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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review (European version)

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Samsung’s beastly third-generation Note handset is everything a big-screened Android phone should be

For better or worse, we’re now surrounded by Android smartphones with enormous displays. Most of the major manufacturers have flagship phones with screens measuring around, or slightly above, the five-inch mark. But it wasn’t always this way. Thinking back to our time with the first Galaxy Note some two years ago, what stood out was just how weird it felt to use such a large, unwieldy handset. The original Note was brilliant from a technical standpoint, but also expensive, bulky and the wrong shape for comfortable one-handed use. Not to mention the fact that the Android of 2011 simply wasn’t ready for this kind of device. We weren’t convinced this new category of smartphone-tablet hybrids would take off. How wrong we were.

The Galaxy Note sold tens of millions of units, and so did the Note 2. And today Samsung’s Note series phones can be spotted in public just as frequently as many others. So as another year of the smartphone release cycle draws to a close, it’s time for a third Galaxy Note. This year devices like the Galaxy Mega and Xperia Z Ultra have challenged the boundaries of what can reasonably be called a smartphone, and so you might think that Samsung would drift towards the six-plus-inch mark. However what we saw at IFA 2013 a few weeks ago wasn’t some pocket-stretching behemoth. The Galaxy Note 3 was thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Note 2, with a larger screen in the same physical footprint. It seemed a measured response to a market obsessed with ever-increasing screen sizes.

But other manufacturers have taken notice of Samsung’s success in this area, and there’s more competition than ever for the Galaxy Note this time around. Sony and LG already have devices on the market, and HTC is widely expected to launch a 5.9-inch phone of its own in the weeks ahead. So is the Note still the best device out there for buyers seeking that perfect balance between smartphone and tablet? Find out after the break, in our definitive review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

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3 years ago

LG Optimus F6 coming to MetroPCS for $199

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MetroPCS is working to build up its mid-range phone ranks with a new LG device, the Optimus F6. Slotting in above its current LG offerings of the Optimus L9 and Optimus F3, the F6 offers a 4.5-inch 540x960 display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 5MP rear camera and running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

On the software side the F6 brings over some of the same features introduced on LG's higher-end handsets, like QUickRemote, QuickMemo and QuickTranslator, along with the same look-and-feel across the OS.

The Optimus F6 is a MetroPCS phone by name, but is one of the first devices to run on T-Mobile's HSPA+ and LTE networks rather than MetroPCS' older CDMA network. This marks the transitional period for MetroPCS after its acquisition by T-Mobile earlier this year. The Optimus F6 is available today in-store and online for $199 without a contract, with plans starting at $40 per month.

Source: MetroPCS (PRNewswire)

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 coming to Radio Shack Oct.4, trade in your old Note and save some cash

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Radio Shack's Trade & Save program ready for the Galaxy Note 3 launch

Everyone is aware that the Galaxy Note 3 hits stores starting October 4, but Radio Shack is the first third-party dealer to jump up with a better deal — if you have an old Galaxy Note to trade in.

The Sprint and AT&T models of the Galaxy Note 3 will be on sale at participating Radio Shack locations, and folks who show up with a Note 2 to trade in will get $175 off the cost of their upgrade. Folks with an original Galaxy Note will get $100 off.

You could probably get more for your old devices on Craigslist or eBay, but this no muss, no fuss offer will attract a lot of people. Time is money, after all.

For more information, visit Radio Shack's Trade & Save site.

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3 years ago

Canadian HTC One getting its Android 4.3 update

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Some good news for our neighbors to the north — the Canadian versions of the HTC One appear to be getting their updates to Android 4.3 today, with word of updates hitting Rogers and Telus thus far. That makes the "end of September" deadline HTC was shooting for, but those of us in the U.S. still have to wait a bit.

It's a hefty update, as the screenshot above points out — but this one's well worth it.

More: HTC One forums; Thanks, Dhaval and Jonas! 

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3 years ago

AT&T's Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Gear available Oct. 4

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AT&T this morning dropped word that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear will be available online and in stores this Friday, Oct. 4. The Note 3 runs $299 on contract; same price for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 f could be a miniature Z1 for Japan

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Image credit: XperiaBlog

Spec sheet spied in Docomo brochure reveals Snapdragon 800 CPU, 4.3-inch screen, 20.7MP camera

It's been over a month since we heard anything of the Sony "Itsuki" — rumored to be a smaller version of the Xperia Z1 with similar specs. Originally rumored for a September unveiling alongside the full-sized Z1, the device was a no-show at IFA in Berlin earlier this month.

But today brings further evidence of the miniature Z1's existence, in the form of a brochure leak from Japanese carrier NTT Docomo obtained by XperiaBlog. In it, the Sony Xperia Z1 f is listed alongside the regular Z1, with a full spec sheet and renders to boot. The Z1 f is shown in black, white, pink and lime green, with a 4.3-inch, 720p display, a Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It also seems the Z1's 20.7 Exmor RS camera has made it across to the smaller version, along with that handset's IP58-rated water and dust resistance credentials. Powering the Z1 f is a 2300mAh battery, according to the spec sheet.

The specs fit with earlier rumors that the mini Z1 wouldn't sacrifice raw horsepower in order to fit into a smaller chassis, though with a thickness of 9.4mm, it looks like the Xperia Z1 f might be a good deal thicker than earlier Z-series phones. For now, we'll have to wait and see if the Z1 f will see release outside of Japan, but it's encouraging news for those looking for top-level specs in a smaller handset.

Source: XperiaBlog

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3 years ago

LG G Pro Lite Dual leaked, purportedly a big-screen budget phone

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Just as Samsung has released big-screen phones without hefty, high-end price tags, LG looks set to adopt a similar strategy with a new phone due to launch in Russia soon, the LG G Pro Lite Dual. Images obtained by Russian site hi-tech.mail.ru show a device similar to the Optimus G Pro we're more familiar with, only with a built-in pen — and reportedly less spectacular hardware running the show.

In addition to a 5.5-inch qHD IPS display, the device runs an unnamed 1GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD. There's also an 8-megapixel camera with BSI sensor and a 3140mAh battery, and according to today's report the device runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. So we're clearly not dealing with a high-end phone here, but interestingly, the "Lite Dual" does appear to come with a capacitive stylus, something not bundled with the original G Pro. Both the leaked images and the name suggest it'll have dual SIM support too.

We'll have to wait and see whether this device ever sees release outside of Russia, but we're not holding our breath for the moment.

Source: hi-tech.mail.ru; via: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Comparing the new Moto X camera software to other Androids

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The new software improves the Moto X camera, but how does it compare to other Android phones?

The Moto X camera got quite an update last week. It looks as if focus, color compensation, and the magic algorithms that turn data into pictures was tweaked pretty heavily, too. There were some really good comparisons between the old and the new when the update rolled out to T-Mobile customers.

The Developer Edition Moto X also shipped with the new software, and it gave me a chance to grab a handful of popular Android phones and snap a few pictures.  Folks are curious how well the "new" Moto X camera compares to the other great phones out there, and hopefully this will help. Hit the break, have a look.

Discuss: Moto X forums; Android photography forums

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 review

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Sony’s enormous new flagship handset is its best phone yet — but it’s not without a few frustrating issues

Despite its lack of any meaningful presence in the U.S. smartphone market, Sony Mobile is a big deal in Europe and Asia, where its flagship Xperia Z has been on sale since early March. One of the early highlights of the Android year, the original Xperia Z was a very capable device with one or two outstanding features — but it was quickly overshadowed by the might of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Now, as 2013 draws to a close, we’re witnessing the emergence of a new breed of Android smartphone, with bigger screens than ever, fast new Snapdragon 800 chips from Qualcomm and larger batteries than we’ve seen before.  It’s natural, then, that Sony’s follow-up to its 5-inch Xperia Z should fit into this category. Say hello to the Xperia Z1.

When the Z1 — previously known by its codename of “Honami” — was finally unveiled at IFA 2013 it felt like we were being reintroduced to an old friend. That’s because a lengthy prelude of leaks had already clued us into key Z1 features like its “Triluminos” display, aluminum frame and 20.7-megapixel camera. So now that we finally have the device in our hands, it’s time to see how it measures up. Join us after the break as we kick off our exhaustive review of the Sony Xperia Z1.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 photo and video samples

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The Sony Xperia Z1's 20.7-megapixel camera is a big deal — and we've got plenty of sample shots to show off its capabilities

As a complement to our full review of the Sony Xperia Z1, here's a photo gallery of 36 sample shots from the phone's 20.7-megapixel Sony Exmor RS camera. Most of the time, the Xperia Z1's camera app is focused on taking oversampled shots at 8 megapixels and that's the way we've taken most of our photos on the device. (Naturally, they're crunched down to web-friendly resolutions here anyway.)

Check 'em out after the break. We've also got a few 100% crops and a 1080p sample video reel.

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3 years ago

Moto X Developer Edition unboxing

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Carrier-free and unlockable, the Moto X Developer Edition still looks and feels like a Moto X

If you ordered a GSM Moto X developer edition, you might already have yours in your hands. If so, you're probably playing with it and will just smile over this post. If you haven't received yours yet, the good news is that they're shipping out — you'll probably have it soon. Run and check for a tracking number right now, if you like. We'll wait.

Essentially, this is a pentaband, SIM unlocked Moto X. There is nothing different about the way it's built, there is nothing different about the features, and other than the words "Developer edition" engraved into the back, it even looks like a white and black Moto X from Moto Maker. There are two differences, though.

The bootloader is completely unlockable. You're free to get in there and fool around with stuff if you like, and doing things like flashing a custom recovery or rooting should be fairly easy. 

The second, and to me, equally as important, difference is that there is no carrier branding or involvement. No T-Mobile or AT&T "value-added" applications are present, and software updates will come directly from Motorola without your carrier doing months of testing. It also means little to no support from your carrier, so keep that in mind if you're thinking of going the dev edition route.

Enough talk. I wanna play with my new phone. Hit the break to see the unboxing video.

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3 years ago

U.S. has to wait a little longer for Android 4.3 on the HTC One, exec says

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Updates for carrier-branded phones not expected by the end of September as hoped

This probably shouldn't surprise anyone, but if you've got a carrier-branded version of the HTC One here in the good ol' U.S. of A., you can quit mashing that "Check for updates" button. While the unbranded (and European) versions of the M7 have been or are in the midst of being updated, as is the developer edition, the others look to miss HTC's self-imposed Sept. 30 deadline, according to HTC Exec Jason MacKenzie.

The word about a month and a half ago was that they were "working hard" to get Android 4.3 and an updated Sense released to everyone by the end of September

Now, MacKenzie says, we'll have to wait a little longer.

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3 years ago

HTC One Dev. Edition 4.3 ROM posted

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A path back for the Developer Edition HTC One when you need it

You got the Developer Edition HTC One so you could dig in there and really mess stuff up. It's fun, and a good way to learn about how Android works at the nerd level. But after you're done mucking around with things, and need your camera or Bluetooth back, you want to return it to the way is comes out of the box.

Luckily, HTC gives you a pretty easy way to do it. They've posted the 4.3 update ROM for the Developer Edition at their website, and with it you're juts a few clicks away from restoring your phone to a "stock" working condition. Of course, the prior versions are still available should you have a reason to want to go back. Kidding. Never go back.

You'll find them at the HTCdev site linked below(search for Brightstar US WWE) and it's something everyone with a Dev edition M7 should keep handy.

Source: HTCDev

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3 years ago

LG explains OIS with a man cave, a football helmet and a chicken

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Apparently this is also an ad for the LG G2. But it's also a great explainer of optical image stabilization. 

With a chicken.

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3 years ago

Using the Moto X on Sprint

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Can your choice of carrier hamper an otherwise great phone experience?

It has been almost two months since the Moto X was introduced to the world as Motorola's refreshed philosophy on the smart phone. AT&T was the first US carrier to have the phone on sale, and although Sprint lagged behind by a few weeks it now carries the woven black and white varieties for the same $199 on-contract price as the other carriers.

Motorola made it a point to ensure that the Moto X is nearly identical across the major carriers in the US, so when looking at the Sprint model there aren't that many things to distinguish it from the others. This isn't a carbon copy of what you can get on AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile, though. Let's take a look at what it's like to use the Moto X on the Sprint Network.

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