• Reviews and Hands-on

    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 It had a beautiful display but also wasn’t very fast, also had a lackluster camera and it also shipped with an outdated version of Android.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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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. ...
    by Published on 01-06-2012 02:37 PM
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    2011 was a tough year for RIM. From missed deadlines, outages, angry shareholders, stampedes and drunken executives one thing’s for sure: Someone’s going to require a lot of therapy. Between all the negative stories, RIM managed to update their entire smartphone lineup with new devices and a new version of the Blackberry OS. First came the Bold 9900/9930, followed by the Torch 9810/9860. Here’s the updated Curve: the 9360. ...
    by Published on 01-05-2012 09:46 AM
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    Here's our review of the Samsung Galaxy S Glide written by Sabesh.



    After reviewing Bell's excellent Motorola XT860, I wished for similar sliders to compete with it, as I'm a fan of physical keyboards. My wish came true when Rogers released the Samsung Galaxy S Glide (reviewed here). It's called the "Samsung Captivate Glide" in the US market. Here are the highlights:
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    by Published on 01-03-2012 10:26 AM
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    If you asked me what 2011’s sexiest device was, the Blackberry Bold 9900 would be high on my list. On the other hand, the 9900 isn’t even on most people’s radars because the media has been busy beating RIM to death. The 9900 has a very solid brushed stainless steel frame, an awesome carbon fiber battery cover and the best keyboard ever. I really like the 9900, so I was pretty excited when I found out that RIM was adding the Bold 9790 to the mix.
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    by Published on 12-20-2011 04:33 PM
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    Here's our review of the Nokia N9. It's written by our very own HC - No "i" as well as myself (it's a Howard collaboration).

    As a long time Nokia fan, the past few years have been trying times. The last Nokia phones I really loved were the e72 and n86. It used to be that S60 was my favorite smartphone operating system. It had a great browser, multi-tasked very smoothly and had a great camera experience. When the iPhone first launched, Nokia had already sold their 100 millionth S60 device. Of course, a lot has changed since then. S60’s keypad driven interface had a horrible transition to touch screen. To make matters worse, Nokia’s S60 successor Maemo was extremely late to market. ...
    by Published on 11-30-2011 01:55 PM
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    Here is our review of the Acer ICONIA TAB A501 written by our very own HC - NO "i".

    Design and Specifications:


    The Acer Inconia Tab A501 is a Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) based tablet which supports 21mbps DC-HSPA+. It’s currently in available in Canada from GLENTEL stores like WIRELESSWAVE, Tbooth and WIRELESS/etc on Rogers for $199.99 on a 3 year contract.

    Inside is a dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor running at 1Ghz, 1GB of system RAM and 16GB of user storage. The 10.1" 1280x800 LCD display support capacitive multi-touch. It’s also got a 2 megapixel front-facing camera.
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    by Published on 11-29-2011 03:07 PM
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    Here’s my review of the new LG Optimus LTE. The Optimus sports a beautiful 4.5” 1280x720 high definition display along with support for LTE. Other specs include a dual core 1.5Ghz processor, Android 2.3.5, 1GB RAM, 2GB storage, micro SDHC, 1830mAh battery and WiFi direct.

    Without a doubt the Optimus best feature is its display. In a word, the display is stunning. I compared the Optimus’ display with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus’ which has identical resolution but is slightly larger (4.65” vs 4.5”). The Optimus sports an IPS LCD display - the same sort of technology used in many high end computer monitors as well as the iPhone 4/4s.
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