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3 years ago

Both hands-on with the 6.8-inch Hisense X1


Think your 5-inch phone is big? Here's a handset from China carrying a tablet-class display

The 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3? Tiny. The 5.9-inch HTC One Max? Petite. Sony's 6.4-inch Z Ultra? Dwarfed. Meet the Hisense X1 handset, on show at the Chinese manufacturer's CES booth in Las Vegas today. With a gargantuan 6.8-inch 1080p display, the X1 is almost as large as some of the smaller Android tablets out there — and while we weren't able to pocket-test the devices on show here today, we did have difficulty using it with any less than two hands. And externally it looks more than a little like the HTC One, with metallic sections at the top and bottom, and a subtly curved back panel. A variety of colors are available, including matte black, a glossier white and metallic blue and grey.

On the inside the device runs a quad-core Snapdragon CPU at 2.3GHz — likely a Snapdragon 800 — with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, so we're looking at typical high-end Android internals. There's a 13-megapixel camera around the back, a 5-megapixel front-facer and a whopping 3,900mAh battery to power the gigantic display. The model on show at the Hisense CES booth is for China Mobile, with 4G LTE support for that carrier.  The X1 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Hisense's own custom UI, which focuses on flat icons and pastel colors, and performance is just as speedy as we'd expect from the hardware.

It's unclear whether the X1 in its current configuration will ever see a U.S. release, but buyers on China Mobile should be able to pick it up later this year, along with a range of accessories. We've got both of our hands on the Hisense X1 in our video after the break, along with some more photos.

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3 years ago

HTC talks phones, phones and more phones at #CESlive


Small phone, big phone, bigger phone — HTC brought it all (but nothing really new just yet) to Las Vegas

Jeff Gordon from HTC took a couple of minutes to talk to John P and Derek Kessler and recap the devices we saw in 2013. From the unparalleled build quality of the HTC One to the bigger brother HTC One Max and even the mid range Desire series devices it was a busy year for HTC.

Build quality has always been a strong point for HTC, and we are excited to see what 2014 brings from them. Check out just over 11 minutes of great conversation in the video above.

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3 years ago

In pictures: Sony's new phones at CES 2014


At its two-hour press conference at CES, Sony unveiled a raft of new products, including the Xperia Z1s — a version of the Xperia Z1 for T-Mobile U.S. — and the Xperia Z1 Compact, a miniaturized version of the Z1 for global markets. We've been playing around with Sony's new handsets here in Las Vegas over the past day, and we've brought you hands-on coverage of both devices. Now we've got a full gallery of the Z1s and Z1 Compact, along with the European Xperia Z1, giving you a complete comparison of Sony's current flagship lineup. Check 'em out after the break.

More: Sony Xperia ​Z1s hands-on, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact hands-on

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Round


Curved smartphones are now officially a thing, and the Samsung Galaxy Round is one of the first devices of this kind to emerge. While there's no word on any Western launch for the device, it's on sale now in Korea, and we've had the chance to get our hands on one for a quick demo.

With a 5.7-inch display the Galaxy Round is one of the larger handsets out there, but the subtle curve to the display makes it slightly narrower and more hand-friendly than that device. Similarly, the curved back makes for a comfortable fit in the palm.

The Note 3 similarities continue under the hood, with a Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM, backed up by 32GB of storage. On the software side, you're looking at a familiar TouchWiz UI with all the apps and features we've come to expect, in addition to some new tricks linked to the curvaceous chassis. Tilt the phone when it's off to view notifications, missed calls and battery levels, tilt in the Gallery app to view albums, and tilt at the lock screen for an animated water effect.

We've got a quick hands-on demo after the break, along with more photos.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with Sony's background defocus camera app


Sony brings a new camera feature to the T-Mobile Xperia Z1s

When Sony launched the Xperia Z1 last year, it introduced a new camera apps with several mini-apps for taking various kinds of shots. And now with the T-Mobile-bound Xperia Z1s the company is launching a new, exclusive "background defocus" app to for taking macro shots with artistically blurry backgrounds.

Launched from the main camera menu, background defocus lets you select an object in the foreground to focus on, then hit the shutter button and take your photo. Next you'll enter the defocus editing mode, where you can control the level and type of blur being used — a regular soft blur, or vertical or horizontal motion blur. When you've selected your blur type and level, hitting the check button will save your shot to the gallery.

The new background defocus mode is exclusive to the Xperia Z1s for the moment, though given the ease with which new camera features can be added to the Z1's camera, we wouldn't be surprised to see it on other handsets in the future. Check out our hands-on video for a quick walkthrough.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the ASUS Padfone Mini


One of the many products to come from ASUS in its CES 2014 press conference was the Padfone Mini, a smaller device device based upon its phone/tablet docking hybrid system. So, unlike previous Padfone devices, the Mini has a 4-inch smartphone that docks into a 7-inch tablet. 

From the front, it's extremely reminiscent of the ASUS Fonepad. Powering the device is a 1.6GHz Intel Z2560 CPU backed up by 1GB of RAM. On the software front we're coming with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box, though as with other new devices ASUS is promising an update to Android 4.4 KitKat. 

The Padfone Mini isn't positioned at the high-end of the spectrum, with a pretty average 480x800 resolution display on the phone, and a 1280x800 resolution panel on the tablet dock. Internal storage is limited to 8GB but with microSD card expansion, and a pair of cameras rated at 8MP on the back, and 2MP on the front. The Padfone Mini will also come in a range of colors, including this striking red variant, as well as black, white, blue and yellow.

For a few more hands on photos, and a video runthrough, head on past the break.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact hands-on


Sony's flagship gets miniaturized into a new, smaller form factor while keeping its high-end specs

Following months of teasing, rumors and leaks, Sony today unveiled the Xperia Z1 Compact at its CES 2014 press conference. As expected, the Z1 Compact makes waves by maintaining the same high-end internals found in its larger brethren, the 5-inch Xperia Z1; essentially it's a version of the Z1 f, which recently launched in Japan, for global markets.

While other manufacturers' "mini" smartphones tend to sacrifice hardware muscle in order to pack everything into a smaller, it's impressive that Sony has managed to cram the same internals into a smaller body. The only real downgrades are the screen and battery — both understandable due to the size constraints of this 4.3-incher. You'll get a 720p panel on the Z1 Compact versus 1080p on the regular Z1, and a 2300mAh battery instead of 3000mAh.

Elsewhere you'll find a familiar set of specs — a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and Sony's excellent 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor that works so well on the Z1. The software, too, is essentially identical to that of the Z1 and Z1s — Android 4.3 Jelly Bean topped off with Sony's customizations, including integration with the company's content ecosystems. That means you've got Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited built into the movies and Walkman apps.

The Z1 Compact is also a bit more colorful than Sony's other handsets — in addition to the standard black and white, you also get bright lime and pink color options, which keep the black trim around the display, but sport vivid tones on the outer trim and back panel.

Head on past the break for more photos and hands-on video.

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3 years ago

First look at the T-Mobile Sony Xperia Z1s


Sony just got done with its CES 2014 press conference leaving us with plenty to talk about. One such discussion point is this, the brand new Xperia Z1s, exclusive to T-Mobile. We've had chance to take a quick first look at the new arrival, and on the whole it's a lot like the current Xperia Z1 that we're familiar with.

The first difference between the two is the weight; the Z1s is lighter than the Z1, and it's a little more plasticky in construction compared to its sibling. The design remains largely the same, with the same power button on the side, magnetic charging dock connectors and SIM slot. Cosmetically they're virtually identical then, with only the headphone jack being noticeably different in location on the Z1s. 

Of course, one of the improvements T-Mobile customers can enjoy over the Z1 is the bumped 32GB of internal storage. Inside the Z1s runs a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800, has 2GB of RAM, and a 20.7MP G-Lens camera just as on the Z1, and we're coming out of the box now with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.. Oh, and you get a little T-Mobile logo on the rear. 

And that's about it. It's a lot like the Xperia Z1, but a little different in a few areas. For a quick video run through and a few more snaps, head on past the break.

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3 years ago

Sony unveils its Xperia Z1 Compact


It's Sony's turn to take the CES stage, and they've arrived with yet another entry into its Xperia lineup: meet the Xperia Z1 Compact, a miniaturized, colorful version of the company's  Z1 flagship.

We think this model will have the same broad appeal as its Xperia Z1, as it ships with nearly the same specs: we're looking at the same waterproof coating, Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 gigs of RAM.  The Z1 Compact also matches the Z1's camera: here, you'll find the same 20.7 MP shooter with f/2.0 lens and Exmor CMOS sensor, which Sony promises is one of the best mobile shooters in the business.

Here, though, Sony opted for a smaller, 4.3-inch display with 720p resolution. Sony also opted for a more colorful finish, and the Z1 Compact will ship in black, white, yellow and pink.

We'll be hunting down demo units for some quality hands on time once Sony's presser wraps up, but until we do, be sure to head over to our #CESLive hub for the rest of today's news.

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3 years ago

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G hands-on


A more refined take on the Mate that's expected to have better global sales reach

Huawei has just taken the wraps off of its latest leading device, the Ascend Mate 2 4G. Building off the relative success of the original Ascend Mate in its home market of China, the Ascend Mate 2 4G kicks things up to the next level. First and foremost, Huawei is really focusing on the fact that this device includes LTE connectivity. While most of its devices have been released with just HSPA+, the Ascend Mate 2 4G includes LTE access for every version of the device released worldwide — including AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.

The internal specs seem to be a bit of a mixed bag, but that's nothing new for Huawei. We're looking at just 720 x 1280 resolution on that 6.1-inch display (looks just fine to our eyes, though), powered by a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 2GB of RAM. Huawei continues its pretty standard camera arrangements with a 13MP Sony BSI sensor on back and a wide-angle 5MP shooter up front. The battery life is purportedly fantastic, with a 4050mAh lithium-polymer battery and special battery-saving software and networking features.

Hit the break for pictures, video and more thoughts on this new device.

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3 years ago

First look at the ASUS Zenfone 4, 5 and 6


Three Intel-powered handsets priced between $100 and 200

ASUS delivered a whopping six new Android devices at its CES press conference today, including three new Intel-powered handsets at a variety of screen sizes and price points. All three sport similar physical designs, reminiscent of HTC's One and Butterfly series. There's a gentle curve to the back, with flattened sides and ASUS's new Zen UI running the show, atop Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. We've taken our first look at the new Zenfone handsets from the floor of ASUS's presser today, and come away reasonably impressed with the company's efforts.

The Zenfone 4, 5 and 6 will sell for $99, $149 and $199 when they go on sale later this year. Check out our first look hands-on video above; we've got more photos after the break.

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3 years ago

LG G Flex coming to Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile in Q1


We're live from the LG press conference this morning ahead of CES in Las Vegas, and LG has just announced that it's bendable, flexible LG G Flex smartphone will be coming to three U.S. carriers in the next couple months.

On board so far are AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — with the latter bringing its tri-band "Spark" LTE to the table.

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3 years ago

Hands on with the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ and wristband accessory


We go hands on with Alcatel's newest handset live in Las Vegas

We're here in Las Vegas at CES with Alcatel, and we've had chance to spend a little quality time with its latest Android handset, the Idol X+. Launching today, the Idol X+ is due to go on sale in January beginning in Asia, with selected Russia to follow in Q1. 

The Idol X+ isn't the most spec'd out Android smartphone you'll find, but it's plenty solid enough. Out front we're looking at a 5-inch, 1080p display, and a wholly plastic construction with an exterior trim that bares a pretty accurate resemblance to brushed metal. Down bottom it looks like there's a pair of speakers, but it is in fact only one, with a 13MP camera round the back, and a 2MP 1080p shooter on the front.

At 7.9mm, the Idol X+ is pretty slim, and for a large phone it's plenty light enough to hold. Underneath, the Idol X+ is carrying a new Mediatek MTK6592 octa-core processor, clocked to 2GHz, with 2GB of RAM backing it up, and 16GB of internal storage.

More, including our hands-on video, after the break.

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3 years ago

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ announced at CES


Octa-core processor and 1080p display the highlight features on Alcatel's latest handset

Alcatel One Touch is leaping out of the CES gates early with the announcement of its latest Android handset, the Idol X+. With a design familiar to previous Idol devices, the headline hardware specs for the new Idol X+ are the 2 GHz octa-core processor, and the 5-inch 1080p display. 

Other hardware features of note are a 13.1MP rear camera, a 2MP 1080p front facing camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a 2500mAh battery. Alcatel also promises that the Idol X+ will pack some good quality, loud audio from the speakers mounted along the bottom edge of the device. 

While there's plenty of decent enough stuff underneath, there's a slight disappointment that the Idol X+ comes to market running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and there's no sign of LTE. No word on specific pricing or availability at this point, though Alcatel did tell us that it will begin shipping in China in January. We've got a hands on look at the new Idol X+ coming your way, and the full press release can be found after the break. 

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3 years ago

Corning announces 3D Gorilla Glass, coming to something bendy soon


Ready for unique designs without sacrificing strength or adding thickness

Corning has announced their latest innovation, which they're calling 3D-shaped Gorilla Glass. It's not for 3D video on our smart devices (thank goodness) but it describes the manufacturing process that will make Gorilla Glass into unique shapes without adding thickness or losing any of the scratch-resistant properties. Or not so scratch resistant, as the case may be.

This is part of a "one roof" solution where Corning can manufacture the product and go through all the processes without shipping parts or supplies to another location. According to James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials:

We can now take Gorilla Glass all the way from flat sheet to a finished 3D-shaped product in Asia, expediting turnaround times and minimizing logistical complexity. That’s a win for Corning and our customers.

We've seen curved designs from Samsung and LG already, and you can bet that everyone else is at least looking into bringing out curved display phones in the near future. And of course, the future of wearables isn't straight and narrow, so the new formed shapes could come in handy there as well. 

Corning will be at CES, and we'll wander in and have a look at what they're showing off this year. Stay tuned for more on this one.

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