If the PlayStation 4 is any indication of the quality of the next generation of gaming, then it was worth the wait after all. I’m writing this review seven years to the day after Sony brought the PlayStation 3 to the United States, a console I swore I would never buy after Sony revealed the ridiculous price tag at E3. Seven years later, the Japanese electronics giant has value in mind and the PlayStation 4 is a bargain at $399.99. More →
“This is the first ultra-compact, “pro-grade” machine from Apple that can last nine hours with the display on.”
It happened: the MacBook Air has officially been trumped as my recommended road warrior machine. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s another Apple product that’s doing the trumping. Released last month alongside the iPad Air and revised iPad mini with Retina display, the Haswell-infused 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been my sole computer for the past four weeks. For those who slept right through the announcement, here’s a bit of a refresher: it’s dramatically faster than last year’s model, it’s cheaper, and most impressive of all, it’s thinner.
How thin? At its rear, the 13-inch MacBook Air measures 0.68-inches, whereas the new 13-inch rMBP measures 0.71-inches. (Save your effort reaching for the calculator — this new rig is just 0.03-inches thicker than the MBA’s thickest point.) To boot, Apple dropped the entry price for its smallest pro-grade machine to just $1,299, placing it just $200 north of the baseline 13-inch MacBook Air. For those who spend an embarrassing amount of time in airline seats, Town Cars, and/or questionable-designed hotel rooms, there’s a new champion in town. Read on for my take on Apple’s most fit-for-travel workhorse yet. More →
Nokia, as we know it, is going away. The company itself will remain, of course. It might even be consistently profitable some day. But the face of Nokia that most consumers are familiar with will be a thing of the past. Nokia will soon sell off its devices and services business to Microsoft for about $5 billion as part of a $7.2 billion deal. But in the meantime, the company has a product pipeline to clear and the new Lumia 1520 is certainly one of the more interesting devices Nokia will be launching before the big changing of the guard. The 1520 marks Nokia’s first foray into the increasingly popular phablet category and if not for Apple, Nokia would be the last major smartphone vendor to enter the space. But is the company’s new 1520 just a bigger Lumia phone, or is it also a better Lumia phone that continues moving in the right direction and picks up where the Lumia 1020 left off? More →
The top-down Zelda games started as console releases on the NES and SNES, but as 3D graphics took precedence, the flatter rendition of Hyrule was relegated to the portable platforms. Some have been better than others (here’s to you, Minish Cap), but virtually every portable entry to the series has stayed rooted to the open-world exploration of the original game. It might not be the best game in the series, but A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS and other portable consoles is the most open, fluid and distinctive title since Wind Waker. More →
Remember when I said I couldn’t put Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 down? Well, I put it down. After months of rumors, leaks and speculation, Google finally took the wraps off of its new Nexus 5 smartphone last week and Android fans were elated. The sleek new handset started selling out in mere minutes and by the end of the day, it would be weeks until new orders of some Nexus 5 builds would be dispatched. Can Google’s new Nexus phone possibly live up to all the hype that has built up over the past few months? More →
I have a love-hate relationship with Samsung’s smartphones. I love the displays and, feature spam aside, many of Samsung’s software enhancements offer great features on top of Google’s Android platform. But I hate Samsung’s plasticky housings that make the phones feel like cheap toys compared to devices like the HTC One and iPhone 5s, and I also often find Samsung’s phones to be oversized. The Galaxy Note 3 changed none of that; the screen is gorgeous, the Note-specific software features are great, the build feels cheap and plasticky, and the device is far too gigantic to be used comfortably. So why can’t I put it down? More →
Apple’s iPhone 5s represents the biggest “S” upgrade an iPhone has ever seen. The guts of the phone have been completely overhauled, just as BGR exclusively reported they would be back in May. Beyond the internals, Apple’s new Touch ID fingerprint scanner also makes the 5s the first “S” upgrade ever to include a major new user-facing hardware feature. The processor is better, two of the color options are new, the battery lasts longer, the camera takes better photos and even the display is slightly easier on the eyes thanks to its cooler tone. But as a total package in the context of being an upgrade from last year’s iPhone model, Apple’s iPhone 5s may very well be the least impressive jump to date. More →
Top smartphone makers have a bit of a problem. They got so good at selling smartphones that there aren’t enough people left to buy them at the amazing pace the market has enjoyed over the past few years. The smartphone market is still monstrous, of course, but growth is key and growth is slowing. So for market leaders like Apple and Samsung, it’s time to look for the next big thing. According to a growing number of industry watchers, that “next big thing” is smartwatches and annual sales are already projected to explode into the hundreds of millions of units in the coming years. But are all these companies just trying to make fetch happen, or are wrist-worn devices like Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch really the future of mobile computing? More →
Samsung has a problem, but the first step on the road to recovery is admitting it. There are a few common themes that characterize all of Samsung’s recent flagship devices. They all feature positively gorgeous displays packed into plasticky hardware that typically feels cheap and flimsy. They all are met with tons of hype when they launch, and they all rack up huge sales numbers. And finally, they all have a problem that we here at BGR have taken to calling “feature spam,” where Samsung packs as many new features as it can into each new device. This troubling trend keeps Samsung from focusing on truly innovative and useful hero features, and from offering services that lock customers into its ecosystem. But things may soon change for the better. With the new Galaxy Note 3, Samsung has finally begun to pump the brakes and recognize that overstuffing its devices with gimmicky features might not be the best approach. More →
Apple took the wind out of a lot of sails when it unveiled the iPhone 5c earlier this month. It’s not that the device itself was disappointing — quite the contrary, in fact. Apple’s new iPhone 5c is exactly what we were expecting it to be after months of rumors and leaked parts. In a nutshell, it’s an iPhone 5 wrapped in a new plastic shell that comes in five bright new colors. But of course there is much more to Apple’s colorful new smartphone than meets the eye. While some pundits spent days following the 5c’s unveiling discussing how much of a departure it is from the Apple of old, that notion really couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact whether or not Apple itself knew this when it first debuted the iPhone back in 2007, the iPhone 5c was an inevitability. More →
Apple’s task in renovating its mobile platform with iOS 7 could not have been more difficult. In every sense of the phrase, it would be a balancing act. iOS is one of the most popular computing platforms in the world and when it comes to revamped operating systems, users are beyond finicky.
It’s far too easy for companies to fail.
On one hand, you have something like Windows 8, which was too new. Longtime Windows users didn’t know what to make of the new tile-based Start screen and they panicked. As a result, Windows 8 went nowhere fast.
On the other hand, you have a platform like BlackBerry 10, which was far too now. BlackBerry’s latest mobile software indeed features a fresh coat of paint, but it doesn’t really add any compelling new features that rival platforms are lacking.
LG really surprised me with the Optimus G in 2012, and I was hoping history would repeat itself with the brand new LG G2 in 2013. The company has always built good phones, but the Optimus G was an unexpected class leader with cutting-edge specs, sleek software, solid performance and fantastic hardware made mostly of glass. It was an awesome smartphone. When LG unveiled the smartphone’s successor last month though, it raised a lot of eyebrows. The vendor spent a surprising amount of time focusing on trivialities like the phone’s volume and power buttons, which have been moved to the back of the device, and it really failed to wow us with exciting new features. But now that the G2 is hitting store shelves in the U.S., is there more to this phone than meets the eye? More →
The Moto X is a big bet for Google and Motorola. It’s a phone that wouldn’t have existed if Google had not paid $12.5 billion for Motorola over a year and a half ago, and one that lets Google introduce its vision of a mass-market Android smartphone without taking center stage. In a world filled with everything from major smartphone manufacturers to non-name white-box vendors producing Android devices, why and how does this new flagship phone from Motorola shine through? It all boils down to something very Googley — data.
Google uses data like no other company, and with the Moto X it took an average of what screen size is acceptable to most consumers, the most comfortable shape of the phone based on data from focus groups, and features that exist just to try to fix statistical problems. One example is how, on average, we check our phone for the current time more than 50 times a day.
The most impressive thing to me about the Moto X though, is how un-Googley it feels. It’s a phone that actually has character, purpose and meaning, even though it was created in a test tube. It doesn’t feature the most mind-blowing hardware and it’s not the fastest Android phone in the world, but it doesn’t need to be.
It just needs to be the first iPhone of the Android world, and here is why it delivers on that.