Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: The best Samsung smartphone ever

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About 4 years ago, the first Galaxy Note was unveiled, which started a new trend of phones pushing the envelope with display size. The original Note had a 5.3-inch display, which seemed huge at that time. With each edition, Samsung increased the display size by 0.2-inches, topping out at 5.7-inches with last year’s Galaxy Note 3. The Note series has always catered to a niche audience because of its size alone. Fearing that niche could dwindle, Samsung decided to not increase the display size for the Note 4. That is very rare in the Android world where every flagship phone’s display goes up at least 0.1-inches just because. As much as consumers love large phones, there is a limit. It’s the reason why even the most loyal Android fanboys are concerned with the upcoming Nexus 6 and its 5.9-inch display.

So with the display size staying the same, you would think the Note 4 is just a minor upgrade, but nothing could be further from the truth. The display has increased from 1080p (1920 x 1080) to 2K Quad HD (2560 x 1440). The processor has been bumped to the best one available today, and the camera has been upgraded in not only megapixels, but with the addition of optical image stabilization. On top of all this, Samsung finally upgraded the design and materials significantly.


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[App Review] WPS Office is Kingsoft’s beautifully repackaged office suite

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Office suites are nothing new to Android, but they have definitely come a long way. Since the late 1980s, Kingsoft has developed and operated a successful office suite. Writer, Presentation, and Spreadsheets have been at the heart of Kingsoft Office for years. Now, the office suite has a name that matches its focus. WPS Office is Kingsoft Office repackaged, and it is as beautiful and useful as ever.

The app is fully capable of being used on a phone, but Kingsoft has optimized it for tablets. This review will be performed solely from a phone. Hit the break for more.


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Moto G (2014) review: The best budget Android phone just got better

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When it comes to new phone releases, the flagships always seem to get most of the attention. However, the budget phones can have more of an impact since they appeal to a wider audience. Take the Moto G for instance. When it was introduced, the Moto X was getting all the attention because of its cool customizable features, but the Moto G became Motorola’s best selling smartphone of all time. Starting at $179 off contract, with a near stock Android experience, and a solid build quality, there wasn’t much not to love about the phone. It was as I called it in my review…..“finally a budget Android phone to get excited about.” Now Motorola is building upon that success with the all new Moto G for 2014. With a larger display, a better camera, new front-facing stereo speakers, an added microSD slot, and the same low price as the original, how can this not still be the best budget Android phone on the market?


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A closer look at the battery life on the Moto 360 [Updated with info after KGW42R update]

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[Original publish date was September 11, 2014 @ 2:57 pm EST]

The Moto 360 debut was a little tarnished from a lot of talk about the battery life, and rightfully so. After using the LG G Watch for over 2 months, and switching to the Moto 360, I too noticed a dramatic difference. The early reviewers immediately said you can’t get through a day with it, then other sites chimed in saying, “it’s not all that bad,” and chalked it up to everyone overly using it the first few days. That can be true at times, but the opposite can happen when someone is trying to prove something they want so bad. It’s called rationalization. Let’s face it, we all want to say the Moto 360 has fantastic battery life since it’s a very cool watch. I find that people will purposely not use a device as much to convince themselves that things are A-OK. Get a notification and grab it from your phone instead, and so on. Trust me, I am guilty of this myself. Plus there is the whole argument about my usage is more than yours and his usage is less than hers, and blah blah blah. So how does one test the device taking all that out of the picture?


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Moto X (2014) review: Specs matter this time around

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Last year’s Moto X was a highly anticipated phone, but when it was announced, you could hear a pin drop. Then the reviews starting coming in and eventually it was selected as the Android smartphone of 2013 by many tech writers, including myself. Unfortunately as with many award winning phones, it doesn’t always translate into sales.

Fast forward one year, and Motorola has an all new version of the phone with the same name. Motorola felt they already had a winner, but based on consumer feedback, they wanted to upgrade many aspects of the device to make it even more appealing. With a larger display, beefier processor, better camera, an aluminum frame, and upgrades to the software, is this the smartphone of the year again? Hit the break to find out.


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[App Review] Amazon joins an already crowded field with Prime Music

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The competition between music streaming services is fierce. Everyone from tech giants to smaller, individual services are going at it to get ahold of you for some listening time. In June, Amazon entered the arena with an extension to its Prime subscription that costs $99. The company introduced Prime Music, an unlimited music streaming service that has absolutely no advertisements. Prime Music offers more than one million songs by thousands of artists to be streamed endlessly. It is built into the Amazon Music app that brings together your existing library, a traditional store, and Prime Music.


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Moto 360 review: Does it live up to the hype?

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Google introduced Android Wear back in March with a lot of fanfare all because of a circular watch about the size of an Oreo cookie. Motorola announced the Moto 360 on the very same day telling us that we would have to wait until the summer. The anticipation seemed to grow daily for what seemed to be the sexiest smartwatch ever. We would see a few leaks here and there, but they just left us salivating for more.

Then came Google I/O in June when Google officially launched Android wear and a couple of watches. The hopeful were anticipating the release of this fine device, but we were told to expect it later in the summer. We were able to get our hands on it, but again, we were just salivating dogs eagerly waiting for the big day.

That day came on September 5th, when the Moto 360 was finally offered for sale. It has been nearly 6 months of anticipation and just about as much hype as any Nexus phone. Now that it’s finally here, there is only one question left….Does it live up to the hype? Priced at $249, it isn’t the cheapest, but it’s round (well mostly) and it looks damn good. Hell, it’s $100 cheaper than the cheapest version of the Apple Watch, and that isn’t even available yet. So is the Moto 360 the holy grail of smartwatches? Well hit the break and let’s get started.


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Galaxy S 5 Sport for Sprint quick review

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Samsung is the king of variant phones, meaning they release a phone and proceed to release different versions of the same phone. The Galaxy S 5 is already available on Sprint, but they are offering a different version called the Galaxy S 5 Sport (Galaxy S 5 Active on AT&T). It’s basically a Galaxy S 5 geared towards the fitness crowd. The design is by far the biggest difference, but it also includes Sprint’s new Fit Live app. The Galaxy S 5 Sport also comes with a $100 premium ($199 vs $99 on contract). Are these differences a good enough reason to spend the extra dough? Hit the break to find out.


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Amazon Fire Phone review: The smartphone that shouldn’t exist

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Sometime after Amazon launched their first tablets, the rumors started circulating that they were readying a smartphone. However, it took nearly 3 years until something official was introduced. What took so long? Reports indicated that Amazon went back to the drawing board at least once, possibly more. Amazon knew this was a bold move and they wanted to “get it right.” They decided that the world needed something different, and it would take a little longer. By incorporating multiple camera lenses, the Fire Phone features a user interface with a Dynamic Perspective giving you a somewhat 3D experience. Yes it’s a gimmick, but the Amazon Fire Phone is more about selling Amazon products and services. Gimmicks aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Samsung has made a lot of money with gimmicks, so it’s possible Amazon could find that same success. However, this is no Android phone. Yes, it’s built using Android, but it feels like a completely different operating system. It doesn’t even have any of the same Google services that you will find on the majority of other Android (and Apple) phones. Buying the Fire Phone is like buying into something completely different, so it better offer something very compelling. Does the world need an Amazon phone?


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LG G3 Review: Everything you want in a smartphone

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Will the third time be a charm? You can tell that LG really wants to swim with the bigger fish, that is Samsung and Apple, but they just can’t seem to gain any market share. The G series is their flagship, but go up to the average person in the street and ask them if they have heard of the Optimus G, the G2, or even the G3, and I can guarantee you that 8 to 9 out of 10 people will say no. It’s not even like LG is an unknown brand. They are very well known for their TVs and appliances, but when it comes to smartphones, they continue to play second fiddle to Samsung and Apple.

So here we are again, wondering if the G3 will take LG to the Promised Land. It certainly has the fire power to do just that. With a Quad HD display and a camera that features laser autofocus, LG is ahead of Samsung and Apple in terms of hardware. Another plus is that Samsung’s market share is on the decline so consumers might be looking for something different. The G3 might be classified as a “big boy,” but is it ready to play with the “big boys?”


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