• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 08-07-2012 11:11 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.
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    by Published on 08-02-2012 04:48 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 04:28 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 04:06 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 02:23 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 12:40 PM
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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 05:10 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 11:52 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.
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    by Published on 07-03-2012 01:56 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.
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    by Published on 06-20-2012 01:07 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.
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    by Published on 06-11-2012 01:01 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. ...
    by Published on 06-04-2012 08:25 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 12:58 PM
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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, theyíre not all that different from last yearís model; theyíre actually much faster, have much more capable cameras, the best screens I have ever seen plus theyíre running the most mature version of Android yet. As awesome as the One X is, the 4.7Ē screen may be too big for some. Sometimes more is less.

    Hereís 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 04:22 PM
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    Hereís 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. Thereís 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 ďTXTNG & DRIVING... IT CAN WAITĒ 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 itís 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 02:46 PM
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    Itís been quite a year for Nokia fans. A year ago, Nokiaís 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 Nokiaís 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, itís really hard to say where the Lumia 900 fits in the overall market. On one hand, itís currently Nokiaís flagship Windows Phone. On the other hand, itís specs are quite modest compared to what you can get on Android. ...
    by Published on 04-27-2012 01:30 PM
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    Hereís 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? Letís 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 didnít 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 wasnít 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 03:18 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.
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    by Published on 03-29-2012 07:30 PM
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    Hereís our review of Appleís 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, theyíre 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 Ďthe iPadí, 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, theyíre rebooting the franchise. Just to make things less confusing Iíll call the new iPad the ďiPad 3Ē.

    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 04:06 PM
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    Hereís our review of the Samsung Galaxy Note.

    Initially I was surprised at how massive the Galaxy Note is. After all, its 5.3Ē display doesnít sound that much bigger than the Galaxy Nexusí 4.65Ē but in the flesh, the difference is huge. While I can kind of use the Galaxy Nexus with one hand, I canít do this with the Note without holding it in a less secure manner. After that Iím 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 10:24 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. ...
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