• Devices

    by Published on 06-24-2016 06:00 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
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    So you're probably getting tired of me writing about the OnePlus 3. Well, you know what? I'm getting tired of me writing about the OnePlus 3. So here's something a little different: a very early peek at one of the new Nexus phones coming later this year from HTC.

    It's been confirmed from multiple sources that HTC are on tap to be the next Nexus OEM, producing two different models for Google: the T50 "Sailfish" and T55 "Marlin". A trusted source has apparently provided Android Police with the specs for what would seem to be the smaller of the two devices.

    AP gives this leak a confidence level of 8/10. They have an excellent track record when it comes to Nexus leaks, so I likewise feel confident in reposting them for you here. ...
    by Published on 06-23-2016 08:29 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Rumors
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    Just when I was wondering if Blackberry was going to release a Priv follow up, I got news of 3 new devices that they have in the pipeline; the Argon, Neon and Mercury. All run Android. Sorry no pics of these devices (that's a Priv in the picture).

    Blackberry Neon:
    • touch only
    • $0 (400 MSRP)
    • Qualcomm 8952 (a 617 like the Moto G4 Plus)
    • 3GB RAM
    • 5.2" 1080P display
    • 16GB storage
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 8MP front camera
    • 2610mAh battery
    • Quick charge 2
    • aluminum frame
    • soft touch rear casing
    • Cat 6LTE
    • 130g
    • aimed at consumers and enterprise
    • August 2016 launch


    Blackberry Argon:
    • touch only
    • $200 (600-700MSRP)
    • Qualcomm 8996 (a Snapdragon 820 "lite")
    • 4GB RAM
    • 5.5" 1440P
    • 32GB storage
    • 21MP rear camera
    • fingerprint reader (finally)
    • 8MP front camera
    • 3000mAh battery
    • Quick Charge 3
    • USB type-C
    • aimed at consumers and enterprise
    • October 2016 launch


    Blackberry Mercury:
    • design like the Blackberry Classic:
    • QWERTY keyboard
    • Qualcomm 8953 (Snapdragon 625)
    • 4.5" screen with 3:2 display ratio
    • 3GB RAM
    • 32GB storage
    • 18MP rear camera
    • 8MP front camera
    • 3400mAh battery
    • Quick Charge 3.0
    • "High precision & Craftsmanship"
    • aluminum housing
    • aimed at enterprise
    • February 2017 launch


    To me, 4 things stand out; first, the price point of the Neon and Argon seem very reasonable. While the Priv is a nice device it's just priced way too high and probably falls off a lot of people's shopping lists because of that. Traditionally you paid quite a premium to get a Blackberry logo but that looks like that's changing.

    Secondly, while the Neon and Argon are still a few months off, their specs will probably be more in-line with the rest of the market. Typically Blackberry specs lagged the market by about 6 months but these ones look to be much more competitive. I mean August isn't far off and they probably could have gotten away with just 2GB of RAM. Then again, while I didn't hear word of it I hope it shows up a fingerprint reader.

    While the Mercury is still way, way off it's good to know that the QWERTY only Blackberry isn't going away. A power sipping Snapdragon 625 coupled with a smaller 4.5" display and a large 3400mAh battery should make for some epic battery life too.

    Lastly, all 3 devices run Android. I guess there just isn't enough demand for a Blackberry OS device. ...
    by Published on 06-22-2016 07:20 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Yesterday I set up my OP3 and played around with its default launcher for a bit. Being an avid fan of Nova Launcher I'm quite used to ignoring the bundled alternatives on Android custom ROMs—Trebuchet, Launcher3 and the like—but since the only way you can currently use the OnePlus Launcher is with an actual OnePlus phone, I thought I should at least show you what it's all about.

    The OnePlus Launcher offers the user 16 unique backgrounds, plus some rather uninspired "live" wallpapers that date all the way back to the Galaxy Nexus. You can see some of the more artsy options on their designer's website. ...
    by Published on 06-21-2016 07:15 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    I also have one, but it's still in the box.

    Rooting my better half's OP3 and transferring her app files via Titanium Backup took most of yesterday evening, giving me a chance to get to know the phone a little better.

    Unboxing a OnePlus 3 in 2016 doesn't have quite the same "wow" factor as the OnePlus One did in 2014, if only because an OP1 in 2014 was a lot harder to come by. It didn't help that our shiny white OP3 boxes arrived a bit banged up (thanks UPS); fortunately the phones inside were unharmed.

    Here, then, are some initial observations about the OnePlus 3. ...
    by Published on 06-17-2016 06:40 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    I think it's fair to call this week's launch of the OnePlus 3 a success.

    This past Tuesday, after an exclusive (if ultimately unnecessary) product launch in VR, open sales of the device began a few hours later. Within an hour or so of that, reviews from big tech blogs and notable YouTubers magically appeared. And the very next day saw seven pop-up events around the world, with phones available for purchase at each and every one of them.

    Things like this are hard to pull off at all, let alone pull off well. But OnePlus managed to do it. And the phone doesn't seem to be too bad, either.

    Today I've assembled yet another YouTube playlist—this one looking back at the week that was for OnePlus. Enjoy! ...
    by Published on 06-14-2016 12:18 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    When the Moto G came out in 2013, it was way ahead of curve. In terms of value it just blew its contemporaries out of the water.

    The follow up, the 2014 Moto G wasn’t received quite as well. It was a decent package but Motorola forgot to toss in LTE, at a time when it was starting to become a must-have feature.

    The 2015 Moto G received LTE but other than having water resistance, the rest of the package wasn’t all that different from the 2014 and thus it was passed by the rest of the market.

    With the Moto G4 Plus, Motorola looks to regain the magic that has seeped away from the G line. ...
    by Published on 06-10-2016 06:30 AM
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    2. Devices
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    Lenovo's Tech World trade show went down in San Francisco yesterday, featuring—among other things—the official unveiling of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, plus the world's first Project Tango-powered smartphone, the Phab 2 Pro. See yesterday's news round-up for some introductory links.

    There's a lot to digest here, so I figured it would be easier to do with video. The playlist that follows will be arranged first by product, then in order from most to least watchable—that is, I'll put you first in the very capable hands of The Verge for a quick overview, then show you the official product videos and then, if you can stomach it, the on-stage presentations for said products from the trade show itself. ...
    by Published on 06-09-2016 06:20 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Here's the OnePlus 3's camera assembly, courtesy of an ad posted to Weibo by a Chinese case maker. You can see more OP3 images on GizChina, but today we're focusing specifically on the device's camera. Bad pun, sorry...

    As the hype machine spools up for the OnePlus 3's official reveal next Tuesday, camera and image quality are big concerns for prospective buyers. The OnePlus One could—somewhat amazingly—capture 4K video, but for stills it was merely average. The optics on its successor were largely the same, leading some notable tech blogs to wonder if the OnePlus 2 even had optical image stabilization as claimed. And the OnePlus X? According to GSMArena: not bad but hardly stellar.

    So yesterday OnePlus took the proactive step of posting some sample OnePlus 3 images to its Twitter account. Unfortunately Twitter strips out the EXIF data from uploaded photos, but you can at least get an idea of what the OP3 camera can do. ...
    by Published on 06-02-2016 06:30 AM
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    2. Devices
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    And the surprising news from OnePlus continues...

    On Tuesday Android Central reported that current OnePlus devices—the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X—were now available for purchase through Amazon UK, with Amazon US listings on the way.

    Even bigger news than that, however, is that the company's new phone, the OnePlus 3, will be sold without invites from launch. In a post on the OnePlus forums yesterday co-founder Carl Pei wrote that open sales for the OP3 will begin at 3pm Eastern Time on June 14th. Prior to that it will be available only in The Loop, described as the world's first global VR shopping experience. Mmkay.

    Read on for the full text of the announcement. ...
    by Published on 06-01-2016 06:48 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
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    It's customization.

    Sure, you can swap out the band on the vast majority of watches out there, but only a smartwatch gives you the ability to change the watch face to match the band. The pair of photos you see here were taken on the same day; you'd be forgiven for thinking that they're two different watches. Okay, it probably doesn't help that I'm using the same watch face with both bands, but it definitely helps that the watch face in question has a customizable colour palette.

    Notifications on your wrist may be the raison d'être for smartwatches, but changeable faces and bands are what elevate them from the lowly fitness tracker. ...
    by Published on 05-30-2016 06:00 AM
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    ASUS has just announced the successor to last year's popular ZenFone 2, with three different models right out of the gate—the budget ZenFone 3, the premium ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the gigantic ZenFone 3 Ultra.

    All handsets are now powered by Qualcomm chips, as the Intel Atom is no more; for more on that I recommend having a listen to the most recent episode of the LPX podcast. Each of the new devices also have cameras with optical and electronic image stabilization, dual SIM support and fingerprint scanners integrated into the volume controls on the back.

    The phones were announced on ASUS' home turf at the COMPUTEX electronics show in Taipei. Prices and dates for a North American release aren't yet confirmed, but the specs are; read on for a video introduction and breakdown of each device. ...
    by Published on 05-27-2016 01:36 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    When it comes to the top end of the market, flagships are more alike than they are different. Of course, the devil is in the details, they’re what separates the has and the has beens.

    I mean, they all come with 5-ish inch quad-HD displays, SoC powered by the latest ARM cores, 3 or 4GB of RAM, that sort of thing.

    So what is different about the G5? For starters, LG is touting the G5 as a modular phone. The bottom part can be removed so that you can attach other accessories.

    It also has 2 rear cameras, no, they’re not for fake Bokeh or 3D or even black and white. The 2nd camera has a super wide-angle lens on it which, in the right hands, makes for some dramatic photos.

    Hmm, modular with a super-wide camera? It could just be what the doctor ordered for an shaking up a slightly stale flagship market. ...
    by Published on 05-26-2016 01:33 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Last year, instead of releasing one Galaxy S flagship, Samsung’s S line bifurcated into regular and curved versions with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. Later on, the Edge line split again with a Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.

    In 2016, Samsung merged the S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus into, wait for it, the Galaxy S7 Edge.

    Last year, the GS6 and GS6 Edge weren’t all that different so I thought the regular version was the smarter choice. However, this time around, the difference between them is more pronounced. The screen size on the Edge has grown from 5.1 to 5.5” with a few other changes under the hood.

    Is the regular version still the one to get or has it been supplanted by the Edge? ...
    by Published on 05-25-2016 06:32 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
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    The other day while rummaging through a drawer I came across a pair of bright red USB cables and thought to myself: "What a shame about OnePlus."

    Despite a controversial marketing campaign and the invite system that everyone loved to hate, their first smartphone was actually pretty good; if nothing else the OnePlus One at least showed the world that in 2014 an extra 32GB of onboard storage didn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

    Then came the OnePlus 2, which pretty much ruined the brand for Western markets—this "2016 flagship killer" (first sold in 2015) shipped with a USB-C cable that wasn't up to basic spec. It was quickly followed by the OnePlus X, a device that no one asked for and few customers seemed to want.

    But Carl Pei and company haven't thrown in the towel just yet. Their OnePlus 3 will be officially unveiled on June 14th. And this one will at least have NFC. ...
    by Published on 05-24-2016 10:00 AM
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    Over the weekend Pebble was teasing a big announcement for this morning, and now that 10AM Eastern has come and gone we know what that announcement is.

    It's another Kickstarter campaign.

    That is, a Kickstarter campaign for four new products—the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 (both with heart rate sensors) plus two versions of an entirely new product called Pebble Core. ...
    by Published on 05-20-2016 06:35 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Apps
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    Fresh off the news that Chrome OS outsold Mac OS X for the first time ever in the USA comes another bombshell: Your cheap and cheerful Chromebook might soon be able to run Android apps as well. Even better, those apps will be able to run in resizable windows on your Chrome OS desktop.

    Here's Liliputing's Brad Linder to explain:

    We’re not just talking about games—the entire Google Play Store experience now works on Chromebooks, including Google Play Movies, Music, Photos and Newsstand. Android notifications will be delivered through Chromebooks and you’ll be able to share files between Chrome windows and Android apps.
    It's pretty much great news for everyone, with the possible exception of the folks working on Remix OS. ...
    by Published on 05-18-2016 06:30 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
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    Oh yes, watch geeks exist. In fact, the image for my last Wearable Wednesdays post was lifted from aBlogtoWatch—a site I've since added to my RSS reader to better marvel at the stunning luxury timepieces they write about.

    This week I'm featuring another excellent piece from Wareable, wherein the author Sophie Chara talks to three mechanical watch experts about their views on connected wearables. The entire post is very much worth your time; my favourite quotes are posted immediately below. ...
    by Published on 05-17-2016 06:40 AM
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    This will be the last thing I write about these two phones for a while; any additional news over the next few days will be posted in the afternoon news round-ups. It just so happened that their launch in India this morning coincided with my morning coffee.

    The only real surprise here is that both the G4 and G4 Plus are actually the same size, each with a 5.5 inch full HD screen. The G4 Plus adds the physical home button/fingerprint sensor and an option with more storage and RAM. ...
    by Published on 05-16-2016 06:20 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    As an addendum to last week's post, here are two new press renders of the 4th generation Moto G—sorry, Moto Gs. There are two of them.

    First up is the XT1622. According to Android Central it's launching in India tomorrow, but has already received FCC certification for the USA. "But wait," you say, "I thought the new Moto G had a physical home button/fingerprint reader..." Nope, apparently that's a feature of its bigger brother, the XT1642—Otherwise known as the G4 Plus. ...
    by Published on 05-12-2016 10:30 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    I remember when HTC was synonymous with Smartphones. While most of us were still pressing the “3” button twice to enter in the letter “e”, HTC was making Smartphones with HTML web browsers, email, MS office with WiFi and Bluetooth.

    However, their 2015 flagship, the HTC One M9 left something to be desired. If I was to describe it in one word it would be “underwhelming”. On paper it was an improvement over the 2014 M8, but in the real world, it was more of a sideways step rather than a step forward.

    The camera had beefy specs but it wasn’t really that great, the processor should have been formidable but wasn’t really any faster than last year’s model. It just didn’t stand out.

    Fortunately, HTC isn’t messing around with their 2016 flagship; the HTC 10 lines up much better with its competitors.

    In Canada, the HTC 10 is available unlocked from HTC’s website for an eye-watering $999 Canadian. Otherwise, it’s a Bell exclusive. At $349.99 Canadian on contract it’s $50 more than the LG G5, $50 less than the GS7 and $150 less than the GS7 Edge . Let’s check it out:
    ...
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