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Posts tagged ‘Reviews’

14
Apr
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HTC One (M8) Review: The best just got better


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Today we have gotten our hands on the all new HTC One M8, T-Mobile variant.  The phone is based upon it’s predecessor, the One M7, which was voted “Best Smartphone” by GSMA at Mobile World Congress back in February, talk about a lot of shoes to fill.  However, HTC’s new flagship has jumped leaps and bounds in order to fill those shoes by creating a metal masterpiece that is both elegant and inviting.

Design:

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Jumping from 70% to 90% metal, the phone just begs for you to hold it.  When holding the phone, it feels like a flagship phone should, priceless.  Weighing in at 160 grams it is heavier compared to other flagship phones, however this is no plastic square with a screen, it is a smooth rounded piece of art.

 

 

Onto the Display, the One is protecting its Super LCD3 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.The screen itself hasn’t changed much as far as technology goes, however

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HTC has tweaked the software a bit to display colors better.  In direct sunlight or varying viewing angles, the screen looks phenomenal and HTC is also promoting their Advantage program, so in case it does fall out of your hand, they will replace the screen for free. Kudos HTC.

 

 

Hardware:

If your reading this review, I am sure you’ve seen some chart showing all kinds of specs, but what do they mean? It is a given, the new HTC One is packing one of the fastest processors available, the 2.3 Ghz Snapdragon 801 from Qualcomm along with 2GB of DDR2 RAM.

Now, we must remember that speed and memory do not completely define how fast a phone is.  It kind of like putting a Ferrari motor into a Volkswagon Van, it might have some serious raw horsepower, but horsepower doesn’t get it across the finish line.  This goes hand in hand with smartphones as well.  HTC has worked diligently on the software side to give the user a really fast phone that never hesitates.

The phone is available with 32GB onboard memory (T-Mobile) and if that isn’t enough it also has an expandable microSD slot for cards up to 128GB.  This was a big complaint to last year’s One, but I am glad HTC got the memo.  So load up all your music/movies/photos and never stream again!

Battery Life:

HTC has boosted the capacity of the new HTC One battery to 2,600 mAh from 2,300 mAh in the year’s prior.  However, even though this might not sound like a big jump, HTC says that we can expect a 40% increase in battery life over its predecessor.  This boost in battery life is due to the Snapdragon 801 chip along with all those software optimizations, have made the device last for quite some time.

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I put the battery through the ringer and I got very good results.  I tested the device as I would normally use it with my occasional YouTube video,taking pictures, and syncing with my FitBit.  Over the course of one day I still had about 35% battery life, which is awesome compared my previous devices, the Moto X and the Nexus 5, which would require a quick charge to make it through the day.

Charging the phone will be alot faster due to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, however the power adapter that came with the new One does not support Quick Charge 2.0, but HTC is saying they will release a power adapter that will support it soon.

 

 

 

 

Software: The Sith Sense 

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Well if you have never watched Star Wars, I am sorry, otherwise you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Out of the box, the new One is running with Android KitKat 4.4.2 along with HTC’s own custom interface, Sense 6.0.

Pretty much anything that can be changed, HTC has done it, gracefully though I might add.  From notification, app drawer, on-screen buttons, quick settings, lock screen, hell pretty much everything has the Sith flavoring, and it is better than ever.

The greatest enhances have come to BlinkFeed and the camera app, however life is all about the little things and HTC has made lots of little tweaks to make the interface more user friendly and clean.

The initial layout of the home screens are 3 standard tiles with BlinkFeed to the far left, which is removable.  With a simple pinch on the screen you can add more tiles, up to five including BlinkFeed, and customize them as you wish.  HTC has really done a nice job and even though I am a huge fan of third party launchers such as Nova or Google’s Home launcher, HTC’s is really nice and should not be written off.

In quick settings, you have 24 different settings you can manage with up to 12 available in the menu.  You can even edit out the ones you don’t want by tapping the pencil/rectangle thingy in the top right corner.

Motion Launch has become a big part of the Android experience which we have seen recently on the Moto X with its wrist flick camera action and the double tap on the LG G2, which wakes the phone up.  Well, HTC is joining this game as well, but they have taken it to a whole new level. Below are the 5 different actions you can do, while in portrait mode and holding the phone, to wake up in specific areas:

  • Swipe left to “wake the widget panel,” which means open to the home screen.
  • Swipe right to wake the phone and launch BlinkFeed.
  • Swipe up to simply unlock the phone and return to whatever you were doing when it went to sleep.
  • Swipe down to wake the phone and turn on voice dialing.
  • Double tap the display to wake the phone.

You also have the ability to get to the camera while the phone is asleep, just go into landscape mode (horizontal) and hold either the volume up or volume down button and voila, your Duo Camera is ready to snap away.  You can also set either of the volume buttons to act like a shutter instead of using an onscreen button, kinda of nice and convenient.

DSC_0449BlinkFeed is still alive and looking better than ever on the new HTC One.  Based upon what theme you have chosen for your phone, BlinkFeed takes on the same color scheme and a much cleaner look than before.  Now if you’ve never had the privilege of using BlinkFeed, you should definitely check it out.

 

BlinkFeed allows you to:

Personalize your own stream of online content in seconds, and stay updated in a glance. Swipe your home screen once for new Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, breaking news, sports scores, and a lot more. If you browse for it online, it’s on your HTC BlinkFeed. Only much easier to find.

Yeah, I stole the above from HTC’s website, but in a nutshell, BlinkFeed allows you to customize what you want to see without digging into all those apps.  Now it has its limitations, so if your a Twitter fiend (addict) or Facebook lover you won’t see all of what is happening in your social world, however you can get a quick glimpse.  HTC has over 10,000 partners you can choose from and a detailed list can be found here on their website.

BoomSound: So loud it hurts!

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HTC has improved upon their already ready loud front facing speakers known as, BoomSound.  HTC says they are 25% louder and clearer as well. I always enjoyed last year’s One and this year’s is just getting better.  The only real downside to having BoomSound is that it does make the device larger, however it is a worthy trade off because of the crisp, loud, and clear sound you get from the speakers.

Camera Time: UltraPixels are here to stay

DSC_0442Last year’s HTC One was hyped up around the idea of the UltraPixel camera, which was great for low light, however for daily use it was not impressive.  Cameras have become a daily part of our lives with our smartphones and lots of people spend the money not just for a phone but a tool that connects them to the world.

This year with the new HTC One, HTC has made a valiant effort to fix some of these issues.  The camera works much better outdoors, however the zooming abilities are still rough compared to other flagship phones, which is probably due to its 4-megapixel resolution.

For me, this is not a deal breaker, because if I really need to take high quality pictures, my trusty, yet expensive, SLR will do just fine.  However, I am your average photo taker, but HTC has done a superb job on their new camera app which allows you to do a plethora of things such as selfies, dual capture (front and rear cameras at the same time), Pan 360 (HTC’s version of Photospheres), and Zoe camera.

TIMAG0008here are so many different options available for the camera, but my favorite would be the new DuoCamera.  The rear cameras, yes plural as in 2, allows the main camera to capture the entire picture while the second camera captures depth information.  By having the two cameras, you can defocus the background to make your main objects stand out.  You can also implement many different filters to the picture in order to give it some really cool effects.

HTC is still lacking behind other smartphone makers in the camera department, but not by much! You can still produce beautiful images and have great effects on them!

 

 

 

The Little Things:

Screenshot_2014-04-12-17-35-42The great thing about T-Mobile is Wi-Fi calling.  Now, I know first hand that T-Mobile doesn’t have the greatest coverage, especially in buildings, but they make up for this with Wi-Fi calling, which has worked marvelously.

Phone clarity has been superb and I have never had any issues with your standard connectivity of Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/etc…

HTC is also offering developer and unlocked editions for $700 which is free of carrier bloatware and in the developer edition, it comes with an unlocked bootloader.  So you may tinker at your hearts desire.

 

 

 

 

Overall:

HTC has had a rough few years trying to get its foot firmly planted into the smartphone market.  However, HTC has taken last year’s “Smartphone of the Year” and made it even better in every way imaginable.

From design, software, and battery life I have never had such a great phone experience until now.  The new One is much more than a phone it is a beautiful metal masterpiece that takes all the aspects of a phone and capitalizes on all of them.

I have truly had a great experience with the new HTC One and I believe that HTC has yet again seized the “Smartphone of the Year”.

Check out pictures and the unboxing of the new HTC One below!

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The post HTC One (M8) Review: The best just got better appeared first on AndroidGuys.

10
Apr
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Supertooth Disco 4 Bluetooth speaker review


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Bluetooth speakers are becoming more and more popular, and SuperTooth is quite the superpower in the market of Bluetooth accessories. They make everything from car kits to speakers to headsets, and one of their latest creations is the fourth installment in their Disco line of wireless Bluetooth speakers. We got a chance to review a Disco 4, and despite its simplicity, there’s a lot to talk about with this little speaker.

A quick rundown of the specs gives us an idea of what the Disco 4 is packing:

  • 8-watt speaker
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (can pair a maximum of 8 devices at once, with one being connected at any given time)
  • NFC (more on that later)
  • A2DP

But enough of that, let’s get into the good stuff.

Design

Beginning with the most obvious aspect, this speaker just looks awesome. It’s incredibly simple, and doesn’t try to dazzle anyone with flashy buttons or designs. Its horn shape reminds me of the old speakers that are used in the P.A. systems in high schools. You know, the ones mounted high on the walls of the hallways, that deafen students when the alarm sounds during a fire drill. While this is an obvious design choice, it’s actually done in a very sleek way. The speaker is square, but has rounded, subtle edges. It widens toward the front, giving it that classic look.

Up top is a handle that’s made of a silicon-rubber material. The handle is another simple addition that SuperTooth made, but it actually makes a big difference in the portability and general use of the speaker. Too many Bluetooth speakers are pill-shaped or otherwise don’t have any real means of grabbing onto them, so it was nice to see a simple handle thrown in to address this problem. After using the Disco 4 for a few weeks and carrying it around, a handle on a Bluetooth speaker just makes more and more sense.

20140410_024552The back of the speaker is, as they say, where the magic happens. It’s pretty self-explanatory: a power button with multiple functions, a colored LED indicator, a microUSB charging port, and an optional auxiliary-out port for those devices that aren’t Bluetooth-friendly. Just as a clarification, the press images from the Disco 4′s CES announcement show it having several buttons on the top that aren’t present in the final production model. Supertooth didn’t mention why they removed these buttons (which appear to be play/pause and possibly volume buttons), but I would think that they were removed because they were essentially pointless. In any case, all the music functions and volume are controlled through your smartphone or tablet.

I think SuperTooth hit a sweet spot with the size of the Disco 4. It’s certainly not the smallest of Bluetooth speakers (at around 5 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 5 inches deep), but it’s still small enough to fit on a tabletop without taking up too much space. Despite being one of the larger Bluetooth speakers on the market, the Disco 4 is remarkably light. I was actually surprised when I picked it up for the first time, because I expected it to be much bulkier than it is. SuperTooth put a lot of time and effort into making this thing as portable as possible, and it shows in the weight (or lack thereof).

Sound & Usability

supertooth-disco-4-1The Disco 4 is, in short, an awesome little speaker. Just from a sound perspective, it’s kicking out 8 watts of RMS power. Everything I played through the speaker came out crisp, clear, and loud enough to be heard from a fair distance away. There’s a surprising amount of bass coming from the Disco 4. It isn’t mind-blowing and you won’t be rattling any windows with it, but for most scenarios (i.e. parties, playing random songs, etc) it should be more than enough. All in all, the sound coming from this speaker definitely exceeded my expectations.

So it sounds great, but how usable is it? The short answer is that the DIsco 4 is remarkably easy to use. Within seconds (literally, I counted) of removing the packaging, I turned the speaker on, paired my phone and started playing my favorite tunes. There is almost no set-up required for the Disco 4. SuperTooth gave users a few different ways to pair their devices via Bluetooth. The first (and most obvious) method is by holding down the power button on the Disco 4 until it beeps and the LED indicator light flashes red and blue. This essentially puts the speaker in discovery mode, so all it takes is finding it via Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet and pairing with it. This process takes a whole ten seconds, and I had no issues pairing my Galaxy S4 with this method.

20140410_024624SuperTooth went the extra mile and threw in NFC-Bluetooth pairing capabilities. The basic idea is that the Disco 4 is NFC-capable, so you can just hold your NFC-enabled device up to it, and it will ask you to automatically connect to the speaker. This sounds like a brilliant idea, but it needs a bit of fine-tuning in practice. The first time I tried to use the NFC pairing, I spent several minutes waving my phone around the speaker like a lost wizard that just couldn’t get the spell to work. After a bit of frustration, I finally found the NFC sweet spot, which is at the top of the speaker, toward the back. In hindsight, there are diagrams in the quick start book that depict a smartphone being held at the back of the speaker to pair it via NFC. But who reads those pesky directions anyway?

Still, even after finding the NFC pairing spot, I was still unable to get my phone to pair via NFC on the first try every time. It always takes a bit of moving the phone around until that beep is heard. I’ll give props to SuperTooth for adding this feature, but it does slightly defeat the purpose if I can connect my phone to the Disco 4 faster by using standard Bluetooth pairing.

SuperTooth claims that you can pull a solid 12 hours of life out of the battery if you’re playing audio at low-to-medium volume, and 3 to 4 hours at full volume. After a few weeks of usage, those numbers sound pretty spot on. In my experience with the Disco 4, I could get several days out of a single charge, playing audio for a few hours here and there. Something tells me that users will either drain the battery in one long music-listening session or gradually over several days as they use the speaker occasionally. Either way, the battery life for the Disco 4 is more than reasonable considering its usefulness.

Conclusion

So here’s the real question: is it worth it? After spending some time with it, I have no hesitation in saying that the Disco 4 is worth every penny. Overall, I was very satisfied with every aspect of it (minus that pesky NFC pairing). It’s a light, portable speaker that offers great sound quality and is incredibly easy to use. At $49, it’s well worth the investment. It also doesn’t hurt that SuperTooth offers the Disco 4 in five colors: red, black, grey, white, and blue. If you’re interested, you can grab a Disco 4 directly from their website.

The post Supertooth Disco 4 Bluetooth speaker review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

10
Apr
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Lumsing 11,000mAh 5-port External Battery Pack review


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Sometimes when you don’t have a wall outlet near, external battery packs can be your saving grace… especially when they pack as much as 11,000 mAh in a single charge. We’ve been using the Lumsing 5-port external battery pack for about two weeks, and we have a pretty good handle on whether you should consider it or not.

Check out our full review below.

Build Quality

The Lumsing battery pack features a very sleek, compact design. Though plastic, it almost feels like glass, giving it a super premium feel. On one side, it has a set of four LED lights to indicate the power level. Unfortunately, the lights stay on the entire time a device is charging. Though it most likely doesn’t take up too much power, we would have liked to see the lights go out when it’s in use. Under the lights is a small white power button and a Micro USB input slot.

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On the opposite side sit the ports. There are five different ports, each with different output levels. The levels go from top to bottom: 1.3A, 2.1A, 1A, 1A, and .5A. With current devices having bigger and bigger batteries lately, we don’t think you’ll have too much use for the .5A output. But nonetheless, we’re glad it’s there. The total output of the device is 3.1A, so you can’t use all of the ports at one time. If you need to charge 2-3 devices at one time, you could probably make it work, but all of the devices would charge at a very slow rate.

The pack comes with a carrying pouch, two Micro USB cables of different sizes, and 5 extra connecting pieces: an iPhone 4/4S 30-pin connector, Mini USB, and 3 others that you might not ever use. It’s great that it gives us the option to use other connection types – definitely not something many other companies focus on.

Overall, the hardware is top-notch, especially for the price.

Performance

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To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot to say about the battery portion. It does exactly what it says. While testing this, we’ve used a ton of different devices: Nexus 5, Pebble smartwatch, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 7 (2012), and a Galaxy S3 (Not at the same time, of course. See above).

Since it’s an 11,000mAh variant, it takes a very long time to charge. But that’s to be expected. Plug it in at night and it will be charged by the morning. No big deal!

Should I buy it?

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The short answer to this question: yes, you should. If you’re looking for a huge amount of extra juice and don’t mind carrying around a battery pack that’s a bit bigger than normal, you’ll fit right in with this one. But if you just need one or two extra charges for your phone every few days, we’d honestly tell you to stick with this one, as well. Sure, there are battery packs out there with less than half of the power of this one, but for the price and all of the extras, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that competes with this.

If you’d like to pick one up, Amazon sells them for $25.99. Honestly, you should buy this. It’s a great value, has great hardware, and it does exactly what it should.

The post Lumsing 11,000mAh 5-port External Battery Pack review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

6
Apr
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EasyAcc leather flip case for Nexus 5 review


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Flip cases serve a decent purpose in the smartphone world, offering more functionality than protection. They certainly aren’t for users that have a habit of dropping their devices often. But if you’re looking for a durable, well-built flip case for your Nexus 5, look no further.

We’ve used this case for two weeks, and we have a pretty good grip as to whether to buy this case or not.

Build Quality

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The case is made from a synthetic premium PU leather which feels good in the hand. It doesn’t necessarily feel cheap, especially in the world of fake leather. The interior of the case is made from a microfiber material that looks surprisingly similar to leather. Inside and out, the case is soft to the touch, and makes it feel like you’ve spent a good amount of money on it.

It locks the phone in by securing the four corners of the device. The phone seems pretty sturdy when inside the case, though the corners holding the device in feel a bit cheap. The front cover has a magnet that wakes and puts the device to sleep. This is definitely a feature we want to see in all flip cases.

The front cover locks in by a tab that wraps around the device. The tab has the same feeling as the corners securing the device – cheap feeling, but works really well. It also doubles as a kickstand and offers two different viewing angles. If you watch movies or YouTube videos, this case is great for you.

Look & Feel

This case feels really great when in use. It’s not slippery or easy to drop, making it an easy case for everyday use. If we could change one thing about the case, it would be the look and feel of the corners holding the phone in place. They look a bit cheap, and the leather doesn’t blend well with the look of the phone.

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Other than our one major gripe, for a leather folio case, it looks really good.

Durability

With any flip case out there, you’re really not going to get the best protection out of it. We have dropped the phone a few times while using the case, and we didn’t see any signs of damage. Since the screen is so fragile, it’s nice to know that the front cover is thick enough that it will absorb a large amount of shock.

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Other than dropping it, the top, bottom, and right side of the phone are bare, so it may not completely save the device from everything you throw at it. As far as folio cases go, this one offers enough durability to help you sleep at night.

Should I buy?

Good

This folio case has just the right amount of functionality and good looks for us to recommend it to you. We love that there are two different viewing angles when using it as a kickstand. But we wish they could have figured out another way to secure the device without sacrificing looks.

If you’d like to pick one up, you can do so on Amazon for $9.99.

EasyAcc isn’t usually a brand that comes to mind when you think of phone cases, but perhaps it should. They’ve put together a decent phone case with an inexpensive price tag. 

The post EasyAcc leather flip case for Nexus 5 review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

2
Apr
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Amazon quietly adds Metacritic review scores to video game listings


Amazon’s own product rating system is fine and all, but subjective reviews aren’t always as relevant as we might like, even when there’s an overwhelming consensus. Whether browsing for games online, or scanning shelves in a second-hand store, this editor always has Metacritic handy on one device or another — the well-regarded review aggregator basically has to score titles fairly by design. If you find yourself doing the same, then don’t worry about tab-hopping while walking the virtual isles of Amazon anymore, as the retailer’s quietly integrated Metacritic scores into its video game listings. It’s great for those wanting more professional guidance, but we’re only seeing on Amazon.com right now, so hopefully it’ll roll out to other regions later. New rule of thumb: avoid anything with a red box.

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Via: Polygon

Source: Amazon.com

31
Mar
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Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note Pro LTE review


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Samsung has really outdone themselves in sticking to their Galaxy line’s mantra “The Next Big Thing”

With a gorgeous 12.2 inch display this device will confuse most lay-people who witness you using it in public because, ”I didn’t know they made iPads that big!”

Using the device at first is complete joy, I found myself grinning from ear to ear just in awe of the size of the thing. Aside from its weight, web browsing and reading are great. I really like the soft-touch, leather textured rubber of the back panel. On a device so big and unprecedented in the Android world, I didn’t find the TouchWiz UI to be overbearing or annoying at all, but mostly because when dealing with a totally new form-factor, it’s easy to keep an open mind.

My only real complaint about Samsung’s design choices here are the fixed capacitive buttons and home key. Although it’s nice to have the extra screen real-estate from the lack of navigation bar, the fixed buttons get in the way when holding the device in portrait mode. It feels a bit like being treated like an iOS user “You’re going to use this the way we want you to use it, and any other way is wrong.” They could redeem themselves in the next model if they added invisible navigation buttons to all four sides of the bezel and only allowing which ever side of the bezel is currently at that the bottom light up or respond to touch.

After a week or so of use, the device had lost most it’s grandeur. I all but stopped using it for pleasure and only picked it up when I had to work the go. It is the best Android-powered solution for mobile work productivity. It seems that a screen this size is the first place multi-window and split screen apps have really found a home. I am able to have Gmail and Hangouts open sharing half of the screen and Chrome working on the other half, with the small movable Swype keyboard, working was a dream, and each app had plenty of real-estate to be able appreciate all of it’s features and see all text.

I didn’t find myself reaching for the S-Pen often because Swyping is much faster for input, and for some reason the links in Chrome would tend to get confused when the S-Pen was out and stop responding to finger touches, so I was never able to get a proper taste for it.

Overall the Note Pro is great for productivity, but that’s about all. It’s fun to see apps on the bigger screen, but since displays this size aren’t common, developers haven’t yet started catering to this size. Most of the time, you’re just going to be looking at a magnified version of what you’re used to seeing on your 10.1 inch tablet.

Hardware

If you’re familiar with the 2014 Note 10.1, the hardware looks exactly the same, but larger. The top center, directly above the Samsung logo you’ll find the IR blaster, to the left are the volume rocker and power key. On the right hand side of the device the S-Pen can be removed from the top corner above the the right speaker. Then the USB 3.0 slot in the center, above a MicroSD slot and SIM slot. The bottom side is smooth and clean. The left holds only the 3.5 mm headphone jack directly opposite the S-Pen above the left speaker.

The front of the device is a black slate with the capacitive multi-tasking button to the left of the hard home key and balanced by the capacitive back button. Even thought they’re backwards, at least Samsung has taken a step in the right direction replacing the menu button with the multi-tasking key.

Software

As I said, TouchWiz doesn’t feel overbearing on this device, but mostly because you can’t be sure what to expect from such a device, so Samsung had free reign to set the bar wherever they wanted. Their stock keyboard feels great, and with the screen-size, you’ll feel like you’re actually typing on a full-sized keyboard for the first time on an Android tablet.

They didn’t try hard enough to jack up the resolution, so a icons, apps, fonts and settings all tend to feel large and toy-like. the worst offender is the notification shade in portrait mode, it takes up the entire screen like a phone.

Verizon LTE

If you read my review of the Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 LTE, you’ll recognize this, but as they are both Verizon devices, I can’t rightly publish the review without touching on the data connection!

Let’s talk about having 4G LTE on your tablet. I admit, up until I reviewed this unit, I was one of those people who preached against tablets with dedicated data lines. “Just use your phone as a hotspot!” I would say. But I have to say, having that data connection all the time has won me over. How best to do this? Numbered list!

Reasons to have a dedicated Verizon data line on your tablet

  1. No hotspot set-up
  2. Lower drain on your phone’s data plan (might even be able to save money by switching plans)
  3. Lower drain on your phone’s battery
  4. If you don’t have a Verizon phone, your tablet will get data when your phone might not.
  5. Verizon’s LTE speeds have improved a lot (33 Mbps down 3 Mbps up)

Basically, if you’re a tablet user, and you constantly find yourself switching on your phones hotspot, but don’t use the hotspot for much else, this could be a great alternative for you.

 

The Note Pro is huge, but so is the price. At $750 with a 2-year activation and $850 outright, I can’t say I would recommend this device to anyone who didn’t know for a FACT it was worth the money for them, or have a very good reason why this is the tablet they need.

The post Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note Pro LTE review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

29
Mar
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Kingston DataTraveler microDuo answers a desperate need



The Kingston DataTraveler microDuo is an amazing little device that answers a desperate need. At first glance the device looks like an ordinary thumb-drive, but upon closer inspection, you can flip back the plastic cover on the end to reveal something that is so awesome, I dare-say it’s…

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That’s right, a MicroUSB tip which can be inserted into and read/written to by any current device with USB OTG functionality. I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I switched from a Samsung to a Nexus device, I was extremely apprehensive about losing the peace of mind I felt by using MicroSD cards. Sure I’ve had USB OTG cables for about as long as they’ve been around, but who wants to carry that around everywhere? Not this guy.

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This is one of the best feeling little USB sticks I’ve owned as far as durability goes. Usually when I get a new thumb drive I know will primarily be residing in my pocket, I just know that after a month or two, it’s going to be falling apart, I don’t feel that way at all with the microDuo. The actual device is made of metal and even the flip-open MicroUSB cover is made from a sturdy-feeling plastic, which isn’t at all brittle.

For speed, I was able to transfer 1 GB of photos from my phone to the drive in just under 2 minutes, and about the same speed pulling the photos over to the computer.

In short, go get one of these. They’re fantastic, and relatively cheap for the peace of mind they offer.
The 16 GB and 32 GB versions are MSRP’d at $15.95 and $29.95 respectively.

Anyone interested in something like this? Let us know after this message from our sponsors.


 

The post Kingston DataTraveler microDuo answers a desperate need appeared first on AndroidGuys.

28
Mar
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Mpow Bluetooth 4.0 Foldable Headphones review



Looking for a great pair of wireless headphones to use with your Android? Look no further!

The Mpow Bluetooth 4.0 Foldable Headphones are a great addition to your phone accessory collection. They’re completely Bluetooth enabled, so you don’t need to worry about another thing getting tangled in your backpack. They’re foldable, durable, and offer clear music quality… What more could you want?

We’ve used these for 2 weeks, and think they’re really great. Check out our review, and see if they’re right for you and your Android!

Build Quality

mpow headphones2

The build quality/design portion is where the headphones shine. They’re made of a matted soft-touch plastic that gives it a premium feel. The inside of the headphones are a bit more rubbery to ensure they won’t slip off while you’re using them. The hinges extend out about 1-inch, so if you have a big head, these will do just fine. And they fold up nicely, so I wouldn’t be worried about throwing them in my backpack for the day.

Quite possibly the only aspect of the build we’d change is the earpieces. They’re made from a spongey material that just doesn’t seem to high-quality. The positive in having sponge earpieces is that they won’t stick to your ears like leather ones, but we’d still like to see a bit better quality go into the earpieces.

On one side sits a button that looks identical to the iPhone’s home button, with rewind/forward and -/+ buttons below it. These are used to turn on and off and control the headphones, which definitely comes in handy. Below the buttons sits an LED light used to show if they’re connected or not.

The headphones have a 300mAh Li-Ion battery inside, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot a first, but actually does reall well. Mpow quotes the headphones at 15 hours of music/talk time, while we could manage to get about 11. Still, that’s 11 hours of usage, and that’s pretty impressive considering the size of these things. And the battery only takes about three hours to charge. That’s definitely not bad considering you get almost a full days use out of a single charge.

Overall, they’re sleek, durable, and comfortable, and aside from the earpieces, we wouldn’t change anything about these.

Performance

mpow headphones3

The quality of the sound turned out to be pretty great. Bass and treble seemed to shine through, and we didn’t need to worry about EQing the music to accommodate for the headphones. Call quality was okay, and it sounded like we were talking on a speakerphone the entire time. It definitely isn’t something we’d like to do for an extended period of time, but it’s convenient when a call interrupts your music. And once again, back to the earpieces. Having the headphones at full volume generated a lot of noise if you aren’t the one using them, so if you’re the private type, you may want to try something else.

The controls were pretty easy to master. You have a multi-function button that pretty much does everything – answer calls, hang up, and turn on and off the headphones. There is a rewind/volume down key and a forward/volume up key that work just the way they’re supposed to.

The only difficult part of using these keys is switching devices. For example: if you’d like to switch from a phone to a computer, you can’t just turn Bluetooth off on the phone, and automatically connect to the computer. At least in my experiences, I needed to unpair the headphones in Bluetooth settings on my phone, then proceed to connect to the computer. It’s a bit of a hassle to do this every time you switch devices.

Conclusion

Overall, I really like these headphones. I had a few gripes, but nothing that would get me to not buy these. Battery life, build quality, and performance are all great. And, don’t forget, completely wireless. To be honest, if the headphones weren’t Bluetooth capable, I’d might tell you to pass. But for wireless, great quality headphones, you could do a heck of a lot worse than these. If you’d like your own pair, pick them up on Amazon for $37.99.

Do it. You won’t be sorry.

The post Mpow Bluetooth 4.0 Foldable Headphones review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

27
Mar
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Timehop comes to Android – “Did I really say that?” [App of the Day]



The popular iOS app, Timehop, is finally on Android, and it’s here to make you feel infinitely nostalgic.

Timehop gives it’s users an easy way to look back in time. It’s basically a feed of your favorite social networking sites, but only shows posts from a couple of years ago. If you’re unfamiliar with it, we’ll walk you through it.

The app is overall really easy to use. Login to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Foursquare accounts, and your feed populates with posts that happened around this time a few years back. It gives you posts that happened 1-4 years in the past, reminding you of your sleepless nights in college, or how excited you were when Ace Ventura came on television. Also, if you’d like to share any of these posts to Facebook or Twitter, you can do so with a few easy clicks.

Timehop Screenshot

Timehop is a simple application that doesn’t try to do too much for it’s own good, and that’s why we enjoy using it. Download it for free from Google Play!

Via: TechCrunch

The post Timehop comes to Android – “Did I really say that?” [App of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

24
Mar
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LG G Flex review



I should preface this review by saying, up until now, the biggest phone I’ve used on a daily basis is a Galaxy S 4 with an Otterbox defender case. But since that didn’t bother me one bit, I didn’t dream something this size would throw me for a loop the way this has. Coming from the Blu Life Pure mini which has a 4.5 inch display, it was an even bigger shock.

First thoughts

*HOLY CRAP that thing is huge* *Wait a minute, why is it curved again?* *How do I turn this thing on?*

The phone is, in my honest opinion, too big to be manageable with one hand. But in LG’s defense, they made the device about as small as they could with a screen that size. The quality of the display is lacking, it has a grainy rainbow quality, the likes of which you might see when oil smears on the display.

Hardware

The front is plain with a singular LG badge at the bottom center. There are no buttons on the sides, top or bottom, but the SIM tray is found on the upper left hand side of the device, the microUSB port in the bottom center and 3.5 mm headphone jack directly to its right. Aside from the curved display, the most interesting thing about this device is on the rear. Top center you’ll find the extremely poor performing 13 megapixel camera stacked above the volume up, power/sleep, and volume down keys. The device’s IR blaster is located to the left of the sensor and the LED flash to the right. All hovering over another LG badge. Lastly, at the bottom center, the T-Mobile symbol to the left of the speaker.

Although the display is large, the curved nature does make one-handed use seem a bit easier than the alternative, as you don’t have to reach your thumb quite as far to the top opposite corner. Also due to the curvature, holding the device to your face isn’t as daunting as you would expect from something so large as it seems to cup your cheek much like the banana “phone” you used to answer when your little niece handed it to you ringing.

There are some definite issues with the build style, though. First, the combination of the slick “self-healing” plastic back and the curve makes it so this device will slide off of any uneven surface, so don’t even think about setting it on your lap while driving.

There’s a certain charm to not having any buttons on the sides on the device, but I just can’t get used the the buttons near the camera, I constantly find myself smudging up the lens while trying to elevate the volume.

The obvious draws about the device are the curve and the large display, but aside from the great size, the display is really nothing to write home about, and when you’re in sunlight, the screen makes an odd silver glare which I can only compare to that of looking at a 3D display from an odd angle. But I think these are issues which will be solved with time.

The size is great for YouTube and Neflix, no problems with volume at all, but it’s nigh impossible to utilize the device one-handed while laying down. I found myself trying to smush it against the couch or bed to keep it propped up, and always had issues with my palm hitting things on the screen when I stretch out my thumb.

G_Flex_Lockup_1_TMUS_Merged

For full specs, check this out.

Software

At the time of writing this review the device is still running Android 4.2.2. Let’s start with knock to wake. Simply tap twice on the screen while it’s asleep to turn it on. This being the first device I’ve used which supported this feature, I will really be sad to lose it. The launcher is practically identical to Samsung’s TouchWiz, the “Apps” button is far right, the weather widget is very similar and the Google search widget is the exact same, even in it’s stock arrangement in the middle of the screen beneath the clock/weather widget. The most notable feature of the launcher will appeal to the neat-freak in you, the ability to create folders within the app drawer.

My only complaint to LG about the software is the fact that, even though the device has on-screen buttons like a Nexus, they saw fit to replace the multi-tasking button with a menu key. To access the task switcher, like most devices with hardware keys, you must long-press the home button. To add insult to that injury, there’s a way to change the order of the buttons and add new ones, but still no multi-tasking button, the only new buttons are “Launch quick memo” and “Pull notification panel down”

However there are a plethora of customization options, from per app color for the nav-bar, down to the ability to swipe the buttons to squish them to the left or right to facilitate one-handed operation.

Overall it feels like another solid, smooth Samsung LG device. Although the technology behind the display wasn’t ready for this high a profile release, and, in my opinion the curve doesn’t serve enough of a purpose to be attractive, this device performs admirably and as long as you aren’t off-put by the form-factor, size and display quality, it will serve you well.

Click to view slideshow.

The post LG G Flex review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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