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2 years ago

How to rid your Xperia phone of Sony's anti-shatter film, and what to replace it with

Xperia Z1 Compact

Want to ditch the fixed Sony screen protector? There are a couple of options to consider.

Sony's fixed screen protectors — officially known as "anti-shatter film" — are finally a thing of the past with the Xperia Z2 series. But the vast majority of Sony smartphones on the market today still come fitted with these slimy-feeling plastic sheets over their displays — and sometimes on the back glass, too.

These don't just make your glass-clad phone feel like plastic, they're also way easier to scratch than the reinforced glass used by most smartphones displays. To cite a couple of examples — Andrew Martonik tore a scratch across the face of his Xperia ZL when it brushed the corner of a MagSafe connector. And the ASF on my own Z1 Compact was dented by a USB connector dropping onto it from a height of around six inches. You'd understandably expect a high-priced piece of consumer electronics to be more resiliant than this, and that's no doubt why Sony has ditched the ASF for its early 2014 flagship.

But what if you've damaged the fixed screen protector on your Xperia phone, or you just don't like the way it feels and want to get rid of it? Well, the process is actually relatively simple — and there are a few options open to you when it comes to replacing the shipped screen protector.

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2 years ago

EE own-brand Android phone pictured


UK carrier EE could be about to launch its own-branded Android phone, if a photo obtained by Engadget is to be believed. The tiny picture doesn't reveal much besides an EE-themed skin and a squarish design with capacitive keys. But apparently it'll be LTE-capable, and today's report indicates that it'll also support Cat. 4, allowing it to take advantage of the carrier's fastest 4G speeds.

We've seen own-brand handsets from UK carriers in the past, but this would be the first for EE, and the first with 4G LTE connectivity. Pricing will reportedly come in somewhere below the Alcatel OneTouch Idol S, currently EE's cheapest 4G phone, at £130 on PAYG. Engadget says the phone is still "a good few months off" from release, so it appears bargain-seekers will have a little longer to wait.

Source: Engadget

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2 years ago

Leaked benchmark info suggests Galaxy S5 Zoom being prepped


19-megapixel phone-camera hybrid on the way later this year?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom wasn't our favorite device of 2013. It was too bulky for a smartphone, and offered lackluster image quality compared to most point-and-shoot cameras. Nevertheless, it seems Samsung might be about to follow up on its phone-camera hybrid in 2014 with a Galaxy S5 Zoom. Benchmark info from GFXBench points to a SM-C115 device (the S4 Zoom was SM-C101) with a 19-megapixel camera and 4.8-inch 720p display.

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2 years ago

Republic Wireless gets Moto G in April


If you're looking for yet another low-cost smartphone option, this one should pique your interest. Republic Wireless is getting the Moto G in April. The phone will cost $149, but remember that it's Republic's plans that really make things affordable, starting at $5 a month for voice data and texting over Wifi only.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Black Edition available in the UK with eyewatering price


Faux leather must be expensive with the Black Edition costing £500

Since the Samsung Galaxy S4 Black Edition first emerged, we've been light on details as to where it would be available. It's successor, the Galaxy S5, is just around the corner, but that hasn't stopped Samsung bringing the Black Edition to the UK. With a pretty shattering price of £499.89 to boot, and exclusivity at high-street retailer Phones 4U.

Despite looking all sexy with its faux leather back, the Galaxy S4 Black Edition is still the same basic phone that's been with us about a year. We'd expect to see the Galaxy S5 for sale anywhere between £500 - £600 when it goes on sale, meaning the Black Edition is priced way too high. Faux leather must be expensive in these parts.

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2 years ago

The new HTC One: What we're expecting

HTC teaser

Pre-release leaks have given us a pretty good look at HTC's next big thing

We're just a couple of weeks out from the announcement of HTC's 2014 flagship smartphone, the "all new" HTC One — also known by the codename "M8." And thanks to a steady trickle of pre-release leaks, we've already been able to learn a significant amount about the M8, both inside and out, ahead of the expected March 25 launch.

It's no secret that HTC has found itself in a precarious position, amid falling revenues and tough competition from the likes of Samsung. And fielding one of the best smartphones of 2013 seems to have done little to counter that. At the dawn of a new smartphone generation, then, HTC needs the new HTC One to make a big impact.

So what do we know about the phone so far? And what are we expecting to see on March 25? Let's take a look after the break.

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2 years ago

New HTC One packaging, specs revealed as Verizon model apparently sold on eBay

HTC M8 on Verizon

Buyer seemingly nabs 32GB M8 for $499.99, specs on box confirm earlier rumors

Just a day after a purported set of new HTC One (M8) specs emerged online, we have further evidence of the phone's high-end internals, along with a cheeky look at its retail packaging. The device pictured above — apparently a 32GB Verizon version of the still unreleased, unannounced new HTC One — went up for sale on eBay today, where it was snapped up for a relatively low $499.99. And while the phone itself isn't pictured, the images in the listing seem to confirm many of the hardware details coming from the rumor mill.

Here's how this apparently official spec list breaks down...

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2 years ago

T-Mobile will only sell 16GB Galaxy S5 in stores

Samsung Galaxy S5

Want double the on-board storage? You'll need to order online.

We're still waiting for some more official info from the U.S. carriers regarding the Samsung Galaxy S5, but we're starting to see drips and drabs leak out. The latest comes from T-Mobile, as a tipster has shot over a training page.

According to this documentation, T-Mobile will only sell the 16-gigabyte version in stores. If you want a 32-gigabyte Galaxy S5, you'll need to order it online.

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2 years ago

Galaxy S5 Korean launch impacted by carrier sales ban


Largest two Korean operators won't be allowed sell on GS5 launch day

As launch preparations get underway elsewhere, Samsung's new Galaxy S5 is set to experience a delayed launch in the company's home country of South Korea. This is due to a sales ban imposed on Korean mobile operators by the government, according to a report from The Guardian, meaning the two biggest carriers won't be allowed to sell on launch day.

The newspaper reports that the sales ban was put in place as a penalty for subsidizing phones by more than 270,000 won, in breach of local laws. The restrictions affect new subscriptions and upgrades alike, as part of a rolling ban on sales at various carriers between March 13 and May 19. And it'll be in force for SKT and KT — the two largest Korean operators — on the planned Galaxy S5 launch date of April 11. Meanwhile the smaller LG Uplus will be open for business on April 11, though it will reportedly be subject to a sales ban from April 27 through May 18.

The ban won't single out Samsung specifically, as all smartphone subscriptions and upgrades will be affected by sales restrictions during this two-month window. However it comes at an inopportune time for the electronics giant as it prepares to launch the new flagship in its home country, effectively forcing a staggered GS5 launch in this important market.

Source: The Guardian

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S5 UK pre-orders begin March 28


Next flagship up for pre-order two weeks ahead of April 11 launch date

Samsung UK has revealed that the Galaxy S5 will be available for pre-order from Friday, March 28 — two weeks ahead of the global launch date of April 11. In the UK, GS5 pre-orders will be available from "selected retailers" as well as Samsung's online store and the company's flagship brick-and-mortar outlet at the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in London.

Meanwhile a seperate press release from Carphone Warehouse confirms that it'll have the Galaxy S5 available for pre-order on March 28, too. Neither Samsung nor Carphone has pre-order pricing for the handset at present, but other outlets such as Unlocked-Mobiles show a £550 ($914) SIM-free price.

Will you be bagging a launch day Galaxy S5, and if so will you be placing your pre-order on March 28? Shout out in the comments!

More: Galaxy S5 hands-on; Galaxy S5 forums

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2 years ago

How to add a multitasking button to the LG G Pro 2


Good news, everyone! LG switched to on-screen buttons for the G Pro 2 (be sure to read our preview of the phone), just like it did with last year's G2. The bad news? It still has a legacy menu button — and you can't get rid of it.

There is a glimmer of hope, however. LG's made it so you can add up to two more buttons — and that includes multitasking. (Or as it's more correctly know, a button for returning to recently used apps.)

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2 years ago

More new HTC One features and specs leak out


Snapdragon 801, 2600mAh battery, touch-to-wake functionality and more revealed in leaked sales guide

We're two weeks out from the launch of the new HTC One — also known by its codename "M8" — but pace of online leaks shows no sign of slowing. Today GSMArena says it's gotten hold of a sales guide for the device, along with details of its hardware specs, confirming much of what we saw from this morning's Australian leak.

Here's a breakdown of the purported specs:

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2 years ago

Aussie leak explains HTC One's new 'Duo Camera,' outs Sense 6.0


Tap a sleeping HTC One twice to wake it, as well, it seems

Update: Since we published this article, more M8 details have leaked out, including fresh info on the device's hardware specs and software features.

A new leak out of Australia sheds more light on the upcoming version of the HTC One. (Aka the M8.)

First up, a 5-inch display appears to be confirmed. And the new version of Sense is bumped to Sense 6.0 — and will include an LG-like "Knock On" feature wherein you can double-tap the screen to turn the phone on, which should be a great feature given that the power button appears to still be at the top of the phone. Plus, you get the excellent BoomSound unsurprisingly returns in those front-facing speakers.

But the real gem here is the explainer of the two cameras — or Duo Camera.

The info sheet from Australian carrier Telstra reads:

Duo Camera

Create vivid images even in low light and professionally edit memories after you've taken the shot. Choose where to focus, highligh what you love, soften backgrounds and add 3D effects.

Plus we get some Aussie pricing — $840 outright, or $92 a month (if my early morning math is right).

Source: GSM Arena

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2 years ago

KitKat hits Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3 in the UK


Over-the-air updates now pushing out

Samsung's KitKat rollout for 2013 devices continues with the arrival of Android 4.4 for the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 in the UK. Updates are rolling out today for the unlocked UK GS4 and Note 3 (region code "BTU"), along with certain carrier variants. The OTA file size from 300-400MB, and brings these phones up to the latest version of Android, 4.4.2 KitKat, while adding some subtle visual tweaks, including white notification bar icons. Graphical changes aside, Samsung owners will also benefit from standard KitKat features like immersive mode, translucent notification bars in some apps, native cloud printing support and lock screen album art.

If you're seeing the KitKat OTA on your GS4 or Note 3 in the UK today, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on, and which carrier you're on. As always, updates may take time to trickle out depending on which network's device you have, and if you're not seeing any OTA then you might want to try a manual update through Samsung's Kies desktop software.

Source: Android Central forums (1), (2); Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S4 getting Android 4.4.2 KitKat today!


OK, all you fine folks rocking a T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S4. Your Android 4.4.2 KitKat update is now ready. You can snag it over the air (which we recommend) or via the Samsung Kies desktop app (if you're a glutton for punishment.

You'll need to be on software version M919UVUEMK2 (Android 4.3) for the update to take, and have at least 50 percent charge on your battery. And set aside a little time — this is a 387-megabyte update. After that, you'll get the following:

  • KitKat (build M919UVUFNB4)
  • Improved stability
  • New camera shortcut on the lock screen
  • Improved on-screen keyboard

Plus you'll have the knowledge that you're now running the newest version of Android, so there's that. 

Source: T-Mobile; More in our Galaxy S4 forums; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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