel 5 now or wait?

Google tends to launch its flagship phones a few months before all eyes turn to the next-generation of smartphones, but the Pixel 5 is somewhat different in that it’s not playing a traditional specs war. Instead, Google is banking on the combination of software, pricing, and a few welcome hardware upgrades elsewhere to make for a compelling proposition.

Google also has a habit of dropping prices in the months after launch. If you’re not in immediate need of a phone, it might be worth waiting a month or two.

You should also ask yourself whether a high refresh rate screen, IP rating, and wireless charging are must-have features in a phone. If so, you can definitely do worse than the Pixel 5 for $ 699. If these features aren’t important to you, the $ 499 Pixel 4a 5G might be up your alley instead.

Where to buy the Pixel 5

The Google Pixel 5 is available from the Google Store and via Google Fi. Other retailers that will offer it include Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.

Again, the Pixel 5 in the US is going for $ 699. Pricing in Europe is set at £599/€629.

Google Pixel 5 Google’s first 5G smartphone
The Google Pixel 5 may not be the high-end Pixel we were expecting, but it’s a pretty compelling mid-range option. Google is going back to basics with the Pixel 5, ditching higher-end features like face recognition and the quirky Motion Sense gestures.

Google Pixel 5 software and updates

The Google Pixel 5 continues the Google tradition of timely software updates. Those worried about Android version updates and security patches should have peace of mind here. Google also commits to three years of Android system updates and security patches for its Pixel phones, and the Pixel 5 is no exception. This puts it in a very exclusive club, with only Samsung and occasionally OnePlus offering a similar level of support.

The company has also started issuing Pixel “feature drops”, which are Pixel and Google app updates rolled into one quarterly update for Pixel phones. Or at least it’s intended to be a quarterly release. For example, the March 2020 feature drop delivered dark mode scheduling, new Motion Sense gestures on the Pixel 4, new emoji, and Rules functionality.

The Pixel 5 ships with Android 11 and is expected to get Android 12 in 2021 and Android 13 in 2022.

Top Pixel 5 questions and answers

Q: Where’s the Google Pixel 5 XL?

A: There isn’t a Pixel 5 XL unfortunately, with the Pixel 4 XL or the Pixel 4a 5G being your next best bets if you want a bigger Pixel.

Q: What kind of 5G networks are supported?

A: The Pixel 5 supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks.

Q: Does the Pixel 5 have a headphone jack?

A: No, the Pixel 5 doesn’t offer a headphone jack. Thankfully, this option is available on the 4a series.

Q: Does the Pixel 5 has a microSD card slot?

A: Unfortunately, there’s no microSD expansion here. At least you get 128GB of base storage.

Q: What colors are the Pixel 5 available in?

A: The Pixel 5 will be available in green and black.

Q: Is the Pixel 5 waterproof?

A: The phone has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, so it should theoretically survive a dunk in the pool just fine.

Q: Does the Pixel 5 have face unlock and Motion Sense gesture controls?

A: The Pixel 5 lacks both face unlock and gesture controls via Motion Sense hardware. At least you have a fingerprint scanner now.

Q: Does the Pixel 5 support wireless charging?

A: Yes, the phone supports wireless charging up to 12W with a Qi-certified EPP charger.

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Sony PlayStation 5 buyer’s guide: price, release date, and more

playstation 5 hardware

Sony’s next entry in its critically acclaimed PlayStation line of gaming consoles is nearly here! Called the PlayStation 5 — or just PS5 for short — this next console will arrive November 12th and it has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Its predecessor — the PlayStation 4 — is one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time. Sony sold over 110 million units as of May 2020. The PlayStation 2 is the only home gaming console to surpass those numbers, selling over 150 million units in its lifetime.

Surely Sony is looking for a home run with its next-generation console. But will it pack enough punch to woo gamers around the world as the PS4 did? Here’s everything we know about the PS5 so far. Be sure to bookmark this page as we’ll update it as additional information comes to light.

Editor notes: This post was last updated 9/16/20 with details on the PS5 release date, price, and a few other announcements from Sony.

At a glance: What is the Sony PS5?

The PS5 is an upcoming next-gen gaming console from Sony. The system will formally be called the Sony PlayStation 5, or PS5 for short. Every prior iteration has adopted that naming scheme, so it’s not a real surprise.

The Sony PlayStation 5 is a massive jump forward from its predecessor, offering more powerful specs and a space-age design. Its main competitors will be the upcoming Xbox Series X and the Nintendo Switch. The latter of these consoles released in 2017 and while a great system, isn’t necessarily a direct competitor.

See also: PS5 vs Xbox Series X – on paper comparison | PS5 vs PS4 – should you make the jump?

What our readers think

The Sony PlayStation 5 isn’t out yet, so it’s really not fair to truly compare it to other consoles for now. Still, it seems fans are very eager for it.

In a recent Android Authority poll, we asked if folks were more interested in the PS5, Xbox Series X, or happy with another platform such as Switch or PC. An overwhelming 61.9% voted for the PS5, out of nearly 15,000 votes.

Sony PlayStation 5 design

Sony revealed the PS5 design in full at a June 11 event. The console — as seen in the video above — stands vertically (but can be laid horizontally) and sports a black and white design that matches the DualSense controller. The design event revealed that Sony plans to launch two versions of the PS5 — the standard console and a slimmer Digital Edition that removes the optical drive.

As far as the PlayStation 5 controller is concerned, we got an official look at it even before we saw the console. Sony is calling it DualSense, and it’s the largest design departure from any PlayStation controller to date. Check it out:

playstation 5 dualsense ps5 controller officialSony

As you can see, it features a new futuristic black and white design. Sony also revealed that the controller touts haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone array. It also comes with a USB-C charging port, and Sony is replacing the Share button with a brand new Create button, though it has not revealed what it does yet.

There is no word on standalone pricing yet, but we can expect to see it launch alongside the PS5 this holiday season.

More: Everything you want to know about the PS5 controller

PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition

ps5 specs 1

What’s the difference between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition? It comes down to the missing optical drive and the price tag. The latter of these points hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s obvious we can expect the digital-only version to be at least $ 50-$ 100 cheaper than the standard model. The designs are also a little different, due to the missing optical drive. If we’re being honest, the PS5 Digital Version looks a little better, as the bulge added by the drive throws off the device’s symmetry.

Should you get the PS5 Digital Edition over the standard model? If you honestly agree with the following statements, then yes:

  • I plan to buy my games digitally anyhow.
  • I don’t see myself borrowing games from a friend, Redbox, or a service such as GameFly.

If you will never use the drive, might as well save some cash!

Further reading: PS5 vs PS5 digital

PS5 specs

Sony PlayStation 5 main custom IO unit

In Sony’s recent system architecture deep-dive, the company revealed some details about its new technology and other hardware details about the upcoming console. According to the PlayStation 5 Lead System Architect Mark Cerny, the PS5 will tout some serious improvements over the PS4.

Here’s a complete overview of the PS5’s specs list compared to the PS4’s:

  PlayStation 5 PlayStation 4
CPU 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency) 8x Jaguar Cores at 1.6GHz
GPU 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (Custom RDNA 2 architecture) 1.84 TFLOPs, 18 CUs at 800MHz (Custom GCN architecture)
RAM 16GB GDDR6/256-bit 8GB GDDR5/256-bit
Internal Storage Custom 825GB SSD 500GB HDD
Expandable Storage NVMe SSD slot Replaceable internal HDD
External Storage USB HDD support USB HDD support
IO Throughput 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed) Approx 50-100MB/s (dependent on data location on HDD)
Memory Bandwidth 448GB/s 176GB/s
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive Blu-ray Drive

The deep-dive revealed a lot more about the PS5’s future capabilities too. We can expect an upgraded CPU in the form of the AMD Zen 2, which touts eight cores clocked at 3.5GHz. This should provide significant performance gains over the PS4’s eight-core Jaguar 1.6GHz CPU. The PS5’s custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU is also a solid upgrade over last gen’s custom GCN GPU.

This CPU and GPU combination will allow the PS5 to utilize ray tracing acceleration. Ray tracing is advanced lighting tech that can take in-game graphics to a whole new level by more realistically mimicking the way light behaves in an environment.

We also learned the PlayStation 5 will sport a proprietary 825GB SSD, and it will support off-the-shelf NVMe SSD expandability. Not only does that mean users will be able to easily expand their PS5’s storage, but it should also offer faster load speeds, allowing for bigger maps, as well as better system memory management.

Read also: How impressive are the PS5 specs?

The last major thing Sony revealed during the PS5 deep-dive is the console’s new custom AMD compute unit-based Tempest Engine. Using custom Head-related Transfer Function (HRTF) maps, this new tech should allow gamers to experience high-quality 3D in-game audio with even the most basic headphones or speakers. Cerny admitted the Tempest Engine is still in the early stages, and it may take years for it to fully develop.

At launch, customers will be able to select from one of five custom HRTF maps that best fit their sound profile. Cerny hinted at how Sony could expand on this tech in the future.

“Maybe you’ll be sending us a photo of your ear, and we’ll choose a neural network to pick the closest HRTF in our library,” said Cerny. “Maybe you’ll be sending us a video of your ears and your head, and we’ll make a 3D model of them and synthesize the HRTF [or] you’ll play an audio game to tune your HRTF. We’ll be subtly changing it as you play and home in on the HRTF [that] matches you the best.”

PS5 games

What makes any console better than the next? It’s the games, baby.

Don’t miss: The full list of confirmed and rumored Sony PlayStation 5 games

At launch, the PS5 will be backward compatible with nearly every single game in the PS4’s library. At first, the company claimed that it would work with nearly all top 100 titles from the previous generation console. But in a recent blog post, the company announced it will be compatible with “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles.”

Not only that, Sony believes most PS4 titles will likely benefit from higher, more stable frame rates and higher resolutions on the PS5. It can’t guarantee every game will work, but it has already tested hundreds of titles with thousands more to come.

The PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with nearly every PlayStation 4 title at launch.

Unfortunately, those of you who want backward compatibility to go even further back will likely be disappointed. According to a Ubisoft support page, you won’t be able to play PS3, PS2, or PS1 games on the PS5 unless those games were previously ported to the PS4.

For the full list of confirmed PlayStation 5 titles, head to this link here. We’ll list a handful of the most popular titles below, just to give you a taste of what to expect:

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Project Athia
  • Returnal
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Destruction AllStars
  • Oddworld Soulstorm
  • GhostWire: Tokyo
  • Hitman 3
  • NBA 2K21
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Resident Evil Village
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Hogwarts Legacy
  • Dying Light 2
  • Godfall
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • Rainbow Six: Quarantine
  • Starfield
  • Elder Scrolls 6
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
  • Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Maquette
  • Heavenly Bodies
  • Recompile
  • Worms Rumble

We also expect titles like Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 4, and Uncharted 5 to launch on the PS5, but that’s just speculation at this point.

It goes without saying that plenty of new titles should be available for the console at or soon after launch. If the console lives up to its promises, we expect many of them will be some of the biggest, most beautiful video games we have ever seen.

PS5 price and release date

PlayStation 5 logo

The Sony PlayStation 5 release date is now set for November 12th, 2020 in the US and a few other select markets. It’s expected to arrive just days later to several other major markets.

The PS5 price is set at $ 499 for the regular edition, or $ 399 for the Digital Edition. While the former is the same as the Xbox Series X, the all-digital Series S is actually cheaper than the PS5 Digital by $ 100. The PS5 Digital is more powerful than the Xbox Series S, but it is worth noting nonetheless the barrier to next-gen entry is cheaper if you opt for Microsoft.

PS5 pre-orders are set to launch September 17, though expect very limited quantities out of the gate.

Related: Everything we know about the PS5’s price tag

Latest PS5 news

Looking for more PS5 news and features? Here are some of the most recent highlights:


Q: When is the PS5 release date?
A: We don’t know just yet, but rumors suggest November 20, 2020. The PS4 launched in November, so the timeframe seems very plausible.

Q: What can I play on the PS5?
A: In addition to plenty of new PS5 games, you can play PS4 games as well!

Q: How much will PS5 games cost?
A: While Sony hasn’t confirmed it, we anticipate games will cost similarly to new PS4 games — so around $ 59.99.

Q: How much will the PS5 cost?
A: We don’t know for sure, but analysts predict the system will cost around $ 499 at launch.

Q: Will the PlayStation 5 support VR?
A: Yes! Several new PS5 games will be able to utilize the PSVR hardware. There are even rumors suggesting a newer PSVR model is in the works.

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Roku buyer’s guide: Which Roku streaming device is right for you?

Roku buyer's guide - Roku Premiere

If you’ve done any video streaming in the past decade, odds are you’ve at least heard of Roku. The company’s set-top boxes rose to popularity alongside streaming giant Netflix, and at one point the two companies were actually connected.

Today Roku still offers set-top boxes, now with 4K streaming support, HDR, surround sound, and more. It also competes with Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV with its smaller streaming sticks. Roku even has deals with multiple TV manufacturers around the globe to release smart TVs under its Roku TV brand.

This means that for newcomers to Roku, it can be confusing knowing which device to buy. To help, we have put together this comprehensive Roku buyer’s guide, with information on each of the company’s offerings, as well as some background on the company and platform.

What is Roku?

what is roku

Roku is a line of set-top boxes, streaming sticks, and smart TVs that enable media streaming from a variety of online platforms. The set-top boxes paved the way for the small, inexpensive streaming sticks that millions of consumers around the world now use to watch Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and others.

The first Roku device, released in 2008, was developed in collaboration with Netflix, which started its online streaming business a year earlier in 2007. Rather than release it under the Netflix brand, it was spun-off into a separate company to avoid any potential licensing issues.

Roku devices were ahead of the curve in 2010, offering HD streaming with the Roku HD-XR, at a time few streaming services supported it. In 2015, the Roku 4 was released: the first device to support UHD (4K) streaming.

Related: Does Amazon Prime Video support 4K resolution?

Since then, Roku has expanded its offerings to include a range of devices at varying price points. One of the main things that separates them from competitors is support for nearly all streaming platforms and an included remote control.

Why is it called Roku? What does Roku mean?

The origin of the brand name comes from the company’s founder Anthony Wood. The word Roku means six in Japanese, and it was the sixth company he started. Wood still remains the CEO and Chairman of Roku, inc. in 2020.

How do Roku devices work?

Roku Streaming Stick Plus 2019Using a Roku device is simple. All you need to do is plug it in, log into your Roku account (or create one for free), and select the content you want to stream. Roku separates content into channels, which can be a TV network, a website, an application, or a streaming service like Netflix.

Depending on where you live in the world, you will have access to a few Roku channels for free. There is no subscription fee involved, and as long as you own a working Roku device, you can stream these channels free of charge. One of them is the Roku Channel, which has a small selection of movies and shows and is permanently free.

Once you boot up your Roku stick, you can use the remote to select which channel to watch, add or subscribe to channels on your account, or search for content to watch. One great feature of Roku devices is that once you set up your channels, you can search for content across all of them at once, instead of browsing each individual library separately.

If the content you want to watch isn’t on one of your channels, Roku will even show you the cheapest way to watch it.

Best Roku channels

There are literally thousands of channels on Roku, with a huge selection of both free and premium channels for kids and adults alike. Below we’ve listed some of the best Roku channels to give you an idea of what’s available on the platform.

  • Apple TV Plus — Apple’s platform is filled with exclusive TV shows and movies, available for a small subscription fee.
  • Crackle — This free ad-supported platform has a solid list of popular movies that rotates frequently.
  • CuriosityStream — A subscription streaming service filled with great documentaries and other non-fiction content.
  • Disney Plus — Disney’s subscription service includes all of its animated classics, as well as the Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo, and Star Wars catalogs.
  • HBO — HBO’s impressive library of original TV shows and movies is available for a monthly fee, but the expanded HBO Max catalog is not supported.
  • Hulu — A great selection of TV shows and some movies, with both ad-supported and ad-free plans available.
  • MLB.tv — One of many subscription sports channels on Roku, enabling streaming of all Major League Baseball games.
  • Netflix — The largest subscription streaming service in the world. Streaming quality depends on which subscription plan you choose.
  • PBS Kids — Free access to classic kids programming like Sesame Street, Arthur, and The Electric Company, with no ads or interruptions.
  • Prime Video — Amazon’s service includes a library of content behind a subscription fee, as well as the ability to buy and rent individual titles.
  • The Roku Channel — Free, ad-supported access to a rotating list of movies and TV shows.
  • Twitch — The most popular video game streaming platform available free of charge. Streamers may run ads, and in-app subscriptions are available.
  • YouTube — The largest video platform functions largely the same as the phone app or website, allowing you to stream well over a billion hours of content free of charge.

What about DVR?

Roku DVR options YouTube TV

Roku devices are fairly low-cost streaming options, and as such don’t have DVR capabilities built-in. Most have very little onboard storage. Only the more expensive models like the Roku Ultra offer SD card memory expansion.

However, in today’s age of streaming ubiquity, there is another way to get DVR on your Roku device — cloud DVR. Many services, like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and fuboTV, allow you to save live content on the cloud and stream it whenever you want.

Don’t miss: Here are the best live streaming TV services

This is great because it eliminates the need for on-device storage, and allows you to stream in other rooms of the house (or other houses entirely). However, it also means that you won’t be able to stream them offline, which is one of the major draws of DVR in the first place.

Best Roku devices

Roku offers a line of streaming devices at different price points, including set-top boxes, streaming sticks, and even other types of products like smart speakers. Odds are if you’ve found your way to this Roku buyer’s guide you’re looking for a streaming device, so let’s start with those.

Learn more: The best Roku streaming players: What are your options?

Below we’ve listed our picks for the best Roku streaming devices you can currently buy. The latest were released in late 2019, and there’s no word yet on updated models for 2020. A bit further down we’ve also included details about other Roku products like the soundbar and Roku TVs.

Roku Express

Roku Express Streaming Player

The cheapest device in the 2019 Roku lineup is the Express. It is a small and simple HDMI device that provides everything you need to start streaming on any modern TV. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi and comes with a basic remote to navigate menus and control playback.

Streaming is limited to 1080p HD quality and the remote doesn’t have any special features like a headphone jack or voice controls. Nevertheless, it’s the best Roku device for casual watchers. It runs at just $ 30, making it a great entry point into the Roku ecosystem.

If you can afford to spend a bit more, you should check out the Walmart-exclusive Roku Express Plus. It adds voice commands and the ability to control normal TV functions with the remote, eliminating the need to juggle two remotes. It only costs $ 10 more, bringing the total cost to $ 40.

Roku Premiere

Roku Premiere Streaming Player

4K TVs have become more and more affordable over the years, and if you want a Roku streaming device that supports this resolution, you’ll want to look at the Roku Premiere. It’s the cheapest model to offer UHD 4K streaming with HDR.

Read also: The best 4K monitors you can get on a budget

Apart from that, it’s virtually identical to the Roku Express. You get the same basic remote with no voice controls, and it connects via single-band Wi-Fi. The good news is that it only costs $ 10 more, so you can get your 4K streaming fix for just $ 40.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Roku Streaming Stick Plus Headphone Edition

If there’s one Roku device that’d we’d have to pick for most users, it would be the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. It has a smaller, USB stick-like appearance that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port so it won’t clutter up your entertainment system. It can also be plugged in directly into your TV’s USB port for power (although you should make sure your TV supports this first).

Despite its small size, Roku Streaming Stick Plus packs a lot of features: UHD 4K, HDR, and a premium remote with voice controls. That’s a lot of convenience for a device that costs just $ 60.

But before you go out and buy it, you should check out the Best Buy-exclusive Roku Streaming Stick Plus HE (pictured above). It has all the same features, but the remote also has a headphone jack. Audio is streamed directly from your Roku device, so you don’t have to mess with your existing home audio setup. There’s even a set of headphones included in the box!

To make matters even better, this enhanced model carries the exact same price tag. That makes the Streaming Stick Plus HE the real best value Roku device, provided you have access to a Best Buy location near you.

Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra Streaming Player

The Roku Ultra is the most premium device Roku currently offers. It has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end model: 4K UHD, HDR, a premium remote, and even an ethernet port for a more consistent connection while streaming.

There are several things that make the Roku Ultra remote better than other models. First, it has a headphone jack for private listening. You’ll find a nice set of JBL earbuds to get started in the box. The voice-enabled remote also has customizable buttons that you can program to navigate to your favorite Roku channels instantly.

Read also: Best Headphones under $ 50

If you’re someone who constantly loses remotes into the couch cushion abyss, there’s even a “Find My Remote” button on the streaming device itself. All of this comes at a cost, however, with this model running at roughly $ 100.

You can save some money by buying the Walmart-exclusive Roku Ultra LT, which swaps the fancy JBL earbuds for a normal set and removes the new customizable buttons on the remote. Apart from that, you still get the same great streaming experience. It costs $ 80, so you can put those extra $ 20 towards more streaming subscriptions!

Other Roku devices

roku smart soundbar

Although streaming devices are by far Roku’s most popular products, the company offers several other gadgets as well. These range from premium streaming speakers to full-on smart TVs with a Roku-based operating system. Some of these are manufactured by Roku itself, but the TVs are always made in partnership with established brands like HiSense or TCL.

Perhaps the most attractive is the Roku Smart Soundbar. It solves two problems with a single device. Not only does it enhance your existing TV’s speakers, but it also has built-in 4K streaming support, and comes with a remote. It costs $ 180, with an additional Roku subwoofer and Roku speakers available. These extra speakers are also able to connect to Roku TVs, eliminating the need for any other streaming devices.

Related: How to get Spotify on Roku TVs, sticks and boxes

There is a variety of Roku Smart TVs on the market too, and some of them start as low as $ 130. They are a solid alternative to streaming devices for people who have outdated TVs and want an upgrade.

Roku alternatives

Roku was one of the first companies to blaze a trail into the unknown wilderness of streaming media a decade ago. Nowadays, there are many more options available. Some of these are coming from the biggest companies in the world like Google, Apple, and Amazon.

Read also: The best media streaming devices you can buy

If you’re not entirely convinced by any of the Roku devices above, we’ve broken down a few of the best alternatives below. Not included are Smart TVs, which often have many of the same capabilities but are far too numerous to list here.

Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast Ultra

Google launched its first Chromecast streaming dongle in 2013 and has since expanded the line to include two models. The cheapest, called simply Chromecast, costs $ 35 and allows up to HD quality. The Chromecast Ultra, costing $ 69, allows 4K streaming and has an ethernet port for a more consistent connection.

Read also: 16 things you didn’t know you could do with Google Home and Chromecast

Price-wise, this makes Chromecast devices comparable to Roku’s streaming sticks, but in practice, they work completely differently. First, there is no operating system or channel store. In order to stream to your TV via Chromecast, you need to “cast” media from a smartphone or a computer. Most streaming apps support casting, so compatibility isn’t much of an issue.

An even bigger difference is the lack of a remote. Just like you need another device (usually your phone) to start streaming via Chromecast, you also need it to control playback. There are some ways to use your TV remote with a Chromecast, but they aren’t ideal. There are rumors of an upcoming Chromecast with a remote included, but for now, your phone or PC will have to do.

Apple TV

Apple TV

Way back in 2007, before Roku had even entered the streaming game, Apple had already released a streaming set-top box called Apple TV. Today, there are two Apple TV devices currently available: the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K.

Apple TV devices work very similarly to Roku devices, with a built-in OS and an app store to navigate streaming services. They both come with a physical remote, but you can also use a normal remote control or a remote app on your smartphone.

As expected from Apple-brand devices, they start at a much higher price point than those of most competitors. The HD model costs $ 149, while the 4K model has two versions with 32GB of storage ($ 179) and 64GB of storage ($ 199). However, all new purchases come with a free year of Apple TV Plus, which would normally cost $ 60.

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K press render

Amazon, not to be outdone by other tech giants, currently offers three streaming devices under the Fire TV brand. They run on the Android-based Fire OS, which has channel support similar to Roku OS. However, Fire TV doesn’t support nearly as many channels.

Read also: What is Amazon Prime? Costs, features, and more

There are two streaming sticks on offer: the HD-only Amazon Fire TV Stick at $ 40, and the Fire TV Stick 4K at $ 50. There’s also a set-top box called the Fire TV Cube, which adds integration with Amazon Echo smart speakers and costs $ 120.

All three come with Alexa voice-enabled remotes, making them a great alternative to Roku streaming devices. They’re best for people who have already bought into the Amazon home ecosystem, or for people who just love using voice commands to control everything in their homes.

Nvidia Shield TV

NVIDA Shield TV 2019 modle and controller upright

There are countless Android TV devices available on the market, but the Nvidia Shield TV is easily the best. It takes a unique approach by including a Tegra X1+ processor, which is more powerful than the processor found in Nintendo Switch consoles. It allows you to play a variety of games and, more importantly, upscale 720p content all the way to 4K with help from Nvidia’s AI neural network.

Read also: 2019 Nvidia Shield TV review: The best Android TV box, again

The two latest models available are from 2019. The first is the standard Shield TV with 8GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, which costs $ 150. The more powerful Shield TV Pro costs $ 200, with 16GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. Both models come with a comfortable remote control. Older models used to come with a gamepad, but Nvidia has dropped it on the Shield TV and Shield TV Pro.

Capable of running demanding Android games and AAA titles via the GeForce Now streaming service, Nvidia Shield TV devices are a great option for those who want to stream media and game from time to time. The streaming device doesn’t hold a candle to the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, but it’s still one of the best Android TV boxes out there.

Other FAQ

Q: Does Roku have Disney Plus?
A: Yes, there is a channel for Disney Plus. Read more about it here.

Q: Does Roku have YouTube? 
A: Yes, there is a free channel for YouTube.

Q: What about YouTube TV?
A: Yes, there is another channel for YouTube TV.

Q: Does Roku have HBO Max?
A: No, HBO Max is not available on Roku devices. You can access the HBO app but it doesn’t include the extra content of HBO Max. Learn more about HBO Max here.

Q: Which Roku is the best?
A: For most users, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus HE is the best option. It offers UHD 4K streaming and a remote with a headphone jack for just $ 60. Its only downside is that it can only be purchased at Best Buy.

Q: Are Roku channels free?
A: Some Roku channels, like Pluto TV, PBS Kids, Crackle, the Roku Channel, YouTube, and others are available for free. Many subscription channels like Crunchyroll and Cartoon Network have limited ad-supported libraries, too.

Q: Does Roku have a web browser?
A: No, there are no browsers available on the Channel Store. There have been web browsers in the past, but they have since been removed.

Q: Is Roku free to use?
A: Yes! There are no additional subscription fees after buying your device, which you can do for as little as $ 30. Certain channels may pull support for older models, but this isn’t something you should worry about with new devices.

Android Authority

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The best phone charging accessories: A buyer’s guide

Most smartphones will comfortably last an entire day, if not longer, with moderate use. “Moderate” is the keyword. If you do things like gaming, GPS navigation, or using the camera for a long time, you’ll find your phone’s battery draining quite quickly. Luckily, there are a lot of charging accessories you can get to ensure that the panic when faced with a dying phone doesn’t set in. This is our ultimate guide for the best charging accessories you’ll need!

Looking for even more phone accessories? We have a guide for that!

OEM vs third-party charging accessories

OnePlus 7T Pro charging warp charge

Every phone comes with a charger in the box, even though that may change quite soon. Unfortunately, losing or forgetting chargers, tearing cables, or simply having a charger that no longer works are a part and parcel of owning a smartphone.

Third-party accessory makers offer a slew of products that usually bring more to the table, and often at comparatively cheaper prices. On the surface, picking the best phone charging accessories sounds easy. There are thousands of products available and all you need to do is find the right fit. However, having so many options causes the problem.

It’s important to do your homework regardless of what you buy, but that’s even more so with a charger. A bad charger or cable can cause irreparable damage to the phone, and a faulty power bank in your pocket might hurt you as well. There are a lot of excellent choices, but it’s crucial to do the research properly.

Pros and cons of first-party charging accessories

The biggest advantage with a first-party accessory is the fact that these are made with a particular phone or range of phones in mind. In most cases, you will get the best experience with the charger you get in the box. So, while the Samsung wireless charger works with other devices, it is the best option if you want to enjoy the fastest wireless charging speeds with Samsung flagships.

On the other hand, a distinct lack of variety is the major issue with first-party accessories. Only Samsung has really stepped up its game when it comes to charging accessories with excellent wireless chargers and power banks. But even it falls well short when compared to third-party accessory makers.

Pros and cons of third-party charging accessories

Third-party accessories have the leg up in a lot of aspects since they often fill existing gaps in the accessories market. Third-party companies dominate in categories like multi-port chargers, car charging accessories, and charging cables. These options are generally more affordable too.

The generic nature of these products may not always provide the best results when it comes to charging speeds. The much bigger issue though is sorting through the hundreds of options available, with many coming from companies that aren’t well known, or even unheard of. Buying a bad charger, cable, or power bank could have severe consequences, including potentially completely damaging your device. Some accessories may not work with your phone either, so it’s definitely important to do your research first.

Things to look for when buying third-party accessories

Before you buy an accessory from a brand you’re not familiar with, just be sure to check for the following:

  • Look through owner-submitted reviews on sites like Amazon. What are people saying? Do these short reviews look legit? For example, it’s possible they are paid or sponsored submissions if they are super vague and poorly written.
  • Look for oddities like if the product reviews aren’t actually for the product! This surprisingly happens a lot with 3rd party charging accessories from obscure brands. A 5-star review of a foot massager is not what I want to see when trying to buy a portable power bank.
  • Familiarize yourself with the return policy of the product. While a lot of products have return periods, some might only have a replacement window, in which case a refund won’t be possible.
  • We’re here to help! Android Authority has literally hundreds of guides to help you navigate through the convoluted world of phone and other device charging accessories. From multi-port wall chargers to numerous power bank categories, we have it all.

The charging accessories Android Authority recommends

OnePlus 8 Pro on wireless charger from side

Most charging accessories work with a lot of smartphones. However, with different charging speeds, capacities, and features available with different phones, compatibility is something you must look into. For example, while you can charge Pixel 4 with many Qi wireless chargers, you will also get fast charging speeds with the Pixel Stand.

We’ll be looking at the best charging accessories you can get for some of the newest phones available. Something to keep in mind though is that while we mention specific smartphones here, these may be great options for other phones as well. But if you own one of these phones, rest assured the options here will give you the fastest speeds and can be safely used with your device.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series

Samsung Galaxy S20 series

Pixel 4 series

Pixel 4a

The best third-party wall chargersbest charging accessories - anker wall charger

Credit: Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

Any phone maker will tell you that the best way to charge your device is by using the first-party charger. That’s definitely true, especially if you want to take advantage of fast charging features, like OnePlus’ Warp charging or OPPO’s ultra-fast VOOC charging.

As long as you do your research, there are plenty of good third-party alternatives though. These will likely be cheaper, may also offer some form of fast-charging capabilities, and can be more portable. Whether you’re looking for a replacement or an extra for travel or to keep in the office, there are many things to consider.

What should you look for?

  • Is the brand trustworthy? A reputable brand is more likely to last through countless charging cycles. We highly recommend Anker, but there are tons of other great brands. We ensure every option on this list balances price, quality, and reputation.
  • What port does it have? Most new third-party chargers come with USB-C ports, and you will likely get the fastest charging possible with these. However, you’ll have a charging cable already. So if you have a USB-A to USB-C/microUSB cable, you’ll need a charger with a USB-A port.
  • How fast is it going to charge? Fast charging is almost a standard feature at this point, even if with varying degrees of capability. It’ll be unlikely for a third-party charger to offer the same speeds as proprietary charging tech like VOOC charging. You’ll have to know whether your phone supports standards like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge and USB-PD (Power Delivery) and find the right charger to make use of this feature.

Our recommendations

Anker Powerport III Pod

If you’re looking for a wall charger for your phone, tablet, Nintendo Switch, or even the laptop, the Anker Powerport III Pod 65W charger can do it all. It comes with the latest version of Anker’s Power IQ tech that ensures fast charging for most smartphones and tablets, including Samsung’s super-fast charging with its latest flagships. It’s also an impressively compact option when compared to most charging bricks.

Ravpower 30W charger

The Ravpower 30W charger is a less powerful, but much cheaper alternative to the Anker 65W charger. This charger also comes with a USB-C port and supports the USB-PD 3.0 fast-charging standard with a compatible device. Ravpower utilizes GaN technology to make a device that’s really small and portable, and also keeps cool.

The best multi-port wall chargerssatechi

Nowadays, just about everything in your home relies on a charger to keep going. From phones and tablets to earbuds and speakers, you’ve probably got more cords than outlets. One of the best ways to save space is with a multi-port USB wall charger.

What should you look for?

  • How fast is it going to charge? You might get a wall charger with 10 ports, but if it takes all day to charge up your device, that will be a problem. The best options should ideally support the fast charging standards of your phone or other portable devices.
  • Does it have the right ports? Older or budget chargers often have less than great port options. There might just be USB type-A instead of USB-C, or there might not be fast charging as mentioned above. Figure out which ports you have on your devices, and check cable and device compatibility.
  • Is the brand trustworthy? This is a point that bears repeating every time we talk about third-party charging accessories. A reputable brand is more likely to last and not cause any damage to the device.
  • What size do you need? You will also have to consider the size. Do you want something that can easily slip inside your pocket or backpack? Or do you want the most charging power encased in a big brick? Are you looking for something that sits on a desk? How long do the charging and plug cables need to be?

Our recommendations

Anker two-port

Anker Atom 2

Sometimes two ports are all you need, and this Anker option shows just what 60W of output can do. It’s equipped with two USB-C PowerDelivery ports that intelligently allocate power to ensure an even charge. Available in white or black, the Anker Power Port Atom relies on GaN to keep the temperature low and the power high. It’s a great travel companion as the prongs fold flat to fit into a bag.

Satechi four-port

usb wall charger satechi

Jumping up to four ports, the Satechi USB wall charger balances between two USB-C options and two USB-A. The two USB-C ports combine for 108W of total charging while the USB-A options add 12W between them. It’s an easy way to recharge all of your devices at once, but be ready for some varied speeds. A convenient LED light indicates when your devices are charging, and a sleek gray finish lends a touch of luxury to this handy USB wall charger.

Further reading: More multi-port USB wall chargers to consider

The best wireless chargers

OnePlus 8 Pro wireless charger back

There are few things as convenient as dropping your phone on a wireless charging pad or placing it on a stand to top it off. The sheer convenience of being able to pick up a phone, answer a call, and plop it back to charge without fiddling with cables can’t be overstated. Luckily, there are a wide variety of wireless charging accessories you can get for your phone.

What to look for when buying a wireless charger?

As is the case with any accessory, there are many factors to consider when buying a wireless charger.

  • What type of charger do you need? Mainly two types of wireless chargers are available now — pads or stands. A pad might be the better option for a nightstand, while a stand will be great on a work desk. You might also have multiple devices that can be charged wirelessly, be another phone, smartwatches, or wireless earbuds. In this case, a dual charging pad or stand is the best way to go.
  • OEM vs third-party? Once again, an OEM wireless charger will often offer the best experience. You will only get OnePlus’ fantastic Warp Charge 30 speeds with the OnePlus charger, and fast wireless charging for the Pixel 4 with the Pixel Stand.
  • How fast does it charge? A standard Qi charging pad may take a really long time to fully charge a device. To get the fastest charging possible, a first-party charger is definitely the better way to go. Some third-party chargers offer some fast charging capabilities, but that’s mostly for Samsung flagships and iPhones.

Our recommendations

Samsung Wireless Charger DUO Pad

Samsung Duo pad dual wireless charging pad

The Samsung Duo pad is as good as it gets with wireless charging pads. As the name suggests, the pad can charge two devices simultaneously. However, the Samsung wireless charger duo pad takes it a step forward by including fast charging support. This means that you can charge compatible Samsung phones at up to 15W, while charging an additional phone or perhaps your wireless earphones on the second pad.

Anker PowerWave II wireless charger

The Anker PowerWave II wireless charger is similar to other affordable wireless charging pad offerings other than one key difference. The pad sits at an angle and lets you view the phone’s display while charging it. It’ll charge the Pixel 4 and LG flagships at 15W. With Samsung hardware, the pad enables fast wireless charging to the tune of 10W. Meanwhile, it is as good as the best wireless chargers available for the iPhone and can top it off at 7.5W.

Further reading: Other wireless phone chargers worth checking out

The best portable power banks you can get

samsung wireless battery charger

Getting at least a full day of use out of your smartphone should be possible with most devices. However, many processor-intensive tasks can drain the battery really quickly, and you might not be able to get to a charger in time. The best solution to ensure that you don’t have to worry about a dying battery while out and about is to pick up a portable battery charger.

What are the best portable chargers?

When it comes to picking the right battery pack, you want to look at a few things:

  • How fast is it going to charge? You might get a power bank with a 50,000Ah battery, but if it takes all day to charge up your device, that’s going to be a problem. The best portable charger ideally should support the fast charging standards in your phone or other portable devices.
  • What capacity do you need? Some of us get the biggest portable charger we can find and don’t worry if it takes up half a bag. But if you need something smaller, there are a lot of great options. That said, we don’t recommend going under 5,000mAh in most cases and think 10,000mAh is the sweet spot for portability.
  • Does it have the right ports for your needs? Older or budget chargers often have less than great port options. There might just be USB type-A instead of USB-C, or there might not be fast charging as mentioned above. Figure out which ports you have on your devices and whether or not the charger that catches your eye fully supports your device.
  • Is the brand trustworthy? A reputable brand is more likely to last through countless charging cycles. We highly recommend Anker and Ravpower, but there are tons of other great brands.
  • What size do you need? You will also have to consider the size. Do you want something that can easily slip inside a purse or backpack? Or do you want the most charging power encased in a big brick of a portable charger?

Our recommendations

RAVPower 15000mAh PD Power Bank

ravpower 15000mAh PD power bank

The RAVPower 15000mAh PD Power Bank is a great compact option. It’s small enough to fit in most pockets and easy to store in your purse or backpack. Despite its small size, it has a great charging capacity. It has 30W total output and can charge two devices at the same time. Plus, the 18W charging input helps the device recharge up to twice as fast as standard portable chargers.

Samsung 2-in-1 Portable Fast Charge Wireless

Samsung wireless charger

Samsung’s 10,000mAh charger is unique in that it includes a wireless charging pad right on top. It’s capable of fast charging a compatible Samsung phone all the way up to 7.5W in wireless mode and 15W when connected via a USB cable. The phone is Qi-compatible which means that you should have no issue using this with other phones as well.

Other portable power banks worth considering:

The best car charging accessories available

anker car charger

Credit: Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

If you spend a lot of time on the road, choosing from one of the many car chargers available is something you should consider. These things are affordable and come in handy whenever your smartphone runs out of juice. They plug into the power port, or what used to be known as the cigarette lighter port, and come in all shapes and sizes. Check out the best ones below!

Things to consider when buying a car charger

  • How many ports do you need? You’ll find car chargers with a single port to options that come with four or five as well. More may not always be better in this case though. Apart from size and space considerations, the charging speed for individual devices might reduce when many are plugged in at the same time. Two-port options are usually a good idea.
  • What type of ports does it have? Older or budget car chargers often have less than great port options. There might just be USB type-A instead of USB-C, or there might not be fast charging as mentioned above. These also don’t come with a cable, so you might need to buy one for the car, and remember to carry the cable you get with your phone.
  • Do you need more features? Most cars only come with one power port. If you need that port for a car charger and a Bluetooth FM transmitter, you’re out of luck. The good news is that there are a few options that combine both features. Similarly, you’ll also find phone holders that serve double duty as a Qi wireless charger.

Our recommendations

Anker Power iQ charger

Anker Power iQ car charger

The 36W dual-port Anker USB charger is a great option. This charger provides you with two USB-C slots for charging two devices rapidly at the same time. It is a very small and compact car charger, making it perfect for those that don’t want anything bulky in their car. It is compatible with most devices and has a bunch of safety features on board to keep you and your devices safe.

Aukey USB C car charger

Aukey USB C car charger

If you have a device that allows for Power Delivery charging, then this is the car charger for you. This Aukey car charger comes with two different ports, so you can charge two devices at once. The Power Delivery outlet will allow for ultra-fast charging of devices that support it, optimized to deliver 30W of power.

Further reading: The best car chargers you can get

The best charging cables you can get

Google Pixel 3 XL showing USB C and cable stock photo 3

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

A good charger is only one part of the equation when it comes to ensuring that your device is charging as quickly and efficiently as possible. Playing an equally important role is the charging cable. Charging cables might all have the same ports and look similar. However, there are a lot of charging speeds, standards, and capabilities to be aware of.

Things to know

The unfortunate truth is that USB-C is still a mess in 2020, even though it is the current standard. Not every cable is made equal and some can be downright dangerous for your device. It’s gotten much better than what the situation was three or four years ago, but there are things you should look out for.

  • USB-IF: USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) announced a Certified USB Charger Compliance and Logo Program back in 2016 to offer USB chargers for compliant USB-C devices. Looking for “certified by USB-IF” or the USB-IF logo is one of the ways to check whether a third-party cable is a good choice.
  • USB 2.0/3.0/3.1/Thunderbolt 3: Currently, we have cables that could be compatible with USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and USB 3.1 (Gen 1 and Gen 2), with the version number defining function and speed. USB 3.2 and USB 4 standards were also introduced recently. The oldest, USB 2.0 offers a theoretical transfer speed of up to 480Mbps. 3.0 and 3.1 Gen 1 ups that to 5Gbps and USB 3.1 Gen 2 doubles that. Finally, Thunderbolt 3 is the fastest by far with an impressive theoretical data transfer speed of 40Gbps.
  • Wattage – This gives you an idea of charging speed. USB Power Delivery augments the basic USB charging speeds for up to 100W of output power. The amount of available power is split into different power ratings, which operate at different voltages.

Other factors to consider

  • Is the cable compatible with your charger? Checking compatibility is very important when buying a USB cable. Your charger might have a USB-A port. In that case, that is the type of cable (USB-A to USB-C or USB-A to lightning) you’ll need.
  • Is the device compatible with the cable and charger? The cable may support faster data transfer and charging speeds, but the device you are using may not. Luckily, backwards compatibility isn’t an issue.
  • Are charging cables expensive? Cables that meet higher standards are understandably more expensive. If you are simply looking to charge a smartphone, a USB-C (USB 2.0) cable may be more than enough.
  • How long should the cable be? Cable length is an important factor as well. You may want a longer cable, but this will impact data transfer speeds. However, you might need a cable that long enough to keep your phone within reach.
  • What material is used? Plastic cables will likely be cheaper, but these are prone to tearing if the cable is mishandled too much. A double-braided nylon cable might survive longer.

Our recommendations

Anker cables

anker powerline 3

The Anker Powerline III Plus is a USB-IF-certified USB-C to USB-C cable that comes in a convenient six-foot length. If you’re talking speed, the PowerLine III Plus supports 60W Power Delivery charging. Even better, the cable is fiber-wrapped from one end to the other and can endure 35,000 bends and tugs.

Another high-speed cable offering from Anker is the Intel-certified Thunderbolt 3 cable. It tops out at speeds of 100W and rapid 40Gbps data transfer. If there’s a drawback it’s that the Thunderbolt 3 is just 1.6-feet long. The Thunderbolt 3 cable is also backward compatible with previous generations of USB-C chargers.


amazonbasics cable

The retail giant has jumped into the fastest charging cable game in a big way with a variety of options under the AmazonBasics umbrella. You can grab the double-braided USB-C to USB-C cable with maximum data transfer of 10Gbps and charging speeds of up to three amps. You shouldn’t have to worry about breaking the cable either — the ends have been tested to bend 95 degrees up to 2,000 times.

Every option so far has featured a USB-C to USB-C connection. AmazonBasics is ready for those who don’t have a USB-C charging brick by offering a USB-A to USB-C double-braided cable. It’s available in one-foot and three-foot lengths and the cable comes in four different colors. AmazonBasics’ USB-A to USB-C charger matches the 10Gbps transfer speed as well as the three amp charging.

Learn more: Even more fast charging cables worth considering

The best portable solar charging accessories

anker solar charger

Credit: Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

If you’re going on a hike or a long camping trip, you might want to invest in a solar charger. Granted, camping and hiking are ways to connect with nature and take a break from electronics. But it’s definitely nice to have the option if you want to use GPS tracking, and especially if something bad happens. There are a few things to know before buying a portable solar charger though.

The pros and cons of using solar phone chargers

The biggest advantage of using a solar charger is also the most obvious. As long as it’s a bright day outside, you have a power source at the ready. Solar power is also environmental-friendly and an ever-present renewable source of energy. Finally, solar energy is free, and your only investment is the initial cost of the charger itself.

All that sounds fantastic, but there are many reasons via solar phone chargers aren’t mainstream and are mainly niche products intended for the outdoorsman. Its advantage also works as a con in certain situations. A solar charger needs light to work. While the efficiency of solar panels has increased a lot over the last decade or so, you might see a reduced output on cloudy days, and it won’t work at all at night.

Charging your phone with a solar charger is also extremely slow. You certainly won’t get anywhere close to the fast-charging speeds you might be used to. Instead, be prepared to have your phone plugged in for at least five to six hours, if not longer, if you’re hoping to get a full charge. All said and done, a solar phone charger is great for emergency situations, so that you can keep in touch with people to let them know your location.

What to look for when buying a solar charger?

  • What type of charger is it? You can choose between a direct charger or a battery bank solar charger. The former works by charging the phone when it is plugged in, and the latter lets you store the energy in a power bank and charge the phone when you need it.
  • What is the power output? You have to make sure that the charger is powerful enough to charge your smartphone and other devices. A 10W solar charger is an absolute minimum to consider.
  • How big is it? Since the solar charger is primarily meant for the outdoors, portability is a concern. The bigger the panel and the more number of panels, the more charge you’ll get. But it defeats the purpose if the charger is too big or heavy to carry around.
  • Will it charge my phone? Compatibility is something you should check when you buy any charging accessory. You shouldn’t have a problem charging most smartphones and tablets though.
  • Are there any special features to know about? You should look for a solar charger with auto-restart technology. What this does is automatically start the charging process again even if the activity is interrupted by the passage of a cloud or if you’re in the shade.

Our recommendations

GoalZero Nomad 28 Plus

4 goalzerosolar

Goal Zero’s Nomad 28 Plus charger features an auto-restart ability that knows the difference between a fully charged device and one that has disconnected due to environmental reasons. This charger is also smart enough to optimize the charging output to match the device. There’s an LED indicator on the panel that displays the strength of solar conditions. It also comes with a detachable kickstand that you can use as a natural shade for your charging devices. You can also place devices in the vented pocket that regulates temperature so your device doesn’t overheat while charging.

Anker Portable Solar Charger

anker solar charger

This solar charger from Anker is another great option in the middle price range. Anker’s charger boasts a faster charge for two reasons. First, it has advanced fast-charging technology through PowerIQ; charging speed is up to 2.4A per port or 3A overall under direct sunlight. Second, each solar panel is made up of multiple layers to help increase charging speed. In addition to its compact size, Anker’s solar charger has stainless-steel eye-holes on each corner. This makes it super easy to attach it to a backpack or a tent.

Further reading: More solar chargers worth looking at

Tips to maximize battery life

google pixel 4 xl revisited battery

You can get a handful of charging accessories to make sure that you never have to come face to face with a dying phone battery ever again. However, battery capacity will unfortunately decline with age. You’ll already begin to notice a reduction in battery life after using a phone for a year, and it only gets worse after that.

Luckily there are some charging practices you can adopt that will help maximize the life of the battery and the phone. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know.

What’s the best way to charge your smartphone?

  • Avoid full cycle (zero-100 percent) charging. Instead, top-up your phone more regularly with partial charges. Ending a charge at 80 percent is better for the battery than topping all the way up to 100 percent. Don’t let the battery drain completely either.
  • Overnight charging is generally a bad idea, and certainly not recommended with fast charging technologies. Using a fast charger also degrades the battery quickly.
  • Heat is the battery killer. Don’t cover your phone when charging and keep it out of hot places. If your phone gets uncomfortably warm while playing games or using the camera, stop what you’re doing and let it cool down.
  • Turn your phone off when charging if you can, and try not to use it even if it’s on. You definitely shouldn’t play games or watch videos, to avoid mini charging cycles.

See also: Charging tips to maximize battery life

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can you bring your charging accessories on a plane?

A: Absolutely. Keep in mind, most regions will not allow you to place lithium batteries in your checked luggage (it’s a fire hazard). If you are going to bring a portable power bank with you on a trip, you’re going to want to bring it via your carry on or personal bag.

Q: Is it okay to leave a power bank or other accessories in the car?

A: It’s generally a good idea to carry all your charging accessories with you when you leave a car. You should definitely not leave power banks and anything with batteries in the car, particularly in a place where it gets really hot.

Q: Can I leave my phone charging overnight?

A: It’s not recommended to leave your phone charging overnight, and definitely a bad idea if your phone and charger come with fast charging capabilities.

Q: Should I fully charge and drain my phone?

A: Fully charging and draining your phone will cause battery degradation and will affect longevity. Smaller, but regular, top-ups are the better way to go.

Q: At what percentage should I charge the phone?

A: To maximize the battery’s life, it’s a good idea to charge the phone up to around 80 percent, and put it back on charge when that drops to around 30.

Q: Can you charge one phone with another?

A: You will not be able to charge one phone with another by simply plugging a charging cable into both phones. Some phones, like the latest flagships from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and OnePlus, come with a power share feature that uses reverse wireless charging. In this case, the phone serves as a Qi charger for another device, like a phone, smartwatch, or wireless earbuds.

Q: Is overcharging bad for the phone?

A: Continuing to charge your phone after it has reached 100 percent is a recipe for voltage and temperature stress and creates heat. High temperatures make the battery lose capacity far more quickly than if it was at normal temperatures.

Q: Is fast charging not good for the battery?

A: Fast charging is a great way to quickly and easily charge your phone, but continuous use will definitely cause more degradation. For example, Oppo’s 125W fast charging will cause much faster degradation that the company’s super-fast 65W charging.

Q: Can I charge my phone without electricity?

A: You will be able to charge your phone without electricity by using a power bank. However, the power bank will need to be plugged in and charged once it drains completely. If you don’t have a source of electricity at all, a solar phone charger might help. However, these are extremely slow and generally recommended for emergency situations.

Q: Is it okay to leave a charger in a wall unit without a phone plugged in?

A: Leaving a charger plugged in even when it isn’t charging a device will draw some power. This is usually negligible and won’t add a noticeable amount to your electricity bill. However, depending on how many chargers you have, how long they are plugged in, and how much electricity costs where you are, things could start to add up.

Q: Is it okay to charge my phone with a laptop charger and vice versa?

A: Many new laptops come with USB-C chargers, and you could potentially charge your phone with it too. A good phone and charger should ensure that the phone draws exactly how much power it needs. Whether you can use your phone charger to charge your laptop depends on the two devices. Some laptops require a 65W charger, which you’ll only get with devices like the Oppo Find X2 Pro.

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Pocket Mortys recipe guide: Full recipe list and crafting guide

Pocket Mortys recipes featured image

Pocket Mortys, based on the popular TV series Rick and Morty, was a surprise mobile hit, and for good reason. It successfully adapts the show’s quirkiness to a Pokemon-like game, complete with IVs and a robust crafting system. There are 35 Pocket Mortys recipes in total, with some used for campaign quest progression and others restricted to multiplayer.

Early on, the most important recipes are related to healing, since there’s no other way to heal your Mortys after entering a portal. Once you’ve progressed a bit and expanded your collection of Mortys, you can move on to more complicated recipes. Below we’ve listed everything you need to know about the game’s crafting system, including a full list of all Pocket Mortys recipes. If you haven’t already played it, you can download it at the link below.

How does Pocket Mortys crafting work?

Thankfully, you start the game with all Pocket Mortys recipes unlocked, so all you need to do is find the items and take them to a crafting station. These crafting stations are found in every area of the game: the Citadel, dimensions you explore, and the multiplayer area.

Items are fairly easy to come by as well. They can be found on the ground, in item boxes, or collected as rewards from quests or battles. Item boxes have the best rewards, so be sure to collect them whenever you explore a new dimension.

You can only hold a certain amount of each item, so be sure to churn out a few Pocket Mortys crafting recipe items before you fill up your inventory. Serums, Halzingers, and Morty Manipulator Chips are always useful, so be sure to keep a sizeable stock at all times.

Pocket Mortys recipe list

Pocket Mortys recipes

As mentioned previously, there are 35 recipes in Pocket Mortys, all of which are available at the start of the game. However, only 19 of these are available in multiplayer mode, and 34 are available in campaign play. Apart from the useable items, the rest are only used once for quests or other recipes, but you may need to craft several copies of some items to make higher level recipes.

Below you’ll find all Pocket Mortys recipes, as well as their descriptions and whether they’re available in multiplayer, campaign, or both. Note that there’s only one exclusive Pocket Mortys multiplayer recipe: Breakfast Combo Meal.

  Item Recipe In-game description Campaign or Multiplayer?
1 Breakfast Combo Meal Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit + Frosty-ccino + Breakfast Baconator Start your day off right! Restores 200 HP. Multiplayer
2 Morty Manipulator Chip Supercharged Battery + Circuit Board + Tin Can Captures a wild Morty with low health. Both
3 Serum Battery + Fleeb Heals 20 HP. Both
4 Great Serum Battery + Purified Fleeb Heals 50 HP. Both
5 Sensational Serum Supercharged Battery + Serum Heals 200 HP. Both
6 Pure Serum Supercharged Battery + Great Serum Heals all HP. Both
7 Halzinger Battery + Fleeb + Bacteria Cell Restores a dazed Morty to 50% HP. Both
8 Pure Halzinger Battery + Purified Fleeb + Mutant Bacteria Cell Restores a dazed Morty to 100% HP. Both
9 Poison Cure Tin Can + Bacteria Cell + Dark Energy Ball Cures a poisoned Morty. Both
10 Paralyze Cure Tin Can + Turbulent Juice Tube + Dark Energy Ball Cures a paralyzed Morty. Both
11 Pure Curum Purified Fleeb + Mutant Bacteria Cell + Supercharged Battery Heals all HP and cures all ailments. Both
12 Plutonic Rock Battery + Bacteria Cell Adds 50% of AP to all attacks. Both
13 Pure Plutonic Rock Battery + Mutant Bacteria Cell Restores full AP to all attacks. Both
14 Level Up Mega Seed Attack Mega Seed + Defense Mega Seed + Speed Mega Seed Increases a Morty’s level by 1. Both
15 Battery Tin Can + Cable + Fleeb You can never have enough of these. Both
16 Supercharged Battery Battery + Turbulent Juice Tube Like a regular battery, but superer. Both
17 Purified Fleeb Fleeb + Turbulent Juice Tube A Fleeb, purified to its most potent form. Both
18 Mutant Bacteria Cell Bacteria Cell + Turbulent Juice Tube A smarter bacteria than its predecessor. Both
19 Dark Energy Ball Fleeb + Bacteria Cell Repels matter with a dark force. Both
20 Courier Flap Battery + Motherboard + Mutant Bacteria Cell Takes you back to the Citadel. Campaign
21 Microverse Battery Supercharged Battery + Motherboard + Dark Matter Balle A box of slavery with extra steps. Campaign
22 Dark Matter Ball Dark Energy Ball + Turbulent Juice Tube Emits a strong gravitational pull. Campaign
23 Motherboard Battery + Circuit Board + Cable An ideal base for complex electronics. Campaign
24 Dog Collar Cable + Tin Can Not just for dogs! Campaign
25 Love Potion Purified Fleeb + Mutant Bacteria Cell Move things outside of “friend zone”. Campaign
26 Robot Supercharged Battery + Motherboard Can be programmed for good or evil. Campaign
27 Butter Robot Robot + Tin Can Why reach for the butter yourself? Campaign
28 Gwendolyn Doll Robot + Love Potion Will keep you company, always. Campaign
29 Time Crystal Purified Fleeb + Dark Energy Ball Splits time into multiple zones. Campaign
30 Time Stabilizing Collar Time Crystal + Dog Collar Merges multiple time zones into one. Campaign
31 Interdimensional Cable Box Supercharged Battery + Motherboard + Time Crystal Watch TV from any dimension. Campaign
32 Neutrino Bomb Supercharged Battery + Motherboard + Dark Energy Ball Kills all living things. (Stand back.) Campaign
33 Interdimensional Goggles Supercharged Battery + Time Crystal + Tin Can See through the eyes of another you. Campaign
34 IQ-Enhancing Helmet Supercharged Battery + Motherboard + Turbulent Juice Tube Boosts the wearer’s IQ considerably. Campaign
35 Roy VR Headset Interdimensional Goggles + IQ-Enhancing Helmet How far can you take Rocket Roy? Campaign

That’s it for our guide to Pocket Mortys crafting! Check out some of our other game guides below.

Android Authority

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System on a chip guide – Spring 2015

Soc ARM future

Many of this year’s flagship smartphones will soon be upon us and most of the industry’s big system on a chip manufacturers have already announced new designs to power this year’s handsets. Our latest system on a chip guide aims to help you pin down what you can expect from these new devices, or alternatively what SoCs you should look out for if you’re after certain features.

More 64-bit Snapdragons

Qualcomm has released its first high-end 64-bit SoC, the much talked about Snapdragon 810, and has also recently announced some impressive looking revisions to its mid and low tier chips. Just as with previous years, Qualcomm is likely to be powering a huge percentage of new mobile products this year.

Let’s start with the flagship 810. The move to 64-bit sees Qualcomm drop its custom Krait CPU cores in favor of ARM’s reference high performance Cortex-A57 and energy efficiency Cortex-A53. These are arranged in the familiar 4xA57 and 4xA53 big.LITTLE configuration, which is now the staple of flagship SoCs, as you will see throughout our list. You can read more about these CPU core designs here.

Although the basic components may sound familiar, the Snapdragon 810 also has a few unique features of its own. These include, dual channel 1555MHz LPDDR4 RAM memory, Qualcomm’s own optimized multi-core task scheduling, and the move to more energy efficient 20nm manufacturing. Qualcomm also has its 2xA57 + 4xA53 Snapdragon 808 listed on its website, but we haven’t heard anything about upcoming products.

  Snapdragon 810 Snapdragon 808 Snapdragon 805
Core Count 8 6 4
CPU 4x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex-A53 (ARMv8-A) 2x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex A53 (ARMv8-A) 4x Krait 450 (ARMv7-A)
Memory 2x 1555MHz LPDDR4 (25.6GBps) 2x 933MHz LPDDR3 (12.8GBps) 2x 800MHz LPDDR3 (25.6GBps)
GPU Adreno 430 Adreno 418 Adreno 420
Data Cat 9 LTE Cat 9 LTE Cat 4 LTE
Process 20nm 20nm 28nm

Despite some industry reservations regarding the chip’s performance, extensive early benchmarks place the chip pretty much where you would expect. The common Cortex-A57 and A53 CPU setup closely matches what we have seen from Samsung’s similar chip, and Qualcomm’s new high-end Adreno 430 GPU again steps ahead of the competition.

Snapdragon 810 T Rex OffscreenSnapdragon 810 Basemark Overall

However, there are still a few question marks left hanging over the Snapdragon 810. Firstly, despite supporting LPDDR4 memory, benchmarking showed mixed results and no real performance edge over older memory designs. Secondly, the GPU benchmark results suggest that performance has been beefed up in some areas but not others, meaning that performance may not always exceed the Snapdragon 805’s Adreno 420. And smooth 4K performance is still a long way off.

Overall, the Snapdragon 810 looks to be a decent offering but only really serves to keep up with existing 64-bit SoCs. It isn’t going to be a far superior performer to other high-end SoCs already on the market.

Moving on, Qualcomm also recently announced four new 64-bit chips which will make up this year’s entries in the company’s mid-tier Snapdragon 600 and 400 ranges. The new Snapdragon 415 and 425 move the on up to an octa-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 configuration and will also feature faster LTE support and two ISPs. The eight Cortex-A53 and Adreno 405 setup will provide plenty of power for your day to day tasks, but will lack the raw grunt required for gaming and heavy duty tasks. Essentially, these chips are a direct replacement for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615.

  Snapdragon 620 Snapdragon 618 Snapdragon 425 Snapdragon 415
Core Count 8 6 8 8
CPU 4x 1.8GHz Cortex-A72 + 4x 1.2GHz Cortex A53 2x 1.8GHz Cortex-A72 + 4x 1.2GHz Cortex A53 8x 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 8x 1.4GHz Cortex-A53
Memory 2x 933MHz LPDDR3 2x 933MHz LPDDR3 933MHz LPDDR3 667MHz LPDDR3
GPU unknown Adreno unknown Adreno Adreno 405 Adreno 405
Data Cat 7 LTE Cat 7 LTE Cat 7 LTE Cat 4 LTE
Process 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm

More powerful mid-range handsets will likely turn to the Snapdragon 618 and 620, which feature four Cortex-A53s combined with either two or four of ARM’s latest Cortex-A72 CPU designs respectively. Despite the larger numbers, the A72 is not designed to offer substantially more performance than the A57, and actual performance should be rather comparable. Instead, the design looks to be more energy efficient. However, these SoCs will be built on a 28nm manufacturing process to bring them to market quicker. Therefore, performance and energy savings won’t quite live up to the peak numbers offered by ARM when it announced the 16nm design.

We can expect to see the Snapdragon 415 make an appearance within the next few months, while the 425, 618 and 620 won’t arrive in consumer products until much later in the year.

Samsung 14nm Exynos 7 Octa

Samsung was one of the first mobile SoC manufacturers to adopt ARM’s increasingly prevalent big.LITTLE multi-core architecture and the company has made big strides to implement improved heterogeneous multicore processing, thanks to global task scheduling, since then. The company was also one of the first to put out an ARMv8-A chip using the A57 and A53 CPU combo, which can be found inside the Exynos 5433 powered Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge.

A little while back, Samsung introduced its Exynos 7 Octa series. The company has been keeping the specifics of its Exynos 7 series under wraps, but the Exynos 7410, which is yet to debut in any products by name, appears to keep exactly the same configuration as the Exynos 5433. Samsung’s current setup pairs the CPU with ARM’s Mali-T760 MP6 GPU and LPDDR3 memory, and is also designed for a 20nm process.

14nm finfet samsung globalfoundries

Samsung will have the thinnest, high performance mobile SoC on the market with its 14nm Exynos 7 Octa.

More recently, Samsung announced a 14nm FinFET Exynos 7, expected to be named the Exynos 7420. Exact details of this chip have not been given either. It is highly likely that the chip will feature an almost identical makeup to Samsung’s current chip design, but will benefit from the increased energy efficiency of its 14nm design. Part for part, Samsung’s Exynos 7 will compete closely with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810, but the move to 14nm could give the chip a performance and/or battery life advantage.

Rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be powered exclusively by Samsung’s own chip this time around, but no-one knows for sure if this will be a 20nm or 14nm Exynos 7 Octa SoC. It likely all depends on how many small chips Samsung can produce in time for the handset’s launch.

Nvidia’s GPU powerhouse Tegra X1

Following a brief experiment with its own Denver CPU design, Nvidia is also jumping over to the ARMv8-A architecture with its latest 20nm Tegra X1 SoC. Again, we’re looking at a 4xA57 + 4xA53 CPU layout, combined with Nvidia’s latest Maxwell based GPU. While CPU performance is comparable to other products on the market, Nvidia claims to have doubled the GPU performance and halved the Tegra X1’s power requirements compared with the Tegra K1.

Tegra X1 benchmark

The Tegra X1 boasts substantial GPU gains over the already impressive Tegra K1.

The graphics giant also has a few additional tweaks to help make the Tegra X1 stand out above the competition. Nvidia has opted for its own custom interconnect, rather than ARM’s CCI-400, and cluster migration, rather than global task scheduling, which the company claims allows for more efficient process management across all eight cores. Cache coherence reduces the power/performance penalties usually associated with cluster migration, which could help boost CPU performance in certain scenarios.

Additionally, Nvidia has improved its in-house texture compression, supports eMMC 5.1 memory, and has implemented a 64-bit wide LPDDR4 memory interface to offer improved memory speeds. Although, we haven’t seen any benchmarks to judge the performance yet.

Nvidia is also making a big effort to rival Qualcomm’s media feature set this time. The Tegra X1 features 60fps 4K H.265, H.264, VP9 and VP8 video encode and decode and dual ISPs, which support 4096 focus points, 100 MP sensors and up to 6 camera inputs.

nvidia shield tablet first impressions (4 of 9)

Nvidia’s gaming devices are great, but the company needs more third party developers to use its chips.

Like its predecessors, the Tegra X1 is a media and gaming centric SoC at its core, and it likely destined for high performance tablets. Its impressive GPU architecture seems like the benchmark to beat in 2015, and could be making an appearance in some upcoming Nvidia gaming devices.


Media has not announced any new SoCs since last year, but already has a rather extensive range of 64-bit chips available for developers to use. We can almost certainly expect to see a large number of mid-tier smartphones powered by these chips this year.

The MT6752 and MT6795 are the company’s leading 64-bit octo-core SoCs. The former is built from eight Cortex-A53s, much like Qualcomm’s new 400 series SoCs, but features an ARM Mali-T760 GPU. However, this is only the MP2 version and doesn’t pack as much power as Samsung’s implementation. The MT6795 is a high-end 4xA57 + 4xA53 design, backed up with a mid-range PowerVR G6200 GPU.

  MT6795 MT6752 MT6735 MT6732
Core Count 8 8 4 4
CPU 4x 2.2GHz Cortex-A57 + 4x 1.7GHz Cortex A53 8x 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A53
Memory 2x 933MHz LPDDR3 (14.9 GB/sec) 1x 800MHz LPDDR3 (6.4 GB/sec) 1x 800MHz LPDDR3 (6.4 GB/sec) 1x 800MHz LPDDR3 (6.4 GB/sec)
GPU PowerVR G6200 Mali-T760 MP2 Mali-T720 MP4 Mali-T760 MP2
Data Cat 4 LTE Cat 4 LTE Cat 4 LTE Cat 4 LTE
Process 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm

This year, MediaTek has a new MT6735 on its way, which should appear in Q2 2015. The chip is a low-end, quad-core Cortex-A53 design paired up with a Mali-T720 MP4 GPU, which is definitely limited to the budget end of the market.

MediaTek’s big drive has been to compete with Qualcomm on radio technology and all of its ARMv8-A based chips feature integrated Category 4 LTE modems, which allow for peak download speeds of 150 Mbit/sand upload speeds of 50 Mbit/s.

This year MediaTek powered devices will be very capable in the CPU department, but are lagging behind premium-tier SoCs when it comes to GPU and memory technology.

Intel competes on price

Intel is still a minor player in the smartphone market, but 2015 is the year that the company’s major mobile plans will finally hit the market. Intel’s 22nm Merrifield Z3560 and Z3580 SoCs have found a home in the new Asus Zenfone 2, and Intel’s modem integrated SoFIA chips are also scheduled to appear in H1 2015.

asus zenfone 2 first look a (11 of 19)

The unbeatably priced Zenfone 2 suggests that Intel may now be heading in the right direction.

As well as finally bringing integrated HSPA+ and Category 4 LTE solutions to rival the competition, the SoFIA 3G and SoFIA LTE will also be adopting GPUs from ARM’s Mali range. The 3G SoFIA chip will feature a 22nm, 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z5210RK and Mali 450 MP4 clocked at 600 MHz.

The SoFIA LTE chip, which is also scheduled for a H1 release, will be built on Intel’s smaller 14nm process (Airmont CPU). The Atom Z5220’s CPU will come clocked at 1.4GHz and will be accompanied by a low-end Mali T720 MP2. The Cat 4 LTE functionality is taken from Intels’ XG726 modem. Both of these chips are clearly targeted at the mid to lower end of the market, but could offer some competition to MediaTek’s low-cost processors.

Intel 2015 mobile Roadmap

Intel is branching out into new mobile segments this year, but won’t be competing much with Qualcomm or Samsung flagships. Instead, its low-end SoFIA chips may give MediaTek something to think about.

For tablets, Intel’s 14nm Cherry Trail SoCs have already begun rolling off the production line. With low-cost smartphone markets showing the greatest growth recently, Intel may have finally found a way into the smartphone market with SoFIA and reasonably priced partners, like Asus. We’ll have to see if the company can capitalize on this opportunity.

Final thoughts

Overall, we aren’t looking at a massive jump in SoC CPU performance this year and the gap between low and high-end products is closing in this regard. However, the race to smaller manufacturing processes and more efficient big.LITTLE CPU designs could see a regeneration in battery longevity this year, which is an equally pleasing prospect. The demand for higher resolution display is being met with slightly more powerful GPU components, but no-one, apart from possibly Nvidia, looks capable of sailing through the 2K barrier without noticeable performance impacts just yet. Fortunately, ARM and Qualcomm already have next-gen GPU products in the works, but that’s looking a little too far into the future.

Android Authority

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