• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 07-03-2012 12:56 PM
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    The Titan II is HTC’s 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 haven’t 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 II’s specs except for the fact that it wasn’t 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. There’s no mistaking that it’s 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.
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    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. There’s no mistaking that it’s 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. ...
    by Published on 06-04-2012 07:25 PM
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    I just got a Samsung Galaxy S III with LTE support. I'm using it on TELUS. This is a work in progress so I won't be done for a few more days. I'll also be comparing it with the quad core varient soon so after you read this check back in a couple of days - there will be more.



    In just 3 short years we've gone from Samsung Galaxy to Galaxy S III. What a ride. ...
    by Published on 06-01-2012 11:58 AM
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    Both the dual and quad-core versions of the HTC One X signal a new generation of Android phones. While on paper, they’re not all that different from last year’s model; they’re actually much faster, have much more capable cameras, the best screens I have ever seen plus they’re running the most mature version of Android yet. As awesome as the One X is, the 4.7” screen may be too big for some. Sometimes more is less.

    Here’s where the One S fits in. It packs the same processing power as the as the faster dual core One X, the same camera capabilities, same amount of storage, RAM, etc into a smaller, more manageable package
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    by Published on 05-28-2012 03:22 PM
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    Here’s our review of the Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE (SGH-I757M) on Bell written by our own HC - NO "i".

    With all the news about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III I was a little surprised that Bell would be offering the Galaxy S II HD LTE. There’s a good reason for the release; AT&T recently cancelled an order for the Samsung Skyrocket HD (aka SGH-I757M). Guess where those cancelled Skyrockets turned up? The Galaxy S II HD LTE on Bell is even wrapped in the “TXTNG & DRIVING... IT CAN WAIT” plastic that AT&T phones come in.

    From a strategic standpoint, Bell has been selling their Galaxy S II 4G for longer than TELUS and Rogers have been selling their variants so it’s time that they refreshed it.

    As for the name, Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE I, one can only hope that they ship a pentaband version of this phone with no Android customizations. Then they can call it the Samsung Galaxy Nexus S II HD LTE X.
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    by Published on 05-09-2012 01:46 PM
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    It’s been quite a year for Nokia fans. A year ago, Nokia’s coolest phones were the X7 and the N8. Meanwhile, Android users had the HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy S II and LG Optimus 2x to choose from. We all knew Nokia was working on some Windows Phones but they weren't available yet. Now that Nokia’s Lumia phones are here, fans have a little more choice. However, the competition has gotten much more intense in the past year.

    Based on its specs, it’s really hard to say where the Lumia 900 fits in the overall market. On one hand, it’s currently Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone. On the other hand, it’s specs are quite modest compared to what you can get on Android. ...
    by Published on 04-27-2012 12:30 PM
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    Here’s our review of the HTC One X on Rogers. The Rogers version is the North American One X variant which only has a dual core processor while the rest of the world gets a quad-core processor. 4 > 2 right? Let’s find out.

    Last year was a banner year for Android hardware. It started off with the Motorola ATRIX. The ATRIX was my first dual core phone, plus it was the first one to have a 960x540 display. Its problem was that it didn’t seem fast for a dual core phone and its display and camera were lackluster. We also got the LG Optimus 2x. It had a beautiful display but also wasn’t very fast, also had a lackluster camera and it also shipped with an outdated version of Android. The Samsung Galaxy S II was a strong package but most variants had a lower resolution display (which looked outstanding). But there were also too many versions, if you wanted LTE you had to get one version, if you wanted penta-band then another. Choice is good but too much choice is confusing. The HTC Amaze and Raider where strong offerings but again you had to pick and choose. the Amaze had a penta-band radio but was stuck with a cheap looking display. The Raider had LTE but a slower processor.
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    by Published on 04-07-2012 02:18 PM
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    Boost Mobile recently added the LG Marquee to its lineup of Android smartphones. Prepaid carriers differ in many ways to the postpaid carriers like AT&T or Verizon. There are no contracts and lower monthly fees but the cost of the phones are usually higher because there is not subsidized pricing. This is the case with Boost Mobile who is charging $279.99 for the phone, but the monthly fee is only $55 for unlimited everything.
    ...
    by Published on 03-29-2012 06:30 PM
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    Here’s our review of Apple’s new iPad. The first thing I noticed is that the new iPad feels noticeably heavier and thicker than the iPad 2. However, when I compare them side-by-side, they’re both essentially the same thickness (the new iPad is 0.6mm thicker). On the other hand, the weight of the new iPad is 10% heavier than the iPad 2.



    Apple calls the new iPad ‘the iPad’, while the older version is the iPad 2. Yes, the new iPad shares the same name as the original iPad. Think of it like Batman Begins, they’re rebooting the franchise. Just to make things less confusing I’ll call the new iPad the “iPad 3”.

    There are 5 new key features in the new iPad: LTE radio support, a higher resolution display, a new A5x dual core processor with quad core graphics, 1GB RAM (up from 512MB) and finally; a decent camera.
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    by Published on 03-12-2012 03:06 PM
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    Here’s our review of the Samsung Galaxy Note.

    Initially I was surprised at how massive the Galaxy Note is. After all, its 5.3” display doesn’t sound that much bigger than the Galaxy Nexus’ 4.65” but in the flesh, the difference is huge. While I can kind of use the Galaxy Nexus with one hand, I can’t do this with the Note without holding it in a less secure manner. After that I’m blown away at how nice the display is, more on that later.

    Design-wise, it sort of looks like cross between my original Galaxy S and a Galaxy S II. It has the bezel of the original S and pebbled plastic back of the II.
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    by Published on 03-07-2012 09:24 PM
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    I'm sure most of us share a similar opinion when it comes to the astronomical gas prices we have been experiencing for many years now: it's out of control! Although I don't have a magic wand to be able to lower the prices, I would like to share my thoughts on a helpful little tool called GasBuddy. GasBuddy is an application that among other things, tracks the price of gas at local stations. The application is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. And if you'd prefer not to use an app, there is a mobile website as well. I used the BlackBerry app for the purpose of this review, although for the most part it should be applicable to all platforms. ...
    by Published on 02-28-2012 12:40 PM
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    In the past, Nokia ruled the market with their S60 smartphone OS. Of course that was then and now S60’s market share is shrinking faster than a snowball in summer (or this year, Feburary). Anyways, Nokia saw the writing on the wall and last year switched from S60 to Windows Phone. While Nokia has the Lumia 800 and 900 in the upper to high-end the 710 is their mid range device.

    Probably the most interesting thing about the 710 is how similar it is to the 800. There are basically 5 differences: The 800 shell is a single piece of plastic while the 710’s isn’t. The 710 has a 3.7” LCD display while the 800’s has what appears to be a 3.7” Super AMOLED. The 800 has a slightly larger non-removable battery (1450mAh non-removable vs 1300mAh removable) a higher resolution camera (8mp vs 5mp) and more built-in storage (16GB vs 8GB).

    What’s interesting is that the 710 and 800 both share the same 1.4Ghz Qualcomm processor. So speed-wise, there shouldn’t be any difference between the 710 and 800.
    ...
    by Published on 02-14-2012 08:39 PM
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    Our resident case guru Sabesh just finished his review of the Casemate Pop for the Galaxy Nexus:



    My friend and Howard Forums member DerekToronto gifted me this case recently and I decided to review it, as I like very much! Like Derek, I like to accessorize my phones and I can never have enough cases for them. The Casemate Pop case looks quite good, but is deceivingly tough!

    The first thing I noticed about the case, brought a smile to my face: The interior soft-plastic has a funky design and the words "Happiness by design". How cool is that! ...
    by Published on 02-12-2012 09:59 PM
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    Sabesh's been busy! His beloved Galaxy Nexus has never been so safe - here's his
    OtterBox Commuter case for the Galaxy Nexus review:


    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. There’s no mistaking that it’s a classic OtterBox Commuter: A silicone inner core encompassed by a tough, polycarbonate shell. It comes in minimalistic packaging with pictorial instructions printed inside the box.
    ...
    by Published on 02-12-2012 09:42 PM
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    Here's our OtterBox Defender for the Galaxy Nexus review written by our very own Sabesh.

    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. Hence, I was happy to come into possession of this venerable case. There’s no mistaking that it’s a classic OtterBox Defender: 2 snap-on polycarbonate shells to enclose the Galaxy Nexus and a silicone outer layer enclosing the polycarbonate shells for secure protection. It comes in minimalistic packaging with pictorial instructions printed inside the box. ...
    by Published on 01-31-2012 03:44 PM
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    I got to play with the LTE version of the Galaxy Note today.

    While the HSPA version of the Note has been around elsewhere for a few months now the one that's launching here has LTE support. There were some demos of the speedtest app which showed speed test results over LTE of around 50mbps which is inline with the HTC Raider and Samsung Galaxy S II LTE.

    With a 5.3" display you're probably wondering about the size. You will receive funny looks so you'll probably want to skip the Note if you're self conscious. It's definitely a device that requires 2 hands - if you wear tight skinny jeans you may have problems with it.
    ...
    by Published on 01-20-2012 04:00 PM
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    It used to be that Nokia ruled the Smartphone market. While I played with and was fluent with Palm OS, UIQ, Blackberry OS, Pocket PC phone and MS Smartphone, for years S60 was my smartphone os of choice. Of course, a lot has changed since then; Palm OS died and was transmogrified into WebOS, which is now on life support. Blackberry OS has hit rough waters and is due for a replacement. Microsoft’s Smartphone OSes became Windows Phone. Nokia transition of S60 to a touch-screen interface was a disaster. They intended to replace S60 with Maemo, which was later renamed Meego. The transition to Meego was delayed and eventually Nokia decided to place their bets on Windows Phone.

    It’s kind of ironic that Nokia and Microsoft are now in bed together since S60 and Windows Mobile competed against each other for years. It would be like if Apple started putting Android on their phones. ...
    by Published on 01-13-2012 06:21 PM
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    Here’s the Motorola Pro+. It’s a 14.4Mbps HSPA+, Android 2.3 phone with a full QWERTY keyboard, 3.1” VGA display, 5MP camera, 4GB storage (2GB available), 512MB and a 1Ghz processor. It's currently available on Bell Mobility. The Pro+ is like the result of a wild night between a Blackberry Bold and an Android phone. it's got its daddy's keyboard its mommy’s personality. I’d name the unholy offspring the Droid Bold. ...
    by Published on 01-06-2012 03:13 PM
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    I just got my Transformer Prime in the mail. Here are my first impressions.

    The Transformer Prime is the first device to ship with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC. Nvidia was the first to ship a dual core ARM SoC and they’re the first again with a quad core.

    Despite the quad core SoC, the Prime is very thin and sleek - there’s nothing clunky about it.

    Besides the quad core SoC you get Android 3.2 (4.0 update is coming soon), 1280x800 10.1” display, 1GB RAM, 32GB storage, BT, WiFi (2.4Ghz only), micro HDMI and a micro SDHC support. ...
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