All posts in “Mobile”

Cosmetics giant L’Oreal buys AR beauty company ModiFace

loreal buys modiface ar makeup samsung galaxy s9

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Cosmetics juggernaut L’Oreal has bought Modiface, the Canadian augmented reality (AR) beauty company that powers the makeup filters on the Galaxy S9‘s Bixby Vision.

We’ve had our eye on ModiFace for some time now, since it first looked into the tech in December 2015. Interest in using AR to see physical changes on one’s face in real time has exploded in the last year, with ModiFace’s software coming to both iOS and Android. The tech works similarly to Snapchat’s filters, applying a layer of makeup directly over your face’s image on your screen, and tracking your head movements in real-time so you can see your digital makeover from multiple angles.

ModiFace’s tech rapidly became industry-leading, powering multiple AR makeup apps, including those by Sephora and Benefit. With the Galaxy S9‘s Bixby Vision featuring this tech as well as the ability to buy the makeup you “try on,” it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the cosmetics world is taking a strong interest in the potential of AR.

This isn’t L’Oreal’s first foray into tech-savvy business — the company previously launched a smart brush that told users how to care for their hair, and recently showcased wearable tech that warned wearers when they’ve had enough sunlight. L’Oreal has also worked with ModiFace in the past, when the two companies collaborated on L’Oreal’s “Style My Hair” tool, which allowed users to see the effect of different hair dyes.

L’Oreal, along with other cosmetics companies, has long been curious of the application of AR in advertising cosmetics when combined with increasing online sales and social media marketing. MAC’s Virtual Try-On Mirror is one example of the tech being used in this way.

The amount that L’Oreal paid for ModiFace has not yet been disclosed, but given L’Oreal now spends 38 percent of its marketing budget on digital campaigns and the broad application of ModiFace’s tech, it’s unlikely that it skimped on the purchase.

“With ModiFace we’ve acquired … the stock of inventions they’ve already created, but more than that, the ability to look at reinventing the beauty experience in the years to come,” L’Oreal’s chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet said.

L’Oreal’s acquisition of ModiFace is likely to be a major blow to other manufacturers who have previously used ModiFace’s technology in their own apps and websites.

Editors’ Recommendations

The Galaxy S9 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 8: Samsung’s heavyweights slug it out

samsung galaxy s9 plus review back logo

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re shopping for a powerful phone with a large screen, then Samsung’s heavyweights need to be on your radar. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the biggest phone the South Korean manufacturer offers, but the leaner, newer Galaxy S9 Plus has some important advantages over its opponent. Join us for a spec showdown as these two titans go head-to-head, and find out which one you should buy.


Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Size 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm (6.22 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches) 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm (6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches)
Weight 189 grams (6.67 ounces) 195 grams (6.88 ounces)
Screen Size 6.2-inch AMOLED display 6.3-inch AMOLED display
Screen Resolution 2,960 x 1,440 pixels (529 pixels-per-inch) 2,960 x 1,440 pixels (521 pixels-per-inch)
Operating System Samsung Experience 9 (over Android 8.0 Oreo) Samsung Experience (over Android 7.1.1 Nougat upgradable to 8.0 Oreo)
Storage Space 64GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD Card Slot Yes, up to 400GB Yes, up to 256GB
Tap To Pay Services Samsung Pay, Android Pay Samsung Pay, Android Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Camera Dual sensor 12MP rear, 8MP front Dual sensor 12MP rear, 8MP front
Video 2,160p at 30 frames per second, 1,080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps 2,160p at 30 frames per second, 1,080p at 60 fps, 720p at 240 fps
Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 3,500mAh 3,300mAh
App Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colors Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Gray, Deep Sea Blue
Price $840 $950
Buy From Samsung, Amazon, Target Samsung, Amazon, Target
Review Score 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

The S9 Plus comes with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 processor, whereas the Note 8 has last year’s Snapdragon 835. The newer processor is faster, more power efficient, and enables a handful of other tricks. Since both phones have 6GB of RAM, we can unequivocally say that the S9 Plus is the better performer.

We also find a slightly larger 3,500mAh battery inside the S9 Plus, compared to the 3,300mAh battery in the Note 8, though weirdly we’ve found the Note 8 to have slightly better battery life in our testing so far. Both phones support wireless charging and fast charging at Quick Charge 2.0 speeds — expect a full charge to take around 90 minutes, and you can get 40 percent or more in half an hour.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Design and durability

how to set up security galaxy s9 plus fingerprint

Samsung’s design language is pretty consistent, so these phones sport very similar screens with curved edges and thin bezels top and bottom. The S9 Plus is definitely more curved than the Note 8, but there isn’t a big difference. When you turn them over, you’ll find that the fingerprint sensor placement on the Galaxy S9 Plus is below the vertically stacked dual camera module, whereas the Note 8 has a horizontal dual camera with the fingerprint sensor at the side. The S9 Plus positioning is much better and makes it far easier to find and use without looking and without smudging your camera lenses. The S9 Plus is also slightly smaller and lighter, which is a good thing for such a big phone.

The S9 Plus also scores points for the stereo speakers, which the Note 8 lacks. There’s no separating them in the durability stakes as both are IP68 rated and equally likely to break if dropped.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus


galaxy note 8 vs. galaxy s8 plus display

Julian Chokkatu/Digital Trends

It’s tough to separate them here, because both phones boast Samsung’s excellent AMOLED screens. The Note 8 has a slightly larger 6.3-inch display, compared to the 6.2-inch display in the S9 Plus. Since both phones have the same resolution, the S9 Plus has a fractionally higher pixel density. In the real world, it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart.

Winner: Tie


samsung galaxy s9 plus review horizontal

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung first made the jump to a dual lens camera with the Note 8, which pairs two 12-megapixel sensors, one with an f/1.7 aperture and one with an f/2.4 aperture. That combination allows it to zoom in without loss of detail, as well as capture some great bokeh shots with sharp subjects and a blurred background. Samsung reimagined the camera in the S9 Plus, so while it sports the same dual lens setup, the first 12-megapixel sensor has a variable aperture that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4. The larger f/1.5 aperture enables the S9 Plus to take in more light, so night shots or shots in darker indoor environments turn out much better than they do on the Note 8.

If you’re into shooting video, the S9 Plus is also capable of super slow motion, capturing 720p footage at 960 frames per second. The S9 Plus can also shoot in 1080p at up to 240 fps, while the Note 8 is limited to 60 fps for 1080p or 240 fps for 720p. The front-facing cameras are identical, but the phenomenal low-light performance and slow motion support are enough for the S9 Plus to take this round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Software and updates

The Galaxy Note 8 ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat and Samsung’s Experience user interface over the top. It is due to get an update to Android 8.0 Oreo in the very near future. The Galaxy S9 Plus ships with Android 8.0 Oreo and Samsung Experience 9. The Note 8 has a few S-Pen specific software options, but the S9 Plus has a newer version of Android and Samsung’s latest UI with all the latest tricks, such as the ability to switch to landscape view, even on the home screen, and have the display change orientation.

As a slightly newer device, we also expect the S9 Plus to get future software updates faster and for slightly longer than the Note 8.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Special features

S Pen

When it comes to adding value with special features, you can count on Samsung. Both these phones have A.I. assistant Bixby onboard and they can both pull duty as desktop computer replacements thanks to the Dex Station. Only the Note 8 has the S-Pen stylus, which proves very handy if you like to take notes or even sketch on your phone. Samsung has worked on some clever integrations with the software to make the S-Pen useful. Most people don’t use a stylus with their phones, but if you do like to, then this is a big win for the Note 8.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 8


All the big releases from Samsung, including the Note 8 and S9 Plus, are widely available to buy unlocked from various retailers or direct from Samsung, or you can get them from all the major carriers on contract deals if you prefer. The Note 8 is currently priced at $950 direct from Samsung, which is $110 more than the S9 Plus at $840. Samsung frequently runs promotions, and you might find trade-in deals if you have an old Galaxy to sell, so do your homework — our Note 8 buying guide or our S9 Plus buying guide will help you get the best deal.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

samsung galaxy s9 plus review always on display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There’s no doubting the decision here, the Galaxy S9 Plus is a better phone at a lower price. If the S-Pen is a killer feature for you, then you might opt for the Note 8, but everyone else should pick up the S9 Plus — it’s faster, has a more refined design, and sports an improved camera, newer software, and a bigger battery. Owners of the Note 8 pondering an upgrade have a tougher decision to make — jump to the S9 Plus or wait a few months for the Note 9. We don’t think you’ll notice a big difference switching to the S9 Plus from the Note 8, so it might be better to wait. The S9 Plus is certainly Samsung’s current cream of the crop, but they’re both great phones.

Editors’ Recommendations

Alcatel is bringing its new budget phones, the Alcatel 1X and 3V, to the U.S.

alcatel 2018 phones 3v

Alcatel announced that two of the better budget phones to show up at Mobile World Congress 2018, the Alcatel 1X and Alcatel 3V, are on their way to the U.S.

We don’t know exactly when the two phones will launch in the U.S., but the very fact that they are coming is interesting to see. Alcatel doesn’t always launch its devices stateside, especially when it comes to its budget phones. Still, the phones should introduce a little more variety in the low-end.

The Alcatel 1X is actually a pretty interesting offering. Why? It’s one of the first sub-$100 devices to offer an 18:9 display aspect ratio, which helps make it look slightly more modern than it otherwise wouldn’t. Apart from the 18:9 display, you also find a MediaTek MT6739, coupled with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The 18:9 display only has a resolution of 480 x 960 — but that is to be expected from such a cheap device. The camera on the device comes in 13 megapixels, with the front-facing camera coming in at 5 megapixels. Last but not least, according to Alcatel, the U.S. variant of the 1X will come with a fingerprint sensor.

When it comes to software, the phone is an Android Go device — so it offers a stripped-down version of Android with stripped-down apps — all built specifically for phones with less RAM and low-power processors.

The Alcatel 3V is a little more high-end. It’s actually Alcatel’s first dual-lens phone to come to the U.S. Under the hood, the phone offers a MediaTek MT8735A processor, along with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. The rear-facing camera on the device sits in with a dual 12-megapixel sensor, while the front-facing camera offers five megapixels. Like its less expensive sibling, the phone has an 18:9 aspect ratio display, but the resolution comes in at 1,080 x 2,160. The phone also comes with Android Oreo — but its the full version rather than the Android Go version.

Alcatel hasn’t said exactly when the phones will be available in the U.S. beyond telling us that they will be available unlocked in “coming months.” We will update this article when we get more information on pricing and availability.

Editors’ Recommendations

There’s finally a pillow designed specifically with side-sleepers in mind

sleepsmart pillow side sleeper inflated vs deflated comparison

Whether you’re the big spoon or little spoon, your side needs to be comfy when you’re sleeping — the side of your head, that is. Alas, the majority of the pillows currently on the market aren’t exactly designed with us side-sleepers in mind, which leads to long nights of fluffing, refluffing, adjusting, and readjusting in vain. But soon, you’ll fluff no more. Meet the SleepSmart Pillow, an adjustable pillow meant for people who don’t sleep on their backs or on their stomachs, but on their side. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that ultimately raised over $87,000, the SleepSmart Pillow is now in production, which means shipment should be close behind.

The SleepSmart team tells Digital Trends that this new pillow is the first to be designed with both a comfort layer and an easily adjustable support layer, which allows you to set the pillow at just the right height for your neck. The pillow was designed after more than 1,000 interviews with side sleepers, who aired their grievances with existing pillows that don’t quite support their heads they way they prefer. And many of these grievances resonated with SleepSmart creator Brandon Larson.

“I got fed up with sleep solutions on the market, especially the tech, so I built SleepSmart with an inventor/engineer friend of mine, who was also frustrated with pillow options on the market,” Larson told Digital Trends. “We developed a pillow that quickly and easily adjusts its height. It has both a comfort layer and an adjustable support layer so people don’t have to compromise when trying to find a pillow.”

So how does the support layer work? As Larson explains, a “bladder” located inside the pillow allows air to travel in and out depending on where you place your head. This increases or decreases the support height into the optimal position for your unique sleeping position.

But being adjustable isn’t the only thing that sets the SleepSmart apart. Rather, this smart pillow comes with a companion app that helps you monitor your sleep, or wakes you up with a vibration alarm. “We went back to basics [in designing the app],” Larson told us. “The apps tracks only what is fundamentally the most important for sleep tracking — sleep duration, consistency habits, and lifestyle context. The goal is to provide users with awareness so they can understand how life affects sleep and vice versa.” 

If you missed the original Kickstarter campaign, not to worry. The team is also raising money on Indiegogo, and offering early bird pricing of $129. Of course, you should always exercise caution when backing crowdfunding campaigns, even when it seems as though there’s already a proven track record of success.

Updated on March 16, 2018: The SleepSmart Pillow has gone into production.

Editors’ Recommendations

‘My Tamagotchi Forever’ is an endless barrage of microtransactions

my tamagotchi forever now available worldwide maker l date 2017 8 28 ver 5 lens kan03 act kan02 e y

If you’re looking for a full-on blast from the past, look no further than My Tamagotchi Forever for iOS and Android. Since it’s now officially available worldwide — aside from Japan and China– you’re no longer required to carry around a brightly colored egg-shaped keychain to get your Tamagotchi fix.

With My Tamagotchi Forever, you’re still raising your Tamagotchi the same way you normally would — feeding it, washing it, cleaning up after it, and putting it to bed. It also places you in the heart of Tamatown, where you get to customize the village with different things like a swing set or soccer a goal.

You will get to see your Tamagotchi evolve through its different stages as you continue to play the game. But the type of character you get will always be a surprise — it’s all dependent on how you take care of it. You won’t have to worry about checking in on it either since your phone will provide you with notifications when it is in need of attention.

In true millennial fashion, you can even take photos of your Tamagotchi completing different activities. The pictures are stored in a photo album which you can then share with others through text or email. Completing pages of the album will also earn you different rewards like clothing or forms of currency.

It also supports augmented reality functionalities using ARKit for Apple and ARCore for Google, which allows you to play hide-and-seek games with your Tamagotchi in real surroundings. So basically, your Tamagotchi can come to life in your very own living room —  which sounds kind of terrifying, but we all know it’s a feature we would’ve begged for back in the 1990s.

Even though the game is free to play, it’s highly reminiscent of Animal Crossing where you will only really get ahead by making in-app purchases. It isn’t free from advertisements either — to receive free gifts, it will often ask you to watch a 30-second video. But you can still gather coins and level up by playing mini-games.

We played around a bit with My Tamagotchi Forever and thought the experience was interesting. We thought it was a refreshing change to be able to see our Tamagotchi in color and interact with it via touchscreen rather than tiny buttons on the original device. But the addition of in-app purchases and currencies made it feel like more work than it should be.

You can download My Tamagotchi Forever from the App Store and Google Play Store. For now, we think we’re going to stick to our keychains — it’s much cheaper, anyway.

Editors’ Recommendations