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3 years ago

Samsung Nexus S review

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Google's latest developer phone brings Android 2.3 Gingerbread and new hardware, but is it the right choice for the average consumer?

Nexus S review shot

One of the biggest gripes many of us have about Android is the way manufacturers and carriers change the software.  Whether it's an OEM skin in place of the stock launcher and desktop, or value added extras like Sprint TV or V-cast, or even the removal of core Google services like search and maps -- the first thing many new phone owners want to do it remove the "bloatware."  Enter the "Pure Google" phones.  The name Nexus gets us plenty excited because we know we're in for a pure Google experience, and the Samsung Nexus S is no different.

But is it a good choice for the average Joe?  Join us after the break, and follow along as we have a look at the latest additive-free Android phone.

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4 years ago

Review: T-Mobile myTouch 4G

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T-Mobile's popular myTouch line gets a showcase phone 

The MyTouch 4G

The myTouch 4G is T-Mobile's latest and greatest addition to the venerable myTouch line, which has been around about as long as Android itself has.  This go around, we have T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network to add into the mix, and when combined with some nice specifications, this is one to take notice of. 

Of course, there's more to a phone than speed, both the network kind and the hardware kind, and the myTouch 4G is full of features as well.  Make no mistake, this phone is high-end and designed to appeal to both those looking for an easy to use model as well as folks looking for something that flat-out screams.  Did T-Mobile succeed?  Hit the break to see for yourself.

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4 years ago

Nexus S Hands-on Photo Gallery; Update: Video

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Happy Nexus S day, gents and ladies. We high-tailed it over to our local Best Buy Mobile and picked one up to put it through its paces. 

The screen is curved, yes, but not enough to elicit wows from anybody. The overall feel is very Galaxy - which is to say lighter than you might expect but also, sadly, a little cheaper-feeling in the materials than we'd like. The Super Amoled screen is darn pretty and actually performs quite nicely in direct sunlight. Unlike the Nexus One, the capacitive buttons on the bottom are blissfully distant from the main screen and so mis-taps are unlikely to be an issue. What is an issue is that like all Samsung Galaxy phones, those buttons disappear when the screen is off and they're darned-tough to see in sunlight, so better get used to that new button order quickly.

Who are we kidding, the niggles pale in comparison to the speed, which comes partly from that 1GHz hummingbird processor but mostly from Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

In the box you'll find the standard fare: charger, USB cable, and a set of not-horrendous headphones. It's Google-branded, that box, though ours at least had a T-Mobile SIM in there, courtesy of Best Buy.

Obviously expect a full review of the device and a look at its performance, but in the meantime gather round for a quick photo gallery (update: and video!) of this week's "Best Android Phone Ever."

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4 years ago

Samsung Continuum review

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A dual-screen 'Ticker' brings a new look to Verizon

Samsung Continuum

We've been talking about the Samsung Continuum for a while now.  We were able to get a hands-on with it before it released, so we've hashed over the hardware, and I don't think there's anything more that can be said about TouchWiz. This is a Galaxy S phone, after all.

But something as potentially innovative as the "Ticker" needed some attention, and we're about to dive head-first into in on Verizon's newest Samsung phone.  Hit the break to see what this Ticker is all about, and what it can do for you, for Android, and for the world.

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4 years ago

Sanyo Zio review

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Sanyo Zio

The Sanyo Zio is a new entry-level Android phone (we're reviewing the Sprint version) and one of the first devices to have the new Sprint ID system for customization.  I'm a huge proponent of replacing feature-phones with Android devices, and was pretty curious about what Sprint ID could bring to Android, so I was happy to have a chance to review the Zio.  Hit the break to see how it measures up.

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4 years ago

Review: The Viewsonic 10-inch gTablet

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Is Tegra 2 on a sub-$500 tablet too good to be true?

Viewsonic gTablet

The gTablet is Viewsonic's entry into the sub-$500 Android tablet market.  While there won't be any shortage of cheap Android tablets, readers, and toasters (we have to beat the PreCentral guys in the race for the first smart toaster!) come this Friday, a few stick out hardware-wise, and the gTablet is one of them.  Just so happens that I got a few days of one-on-one time with a gTablet, so what better way to play with it than to give it a quick review.

Normally, none of us here would dare review a device we haven't put through the paces, but this one's a bit different, because this is much more useful before Black Friday than it would be after.  Hit the break to see the whirlwind review of the gTabet. Special thanks to Chip!

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4 years ago

Samsung Continuum hands-on

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Samsing Continuum

We actually had our first hands-on with the Samsung Continuum long, long before it was ever announced, but now that it's official and available, we're going to give it the official treatment. It's the first phone of its kind, and I have to be honest -- the ticker fascinates me.  We'll see if it can live up to the expectations I have for it over the next week or so.  

In the meantime, have another look at the hardware and an overview of the ticker and its settings, video style, after the break.

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4 years ago

Motorola Droid Pro review

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It might look (a lot) like an oversized BlackBerry,
but the Motorola Droid Pro on Verizon is all Android

Motorola Droid Pro

The Motorola Droid Pro brings to fruition a form factor long desired on Android smartphones -- a full front-facing QWERTY keyboard. The easy comparison, of course, with with the BlackBerry, but let it not be forgotten that Motorola had a strong showing with the Q-series of Windows Mobile phones back in the day.

And that brings up a few interesting questions. Is Android -- primarily a touchscreen-optimized OS -- ready for a front-facing keyboard? And how does that affect how you use the touchscreen? Will we even need it? And will the Droid Pro’s slightly smaller touchscreen (at a mid-level resolution) be usable for someone coming from a high-end phone? Is it for stuffy suits? Can it still play games? And what’s all this talk about it being a “world phone.” Good questions, all. We’ll answer them, and more, after the break.

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4 years ago

LG Optimus One review

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Redefining entry-level Android phones, one carrier at a time

LG Optimus One

Let's not mince words: The LG Optimus One is not a top-end phone, nor was it designed to be.  If you're expecting some sort of dual-core wünderphone, look elsewhere.

But -- if you're looking for a very pocketable, well built, speedy communications device you've found the right place.  Hit the break and check out how LG is changing the way we think of low end Android phones.

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4 years ago

Sprint Samsung Transform review

9

A surprisingly decent entry-level Android phone

Sprint Samsung Transform

Take the Epic 4G, slim it down and slow it down a tad, and you've got the mid-level Samsung Transform on Sprint. Hang on, hang on. Keep reading. That's not to say this is a lesser phone that should be dismissed. On the contrary. The Transform is a simpiler -- and less expensive -- Android phone -- than much of what's out there today.

Let's take hold hands and take a look, after the break.

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4 years ago

Droid Pro on Verizon: First Impressions [Video]

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 Motorola Droid Pro

The Motorola Droid Pro on Verizon finally makes our greatest and fondest wishes come to life: a full-powered Android 2.2 Smartphone with a front-facing QWERTY keyboard. Sure, we've gone hands-on with the Droid Pro before, but nothing beats owning it and getting some impressions after a day of use. 

So get those impressions, a video of the most notable aspects of the world phone, and plenty of photos after the break!

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4 years ago

HP Photosmart eStation (Android almost-tablet) hands-on [Video]

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Want to know what a printer with an Android mini-tablet looks like? Feast your eyes on the "HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One Printer Series - C510" (pause for breath) and itss little Android-powered control station (neé Zeen). Sure, we could talk specs here - Like Android 2.1, a 7" screen, and so on - but HP is pretty much using Android like many companies use WinCE: as a quick OS to build their custom stuff on. Hence: no Google Apps like Gmail or Android Marketplace for 3rd party apps. Regarding the latter - HP says they will continue to evaluate apps that can bring quality printing experiences. Something we pretty much take as code for "you know we're switching this stuff to webOS soon, right?"

In any case, the mini-tablet does have some clever bits on it - the notification drawer has the printer's status and email address right there along with a shortcut to a dashboard that shows you ink levels and the like. There are a smattering of other apps like Yahoo Weather (with printing!), Snapfish (with printing!), and the default Android web browser munged up with a permanent menu at the bottom (with printing!).

Build-wise, it's nothing to write home about. There's a weird swoop on the rear of the tablet, but the full SD card slot is a nice touch. HP has added music functions as well. No word on battery life, but this is most definitely a print and print-app device with just a little bit of classic Android peeking through.

Basically, our take is that if you're in the market for a cool printer - have at it, this eStation is actually very cool and the email-to-print feature is underrated. Just don't expect to get a sweet Android tablet along with it. If you want an Android tablet, there are better ones coming that don't have a printer attached.

Video and photos after the break!

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4 years ago

Sprint Galaxy Tab Hands-On

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We just grabbed a quick look at the Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet and ... it's totally a Galaxy Tab on Sprint. Which is to say that what we have here is Android 2.2 with Samsung's TouchWiz (and not Sprint ID), that 7-inch 1024x600 display, a whoppingly large 4000mAh battery -- which should give you a full day -- and all the usual fixings. 

What really pleased us, though is the utter lack of Sprint bloatware. Say what you will about the latest generation of TouchWiz and Samsung apps (we're alternately hot and cold), but at least Samsung appears to be offering a consistent tablet experience across all carriers -- including a Media Hub for buying movies. The only two Sprint apps we could see were an account management app and an app to run their Hotspot for tethering.

We'd say more, but honestly not much has changed from all the previous looks we've had with Galaxy Tab that we have done -- and that's a good thing. Photos of the snazzy Sprint logo and a few of the apps after the break!

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4 years ago

Samsung Continuum Hands-On!

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Sure, you may have already seen our Samsung Continuum Preview from over a month ago, checked out the video hands-on from back in the day, looked at our super Samsung Continuum page, and even scanned the Continuum specs. What else we can tell you: the Continuum consists of one single, giant piece of glass covering a Super AMOLED screen in three sections: the 3.4-inch main display, the four standard Android buttons, and the 1.8-inch, 96-pixel high "Ticker" at bottom.

Build-wise, we're looking at a slightly narrower and slightly better feeling Galaxy S device -- in a lot of ways the plastics and overall feel harkens to the T-Mobile Vibrant -- It's crazy light but still feels pretty solid. These are demo units, natch, but things seem snappy enough with that 1GHz processor.

The Ticker itself is a little gimmicky but also very cool -- you can turn on just the Ticker merely by gripping the bottom of the device. Up pops the default screen with time and weather, but you swipe once to get all your missed alerts, which you can tap on to go straight to the application. The other Ticker function is to provide you with alerts that don't get in your way. Sure, Android does that by default, but with the Ticker it's a littler easier to see more information and actually decide if you want to act on it. We're also fond of the RSS feed feature, but then we're RSS junkies. VZ Navigator (which admittedly costs extra per month) also shows you the next turn in the ticker area.

We can't say we're happy to see this thing "Bing'd" but, hey, it's such a pleasure to hold the Continuum that it's easy to look past that to what is a fairly compelling device. Samsung and Verizon will have the little guy released November 11th for $199 with a $100 mail-in rebate.

After the break: video and photos aplenty.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Hands-On [Video]

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 T-Mobile MyTouch 4G

The HTC T-Mobile MyTouch 4G is available today and we hurried on out to pick one up. Our first impressions? The hardware is great - it has a very solid feel, that's 5.6 ounces of solid, and we're big fans of the metal battery door. The plastics, buttons, and 3.8" glass front are all top-notch, though we think the earpiece speaker-grille is perhaps just a little overdesigned. Dieter (that's me!) is also especially happy to not only see a subtle classic Android Chin on the bottom, but also to see that HTC and T-Mobile kept a small, square optical trackpad for easier text-selection.

The 1GHz snapdragon processor drives the very beautiful WVGA touchscreen with no problems, though rendering time on loading web pages didn't quite feel as blazing fast as we expected - though whether we can pin that on the processor or a little bombast in T-Mobile's 4G claims will require a bit more testing.

The skin on top of Android 2.2 is the standard T-Mobile iteration of HTC's sense UI, complete with MyFaves and that Genius button replacing the standard Search button. It launches the Dragon Mobile / Nuance voice search / dictation app for both finding stuff and starting messages. It will take a bit more time before we can tell you how we feel about it, though, because right now the idea of using an Android device without a dedicated search button is causing more cognitive dissonance than we expected.

We'll have a full review soon, but in the meantime check a quick video featuring some details on how T-Mobile has customized the setup process. There are some photos too, because that's how we do.

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