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3 years ago

Moto X in Europe: The Android Central casual review

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After a late arrival in the UK and mainland Europe, how does the Moto X shape up?

After a five-month wait, European consumers finally got the Moto X this February. A significant launch for Moto's European arm, it's occurring as the company prepares to enter yet another period of transition following the Lenovo acquisition.

Industry drama aside, the Moto X the most high-profile Motorola smartphone to hit European shores in at least a couple of years, and undoubtedly the company's best effort to date. For that reason, the Moto X was our favorite phone of 2013, beating competition from HTC and Samsung. But in contrast to its US launch, the European Moto X is positioned more as a mid-range companion to the Moto G, rather than a competitor to the raft of new high-end Androids appearing in the next month.

In our "casual review" of the European Moto X, we're not going to re-hash everything we've already covered in our full Moto X review and six-month look-back. Instead we're going to reflect on some general thoughts on the device after three weeks of use, and consider where it belongs in the wider Android marketplace.

So how does the Moto X fit into this new mid-range role, and is it still worth a look so long after its global debut? Let's take a look...

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3 years ago

HTC unveils new entry-level Desire 310

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Traditional three button set up is back again

HTC has today pulled the wraps off its latest entry-level offering, the Desire 310. And, immediately noticeable over its predecessor, the Desire 300, is that the traditional three button arrangement is back in business. No giant gaps between two buttons here. Otherwise it sounds pretty much like we'd expect of a budget offering from HTC with Blinkfeed and Video Highlights included.

Hardware wise the Desire 310 houses a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU, a 4.5-inch display and a 5MP rear camera. We're not given much more than that at this point, though it all sounds very much entry-level. The press render up top also shows – rather oddly for a HTC device – stock app icons and the blue status bar. It could well be a mistake in the photoshopping process, but it would also indicate Jelly Bean and not KitKat. Either way HTC hasn't said right now. Head on past the break for the full press release.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z2 up for pre-order in the UK, arriving April 11

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Free from £47 per month on contract, with pre-order goodies from Phones4u

British retailer Phones4u has unveiled its on-contract prices for Sony's upcoming Xperia Z2. The Z2 is set to land at P4u on April 11 — the same day as the global launch for the Samsung Galaxy S5 — with the phone available for free on 24-month contracts from Vodafone and EE starting at £47 per month. Pay £49-99 upfront and it's possible to knock the monthly fee down to £42. Phones4u has the Xperia Z2 in white and black at present — no purple option, as that model is only available at O2 — but P4u dos have exclusivity over the white Z2 in the U.K.

Pre-order customers will get a free Sony SRS-BTX300 wireless speaker valued at £119, in additition to "exclusive Sony content including games, music and six movies," and a 50% discount on the cost of Sony's Smartband accessory. And order on a 4G tariff and the retailer will throw in £50 Google Play credit.

To learn more about the Sony Xperia Z2, check out our hands-on report from Mobile World Congress.

More: Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on

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3 years ago

LG makes the L90 extra official, details specs and features

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The highest-end of the low-end brings new 'Knock Code' to more people

Following up on the announcement just before MWC that its L Series III devices will be coming to market in short order, we now have more details and a launch window for the highest-end of the bunch, the L90. Before you prepare to get blown away, let's remember that these devices are targeted at the lower end of the market with the goal of bringing some LG style and features to those who won't (or can't) shell out the cash for an LG G Pro 2 or even G2 Mini.

The L90 is sporting a 4.7-inch qHD IPS display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 5MP camera — solid specs for a lower-end device that won't command a high price tag. On the software side you're getting Android 4.4 KitKat as well, including a refreshed interface and LG's latest feature, Knock Code, which lets you unlock your device from sleep by tapping in a sequence on the locked screen.

More: How to use Knock Code on the LG G Pro 2

LG expects the L90 to launch soon in Russia, with other regions coming later with specific launch information on each market to be rolled out when it becomes available. This likely isn't a device we'll see in the U.S., but it's a good one to keep things in perspective nonetheless.

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3 years ago

New HTC One leaked in higher resolution, flaunts new curves

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The new One shows its softer side with age

Where the old HTC One had polycarbonate-injected sharp-edged sides, the latest pictographic leak of the upcoming new-for-2014 HTC One shows it with the already-known full metal body, but accentuating the newer, more-friendly curves of the edge. There are a bunch of small details to be considered — the broader curve of the top and bottom corners, that glossy black plastic strip across the top, the close-up of the dual cameras and flash, and how the black plastic trim on the edges of the screen has vanished.

All-in-all, these new photos found on Weibo by Nowhereelse.fr show a smartphone that takes everything that we loved about the old HTC One and made an improved version that's more refined and mature than what was already a refined and mature handset. Some of it's still a mystery — like what exactly HTC's going to do with those dual cameras, what that black plastic on the top is for, and why HTC still felt the need to keep a black bar for its logo on the front after losing the capacitive buttons — but there's not a lot left up to the imagination anymore. We're less than three weeks from the all-new HTC One's announcement anyway.

You can check out the photos after the break, as well as an up-close crop of the press rendering of the gray brushed metal new HTC One's cameras, courtesy of @evleaks

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3 years ago

HTC tracks down biker who helped CEO to MWC on time

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Remember the Spanish biker HTC was trying to track down after he gave the phone maker's CEO a lift to an important meeting? Today the company has announced that they've tracked down their man — 53-year-old Barcelona resident Obdulio Herrera — who was found through his son following HTC's search late last week. Herrera escorted a traffic-jammed Peter Chou through the busy Barcelona streets on the first day of Mobile World Congress, but refused the money Chou was offering for the favor.

And his reward, now that he's been located? Herrera will be heading to London on March 25 as a guest of HTC to witness the launch of the new HTC One.

More: HTC Blog

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3 years ago

Sprint confirms Galaxy S4 + Note 3 KitKat rollout, reveals plans for more Samsung updates

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Sprint Note 2, GS3 and GS4 Mini among planned KitKat updates

Sprint has confirmed that it's rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat firmware for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, with both updates having gone live in the past month. Sprint's Galaxy S4 started receiving KitKat from Feb. 13, and was joined a week later by the Note 3 on Feb. 20. But those won't be the only Samsung devices to receive Android 4.4 on Sprint's network — the carrier also revealed plans to update the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Mega and Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, though there's no information on when these updates will be availabe.

If previous Samsung KitKat updates are any indication, Sprint customers won't be in for any major visual changes compared to the earlier Android 4.3 and 4.2-based software. Highlights pointed out by the carrier in its blog post include the new location menu, SMS in Hangouts and updated lock screen capabilities, including full-screen album art.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 gets KitKat update

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495MB over-the-air update brings T-Mo's Note 3 up to latest Android version

It looks like the Galaxy S4 isn't the only Samsung phone seeing a KitKat OTA today — T-Mobile's Galaxy Note 3 is also arriving at Android 4.4.2 this morning, by way of a 495MB over-the-air update. As we've seen from previous Note 3 KitKat updates, the new firmware shouldn't do much to change the look and feel of Samsung's 5.7-inch handset, with the most noticeable change being the switch to all-white status bar icons.

Note 3 owners on T-Mobile will also benefit from the usual KitKat features, including immersive mode, transparent notification bars in some apps, and built-in cloud printing support.

If you're seeing the OTA on your T-Mobile Note 3 this morning, be sure to hit the comments and make yourself known!

Source: Android Central forums; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 reportedly getting KitKat OTA in parts of Europe and Asia

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Wider rollout for Android 4.4.2 on Samsung's 2013 flagship

At Mobile World Congress last week we were somewhat surprised to see a bunch of European Galaxy S4s on the show floor running new Android 4.4-based firmware — and now it appears Samsung has deemed the update ready for the masses. This morning we're seeing reports from GS4 owners in Poland, Malaysia and the Philippines indicating that over-the-air updates between 350 and 400MB are now pushing out, bringing Samsung's 2013 flagship up to the latest version of Android. Other countries, too, are sure to be included in the initial rollout.

As we saw in Barcelona last week, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of outward differences between the new firmware and the old Android 4.3-based ROM, besides the presence of new, white status bar icons. And certainly we're not yet seeing any of the visual changes from the Galaxy S5 trickling down to older Samsung devices. Nevertheless, KitKat brings a bunch of system-level improvements from which S4 owners can now benefit.

If you've got a European or Asian Galaxy S4, now would be a good time to check for updates. Be sure to drop by the commends after you're done and let us know if you're seeing KitKat on your device.

Source: Antyweb (Polish); XDA; Thanks, Tom!

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3 years ago

Google pinpoints Nexus 5 camera/CPU usage bug, fix coming in next Android release

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But 'mm-qcamera-daemon' glitch may affect other KitKat devices too

Google says it has fixes ready for reported high CPU usage connected to the Nexus 5's camera, according to a post by a Googler on the company's issue tracker. The bug can cause the phone's CPU to become maxed out — resulting in battery drain — when using the camera, with "mm-qcamera-daemon" showing high battery consumption in Android's power consumption display. As the bug is related to the process handling camera data, third-party apps may trigger the glitch as well. According to the update on the Android issue tracker, Skype in particular "seems to access the camera regularly from its background service in some way that triggers this bug," though the poster says they don't believe this is a bug in Skype itself.

The Google employee says the bug will be fixed in the next maintenance release of Android, but until then the only remedy is to reboot the phone. Uninstalling Skype may also fix instances where the app triggers the "mm-qcamera-daemon" in the background. Perhaps more worryingly, though, the bug can affect other KitKat devices using Qualcomm chips for camera processing, such as the Galaxy Note 3. For these devices, the Googler says owners will need to wait for the device manufacturer to issue their own patch.

Meanwhile Nexus 5 owners should expect the fix along with other improvements in the next update, most likely Android 4.4.3.

Source: Google Issue Tracker; via Reddit, Phandroid

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3 years ago

We're answering your LG G Pro 2 questions in the forums!

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Get your burning G Pro 2 questions answered

We've just put up our initial thoughts on the recently-announced LG G Pro 2. It's impossible to hit every single bit of information in a single post — let alone a "preview" — so we know there are some burning questions left over that you just need to ask.

Have a question about a specific portion of the hardware or software? About a certain camera function? How something feels or compares to another device? We'll do our best to answer anything we can. Just hop into the forum thread at the link below and ask.

I've got a G Pro 2, you've got questions — fire away!

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3 years ago

LG G Pro 2 preview — even bigger, even better

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LG G Pro 2

Everything you loved in the smaller LG G2, and then some, is in the G Pro 2

The game that is the oversized Android smartphone — don't say "phablet," we beg you — has become one of leapfrog in the past couple years.

Consider: The original Samsung Galaxy Note in 2011 was a surprise hit. Turns out folks do want phones that big. Then LG rolled out the forgettable Optimus Vu. Samsung continues on in 2012 with the Note 2. But then LG — seemingly (ahem) inspired — fires back in early 2013 with the original Optimus G Pro, sleeker and slimmer than its competitor. Last fall sees the Galaxy Note 3.

And now we have the LG G Pro 2. Even bigger. Even better. Unburdened by the "Optimus" name, which LG tells us didn't really do that much in terms of brand recognition anyway. If things look familiar, they should. Much of what you'll see here is present in the LG G2 (and some of the additions will make their way back to the G2).

Let's take a walk through this oversized phone, shall we?

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3 years ago

Samsung's first Galaxy S5 promo video is all about the features

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As Samsung prepares to launch its latest flagship smartphone, the company has today released a new promotional trailer showcasing the Galaxy S5's multitude of features. The video focuses mainly on the GS5's new photographic capabilities and fitness features, such as the built-in heart rate monitor and Gear smartwatch integration, while also giving a bit of face time to some of the GS5's lesser-known features, like the new Ultra power saving and download boost modes.

More: Galaxy S5 hands-on; Galaxy S5 camera walkthrough

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3 years ago

Korea gets Galaxy Note 3 Neo with faster quad-core processor

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2.3GHz quad-core CPU for downsized Note 3 in Samsung's home market

Following launches in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 Neo has arrived in the company's home country of South Korea with slightly upgraded hardware. Whereas previous Note 3 Neo handsets have included lower-power quad or hexa-core processors, the Korean variant ships with a beefier 2.3GHz quad-core part — most likely a Snapdragon 800, based on the clock speed and the fact that it supports LTE-Advanced networks.

Aside from the upgraded CPU, Korea's Note 3 Neo featues the same 5.5-inch 720p HD SuperAMOLED display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera and 3100mAh battery. It's also running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Samsung's last-gen TouchWiz UI, not the redesigned, flattened version found on the Galaxy S5. And you get all the major S Pen stylus features from the full-size Note 3, including direct pen input and easy clip. The device is priced at 790,000 won ($736) and available now.

Source: Samsung (Korean), via: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Could Samsung go all-out with a 'Galaxy S5 Prime' later this year?

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Just how likely is the rumored 5.25-inch, 1440p 'super-flagship?'

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a solid high-end Android smartphone. We said as much in our hands-on preview of the device early last week. But among some sections of the tech community there's been a whiff of perplexion — and maybe even disappointment — that certain hardware milestones weren't reached this time around. What about the "2K" (2560x1440) display that the rumor mill — and Samsung's own slides — had promised? And how come the GS5 has less RAM, and a lower default amount of internal storage than last year's Note 3?

Even before launch there were rumblings of two different Galaxy S5 models being prepared — "regular" and "prime" flavors — seemingly corroborated by the appearance of benchmark results. The higher-end GS5 Prime, according to analysts and reports from the Korean press, would come with that elusive 2K display and 3GB of RAM. This, among a flurry of post-release rumors, has led some to believe that a larger, higher-spec'd Galaxy S5 could emerge later this year, with the name "Galaxy S5 Prime" appearing online in recent weeks.

But just how likely is this? And how might it fit into Samsung's plans for the remainder of the year? Let's dive in after the break.

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