Hands on with Samsung’s Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile

By on February 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM.

Hands on with Samsung’s Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile

Samsung has a number of new devices on hand at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and one of them was the Galaxy S Blaze 4G set to launch on T-Mobile later this year. We got a chance to check out the Blaze 4G, and we left relatively unimpressed. To be fair, the Blaze is a lightning-fast smartphone on par with a number of recent additions to Samsung’s Galaxy line, but it’s hard to get excited over a phone that is only a modest upgrade compared to T-Mobile’s current Galaxy S II. The Blaze 4G features a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5-megapixel camera and Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. It’s certainly a solid phone but with HTC’s One S heading to T-Mobile in April and Samsung’s full-HD Galaxy S III on the way as well, T-Mobile subscribers looking for the latest and greatest may want to sit tight and wait another month or so. The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G launches in March for $149.99 on contract, and our hands-on photos of the handset follow below.

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Hands-on with the ZTE Era, Orbit and PF112

By on February 27, 2012 at 4:40 PM.

Hands-on with the ZTE Era, Orbit and PF112

ZTE doesn’t have a strong presence here in the U.S., but the vendor revealed several smartphones at this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show that will be big sellers in a number of markets. The Era, Orbit and PF112 are among the new ZTE phones that will launch this year, and we spent some time with each of them on Monday. The Era and the PF112 both run Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, while the Orbit is a Windows Phone. The Era is a quad-core Tegra 3-powered beast with a 4.3-inch screen and high-end specs that rival any device launched here at the show. The PF112 sports an even larger 4.5-inch screen, tri-band HSPA+ and an 8-megapixel shooter. The Orbit is the company’s low-end Windows Phone model, with a 4-inch display, a 1GHz processor and 4GB of on-board storage. In use, the Windows Phone-powered Orbit was definitely impressive for an entry-level smartphone, exhibiting the smooth user experience we’ve come to expect from handsets powered by Microsoft’s mobile platform. The Android phones weren’t operational, so we can’t comment on their performance. We can definitely still admire their sleek designs though, so check out our hands-on gallery for photos of each of these new ZTE phones.

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Hands on with Sony’s Xperia P (again) and Xperia U

By on February 27, 2012 at 1:40 PM.

Hands on with Sony’s Xperia P (again) and Xperia U

We were only able to spend a few minutes with Sony’s new Xperia P smartphone as we rushed from Sony’s press conference to HTC’s press conference on Sunday, and we didn’t get any time at all with the Xperia U. Thanks to a slightly lighter event scheduled on Monday, we were able to make it over to Sony’s booth and spend some quality time with its new smartphones. These are the first smartphones that will be launched by the new Sony Mobile Communications unit that picks up where Sony Ericsson left off, and to be frank, we’re a bit concerned. This pair of Android phones is well-made and we like what Sony has done to its UI atop Android 4.0, but we’re still seeing some things that concern us. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery linked below, and then hit the break for our initial impressions of the Xperia P and Xperia U smartphones.

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Redesigned iPad 3 with 8-megapixel camera pictured for the first time

By on February 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM.

Redesigned iPad 3 with 8-megapixel camera pictured for the first time

Purported images of Apple’s next-generation iPad have been published by Chinese language Apple Daily ahead of the new tablet’s official announcement. The slate had leaked only in bits and pieces until now, however alleged photos of an assembled iPad 3 show a device that is very much in line with earlier reports. The case is similar to the one found on the iPad 2, though it has apparently been redesigned with a more gradual taper leading from the back to the edges. Apple Daily also states that the iPad 3 features a 9.7-inch Retina Display, which was confirmed last week, and an 8-megapixel camera as had been rumored previously. Apple is reportedly planning to unveil the iPad 3 at a press conference in early March, and the tablet is also expected to feature a quad-core Apple A6 processor and embedded 4G LTE connectivity.

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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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Photos show quad-core iPad 3 processor, Wi-Fi and global LTE options

By on February 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM.

Photos show quad-core iPad 3 processor, Wi-Fi and global LTE options

A source claiming to be in possession of an iPad 3 prototype provided BGR with images containing details about Apple’s highly anticipated third-generation tablet. From the data in the photos, which contain the output from an iPad 3 using a development and debug tool called iBoot, we can infer plenty of information about the upcoming iPad 3. For starters, the model numbers are J1 and J2 (iPad3,1 and iPad3,2), and while DigiTimes reported this a few weeks ago, these two models are not different devices, just a single iPad available in two versions — one with Wi-Fi only and one with Wi-Fi and embedded GSM/CDMA/LTE for all carriers. Also included in the photos is, for the first time, confirmation of which processor Apple will be using in the iPad 3: an A6 processor with model number S5L8945X. For reference, the Apple A4 model was S5L8930X and the A5 is S5L8940X. The new processor will also apparently be a quad-core model, making the upcoming iPad 3 the fastest iOS device ever, we have been told. More screenshots are included in our gallery below.

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LG CES 2012 booth tour

By on January 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM.

LG CES 2012 booth tour

Samsung and Sony each brought their A-game to the Consumer Electronics Show this year when it comes to high-end HDTVs. If there was one other brand that could easily give these tech giants a run for their money though, it was LG. The South Korea-based company had a handfull of other devices to show off at CES 2012, but televisions took center stage in the firm’s booth and sets on display ranged from entry-level offerings to high-end stunners that were absolutely beautiful. Of all the TVs LG had on display at CES, our clear favorite — it’s not even close, really — was the company’s new 55-inch OLED model. The gorgeous panel on this HDTV gives Samsung’s Super OLED displays a run for their money, and we would be hard pressed to say which screen produces deeper blacks and more vivid colors. No pricing has been announced and we’re sure this set will cost a pretty penny, but it could very well find its way to BGR headquarters once it hits the market. Pictures can hardly do LG’s new OLED HDTV justice, but several photos can be found in our LG booth tour, which follows below.

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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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Sony Xperia S hands-on

By on January 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM.

Sony Xperia S hands-on

Sony came to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show with a pair of new Xperia smartphones and while they definitely look and feel like older devices in the company’s Xperia lineup in terms of design identity, they were much smoother than older Xperia models. The dual-core 1.5GHz processor in the Xperia S clearly plays a big role in speeding up Sony’s UI, and the 4.3-inch 720p Reality Display produces deep blacks and vivid colors. The UI itself is still one of our least favorite Android interfaces though, and the handset itself feels a bit light. The Xperia S also packs dual HD video cameras — a 12-megapixel camera on the back records 1080p HD video and the front facing camera supports 720p video chats — and the handset is PlayStation certified, giving it solid gaming capabilities without the added bulk of a dedicated controller as was the case with the Xperia Play. Pricing could make or break the Xperia S, but Sony hasn’t yet announced availability details. Check out our hands-on images of the Xperia S in the gallery below.

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Verizon’s Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX hands-on

By on January 10, 2012 at 6:08 PM.

Verizon’s Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX hands-on

In addition to spending some time with the new Motorola DROID 4, we just went Inside The Actor’s Studio with Ed Zander’s old the new RAZR. The Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX is similar to the DROID RAZR but offers a larger battery for up to 21 hours of usage on a single charge. Despite the larger battery, however, the device still feels super thin. We didn’t notice a hint of lag while flying through menus, but we did notice that there was some sluggishness inside the web browser while loading websites. The DROID RAZR MAXX also comes equipped with 32GB of on-board storage, which should be plenty for storing movies, music and photos. Unfortunately it still runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) but we hope, and suspect, that Motorola has plans to upgrade the phone to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The RAZR MAXX will cost $299 with a new two-year contract when it makes its debut on Verizon Wireless. Photo’s are all in the gallery, minus James Lipton.

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Nokia Lumia 900 hands-on

By on January 10, 2012 at 4:27 PM.

Nokia Lumia 900 hands-on

Leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show this year, Nokia’s first Windows Phone for AT&T was definitely one of the smartphone announcements we were anticipating most anxiously. We were fans of the Lumia 800 when we reviewed it, but when our sources let us know that a bigger handset that maintained the Lumia 800′s design aesthetic would launch soon after CES, the 800 lost its luster. In line with our exclusive report, Nokia’s brand new Lumia 900 features the same unique design and build as the Lumia 800 Nokia launched last year, but there are two key differences that make this smartphone our clear favorite. It includes compatibility with AT&T’s new 4G LTE network, and it packs a larger 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display. The larger form factor was designed with the U.S. market in mind according to Nokia, and the size of the device is ideal. The Lumia 900′s build is outstanding as well, and Windows Phone 7.5 is beyond smooth thanks to the phone’s 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor. Nokia and AT&T haven’t yet revealed pricing or a launch date, but Nokia did say it will become available in the coming months. We can’t wait to review this gorgeous smartphone but in the mean time, check out our hands-on Lumia 900 photo gallery below.

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LG Viper 4G LTE hands-on

By on January 10, 2012 at 3:10 PM.

LG Viper 4G LTE hands-on

Sprint’s version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is certainly the star of Sprint’s upcoming LTE device lineup for now, but a second 4G LTE smartphone was announced this week at the Consumer Electronics show that will offer early LTE adopters on Sprint’s network as solid second choice. Featuring a 4-inch display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and  Google Wallet support thanks to an NFC chip, the LG Viper 4G LTE is a well-equipped Android smartphone that will launch later this half of the year. It will have Android 2.3 Gingerbread at launch, but Sprint has promised an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich shortly after the device is released. The device has a solid build and a great look thanks to the brushed metal-look back, and at the right price it could end up being a terrific option for Sprint subscribers. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on a review unit, but in the meantime, check out a few hands-on images of the LG Viper 4G LTE in the gallery below.

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Sprint hands-on

By on January 10, 2012 at 2:07 PM.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Sprint hands-on

If there was one phone on the market that could be considered the perfect starting point for Sprint’s 4G LTE smartphone lineup, it would be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. We reviewed the international version of Samsung’s Android 4.0 smartphone this past November, and it was easily our favorite Android phone at that time. Despite the fact that a number of great looking smartphones have been unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Galaxy Nexus likely still ranks at the top of our list. Sprint’s version of this handset is identical to the Verizon Wireless version of the phone in terms of hardware, but there is one distinction that will likely make a number of Sprint customers happy: Google Wallet support. Beyond that, you’re looking at the same great pure Google phone that has been wooing Android fans since its announcement. Pricing and availability details haven’t been made available beyond confirmation of a launch in the first half, but check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below while we all wait for more details.

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