Tag Archives: smartphones

Five Best Smartphone Alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

As you’ve likely heard by now, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is finished. Finito. Kaput. Dead. In fact, there are even doubts about the phone’s replacement. Can Samsung possibly offer a Note 8 after the disaster that was the Note 7? It’s anyone’s guess at this time, but experts are thinking the answer to that question might be an emphatic no.

Mobile World Congress 2015: What We Already Know

Mobile World Congress 2015

Mobile World Congress 2015 will be taking place in Barcelona next week from March 2-5. Tech giants from around the world will show off their newest tech products for 2015. Thankfully,  per usual, several companies have decided to leak some news early in anticipation of the conference. Whether intentional or accidental, here’s what we’ve got so far:

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony “accidentally” leaked the new Xperia Z4 Tablet yesterday on Lounge. Not much is known about the Z4, but it will be a large 10″. According to the short-lived Lounge page, it also has a not-so-impressive 2K display along with “the latest ultra fast processor” and “industry leading battery performance.” No specifics were stated, and it looks like we’ll have to wait until March 3rd to find out more.

Lenovo Vibe Series

Lenovo Vibe Shot

Lenovo Vibe Shot

We’ve got five new additions to Lenovo’s Vibe series. First and foremost is the Vibe X3, which highlights a 5.5″, 1080p display, front-facing stereo speakers, and a 20.7 megapixel camera on the back. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting phone, but maybe Lenovo’s holding onto the wow-factors for now.

Next up is the Vibe Shot, also known as the Vibe Max (above) which, you guessed it, is all about the camera. The display is a little smaller than the X3 at 5 inches, but it has the same 1080p display. As for specs, the Vibe Shot is packing a Snapdragon 615 processor, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of storage. Lenovo’s thrown in a microSD card slot just in case you need some extra room for all those pictures. As for the 16 megapixel camera, it has optical image stabilization and three-tone flash to get the most natural-looking brightness, and its own shutter button. How flattering for Nokia.

Then there’s the Vibe P1 and P1 Pro, which are all about battery life. The Vibe P1 has a 4000mAh battery with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 support, just in case. According to the release, the P1 has nano ceramics coating, 64-bit octa-core CPU, and 2GB RAM in the MediaTek chipset. Need more battery than that? The P1 Pro carries a 5000mAh battery with a fingerprint sensor. Our guess is that the specs are the same (including its size), based on the images, but we can’t say for sure.

Lastly, we’ve got the Vibe S1, coming in 5 different colors. The Vibe S1 is aiming at a younger audience, with a front-facing camera for the selfie lover in your life. We get the feeling that the S1 might be akin to the iPhone 5c compared to the iPhone 5s, with the S1’s lower price point and specs less impressive than the X3. However, we don’t have any details, so we’ll just have to find out during the Mobile World Congress.

LG Magna, Spirit, Leon, and Joy

LG Magna, Spirit, Leon, and Joy

From Left to Right: LG’s Magna, Spirit, Leon, and Joy

It looks like LG put the G4 on the backburner and is releasing four mid-range phones at the Mobile World Congress instead. Starting with LG’s Leon and Joy, both of them are on the lower-end of the spectrum, with 4.5″ and 4″ displays, respectively. Leon packs a punch with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of internal memory, 1GB RAM, and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. Where it falls short is the 1900mAh battery and the VGA front-facing camera. As for the Joy, it runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, has a 1-megapixel camera, and has half the memory and RAM of Leon (4GB and 512MB, respectively). It looks like the Joy is for the less tech-oriented, or for that someone looking for an inexpensive smartphone.

Both the Spirit and Magna have the same processing power, rear-facing camera, RAM, and internal memory. The differences are the Spirit’s 4.7″ display, 5-megapixel front-facing camera and its 312 ppi display, with a 2100mAh battery. The Magna, on the other hand, has a 5″ 294ppi display and 5 megapixel front-facing camera with a removable 2540mAh battery. With those specs, the Magna is competing with Samsung’s Galaxy S6, which will also be appearing at the Mobile World Conference.

Of course, HTC has already committed its own leaks of the HTC One M9 which we’ve covered here. Stay tuned for next’s week updates during Mobile World Congress.

Via: Phandroid, GSMArena, PC Pro UK

AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Review: The Hardiest Phone of them All

When the Samsung Galaxy S5 came out this spring, it was one ugly band-aid of an unveiling. You know what I’m talking about, that dimpled pleathery backing on the device. Still, it had state-of-the-art specs, a beautiful 5.1″ HD display, and improved Touchwiz overlayed onto the smooth 4.4 Android KitKat running behind the scenes. But with all S devices, there’s always a counterpart to follow. And, in this case, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. Like the original S4 Active, this device is ruggedized for the outdoorsy, the clumsy, and the generally careless with their belongings. AT&T was nice enough to send us a review unit and we gave it a fortnight of data tracking, dunk-testing, and general smartphone gauntlet of use. Read on below to see how the Active is one of the most indestructible flagship phones on the market.

Moto X Owners Receiving Verizon’s 4.4.2 KitKat Updates Today

Owners of the Motorola MotoX on Verizon have started receiving an update to the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat today. Soak test  invites (A program where people can beg to receive Beta software updates) for the MotoX update on Verizon Wireless went out last week, and reports of the update roll-out have already been coming in, including on my own personal phone. Updates to security, roaming, battery life, and their proprietary software are included. Also, Verizon’s preferred mobile wallet payment app, ISIS, will have new enhancements. Stay tuned as we play around with it to see if any drastic changes are noticed. You can see the full rundown of updates in 4.4.2 KitKat from Verizon below.

Screen-Shot-2014-02-21-at-8.34.31-AM

CES 2014: The LG G Flex is Curvy, Kind of Silly

The LG Flex boasts a flexible display—the world’s first, actually. But it’s set in a curved casing that’s rigid and keeps it from actually flexing. Which makes us ask. Why? Why on earth would anyone create, let alone purchase, a smartphone whose main feature (the flexible display) doesn’t actually flex.

What I mean by that is, the phone is permanently curved unless trying to run it over or press it flat. The shape is downright weird compared to any other at CES this week. It’s even a bit uncomfortable to hold it in your hand and feels more than funny in your pocket (I swear we didn’t take it home, LG).  But most of all, for something you stare at for hours a day, it’s simply a really strange perspective to get used to. It’s like reading on a warped scroll, practically pre-renaissance. Slight exaggeration.

Our First Look at the LG G Flex

Our answer: It’s a gimmick. You can bend it flat, so maybe that will help withstand impact a little better, but so what? Glass isn’t going to be any less sturdy on a drop, Gorilla Glass or otherwise. A curved display on a giant television might make a difference in the quality of the image in 4k resolution, but the visual effects on a phone-sized display? Not really worth it. And the argument that the curve is to enhance the sound during a phone call is negated somewhat by the popularity of headphones and bluetooth headsets. Also, do you really need a phone to curve to your face? Okay, we’ll compromise. Hitting the mute button with your chin is a little less likely.

Why Bother With The LG G Flex?

The verdict? If you’ve got to have the latest crazy idea, one that doesn’t look like any of the other smart phones out, then maybe you’d want to give this a try. Otherwise, we’re recommending you imagine the awkward bulge in your pocket.  Is that an LG G Flex or are you just happy to see me?

QI Wireless Power Consortium to Bring Wireless Charging Standard to 60 phones in 2014

200 manufacturers have signed up for Qi, the Wireless Power Consortium started in 2008 by Texas Instruments, Philips, Samsung, Sanyo and Olympus. The cause for a wireless charging standard is a noble one (especially if you’ve ever busted your charging cable), and it’s starting to power blenders and smartphones alike. But yes, mostly smartphones. And there’s plenty of them to join the market. Nokia, Samsung, HTC…if you can name it, they’re on board. 60 new phones in 2014 will be supporting the technology, and we can only imagine it will be the staple of device charging to come.