• howard

    by Published on 10-24-2014 09:20 AM
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    2. News,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Carriers

    Thanks for HC - no "i" for pointing this out.

    Rogers just announced their LTE-Advanced rollout that combines their band 17 (B block 700Mhz) and band 4 (AWS) spectrum.

    I'm not sure how this would work. Rogers owns the "A" and "B" 700Mhz blocks in Southern Ontario. However, I don't think any phones support the "A" block so right now, it's not really useful. That leaves them with a 5Mhz pairing whereas on AWS they're running a 10Mhz pairing.

    Unless, they're using both up and downlink on block B and pairing it with just 10Mhz of their AWS spectrum?

    Or is it possible to run pairings of different sized blocks?

    Can someone please explain?

    *EDIT* just got confirmation it's 5+10Mhz. So 75Mbps down and 25mbps up?

    *EDIT 2* looks like milan03 beat me to it
    ...
    by Published on 10-23-2014 08:57 AM
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    As humans, we have an innate curiosity to find out which is the best. Which car is the fastest? Who can eat the most hot dogs? Who can stuff the most number of snakes in their pants?

    Hereís something else to pique your interest; What is the worldís toughest phone? According to the Guinness Book of World records, itís the Sonim XP3300 feature phone which survived a drop from 25m (82ft).

    Thatís great, but who really wants a feature phone these days? Fortunately, Sonim now has a follow up; the XP7 Smartphone. It's available now on Bell and TELUS for $649.99 or $199 on contract. It may be coming to the US too.

    It runs Android and is built with the same design principles as the XP3300. Instead of trying to be the sexiest phone around like the iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4, etc, the XP7 is designed to be as tough as possible.

    Letís check it out.
    ...
    by Published on 10-15-2014 03:48 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    Google and Motorola just announced the Nexus 6.

    Think of it as the 2014 Moto X's bigger brother. Here are the specs:


    • 6" 2560x1440 display AMOLED display
    • dual core 2.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
    • LTE (2/3/4/5/6/12/13/17/25/26/29/41 + carrier aggregation 2-13, 1-17, 2-29, 4-5, 4-13, 4-17, 4-29
    • Gorilla Glass 3
    • 13/2MP cameras
    • dual LED ring flash
    • stereo front facing speakers
    • 802.11ac (2x2)
    • 159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06mm
    • 184g
    • 3220mAh battery
    • QI wireless charging
    • 32 or 64GB of RAM


    It will run Android 5.0 Lollipop and get this, it will be $749 direct from Google (or subsidized from a Carrier).

    I don't know about you, but the best thing about Nexus phones is that got a great phone at a great price. $749 is more than double what a 16GB Nexus 5 cost and while it's not a terrible deal (the iPhone 6 Plus is $859), it's priced high enough to break the heart of Nexus fans everywhere.

    The way I see it, the OnePlus One has now become the phone of choice for Nexus enthusiasts.

    What do you think? ...
    by Published on 10-15-2014 03:48 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    HTC and Google just announced the Nexus 9 tablet. It will be the first Android tablet to run Android 5.0 Lollipop.

    The specs are impressive:
    • 8.9" 4:3 ratio display (like the iPad - is this going to be the new trend for Android tablets?)
    • 2048x1536 resolution
    • Gorilla Glass 3
    • 463g
    • 2.3Ghz Nvidia Tegra K1 64bit dual-core processor
    • 8/1.6MP cameras
    • stereo front facing speakers with HTC BoomSound profile
    • available magnetically attached keyboard with multi-angle stand
    • 802.11ac (2x2)
    • 153.6 x 228.25 x 7.95mm
    • 6700mAh battery


    The body has a metal frame and a soft touch back. It will be available in 16GB, 32GB and an LTE version with 32GB in white, black or sand.

    It will be available for pre-order on Oct 17th. ...
    by Published on 10-14-2014 10:54 AM
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    It only took 5 years but Apple is now back to parity with Samsung when it comes to screen-size. With that in mind, Samsung is now under even more pressure to make sure that they deliver a hit with the Galaxy Note 4.

    Did Samsung deliver the goods? Letís check it out:
    ...
    by Published on 10-09-2014 10:05 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    Lately, Iíve been trying to check out as many phones in the under $200 segment which as many strong entries like the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon, Blu Studio 5.0C HD, ZTE Grand X, Nokia Lumia 635 and of course, the now venerable Moto X (8GB HSPA version). Then, thereís the under $400 segment which is basically owned by the Google Nexus 5.

    But what if youíre trying to spend between 200 and 300? What choices are there? For some reason, there arenít a lot of choices here. Off the top of my head, the only offerings I can think of are the LTE version of the Moto G for $250 unlocked, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+ and the new Moto G which isnít released in Canada yet.

    Fortunately, if we expand our field of view we can consider phones not normally sold here. GearBest was kind enough to send me the iNew V8, a phone that sells for $219 USD. They also gave me a coupon to share that brings the price down to $195.99. The code is:

    GBV8LM

    With the coupon and after currency conversion, import taxes and brokerage fees, the V8 works out to around $260 CDN.

    Never heard of the iNew company? Donít worry, neither have but I will say, their phones never get old (sorry I couldnít resist). ...
    by Published on 10-08-2014 12:29 PM
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    While weíve been spoilt for choice when it comes to regular Smartphones, it feels like the QWERTY phone has been on life support for the past while. However, one thing Iíve noticed about QWERTY fans is that theyíre a loyal bunch. Some may use iPhones or Androids but many of them donít really enjoy it. Then, there are the die hards who will only give up their QWERTYís when you pry it from their cold dead hands. Yup, QWERTY phones can have that effect on people.

    Itís been over a year since the Blackberry Q10 came out and if I may be perfectly honest, it was already a bit dated when it hit the market. The screen felt small and wasnít that great, the processor felt dated and while it had a QWERTY keyboard, it didnít really feel like a special device.

    Fortunately, Blackberry just released the Passport and boy, is it ever a special device. Itís dominated by itís huge 4.5Ē square shaped display. Inside, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC - while itís about a year old now, itís follow ups, the 801 and 805, are only slightly faster. The rest of the spec sheet reads 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM, 13MP camera with optical image stabilization and stereo speakers. To say the Passport has good bones would be an understatement.
    ...
    by Published on 10-05-2014 03:16 PM
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    I just got a Blackberry Passport the other day and wow, is it ever - different. Letís just say Iíve never had so many people say to me: ďThatís hugeĒ.

    Now give me a second to wipe the smirk off of my face, but everyone seems to get very excited when I when I whip it out my Passport. But really, just how big is it?

    Since I havenít had enough time to really give it a fair shake, I figured Iíd share some pictures of the Passport to give you a sense of of its size.
    ...
    by Published on 10-03-2014 03:58 PM
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    I was lucky enough to get a North American spec, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 today. Since I haven't played with it much I don't have much to say about so rather than trying to scramble together a review, I thought I'd share some pictures:

    Here it is next to some competitors:



    Apple iPhone 6+, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 3.

    While the screen size is unchanged, it looks like the Note 4 is a tiny bit taller. It does have a larger battery and a heart-rate monitor on the back though so I guess that explains the tiny bump in size.

    More importantly, the bottom bezel is a little bit taller which I find helps a lot in the usability department. ...
    by Published on 09-30-2014 09:19 PM
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    I just got back from a briefing with Motorola where they showed off their new Moto X, new Moto G and the Moto 360. Here are some first impressions.



    Moto brought out the black version, which launches exclusively on TELUS tomorrow (9/31) for $100 on contract. They also brought out the far more interesting bamboo looking version. That one is also coming to TELUS ďlaterĒ. ...
    by Published on 09-30-2014 07:16 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    I just reviewed the iPhone 6 Plus, now itís time to check out its smaller brother the iPhone 6. Iím assuming youíve already read my 6 Plus review. If you havenít already, please check it out now because Iíll be referring to it throughout the review. While most of this review is new, the 6 and 6 Plus are very similar phones so a few passages have been lifted from the Plus review.
    ...
    by Published on 09-26-2014 09:40 AM
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    Since the original iPhone came out, theyíve all been about the same width. That is till now; the lineup has bifurcated into 2 new iPhones; the 4.7Ē iPhone 6 and the 5.5Ē iPhone Plus which are both significantly larger than their predecessor the 5s. While over the past few years, Android OEMís have been gradually increasing the size of their phones, Apple just took a huge jump increasing the screen size a not insignificant 0.7Ē on the iPhone 6 and a massive 1.5Ē on the iPhone Plus.

    So letís take a look at the Plus model first. ...
    by Published on 09-17-2014 12:21 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    The under $200 prepaid market in Canada has been heating up. Between the Moto G, ZTE Grand X and now the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Icon weíve got some really great choices.

    The Pop Icon is available from TELUS for $200 on a plan or $130 pre-paid with a $10 credit while on Koodo prepaid you pay $200 and get a $20 credit. If youíre getting one, I recommend picking it up on TELUS prepaid.
    ...
    by Published on 09-11-2014 07:10 PM
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    Yesterday, Apple announced 2 new phones, their mobile payment solution and their long awaited Smartwatch. Since pre-orders for the new iPhones start tomorrow, I thought Iíd share some thoughts on them.

    When I go out, I normally have my iPhone in my pocket, so that part of me is pretty excited about the new iPhones. We finally get not one but 2 iPhones both of which are bigger in size.

    On the other hand, I also take an Android phone with me (Currently either a Nexus 5 running Android L or a Samsung Galaxy S5) - so that part of me is rolling on the proverbial floor laughing at the new iPhones.
    ...
    by Published on 09-09-2014 01:51 PM
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    I'm watching the Apple webcast (which is the worst, most buggy stream I have ever watched). Here are some highlights.

    iPhone 6 and 6 Plus:

    Apple just announced 2 iPhones, the 4.7" iPhone 6 and 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus. Both of which have curved displays.


    The 6 has a 1334 x 750, 326ppi IPS display while the 6 Plus has a 1920x1080, 401ppi one.
    Each display has full sRGB wide color gamut and 'dual-domain pixels' to give a wider angle of view.



    The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thin while the 6 Plus is 7.1mm.



    To take advantage of the bigger screen, the Plus supports landscape mode in the menus.
    It also has 2 up displays in many apps like the email client and dedicated copy and paste buttons in landscape.

    Both are powered by the 64bit Apple A8 processor with 2 billion transistors (A7 had 1 billion) which has up to 25% faster CPU performance and 50% faster GPU

    The iPhone 6's will come with a new M8 motion co-processor which has a barometer (for stairs).
    ...
    by Published on 09-04-2014 11:08 AM
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    In the past year or so, the market has seen a big shift. You can call it the rise of the usable sub $200 phone. First came the Nokia Lumia 520 and Motorola Moto G which had the under $200 market to themselves for quite some time. Now we have competitors which offer even more than the Moto G for well under the $200 price point. Among others, Iím talking about the Blu Studio 5.0C HD and the ZTE Grand X which Iím checking out today.

    The X is a Bell exclusive and goes for $149.99 off-contract. I should point out that the ZTE Grand X sold by Bell has much better specs than the Grand X thatís sold south of the border.

    While there are a number of $150 phones in Canada, the X has 2 features which really set it apart. First off, you get a 5Ē 1280x720 high definition screen. Most phones in at this price point either come with a 854x480 or 960x540 display which is usually smaller. You also get 1GB instead of 512MB of RAM which makes the X a much more capable phone. ...
    by Published on 09-04-2014 10:38 AM
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    When Samsung introduced the first Galaxy Note, (letís conveniently forget about the Dell Streak 5) it spawn a new class of device; the Phablet. What is a phablet? Phone + Tablet. Back then, it was phone that had screen that was bigger than 5Ē and to a lesser degree, a phone that doesnít fit in your back pocket. However, in the 3 years since we started talking about phablets, regular smartphones have been creeping up in size to the point now that there are many devices with 5Ē or bigger screens which we donít really think of as phablets. Take for example the Blu Studio 5.0C HD or the ZTE Grand X (review coming soon). Both have 5Ē displays, and are quite inexpensive at around $150. people donít usually consider those to be phablets.

    So these days, what makes a phone a phablet? Since many phones are now bigger than 5Ē and many donít even try to fit in a back pocket, Iíd say a Phablet is anything with a screen bigger than 5.5Ē. 0.5Ē doesnít sound like a lot but it actually makes a big difference.

    Now we have some mild phablets like the Galaxy Note II which has a 5.5Ē screen. Then we have big phablets like the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G which Iím checking out today with is rocking a 6.1Ē display.
    ...
    by Published on 08-30-2014 11:46 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    These days, pretty much all smartphones come with multiple processing cores. I canít remember the last phone I tried that had less than 2 cores. Correct me if Iím wrong but all phones sold in North America had 4 cores or less, that is till now. The Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+ is now available with a whopping 8 processor cores which you can all use simultaneously. Yes, EIGHT cores.

    If you donít know what that means, let me explain that to from a marketing perspective; 8 cores is double the number of cores in a 4 core and four times as many as a 2 cores.

    Itís the follow-up to the Alcatel OneTouch Idol X which I checked out a couple of months ago. The X+ is available from Koodo for $300 while its $350 on TELUS.

    The way I see it, at $300 the Idol X+ has 1 main competitor the Samsung Galaxy Note II - admittedly because itís also $300 outright. I donít recommend buying the X+ at $350.

    One other interesting point about the X+ is that it comes with a 2 year warranty which is not common in this industry.
    ...
    by Published on 08-29-2014 08:24 AM
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    I just got another OnePlus One 64GB Invite. If you want it, just reply to this post. I'll pick a one randomly later today (around 3PM EST). It has to be used by tomorrow 8/30 at 9AM EST.

    If you enter, remember, to check your forum PM around 4PM to see if you won. Also remember, a OnePlus ends up cost a little over $450 CAN after taxes, currency conversion, shipping and customs brokerage so don't enter unless you plan on buying. ...
    by Published on 08-27-2014 08:04 AM
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    Here is the Sony Xperia T3; Sonyís svelte new phone with a large 5.3Ē screen thatís only 7mm thick. Itís available from Bell for $49.95 on a 2 year ďLiteĒ plan, $399.95 outright or $449 unlocked from Sony. For your money you get a large 5.3Ē screen, a 7Ē thin profile, quad-core 1.4Ghz Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera, 2500mAh battery and the latest version of Android.

    Is that enough for your money? Letís check it out: ...
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