Posts tagged with: Review
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    So you’re looking for a set of speakers a little beefier than what your smartphone’s packing out of the box. We've been down this road before, most notably with our unboxing of the monstrous JBL PowerUp dock that we bought to match our Nokia Lumia 920 back in 2012. But such big sound often requires big equipment: the PowerUp is a monster. And if you go for a smaller solution, you're often left dealing either with tangled-up cables or a speaker with a battery so small that it dies within a few hours. Truly, these are trying times for mobile audio (unless you own a phone with BoomSound, ...

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    With a device as aesthetically focused as the new HTC One M8, slapping a case on the back amounts to something like sacrilege (even more so than usual). That aluminum! That machined precision! Those chamfers! But then again ... that aluminum. That precision. Those chamfers. We've shown time and again that building a device from metal and polishing it to a jewel-like finish is an approach that results in beautiful unboxings, but also in products that don't necessarily hold up well over time. Cases may be ugly, but they sure can protect an investment if they're built properly. When a case is ...

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    The down side to success is the pressure to keep on succeeding. HTC's 2013 flagship, the original HTC One (M7), defined "successful" in nearly every way. We awarded it one of the highest review scores we'd ever bestowed on a smartphone, a reception mirrored by most of the tech community. "Bravo HTC," we said of its stellar industrial design and innovative new features. Our opinion stayed much the same when the Sprint version came to town ("It's a phone that does it all – and does it very well"). Pocketnow readers selected the HTC One as their top smartphone of 2013. And the accolades ...

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    The Lumia 2520 graced our lives months ago, brightening our unboxing desk and leaving a lasting first impression. Sadly, it didn't stick around long enough for us to give it the full review treatment, disappearing in a shipping accident so mysterious we sometimes still bring it up on the Pocketnow Weekly podcast. Fortunately, Nokia has sent us a replacement unit, and this time around it's included a bonus: the recently-released Nokia Power Keyboard. The long-awaited accessory brings two USB ports, a 2,027 mAh battery, and one of the most comfortable keyboards ever to Nokia's Windows RT ...

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    Samsung has been making tablets since the second half of 2010, trying to close the gap between its own market share and the current tablet market share leader, Apple. Currently, Apple holds a 36 percent share of the tablet market. The only manufacturer even remotely threatening Apple's share is Samsung, which currently holds 19.1 percent, according to Gartner. At CES in January, Samsung dropped four new tablets: the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, Galaxy TabPRO 12.2, Galaxy TabPRO 10.1, and the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4. The specifications alluded to notable improvements over the Galaxy Tabs of 2013, which ...

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    There's a certain minimum threshold that a product should be required to meet before it can rightfully wear the "pro" label. It should offer high-end specifications and enhanced capabilities over its more mundane, "non-pro" counterparts. Ideally, it should appeal to the consumer looking for a more versatile, more capable product. Above all, it should offer a top-notch customer experience. With the Galaxy TabPRO 10.1, Samsung gets some of that right. This Galaxy Tab is far and away the most powerful yet produced, with capabilities never before offered on the company's midrange tablet line. ...

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    Even at launch, there was nothing humble about the HTC HD2. With the largest screen ever grafted onto a smartphone, the first-of-its-kind Qualcomm Scorpion SoC, and the heaviest skin ever crafted for a Windows Mobile device (here called "HTC Sense" for the first time), the HD2 was a behemoth – the biggest spec beast ever devised. It married the touch-and-go simplicity of the iPhone with the power of WinMo 6 to produce the best Microsoft-powered smartphone anyone could ask for ... and back in 2009, there was no shortage of asking, with the device selling out repeatedly over its initial ...

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    The summer of 2007. In the United States, Rihanna, Avril Lavigne, and Fall Out Boy topped the pop charts; the final installment in the Harry Potter series became the fastest-selling book in history; and the films Oceans 13 and Live Free or Die Hard proved there was still money to be made in Hollywood sequels. Meanwhile in quaint Norfolk Virginia, I was preparing to leave my job at wireless carrier Sprint Nextel, and as such, I was in the market for the biggest, beefiest smartphone I could buy to see me through the next two years. In 2007, that slab of smartphone hot sauce was the HTC ...

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    I was among the very first to back the original Pebble Kickstarter. I was also very skeptical of the people behind Pebble, no matter how awesome the campaign or watch sounded back in spring of 2012. Years before that, as a huge proponent of BlackBerrys, I had teetered on the edge of pre-ordering the Allerta inPulse smartwatch for several months, until the whole project went south and the delays starting piling on top of one another. The whole situation slowly spiraled out of control, and I decided to hang on to my $150. I was hesitant to back Pebble on Kickstarter, along with everyone else ...

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    To date, options have been sparse for CDMA users in search of a truly high-end Windows Phone. The most high-end Windows Phones Verizon has offered are the Nokia Lumia 928, and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. Sprint has the HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo. There have been a few other forgettable models offered by the two CDMA carriers here in the States, but CDMA subscribers have not been treated to a truly spectacular, boundary breaking Windows Phone handset … ever. Nokia and Verizon Wireless want to change that. The two companies came together to produce the Lumia Icon, a rough mixture of a ...

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    ZTE has never been a strong smartphone competitor here in the States, but it aims to change that in 2014. Our own Jaime Rivera reviewed the Nubia 5 back in December, and he was rather smitten with the unlocked device from ZTE. The real question is: can ZTE keep building the momentum with quality devices for the US market? That's at least the plan with the Boost MAX on the Sprint MVNO Boost Mobile. It wants to provide a sufficient competitor to oversized devices like the Galaxy Note 3 for substantially less. With the exception of Samsung's Galaxy Mega series, every so-called phablet to date ...

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    "Where have all the small phones gone?" "Remember when mini smartphones were actually small?" "Why do small smartphones have to suck on the spec sheet?" Those blurbs, taken from two years' worth of Pocketnow editorial headlines, succinctly illustrate our historic frustration with the smartphone sizing problem. For the past few generations, average device size has skyrocketed: HTC's HD2 was considered massive when it launched four years ago, with HTC selling it under the slogan "take the big screen with you." Today, though, its 4.3-inch display seems almost quaint alongside flagships like ...

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    The Nexus 5 we're giving away isn't just any old smartphone. First of all, it's the larger 32GB model, so those of you with an aversion to cloud storage and an affinity for byte-hungry media can rest easy. More importantly, it comes bearing a cosmetic upgrade: a vinyl skin from the fine folks at dbrand that replicates a white carbon fiber/brushed titanium finish. And if that's not your speed, there are four more skins bundled with the award package, waiting to be claimed by our grand-prize winner. But how well do these skins work, anyway? What's the process of applying them like, and how ...

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    Sometimes when we get a carrier-specific version of an already-released smartphone, we'll go ahead and do a separate full review on it - like we did for the Galaxy Note 3, whose AT&T version got a full review just two weeks after the initial review landed for the international version. Other times we'll do what's called a "review rebuttal," where another Pocketnow team member takes a second look at the same device; that happened for the LG G2, HTC One max, and the South Korean version of the LG G Flex. For the AT&T version of the G Flex, though, the device has come to me - the guy ...

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    It’s a smartwatch we’ve talked a lot about over the past couple months, putting it through a comparison with its arch-nemesis the Pebble before evaluating it based on rigid awesome/not awesome criteria. We'll also be touching on its (unofficial) ability to sync with non-Samsung devices in a video next week. But the Samsung Galaxy Gear recently received a significant software update in the form of the MK7 system package, and it’s important enough that we thought we’d give it a quick look in our review studio. Click on down to the Galaxy Gear update review to see how the new software ...

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    The Moto X is now five-months-old. Our own Michael Fisher took a second look at Motorola's 2013 flagship yesterday in episode 29 of After The Buzz. He found that despite how mediocre the phone was on paper at the time of its launch, the consensus hasn't changed … at all. The Moto X is a fantastic smartphone we still would (and do) recommend for many. But there's no point in rehashing his views on the Moto X in comparison to its foes. Instead, we're here to look at how the Moto X has fared in our pockets, next to our keys and pocket change, or how it has survived the element over those ...

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    Most new device launches go the same way: usually the press gets review units before they’re widely available, and we get to use them for a few days -or a week if we’re lucky- as we work on our review. Then press day arrives. The embargo on media coverage lifts, and everyone posts their reviews and videos at the same time. It’s a huge frenzy, commenters go nuts, and it’s a giant explosion of frantic opinion-sharing activity. For about … a day. And then it all goes away. Sure, there’s followup coverage as people find bugs and hidden features, but after that initial blast, not ...

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    2013 has been an interesting year, and that's mainly because OEMs have begun to believe in the unlocked smartphone for the United States. Now don't get me wrong, unlocked smartphones have always existed, but they were either too expensive, or too underpowered to make a positive dent in the US market. Once you compared them against their subsidized competitors, it was really pointless to buy one. It seems that the new trend is for these devices to become more than just an option in a store shelf, and one of the companies that has decided to compete in the US under this model is ZTE with ...

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    As efforts like After The Buzz, the Pocketnow U-Review, and Empty Nest demonstrate, we’re constantly searching for fresh ways to review mobile technology. The newest product of those efforts is Pocketnow’s “Review Rebuttal” series, in which a member of our team is assigned to test a smartphone or tablet that’s already gone through our standard review process. While the resulting video or editorial doesn’t affect the “official” Pocketnow review score, we hope it provides added context by showcasing an editor’s personal opinion, rather than a team-wide consensus. We call it ...

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    Before you get out the pitchforks, we should clear up one little detail about the title of this review: the Lumia 1520 is by no means a bad smartphone. At least, not in the traditional sense. Nokia's latest high-end Lumia is packed with top-shelf specs, as well as a processor and screen combination never before seen on a Windows Phone. In that sense, the Lumia 1520 is "bad" - meaning 1980s-slang bad. Shaft bad. Bad Meaning Good. Dig? But in exchange for this unprecedented bad-ness, the 1520 demands a lot of pocket space. With a six-inch display and 206 grams of heft, this phone is ...

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    Motorola's stake in the mobile industry has been constantly slipping, alongside revenue, for years now. In Q1 2008, it held a respectable 10.2 percent global cellphone market share. (Keep in mind, the smartphone-specific market was just then beginning to bloom.) According to Gartner, Motorola now resides among the many in the ominous "Other" category on its quarterly global market share reports. Here in the states, Motorola held 23.5 percent of the smartphone market share in Q4 2009. That number has since dropped to a meager seven percent, despite the phone maker's best efforts. Ever since ...

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    "There's nothing flat about you." Depending on your gender, self-image, and the cultural values where you live, that quote (from Dr. Ramchan Woo, LG's Head of Mobile Product Planning) could be taken any number of ways. But applied to the whole of humanity in the most general sense possible, it's true: we're a race of rather rounded organisms. Yet the smartphones we carry with us to communicate with our curvy compatriots are almost invariably flat: boxy, right-angled handhelds that often pay little more than passing attention to ergonomics. That's the reason, according to Dr. Woo, that LG ...

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    Last month, Apple announced two new tablets, the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display. The iPad Air bears a new design, creating unity between the design of the full-sized iPad and iPad mini. It's now lighter, thinner, and more powerful. While the iPad mini didn't receive a major design overhaul, its guts and display are greatly improved over last year's iPad mini. Internally, the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are now virtually identical. The question remains: is one better than the other? Should you fork over the extra cash for the full-sized model? Or is the extra ...

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    Last year, apple released a product many of us were convinced would never happen, a miniature tablet. The late Steve Jobs himself talked poorly of smaller tablets, from a usability standpoint, on an earnings call just two years ago. Nonetheless, the company pushed forward to provide the iPad mini in 2012. While many of us may not have agreed with what Jobs said at the time – that 7-inch tablets would have to be sold with sandpaper so users could whittle their fingertips down to one-fourth their current size – there may have been some truth to what he was saying. The iPad mini was a ...

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    Most new device launches go the same way: usually the press gets review units before they’re widely available, and we get to use them for a few days -or a week if we’re lucky- as we work on our review. Then press day arrives. The embargo on media coverage lifts, and everyone posts their reviews and videos at the same time. It’s a huge frenzy, commenters go nuts, and it’s a giant explosion of frantic opinion-sharing activity. For about … a day. And then it all goes away. Sure, there’s followup coverage as people find bugs and hidden features, but after that initial blast, not ...

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