• Devices

    by Published on 12-08-2014 08:31 AM
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    Phil Nickinson, Android Central Podcast #211: "I don't even know what 'Nexus' is."

    Ryan Whitwam, Android Police Podcast #136: "Fastboot-oem-unlock, that's what 'Nexus' has always been for me."

    So it's a good thing that the Nexus 6 still has an unlockable bootloader, because in just about every other aspect it's not looking very much like a Nexus at all. I've written previously about its high price and the disastrously-bad AT&T version; now it seems like another historic strength of the Nexus line is being taken off the table. Two posts last week—one from Phandroid and another from Android Authority—report that Shamu (aka the Moto Nexus/Nexus 6) may receive software updates from your carrier rather than Google directly.

    Can we call this thing a dud yet? ...
    by Published on 12-03-2014 10:07 AM
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    The other night a friend complimented me on my red Nexus 5, and went a bit further to say that she found her iPhone "boring". I wound up for my sales pitch about the many and varied benefits of the Android platform, but unexpectedly cut myself short. For me, Android is only really worth using with a rooted device. You may agree or disagree with this; either way it's the premise for today's post.

    Now that Howard has reviewed the latest Sony flagships—the Z3 and Z3 Compact—I'll be sharing what I know about modding them. ...
    by Published on 12-02-2014 10:41 AM
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    Since flagship phones displays have been increasing in size over the past few years, new segments in the market have opened up for phones which have slightly smaller displays. One interesting segment are smaller versions of flagship phones.

    One of the first was the GS3 Mini; which was really a budget phone named after the GS3. This trend continued the following year with the HTC One Mini and GS4 Mini.

    However, earlier this year Sony added a twist to this trend when they released the Z1 Compact. Unlike the competition, the Z1 Compact was not a budget phone in expensive clothes; it was the first ‘mini’ phone with full-sized specs.

    Here’s their follow up, the Z3 Compact. Let's check it out: ...
    by Published on 11-28-2014 07:23 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    If you're still in the market for something mobile-related I've found a trio of worthy deals that I wanted to bring to your attention. Supplies will undoubtedly be limited so let's get right to it!

    First, the elusive OnePlus One is back on sale, no invite required. I've no idea how long stock will last, but it's interesting to note that the 16 GB "Silk White" is available for the first time since launch. The 64 GB version is clearly the better value; I just wish it had the same white back. ...
    by Published on 11-26-2014 07:23 AM
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    I wasn't even going to post this until Friday morning, but wanted to make sure you knew about it in case you were in the market for a new smartphone. Yesterday Mobile Syrup published their round-up of Black Friday deals in Canada. Buried deep in their long list is the best price I've yet seen for an off-contract unlocked device. And yes, I'm aware that it's only Wednesday.

    Anyway, this Friday you can potentially get a second-generation Moto G for $199—a full $50 of its already-low $249 CAD retail price—from Staples. ...
    by Published on 11-25-2014 08:11 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. From The Forums,
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    The inspiration to today's post comes from a recent forums thread entitled "lollipop sucks". I myself wouldn't go quite that far, especially given my limited exposure to this major Android update, but I will say that I've no immediate plans to upgrade any of my devices anytime soon.

    My reasons are ultimately academic, as you'll see at the end of this post. But still think it's worth listing a few of the major issues that users—mostly Nexus users—are having with their Android 5.0 update. This way you'll at least be prepared when that OTA notification appears on your phone or tablet. ...
    by Published on 11-24-2014 09:27 AM
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    In a post last week about the OnePlus One I made a passing mention of the theming capability built into CyanogenMod 11. After spending a rainy weekend afternoon obsessing over themes, I'm proud to present the fruits of my research.

    I continue to be amazed by how infinitely customizable Android seems to be. Up to this point I've been content to have my user experience controlled by whatever custom ROM I happen to be using; I'm only now realizing the full extent to which I can control my UX as well. CM's theming engine isn't the only way to skin your UI, but in my limited experience it's proving to be a pretty good one. ...
    by Published on 11-23-2014 06:03 PM
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    When I first saw the Motorola 360 I immediately made a conscious decision that this was the best looking Android watch that would be available by far. At the time of the announcements / internet leaks and various other media outlets we basically had the LG G watch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, and the Pebble off the top of my head. None of these looked as svelte as Motorola's 360.

    The long road of its availability was another story. As seems to be the case with most internet announcements the path from pictures and teaser videos, even from Motorola themselves, was a long one. Low and behold the Motorola 360 is "here." I say "here" tentatively because it is still in relatively short supply at Canadian Brick and Mortar stores and even Motorola Canada's own web page has it as "coming soon."

    Regardless, I have had the Stone Grey Moto 360 for the last week and wanted to discuss its strengths and weaknesses with everyone.

    Let me preface this firstly by saying that I do in fact wear a watch daily. So to put on the Motorola 360 wasn't an issue. Just a swap out of my daily routine.
    ...
    by Published on 11-21-2014 08:42 AM
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    Short answer: use it on AT&T.

    A pair of posts on Android Police have this Nexus fanboy somewhat perplexed over what an American carrier is doing to his favourite smartphone brand. I know, I promised not to write about the Nexus 6 until I actually held one in my hands. But at this point I'm not even sure we can call this thing a Nexus anymore.

    I've already voiced my many concerns about this latest Nexus; one of them is price. It seems the only way to avoid sticker shock is to buy one on a subsidy from your carrier. And if your carrier happens to be AT&T, you're in for a bad time. ...
    by Published on 11-21-2014 08:03 AM
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    3. Contests and Giveaways


    To kick off the holiday season here on HowardForums we're giving away an unlocked space gray 16GB iPhone 6! Before entering please check out our review.

    To enter you can leave a comment on this post, like us on Facebook and like the link to this post that appears on our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter @howardforums and tweet a link to this post with #HoFoFreeiPhone6. Any one will give you an entry, two or all three will give you that many chances to win. Bonus: if you are a HowardForums Premium Member you will automatically get an extra entry (for it to count you must enter in at least one of the aforementioned ways)! If you are not currently a Premium Member you can sign up or renew here.

    Contest Rules and Terms: Contest is open to U.S. and Canada users who do not reside in Quebec. If a Canadian wins they must answer the skill testing question: What is the latest version of iOS? U.S. winner will be responsible for all taxes and customs. Carrier compatibility not guaranteed. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Only one entry per method described above allowed. Contest not open to HowardForums staff and their families. Rules and Terms and contest details can be modified at our discretion at any time and without prior notification.

    Contest ends on Friday December 5th at 9:00 PM Pacific and the winner will be chosen randomly within three days afterward. If the winner does not respond to us within 24 hours of being contacted, a new winner will be chosen.

    Good luck!

    UPDATE: Entries are now closed. Thanks for participating. The winner will be announced soon. Good luck!
    by Published on 11-18-2014 06:57 PM
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    Hi everyone! As I have noticed that you folks don't watch my video's that I post here, my guess is they are too long. So this time out I made a much shorter one, hope that helps Here are some lifted pics from GizChina(thanks!)to show it off on here:


    This is my video review of the DOOGEE DG580 KISSME 5.5" KitKat phone. Yet another OnePlus clone out of China, it's a very inexpensive(around $100.00US, see converted Canadian price below), well rounded phablet with a strong, well proven MediaTek MTK6582 Quad Core processor. It also has a good Mali 400 multi core GPU. The Antutu score of over 18200 proves that this phone has enough juice to handle apps like a mid level phone, without the mid level phone price

    ...
    by Published on 11-18-2014 06:55 PM
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    I don’t know about you but it seems Sony is constantly putting out new flagships. Indeed, recently they’ve had a policy of releasing a new flagship every 6 months. The problem with this is that that newer versions often don’t differ much from previous versions. The upside is that this helps to really put downward pressure on the prices of their older models which are almost as good as the newer ones.

    Of course, if you end up buying the latest model you might feel burned when rumors of its replacement start making the rounds a week later but I guess that’s part of the Sony Xperience.

    Here’s Sony’s latest, the Xperia Z3.
    ...
    by Published on 11-18-2014 07:38 AM
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    This was unexpected... I woke up this morning to news of a new hardware product from Nokia, the 64-bit Atom-powered N1 Android tablet.

    You may have been under the impression that Nokia had sold their hardware business to Microsoft, and you'd be correct. Apparently the terms of the deal will allow Nokia to return to the smartphone game as early as 2016; in the meantime, they are able to license their brand to third parties, and that's exactly what they've done here.

    So say hello to the Foxconn N1, marketed by Nokia. ...
    by Published on 11-17-2014 02:55 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    4. From The Forums

    Apple released an update to its operating system. It has bug fixes and improves the performance of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, according to the limited description.
    by Published on 11-17-2014 08:47 AM
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    If you're still on the hunt for the elusive OnePlus One, today might be your last chance to get one in your hands before year's end.

    Last month OnePlus retired its highly-criticized invite system and let customers pre-order their device on the company's website. Apparently there were some technical issues, so a second pre-order window is opening up today between 11am and noon, Eastern Time. If you've already registered for a store account you can fill your virtual shopping cart—up to two devices plus accessories—beforehand, then go ahead and complete your purchase when the pre-order goes live.

    I think any reasonable person would suspect that an unlocked, 64 GB, $349 USD "flagship killer" would have a few "gotchas", as indeed, the OnePlus One does. I myself have done fairly extensive testing with two different units—one that ended up in last summer's giveaway and another that's with me on my desk as I write this—so I don't think what I'm reporting here is a one-off production issue. Your OPO experience may end up being different than mine, but you should be prepared just in case. ...
    by Published on 11-14-2014 04:55 PM
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    Last year, Motorola’s flagship, the Moto X kind of got lost in the shuffle. While it was a solid effort of Motorola’s part, some of the features they gave it to differentiate it from the competition didn’t really catch on.

    The specs weren’t up to, well, they weren’t up to spec and one of the most important differentiators, the customizability wasn’t even available in Canada! To be honest, I’m surprised they sold any here.

    This time around, let’s see if the second Gen X fares any better:
    ...
    by Published on 11-14-2014 10:50 AM
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    This week The Verge produced a video with YouTuber Marques K. Brownlee—aka MKBHD—called The Dream Smartphone (2014), in which young Marques cherry-picks hardware features from current flagships and imagines them on a single device. A franken-phone, if you will.

    Way to aim low.

    I consider myself a fan of both MKBHD and The Verge, but I find such silly fanboy indulgence far less interesting than the rapidly approaching future of mobile devices. Technology always moves fast, but I think we're on the cusp of some major innovations in products and services. Smarter people than me have already laid out the pieces; today I'm going to assemble them for you here. ...
    by Published on 11-12-2014 01:55 PM
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    This is my review of the updated, iNew V8 phone. It has been upgraded by iNew to it's latest form, from 1GB to 2GB Ram and their latest version of the firmware using KitKat 4.4.2.

    There are no firmware glitches as was reported in earlier videos on youtube of the V8, it now runs rock solid and smooth. The ram upgrade is especially important as it allows the phone to run smoother with many apps opened up. But it's biggest benefit is it's much improved benchmark scores, with Antutu updated from around 21000 to over 25500, a big jump for sure. Gaming is a breeze on the V8, with smooth frame rates on all newer games and no noticeable dropout at all.
    ...
    by Published on 11-12-2014 09:44 AM
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    If the rumours are true then the Android 5.0 update will be rolling out to Nexus devices today. The other modder-friendly phone—the OnePlus One—likely won't be in this first round of Lollipop OTAs, so for OPO users here's a different kind of update: Mahdi ROM.

    I first heard about Madhi on the OnePlus forums; if I'm not mistaken it was one of the very first custom ROMs available for the OPO. It has a Cyanogen base and retains most of the features of the stock ROM, while adding to the mix some innovations from other ROMs as well. The team is already working on 5.0-based firmware, which makes the latest Mahdi download a final release—so it doesn't get any more stable than this!

    I've been waiting on an OTA update to the stock OPO ROM, which I was hoping would fix some lag issues I've been experiencing with games and scrolling through long web pages. Since I was going to flash a Custom Recovery and a zip of the OTA anyway, I figured I'd give Madhi a try first. It was good decision. ...
    by Published on 11-11-2014 01:07 PM
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    Motorola really shook up the industry last year when they released the Moto G. Up until then, the thought getting such a sharp display in such an affordable brand name phone was just a dream.

    However, fast forward a year and the market has caught up with the G, particularly in the display size department. Fortunately, just as competitors were starting to catch up, Motorola released their new second generation Moto G. Let’s see how it stacks up. ...
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