Author: Chris Barraclough

Sony Xperia XA1 Plus Camera Review

We test drive the 23-megapixel camera on Sony’s mighty Xperia XA1 Plus, a mid-range mobile that can capture detail-packed photos and Full HD video without breaking the bank.
One of our favourite affordable phones of 2017 is Sony’s Xperia XA1[1], a well…

Cellnet Review

How to add more storage to the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones are serious media machines, yet the lack of expandable storage means you could run out of space if you shoot a lot of 4K video, or download a big selection of movies. Thankfully there are solutions to that lack of microSD memory card support.

The mighty new Pixel 2 XL[1] might be a bit of a beast, packing a 6-inch OLED screen, powerful 12-megapixel camera[2] and premium specs. Yet there’s one simple little thing that you won’t find hidden away anywhere on Google’s big blower: a microSD memory card slot.

No expandable storage on the XL, or indeed the standard Pixel 2, means you’ll need to be careful with that internal storage. Thankfully Google has been kind enough to stuff a minimum of 64GB of space inside these mobiles, although that’ll soon fill up if you shoot a lot of 4K home movies or try downloading lots of media and apps.

Read next: How to free up storage space on your phone[3]

So what happens when that storage begins to run out? You can always clear the cache using Android Oreo’s handy one-tap feature, inside of the storage options. That’s simply a quick fix however; a band aid to stop a gushing wound.

Luckily there are ways of dealing with the limited storage of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Here’s our guide to adding more space to your Google handset, using external drives, WiFi storage, adapters and more.

Check out our Google Pixel 2 hub[4] for all of our how to guides and features on the new handsets, including our in-depth Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL tips and tricks[5].

How to expand the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL’s storage space: USB Type-C drives

External Type-C USB drives which support Android phones can be plugged directly into your Pixel 2’s charging port, to immediately expand the space on offer. This can then be used to transfer files to and from your handset on the fly, simply by connecting them.

Sandisk[6] offers portable USB Type-C flash drives that work with phones, along with other manufacturers of course. We like the Sandisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C, which may lack an exciting name and yet delivers solid performance. These drives come in flavours of up to 128GB, which can be read at speeds of 150MB/s thanks to that Type-C technology.

How to expand the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL’s storage space: WiFi drives

Wireless streaming from a WiFi-ready hard drive is another possible solution, and more convenient than using a cabled drive. This works particularly well if you want to carry a massive collection of movies and music, to share between two or more users at once.

Manufacturers like Seagate and Sandisk offer WiFi drives that can broadcast their own private wireless network and stream video and audio content direct to mobile devices.

One example is Seagate’s Wireless Plus drive (1TB or 2TB of storage for £120 or £160). This slender device can be used to transfer files back and forth from your Pixel 2 phone, or stream three different HD films to three different portable devices, to keep everyone in your clan happy.

Buffalo’s MiniStation Air 2 is another solid choice, offering up to 1TB of extra storage for carrying around a massive media collection.

How to expand the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL’s storage space: microSD memory card adapters

While the Pixel 2 phones shun microSD memory cards in their standard form, you can add a slot by purchasing third-party memory card adapters. These handy adapters plug into the Google phones’ Type-C USB port, and then all you need to do is slip a microSD card inside and it should be recognised by your Pixel.

One example is the HyperDrive USB Type-C Adapter[7]. This supports full-sized SD cards as well as microSD, plus it adds on a full-sized USB port for attaching a flash drive at the same time. Storage coming out of the wazoo.

How to expand the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL’s storage space: Look to the cloud

If you own a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, the good news is you get unlimited space on Google Drive for the photos and movies you shoot on the phone. That includes uploads at full, lossless quality.

Of course, this generous limitless storage doesn’t extend to your other files, including music and films. Google Drive does deliver limited space for these things, while you can pay to get more storage.

Thankfully you can also create your own cloud storage at home, using a NAS drive. Check Amazon for affordable NAS solutions, which connect to your home WiFi and can be accessed from anywhere in the world – providing you have an internet connection.

References

  1. ^ Pixel 2 XL (recombu.com)
  2. ^ 12-megapixel camera (recombu.com)
  3. ^ How to free up storage space on your phone (recombu.com)
  4. ^ Google Pixel 2 hub (recombu.com)
  5. ^ Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL tips and tricks (recombu.com)
  6. ^ Sandisk (www.sandisk.co.uk)
  7. ^ HyperDrive USB Type-C Adapter (www.hypershop.com)
Cellnet Review

Samsung Galaxy A5 2018 in a nutshell: Rumours, leaks and what to expect

If you can’t afford the super-premium Galaxy S8 or Galaxy Note 8, you might want to hang on for the new Samsung Galaxy A5 2018. This slick-looking mid-range mobile costs a lot less than Samsung’s top-end smartphones, yet offers solid specs, strong camera tech and a gorgeous edge-to-edge screen; if the leaks and rumours are to be believed.

As much as we love Sammy’s flagship devices, it’s hard to justify those steep asking prices on an honest working wage. Especially when all you really want is respectable performance, a dependable camera and – maybe – a phone that won’t make you blush when you yank it out in public.

Which is why Samsung’s Galaxy A-series smartphones are so great. These mid-range handsets cost about half as much as the premium stuff, yet some of that slick design work trickles down, along with many of the great software features.

The Galaxy A5 2017[1] was launched just before the S8, back at the beginning of the year. The A5 is the piggy-in-the-middle of the A-series phones, sat between the Galaxy A3[2] and Galaxy A7[3] in terms of size as well as specs.

This year we were treated to a gorgeous 5.2-inch AMOLED display, slick performance and a solid 16-megapixel camera, all wrapped in a good-looking glass and metal frame. On the flip side, the A5 2017 was outdone in the specs department by some rivals, while a lack of Android Nougat and 4K video recording also jarred.

Good news though, Galaxy fans. Samsung appears to be going all out for the Galaxy A5 2018, which retains that low asking price while serving up that drool-worthy edge-to-edge design of the S8.

Leaks so far definitely have us looking forward to the A5 2018’s launch, shortly after the new year. Here’s what we know so far, and check out our Galaxy A-series coverage from 2017 below.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2017 vs A5 2017 vs A7 2017[4]

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 tips and tricks guide[5]

Samsung Galaxy A5 vs Galaxy S7, what’s the difference?[6]

Samsung Galaxy A5 2018 release date and price

Samsung seems to stick quite strictly to its launch schedule, as long as extraneous circumstances don’t mess things up. In other words, it’s pretty easy to predict when the Korean giant is likely to launch its next set of phones.

We’re already excited about the official unveiling of the Galaxy S9[7], which is expected to drop in March of 2018. The Galaxy A-Series normally launches even earlier in the year, around the start of February. So you can expect to hear the full skinny on the Galaxy A5 2018 just a month or two into the new year.

What about the UK asking price? Well, there’s no word on that so far, although the current handset was £399 SIM-free when it first hit stores. We’re fully expecting the 2018 model to sport a similar price tag, to undercut the likes of the OnePlus 5.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2018 Specs and features

Despite sporting a relatively low asking price, the Galaxy A5 always sports some slick features and decent specs. Here’s what we think we know so far, from various leaks and web rumours.

What processor will the Galaxy A5 2018 use?

Early reports suggest that Samsung’s new mid-range mobile will rock the manufacturer’s own Exynos 7885 chipset. For our more tech-inclined readers, this 10nm chip is a hexa-core platform, which should offers slick everyday performance and smooth multi-tasking when running two apps side-by-side.

We’re also fully expecting 4GB of RAM to be on board, which is backed up by recent leaks. That should assist nicely in keeping the A5 2018’s performance smooth.

Will the Galaxy A5 2018 use a dual lens camera?

Samsung finally jumped on board the dual lens camera bandwagon with the Galaxy Note 8, launched towards the end of 2017. However, this premium handset will remain the sole double-vision Samsung snapper, for the foreseeable future.

Leaked renders of the Galaxy A5 2018 show just a single, centrally-positioned camera lens housed on the back of the phone. We’re not sure what the megapixel count will be, or which sensor will be on-board. However, you can certainly expect a camera that performs admirably across a range of conditions, even in quite low light, if the A5 2017’s camera[8] is anything to go by. We’re also hoping for 4K resolution video recording, something that so far has been missing.

Some rumours suggested we’d get a dual lens selfie camera on the A5 2017, yet leaked renders suggest that’s unlikely. The next time we’ll see a dual lens Samsung smartphone camera could be the A7 2018, although we’re expecting to wait until the Galaxy S9.

Will the Galaxy A5 2018 use Android Oreo?

The strange thing about Samsung’s A-series phones is the way they seem to be one behind as far as Android versions are concerned. Last year’s Galaxy A5 shipped with Android Marshmallow, even though Nougat had been around for a few months at the time of release. Likewise, we’re expecting Nougat to come packed onto the A5 2018. An Oreo update is more than likely, although you might have to wait a while.

Edge-to-edge display

One of the biggest changes in the new Galaxy A5 2018 will be that Infinity Display design, which has migrated from Samsung’s flagship devices to the mid-range.

The new A5 will therefore boast a bigger 5.5-inch panel, squeezed into a chassis that’s the same size as the 5.2-inch Galaxy A5 2017. That’s made possible thanks to the seriously slender bezels surrounding the screen.

You can also expect the fingerprint sensor to shift to the back, to free up space around the front. Renders show this scanner housed just beneath the camera lens, which means it should be easier to locate than the Galaxy S8’s awkward sensor.

Any other leaked specs?

Recent leaks have also pointed to 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD. It also looks like the Galaxy A5 2018 will sport a dedicated Bixby button on the side, just like the flagship phone. Good news if you actually like Bixby (which to be fair is at least available in the UK now).

Read next: Best Samsung phones right now[9]