HTC One X hands-on

By on February 26, 2012 at 4:12 PM.

HTC One X hands-on

It’s finally here… the flagship smartphone we’ve all been waiting for… HTC’s One X. BGR first revealed details surrounding HTC’s high-end One X back in November, and the wait has been grueling but it’s finally behind us. This sleek smartphone is every bit as beastly as we all knew it would be, and then some. Starting with the 4.7-inch Super LCD2 display that features 720p HD resolution, this is easily one of the best screens we’ve ever seen on an HTC phone. The quad-core Tegra 3 appears to be an absolute monster, and we didn’t even come close to tripping it up during our hands-on time with the phone. Check out our photo gallery below, and hit the break for more.

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Sony Xperia P hands-on

By on February 26, 2012 at 1:54 PM.

Sony Xperia P hands-on

We’re here in sunny Barcelona, Spain on day 0 of the annual Mobile World Congress trade show — yes, several companies couldn’t even wait for day 1 to hold their press conferences — and Sony’s media event has just wrapped up. In case you missed it, Sony unveiled two devices at this year’s show, one of which was the sleek new Xperia P smartphone that will launch in the second quarter. The handset’s design is reminiscent of earlier Xperia handsets, but like the other members of the “Xperia NXT” family, it features a clear strip near the bottom of the phone that adds a variety of unique lighting features to the device. The phone’s 3.5-inch display leaves a bit to be desired compared to market leaders like Samsung, and colors weren’t nearly as vivid as they are on phones like the Galaxy S II or Galaxy Nexus. The Xperia P will also launch with a dual-core 1GHz processor while the competition is rolling out devices with NVIDIA’s 1.5GHz quad-core chipset, and the difference is noticeable; the Xperia P isn’t laggy per se, but moving around Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich feels a bit slow compared to some other phones. We weren’t able to spend much time with the Xperia P — or any time at all with the Xperia U — but check out a few photos in the gallery below and tune in for HTC’s press conference, which is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. EST / 11:30 a.m.

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LG Optimus 3D Max hands-on

By on February 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM.

LG Optimus 3D Max hands-on

We spent some time with LG’s Optimus 4X HD and Optimus Vu here at Mobile World Congress earlier on Sunday, and now we’ve got another one of LG’s new Android smartphones on hand. This time it’s the Optimus 3D Max, and there’s good news and bad news: the good news is that this new smartphone is definitely an improvement over the original Optimus 3D it replaces. The bad news is that it will launch running Android 2.3 Gingerbread while the rest of LG’s high-end lineup enjoys Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The 1.2GHz dual-core processor in the Optimus 3D Max does a good job of jumping around LG’s Optimus UI, lackluster though it may be, and the dual 3D cameras on the back of the device weigh in at 5-megapixels a piece. The 3D implementation still isn’t much more than a gimmick to us, however, and there’s no way we would opt for this handset over the much more impressive Optimus 4X HD. Those willing to make do with Android 2.3 because they love having 3D features on their smartphones may feel differently though, so check out our hands-on images in the gallery below.

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LG Optimus Vu hands-on

By on February 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM.

LG Optimus Vu hands-on

During today’s LG media preview event here at MWC, we got a chance to spend a bit of hands-on time with a few of LG’s new 2012 devices. Among the three handsets unveiled today was the Optimus Vu, which is LG’s answer to the gigantic Samsung Galaxy Note. This not-quite-tablet, not-quite-smartphone sports an impressive spec sheet, with a 5-inch XGA display sporting a 4:3 aspect ratio, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a massive 2,080 mAh battery. Oh, and did we mention this sexy beast is only 8.5mm thick? In use, we found the device to be surprisingly fast and responsive, and the included stylus seemed more or less functional in operation. It’s definitely not as elaborate as Samsung’s “S Pen” but it does the job, if a stylus is your thing. We’re also not huge fans of LG’s UI on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but at least it’s an improvement over older versions of the UI. Check the hands-on gallery below!

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Hands on with the LG Optimus 4X HD

By on February 26, 2012 at 10:52 AM.

Hands on with the LG Optimus 4X HD

LG took the wraps off a number of smartphones leading up to Mobile World Congress this past week, and now we’re finally getting some hands-on time with all of them. The LG Vu garnered most of the attention last week thanks to its Galaxy Note-like supersized stature, but the high-definition LG Optimus 4X HD definitely shouldn’t be ignored. This quad-core Tegra 3-powered Ice Cream Sandwich phone features a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display that is definitely more impressive than earlier LG screens, but it can’t quite compete with the Super AMOLED panels Samsung has been using on its recent smartphones. LG also included a new version of its Optimus UI on top of Android 4.0 and among the variety of Android skins on the market today, LG’s is definitely one of our least favorite. Navigating the UI and multitasking is lightning fast thanks to the Tegra 3 chip though, and this is easily among the most impressive smartphones LG has built to date. Check out our hands-on images in the gallery below!

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Apple’s iOS accounts for 35% of mobile ad impressions in January, passes Android

By on February 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM.

Apple’s iOS accounts for 35% of mobile ad impressions in January, passes Android

InMobi, the largest independent mobile advertising network, on Friday announced its “Mobile Insights Report: North American Edition” for the month of January, reports AppleInsider. Thanks to the launch of the iPhone 4S, Apple’s iOS mobile platform surged 12 points to surpass Google’s Android operating system in North American ad impressions. Apple’s share of 23.2% in October of 2011 increased to 35.3% in January, with Android losing 3.2% in the same time frame for a 32.7% share in January. Research in Motion’s BlackBerry mobile platform dropped 8.9% from October to January to an 11.6% share. “The iOS growth we are seeing may be attributed to the tremendous success of iPhone 4S and iPad in the ecosystem,” said Anne Frisbie, vice president and managing director for InMobi’s North American operations. “Overall, we are excited to see InMobi’s available impressions exceed 55 billion in North America, and look forward to continuing our rapid growth through 2012.” The data comes from InMobi’s advertising network, which serves more than 93.4 billion ad impressions around the world each month. More →

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note is the most useless phone I’ve used

By on February 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note is the most useless phone I’ve used

Samsung and AT&T are getting ready to launch a new smartphone, superphone, phablet or whatever else you want to call it, and I picked one up earlier today. It’s the first time I have used or even held the device personally, and I really need to share some immediate thoughts even though a full review is forthcoming. This is a phone, after using it for a few hours, that feels like it is too big to be taken seriously. That’s the end of it. I don’t care if you like large screens on mobile devices, I don’t care if you love Android, and I don’t care if you love 4G LTE — this is a device fit for use only by such a small subset of the human population that I can’t fathom how AT&T and Samsung are putting so much marketing resources behind it. Check out images of the Galaxy Note in the gallery below, and the rest of my thoughts follow after the break.

The Galaxy Note essentially has everything you’d want in a smartphone: a great dual-core processor, a solid camera, a beautiful display and good build quality, and it runs on AT&T’s new 4G LTE network that delivers incredibly fast downloads speeds. Plus the battery seems actually decent so far, which is a triumph for modern smartphones.

Throw all of that right out the window.

The phone is too big. You will look stupid talking on it, people will laugh at you, and you’ll be unhappy if you buy it. I really can’t get around this, unfortunately, because Samsung pushed things way too far this time.

You can’t use it one-handed, and I can’t even type on it easily with two hands. I’m almost offended by this product, and I love a lot of what Samsung is doing — in fact, the company’s current flagship is my favorite Android smartphone in the world. But the Galaxy Note just feels like a joke. And the worst part? Look at the display and how it’s manufactured and designed. See any resemblances to anything else?

I feel like no one else is saying this, and since I’ve not ever been one to hold back what’s on my mind I absolutely will — enough is enough. I’ve had it with incremental updates to Android smartphones every two weeks, I’ve had it with the super-sized ridiculousness, and I’ve had it with all of these marketing gimmicks. Just focus on a quality product, and you won’t have to release eight “flagship” models a year.

But you have a stylus that comes with it, so I guess that makes up for any similarities with rival devices. Kind of like those lollipops you’d get at the dentist after someone just went Mike Tyson on your tooth.

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BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 hands-on

By on January 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM.

BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 hands-on

Research In Motion didn’t unveil any new devices at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, but the Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor still managed to appease fans with a preview of its first major PlayBook OS update that will finally be released some time next month. We spent a good amount of time putting the OS 2.0 through the paces and while there are still some kinks to iron out — we had apps crash on us a number of times — we absolutely walked away impressed. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below and hit the break for our impressions.

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Nest learning thermostat hands-on and installation

By on December 6, 2011 at 12:09 PM.

Nest learning thermostat hands-on and installation

When a product emerges that is created by a team of ex-Apple employees — including one responsible in part for leading the hardware teams behind the iPod and iPhone — that product sells out almost immediately. The latest device to fit the bill isn’t a new smartphone or even a tablet; no, this time around it’s actually a thermostat. As odd as that sounds, the Nest thermostat is exciting in many, many ways. For starters, the amount of thought that went into just the hardware alone is, well, Apple-like. It’s miles ahead of any comparable product in terms of look, form and function. It’s sleek yet is based on a classic and familiar Honeywell T87 round thermostat, and it is packed to the brim with technology including, among other things, a vivid color LCD display and Wi-Fi support. More →

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus hands-on

By on November 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus hands-on

We’ve been playing with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus for the last day, and after shuffling between a Motorola DROID RAZR, an HTC Vivid and an HTC Rezound, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a welcome change in many ways. It’s obviously the Google reference handset for Ice Cream Sandwich, and in almost all cases, it is the best Android handset we’ve seen far as hardware and software go. Android 4.0 is the most cohesive release from Google yet, and while it’s not that straight forward out of the box, you do eventually get the feeling that this phone has a distinct personality as opposed to many other Android phones, which often seem to blend together. Be sure to check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below, and hit the break for more thoughts.

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A month with the iPhone 4S

By on November 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM.

A month with the iPhone 4S

It has been a month since Apple released its latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S. A month since it crushed sales records. A month since consumers got their first hands-on experience with Siri, the intelligent assistant that may help change the way we interact with consumer electronics moving forward. A month since we had to fight the urge to dry heave upon seeing “The S stands for ____” in every third headline across various tech blogs. We reviewed the smartphone in October and called it “the best phone Apple has ever made,” and while the phone might look exactly like its predecessor, we’re not so sure that’s a bad thing. After all, Apple’s year-old iPhone 4 and two-year-old iPhone 3GS were the best-selling cell phones in the U.S. last quarter, so age doesn’t seem to be much of an issue among consumers. More →

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Apple iPhone 4S hands-on

By on October 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM.

Apple iPhone 4S hands-on

We managed to get our hands on a brand new Apple iPhone 4S a little early, and while we haven’t spent enough time with the device to write a full review yet, here are some initial impressions:

  • The iPhone 4S is noticeably faster. Having used an iPhone 4 since launch day, the experience now closely matches the iPad 2 in terms of UI speed. Apps open faster, browser performance is improved, and other system functions like installing apps from the App Store while you navigate to another app are much snappier.
  • The camera… is amazing. As noted above, the camera app opens much more quickly and taking pictures is faster as well. More importantly, the photos that are captured look worlds better than what the iPhone 4 offers, which was already quite good. We’ll dive deeper into the camera in the review, but if photography is important to you, this is something that’s incredibly impressive.
  • Siri: mind-blowing. Not because Siri can answer anything you throw at it, but because every other voice input system we’ve ever used has been command-driven, and Siri breaks that mold. Apple repeatedly mentioned that Siri can understand the meaning of your request, the context and more, and that the system will only get better. It’s already leaps and bounds above anything Google offers, which is a pretty impressive solution on Android handsets.
  • The iPhone 4S uses the same vibrate system as the Verizon iPhone 4 but it’s not quite as aggressive. It still does the job as well as the iPhone 4, just with a bit less force. It’s just a little thing, but something we’ve noticed nonetheless.
We’re in the process of putting our full iPhone 4S review together, but in the meantime check out our hands-on gallery below!
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T-Mobile Galaxy S II hands-on

By on October 10, 2011 at 1:55 PM.

T-Mobile Galaxy S II hands-on

We already reviewed the Sprint version, we’re working on reviewing the AT&T version, and now we’ve gotten our hands on the T-Mobile version. Samsung’s Galaxy S II is the fastest-selling smartphone the South Korea-based electronics giant has ever made, and for a good reason: this is a beast of a handset. The dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor screams, the HSPA+ 4G flies, and it goes without saying that Samsung’s giant 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display is nothing short of amazing. No display even approaches Samsung’s latest panels when it comes to combining unbelievably rich colors, brightness and remarkable clarity. But with new phones on the horizon for the holidays and Google’s next Nexus set to be unveiled in the near future, is T-Mobile’s Galaxy S II worthy of a 2-year commitment? You’ll have to wait for our full review to find out, but in the meantime be sure to check out our hands-on photo gallery below.

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