• Devices

    by Published on 11-07-2013 08:29 AM
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    With its 6.44Ē display the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a pretty unique device. On one hand it competes with other large phablets like the 6.3Ē Samsung Mega and 6.1Ē Huawei Mega. On the other hand, under the hood the Ultra packs much more of a whallop compared to the Mega and Mate which are mid-range phones. Itís the only high-end phone with a 6Ē+ display right now.

    As such, it doesnít really have any competitors. Sure, the Samsung Mega and Huawei Mate have similarly sized screens but they sport more modest specs and are theyíre substantially cheaper.

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has similar guts but it only has a 5.7Ē display which sounds big but when you have them side-by-side, the Ultra is substantially larger. Theyíre not really competitors either.

    So, sorry, Iím not going to compare the Ultra with anything though I will say, if you want an enormous phone then it doesnít get any bigger than the Ultra.

    If you want the biggest possible screen with the highest specs and water resistance this is your only ticket. ...
    by Published on 11-04-2013 07:55 PM
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    Letís face it, the real reason I tested this phone was to try out the camera. The lure of a 41-megapixel camera was just too great. Now I canít speak for most people who might get the Lumia 1020, but I strongly suspect that the camera will be at the top of their list of reasons for buying it. For that reason the bulk of this review will be devoted to the camera, though I do touch on most of the other hallmarks of my phone reviews.
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    by Published on 11-01-2013 07:55 AM
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    I myself was out and about when the LG Nexus 5 finally showed up on the Google Play Store yesterday, and by the time I got to a proper computer there were no more to be had. You'll have to believe me when I say that I only really checked out of curiosity, and I'm not planning on ordering my Nexus 5 just yet.

    But this Nexus 4 owner is most definitely getting one. I've owned every Nexus device except the Nexus 10 tablet. I don't take hardware subsidies on phones, and an annual handset upgrade/hand-me-down cycle suits both me and my girlfriend very well.

    If you're considering the Nexus 5 there are some compelling reasons to grab one as soon as you can, but also some benefits to waiting a bit.

    It's win-win either way, really.

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    by Published on 10-29-2013 09:31 AM
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    Just got an interesting email from Juniper Research with some Q3 2013 smartphone shipment numbers. There were a total of over 250 million smartphones shipped which is up almost 49% from Q3 2012 and up 10% from Q2 2013.

    No surprise are the top 2 players: Samsung shipped 85 million smartphones for a 34% market share. Apple sold 33.8 million -14%.

    Is 14% marketshare going to be enough for Apple to maintain their ecosystem in the long term?

    The surprise is that Nokia shipped 8.8 million Windows phones and 6 million Asha Smartphones for a market share of just under 6%. Breaking that down, Nokia's Windows phones accounted for 3.5% marketshare.

    8.8 million is a lot of phones - Nokia is definitely building some momentum with Windows Phone but they still have a long way to go before they can challenge iOS for number 2.

    LG clocked in at 12 million smartphones or 4.8% marketshare.

    Actually, Huawei, ZTE, and LG shipped a combined 37 million phones for a marketshare of just under 15%.

    Blackberry managed 3.7 million phones for a marketshare of 1.5%. Ouch. ...
    by Published on 10-29-2013 07:49 AM
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    The worst thing that I can say about Oppo is that they didn't pick me to participate in their N1 Pioneer program. But they have shown excellent judgment in including Mr. Marques Brownlee, so we're cool.

    Some of you may know this Chinese company for its DVD players. But 2013 has seen a lot of buzz about their Android smartphones as well. In that department here's what Oppo currently has on offer:

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    by Published on 10-22-2013 08:12 PM
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    In Canada, earlier this year most of us said goodbye to 3 year contracts and hello to 2 year ones. This has had an interesting effect on how we buy phones and how carriers subsidize them. Previously, when 3 year contracts were the norm, carriers were willing to subsidize phones more heavily. This meant most phones sold where either expensive top-of-the-line models or cheap entry level ones.

    However now that weíve bid adios to 3 year contracts an interesting thing has happened. Carriers now have two tiers of 2 year contracts. In order to get carriers to subsidize phones like they used to youíll now need to spend ore per month. If you want a more affordable plan you can still get a phone but it wonít have all the bells and whistles unless youíre willing to spend a lot more on the phone.

    So now thereís a demand for more affordable smartphones which are better than what youíd usually get on prepaid. Itís the rise of the mid-range phone.

    For $149 you can get the cappuccino with 4 shots of foam Samsung Galaxy S4, but it will cost you each month. If you donít want to spend so much per month youíll have to settle for a cup of Tim Hortons coffee GS4 Mini which also costs $149. So whatís the difference between the 2? ...
    by Published on 10-16-2013 08:00 AM
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    Android modders who frequent the XDA Developer Forums seem to fall into three main categories when it comes to devices. There are those who simply want to extend the life of the device they already have. Others, like me, remain faithful to the Nexus line of phones and tablets, enjoying as a result the widest selection of compatible custom firmware. And then there are those who won't settle for anything but the best. They will choose a device on its own merit, and overcome any and all manufacturer restrictions to make it their own.

    The Galaxy Note 3 is one such device.

    Some very clever minds have been hard at work on Samsung's flagship phablet, improving and/or fixing it depending on your point of view. Obtaining root was just the beginning; the video below, from XDA's official YouTube channel, highlights three additional mods:

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    by Published on 10-05-2013 11:56 AM
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    When you look at the Smartphone market, right now itís dominated by Samsung and Apple. Things are going great for them but if you were to ask them what competitor they fear most Iíd bet you their answer would Huawei. Not HTC, LG or Sony.

    I mean eventually Smartphones will reach a point where companies canít keep charging up to $800 a phone. If that ever happens there will be a big race to the bottom to see who can make the best, cheapest phone. If that happens many people figure Huawei will be in a good position.

    While they donít compete at the very top of the market, many people donít realize but Huawei actually makes really good affordable Smartphones. The Y300 I tried a while back isnít going to win ďPhone of the YearĒ but for what it costs itís an amazing deal.

    Now we have the Huawei Ascend Mate. Itís a phone with a 6.1Ē phone that only costs - wait for it - $400 off contract. At $400, itís not going to have going to have specs like the LG G2/Galaxy Note 3/Sony Z1 but for what it costs you get a get a pretty good deal.

    With a 6.1Ē the Mate should be awesome at media consumption. If youíre sitting on the train, there arenít many phones which are better than the Mate for watching and streaming videos - Right? Letís check it out:

    Huawei has found a pretty good niche for the Note. At $400 off-contract, or $99 on a 2 year with the $40 a month, plan it doesnít really have any competitors. There arenít that many phones with huge 6Ē+ screens on the market and the ones that come close cost significantly more. About the only one that comes to mind is the Samsung Galaxy Mega and maybe a used Note 2.

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    by Published on 10-05-2013 10:32 AM
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    Many people don't know that LG stands for "Lucky Goldstar". When Panasonic and Sony were all the buzz in consumer electronics, Goldstar just couldn't compete. That classic Japan vs Korea battle also applied to Honda vs Hyundai or Toyota vs Daewoo. It's a very different landscape right now and the Kimchi is everywhere doing very well. It's amazing what a rebranding strategy can do: Howard, I think it's time to kick it up, Gangnam style.

    As with all my reviews, here's the bottom line for those with ADHDhhddhhdhddh - The LG G2 is not worth the $200 (on-contract) pricetag. I'd still get the Nexus 4 at the current rock-bottom price or get all the frilly bells and whistles of the Samsung Galaxy S4. The LG G2 is clearly a precursor to the G3 (or whatever nomenclature they choose to avoid colliding with Samsung) and you'll be swimming in regret throughout that 2yr contract.
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