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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact hands-on

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Sony's flagship gets miniaturized into a new, smaller form factor while keeping its high-end specs

Following months of teasing, rumors and leaks, Sony today unveiled the Xperia Z1 Compact at its CES 2014 press conference. As expected, the Z1 Compact makes waves by maintaining the same high-end internals found in its larger brethren, the 5-inch Xperia Z1; essentially it's a version of the Z1 f, which recently launched in Japan, for global markets.

While other manufacturers' "mini" smartphones tend to sacrifice hardware muscle in order to pack everything into a smaller, it's impressive that Sony has managed to cram the same internals into a smaller body. The only real downgrades are the screen and battery — both understandable due to the size constraints of this 4.3-incher. You'll get a 720p panel on the Z1 Compact versus 1080p on the regular Z1, and a 2300mAh battery instead of 3000mAh.

Elsewhere you'll find a familiar set of specs — a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and Sony's excellent 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor that works so well on the Z1. The software, too, is essentially identical to that of the Z1 and Z1s — Android 4.3 Jelly Bean topped off with Sony's customizations, including integration with the company's content ecosystems. That means you've got Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited built into the movies and Walkman apps.

The Z1 Compact is also a bit more colorful than Sony's other handsets — in addition to the standard black and white, you also get bright lime and pink color options, which keep the black trim around the display, but sport vivid tones on the outer trim and back panel.

Head on past the break for more photos and hands-on video.

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3 years ago

First look at the T-Mobile Sony Xperia Z1s

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Sony just got done with its CES 2014 press conference leaving us with plenty to talk about. One such discussion point is this, the brand new Xperia Z1s, exclusive to T-Mobile. We've had chance to take a quick first look at the new arrival, and on the whole it's a lot like the current Xperia Z1 that we're familiar with.

The first difference between the two is the weight; the Z1s is lighter than the Z1, and it's a little more plasticky in construction compared to its sibling. The design remains largely the same, with the same power button on the side, magnetic charging dock connectors and SIM slot. Cosmetically they're virtually identical then, with only the headphone jack being noticeably different in location on the Z1s. 

Of course, one of the improvements T-Mobile customers can enjoy over the Z1 is the bumped 32GB of internal storage. Inside the Z1s runs a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800, has 2GB of RAM, and a 20.7MP G-Lens camera just as on the Z1, and we're coming out of the box now with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.. Oh, and you get a little T-Mobile logo on the rear. 

And that's about it. It's a lot like the Xperia Z1, but a little different in a few areas. For a quick video run through and a few more snaps, head on past the break.

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3 years ago

Sony unveils its Xperia Z1 Compact

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It's Sony's turn to take the CES stage, and they've arrived with yet another entry into its Xperia lineup: meet the Xperia Z1 Compact, a miniaturized, colorful version of the company's  Z1 flagship.

We think this model will have the same broad appeal as its Xperia Z1, as it ships with nearly the same specs: we're looking at the same waterproof coating, Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 gigs of RAM.  The Z1 Compact also matches the Z1's camera: here, you'll find the same 20.7 MP shooter with f/2.0 lens and Exmor CMOS sensor, which Sony promises is one of the best mobile shooters in the business.

Here, though, Sony opted for a smaller, 4.3-inch display with 720p resolution. Sony also opted for a more colorful finish, and the Z1 Compact will ship in black, white, yellow and pink.

We'll be hunting down demo units for some quality hands on time once Sony's presser wraps up, but until we do, be sure to head over to our #CESLive hub for the rest of today's news.

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3 years ago

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G hands-on

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A more refined take on the Mate that's expected to have better global sales reach

Huawei has just taken the wraps off of its latest leading device, the Ascend Mate 2 4G. Building off the relative success of the original Ascend Mate in its home market of China, the Ascend Mate 2 4G kicks things up to the next level. First and foremost, Huawei is really focusing on the fact that this device includes LTE connectivity. While most of its devices have been released with just HSPA+, the Ascend Mate 2 4G includes LTE access for every version of the device released worldwide — including AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.

The internal specs seem to be a bit of a mixed bag, but that's nothing new for Huawei. We're looking at just 720 x 1280 resolution on that 6.1-inch display (looks just fine to our eyes, though), powered by a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 2GB of RAM. Huawei continues its pretty standard camera arrangements with a 13MP Sony BSI sensor on back and a wide-angle 5MP shooter up front. The battery life is purportedly fantastic, with a 4050mAh lithium-polymer battery and special battery-saving software and networking features.

Hit the break for pictures, video and more thoughts on this new device.

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3 years ago

First look at the ASUS Zenfone 4, 5 and 6

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Three Intel-powered handsets priced between $100 and 200

ASUS delivered a whopping six new Android devices at its CES press conference today, including three new Intel-powered handsets at a variety of screen sizes and price points. All three sport similar physical designs, reminiscent of HTC's One and Butterfly series. There's a gentle curve to the back, with flattened sides and ASUS's new Zen UI running the show, atop Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. We've taken our first look at the new Zenfone handsets from the floor of ASUS's presser today, and come away reasonably impressed with the company's efforts.

The Zenfone 4, 5 and 6 will sell for $99, $149 and $199 when they go on sale later this year. Check out our first look hands-on video above; we've got more photos after the break.

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3 years ago

LG G Flex coming to Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile in Q1

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We're live from the LG press conference this morning ahead of CES in Las Vegas, and LG has just announced that it's bendable, flexible LG G Flex smartphone will be coming to three U.S. carriers in the next couple months.

On board so far are AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — with the latter bringing its tri-band "Spark" LTE to the table.

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3 years ago

Hands on with the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ and wristband accessory

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We go hands on with Alcatel's newest handset live in Las Vegas

We're here in Las Vegas at CES with Alcatel, and we've had chance to spend a little quality time with its latest Android handset, the Idol X+. Launching today, the Idol X+ is due to go on sale in January beginning in Asia, with selected Russia to follow in Q1. 

The Idol X+ isn't the most spec'd out Android smartphone you'll find, but it's plenty solid enough. Out front we're looking at a 5-inch, 1080p display, and a wholly plastic construction with an exterior trim that bares a pretty accurate resemblance to brushed metal. Down bottom it looks like there's a pair of speakers, but it is in fact only one, with a 13MP camera round the back, and a 2MP 1080p shooter on the front.

At 7.9mm, the Idol X+ is pretty slim, and for a large phone it's plenty light enough to hold. Underneath, the Idol X+ is carrying a new Mediatek MTK6592 octa-core processor, clocked to 2GHz, with 2GB of RAM backing it up, and 16GB of internal storage.

More, including our hands-on video, after the break.

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3 years ago

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ announced at CES

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Octa-core processor and 1080p display the highlight features on Alcatel's latest handset

Alcatel One Touch is leaping out of the CES gates early with the announcement of its latest Android handset, the Idol X+. With a design familiar to previous Idol devices, the headline hardware specs for the new Idol X+ are the 2 GHz octa-core processor, and the 5-inch 1080p display. 

Other hardware features of note are a 13.1MP rear camera, a 2MP 1080p front facing camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a 2500mAh battery. Alcatel also promises that the Idol X+ will pack some good quality, loud audio from the speakers mounted along the bottom edge of the device. 

While there's plenty of decent enough stuff underneath, there's a slight disappointment that the Idol X+ comes to market running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and there's no sign of LTE. No word on specific pricing or availability at this point, though Alcatel did tell us that it will begin shipping in China in January. We've got a hands on look at the new Idol X+ coming your way, and the full press release can be found after the break. 

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3 years ago

Corning announces 3D Gorilla Glass, coming to something bendy soon

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Ready for unique designs without sacrificing strength or adding thickness

Corning has announced their latest innovation, which they're calling 3D-shaped Gorilla Glass. It's not for 3D video on our smart devices (thank goodness) but it describes the manufacturing process that will make Gorilla Glass into unique shapes without adding thickness or losing any of the scratch-resistant properties. Or not so scratch resistant, as the case may be.

This is part of a "one roof" solution where Corning can manufacture the product and go through all the processes without shipping parts or supplies to another location. According to James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials:

We can now take Gorilla Glass all the way from flat sheet to a finished 3D-shaped product in Asia, expediting turnaround times and minimizing logistical complexity. That’s a win for Corning and our customers.

We've seen curved designs from Samsung and LG already, and you can bet that everyone else is at least looking into bringing out curved display phones in the near future. And of course, the future of wearables isn't straight and narrow, so the new formed shapes could come in handy there as well. 

Corning will be at CES, and we'll wander in and have a look at what they're showing off this year. Stay tuned for more on this one.

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3 years ago

LG G Flex renders surface for AT&T and T-Mobile

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Further pricing and availability details yet to be released

It may not be a shock to many, but evidence is building that the LG G Flex will be headed to at least AT&T and T-Mobile in short order. Frequent device leaker @evleaks has just put up the above renders showing the latest bendy device adorned with some simple AT&T and T-Mobile status bar iconography and software branding. Just like previous high-end LG handsets on these two carriers, there doesn't seem to be any carrier branding on the front bezels either.

Now naturally these renders can be easily fudged to look like the device is coming to any carrier. But we tend to give this one a bit of weight considering how likely LG is to be shopping this device around to many carriers. Details on pricing and even rough availability aren't yet being offered, but we will surely hear more about this handset before it hits U.S. store shelves.

Source: @evleaks

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3 years ago

Moto G officially hits Verizon prepaid on Jan. 9 for $99

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U.S. carrier undercuts Motorola's own purchase price by $80

Verizon today officially announced that the Moto G will be available online on Jan. 9. It'll be available in-stores thereafter, but you might already be able to pick one up at Best Buy.

The U.S. carrier is going as far as undercutting Motorola's own purchase price, selling the LTE-less smartphone for a mere $99. Prepaid plans start at $60 a month for unlimited talk and text, with 2 gigabytes of data. Upgrading to 4GB of data costs another $10 a month. 

Be sure to check out our full review of the Moto G.

Source: Verizon

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3 years ago

Moto X price drops to $399 outright

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New off-contract pricing applies to custom designs, too, but bamboo will still set you back another Benjamin

Motorola is starting 2014 out right, dropping the outright price of its flagship Moto X Android smartphone to $399. That's still double the price of its budget Moto G offering, but a third as much (at least) of still less than what most other high-end phones will cost off contract. The new pricing is with 16 gigabytes of storage — 32 GB will set you back another $50.

It's worth noting, however, that you'll still likely be able to get the Moto X even cheaper at some point. Motorola hasn't been shy about putting this guy on sale, and we saw it go for as low as $350 outright in past months.

The new pricing applies to custom-designed phones, as well, but you'll still have to pony up another $100 for the bamboo backs.

Source: Motorola

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3 years ago

Android 4.3 update for EVO 4G LTE aims for mid-February, exec says

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Getting your device on the latest version of Android is not always a quick process, but HTC has confirmed that Android 4.3 will be coming in mid February to the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint. Jason Mackenzie, President of HTC America, has replied on Twitter giving us some new information about the update. HTC will be pushing the code to Sprint for review in mid-January, and they expect to have it rolling out to consumers the following month. 

HTC was unable to meet its initial goal of having the update rolled out by the end of 2013, but the update shows that it is not far off. While we would all love for the device to have Android 4.3 already, and be receiving Android 4.4 soon that just isn't the case unfortunately. Here's to hoping that HTC can meet the new deadline.

Source: @JasonMacHTC

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3 years ago

Buying an Android device over the holidays? Check out our reviews!

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Read Android Central's reviews of top Android devices

With Christmas a slowly fading memory, we're beginning to enter the post-holiday shopping season. And in the days ahead, many outlets will be offering discounts on some of the top Android devices of the moment. So what's worth buying and what should you leave on the shelf?

We've got links to all the information you could possibly need after the break.

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3 years ago

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition review

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It's big and the hardware is oh-so-sexy, but is it for you?

Just when everyone gave up hope on the rumor that Sony was going to be participating in the Google Play edition program, Google and Sony dropped the Z Ultra GPe right on top of us. Because it was a surprise, the Z Ultra GPe wasn't subject to the weeks (or months) of speculation and dissection that most phones go through before the come to market, but we all have a pretty good idea what to expect based on the Xperia branded Z Ultra and previous Google Play edition devices.

Does the Z Ultra fulfill the dreams and wants of everyone looking for a big Nexus phone? Maybe. It's definitely big, it's just about as Googly stock Android as the Nexus 4 or Nexus 7, and it's absolutely free of extra boot loader security so you can own your phone. That's going to tick all the boxes and satisfy some folks, and they have already made up their minds. 

For the rest of us, read on.

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