Posts by Stephen Schenck

Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!

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    Samsung's Unpacked 2 event in the days leading up to IFA 2014 revealed a whole bunch of new hardware from the company, with the Note 4 front and center. As expected, we saw a lot of related products, including the debut of the Gear VR. Like a fancier Google Cardboard, the headset pairs the quad HD display and processing power of the Note 4 with a series of lenses to create an immersive virtual experience. We learned that sales would begin later this year, and that carriers were even interested, but Samsung wasn't being too forthright with a price tag; just how much would this accessory ...

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    We're four days away September 9, when Apple will do its darnedest to have us forgetting IFA and instead turn all our attention to the latest iOS launches. Exactly what will be on the menu has been a point of contention for months, and as sources go back and forth over our chances for seeing new tablets and wearables (as opposed to getting them later this year), there's little doubt in anyone's mind that we'll get at least one new iPhone 6 model. Taking that much for granted, what happens next – when might the iPhone 6 actually be available for sale? We've talked about some possibilities ...

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    When it comes to expectations for the maturing smartwatch market, the pressure on Apple could not be higher. We've seen a ton of progress over the last year in the development of models associated with Android devices, but despite the major gains, there's still this sense that big improvements are still needed before smartwatches really achieve mainstream appeal. Just as the release of the iPhone and iPad were market-changing launches, we've been wondering if Apple's iWatch might similarly represent a sea change for smartwatches, addressing hardware concerns and delivering a software ...

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    At this point, with so many IFA 2014 product launches out of the way, it's starting to become very clear which devices we just aren't going to see announced. Yes, rumors did an excellent job this year at predicting what we'd see debut, but not every thread has led somewhere fruitful. In the days leading up to the expo, we heard about HTC's rumored smartwatch plans, with the company supposedly working on a pair of models that would arrive this month. So why hasn't there been a peep about these at IFA? According to a new source, it's because HTC has ended up getting cold feet, and has ...

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    What are the hottest products at IFA this year? The smartphones with their eye-catching over-the-edge screens? The super-slim tablets? The smartwatches with circular displays or even cellular radios? There is a heck of a lot of really attention-grabbing hardware out there, and while it's easy to get caught-up in the really headlining items, focusing solely on them would be doing a disservice to the scores of additional products manufacturers have brought to show off, including a lot of new accessories. Samsung had some new toys to share at its Unpacked 2 event the other day, and we ...

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    Our little game of catch-up-on-this-summer's-new-phones continues at IFA in Berlin today, and following run-ins with models like the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, we continue to look for devices launched in the weeks and months leading up to the trade show, which we just haven't had the chance to check out in person yet. LG'S G3 remains the company's flagship Android, but in the time since it debuted, we've seen it joined by a few new family members. Back in July, LG gave us the G3 Beat/S as a "mini" version of the G3 itself, and today we had the opportunity to directly compare the G3 S against ...

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    You've heard the rumors about a Samsung phone with an over-the-edge display. Earlier this week, you even saw that model go official, as the company launched its Galaxy Note Edge. And in the time since, you've had the chance to hear some opinions on the phablet's design, as well as check out our first hands-on look. But are you still having a little trouble wrapping your ahead around just how this fancy edge business works, and what it really means for the phone's usability? Pull up a seat, because we're about to to give you a crash course on just what the Edge's curved screen can do. You ...

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    Well before IFA came along, Samsung was already a tablet juggernaut this year. We saw the launches of multiple Galaxy Tab 4, TabPRO, and most recently Tab S models, so it wouldn't be crazy to assume that Samsung would take a little tablet break, focusing more on its new handsets and wearables. Then again, this is Samsung we're talking about, a company that can't seem to go a week without launching a new product, so when we saw it go ahead and introduce the Galaxy Tab Active earlier this week, it's not like we could act surprised. We took a couple minutes at IFA 2014 to go hands-on with ...

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    We just shared with you our hands-on look at Samsung's new Galaxy Alpha, remarking how IFA is a great venue to not just see the new products announced in Berlin this week, but also those the manufacturers here had launched in the days prior to the show. The Alpha is already a few weeks old, but Samsung's got another pre-IFA launch that's a bit newer, with the Gear S smartwatch having been announced a week ago Wednesday. With its compelling curved display, tracking this wearable down was a no-brainer, and we've filmed our run-in with the Gear S for you to check out. "Is it too big? It looks ...

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    Sony helped start-off our IFA 2014 coverage with a bang, announcing new flagship-level models like the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact. We followed that up by tracking those devices down for the hands-on video treatment. But while those were easily the most high-profile of the new Sony devices to launch, they weren't alone, and we also saw the manufacturer announce a lower-end handset, the Xperia E3. As we continue to make our way through the ocean of all IFA has to show us, we decided to give Sony another visit, this time popping-in to check out the overlooked E3. If you'll ...

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    One of the best parts of going to expos like IFA is getting to see all a manufacturer's recent hardware. We realize that probably sounds more than a little obvious, but we mean that it's not always the products that are being launched right at the show itself that are there to be demonstrated - it's also a bunch of hardware that's launched in the weeks and months prior to the show, and for such models we otherwise haven't had the chance to try out before, these shows are fantastic opportunities to get caught up. That's just what we found ourselves doing at Samsung's booth, as we finally ...

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    Today's a big day for Android Wear: the Moto 360, one of the two smartwatch models to officially kick-off the platform all the way back in March (has it been that long already?) has finally arrived, and sales of the model open today. But in taking its sweet time to get here, another round smartwatch has jumped into the race, and last week's launch of the LG G Watch R brings Motorola maybe its most direct competition yet. Will the LG model manage to impress us in quite the same way as the 360 has managed to captivate? We went hands-on with the G Watch R at IFA in Berlin to lean for ...

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    Yesterday we shared with you news of a couple of the latest products form Alcatel Onetouch to launch at IFA 2014, the Hero 8 tablet and Hero 2 phablet. Before the company calls the expo a wrap, though, it's got some additional hardware to show off, and this morning announces its Pop 2 family of devices. The Pop 2 lineup includes handsets of various sizes and materials, including some premium options. Both 4.5-inch and 5-inch versions will be available, powered by the new Snapdragon 410 SoC with its 64-bit support. One of the highlights of the family promises to be its multiple color ...

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    A little earlier today we brought you news of the first Alcatel Onetouch smartphone to debut at IFA 2014 this year, the six-inch Hero 2. While it didn't look like much of a show-stopper, it managed to combine a metal build with a big screen and decent battery, not to mention the inclusion of a stylus – even if it was capacitive. Now we've got one more model from the manufacturer to share with you, as it announces the Hero 8 tablet. The Hero 8 has (surprise, surprise) an eight-inch screen, and thankfully it's a 1900 x 1200 panel. The tablet's powered by an octa-core MediaTek MTK8392 SoC, ...

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    Just over a week ago, LG got ahead of the curve on all these IFA launches with news of its latest wearable, the circular-faced Android-Wear-running G Watch R. Now, we may be just hours away from getting the scoop on the start of Moto 360 sales, helping to scratch that round-smartwatch itch, but what if you've been spending this past week dreaming about the G Watch R, instead? When might you hope to be able buy this guy? At the time of its launch, LG wasn't sharing any details beyond “early fourth quarter,” but today we're finally learning the specifics, with word that the smartwatch ...

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