• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 11-26-2012 03:59 PM
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    While Tablets are now the norm, itís hard to believe that the original iPad only came out about 2 and a half years ago. Tablets have been around for years but it wasnít till the iPad came out, that they really took off.

    Now 2 and half years later, iPads have sort of matured to the point that you donít have to buy the fanciest one, to buy one thatís usable.

    Itís the perfect time for Apple to release an entry level iPad because it doesnít have to suck. Hereís the iPad Mini. Itís an iPad with a 7.9Ē display.
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    by Published on 11-23-2012 09:00 AM
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    One of the best phones for 2012 was the HTC One X. It was almost the total package. It was fast and had an amazing display. The camera was a blast to use. The only problem with it was that it only came with 16GB of storage. Itís like a sports car that can only seat one person. Itís a blast to use but itís not very practical.

    Thankfully, we now have the One X+. Itís similar to the One X but ups the storage to a much more useful 64GB of storage. You also get a quad-core processor, a slightly bigger battery, and Android 4.1. ...
    by Published on 11-21-2012 09:45 PM
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    One thing I admire about HTC is that their phones always have a very original design esthetic. Just like Nokia and Apple, you can spot a HTC phone immediately. While I admire their originality, I havenít connected with many of their recent phones. Last yearís Amaze reminded me of a bathtub while the One X had to profile of a banana... That is, till I laid eyes on the HTC 8X.

    To say that the 8X is beautiful would be giant understatement. Windows Phone is known for itís distinctive design and the 8X is a wonderful interpretation of it. Itís like one of the Windows Phone live tiles grew up and became a phone. ...
    by Published on 11-14-2012 11:22 PM
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    These days, movies cost a lot of money so itís not uncommon for them to have some promotional product tie-ins. While this can make a movie seem like a commercial, thereís usually a line between whatís acceptable and what isnít. For example, it would be a sham if Gandalf used a AT&T phone to call Frodo in the Lord of the Rings movie.

    Then we have the Sony Xperia T. The phone of choice for James Bond in the new Skyfall flick. If I were to guess what kind of phone James Bond actually uses my guess is that it would be something waterproof, but then again, the Tís a slick device - I could see him using one.
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    by Published on 11-12-2012 04:05 PM
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    While itís been awhile since Iíve reviewed a pair of Bluetooth headphones but I jumped at a chance to try a pair of Parrot Zikís.




    Theyíre designed by Phillip Starck and are packed with goodies that make the phone nerd inside me drool! Besides Bluetooth, they also have NFC, a removable battery, touch sensitive controls, sensors that can tell when youíre not wearing them and upgradable firmware. Those features are all great but the Zikís PiŤce de rťsistance is that the Zik comes with its own app. Iíll talk more about the app later.

    I havenít even mentioned the design yet. Unlike all the colourful headphones you see these days, the Zik has a slick modern design. The plastic surfaces are all soft to the touch while the metallic pieces are actually metal. They look really cool and donít shout ďMy mom bought me these headphonesĒ like a pair of Beats headphones. ...
    by Published on 11-07-2012 03:45 PM
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    Hereís the Xperia Go. An entry level Smartphone thatís waterproof.

    Iím impressed that it comes with a dual-core NovaThor U8500 processor and a microSD slot (the Xperia U didnít) plus you get Android 4.0 (this is a Sony phone). Iím not surprised that it comes with 512MB of RAM has a 5MP camera and 8GB of storage (probably 4GB available). Iím a bit annoyed that it has a 3.6Ē 430x320 display and a 1305mAh battery. ...
    by Published on 11-07-2012 03:21 PM
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    I got a chance to play with the Sony Xperia T. The T is known as the James Bond Phone because he uses one in the new Bond Flick thatís launching soon.

    Spec-wise the T is similar to the Galaxy S III and HTC One X (the LTE versions). Dual-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage plus a Micro SD slot, 1850mAh battery, 4.6Ē LCD display and 12.8/1.3MP cameras. It also supports Mira-cast (video out via WiFi). It ships with Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).




    Itís launching on Rogers, TELUS, Bell, Mobilicity, Videotron, MTS plus they mentioned Wind too (though Iím not sure if they got confused). Kudos to Sony for getting it on most carriers!
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    by Published on 11-02-2012 06:01 PM
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    So the UPS driver dropped of my iPad mini today. I actually order both a white and black iPad mini. My black one showed up while my white one is back-ordered for 2 weeks.



    When I first opened the Mini I couldn't help noticing that the finish feels fantastic. The edges of the bezel are like the iPhone 5 while the back is metal that feels kind of satin-y.



    Before I even turned it on I thought that the Mini feels substantially larger than my Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 has a 7" 16:9 screen while the Mini's is 7.9" with 4:3 aspect ratio. In my hand the Mini is a lot wider and not comfortable at all to hold unlike my Nexus 7. ...
    by Published on 11-01-2012 10:46 AM
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    Itís been a bit of a boring year for LG. Aside from a few mid and entry level handsets, the last really interesting phone that LG brought out was the Optimus LTE.

    During that time, we've been treated to phones like the HTC One S, One X, Motorola RAZR HD LTE, ATRIX HD LTE, Sony Xperia ION, and Samsung Galaxy S III. One similarity between all those phones are that they all have similar Qualcomm dual core processors.

    One thing Iím sure many manufacturers hate about Android is that they all have access to similar hardware so they all end up having to play the hardware game. I was a little surprised that LG didnít join the party with their own similar offering.

    Now, LG is launching their new flagship phone. The LG Optimus G. It actually shares the same guts as the upcoming Google Nexus 4 with a few changes that I'll discuss later.

    Whatís special about it is that it ups the stakes in the hardware game with itís new Qualcomm processor that doubles the core count plus adds a new more powerful graphics processor: The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. While Iím sure itís going to become quite ubiquitous for now it makes the G unique. ...
    by Published on 10-31-2012 10:47 PM
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    Our very own Sabesh just finished his review of the Motorola DEFY PRO:

    The Motorola Defy Pro brings an interesting set of features to the party: Moderately water, dust & shock-proof and good QWERTY keyboard. It runs Android 2.3 with Motorola's MotoBlur overlay.

    It's keyboard rivals that of the Blackberry Bold 9900 and is a pleasure to use. They keys are even shaped in a similar fashion. The keys don't "click" as much as the 9900, but do have a good feedback. The physical keyboard even supports Auto complete! One caveat though: The centre pad is a directional button, not a scroll pad like that of the Bold 9900. ...
    by Published on 10-26-2012 12:32 AM
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    Just got an LG Optimus G. Here are my quick thoughts on it.

    Both the front and back are covered with Gorilla Glass. Apparently the back is polarized so it has an interesting pattern on it. Some how in my hand the finish makes it feel like plastic - maybe the sides have too much laquer on them or something. Still, it's a very solid phone.

    The screen looks amazing. It's 4.7" 1280x720 display with amazing viewing angles. I just got it tonight so I haven't had a chance to use it outdoors in the sun yet.

    The speaker on the back isn't very loud.

    There are going to be 2 versions for the Canadian market. They differ in terms of LTE support. The Rogers one has 2600Mhz LTE only while the TELUS and Bell ones have AWS LTE (and probably other bands though I'm just speculating here). ...
    by Published on 10-22-2012 07:20 PM
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    One of last yearís unexpected hits was the Samsung Galaxy Note. It was basically a Galaxy S II with a stylus, a bigger, higher resolution display and a bigger battery. I had a nice laugh when I first saw it. I wondered, who would want to use such a large phone?

    It screamed Ďmy phone is better than your phone because itís biggerí. I figured it would appeal to guys who wear huge watches, drive showy cars, that sort of thing. Nothing like a good stereotype right? Anyways, if you go out, youíll notice a lot of girls with Notes. Turns out a Note fits just fine in a purse. Maybe size really doesnít matter.

    Anyways, itís been about a year now and a lot has changed. Samsung is now the de-facto power in the Android smartphone space, so thereís a lot of anticipation for the Galaxy Noteís successor. ...
    by Published on 10-16-2012 01:14 PM
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    One of last yearís unexpected hits was the Samsung Galaxy Note. Boiled down it was basically a Galaxy S II with a stylus, a bigger higher resolution display and a bigger battery. It screamed Ďmy phone is better than your phone because itís biggerí. I figured it would appeal to guys who wear huge watches, drive showy cars, that sort of thing. However, if you go out youíll notice actually notice a lot of girls with Notes. Turns out a Note fits just fine in a purse. I guess size really doesnít matter.

    Anyways, itís been about a year now and a lot has changed. Samsung is now the de facto power in the Android smartphone space so thereís a lot of anticipation on the Galaxy Noteís successor.
    ...
    by Published on 10-12-2012 02:05 PM
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    Starting with the HTC One X back in April, Android flagships have a few common features: A 1.5Ghz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor, LTE, 4.7Ē+ screens, 8MP cameras, NFC and 16GB+ built-in storage. Now Motorola throws their hat in the ring with the RAZR HD LTE.

    While I appreciate how detailed the RAZR HD LTEís name is it a bit of a mouthful. Then again I guess I should be happy itís not called the Motorola 2012 RAZR HD LTE NFC 8MP KEVLAR 4.7 2500MAH.

    With itís sharp edges and the exposed weave on its Kevlar back the RAZR has a very striking and memorable design.

    Now if you look at the RAZRís specifications youíll notice that theyíre very similar to the ATRIX HD LTE I reviewed recently. Indeed, looking at the spec sheets the 3 main differences are the bigger screen (4.5Ē LCD vs 4.7Ē Super AMOLED), NFC and bigger battery (2530mAh vs 1780mAh). Bigger and more or better right? ...
    by Published on 09-28-2012 11:52 AM
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    While iPhones have changed dramatically since the first one was launched 4 years ago, one thing that hasn't changed is the size. They've all sported 3.5Ē displays. While, I think 3.5Ē works well on an iPhone, itís hard to ignore the giant screens found on itís competitors.

    As such, the new iPhone 5 sports a 4Ē display. The biggest ever found on an iPhone though still much smaller than pretty much all itís competitors. But as they say Ďsize doesn't matterí.

    ...
    by Published on 09-06-2012 07:38 PM
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    Howard gave me the Rogers LTE Rocket hub to put through it's paces and post up a review. How could I say no?
    1> it's LTE
    2> it's LTE data that isn't counting towards my 6 gig package
    3> refer to #2

    So with the Rocket Hub in hand I happily trotted down Free LTE MAD SEEG lane to test some speeds, download some stuff* and generally pillage and plunder the Rogers LTE network.
    ...
    by Published on 09-05-2012 01:11 PM
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    Here's my report on Nokia's Lumia 820 and 920 launch.

    I'm here in New York where Nokia is launching 2 new Windows Phones. The Lumia 920 and Lumia 820.


    The Lumia 920 is the higher end phone with a 4.5" 1280x768 600 nit IPS LCD, 8.7MP Pureview camera with optical image stabilization, a polycarbonate unibody and a 2000mAh battery. I noticed during the demo that Joe Belfiore's 920 was connected to LTE whereas someone else who looked like they were from Europe had 4G. According to the Forum Nokia page the 920 supports LTE Band 1 (2100), LTE Band 20 (800), LTE Band 3 (1800), LTE Band 7 (2600), LTE Band 8 (900). Not sure if this one version of the 920 supports all these LTE bands or if they're mentioning all the bands the different 920 variants support. Note that LTE on AWS isn't listed - so I'm guessing those specs are for the 'Euro' variant.

    Powering all this is a 1.5Ghz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor (like some Samsung GS3 and HTC One X variants along with the Motorola ATRIX). You get 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The storage is not expandable.

    The screen has a brightness level of 600nits. Just for reference the Xperia ION (another extremely bright phone) measures 500nits so the 920's screen will probably work amazing even in direct sunlight. ...
    by Published on 08-28-2012 05:23 PM
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    Recently, Android hardware reached a point where I felt you didnít have to buy the fanciest phone in order to be happy. While the HTC One X is a great phone most users will be happy with the One S, that sort of thing. I recently reviewed the Motorola ATRIX which is another fantastic device. Turns out the ATRIX has a smaller sibling the RAZR V XT885. Is the RAZR V good enough?
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    by Published on 08-24-2012 04:59 PM
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    In terms of 2012 flagship Android phones, first came the HTC One X which was followed by the Samsung Galaxy S III. Both share very similar specs including support for LTE. Now we have the Motorola ATRIX HD LTE which is packing similar hardware. So which of the 3 should you buy?

    While pretty much all Smartphones are plain slabs these days, last yearís Motorola RAZR was an interesting interpretation of the plain slab. It was wide and had sharp angles. The Kevlar back is bare with its weave exposed. There were some nice details including the Motorola logo and the volume buttons. ...
    by Published on 08-13-2012 01:06 PM
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    One of the great things about technology is that most high end features end up filtering down to more affordable price points. Sometimes it happens quicker than you think.

    Just over 18 or so month ago the fastest processor you could find on most Android phones were 2nd gen Qualcomm Snapdragon chips with Scorpion cores running at 1Ghz. Their screen resolutions topped out at 800x480, came with around 512MB of RAM and most of them sported 5 megapixel cameras.

    Things move pretty quickly in the Android space! All that technology has filtered down and now we have the HTC One V.
    ...
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