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Hands-on with Mojang’s unique AR game


Minecraft Earth is steadily rolling toward an early access release on Android and iOS in October, bringing the building and resource collection of Minecraft into the AR space.

At MineCon this weekend, developers announced a brand new part of the game: Minecraft Earth Adventures. Recently, I went out to Seattle to play the game, try this new game mode, and speak to developers about its impending rollout. Here are my thoughts.

Getting adventurous

A picture of Minecraft Earth build mode running on a Google Pixel 3

Similar to Pokémon Go, Minecraft Earth tracks you as walk around your city, spawning collectable resources called tappables, which contain build materials. What really sets it apart is Build Mode, where you can harvest materials and use what you’ve collected to build what you want in AR. You can join friends, spawn different mobs, and generally goof around. Once you’re satisfied with your work, you can load the build plate in Play Mode to explore it in life size.

Related: 10 best Minecraft apps for Android!

If this was the whole game it would be neat, but collecting materials via tappables would get pretty tedious. That’s where Minecraft Earth Adventures comes in. Adventures pop up on the map just like tappable resources, and selecting them brings you into a life size build plate, full of rare materials, animals, and yes, even enemies like creepers and skeletons.

Loading Adventures works a lot like loading build plates. When you select one on the map, you’re given the option to choose which items to bring in, and brought to a camera viewer, which lets you place the adventure in front of you. Once an adventure is loaded, you and anyone else who joined it with you can start interacting with it, fighting enemies and mining resources.

A Minecraft in its own right

Minecraft Earth event Adventure 1

Adventures can run pretty deep underground.

The first Adventure we loaded into was a peaceful one. There wasn’t much to it at first, with only a few blocks stacked up. However, once we cleared the dirt on the ground away, we uncovered a large underground cave, complete with wooden structures, torches, and many different kinds of stone. Everyone playing went to work illuminating the dark areas and mining the cave out for resources.

Then someone dropped in a block of dynamite and lit the whole place on fire. (It was me. I did it.)

I spoke to Minecraft Earth Principal Program Manager Jessica Zahn about the game afterward:

AR is not super mainstream. It feels sometimes a little gimmicky — like not part of the core experience. That’s something we wanted to change with Minecraft Earth. We are not building another Minecraft you can play with a keyboard and mouse or with a controller.

A big part of that was making sure the experience was distinct from the more standard Minecraft gameplay, but Minecraft Earth Adventures felt complete in its own right.

Adventures bring new ways to interact with Minecraft Earth, and the experience strikes an interesting balance between new and familiar. When joining, we were given the choice of a number of classic Minecraft items and tools. I grabbed a pickaxe, a sword, and some arrows, among other things. It wasn’t clear exactly how to get the items in this build of the game, but the developers on hand said the game’s full crafting system will have launched by the time Adventures go live.

Minecraft Earth strikes an interesting balance between the new and the familiar.

While the items and visuals felt familiar, playing the Adventures felt unique. After loading into the adventure, we had to move around the space to see new part of the adventure.

You aim by moving your phone around to align with the crosshair floating in the center of the screen. This adventure was more geared more toward exploration and gathering materials, and there was plenty to explore. The cave was deep, with various levels and structures.

Balancing fun and foolishness

Minecraft map in hand

Collecting tapping on tappables will get you materials and mobs of various rarities.

As you may have guessed from when I mentioned TNT, the developers of the game are also making an effort to make sure there’s plenty of room for mischief and lighthearted griefing, just like in regular Minecraft.

Zahn recounted a discussion with the manager handling Adventures:

[I said] what if you have a peaceful adventure and someone goes in and sets a trap that when you go into it lava dumps on your head and you die? And she asked “people will do that?” and I was like “They will do that.” And that’s cool, but also we should notify people on the entry screen that this is not pristine.

Striking that balance between attracting players who want a more relaxing, peaceful experience, and those competitive players who want to build creatively (and occasionally aggravatingly) is key. That’s why, for as much griefing as you can get away with, there are still mechanisms in place so no is left in the lurch.

Griefing is allowed in Minecraft Earth’s design, but it isn’t exactly encouraged.

Everything that’s collected in an adventure is shared between the people grouped together. Much like how with tappables, everyone who collects the same one on the map will get the same materials, this is meant to foster a degree of collaboration. When other people finding new stuff and surviving an adventure can benefit you, it makes being a serious obstacle less attractive. This is good, because the challenges in Adventures don’t just come from other players.

Keeping Minecraft Earth safe

Minecraft Earth Adventure 2

In the second adventure, creepers popped up before we even had a chance to start digging down.

The second adventure we joined was a little more involved. After the adventure plate was placed, the game spawned in a stone hut, which stood taller than any of the people playing and blocked our views of each other. The hut sat atop a deep mine, and as we started uncovering the area, we were attacked. This adventure had a combat element — creepers spawned at ground level around us and skeletons shot arrows up from the mine. With the right equipment, taking care of them was easy, but we were only prepared because the developers warned us.

Minecraft Earth learns from the early problems that plagued other AR games like Pokémon Go.

This level of combat isn’t terribly difficult, but it means you can fail out of an adventure if you aren’t careful. The game uses complex point clouds to map your environment and keep everything in the correct place, regardless of how you move. Enemies can spawn behind you, or otherwise out of view. You’ll have to move around and keep your head on a swivel to make sure there aren’t any creepers about.

That kind of gameplay means developers had to be very careful with placing Adventures. Due to the imprecision of GPS in urban areas, among other things, the range for tappables is 70 meters (~239 feet), so you can pick something up without needing to leave the sidewalk. However, Adventures require quite a bit more movement, so the requirements are a little more strict.

“We never want to place an Adventure near a street, because we don’t want people running out into the street. So we need to find ways to pick the safest places possible given the data that we have,” said Zahn.

Referencing the adventures from the demo she said:

You had enough room to maneuver and move around, [but] those were relatively small adventures. We’d like to have even bigger ones that take up more space and we need to make sure we have the right places to be able to put those.

Everything is placed algorithmically, but adventures require more wide open space, so they won’t pop up as often as tappables, which makes sense. Additionally there are a number of ways to report adventures for being unsafe places to play, or on private property, and so on. Zahn said the development team learned a lot from the early days of AR games like Pokémon Go, where trespassing and all manner of bad behavior were common, and they’re making a big effort to avoid running into those problems.

A bright future for Minecraft Earth

minecraft earth promotional imageMicrosoft

All told, it was a fairly short demo, but Adventures seemed to add a vital missing piece to Minecraft Earth. It brings a new layer of interactivity to game, rolling in further AR gameplay in way that feels authentically Minecraft.

Have any more questions about my experience with the game? Sound off in the comments, and hit the button below to head to the official Minecraft Earth website and sign up for the chance to be among the first to play Minecraft Earth before it launches sometime in 2019 (hopefully).



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The best cases for the Moto E5 Play


It may be super cheap, but your Moto E5 Play deserves just as much protection as phones that cost a small fortune. We’ve highlighted just a handful of the many cases you can find for your beloved phone. The selection is varied to account for different tastes and needs, so there’s bound to be something here that catches your eye.

Trusted Brand

Incipio NGP Case

Staff Pick

With phones like the E5 Play, it can be hard to find a case from a trusted brand. Thankfully, Incipio has a minimalistic case that will protect your phone.

$19 at Amazon

Wallet Warrior

OTOONE Wallet Case

A wallet case makes it, so you have one less thing to carry with you daily. With three card slots and a design that lets you use the case as a kickstand.

$10 at Amazon

Honey Pot

Venoro Dual-Layer Case

Venoro’s Cruise Case uses contrasting colors to make your Moto E5 Play stand out. There’s also a nice honeycomb texture on the back for anti-slip.

$9 at Amazon

Busy Bee

NageBee Cowhide Leather Case

It’s not real leather, but NageBee’s Cowhide Leather case gives you that premium look without paying for it. It also covers the power port and buttons.

$13 at Amazon

Stand Up

Yiakeng Shockproof Cover

Yiakeng’s Kickstand case makes it possible to rest your phone, and also turns heads with its bold tire-inspired design. You can grab one in six fun colors.

$8 at Amazon

Hard Shell

Poetic Rugged Case

With a full suite of port covers and a built-in screen protector, Poetic’s rugged case offers as much protection as you’re going to find in one package.

$17 at Amazon

Professional Grade

Zizo Bolt

The Zizo Bolt for the E5 Play offers a full course of protection thanks to its marriage of TPU and polycarbonate, along with included screen protector.

$18 at Amazon

Trusted protection

Low-profile protection

The Otterbox Prefix is a great way to keep your E5 Play protected while keeping a low-profile and a unique edge to keep it from slipping out of your hand.

$10 at Amazon

Find the best case to keep your investment safe

Found something you like? If you’re having trouble deciding, we’d recommend the Incipio NGP case for your Moto E5 Play. It’s a solid case that has the backing of a well-established brand behind it. It’s not just the name that we like — it’s the company’s one-year warranty just in case it can’t stand the test of time.

It’s one thing for a case to be rugged and durable, but it’s another thing entirely for a case to also be versatile. That’s where the OTOONE Leather Wallet Cover comes into play with its ability to hold your ID and a couple of credit cards. Meanwhile, it looks great and will be the perfect addition to your night on the town.





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How to build a WordPress website for a business or side hustle


Website Design How to Build a WordPress Website

No matter what kind of business or side hustle you have, having a website helps you reach more people, build trust, and drive sales. For entrepreneurs working in the gig economy, a website is practically a requirement. WordPress presents a free, extremely powerful, and highly versatile tool that anyone can use to build websites easily. And yes, it’s better than Squarespace. In this post, you will learn how to build a WordPress website, and optimize it with a great design and perfect plugins.

Why WordPress?

Learning how to build a WordPress website is the fastest and most efficient way to create an online presence. That’s because WordPress is a proven quantity. Build a website yourself from scratch, and there’s a chance that suboptimal code could prevent it from ranking on Google. Or maybe it just looks awkward on certain displays? Or loads slowly.

Maybe you just don’t have a knack for design, and your site has the feel of something built in the Geocities era!

The good news is that WordPress powers over 25% of the websites on the internet. These include some of the biggest and most profitable in the world. Brands that use WordPress include Sony, the BBC, The Times, Mashable, TechCrunch, Disney, Microsoft….

Build a WordPress website

Heck, even this website was built using WordPress!

If companies like Microsoft think it’s worth learning how to build a WordPress website, that should tell you this is a smart choice. By choosing WordPress, you know your site will then at least have the potential to become as successful and those brands. Which would probably do for most of us!

Those big companies rely on WordPress because it is powerful and easy to use. Installation is extremely simple too: out-of-the-box, it provides a responsive layout, and a completely customizable front-end and back-end.

Even this website was built using WordPress!

The “back-end” is the part of the website that only you and your business partners will see: the admin panel, stats, and other elements you use to update your pages, add new posts, etc. WordPress includes this for you, meaning that once it’s installed, you won’t need to know a line of code in order to maintain and update it.

website develpoment

WordPress also enjoys a huge amount of support from a thriving community. You can easily download ready-made themes, or plugins that can add a range of functionality such as ecommerce stores, mailing lists, comments sections and much more. Much of this is free.

Yes, it’s better than Squarespace.

Hundreds of features, plugins, and apps that website owners rely on daily are built for WordPress. If you don’t learn how to build a WordPress website, you won’t be able to integrate with those services.

Pretty much every web developer is familiar with WordPress, too. That means you can hire someone to easily create a unique theme from scratch, or even to fundamentally alter the underlying source code – possible because WordPress is also open source.

Build WordPress Website

In short, once you know how to build a WordPress website, you’ll know how to create websites in minutes. From there, you’ll be able to easily customize those sites using powerful features, and enjoy countless luxuries and conveniences. Using any other platform makes life more complicated unnecessarily.

WordPress vs Squarespace vs Wix

WordPress is a free tool that lets anyone quickly build a modern and professional website without knowing much code. That might sound an awful lot like Squarespace or Wix; so why not use those tools instead?

Let’s put it this way: BBC America didn’t choose to build its website with either of those sites!

Gadgets Laptop Headphones Work Online

The simple reason for this is that while WordPress is open-source and self-hosted, Wix and Squarespace are hosted solutions. This means that WordPress comes as a bunch of files that you install onto a server of your choosing. You then own that code and those files, and you can do whatever you like with them: including moving them to another domain should you wish. There’s also no charge associated with WordPress.

Conversely, when you use Wix or Squarespace, those companies will provide the server space for you, and you’ll be forced to rent it from them. The code will likewise be managed by them, and you’ll need to keep paying if you want to keep using their services. In short, they own your website.

And while Wix and Squarespace are both very customizable and powerful, neither comes close to the versatility or huge amount of support that WordPress enjoys. This is why I highly recommend that any entrepreneur or small business owner learns how to build a WordPress website; and not take the “shortcut.”

WordPress is open-source and self-hosted.

That said, if all you need is a simple portfolio for your work, and you don’t plan on scaling your business or taking it in new directions in future, Wix or Squarespace might be fit for your purposes. But you’d be surprised at how easy it is to build a WordPress website. So why not go that route just to be safe?

Getting started: Finding hosting

So you want to know how to build a WordPress website? Then much like Venom, your first step is to find a host (random Spider-Man reference).

Laptop Work Online

A host is a company that provides space to store your website files. This might be a dedicated server (meaning you have all the space on a computer connected to the internet), or it might be shared hosting. Shared hosting gives you a smaller amount of space on a machine shared with other users. Cloud hosting keeps your files on multiple different servers simultaneously. Of course, more space is more expensive, but most businesses don’t need a lot of space. There are other factors to consider too, such as bandwidth, but again, most businesses starting out will only need a basic package. You can always upgrade later. Good providers to consider include HostGator and GoDaddy.

Hosting a website with one of these companies will only cost you a small amount each month, but the unfortunate catch is that most require you to sign up for several months in advance. You’ll need to make a small deposit of $100-$200 then, but won’t need to pay again for a long time.

Google Stadia servers

Most packages will also include a free domain name. This is the address that people will search to find your website. Advice on the best domain for your business is beyond the scope of this post, but suffice to say you should think long and hard about how you want to brand yourself. Fortunately, you can always add more domain names and point them at your website in future.

Your domain name is the address that people will search to find your website.

Once you have paid for your hosting, you’ll be given a login. You can use this to access a control panel, which gives you access to your files, settings, email (you can create your own email address using your new domain name!) and more.

Next: how to build a WordPress website!

How to build a WordPress website in minutes!

Visit the hosting provider you chose and enter your login details. You should find that with most modern hosts, you’ll have the option to install WordPress with a single click. This really is as easy as it sounds!

One word of caution though: before you click Accept and go ahead with your installation, you should check the settings and define the password you want to use for WordPress. Otherwise, one will be generated for you and it can be extremely difficult to find what this is!

Wordpress Develpoment

If your hosting account doesn’t come with one-click installation for WordPress, then you will have to do it manually – but this is still extremely simple. Just head over to WordPress.org, and there you will be able to download the latest version of WordPress as a zip file. Unzip these files, then upload them to your server in the root domain (assuming this is where you want people to find yourself website).

To do that, you’ll need to find the file manager in your hosting account. Again, this is normally visible on the main page and will let you browse the files stored on your server just as you would on your own computer.

Installing WordPress manually is still extremely simple.

There should be a button that lets you upload files, so just click that and then choose the folder you want.

Now open a new tab and navigate to your website: http://www.example.com. This will automatically execute the installation script, and you’ll be taken through the final steps.

Note: You may need to create a WordPress database, which adds an extra step. This is relatively easy using a tool like phpMyAdmin or Plesk and you can find full details here. Most hosts will provide a ready-made database for you though, so this shouldn’t be necessary.

Work Online Development Writing Coding Lifestyle Design

Once the installation is complete, point your browser at your URL again and you should see a very basic, albeit empty website! This default theme is rather bland, but it is modern, responsive (meaning it scales to the size of the display), and clean.

And that is how to build a WordPress website in minutes.

Customization basics

Once you have your basic WordPress website, it’s up to you to begin customizing it to your heart’s content. To do this, log into WordPress either through your hosting account, or by navigating to www.example.com/wp-admin.

This is your admin panel, and in here, you will be able to add new content and change the look and feel of your website.

WordPress Edit Theme 1

The first thing you’ll need to do, is to go to Settings > General and choose a Site Title, a tagline, and other basic settings.

If you want to change elements of the appearance such as your logo, header, wallpaper, colors, fonts etc., you will need to navigate to Appearance > Customize. This opens a customizer where you can see your site design on the right, and change basic settings on the left.

You’ll be taken to a store where you can find a huge number of themes to suit every niche.

I don’t recommend doing this yet though. Rather, you should head to Appearance > Themes and then Add New. You’ll be taken to a store where you can find a huge number of themes to suit every niche and brand. Many of these are completely free, and you can apply them as easily as clicking Install then Activate. You can also download themes from other websites, such as Theme Forest, and then upload the zip files to install them that way. This way, you can find a larger selection of professionally designed themes. Once you know how to install WordPress and apply a custom theme, you will essentially know how to build a WordPress website!

Plugins and widgets

Continuing our tour of the admin panel for a moment, you should also check out the Appearance > Widgets page. This will show you the widgets you currently have live on your pages, posts, and homepage. Widgets are small elements that live in the sidebar or at the bottom of your site, and can include all kinds of mini apps or useful HTML elements.

WordPress Website Design

Typical uses of widgets include showing social media feeds, displaying latest posts, and promoting products. Make sure to set these up how you want them, and to remove any that you don’t have use for.

In Plugins > Add New, you’ll be able to search through the wide variety of plugins available for WordPress. This is also essential if you want to know how to build a WordPress website.

WooCommerce adds an entire ecommerce store to your site.

Plugins meanwhile are essentially apps that work by editing the PHP code comprising WordPress. This can then provide you with new features for users to enjoy, upgraded performance and security, additional widgets, changes to the admin panel, or entirely new functionality for your website.

Also read: Top freelancing sites for finding paid work online

WooCommerce for example, is a plugin that will add an entire ecommerce store to your site, allowing you to sell physical and digital products. This then has its own additional plugins you can use to add support for preorders and more!

To add new plugins, you simply need to click Install > Activate. You’ll then need to find where in the admin panel the settings for that particular feature have been placed. Make sure to read reviews of plugins before installing them though, and don’t install too many: they can slow down your site!

Working Online Web Design

Adding content

Once you know how to build a WordPress website, all that is left to do is to update it with blog posts and pages. You can add new posts by going to Posts > Add New. Here, you’ll find an editor called “Gutenberg,” which makes it easy to create attractive posts using “blocks.”

Also read: How to find online writing jobs as a copywriter

Write your title where it says “Add title,” and then add new text in the space below. You can then hover your mouse at the bottom of that paragraph and click the “+” sign in order to add additional blocks. These can be new text paragraphs, images, quotes, and more. If you simply paste an article you wrote in a Word document, then the headers and paragraphs will be converted into blocks automatically.

The process for adding new pages is just as easy and uses the same Gutenberg editor. Just head to Pages > Add New. You can choose which pages are visible to viewers by going to Appearance > Menus. Your site will show your latest blog posts on the homepage by default, but you can change this to display a static page in your settings.

Typing Writing Coding Keyboard

And with that, you know all you need to get started with your website. As you can see, it is a much simpler process than most people think, and the end result is professional, powerful, scalable, and modern.

Now you know how to build a WordPress website, it’s time to put yourself out there and promote your personal brand!



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Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs. iPhone 11 Pro: Which should you buy?


Android standard

Galaxy S10+


Going ‘pro’

iPhone 11 Pro


If any Android phone has the ability to pull a large number of iPhone users away from Apple, it’s the Galaxy S10+. It has exceptional hardware, an amazing display, and piles of features that cover what Apple can do and so much more. The software is more daunting, but ultimately more capable as well. Those teetering on the fence could lean toward Samsung after using this phone.

$1000 at Amazon

Pros

  • Larger, industry-leading display
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Excellent battery life
  • Headphone jack and SD card slot

Cons

  • Duplicate apps and bloatware
  • Low-light camera quality can’t keep up

Apple’s phones are keeping pace with the top-end Android phones today. Whether that means this is actually a “Pro” device doesn’t really matter — the 11 Pro does just about everything the Android competition does, and has the huge draw of still offering access to Apple’s software, apps and services ecosystem.

$1000 at Apple

Pros

  • Triple camera has promise
  • Exceptional face unlock
  • Simpler software experience
  • Access to Apple’s ecosystem of apps and services

Cons

  • Limited software customization
  • No headphone jack

Though the number of people actively looking at switching between iPhone and Android isn’t as big as the ones sticking in their lane, there’s no better comparison to make in this arena than the latest offerings from Apple and Samsung.

What’s the difference between the Galaxy S10+ and iPhone 11 Pro?

Putting aside all of the general Android versus iPhone comparisons to start, let’s focus on the hardware differences. Samsung goes with a bigger display, 6.4 to 5.8 inches, and slims down the bezels in an attempt to make it manageable in one hand. Even with larger bezels, the iPhone 11 Pro is still smaller in height and width (though not weight), making it much easier to grasp in one hand — though if you see size as a benefit, you also have the option of getting the smaller Galaxy S10 instead.

The difference in usable display size will have more of an effect than the overall size.

For many people, the difference in usable display size will have more of an effect than the physical size in your hand, but that comes down to personal preference. Thankfully both phones have amazing OLED displays, with excellent colors, viewing angles and brightness. Samsung and Apple are neck-and-neck in smartphone display quality, with everyone else trailing well behind.

Elsewhere in the hardware, it’s hard to find a fault in either of these phones. Samsung relies far more on glass and focuses on curves, whereas the iPhone 11 Pro is more substantial with a larger metal frame. Both have their good and bad angles (mostly the camera situations around the back), but both feel great and are worthy of the money.

Galaxy S10+ iPhone 11 Pro
Operating system Android 9 Pie
One UI 1.1
iOS 13
Display 6.4-inch AMOLED
3040×1440 (19:9)
5.8-inch OLED
2436×1125 (19.5:9)
Processor Snapdragon 855
or Samsung Exynos 9820
A13 Bionic
Storage 128/512GB/1TB 64/256/512GB
Expandable microSD No
RAM 8/12GB 6GB
Rear camera 1 12MP, OIS, f/1.5 or f/2.4 12MP, OIS, f/1.8
Rear camera 2 12MP, OIS, f/2.4 12MP, OIS, f/2.0
Rear camera 3 16MP, f/2.2 12MP, f/2.4
Front camera 1 10MP, f/1.9, af 12MP, f/2.2, af
Front camera 2 8MP, f/2.2, af n/a
Audio Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos
3.5mm headphone jack
Stereo speakers
Spatial audio
Battery 4100 mAh 3190 mAh
Charging 15W wired
Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 (12W)
18W wired
Qi wireless
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Security Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
Face recognition
Face ID
Dimensions 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.4 mm
175 g (Ceramic: 198 g)
144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm
188 g

As is so often the case with iPhones, the specs don’t really tell the whole story. Sure the iPhone 11 Pro has less RAM and a smaller battery than the S10+, but that won’t create any big gulf in either performance or battery life. Both phones are incredibly overpowered for what most people will be doing with them, and battery life is going to be strong in either case. Elsewhere you’ll see that both phones have stereo speakers, fast wired charging and wireless charging (though Samsung’s faster in the latter), and water resistance.

Samsung wins the spec battle, but that isn’t as useful as also winning the hardware feature battle.

Certain line-items do make a difference though. The Galaxy S10+ uses an in-display fingerprint sensor, while the iPhone 11 Pro relies on Face ID — Apple’s system works really well, while Samsung’s is a bit slow and inconsistent, even if it does have the general benefit of working the same in any lighting condition. The Galaxy S10+ also has double the default storage (128GB), expandable storage, and a headphone jack. It also plugs in and charges over the industry standard USB-C connector.

On the camera front, Apple took a page right out of the playbook Samsung and many other high-end Android makers have been following. There’s now a triple camera setup, with a standard, telephoto and ultra-wide lenses to give you more variety in your shooting. Samsung’s cameras are a proven quantity, and their consistency and quality make them some of the best you can get today. But Apple’s taking a step forward by using the same 12MP sensor across all three cameras, which is a big plus, and is also launching a new Night Mode that will undoubtedly beat Samsung’s already-weak low-light performance.

The final verdict of the camera comparison will have to come after we’ve used the iPhone 11 Pro for longer, but considering where the iPhone XS already stood and the improvements Apple made it’s likely going to pull ahead of what the Galaxy S10+ has to offer.

Should you buy the Galaxy S10+ or iPhone 11 Pro?

Whichever side you start from is where you’re likely to land again when you upgrade.

Comparing an Android phone to an iPhone is difficult. So much of the experience is just incomparable, and lives in a world with years of history on each side that’s far more important than the individual spec-to-spec comparisons of the latest devices. If you already have an Android phone, or particularly a Samsung phone, you’re going to be far more inclined to stick with that ecosystem and the familiarity with the interface and apps. The same goes for the iPhone — perhaps even more so if you take into account iPhone-only features like iMessage and Apple’s suite of services that just aren’t available on Android.

So it’s unlikely that you’ll be impartial when coming into comparing the Galaxy S10+ and iPhone 11 Pro. Whichever side you start from is where you’re likely to land again when you upgrade. But if you’re truly up for a switch or don’t care about the ecosystem part of this, look to Samsung for its incredible spec sheet, features and flexibility of software customization and capabilities; look to Apple for a simpler and more consistent software experience, better camera quality and the potential draw of its excellent app ecosystem. You really can’t pick a winner here that applies to everyone — but it’s clear why these phones are the best available on both sides of the ecosystem.

Android standard


Galaxy S10+

The best the Android market has to offer.

Samsung’s hardware, display, features and specs all match or exceed Apple’s, but that may not be enough to overcome the iPhone ecosystem lock-in.

Going ‘pro’


iPhone 11 Pro

Apple plays catch-up really well.

Apple matches what Samsung can offer in everything but specs and raw number of features — but offers the huge benefit of Apple’s ecosystem and an incredible camera system.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.



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Hushed gives you a second private phone line for just $25


Hushed Private Phone Line Features

It’s annoying how often you have to provide your personal number these days. Whether you’re signing up for an online service or making an impulsive purchase, a phone number is often required.

Sadly, giving your main number makes you easy prey for scammers and telemarketers looking to bombard you with illicit phone calls and texts. Fortunately, that can be easily avoided. You can protect your privacy by spending just $25 on a Hushed Private Phone Line.

The Hushed app is like having a second phone but without the hassle or cost. You get all the same perks of having a spare phone with a new number. They include Wi-Fi calling, customizable voicemails, and call-forwarding.

Get all the same perks of having a spare phone.

You can buy and sell items on Craigslist, apply for dating apps, or exchange phone numbers with strangers without worrying about your privacy

The plan is a lifetime subscription to Hushed, which includes a combination of 6,000 texts or 1,000 minutes in credit per year. The license and credit automatically renew at the end of each year, at no extra cost to you. You can even choose from hundreds of area codes across the U.S. and Canada.

For the next few days, the $150 Hushed plan has an 82% price drop. That means you can sign up for just $25.

If you like the sound of the deal, hit the button below to get started.

This deal not quite right for you? To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AA PICKS HUB



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