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4 years ago

Hands on with the LG Optimus One

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LG Optimus One

The Optimus One is one of the latest handset from LG, and we've got one to put through the paces.  Admit it, an entry-level phone running Froyo has you intrigued.  (For what it's worth, LG's dubbing it a "transitional smartphone." ) But we're intrigued, too, and at first take it's impressive.  Here's the specs on this little speedster:

  • 3.2-inch Capacitive screen, @ 320 x 480
  • Qualcomm MSM7227 clocked at 600 MHz
  • 512 ROM, 512 RAM
  • 802.11 b/g, A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • 3.1 MP autofocus camera
  • GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100 radio bands

Combine that with a pretty nicely optimized build of Froyo, and you'll realize that not all entry level phones need to be so entry level.  Hit the break for a quick-and-dirty hands on, and hit the forums with any questions.

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4 years ago

Samsung Mesmerize review [U.S. Cellular]

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US Cellular's Samsung Mesmerize

US Cellular is certainly carving out a name for themselves in the Android world, and the release of the Samsung Mesmerize brings one of the best Android handsets currently on the market to their network.  It's a Galaxy S phone, and like its cousins on the big four networks, it's a powerhouse with an incredible Super AMOLED screen.  Hit the break to see my impressions of the Mesmerize, available at US Cellular for $199.99 on a two-year agreement.

We've already crawled all over the U.S. Galaxy S phones with the Verizon Fascinate, T-Mobile Vibrant, AT&T Captivate and Sprint Epic 4G. What does US Cellular bring to the tablet? Let's find out, after the break.

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4 years ago

Alltel HTC Wildfire mini review

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Alltel HTC Wildfire

When HTC recently announced that the mid-range Wildfire would be coming to the United States after its run in Europe, we didn't know any of the regional carriers involved. Turns out that Alltel -- what's left of it anyway, was first out the gate with what's been previously codenamed the HTC Bee.

Join us after the break for a mini review of the 3.2-inch HTC Widlfire, available now for $29.99 on two-year contract.

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4 years ago

Hands on with the Samsung Mesmerize [video]

The Samsung Mesmerize from US Cellular

U.S. Cellular just released the Samsung Mesmerize, and we have one in our hands to check out.  There's not a lot here that's new, the phone is basically the Samsung Fascinate, with half the bloat and none of the Bing.  And that is a good thing.  It has the same gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED display, the same Hummingbird 1 GHz chip and blazing fast GPU as the rest of the Galaxy S line, two GB internal storage, and a slightly modified version of TouchWiz that resembles the Epic 4G's software.

First impression?  U.S. Cellular has one of the best Android phones made today in their arsenal with the Mesmerize.  And the name is pretty cool as well.  There's a video after the break, be sure to have a look.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile G2 review

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A fast, agile Android slider, but signal connection problems and a lack of hackability are big minuses 

T-Mobile's G2

The T-Mobile G2 is the latest Android smartphone to hit the nation's fourth-largest carrier, and is billed as the successor to the venerable G1.  It goes beyond that though, as this one is a quantum leap, both in the hardware department and software side, from anything we've seen from T-Mobile before.  Hit the break for our complete review.

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4 years ago

Verizon Fascinate review

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Verizon Fascinate

This Verizon Fascinate review should have been an easy one. (And, yes, it should have been done some time ago.) It's the fourth version of the Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone to be released in the United States. And for all intents and purposes, it's largely like the others (save for the keyboard on the Sprint Epic 4G, of course).

That is, until Bing came along. Look, we're not going to make this whole review about Verizon's deal with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine on the Fascinate. That's a business decision. It's not one we agree with, and we're going to (mostly) look past it for the purposes of this review.

So join us after the break as we take a look at the Verizon Fascinate.

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4 years ago

Desire HD Hands On

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 HTC Desire HD

The Desire HD. File this one under "things we'd love to see in the United States," which is another way of saying "We'd like to see AT&T offer some seriously high-end Android smartphones not called Samsung Captivate." You probably heard of the Desire HD as the "EVO 4G for Europe" and while that's not far from the truth, the addition of the Sense 2.0 Cloud features as well as the subtle updates throughout Sense (like a most-recently-used list of apps in the notification dropdown) add up to a new package that surpasses the EVO 4G experience by a slim margin.

Also surpassing the EVO 4G by a slim margin: the overall design and feel of the Sense HD. It feels just a bit more solid and the subtle touches on the back of the phone show that HTC often does a better job presenting a unique package before they make deals with carriers.

In any case, while the FCC has approved the Desire HD for US shores, the lack of US-compatible 3G makes it hard to justify the import. US Citizens have to settle for looking forward to this kind of hardware and software design in the future - assuming of course that if the Sprint ID, carrier-based skin strategy for Android doesn't take over.

Grab a few more photos after the break!

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4 years ago

Motorola Bravo Hands On [Video]

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 Motorola Bravo

Of the set of new phones Motorola announced for AT&T, the Motorola Bravo is probably the best. The Bravo's specs are basically the new de-facto standard for mid-range Android phones: Android 2.1 device running the MotoBlur interface tied to an 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM with a 3.7" screen and Motorola's favorite 'don't-call-it-non-standard-cause-it's-on-the-droid' resolution of 480x854. The camera is sadly only 3 megapixels, however.

At $129.99 after contract (and 'before the holidays'), that's the kind of phone we pretty much expect. It's a solid phone with some nice curves, but truth be told we'd probably still rather have a Samsung Captivate - at least it has a dedicated search button on the bottom, a supremely curious omission on the Bravo given that it has no physical keyboard on which to place said search button - as on its Flipside and Flipout siblings.

Maybe the ovoid shape has you smitten, however. If so, be sure to see the photos and demo video spotlighting some MotoBlur features after the break!

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4 years ago

Sanyo Zio Hands On, Updated with Video

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 Sanyo Zio

You can call the Sanyo Zio low-end, you can call it a remarkably good phone for $99, you can call it retro what with the trackball ...just don't call it Zay-Oh or Zee-Oh. It's pronounced Zai-Oh, most Sprint reps pronounce it Zee-Oh, but we've also heard Zai-Oh on occasion. Obviously we'll be all over this very very important vowel issue in the coming days and months. 

The Zio is light (almost too light) with a nice curve around the back and a matted finish surrounding that 3.2 megapixel camera. It's sporting Sprint's ID interface - which if you didn't hear is essentially Sprint's own custom Android skin that easily switches between branded experiences of your choice - from ESPN to Disney to your own small business if they're feeling ambitious.

More photos after the break - Update: check out the quick video demo after the break, which features the Lo2yo Latino Sprint ID screen. Update 2: video fixed. Mac Haters: feel free to mock iMovie.

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4 years ago

Samsung Transform Hands On & Sprint iD Walkthrough [Video]

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 Samsung Transform

The top of Sprint's three CTIA Sprint ID phones is most definitely the Samsung Transform. For us it's sort of the spiritual successor to the Samsung Moment, but don't let that association mar your feelings for the Transform.

What you've got here is a large 3.5" HVGA display attached to a horizontal slider form factor that naturally looks a bit like the Epic 4G but with a slightly squarer look. We're still not fond of Samsung's penchant for putting the microUSB port on the top of the phone, but other than that niggle the hardware is not a source of complaints from us. The slider mechanism is springy and maybe a little overfirm and the materials are simple plastics that may not ooze luxury but will hold up to wear and tear. The keyboard is similarly utilitarian: well spaced buttons, decent action, and even arrow keys to make up for the lack of a touchpad.

We aren't as offended by Sprint ID as we worried we might be - it's essentially stock Android 2.1 with the ability to switch between profiles - some of which may be corporate-sponsored, sure, but it turns out that some corporations can actually provide some useful content. The good news with Sprint ID is that you can customize up each ID as much as you like - so what it really boils down to is a system for switching between up to 5 different homescreen profiles sitting on Android 2.1. Sprint says 2.2 is coming and that they don't expect it to take as long to update as, say, HTC does because Sprint ID is so close to vanilla Android it shouldn't be hard to fix up.

The 800MHz processor gives us a laggy bit here and there, especially when trying to grab a quick snap from the 3.2 MP camera on the back. 

Video and plenty more photos after the break!

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4 years ago

LG Optimus T on T-Mobile Hands On

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LG Optimus T 

The LG Optimus T is coming to T-Mobile for the holidays to provide featurephone users reason to upgrade. We have something very similar to Sprint's LG Optimus S here, though with T-Mobile you get a slightly different button layout and LG's take on the Android homescreen instead of Sprint's iD. The 3.2" HVGA capacitive screen does its job and things seem responsive enough to keep you from grinding your teeth, no doubt because it's running Android 2.2 under that thin LG skin.

We like the matted finish and color options - black and burgundy, but we wouldn't have minded if they saw fit to include a dedicated camera button for the 3.2-megapixel sensor round back. WiFi calling is definitely onboard but we couldn't get it to work on the demo unit despite hooking it up to a couple of viable WiFi networks - which is more likely a sign that our unit wasn't set up properly than a knock on T-Mo's WiFi calling feature.

More photos after the break.

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4 years ago

Motorola Flipout and Flipside Hands On [Video]

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You can think of the Motorola Flipout and Motorola Flipside as companion devices for AT&T - both are aimed squarely at upgrading featurephone users into Android-land by wooing them with QWERTY keyboards and MotoBlur.

Of the two, the horizontal-sliding Flipside specs are obviously the more powerful: a 720MHz processor with 512mb of ROM, a 320x480 screen, and a touchpad that's not embarrassed to be gigantic to make moving your cursor around that much easier. We've no gripes about the keyboard or, well about the Flipside in general. It's a capable low-to-mid range MotoBlur device and if that's the thing for you or yours, we don't judge.

The Flipout, meanwhile, tries to win on charm. It's a cute little square with a colored back that comes with two colors in the box (Red and Green to you, Rose and Saffron to AT&T). The screen itself flips up rotationally to reveal a super-tall portrait keyboard with a nigh-useless 5-way dpad in the lower lefthand corner. Naturally, as this size, the Flipout's specs are on the low-end. Of most concern is the 320x240 screen which not only raises concerns with app compatibility but just plain didn't look well-thought-out to us. Android may have 320x240 in their spec, but it needs work to ...work at this size and Moto didn't even put in enough to anti-alias the text on the menus. Finally, this phone's main draw - the keyboard - feels awkward and unfriendly. 

We'll leave the 'flip' puns as an exercise to the reader, instead just telling you, as usual, that you can find more photos and a demo video of both devices after the break!

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4 years ago

Motorola Defy Hands On [Video]

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 Motorola Defy

The Motorola Defy is a semi-ruggedized Android smartphone that is the latest in a long line of Oprah-giveaways. What you've got is a 3.1" touchscreen behind scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass attached to a form factor that's water and dust-resistant - down to the oversized rubber covers for the USB and headphone ports.

We dig the white-on-black looks and the exposed screws around the edges. We don't quite dig that it's sporting Android 2.1 instead of 2.2, but for a phone in this range it's not a deal-breaker. It's got a 5-megapixel camera to snap photos of your Australian adventures and DLNA to display those photos on your television. You'll access it all through the MotoBlur skin, which didn't appear to slow the device down too much, but even so - T-Mobile G2 this ain't.

More photos and a demo video (which, yes, veers a little towards the pitchy) after the break!

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Motorola Droid Pro [video]; Update: More video, more features

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 Motorola Droid Pro

We high-tailed it over to the Motorola Booth and grabbed ahold of the first untethered Motorola Droid Pro we could find. First things first: the keyboard is above average. There's not a ton of movement on the keys, but they're well-ridged in a style that's more than reminiscent of the BlackBerry Bold. While typing, it's a little top-heavy by dint of that 3.1-inch, portrait HVGA screen, but it's not completely offensive by any means.

Also, and we mean this from the bottom of our hearts, it's lovely to "just start typing" on the Android home screen to initiate a search.

We're looking at the Motoblur-lite you've come to know on the Droid X. Speed-wise, it certainly kept up with our scrolling and zooming in the browser -- a virtue of the 1GHz processor, we're sure. The official word on the Droid Pro is still "Q4," but the man at Motorola suggested that November would be the month to watch.

Grab a huge helping of photos after the break along with a super quick hands-on video, then head on over to the Motorola Droid Pro Forums and let us know what you think!

Update: We wranged a Moto rep to take the Droid Pro through its paces for us, including showing off the profile switching and the Enterprise features - which include remotely wiping the SD card via the standard Exchange device management interface on the IT side. We also grabbed a quick hands-on and a couple photos of the extended battery and, well, it's not much thicker, not much heavier, and we are having a hard time understanding why it's not the default. Catch it all after the break, at the very bottom.

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4 years ago

Motorola Citrus Hands-On [Video]

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 Motorola Citrus

Take a gander at the Motorola Citrus, Verizon and Moto's plan for the aspirational, new-to-smartphones user. It has a small, almost cute form-factor that more than a few people have likened to the Palm Pre without the slide-out keyboard. We think we could do without the big old 'Backtrack' touchpad on the back, but to each his own. We also found it curious that the physical Send and End keys do little more than make and end calls, the End key doesn't even take you to the home screen.

Software-wise, as you'd expect, it's running Motoblur and (sadly) 2.1 and, yes, Bing. Performance is also as you'd expect: slightly better than the current crop of mid-level Blur phones, but not a speedster. That's ok, though, while you wait you can pat yourself on the back for buying a phone made form 25% recycled plastic.

More photos and a demo video after the break!

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