In the fast moving world of smartphones, giant HD displays just aren’t enough anymore. The new hot commodity in the land of mobile is “HD Voice.” Sure, the technology isn’t exactly brand new, but using it over post-3G high speed networks is. The selling point here is high quality noise cancellation, which allows a phone’s user to be heard clearly in the noisiest of environments. The latest device to hop on the bandwagon is Sony’s Xperia T. When describing this feature, the herculean consumer electronics maker got downright emotional saying, “you feel closer to the person you are talking to.” While we’re not too sure about that, HD Voice did impress during our ears-on session. The major caveat here is that this feature requires that both parties have HD Voice capable handsets. So, until this concept becomes more mainstream, Xperia T owners’ phone calls are likely to be close, but no cigar.
Sony Mobile casually dropped onto its website that in addition to the expected Xperia Ion flagship, it’s also releasing an Xperia Ion HSPA. The handset’s only readily apparent feature is its reduced modem, and in every other way looks to match its 4G-enabled brother, with a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 12-megapixel camera and Gingerbread. Whilst its designed to consume the same AT&T friendly frequencies, this one’s destined for a rest-of-the-world arrival to sate the lust of global Sony fans in countries where they do everything a little slower.
Each year, several dozen smartphones land on our collective desks. They come in different shapes and sizes, boast different features and sell at different price points. We take each of them for a spin and review most of them, but only a handful really stand out. This is especially true with Android handsets, where incremental updates appear to be the modus operandi. Every now and then a device comes along that we really look forward to getting our hands on. Google’s line of Nexus smartphones falls into this category, setting the new standard for Android each year.
In early 2010, the Nexus One became the yardstick for all future Android handsets and, later that year, the launch vehicle for FroYo. A year ago, the Nexus S introduced us to Gingerbread on the popular Galaxy S platform. Now, a few weeks after being unveiled with much fanfare, we’re finally able to sink our teeth into Ice Cream Sandwich with the Galaxy Nexus, arguably the latest addition to Samsung’s critically acclaimed Galaxy S II family. So, does this highly anticipated device live up to our expectations? Is the Galaxy Nexus the smartphone to beat? Most importantly, is Ice Cream Sandwich ready to take Android to the next level? In a word, yes. Read on for our full review.
Who knew AT&T’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S II had a younger, larger brother on the way? Just a hair over a month after the carrier launched its flagship Android device, it’s already set for another go-round. This one, the Galaxy S II Skyrocket, offers a larger display and “true” 4G connectivity using LTE — yes, it’s a pioneer blazing a new trail to Ma Bell’s wild and untamed frontier, right alongside the HTC Vivid. It’s time to answer the burning questions: what kinds of speeds are possible on AT&T’s LTE network? Is the series’ legendary battery life up to snuff on the next-gen network? Join us below to find out.
It’s taken a long time for Nokia’s MeeGo-packing N9 to make its way into our top secret labs (the N9 moniker was first applied to early E7 prototypes), but it’s here in our dirty little hands, at last, and it’s glorious — well, as glorious as a stillborn product can be, anyway. The N9 is the latest and greatest in a long line of quirky, interesting, yet ultimately flawed touchscreen experiments from Nokia that includes the Hildon-sporting 7710, a series of Maemo-based “internet tablets” (770, N800, N810, N900) and most recently, the N950 MeeGo handset for developers. What makes the N9 special is that it represents Nokia’s last flagship phone as an independent player. MeeGo is already dead, and future high-end devices from the manufacturer will run Windows Phone and use Microsoft’s services. So, is this the company’s final bittersweet hurray? Did MeeGo ever stand a chance against Android, iOS and Mango? In its attempt to stay relevant, is Nokia throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Most importantly, how does the N9 fare in today’s merciless dual-core world? Find out after the break.
This isn’t the iPhone 5. No matter how badly you wanted something slim, sleek and wedge-shaped, this isn’t it. If you went ahead and got your hopes up ahead of Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, hopefully you’ve gotten over the pangs of discontent by now, because this device pictured front and center is the iPhone 4S. It’s a new spin on an old phone that will shock none, but give it half a chance, and it will still impress.
The iPhone 4S comes with a faster processor, a better camera, a smarter virtual assistant and twice the storage of its predecessor — if you don’t mind paying for it. Like the iPhone 3GS did before to the 3G, the 4S bumps the iPhone 4 down to second-class status, leaving those Apple fans who must have the best aspiring to own its decidedly familiar exterior. Apple says this is the most amazing iPhone ever. Is it? Yes, of course it is, but read on to see whether it’s really worth an upgrade.
Motorola and AT&T are at it again with their Android shenanigans, this time following up the Atrix 4G with something a tad more… Atrix-y. Indeed, we’re referring to the sequel of February’s smash hit, honorably called the Motorola Atrix 2, announced at this week’s CTIA Enterprise & Applications. We had the opportunity to get some brief time with it, and it’s a fair device worthy of the family name: the 4.3-inch device feels good in the hand, and closely resembles the Photon 4G, only without the cutout corners. The sequel swaps processors, trading the 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU for a TI OMAP model with the same clock speed, and offers a full gigabyte of RAM to go along with it. Fortunately, the qHD 960 x 540 display looks gorgeous without its predecessor’s Pentile clothes. Also gone? The fingerprint sensor. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the missing “4G” moniker in the title; this little ditty packs a 21Mbps HSPA+ radio, up from 14Mbps in the first version. All in all, we like what we see here — we enjoyed the brief time we had with the sequel. It seems as though Motorola learned some important lessons from the original device, but we’ll reserve total judgement until our forthcoming review. Check out the full gallery and hands-on video (complete with bonus psychedelic carpet!) below.
What else is there to say? Whether in its original, exotic exterior, its lightly changed but rather more accessible AT&T-flavored model, or the decidedly Epic Sprint version, the Samsung Galaxy S II has never failed to impress us. In fact, we called that first release “the best Android smartphone yet” and still, nearly six months later, it sits mighty close to the top of the pile — if not squarely at the peak, waving its flag proudly whilst taunting the others below.
Here today we’re looking at the last of the Three Musketeers: the T-Mobile version. This marks the final US release of the Galaxy S II, unveiled in late-August. At that announcement event the device was curiously locked up in Lucite, but now it’s right here in our hands. While we didn’t really want to set down this 16GB, 1.5GHz, 42Mbps HSPA+ wunderphone, we gently laid it aside just long enough to write this very review. Join us as we see what sets this latest and final revision apart.
iPhone 4S officially announced: lands October 14th starting at $199 in sizes up to 64GB, coming to Sprint
What’s this? The second coming of the iPhone 4? Sure enough, Tim Cook just pulled the covers off of the hotly-anticipated iPhone 4S here in Cupertino, making 2011 the first year in the company’s current stint in the smartphone business that it chose to launch three new handsets (Verizon’s CDMA iPhone 4 included, of course). On the outside the 4S looks exactly like its predecessor, but on the inside it’s “all new.” Apple has jammed a dual-core A5 CPU inside alongside a new dual-core GPU that supposedly boosts graphics performance by up to 7x. Up front is the same 3.5-inch Retina display we’ve all come to know and love, and around back is a glass plate. Those antennae around the sides (which caused many users so much trouble) have been revamped and iOS will intelligently switch between two different sets on the fly to avoid dropping calls no matter how you hold it. Those antennae are connected to a dual-mode GSM and CDMA radio that will let Apple’s handset roam the globe while enjoying either 14.4Mbps HSPA+ or EV-DO Rev. A.
It’s easy to shrug off technical achievements like this while real-world data speeds still lag so far behind. Nevertheless, the adrenalin junkies at Nokia Siemens Services insist their latest HSPA+ platform will be commercially available to carriers by the end of next year and, to prove it actually works, they’ve been demoing at PT Expo Comm in Beijing. The technology uses the latest 3GPP standardization to hog eight 42Mbps frequency channels at the same time, delivering a peak throughput of 336Mbps. Sure, it doesn’t come close to the 1Gbps speeds we’ve seen from Ericsson with LTE-Advanced, but if it gets here first we’ll have it.
After eluding our grubby little paws at its launch in New York and again this morning at Mobilize 2011, we’re happy to report that we’ve finally caught up with T-Mobile’s Galaxy S II. To recap, the carrier’s permutation rocks the same WVGA 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display as Sprint’s Epic 4G Touch, but replaces Samsung’s in-house 1.2GHz Exynos CPU with Qualcomm’s dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S3 processor. T-Mobile tells us the brain swap was necessary as it wanted its variant to support 42Mbps HSPA+ on the network’s AWS band (just like its cousin the Amaze 4G). Oh, and like AT&T’s variant it comes with a little NFC glitter sprinkled on top. So is it the same delectable Galaxy S II as its European and Sprint counterparts? From our brief time with the handset, the transplant doesn’t appear to have impacted performance at all — it’s just as snappy as ever. In terms of appearance, the phone sports a soft-touch matte black finish in back and its bezel is a lighter shade of chrome than used on its siblings. Check out our gallery below, and peek after the break for our hands-on video.
So how does HTC’s Amaze 4G stack up to its European counterpart, the Sensation XE? Pretty well actually. The 4.3-inch qHD smartphone also features Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, but bumps the RAM from 768MB to 1GB. It’s also HTC’s first NFC toting device and joins T-Mobile’s Galaxy S II as the other 42Mbps HSPA+ -capable handset on Magenta’s network. More noteworthy is its trick eight megapixel shooter, which features the same backside-illuminated sensor, f2.2 wide-angle optics and 1080p video recording capability as the myTouch 4G Slide. Similarly, the Amaze 4G hangs on to quite a bit of that phone’s camera software, including a new composite mode that automagically creates one stellar image out of five less than fabulous snapshots. We also liked the addition of two physical camera buttons, one for stills and the other for video. First impressions of the Sense-laden, Gingerbread smartphone? It’s very much like a Sensation on steroids, with a definite T-Mobile flavor. Take a look at our gallery and hit the break for our hands-on video from Mobilize 2011.
Sure, we love it when phones and spec lists leak out into the wild, but there’s nothing like an official announcement to set the record straight. When we last saw the Huawei Honor, it claimed to have a single-core 1.4GHz processor, a 4-inch FWVGA (854×480) capacitive screen, and a radio primed for European and Asian bands. The official word? It’s got all of that, but it’s also packing an 8 megapixel rear facing camera (2MP up front), 512MB of RAM (with 4G ROM memory, and expandable up to 32GB) and a hefty 1900mAh battery. The Gingerbread powered handset is a hair thicker than we expected as well, measuring in at 10.9mm at its thinnest point. What else is new? Oh, just a handful of new frequencies, including GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 /1900 and the WCDMA/HSPA+ 900 / AWS / 2100 bands (compatible with T-Mobile’s US 3G). No word on price just yet, but the DLNA-certifiedpowerhouse should be hitting Asia-Pacific, China, Russia, and the Middle East in “Classic Black” the fourth quarter, with more colors (and hopefully, regions) dropping sometime during the Christmas season. Want the full PR and official spec list? Skip on past the break.
Just a few weeks after the LG Optimus 3D got placed in the hot seat at our European offices, we’re ready to give its American counterpart its fair share of warmth. Better known in the states as the Thrill 4G, this AT&T device is the latest smartphone to follow in the footsteps of the HTC EVO 3D by tossing an extra dimension into the mix. As it so happens, two rear cameras and some fancy special effects are just enough to change a person’s judgement of the device in a split-second.
We get it. Few people want to spend their hard-earned cash on a gimmick. But like any other phone with a defining feature, there’s more to this glasses-free 3D handset than meets the eye (pun intended). And after peering under the hood and seeing what the Thrill is capable of, there’s a possibility this phone can hold its own against the competition in the same price range ($100 on AT&T). How does it differ from its European counterpart? Does the phone’s 3D match up against Sprint’s contribution? And how does this handset perform apart from that extra D? Join us as we dig through all three dimensions to get to the root of the Thrill 4G.
First rule of expensive electronics 101 is don’t get’em wet. For the Japanese, however, a waterproof gadget option’s a welcome value-add to time spent soaking in that ofuro. We first got a sneak peek at DoCoMo’s H2O-resistant LTE Fujitsu tablet just last week, and now the company’s making the announcement official. Joining the Arrows Tab LTE F-01D on the carrier’s new 4G Xi (read: Crossy) network is our good Samsung friend, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE SC-01D. Both slates are set to hit the operator’s Japanese airwaves next month, with Sammy’s bowing in early October and Fujitsu’s model landing a few weeks later. While we’re already privy to all the internal guts and glory of the former tab, we finally have some spec confirmation on the Arrows. The 10.1-incher boasts a WXGA display, dual-core processor running Android 3.2, 1.3 megapixel front-facing / 5 megapixel rear camera setup, up to 32GB of storage and that ever useful waterproofing. Try not to be too jealous, statesiders — there’s always that glimmer of FCC filing hope.
Here it is, official as official gets: Samsung just announced the Galaxy Tab 7.7. As the name suggests, it has a 7.7-inch (1280 x 800) display — specifically, a Super AMOLED Plus panel. Like so many other 7-inchers hitting the market, it runs Android 3.2 and yes, that’s a skinned flavor of Honeycomb, with Samsung’s tablet-optimized TouchWiz UX layered on top. Inside, it runs the same Samsung-made dual-core 1.4GHz processor found in the new Galaxy Note, along with an HSPA+ radio promising theoretical download speeds as high as 21Mbps. Other specs for the 0.74-pound (335-gram) tablet include 16GB to 64GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a 5,100mAh battery rated for 10 hours, 802.11n WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and dual 3MP and 2MP cameras. In a nutshell, it’s the in-between-sized do-over a lot of folks have been awaiting since the original Galaxy Tab grew stale — a slate that promises faster speeds and some seriously improved viewing angles. We’ll be the judge of that in our review, but in the meantime stay tuned for some early hands-on impressions.
Well, hello beautiful! Can’t say we were expecting to see RIM launch a new BlackBerry this evening, but we’re sure there’s quite a few of you out there that’ll take it. The same BlackBerry Torch 2 that we previewed back in June has made the trek over to Ma Bell’s network, with a ‘Coming Soon’ page emerging just moments ago. AT&T claims that this is the world’s first 4G BlackBerry on its airwaves, but of course, that asterisk upside the “4G” logo couldn’t possibly be more telling. Regardless, the full-featured slider will arrive with BlackBerry 7 OS, a full QWERTY keyboard, sliding display, 1.2GHz processor, 8GB of onboard memory, room for 32GB of expandable storage, 720p video capture, inbuilt WiFi and support for the carrier’s HSPA+ network. Mum’s the word on a price and release, but you can tap that source link to get signed up for more.
Earlier today, AT&T announced that the HP TouchPad is coming to its 4G network, complete with a processor bump to 1.5GHz (up from 1.2GHz) and an HSPA+ radio. The carrier wasted no time getting its latest slate out in the public, showing it off at an event in NYC this afternoon. There aren’t any cosmetic changes to speak of, but that faster connectivity and notable processor boost are certainly nothing to shrug at. We had a chance to see the tablet in action, and it performed fairly well, especially considering the poor connectivity environment AT&T selected to host its event. Jump past the break to see it in action in our hands-on video, or check out our full review of HP’s slower, WiFi-only TouchPad.