Sony is known for great TVs, cameras, and the PlayStation, but a lot of people, at least in the U.S., don’t know they make smartphones. Sony is a heavy duty name brand, but for whatever reason, it has taken a while to leverage it with U.S. wireless carriers. The tide might be turning as the Xperia Z3 made its way to T-Mobile and a variant known as the Z3v made its way to Verizon Wireless. Why a variant? Knowing they have more control, Verizon loves to force the up and coming manufacturers to alter their devices. The guts of the phone is almost the same, but the outside appearance is dramatically different. Many might say it’s a lot worse. However, the bigger issue here is if you should be considering Sony for your next smartphone?
There is no question that we live in a self-indulged generation that is in love with capturing pictures of themselves and sharing them online. We have seen a number of manufacturers try to capitalize on that trend this year, but HTC’s Desire Eye might be the best attempt. By offering a 13 megapixel front-facing camera with dual LED flash, it has to be a selfie lover’s dream. It’s not all about selfies however. Even the most narcissistic person has to do something else with their phone at some point right? In other words, is the Desire Eye good for only one thing or is it that perfect all around phone that selfie lovers have been craving?
It’s been just about a year and a half since Google released its music streaming service, All Access. In that time, Google acquired Songza, a lesser known curated music streaming service, back in July. Since then, it has been speculated that Google would eventually roll those features into its ever-popular music service.
Google recently brought Material Design to the Play Music app, but they also added Songza’s Concierge, bringing a whole new element to All Access. Given that Play Music has joined the material world, it’s time to give it a revisit. A month after All Access came out, I heralded it as an amazing streaming experience, hit the break to see if I still do so a year and a half later.
I still can’t believe it has been 5 years since the introduction of the original DROID, which was my first Android phone. The DROID was what really started Android’s roll into market share domination. Through the years, Verizon Wireless and Motorola (as well as Samsung and HTC) released a number of DROIDs, but they never seemed to get all that much attention. Unfortunately, they are not only limited to the U.S., but also limited to one carrier, Verizon Wireless. A DROID phone has no chance of competing with other phones in terms of market share for these reasons alone.
While the Moto 360 is enjoying a considerable amount of hype due to its good looks and roundness, the G Watch R is looking to steal some thunder with its fully round display. It doesn’t have a flat tire, but there’s more to the story than just being round. The G Watch R has a better processor, bigger battery, and a P-OLED display. On the downside, the display is a little smaller, the bezel is larger, and many would argue that it isn’t as good looking as the Moto 360.
Unless you’re in love with the square look, The G Watch R and the Moto 360 have to be at the top of your list. So how does the G Watch R measure up? Well hit the break and let’s get started.
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.
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.
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?
[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?
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.