• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 10-22-2012 06:20 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 12:14 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 01:05 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 10:52 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 06:38 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 12:11 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 04:23 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?
    ...
    by Published on 08-24-2012 03:59 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 12:06 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.
    ...
    by Published on 08-07-2012 10:11 AM
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    Hereís the Huawei Ascend P1 (U9200). Hua-what you say? Look at the logo. No, WordIRC, itís not an NBC phone. Cue the NBC chime ďHu-wa-weiĒ.



    If youíve never heard of Huawei theyíre actually a huge player on the network infrastructure side. However, on the handset side theyíre mostly known for making cheap entry level phones. Given Huaweiís size and ambition itís only natural that they're ready to move up the ladder starting with the $400 Huawei Ascend P1.

    Huawei is splitting their offerings into 4 different lines. Diamond, Platinum, Gold (letís hope they donít sponsor the Olympics) and Youth. The P1 represents their platinum line so itís aimed at the upper end of the market but not the very top. Iím thinking phones like the HTC One S, Motorola RAZR and Sony Xperia S.
    ...
    by Published on 08-02-2012 03:48 PM
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    With the exception of the Xperia x10, Sony hasnít really released any phones in the past 2 years that were really aimed at the high end of the market. The Arc and Xperia S were both upper-midrange phones while the rest of Sonyís portfolio (Ray, Pro, Play) where aimed at the middle of the market.

    The Sony Xperia ION marks Sonyís return to the higher end of the market. Probably the best thing about the ION is itís metal unibody. Itís a huge step up from everything else Sony has released in the past 2 years. Itís very solid plus it looks and feels great. ...
    by Published on 07-28-2012 03:28 PM
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    If youíre looking for an mid-range, entry level Android phone there is no shortage of choices. HTC has the aluminum bodied One V, Sony has the dual core Xperia U, Motorola has MOTOLUX and now we have the LG Optimus L7. What sets the L7 apart is its large 4.3Ē display and itís larger-than-average 1700mAh battery.

    When I first saw the L7 I was surprised because it doesnít look like an entry level phone. Last yearís Optimus LTE was a very high-spec phone that didnít look very special. The L7 has a very detailed power button plus thereís a nice metallic finish around the camera. The back has an interesting dimpled pattern while the sides has a stylish chromed look. ...
    by Published on 07-27-2012 03:06 PM
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    Now Windows Phone has been around for about 2 years now but in that time it hasnít done very well. One of reasons why it hasnít been successful is because Microsoftís hardware specifications donít allow for entry level phones.

    Recently, Microsoft made some changes to Windows Phone code named Tango and relaxed their specifications. Now we have the Nokia 610.

    The first thing that struck me about the 610 is that itís kind of thick and heavy. In my hand itís a pretty solid phone. ...
    by Published on 07-27-2012 01:23 PM
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    While Android tablets have been around for 2 years now, none has really been able to capture consumerís interest. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets a lot of media coverage but itís usually for the wrong reasons. The Asus Transformer Prime was an anticipated device but it was priced too high to generate much interest outside of early adopters. Really, while people are buying Android tablets, it often feels like the platform has no momentum. It feels like the only reason a regular person would buy an Android tablet is because itís cheaper than an iPad.

    Itís quite different from the phone side where Samsungís Galaxy line has become a poster child for Androidís success.

    What Android really needs is tablet to help it stand out. Android needs a hero device thatís cheap, and has wide appeal, to help give the Android tablet ecosystem a much needed, kick-in-the-pants.

    The most interesting thing about the Nexus 7 is that the 8GB model is $199 (the 16GB model is $259 CAN) which includes a $25 credit to the Google Play store. While $199 tablets are nothing new (Blackberry Playbook, Kindle Fire, etc) what makes the Nexus 7 special is its hardware. Itís a substantial step-up. Not only does it ship with a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, but it also has a higher resolution 7Ē 1280x800 IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 4325mAh battery and either 8 or 16GB of storage. Aside from the lack of a rear facing camera, missing microSDHC slot, and maybe an IR blaster, on paper, the Nexus 7 doesnít make any hardware compromises. ...
    by Published on 07-19-2012 11:40 AM
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    Just got back from BestBuy with my new Nexus 7. I got there about 5 minutes after the store opened. They said they had 20 when they opened and there were 11 left when I was done. I actually work up earlier today, ordered it online for in-store pickup. ...
    by Published on 07-18-2012 04:10 PM
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    Just got a Sony Xperia ION so I'll be updating this post. The Sony ION is now available from Rogers for $49.99 on a 3 year. It's got a really bright 500nit 4.6" 1280x720 LCD display, dual core 1.5Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage which can be expanded with MicroSD cards and a 1900mAh non-removable battery.



    The main body of the phone is a metal unibody which feels much more solid than Galaxy S III and One X's plastic bodies. In-person it also looks a lot nicer than the S III's sometimes vulgar looking metal finish. It also comes with 6 months of Sony Entertainment Network. ...
    by Published on 07-04-2012 10:52 AM
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    Hereís our review of the Sony Xperia U written by HC - NO "i".

    While the high end of the market gets all the attention Sonyís been doing a pretty good job of going after the entry level to mid range. Last yearís Xperia Ray, Xperia Pro and Pro Mini where all affordable yet solid yet offerings.

    Now we have the Xperia U (ST-25a). An entry level phone with a new dual core processor.
    ...
    by Published on 07-03-2012 12:56 PM
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    The Titan II is HTCís top-of-the-line Windows Phone device. Its step-up features include a bigger screen, 16GB of storage and of course, LTE.

    When Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 2 years ago, there were certain hardware specifications that manufacturers had to adhere to which positioned it at the high end of the market. Since then, the specifications havenít changed that much even though the market has moved far ahead.

    While I was writing this review, Microsoft announced the next iteration of Windows Phone family. Windows Phone 8 addresses a lot of my issues with the Titan IIís specs except for the fact that it wasnít available 6 months ago.
    ...
    by Published on 06-20-2012 12:07 PM
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    Sabesh just finished up his review of the Otterbox Defender for the HTC One X:



    OtterBox Defenders are 3-piece extreme-protective cases designed to withstand moderate drops and spills. By general consensus, they are considered to be the best at what they do. Thereís no mistaking that itís a classic OtterBox Defender: 2 snap-on polycarbonate shells to enclose the HTC One X and a silicone outer layer enclosing the polycarbonate shells for secure protection. It comes in minimalist packaging with pictorial instructions printed inside the box. OtterBox packaging now has a holographic/3D sticker, perhaps to prevent copies/fakes.
    ...
    by Published on 06-11-2012 12:01 PM
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    While the HTC One X is a durable phone it has a very delicate finish which scratches and scuffs quite easily. If you own one it's probably worth your while to protect it with a case. Here's our OtterBox Commuter case for the HTC One X review written by our very own Sabesh.




    OtterBox Commuters are 2-piece protective cases designed to withstand casual drops and spills. This case is designed to provide protection, yet be stylish. Hence, I was happy when Howard got me this to review. Thereís no mistaking that itís a classic OtterBox Commuter: A silicone inner core encompassed by a tough, polycarbonate shell. It comes in stylish packaging with pictorial instructions printed inside the box. OtterBox packaging now has a holographic/3D sticker, perhaps to prevent copies/fakes like BeaverBoxes and WeaselCartons. ...
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