Posts tagged with: Review
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    Samsung is currently the undisputed king of Android and has been for a while. That title, however, comes with a lot of responsibility. Samsung is expected to drive the market forward with innovative features, compelling hardware, fantastic software, and a second-to-none user experience. As such, many have been looking to Samsung in anticipation of yet another killer smartphone, for the South Korean manufacturer to up the ante and deliver one of the most complete phones on the market for a third year in a row. Back in February, Samsung drew the curtains on the fifth-generation Galaxy S ...

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    At first glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking Sony's new flagship smartphone for its old flagship smartphone. That's partly because of the company's pronounced design aesthetic, and partially thanks to its tendency to fire out new products at a faster pace than its competition. But for all the resemblance the new Xperia bears to its forerunner, there's a world of difference beneath the toughened glass. The Z2's vibrant display puts the elder model's to shame, its innards throb with the power of the best hardware around, and its high-resolution camera is finally a Sony shooter to be ...

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    Within China, native phone manufacturer Oppo is a well-known and respected brand. Elsewhere, it's presence isn't nearly as domineering or demanding of attention. However, that hasn't stopped the Chinese maker from turning heads around the world. Oppo first grabbed the attention of many with the Find 5, followed by the N1, a highly regarded phone amongst the tech enthusiasts in which comes in a Cyanogenmod flavor. Just months later, the company announced two new smartphones, the Find 7 and Find 7a. On paper, these two smartphones look rather impressive. The latter of the two is actually ...

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    Not every smartphone has to be over the top to be great. Motorola and Nokia both taught us that valuable (and wallet-friendly) lesson last year. The Moto G and Lumia 520 are two of the most memorable smartphones of 2013, despite coming with modest specifications and selling for a small fraction of the going price for comparable entry-level smartphones. In light of such competitively priced models, those other, more expensive entry-level devices were quickly forgotten. That said, LG is no stranger to the entry-level market. The question is, can the South Korean handset maker still compete ...

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    While HTC's standard-trim One M8 was one of the worst-kept secrets in smartphone history, its special-edition cousin managed to stay unseen almost right up until its unveiling last week. HTC and Sprint announced the device in a joint event held alongside Spotify executives in NYC, where our own Adam Lein got an informative if noisy hands-on. Shortly thereafter, HTC sent us a demo unit to try out for ourselves (alongside a Harman Karson Onyx Studio that we've yet to cover) and we've spent the last few days getting to know it. That proved more difficult than expected. The Harman/Kardon ...

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    The desk. The keyboard. The chair. If you're a technology blogger in 2014 (or really any kind of white collar employee) these are very likely the tools which dominate your workday. So when a company like Samsung decides to make fitness a priority with its new flagship smartphone, it can be tough to fully evaluate those features unless you get out from behind that desk. Today, that's just what we're doing. While we've already given you a glance at Samsung’s S Health suite in our Galaxy S5 review –and the Galaxy S 4 review before that– we're taking a much closer look in this video. ...

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    "Your move, Samsung." That's how we wrapped up last month's review of the HTC One M8, a product that we called "an elegant smartphone for a more civilized age." The One M8 is such an impressive device that it might well be on its way to dominating the smartphone sales charts by now, were it not for the South Korean juggernaut whose brand has become synonymous with Android. Yes, it's time for the next Galaxy S: the fifth installment in a legacy stretching back to 2010. But where Samsung's front-running smartphone brand has previously brought us iPhone alternatives, devices with natural ...

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    Windows Phone 8.1 is not Windows Phone 9. It might seem merely a bland truth or a bit of farcical arithmetic, but the above statement is important to keep in mind when considering Microsoft's latest update to its distinctive smartphone operating system. After over a year since the last major upgrade, it's natural for advocates and casual users alike to pine for something profound – a ground-up rewrite that propels the third-place contender to the top in one fell swoop. Windows Phone 8.1 is not that rewrite. Less a reinvention than a honing of what came before, the new Windows Phone ...

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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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    Of all the understatements and mischaracterizations of the tech world, probably the most ignominious is the point-upgrade. No matter how many major improvements they've contained, updates like the bump from Android 4.3 to 4.4, and BlackBerry 10.1 to 10.2 have always seemed somehow less impressive due to their miniscule numeric promotion. And that's more true than ever before with Windows Phone 8.1. From the introduction of a native voice assistant to some long-overdue interface overhauls, Microsoft's new software injects some sorely-needed modernity into its smartphone platform, and we're ...

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    Of all the places wireless charging can actually be useful, we can't think of a better place than in the car. Messing with wires in the car can be tricky and, of course, dangerous. The ability to drop your phone in a slot and have it charge sounds awesome, right? Fortunately, that's not fiction. It's possible, thanks to the ZENS Qi Wireless Car Charger. Simply plug the the cup-shaped charger's power adapter into the 12V socket in your car, drop the charger in the cup holder, and toss a Qi-enabled smartphone into the slot on the top. The device plays a subtle chirp, and your phone charges. ...

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    There’s something ineffable about using a BlackBerry in 2014. Some of it is pure nostalgia, the kind of unavoidable reminiscence that comes with using a device bearing a 15-year-old brand. But the bigger part is the software: BlackBerry 10 is a blend of old and new, a kind of hodgepodge of traditional successes alongside more exotic ideas that couldn’t flourish elsewhere. And while the company continues to suffer from carrier woes and a steady loss of market share, it’s by no means taking these punishments sitting down: its latest operating system update just recently cleared US ...

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    HTC has always had a penchant for beautiful smartphones, second-to-none hardware, and superior design. It has always preferred higher quality materials – metals, high-quality, soft touch plastics, and impeccable displays. Last year's One (M7) was no exception to the rule. It topped the charts, won the hearts of many journos and consumers alike, and brought home countless awards for HTC. It set the bar rather high – for its competitors and even for itself, particularly in building a successor to what many agreed was HTC's best work yet. The opening line of our first review of the M7's ...

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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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