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Smartphone Madness 2016: Pick the Mobile Phone Champ

For most people, March means wall-to-wall basketball as colleges across the country take to the hardcourt to crown a national champion. Around these parts, we do the same with smartphones. Our annual Smartphone Madness contest pits the top mobile devices against each other in a bracket-busting showdown. And for the seventh consecutive year, you’re going to decide which smartphone is the champion of champions.

Credit: Nick Bush / Tom’s GuideThe NCAA basketball tournament doesn’t get underway until next week, but our Smartphone Madness bracket is already in place. The action tips off tomorrow (March 11) when Apple’s top-seeded iPhone 6s and 6s Plus face a challenge from Acer’s recently announced Liquid Jade 2. The polls open at 10 a.m. ET, and you’ll have until 9 a.m. the next day to vote for your favorite.

Seven more first-round match-ups will be held each day, until the quarterfinals begin on Wednesday, March 23. The last phones standing will face off in the finals on Monday, April 4.

Credit: Nick Bush / Tom’s GuideAnd when the Smartphone Madness finals begin, you’ll have the chance to win, too. We’re giving away the winning smartphone to one lucky voter who participates in the final round. We’ll have more details about the contest and how you can win as we get closer to the ultimate smartphone showdown. Want to make sure your favorite phone makes it through to the finals? Vote early and often.

Want to know when your favorite smartphone gets its chance at glory? Here’s our first round schedule for the Saccharine 16:

  • March 11: Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus vs. Acer Liquid Jade 2
  • March 14: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge vs. HP Elite X3
  • March 15: Google Nexus 6P and 5X vs. Asus ZenFone 2
  • March 16: LG G5 vs. Alcatel Idol 4 and 4S
  • March 17: HTC One A9 vs. Huawei Mate 8
  • March 18: OnePlus 2 vs. Xiaomi Mi 5
  • March 21: BlackBerry Priv vs. Sony Xperia X
  • March 22: Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL vs. Motorola Droid Turbo 2

Which phone will earn your vote? Did your favorite device get snubbed by our selection committee? Let us hear about it in the forums.1

References

  1. ^ forums (www.tomsguide.com)

Apple’s Latest Acquisition Means Big News For The iPhone’s Camera

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.

From time to time, Apple buys other companies, usually because they have talented employees and/or crazy-cool technologies Apple wants for itself. Apple’s latest acquisition, Israeli company LynX Imaging1, happens to be the latter scenario: LynX builds advanced mobile-camera technology that could utterly transform the iPhone’s camera quality. More specifically, LynX makes multi-aperture camera equipment.

So, instead of having one hole (aperture) that light shines through to capture an image, LynX closely sets two, three, or four together to capture a single image from slightly different angles. Software stitches the images seamlessly together for a photo that has depth that is, it’s a 3D image. LynX’s camera technology also features improved light sensitivity, less noise, faster exposure, and better photo quality in low light (something that Apple competitors like Nokia2 have gotten very good at) that’s close to SLR level.

On top of that, the company’s product is half as thick as a traditional smartphone camera module3 and you know how much Apple loves making its products thinner and thinner. Put that all together, and we’ve got a good picture of what a future iPhone camera will be able to offer: a slimmer form factor, 3D images that show depth, and better quality in dimly lit situations. It’s possible that this technology (or something similar) could arrive as soon as the next iPhone this fall.

The iPhone 6S is rumored to have “the biggest camera jump ever4” over its predecessor. This would largely be due to a dual-lens setup, much like the technology LynX Imaging offers. Often, the “S” version of an iPhone only features minimal hardware updates, but with added TouchID in the iPhone 5S, and now the possibility of a seriously souped-up camera in the 6S, Apple seems to be ditching that trend (woe betide our wallets).

The LynX acquisition, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, cost Apple roughly $20 million. 5

References

  1. ^ Israeli company LynX Imaging (www.wsj.com)
  2. ^ Apple competitors like Nokia (gizmodo.com)
  3. ^ half as thick as a traditional smartphone camera module (www.businesswire.com)
  4. ^ the biggest camera jump ever (www.macrumors.com)
  5. ^ The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com)