Everything you need to know about exchanging your Note7 for a Google Pixel

Owners of the Galaxy Note7 are in a dreadful position. Samsung discontinued the $850 phone Tuesday after weeks of disaster: Some handsets overheated and exploded, the company tried to replace them, and then the new devices suffered the same problems.

Simply put, it’s now irresponsible, even dangerous, to own a Note7. Now comes the task of replacing it, which isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Samsung’s device was basically unrivaled on Android swapping the Note7 with another handset right now means downgrading. Say you sold your old phone to finance the Note7 or simply haven’t upgraded your device in a number of years: You’re stuck blowing your upgrade on a device that’s worse than the one you were promised.

Unless you wait and get a Google Pixel XL.

A Pixel XL, you say?

Indeed. Google’s upcoming flagship phone sounds like a great replacement for the Note7 if you can wait for it to drop. There’s a smaller version called the Pixel, but if you had a Note7, chances are you’ll dig the beefier XL.

Image: Jason Henry/Mashable

We’ll get to the specs in a second, but if you already know you want a Pixel XL, just be aware that you’ll be tapping your feet for at least nine days, or possibly up to six weeks, depending on how you choose to buy it.

The shortest path to the Pixel XL is through Verizon, Google’s exclusive launch partner for the device. As of Tuesday, Verizon promises to deliver most models of the Pixel XL by Oct. 20 the only one that’s missing is the “Really Blue” color with 128GB of storage.

Buying from Verizon guarantees your Pixel XL will be loaded with bloatware

But buying from the carrier guarantees your Pixel XL will come with bloatware unnecessary, Verizon-branded apps you won’t ever use so the best option is to purchase the device directly from Google. The only problem: Google says it’ll take five to six weeks to ship the phone, and it’s already sold out of the 128GB model. That’s bad.

Do not buy a 32GB Pixel

You will regret it. The Note7 had 64GB of storage, and 32 gigs won’t cut it if you plan to shoot a lot of footage in glorious 4K, especially if you also plan to download movies, music, magazines, comic books, games, TV shows and/or large apps.

Google is offering unlimited photo and video storage on Google Photos for Pixel owners, but relying almost completely on the cloud for storage is a risky proposition. Keeping everything on the cloud means you won’t always be able to access your photos and videos (if service is spotty, say) and 32GB will fill up faster than you think.

Returning your Note7 will be a headache

Since you need to return the device now seriously, do not put yourself or others in harm’s way by continuing to use the Note7 you’ll have to endure a chunk of time with an outdated phone.

Best case scenario, you have an old smartphone lying around that you can use while you wait for the Pixel. You can probably pop the SIM card out of your Note7, place it in your old device and activate the phone for use, but if you’re confused, your local wireless store will be able to help.

Once your old device is activated, return the Note7. If you’re a Verizon customer, you can ask to exchange it for a Pixel XL. Otherwise, get the cash and order the phone online.

Image: Jason Henry/Mashable

If you’re not a Verizon customer and you used an account upgrade to get the Note7 at a discount from a carrier like AT&T, you’re kind of up the creek without a paddle. The Pixel XL will come unlocked and work on any wireless network, but you can only buy it from Verizon or Google. Thus, you probably can’t get the device at a discount, which means you, friend, are now stuck with an old device unless you’re down to drop $869 all at once on a Pixel XL or enter into a 24-month payment plan with $36.21 installments.

You might try buying a cheap (even secondhand) Android phone.

If that’s you, there are four other Android devices we’d recommend.

Finally: If the Note7 is your only smartphone, meaning you need a device to tide you over until the Pixel XL releases, you might try buying a cheap (even secondhand) Android phone. You could drop $49.99 on the Blu R1 HD, use it for a couple of weeks, and sell it when you’re ready (or hold onto it in case Pixels start exploding). Doing this will save you the hassle of returning yet another phone when the time comes and since “restocking” fees on opened phones can cost up to $50 anyway, that’s definitely worth it.

Whew. Pain, right?

What you’re gaining and losing with the Pixel XL

So, you know how to exchange your Note7. But what will the Pixel XL actually offer you?

In a nutshell, the Pixel XL and Note7 are about the same size the Pixel XL is slightly larger overall, but it has a somewhat smaller screen with the same screen resolution, similar back camera quality, and comparable batteries.

Then things get different. The Pixel XL is a downgrade from the Note7 in a few ways:

  • The Pixel XL lacks the cool iris scanner that the Note7 had.

  • Unlike the Note7, it isn’t isn’t water-resistant, so no bathing with it.

  • Its screen isn’t curved, so you’ll miss those flashy notifications.

  • No S Pen, so you’ll have to make do without the cool screen-drawing and GIF-making features.

  • It can’t charge wirelessly.

  • It doesn’t have expandable storage.

  • There’s no heart rate scanner built into the Pixel XL, as there was with the Note7.

Of course, most of those things could be said of any other smartphone on the market today. The Pixel XL has a few significant upgrades, though:

  • It’ll be the first Android phone with Google Assistant built in. If you’re all in on Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar and the upcoming Google Home, this will make your life easier.

  • The selfie camera is more powerful than the Note7’s.

  • If you buy the device directly from Google, you can bank on getting Android updates before anyone else.

  • It’s the only phone that will work with the new Daydream virtual reality headset for now.

Note that we can’t vouch for the device’s quality until we review it ourselves, though we spent some time with it last week it seems great so far.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Verizon’s Pixel phones will get system updates from Google after all

Google’s new Pixel phones come in three colors: Quite Black, Really Blue and Very Silver.
Image: jason henry/mashable

Good news Android fans: Verizon’s version of the Pixel and Pixel XL won’t be second-rate to versions purchased from Google after all.

Last week, Google told 9to5Google it would be in charge of releasing monthly security updates for Verizon’s Pixels and Verizon would be in charge of pushing out system updates (read: new versions of Android).

Well, that’s no longer the plan. Google will release both system updates and monthly security patches and Verizon’s Pixel phones will receive them on the same day as Pixel phones sold through the Google online store according to Ars Technica.

“First and foremost, all operating system and security updates to the Pixel devices will happen in partnership with Google,” a Verizon spokesperson told Ars. “In other words, when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google.”

That’s really great news! The fear with Verizon handling system updates was that it could drag its feet like it has in the past.

And there’s more good news: the three pre-installed “bloatware” apps that come on the Verizon Pixels will be removable and the phones will be carrier unlocked, meaning they’ll work with any carrier.

We previously recommended buying the Pixels directly from Google, but now that we know the Verizon versions will be identical to Google’s (after you uninstall the three apps, of course), the only reason not to buy from Verizon is if you’re on a different carrier.

If you’re on Verizon, the Pixels are even more attractive now, especially if you trade in your old phone for up to $300.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

The Google Pixel cameras may not be the best, but they’re really damn close

Both Pixel and Pixel XL have identical cameras: 12 megapixels on the back and 8 megapixels on the front.
Image: dustin drankoski/mashable

Before the mobs come out and put a hex on me, remember that photography and image quality is subjective. What looks better to me might not to you.

That said, let’s get on to the camera comparisons between Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL and the iPhone 7/7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge.

On paper, Google, Apple and Samsung’s flagship phones appear to have the same cameras: 12 megapixels on the back. The front cameras differ in resolution: 8 megapixels for the Pixels, 5 megapixels for the S7 Edge and 7 megapixels for the iPhone 7.

But as I’ve said a million times and I’ll say a million times more: megapixels (aka resolution) aren’t everything. Having more megapixels doesn’t make a camera necessarily better. Resolution matters, but if it’s at the detriment of image quality and performance, what’s the point?

To me, the best phone camera has to be a few things:

  • Fast to autofocus and capture: Because you don’t want to miss a shot.

  • Produce realistic colors with wide dynamic range: Because reality is not a comic book

  • Produce sharp details with little image noise: Because details matter.

  • Take great low-light photos: Because we like the dark and we like photos in dark places.

The iPhone 7 checks off all of these. Its cameras and image quality are well balanced across the board. The iPhone 7 Plus also has a fancy dual-lens camera that gives it 2x optical zoom and a fancy Portrait mode. Samsung’s Galaxy S7/S7 Edge is better with low-light performance and the camera is faster to launch and autofocus, but it also saturates colors more.

The Pixel and Pixel XL’s cameras falls somewhere in-between the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7. They’re super fast. Images look incredibly crisp and have great dynamic range and low-light performance is damn good. So what’s not to like? I’m not a fan of the oversaturated colors, but that’s just me.

Testing method:

I left all camera settings on their defaults. In the past, I’ve always turned off HDR on all smartphone cameras before shooting with them, but I’ve now had to change that testing method since most people never bother to fiddle with them.

Not only that, but phones rely heavily on software processing to help produce the final photos. HDR+ is so vital to the Pixels’ final image quality that my reviewers guide actually warned me that turning it off would result in poorer-looking photos and slower camera performance. Yikes!

As such, all photos below were shot with HDR set to auto. I couldn’t tell you which ones actually had HDR on or off and I don’t really care because what you see is what the camera considered the best shot.

Way warmer tones

The Pixel cameras’ biggest weakness is color reproduction. Android is doing so much processing to the images that all the colors end up artificially pumped up and oversaturated. I’ve noticed it’s a common symptom that plagues most Android phones like the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 and OnePlus 3.

How is it that in 2016 no phone maker can match the iPhone’s realistic colors?

I personally don’t like the saturated colors. They don’t look real. Skies are always way too blue. Yellows are too deep. Reds all blend into each other. I’ll take photos with lifelike colors over saturated colors any day.

But if you’re into the boosted colors or crank up the saturation in post anyway, you’ll love the Pixel’s pictures.

Compare these two photos below. Just look at how much bluer the sky in the upper right corner is and how much more yellow the building is.

Galaxy S7 Edge


Pixel XL

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Here’s another example where the blues and yellows are dialed up on the Pixel:

Galaxy S7 Edge


Pixel XL


Turning off HDR+ mutes the saturation to some extent, but not by much. And turning HDR+ off on the Pixels isn’t worth it since the camera start to lag a little.

Though most photos are way warmer than on the iPhone, sometimes the rear camera goes cooler for some reason. There just isn’t much consistency for white balance:

iPhone 7


Pixel XL


But, at least the dynamic range is wider on the Pixel XL. The details on the fountain grass (that’s the fuzzy plant) are softer on the Pixel XL compared to the iPhone 7, but look at how vibrant the purple leaves below it look. The same leaves in the iPhone 7 photo look totally dull in comparison.

iPhone 7 (left) vs. Pixel XL (right).


Wider field of view

Compared with the iPhone 7, the Pixel XL’s camera has a wider field of view thanks to its wider angle lens.

In English, it means you can fit more into a photo. The Pixel XL’s wider angle lens makes it a more versatile camera for landscape photography.

It’s perfrect for taking photos of tall landscapes, like the Bank of America building below:

iPhone 7


Pixel XL


The Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 Edge have roughly the same wide field of view:

Galaxy S7 Edge


Pixel XL


Both photos look pretty sharp on their respective phone displays. It’s only when you view them at 100% crops on a computer monitor that you can really see some of the differences in sharpness.

The Galaxy S7 Edge (left) is a hair sharper than the Pixel XL (right). But just barely.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Honestly, the differences in sharpness are so minor, nobody but a nerd like me would care.

You can see the Pixel XL (right) render the bricks more yellow compared to the S7 Edge (left).


Here’s another comparison showing how much more the Pixel XL cameras can capture:

iPhone 7


Pixel XL


And another close-up crop showing the barely noitceable sharpness differences:

iPhone 7 (left) vs. Pixel XL (right). Enlarge the image and you can see the Pixel XL is just a hair sharper.


Strong selfie game

As for selfies, I think the Pixel XL does a better job than the iPhone 7:

iPhone 7

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Pixel XL


My skin looks smoother and healthier in the Pixel XL selfie since it’s brighter:

100% crop of iPhone 7 (left) and Pixel XL (right).

Image: Raymond Wong/mashable

Shoots well in low light

The Pixel XL performs quite good night shots. As expected, photos are a yellower than the iPhone 7:

iPhone 7


Pixel XL

Image: raymond wong/mashable

You can click the below comparison to see how the Pixel XL stacks up against the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge:

iPhone 7, Pixel XL, Galaxy S7 Edge

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Notice how the sky is more washed out on the Pixel XL photo and the Galaxy S7 Edge turns all the bricks on the building in the left red:

iPhone 7, Pixel XL, Galaxy S7 Edge

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The Galaxy S7 Edge preserves sharper details of the Empire State Building, but the image noise is greater, too:

iPhone 7, Pixel XL, Galaxy S7 Edge

Image: raymond wong/mashable

See that building just between the water tower and that skinny high-rise condominium on the upper right? The Pixel XL brings the green color out best, but the rest of the image is kind of a wash.

iPhone 7, Pixel XL, Galaxy S7 Edge

Image: raymond wong/mashable

Impressive video stabilization

While the camera attention is almost always focused on still photography, the Pixel XL boasts impressive video recording capabilities. Like most smartphones, it records at up to 4K resolution.

That’s nothing special. What is crazy is how well the camera stabilizes video. Phones like the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 rely on optical image stabilization (OIS) to compensate for shake in different directions, but the Pixels uses electronic image stabilization (EIS) to outstanding effect.

EIS is normally inferior to OIS, but not so on the Pixels. Through software even the shakiest footage appears smooth even smoother than the iPhone 7. Here’s a video stabilization comparison between the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 (both originally shot in 4K and then downsized to 1080p):

Best smartphone cameras ever?

I don’t think so, but they’re so damn close. The color saturation bothers me too much, but again, that’s personal preference. And that’s fine, too, because if you prefer the artificially amplified colors, then the Pixel cameras will be perfect to your eyes.

It feels like a total cop-out to say this, but we’ve reached a point where the differences outside of color reproduction between flagship phone cameras are so negligible that most people will be very happy with the image quality.

We’re all benefitting in the end. Android cameras have finally caught up to the iPhone with comparable performance and picture quality. Years of competition have pushed all phone makers to innovate harder and faster and now we’re all winning because we don’t have to look at crappy photos and videos.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

OnePlus 3T is the new heir to the Google Nexus throne

The OnePlus 3T replaces the the OnePlus 3, which was released less than six months ago.
Image: lili sams/mashable

Startup phone maker OnePlus has a new flagship Android smartphone. Well, tweaked phone might be more accurate.

Less than six months after it released the $400 OnePlus 3 to critical acclaim (Mashable’s included), OnePlus is back with the OnePlus 3T a faster and longer-lasting OnePlus 3.

The OnePlus 3 (left) and new OnePlus 3T (right) are identical with the exception of the darker gunmetal color.

Image: lili sams/mashable

OnePlus 3 owners might be upset at the rapid refresh I’d be upset too if my phone was suddenly outdated in less than six months but OnePlus waits for no one, not even its most loyal customers. Pushing forward as quickly as possible is built into the company’s “Never Settle” ethos.

So what’s new and what’s different and does the new justify the higher pricing ($450 for 64GB and $480 for 128GB)?

The OnePlus 3T is to the OnePlus 3 as the iPhone 6S was to the iPhone 6. That is, design-wise, the OnePlus 3T is identical to the OnePlus 3, save for the new darker gunmetal color (it’s also available in “soft gold”).

Fingerprint sensor is embedded into the touch-sensitive home button.


Which isn’t a deal breaker at all since the OnePlus 3’s design drew inspirations from all of the best premium phones and was already superb. Nothing’s changed on the OnePlus 3; it still feels amazing.

The 5.5-inch AMOLED screen is still “only” full HD resolution and very bright even out doors, and the home button/fingerprint sensor below the screen is still super fast.

You don’t get water-resistance, but at least the headphone jack is still there and the port is USB-C.

Modest speed boost

With the OnePlus 3T, OnePlus focused on on inner beauty. There’s a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with 6GB RAM, the aforementioned 128GB storage (still no expandable storage, though), and 3,400 mAh battery that lasts 13 percent longer.

As per Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821 provides a performance boost of up to 10 percent a very modest improvement.

The gains were mostly negligible.

And true enough, in my tests, the gains were mostly negligible, if not inconsistent. Some apps like Twitter and Feedly actually opened slower on the OnePlus 3T compared to the OnePlus 3, and other times, like launching Instagram and loading up websites, loaded up faster on the OnePlus 3T.

And for some reason, even though they were on the same Wi-Fi network, the OnePlus 3T always took longer to download the 750MB file for Need For Speed No Limits.

But like most modest performance updates, you wouldn’t notice the difference unless you had the two phones running side-by-side.

At least it has a headphone jack, which means you can charge and listen to music at the same time…

Image: lili sams/mashable

Functionally, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow customized with OnePlus’s “OxygenOS” add-ons still runs like a champ with buttery smooth performance and no real slowdown.

The 13 percent longer battery life is also welcome and got me through nearly two days if I was judicial with my usage. Heavy users should have no problem getting through a full day. Plus, the Dash charging is still the quickest fast charging technology around, juicing up the OnePlus 3T from 0% to about 60% in 30 minutes.

Stock Android gets dressed up

The OnePlus 3T runs OxygenOS, which is based off of stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.


Don’t be alarmed…yet.

While the OnePlus 3T is still based off of stock Android, the customized OxygenOS software is starting to show signs of deviating from Google’s clean experience.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice some of the icons are different (i.e. Messages, Calculator, Settings and Clock). Open some of the apps and you’ll see some small and subtle differences, but nothing as overbearing as the skins on other Android phones (I’m looking at you Samsung, LG).

As always, all of OyxgenOS’s extras (Shelf, gestures, dark theme, touch-sensitive/onscreen buttons, etc.) are customizable.

App Locker lets you lock up your apps behind a PIN code or fingerprint.


Don’t even think about spying on my Insta.

Image: Screenshot: raymond wong/mashable

Two handy new features include the App Locker, which lets you lock up apps and require either a PIN code or a fingerprint to unlock them and a three-finger swipe down gesture for taking screenshots. Both are super handy and the screenshot gesture sure beats pressing the power and volume down button.

There’s another feature that lets you flip the phone upside down to mute an incoming call, but it’s not nearly as useful.

Other niceties in OxygenOS include a dark theme, proximity wake feature (wave your hand in front of the phone display to turn it on) and the double-tap power button shortcut that launches the camera. These are all great, but they’re not exclusive to the OnePlus 3T; the OnePlus 3 already has them.

Shipping with Android 7.0 Nougat would have been great, but I’m told it’s coming by the end of the year, so that should be just around the corner.

Sharper selfies

Improved cameras are must with smartphone refreshes. While I would have liked to see the rear 16-megapixel camera get a boost better low light, faster autofocusing, etc. OnePlus left it unchanged with the lone exception of better electronic image stabilization while recording video. There’s still optical image stabilization (OIS) like on the OnePlus 3, too.

The front camera, arguably the most important camera for so many people nowadays, got a big boost: double the resolution from 8 megapixels to 16.

Selfies definitely look sharper:



And low-light performance from the selfie camera is a little sharper, too:

Image: raymond wong/mashable


But if you look closely, there’s still a lot of image noise. For outdoor and indoor selfies, the OnePlus 3T’s higher resolution front camera does the trick, but it’s no iPhone FaceTime camera or Galaxy S7/S7 Edge front camera.

Photos taken with the back camera are basically the same as on the OnePlus 3. You’ll get lots of details. The colors are a smidge saturated if you’ve got HDR turned on (it’s on by default and all of the pics below were taken with HDR on), but not as aggressive like on the other phones such as the Google Pixels.

Photos look pretty good indoors.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The sky is a little oversaturated.



Filling the Nexus void

Image: lili sams/mashable

You can skip the OnePlus 3T if you already own the OnePlus 3. But if you don’t own a OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 3T is yet another excellent and more affordable device that puts the squeeze on more expensive premium phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Google Pixel.

Sure, it’s $40 more than the OnePlus 3 and while the updates are modest, they’re still improvements. There are other excellent phones like the Huawei Honor 8 and ZTE Axon 7 that occupy the $400-$500 space, but neither are as polished as the OnePlus 3T.

And with Google abandoning its Nexus phones in favor of its premium-priced Pixels, there really is no other phone that gives you so much bang for your buck.

Long live the heir to the Nexus throne: the OnePlus 3T.

OnePlus 3T

The Good

Excellent premium build-quality Fast, smooth performance Great cameras Useful new software features

The Bad

No water resistance No microSD card slot for storage expansion

The Bottom Line

The OnePlus 3T balances premium features with performance at an incredible price.

BONUS: OnePlus 2: Is the most hyped Android phone really a ‘flagship killer’?

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Google Home’s price slashed to $99 in a limited time offer

That’s a solid discount for a gadget that’s only been around for a couple of weeks.
Image: Mashable

A lot of Black Friday deals aren’t actually as good as they seem: Gadgets who have been on the market for months if not years are seemingly discounted from their original price, but in reality their price should be (and, at some retailers, often is) much lower in the first place.

Google’s speaker/digital assistant Google Home, however, has only been on the market for a few weeks, and it’s already getting a sizable discount for the holidays, with price being slashed from $129 to $99.

Since Google Home is already a lot cheaper than its main competitor, Amazon Echo, this is a pretty sweet deal if you’re shopping for a smart speaker.

The deal starts at Nov. 23, and will be available for a limited time only (Google doesn’t say how long, exactly).

Unfortunately, other recently announced Google gadgets Google Pixel phones, Google Wifi, Chromecast Ultra and Google Daydream View have not been discounted at the time of writing.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Google’s predictions for the most popular toys this year will surprise no one

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Still not sure what to put at the top of your shopping list this year? Google might be able to help.

The company has released its predictions for what will be this season’s most sought after toys and gifts and surprise, surprise the top results may be more than a little difficult to find.

The company used search data for the first two weeks of November to come up with its predictions and the top items may not be much of a surprise.

Topping the list is Hatchimals, toy creatures that “hatch” out of an egg after you buy them. Unfortunately, you might be out of luck if you were hoping to get one in time for Santa. The toy, which typically retails for around $60, is already so popular many retailers have sold out, according to the company’s website, and resellers are reportedly selling the toys for as much as $200-$300.

Next up is another item that has already proved difficult to get: the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition. The $60 mini-console is already in short supply, according to Nintendo.

Other toys on the list may prove a bit easier to get: Baby Alive and Trolls come in at #3 and #4, respectively, and Sony’s PS4 Pro (#6) may prove to be an easier find than Nintendo’s throwback console.

If tech toys are what you’re looking for, DJi’s Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 drones will also be in high demand, according to Google, as will the new robot companion Cozmo also makes an appearance.

Rounding out the list are Pokmon, Num Noms and RC Cars.

BONUS: This is how America’s biggest online shopping day came to be

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Google’s Daydream View now available for pre-order, ships in 2-3 weeks

Google Daydream View.
Image: Google

Google’s fuzzy, comfy Daydream View virtual reality headset is now available for pre-order, the company has announced.

Announced earlier this month at Google’s “Made by Google” event, the Daydream View is designed to work with Google’s Pixel phones. It’s wrapped in soft fabric and comes in three colors: Snow, Slate and Crimson.

If you’re in the U.S., the Daydream View can be pre-ordered from Google or Verizon for $79. It’s also available in the UK, for 69 pounds, and Germany, for 69euros. The shipping date in all three markets is 2-3 weeks.

Google’s new Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle, which supports 4K and HDR, is now also available for pre-order. It’s priced at $69 and also ships in 2-3 weeks.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/10/21/google-daydream-view-pre-order/

Google Jamboard is what the future of digital collaboration looks like


Now that the Pixel and Pixel XL have launched against the iPhone, Google’s going after Microsoft’s Surface Hub with Jamboard, its own collaborative digital whiteboard.

The Jamboard makes it easier and more fun to collaborate with multiple teams on digital projects. Users simply write on the giant 55-inch touchscreen or organize media files on the display as if they were pinning things on a real whiteboard.

With a price under $6,000, the Jamboard will also cost a few thousand bucks less than an equally sized Surface Hub when it launches in the first half of 2017.

I admit, I wasn’t really excited for the Jamboard as I went into my briefing with Google, since it’s aimed at businesses.

But it all clicked into place as Jonathan Rochelle, director of product for G Suite, opened up a new “Jam” canvas and started working with media from Google services like Maps, Drives and Hangouts. People remotely joined in and actively added things to the canvas, too.

Jamboard is the right piece of hardware to tie together Google’s G Suite services.

Jamboard is the right piece of hardware to tie together Google’s G Suite services. I thought about how my colleagues and I work together on projects, and it’s mainly through a Google Doc, where we can see changes made in real-time.

My team and I could technically do all of the things that Rochelle demonstrated by copying and pasting photos and images into a doc (and by opening Hangouts separately), but it’d be a tedious multi-app and multi-step process.

Jamboard brings all of these tasks into a single giant screen that can either be hung on a wall or mounted on a stand with wheels. Google’s decision to make the back of the Jamboard red is both inviting and Google-y exactly what collaboration should be.


Image: google



But the Jamboard is only one component. There will be related Android and iOS apps, too.

The app for tablets will work more like a mini Jamboard with editing capabilities for anyone within a Jam. The phone app will be more passive and will not have the handwriting, drawing and video chat components due to its smaller screen (although that may change in the future update).

I gave the Jamboard a quick spin and it’s quite intuitive. The 4K display is Google Cast-ready, so you can fling any Cast-ready media from your phone or tablet to it, and the responsiveness is rock-solid thanks to a 60Hz refresh rate.

Jamboard comes with a couple of passive styli (about the size of a whiteboard marker) and a bun-shaped eraser (it’s just a chunk of plastic with a microfiber cloth). There’s also a built-in web browser.

The digital whiteboard is Android-powered, so using it is instantly familiar. Rochelle says his team designed it so that it would be natural to use: Just walk up to it, grab a stylus and start writing and drawing.

Tap a hamburger menu on the left side toolbar to access Google image search, a Chrome web browser and your Google Drive. Then it’s just a matter of dragging content onto your Jam Canvas. To erase, use your finger or the included eraser. There are also saw stickers and limited emoji to overlay on top of photo and drawings.

Jamboard supports 16 points of multitouch, pressure sensitivity and handwriting. It also has shape-recognition software.

Having toyed with the original Microsoft Surface tabletop and the Surface Hub, I can safely say the Jamboard is easier to use. As great as Microsoft’s productivity suite is, the UX design on the Surface Hub is anything but friendly; using a Surface Hub feels like work.

The Jamboard, on the other hand, makes collaborative work feel like fun. And that makes all the difference.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/10/25/google-jamboard-digital-whiteboard/