A just-decent-enough $250 smartphone strapped onto a monster battery
The ZTE ZMax is the type of phone that you get for a very specific reason: you want to play lots of videos and games but you don't have a lot of money to blow on a pricier phablet like the Galaxy Note 4 or the impending Nexus 6/X/whatever. The ZMax is $252 outright on T-Mobile, and for that money, it performs better than its budget in most areas, but not quite all of them.
So, can this phone stand out in the mid-range phone market? Let's take a quick look
After launching the Yoga Tablet 2 and the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro yesterday, Lenovo is rolling out ads featuring Ashton Kutcher to market the devices. The ads illustrate the various modes supported by the Yoga Tablet 2, which let you prop the device up, lay it at an angle on a surface, or at an incline of 270 degrees.
Just days after HTC announced a new suite of selfie-centric software features at an event in New York City, the "HTC Eye Experience" is starting to roll out to HTC One M8 devices in Europe, with Android 4.4.4 in tow. The main focus of the update is a bunch of camera features from the upcoming HTC Desire Eye, including face tracking, split capture, "Face Fusion," voice selfie, live makeup and photo booth.
Another multi-mode tablet in two different sizes from Lenovo
Alongside the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, Lenovo today also announced the Yoga Tablet 2 in both 8- and 10-inch sizes. Despite losing the Pro from the name, the Tablet 2 actually shares a lot in common with its bigger brother. The overall design is identical, with the same kickstand here with the same, new, hang mode.
The internals are also pretty well matched to the Pro, with the same CPU and same amount of RAM, though onboard storage is less at 16GB on both the 8- and 10-inch versions. The displays aren't quite as high-resolution, but they are still pretty nice. Both have a 1920x1200 display, which on the 8-inch in particular looks pretty sharp.
It's happening. The Google Play Store is picking up an update to version 5.0.31, crossing over the 5.0 border for the first time and bringing a pretty comprehensive redesign within Material Design guidelines. It all starts with a new "flatter" Play Store icon and continues throughout the app with bold colors, small useful animations and better application of shadows and coloring.
You'll immediately notice new animations for the slide-in panel and associated hamburger button (which turns into a back arrow), as well as changes to the way the "what's new" section of apps listings is highlighted and properly displayed. App listings themselves haven't changed dramatically — a lot of that came in the last update — but everything around them in the search results and installed apps list has come up to speed.
Beyond the aesthetic changes, the new Play Store feels really snappy, and we've yet to notice any chop, slowdowns or loading screens. Who knows how much of that is just animation trickery and how much is real improvement, but it certainly feels better. It's a one-two punch of design and function that has us really excited for the future Material Design updates of other Google apps.
Lenovo went to town with its most impressive Android tablet to date
At an event in London, Lenovo pulled the wraps off this, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. The name is a bit of a mouthful and the tablet is certainly a handful. That's because Lenovo went big, literally, packing it out with a 13.3-inch QHD display. At this size it's a tablet as big as many laptops, but if you're looking for something to help you consume a lot of media then it's got you well covered.
Quickly recapping the main specs, beneath that 2560x1440 resolution display is a quad-core Intel Atom CPU, 2GB of RAM and 32GB onboard storage. Round the back there's an 8MP camera and it's running Android 4.4 KitKat.
On Tuesday this week Samsung dropped a bit of a bomb on Wall Street. Instead of profiting to the tune of $5.2 billion for the quarter, which is what analysts were expecting, Samsung said it would only pull in $3.8 billion.
While it's easy to throw out the sarcastic "Poor Samsung" comments, this is a huge miss. Earnings will come in 60 percent lower than the year-ago quarter. Analysts were not expecting this, so from a financial markets standpoint it's major news.
We've already reviewed the Sony Xperia Z3, but Sony and Verizon have just announced its variant for U.S. customers. The Xperia Z3v brings many of the latest innovations and standout features to Verizon customers, such as the 5.2-inch 1080P display, IP68 waterproof rating, Hi-Res Audio support, and the 20.7MP camera. What's different is that they've added Qi wireless charging and increased the battery capacity to 3200 mAh.
We met with Sony earlier today to give us a brief tour of the device. Take a look at the video.
If you're a big gamer, the Xperia Z3v is one of the first smartphones in the market with PS4 Remote Play. It lets you connect the phone to your PS4 to play its games when the living room TV is in use. You can connect the Xperia Z3v to the PS4 via home Wi-Fi and use the DUALSHOCK Wireless Controller with the Game Control Mount.
Verizon customers can buy the Xperia Z3v from Verizon online and at participating stores nationwide starting October 23rd, 2014. It'll be available for $199.99 with a new two-year activation.
You can now use your Moto 360 to take a picture using the Motorola Camera app on your Motorola Moto X. An update to Motorola's camera app today allows you to go full Moto inception, using your Android Wear smartwatch as a remote shutter on your Motorola phone. (Or you could use the Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch, too. But that's not nearly as much fun to write).
All you have to do is update your camera app in Google Play — again, you'll need a Motorola phone for this, for everyone else head to the Google camera app — then open the camera app. You'll then find a notification on your Android Wear Watch, asking if you want to use it as the remote shutter. Tap the watch, and then you have a shutter button.
Sony's late-2014 flagship, the Xperia Z3, sports a refreshed design and some impressive internal specs. It's the combination of the two that make a phone great, so here's the full listing of all internal specs on the Xperia Z3. For completeness, this page also lists the specs for the Xperia Z3v, the Verizon-exclusive version, and Z3 Compact, the smaller variety of the flagship.
Sony's latest flagship comes to the states on Oct. 23
Verizon and Sony today in New York City unveiled the Xperia Z3v, the first version of the latest flagship from Sony (you'll recall we're really not all that far removed from its last one) to hit the United States. (Don't worry, T-Mobile fans, your time's still coming. Eventually.)
Anyhoo. For the most part we're looking at the same device here. It's got a 5.2-inch TRILUMINOS display at 1080p, and it looks mighty nice. It's got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor inside. You have 32GB of on-board storage, plus a micro SD card. (And Verizon is tossing in 25GB of its own cloud storage.)
The Todoist app for Android is getting a new update that literally adds some Karma. In this case, Karma is the name of a new feature for the mobile version of the task manager app that helps to visually a user's progress in achieving their goals for the day or month.
Lenovo has today announced a pair of new Android tablets in its Yoga lineup, the Yoga Tablet 2. Like its predecessor it also comes in both 8-, and 10-inch sizes and has a design centered around the fold out kickstand. And presumably thanks to a hole in that kickstand, the Yoga Tablet 2 now has a fourth 'mode,' known as hang.
Neither the 8- nor 10-inch models are particularly lacking on the hardware front with a bump in the internals and the display resolution since the original Yoga tablet graced us with its presence.
Lenovo's most impressive Android tablet to date isn't lacking on the hardware front
Lenovo is back with another crack at Android tablets with this, the latest and greatest in its Yoga line. The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, to give it its full title, isn't any old slab, it's a 13.3-inch, QHD tablet with the same sort of adjustable kickstand seen on previous efforts.
Besides being pretty large and having an impressive sounding display, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro also houses its own integrated projector which Lenovo says is enough to create a 50-inch "home theater experience" on any flat surface.
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