Samsung partnering with uBreakiFix for same-day Galaxy S9 repairs across the U.S.

This is so much better than sending your phone to Samsung.

Samsung is expanding its in-person smartphone customer service offerings with a new partnership with independent repair chain uBreakiFix. The new deal, which technically lands under the “Samsung Care” umbrella, guarantees that Samsung customers can visit any of uBreakiFix’s 300 U.S. stores for same-day repairs, including warranty service when applicable but also out-of-warranty fixes on older phones.

You may recall that uBreakiFix also has an ongoing partnership with Google to provide the same sort of service to Pixel buyers, but when you’re talking about the number of phones Samsung sells every year this is on an entirely different scale. Samsung says that all of its flagship Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones are supported back to the Galaxy S6 and Note 5, meaning you can easily get repairs done even on phones that are now three years old.

Getting a same-day fix with genuine Samsung parts is a critical improvement.

uBreakiFix’s partnership specifically covers basic repairs like cracked screens, rear glass damage, faulty ports, worn-out batteries and issues with the cameras. But obviously more advanced repairs can be handled on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity. Most importantly, this partnership certifies uBreakiFix stores to perform repairs the exact same way Samsung’s own repair centers would, including using proprietary tools and genuine Samsung parts — so you don’t have to worry about a bad repair shop making things worse with a shoddy fix.

This all works by scheduling an appointment at a local uBreakiFix store, and in a vast majority of cases the service can be handled the same day. That means you don’t have to worry about shipping out your device and being without a phone for several days while repairs are done, which is perhaps the biggest complaint about most phone manufacturers’ customer service.

Samsung says that on top of the current set of 300 stores, it’s working to expand that network by an additional 200 stores across the U.S. by early 2019.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

Verizon
AT&T
T-Mobile
Sprint

Press release:

Samsung Increases Customer Care Touchpoints Throughout the U.S.

  • Samsung Care Brings Same-Day In-Person Authorized Support to More Than 300 uBreakiFix Locations Nationwide, and Growing
  • Majority of Samsung Mobile Owners are Able to Get Authorized Care in Two Hours or Less

RIDGEFIELD PARK, NJ – March 14, 2018 – Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced it is bringing same-day, in-person authorized service to Galaxy phone owners nationwide.

Starting on March 15, Samsung customers are able to bring in their Galaxy mobile devices to more than 300 Samsung Care authorized uBreakiFix service locations in the U.S. for same-day support, and within two hours or less for most repairs. Samsung has plans to continue to expand the program across the country throughout 2018.

Galaxy owners can easily schedule an appointment at one of the Samsung Care authorized uBreakiFix service locations nationwide online, or simply drop off their device without an appointment. All Samsung Care authorized uBreakiFix service locations use genuine Samsung parts, proprietary Samsung tools for the repairs, and conduct repairs by Samsung certified pros.

“At Samsung, our goal is to provide Samsung Galaxy owners with a customer first care experience that is as innovative as our products,” said Michael Lawder, Senior Vice President of Customer Care at Samsung Electronics America. “This announcement marks a fundamental shift in our care offerings to consumers and underscores our commitment to provide Samsung customers with support anywhere, anytime our customers need it.”

The Samsung Care authorized uBreakiFix service locations are in all major U.S. metro areas and reach the majority of the continental U.S. population. By early 2019, Samsung and uBreakiFix plan to add nearly 200 more Samsung Care authorized uBreakiFix service locations to expand customer reach.

The Samsung Care authorized service locations will provide front and back screen replacements, battery replacements, port and camera repairs, and other in and out-of-warranty support services to the following Samsung phones:

  • Galaxy S9 and S9+
  • Galaxy S8 and S8+
  • Galaxy S7 and S7 edge
  • Galaxy S6 and S6+
  • Galaxy Note8 and Note5

To learn more about Samsung Care’s efforts, visit Samsung.com/us/support, or to schedule an appointment at a Samsung Care authorized uBreakiFix service location visit Samsung.com/us/support/ubreakifix. For more information about uBreakiFix, please visit ubreakifix.com/samsung.

BLUBOO S2 To Ship With Accessories For Its Rotating Camera

BLUBOO has just sent us some more info regarding its newly-announced BLUBOO S2 handset. The BLUBOO S2 was announced during this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, which took place last month, and its main feature is the rotating camera BLUBOO included. The phone’s rear-facing camera can be flipped around in order to act as a front-facing snapper, as the phone does not sport a separate front-facing camera.

Having said that, in order to improve the user experience, BLUBOO has introduced some camera accessories to go along with this phone. These accessories are basically attachments for the camera, which come in different shapes and sizes, and by attaching one of these to the phone’s camera, you will be able to flip the camera around without a problem with one finger. Now, you will not be required to buy these camera accessories separately, as they do come in the retail packaging, along with the device, so don’t worry about that. If you’d like to take a closer look at what we’re talking about there, check out the provided images in the gallery down below. Now, as far as the device itself is concerned, it does not sport a notch, as many other Chinese handsets do, and bezels on this smartphone are quite thin as well. The thickest bezel on the BLUBOO S2 is the bottom one, and it’s only a little bit thicker than the phone’s side and top bezels.

This handset features a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, while its display sports rounded corners. The BLUBOO S2 comes with a 6-inch fullHD+ (2160 x 1080) display, and a 4,300mAh non-removable battery. Android 8.1 Oreo comes out of the box here, while that camera that we talked about houses a 21-megapixel sensor by Sony. The phone itself is made out of metal, and the rotating camera mechanism is good for up to 100,000 uses, says the company. BLUBOO did not release the BLUBOO S2’s full spec sheet, but we’ll probably get more info regarding this smartphone in the near future, as the phone is expected to become available for purchase in the coming weeks, though we still do not know when exactly.


How to shoot better slow motion video at 120fps, 240fps, and 960fps

Know when to go slow and when to go really slow when you’re taking slo-mo video.

Not too long ago you needed very expensive cameras and equally expensive desktop software to produce a good slow-motion video. Now we can grab slow-motion capture at up to 960 frames per second from a smartphone, and that means we can shoot video that’s about 32-times slower than real life. Isn’t technology grand? We don’t need to know how to build a smartphone that can shoot super slow-motion video or how the internal software works to use it, but it’s a good idea to know a little bit about the things you can do to make it better. Or worse.

The Galaxy S9+ can shoot slow-motion video at 240 fps (frames per second) in 1080p, or 960 fps in 720p. Sony’s latest, the Xperia XZ2, can shoot 960 fps video at 1080p! We expect to see a lot more companies building phones with cameras that can tackle the super slo-mo so no matter which brand you prefer you’ll probably get the feature. It sounds really cool, and it can be once you get a little bit of practice in and remember a few things about when it’s best to use it versus the still-impressive 240 fps slow-motion feature.

Resolution

Resolution is the biggest difference on paper, and the easiest to remember because the results are right there in front of you when you play it back. Super slo-mo shoots at 960 fps, but can only do so for less than a second (0.2 seconds in the Galaxy S9+) but that translates into about 6.5 seconds when you play it back at normal speeds. While that’s awesome, there are times when a 720p video just won’t cut it.

Don’t let 6 seconds of 720p footage ruin your video. If it will be a jarring switch, shoot at 240 fps instead.

The thing you’ll be playing the video back with very likely has a very high resolution. A computer monitor, television, or even the display on your smartphone falls into this category. You have to decide if 6 seconds of 720p footage right in the middle of an FHD video is going to work. The best way to decide is by trial and error.

Take your phone and shoot some video of anything that’s moving as a test. Play it back on the phone and upload it to YouTube where you can watch it on a bigger display so you get a feel for the way the switch to 720p looks when you’re watching. It can work sometimes, especially if you’re going to be editing the final product, but other times it isn’t going to cut it and the FHD 240 fps capture will work better, even if the footage isn’t quite as slow-motion.

Keeping the phone still

Slow-motion video is a bit blurry. It’s difficult for even the most expensive cameras to capture high-speed video and still get a great sharp image because it’s next to impossible to take enough samples to fine tune the focus. It’s not too bad looking, and it can even add to the effect, but only if it’s done right.

In this case, done right means the camera is held perfectly still. Especially if you’re going to use the Automatic capture feature in the Galaxy S9+, where it detects motion and grabs the super slo-mo footage when it sees something moving. Keeping your camera perfectly still is important.

Even the tiniest bit of shaking in your hands can look like an earthquake when you slow it down by a factor of 32.

In fact, it’s important enough to invest in a tripod or gimbal if you plan to shoot a lot of super slo-mo video. With the right equipment your phone can take some amazingly great video footage, and investing in some gear to make better use of it isn’t a bad idea at all.

We really like the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal here. it can account for any small hand motions (the smallest shake goes on f-o-r-e-v-e-r when shooting at 960fps) and can be programmed to enhance your video with other effects through the mobile app. It’s a handheld, but you can pick up a number of attachments that will let you place it on a flat surface on a tripod. And best of all, the $130 price is a lot cheaper than some others out there.

If you don’t have a way to keep your phone still while taking slo-mo video, shoot it at 240 fps if the video needs to be stable and level.

See at B&H photo

Know your lights

Lighting is the biggest thing to consider when you’re taking any photo or video. You need the right light in the right amount to properly expose whatever it is in front of the lens, and when shooting at high speeds you get another factor in the mix: pulse modulation.

We can see more things when they are slowed down. things like blinking lights.

Pulse modulation is how fluorescent lights and LED’s “work”. A “regular” light bulb has a filament inside of it that’s superheated in a sealed glass globe. It gets so hot it emits bright light and the sealed environment keeps it from catching fire and lets it last longer. It’s also a steady emission — it gets hot, puts out light, and stays in that state until you turn off the electricity and it cools down.

Fluorescent lamps are driven by a ballast that pulses high voltage through the contacts. This ionizes a small amount of metal (usually a mercury-based metal which is why you should never handle a broken fluorescent lamp) and causes it to emit a lot of UV radiation (the harmless type). A phosphor-based coating on the inside of the glass converts the UV radiation into visible spectrum radiation, which is light. Hot cathode fluorescents work a little differently and need a long arc to cause vapor in the sealed lamp to glow, but when it comes to the timing they are both the same — they turn on and off about 60 times each second.

LEDs use a driver to apply current to the leads of the lamp, and this causes electrons to move in a semiconductor inside the LED. When the right amount of current is applied, the electrons are converted into photons, which are tiny rays of light. Fluorescent lamps and LEDs don’t work quite the same way, but they have one thing in common: they aren’t a steady light source. LEDs can have an on/off cycle as slow as two times per second.

240 fps will make fluorescent lights and LEDs blink, but a lot less than 960 fps will. It makes a big difference.

This doesn’t matter to our eyes because we can’t see the darkness between pulses when they are that fast. But when you slow down your video by shooting at a very high frame rate, you see it in the end result. Sometimes, it can be so bad it ruins the footage. Shooting video under a normal fluorescent lamp at 240 fps the lamp “blinks” 7 times per second. Shooting at 960 fps it blinks a little less than 2 times per second. That’s easy to see, and there’s no way to edit it out.

Ideally, you want to shoot outside in the sun or using old-fashioned filament lighting. But if you can’t do that and are shooting video under fluorescent lights or LEDs, shoot at 240 fps to minimize the flickering.


The most important thing to know is that it gets better with practice, and practicing is pretty fun. Shoot video of all kinds of things and have fun while you’re figuring it all out!

Xiaomi Redmi 5 launches in India: Everything you need to know

Xiaomi’s latest budget phone brings the 18:9 form factor at an even more affordable price point.

After launching the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro in India last month, Xiaomi is now introducing an entry-level option in the Redmi series that brings the 18:9 form factor to an even more affordable price point. The Redmi 5 comes with a 5.7-inch HD+ (1440×720) 18:9 display and is powered by the Snapdragon 450 chipset. The phone is set to go on sale starting March 20 for just ₹7,999 ($125).

The Redmi 5 is in fact the smaller variant of the Redmi Note 5, which is sold as the Redmi 5 Plus in China. As such, the phone shares the same design aesthetic as the Redmi Note 5 series. Here’s what you need to know about the Redmi 5 in India.

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Specs

Category Features
Operating System MIUI 9.2 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Display 5.7-inch 18:9 HD+ (1440×720) IPS LCD panel
282ppi pixel density
Corning Gorilla Glass
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 1.8GHz
14nm
GPU Adreno 506 with Vulkan API, OpenCL 2.0, and OpenGL ES 3.1
650MHz
RAM 2GB/3GB/4GB
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB
microSD slot up to 128GB
Rear camera 12MP with 1.25um pixel size and f/2.2 lens
PDAF, LED flash
1080p video recording
Front shooter 5MP with LED Selfie light
1080p video recording
Beautify 3.0
Connectivity LTE with VoLTE
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, GLONASS
Micro-USB, 3.5mm audio jack, IR blaster
Networks LTE: 1/3/5/40/41
GSM: 2/3/5/8
WCDMA: 1/2/5/8
Battery 3300mAh battery
Fast charging (5V/2A)
Fingerprint Rear fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 151.8 x 72.8 x 7.7mm
Weight 157g
Colors Gold, Rose Gold, Blue, Black

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Price in India

Xiaomi is going to sell the Redmi 5 in three variants in India, with prices starting off at just ₹7,999. That’s for the model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Here’s the breakdown of pricing of the Redmi 5 in India:

  • 2GB + 16GB: ₹7,999 ($125)
  • 3GB + 32GB: ₹8,999 ($140)
  • 4GB + 64GB: ₹10,999 ($170)

The Redmi 5 will go on sale starting March 20 at Xiaomi’s own portal as well as Amazon India and Mi Home retail stores across the country. Xiaomi has also stated that the Redmi 5 will go on sale through its offline partners in the coming weeks.

See at Amazon

Xiaomi Redmi 5 vs. Redmi Note 5

Xiaomi sells a lot of phones in the budget segment, creating a lot of overlap between models. The 2GB variant of the Redmi 5 is enticing considering it costs a mere ₹7,999, but it doesn’t make as much sense to go for the 32GB or 64GB models considering the Redmi Note 5 costs just ₹1,000 more.

The 32GB Redmi Note 5 is available for ₹9,999 ($155), and the 64GB model with 4GB of RAM is retailing for ₹11,999 ($185).

With the Redmi Note 5, you’re getting a larger 5.99-inch display with a resolution of 2160×1080, Snapdragon 625, and a huge 4000mAh battery that easily lasts two days on a full charge. Seeing as how it is just ₹1,000 more than the Redmi 5, the larger Redmi Note 5 is a much better option if you’re in the market for a new budget device.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review: The best just got better

Amazon issues recall for 260,000 power banks due to overheating concerns

Most retail stores have their own off-brand versions of popular products. Amazon is no different with its own Amazon Basics initiative, which is basically the retail giant’s equivalent of a store brand.

Well if you purchased one of the power banks sold by Amazon Basics, then you should know the company this week issued a recall for these products due to overheating risks.

These power banks are affordable options that many users may have purchased to charge their Android smartphones and tablets on the go.

Amazon’s power banks might not be safe to use

Amazon is targeting 260,000 units including the 16,100 mAh, 10,000 mAh, 5,600 mAh, 3,000 mAh and 2,000 mAh capacity models. So far Amazon received to 53 reports of defective power banks, that in some unfortunate cases, even led to chemical burns and property damage.

One of the affected units

Some units are apparently leaking liquid. If this is happening to your battery you shouldn’t touch it because the battery acid could easily lead to skin burns.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission already set up a page for the recall. So we can see the batteries were made in China by Guoguang Electric Company Ltd.

If the product ID number printed on the back is one of the following, you should unplug the power bank immediately and contact Amazon to get a full refund.

  • B00LRK8EVO,
  • B00LRK8HJ8,
  • B00LRK8I7O
  • B00LRK8IV0
  • B00LRK8JDC
  • B00ZQ4JQAA

Amazon is also sending out emails to customers who might have purchased these faulty units.

Amazon has been selling these products on Amazon.com, Amazon Bookstore and Amazon Pop-Up Stores from December 2014 through July 2017 for between $9 to $40.

Another affected unit

In case you’ve purchased one of these batteries, but you haven’t been contacted by Amazon yet, you can follow this link to Amazon’s recall site and register to get a refund for your purchase. And remember, unplug the product as soon as possible, to avoid any inconveniences!

US Consumer Product Safety Commission

Lenovo Exec Outs New Details About Lenovo’s Upcoming S5

Lenovo Group VP Chang Cheng has returned to the Chinese social network Weibo with new details about the Lenovo S5, including a new render of the front panel. This is actually the third time Cheng has taken to Weibo to unveil more information, including a post just about a week ago. However, there still isn’t much information available about the device itself. Even the render used in this promotional post doesn’t show too much detail about what the device will look like. In any case, this latest post reveals that the device will ship with a “full screen” in a uniform, all-metal frame. Although this isn’t guaranteed, full screen is generally used in Asian markets to describe an almost bezel-free design with a screen ratio of 18:9. So, that’s likely the case here. Meanwhile, the newly revealed device features also include a dual-camera setup, face unlock features, and built-in secure payment. The new promotional teaser also touts the same launch date set in earlier posts from the exec, March 20.

Previous “leaks” from Cheng provide a bit more insight still. The Lenovo S5 is said to ship with a massive 6,000mAh-rated battery inside. Optimized correctly, that should be more than enough to last several days on end or provide at least 10 hours of on-screen time. It will also arrive with some form of artificial intelligence built into the system, but it isn’t immediately clear whether or not the includes an Assistant-like functionality or something closer to HTC’s Sense Companion. It may even encompass something closer to what Huawei has on offer with its Kirin 970 SoC – where the A.I. manages the chipset and device optimization to provide a smoother, better-performing experience over time. It will also ship in a red-colored variation, though that won’t necessarily be the only color available. If Cheng’s previously offered clues about performance are any indication, the package will be powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC or better, backed by around 4GB of RAM.

With only around a week to go before this handset is set to launch, there’s not a high likeliness that these specs will turn out to be incorrect – with the exception of the Lenovo S5 SoC and RAM. However, this should probably still be taken with a grain of salt and there is still plenty of information left to be revealed. Aside from that, it remains to be seen what this Lenovo smartphone will actually look like. Thankfully, there’s not much time left to wait.

The post Lenovo Exec Outs New Details About Lenovo’s Upcoming S5 appeared first on AndroidHeadlines.com |.

Lenovo Exec Outs New Details About Lenovo’s Upcoming S5

Lenovo Group VP Chang Cheng has returned to the Chinese social network Weibo with new details about the Lenovo S5, including a new render of the front panel. This is actually the third time Cheng has taken to Weibo to unveil more information, including a post just about a week ago. However, there still isn’t much information available about the device itself. Even the render used in this promotional post doesn’t show too much detail about what the device will look like. In any case, this latest post reveals that the device will ship with a “full screen” in a uniform, all-metal frame. Although this isn’t guaranteed, full screen is generally used in Asian markets to describe an almost bezel-free design with a screen ratio of 18:9. So, that’s likely the case here. Meanwhile, the newly revealed device features also include a dual-camera setup, face unlock features, and built-in secure payment. The new promotional teaser also touts the same launch date set in earlier posts from the exec, March 20.

Previous “leaks” from Cheng provide a bit more insight still. The Lenovo S5 is said to ship with a massive 6,000mAh-rated battery inside. Optimized correctly, that should be more than enough to last several days on end or provide at least 10 hours of on-screen time. It will also arrive with some form of artificial intelligence built into the system, but it isn’t immediately clear whether or not the includes an Assistant-like functionality or something closer to HTC’s Sense Companion. It may even encompass something closer to what Huawei has on offer with its Kirin 970 SoC – where the A.I. manages the chipset and device optimization to provide a smoother, better-performing experience over time. It will also ship in a red-colored variation, though that won’t necessarily be the only color available. If Cheng’s previously offered clues about performance are any indication, the package will be powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC or better, backed by around 4GB of RAM.

With only around a week to go before this handset is set to launch, there’s not a high likeliness that these specs will turn out to be incorrect – with the exception of the Lenovo S5 SoC and RAM. However, this should probably still be taken with a grain of salt and there is still plenty of information left to be revealed. Aside from that, it remains to be seen what this Lenovo smartphone will actually look like. Thankfully, there’s not much time left to wait.

The post Lenovo Exec Outs New Details About Lenovo’s Upcoming S5 appeared first on AndroidHeadlines.com |.

[Update: Google is working on a fix] Downloading Motion Photos via Google’s Backup and Sync is broken for some

For many people, especially those of us here at Android Police, Google’s various backup tools are an integral part of our daily workflow. Frankly, I’d have to entirely restructure how I do things without the convenience of Google Photos and Google Drive/Backup and Sync.

Read More

[Update: Google is working on a fix] Downloading Motion Photos via Google’s Backup and Sync is broken for some was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Google’s bringing free, high-speed Wi-Fi to 60+ locations across Mexico

Over 100 areas will be supported by the end of 2018.

After launching first in India and Indonesia, Google is now bringing its Google Station program to Mexico.

Google Station launched back in 2015, and its goal is to offer people Internet access that’s fast, free, and reliable. Google says it’ll first be rolling out its Station hotspots across 60 different venues in Mexico, including malls, airports, and public transit stations, but it hopes to expand this to over 100 locations by the end of 2018.

Stations will be available both in Mexico City and across the rest of the country, and Google’s partnering with local Wi-Fi provider Sitwifi to make this possible.

Although data plans for cell phone service are more affordable than ever in Mexico, Google says “access to information is still a challenge for many” in Mexico. Considering that Mexico is the third-highest Internet-dependent country in all of Latin America, this is big news.

Per Google’s announcement post:

Mexico is the first country in Latin America to launch Google Station, and the third country globally, after India and Indonesia. Google Station can be found in Mexico City and 44 more cities in the country, so if you’re near one of the locations, go watch a high-quality video (or maybe save some YouTube offline for later)!

Google’s free public Wi-Fi is now available at 100 railway stations across India

The Fitbit Versa looks like the true successor to the Pebble Time Steel

When Fitbit acquired Pebble back in 2016, we all practically assumed that Pebble’s design would find its way into Fitbit’s plans. When the Fitbit Ionic was announced there was a lot of pushback due to the odd design.

However, it seems that we are finally getting the Pebble Time Steel successor we wanted with the Fitbit Versa. The new smartwatch was announced earlier today, and features a spec sheet and design that could turn a lot of heads.

The Versa features a rounded, but square, display, which is equipped with 1,000nits of brightness. All this means is that you should have no issues interacting with your new Fitbit smartwatch in the bright sunlight.

Other features include the ability to download up to 300 songs directly from Deezer (why?), along with built-in compatibility with Pandora music. You will also be able to pair your favorite Bluetooth headphones to the Versa, so you can listen to music straight from the watch.

On the battery side of things, Fitbit is claiming that the Versa will hold a charge for up to 4 days while being able to be recharged fully in just two hours. The final major feature may be a great thing for those in Europe, and an annoying one here in the States.

Fitbit announced that the Versa being launched in Europe will ship with a built-in NFC chip for Fitbit Pay. However, those in the US will have to shell out a few extra bucks for the Fitbit Versa Special Edition.

Pricing for the Versa begins at $200 here in the States, while the NFC-enabled Special Edition brand is priced at $229.95. Fitbit is also launching an array of accessories, including various bands, starting at $29.99 and going up to $99.99.

The Fitbit Versa will launch at various retailers starting in April. However, you can head over to Fitbit’s website and pre-order the new smartwatch starting today. Hit the button below to learn more and let us know what you think about the Versa.

Pre-order the Fitbit Versa