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 →
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.
AT&T announced a handful of new Android smartphones during the most recent CTIA show in San Diego, and the Samsung Captivate Glide BGR scooped back in July was among them. Samsung kept the phone close to the chest until recently, and we finally had a chance to meet up and check it out. The phone is very similar to the Galaxy S II, but it sports a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a different processor. The Captivate Glide, an Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) smartphone, is equipped with a vivid and crisp 4-inch Super AMOLED display with an 800 x 480-pixel resolution, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video, 1GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor clocked at 1.2GHz. It also supports AT&T’s 21Mbps HSPA+ network. We really enjoyed the keyboard and it didn’t seem to add too much bulk or heft to the phone. AT&T has yet to announce a price or release date. We should be bringing you a review shortly, but in the meantime be sure to check out our full gallery below.
AT&T originally announced the Samsung DoubleTime during CTIA in early October, and we just had a chance to finally check it out. The DoubleTime isn’t a high-end handset, but it is unique in its own right. It’s a clamshell form factor device with a 3.2-inch 480 x 320-pixel touchscreen on the outside, but when you open the DoubleTime there’s a second display and a full QWERTY keyboard. The device surely won’t be for everyone, but it might attract teenagers looking for a solid text-messaging phone that still packs in a smartphone operating system. It’s equipped with an 800MHz Qualcomm processor, 260MB of on-board storage and a 2GB microSD card with support for 32GB cards. The phone runs the last-generation Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, which seems a bit odd to us. AT&T has yet to announce a release date or a price, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this landed at a very affordable price point in time for the holidays. Be sure to check out the full gallery below.
We just received our HTC Rezound review unit, and although we spent a few moments with the device at HTC’s announcement in New York City, we have some more thoughts on the 4G LTE smartphone after using it for the morning. For starters, while the phone isn’t nearly as thin as other 4G LTE devices like the Motorola DROID RAZR or Samsung Galaxy Nexus, it’s a completely different animal than the HTC Thunderbolt. It fits nicely in your hand, and it feels good to use and hold. The 4.3-inch 720p HD display is absolutely beautiful. In fact, it’s probably the best display on any mobile device we’ve ever seen besides the iPhone’s Retina Display. It’s so good that there are elements in HTC’s Sense interface that aren’t high quality enough for the display, but we’ll touch on that more in our review. The included Beats headphones are decent and offer very good audio reproduction, and the HTC Rezound has taken everything we’ve thrown at it and powered through without a hiccup — this device is fast. We have hands-on photos in the gallery below, so make sure to check those out while we work on our full review.
Google’s latest social networking effort follows a long line of failed attempts to break into a space owned by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and (somehow) Myspace, and Google seems to finally have a hit on its hands with Google+. The service amassed more than 10 million users within two weeks of launching as an invitation-only beta, and it now reportedly has more than 40 million users following a public launch. As Facebook approaches 1 billion users, however, Google has quite a bit of ground to make up. The Internet giant apparently isn’t afraid to get dirty in its quest for social network dominance, and a new report revealed that Google recently set up shop at colleges in Israel in an attempt to lure new users to Google+. Read on for more. More →
Barnes & Noble took the wraps off its brand new Nook Tablet at a press conference in New York City on Monday, and we just spent some hands-on time with the sleek new slate. First things first: the display is amazing. Barnes & Noble spent a fair amount of time during the tablet’s unveiling touting the quality of the display and we have to say, B&N CEO William Lynch wasn’t exaggerating. The display is obviously one of the most important components of any tablet and Barnes & Noble didn’t skimp in this area. The bookseller spent a lot of time comparing its new tablet with Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Fire, and in the display department it’s really not even close. Hit the break for more and don’t forget to check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below.
We stopped by Samsung’s offices in New York City recently to check out its brand new high-end Focus S Windows Phone. It is powered by Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, the latest iteration of the operating system, and packs a number of features that put the phone on a par with the Galaxy S II. It offers a stellar 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, a 1.4GHz processor, support for AT&T’s HSPA+ network, an 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera or video chat. We loved how thin the device was at just 8.5-millimeters and, thanks to its plastic body, it looks a bit like the Galaxy S II from afar. AT&T will launch the Focus S sometime this fall for $199.99 this fall. We’ll be bringing you a review as soon as we can but in the meantime you can get a closer look at the phone by checking out our gallery below.
We met up with Samsung recently to check out the Focus Flash, a brand new Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) device that will be available on AT&T shortly for $49.99 with a new contract. The Focus Flash isn’t as high-end as the Focus S, but it does offer a number of compelling hardware features that make it a worthy upgrade over the original Focus. It is equipped with a 1.4GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera for video chat and support for AT&T’s HSPA+ data network. We’re a little turned off that the Focus Flash doesn’t support microSD cards and that it has a smaller 3.7-inch display than the original Focus. Its Super AMOLED display was nice and bright, though, and it was noticeably faster than the Focus when we opened and closed apps with both phones side by side. We’ll be bringing you a full review soon, but in the meantime check out our gallery below.
We took a hands-on look at the HTC Vivid earlier this afternoon, and now we’re focusing on the second of AT&T’s first two LTE phones: the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. We’re no strangers to the Galaxy S II — we’ve reviewed several versions of the phone here on BGR — and this version of the smartphone offers a few spec bumps over AT&T’s standard Galaxy S II. We’re looking at a slightly larger 4.5-inch display, a faster 1.5GHz dual-core processor, the same 8-megapixel camera and nearly the same case as the original S II. Sadly, we weren’t able to test AT&T’s 4G LTE network as we’re not in a launch market. AT&T will launch the Galaxy S II Skyrocket on November 6th for $249.99 on contract. In the meantime, check out our hands-on images in the gallery below.
Nokia announced a pair of Windows Phones on Wednesday and while the Lumia 710 is a fantastic value, the Lumia 800 was clearly the star of the show. Code-named Sea Ray, Nokia’s Lumia 800 features the same sleek unibody case as the MeeGo-powered Nokia N9, but the similarities end there. The Lumia 800 packs a powerful 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor by Qualcomm, and it was impossible to trip this handset up while navigating Microsoft’s slick Windows Phone UI. The 3.7-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display is gorgeous, as it is on the N9, and colors are amazing in apps and during video playback. Hit the jump for more and be sure to check out our hands-on photo gallery below.
We just got our hands on an HTC EVO Design 4G review unit from Sprint — the latest member of Sprint’s EVO family of Android smartphones — and we were instantly reminded of the HTC Incredible on Verizon Wireless upon opening the box. Though the EVO Design 4G lacks an AMOLED display and is noticeably longer, the resemblance is unmistakable. The phone is a bit fat for a device that doesn’t offer a full QWERTY keyboard though, and we can’t figure out why it’s so chunky. In any case, it certainly feels very solid, no doubt thanks to the metal that hugs the back of the phone and runs around its entire body. The soft rubber areas on the back of the EVO Design 4G also provide good grip. Check out our hands-on photo gallery below for images and hit the break for more.
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.