4 years ago

Desire 300: This is how HTC attacks the low-end market


Just enough internal hardware to get by, with much nicer external hardware than you expect for the price

HTC announced the Desire 300 alongside the Desire 601 for specific markets back in September 2013. While it isn't a device that many of us will ever see or strive to own — we're more drawn to new colors of the HTC One and One Mini — it's an important phone for HTC to have on offer in places where disposable income for a phone isn't at the $650 level.

The internal specs aren't going to blow you away. We're looking at a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, just 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage (with an SDcard slot). The display, while only 480 x 800, is 4.3-inches and looks great, just as we've come to expect from HTC devices. The internals are enough to push around Android 4.1 with Sense 5 (including BlinkFeed) and a scaled-back set of visual features. It still feels like a full-blown set of HTC software, but you can tell where cuts were made to save performance.

Although it may not have widescale availability it can be picked up with little hassle, thanks to Amazon, for $249 (just don't count on getting 3G here) in the U.S. The Desire 300 is targeting even lower price points where it's being sold directly, however — we saw it go on sale in Australia for just $179 AUD (about $159 USD) at the end of last year. At those prices, people stop being so critical on the internal specs and simply pay attention to how it feels and whether or not it offers a minimum level of performance.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Moto G Google Play edition


It's a Moto G, minus some Motorola software

Let's just get this out of the way: There's very little difference between the "regular" Moto G and the Google Play edition Moto G. It's worth arguing that a GPe version of the Moto G (at this point in time) doesn't really make sense. In fact, you lose some functionality, not being able to use Motorola's custom camera and "Assist" apps, to name but two. On the other hand, you get some easy unlocking capability, if that's how you roll.

Otherwise? That's it. Same $179 (or $199 for 16GB) phone, sans contract. No LTE data. Same removable back cover (you'll have to go to Moto directly for different colors). Physically, these are the same phones.

It's also worth a quick mention that the Google Play edition box is showing the same launcher as the Nexus 5, which some folks have taken to calling the "Google Experience Launcher," or GEL. But just like every other Google Play edition device we've seen, that launcher isn't actually on the phone. Is that a nod toward a Google Play release of that app? Dunno. It could well just be a marketing error. For now, it is what it is.

This Moto G has Android 4.4.2 already installed (with a slightly lower build number than the Moto Moto G, for what that's worth), so no waiting for an update, or installing one first-thing, as most Moto Gs have already seen their over-the-air update roll out.

And that's that. Peep the video after the break for more.

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4 years ago

'Blackphone' aims to be a secure Android experience


Preorders for joint venture between Geeksphone and Silent Circle to begin at Mobile World Congress

Coming next month at Mobile World Congress, we should get a look at the "Blackphone," a joint venture between Geeksphone (you know them as being an early CyanogenMod supporter) and Silent Circle. BlackPhone aims to give a traditional Android experience that "prioritizes the user's privacy and control, without any hooks to carriers or vendors."

Specific details are slim at this point, but Blackphone promises "revolutionary communications" with secure phone calls and texts, file sharing and video chat. 

It's calling its version of Android (and we don't yet know the base platform) "PrivatOS" and is headed up by Phil Zimmermann, who created the PGP standard of encryption widely used in e-mail. Other co-founding execs include Geeksphone's Javier Aguera and Rodrigo Wilva-Ramos, PGP's Jon Callas and ex-Navy SEAL and founder and fomer CEO of SOC Mike Janke.

More: Blackphone

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1s first impressions


Sony and T-Mobile have paired to bring another great phone to the U.S. market

Sony was firing on all cylinders last week at CES, and one of its most impressive new products already is available here in the United States. Meet the Xperia Z1s, the North American answer to Sony’s Xperia Z1 flagship and T-Mobile’s exclusive follow up to last summer’s Xperia Z. It’s available now online (coming to stores next Monday) for $22 per month or $528 outright.

We’ve spent the past few days with the device and before we break it down piece by piece in a full in-depth review,  a few of our first impressions can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

Moto G Google Play edition now on sale for $179


Same great phone at a budget price, with a slightly different take on software

In yet another quiet release, Google has just put up the Moto G Google Play edition for sale at $179 for the 8GB model. That mirrors the price that Motorola has been selling it directly, but this version will follow in the footsteps of other GPe devices with a slightly different software experience. The differences will likely be a bit more subtle on the Moto G considering that Motorola's current offering is barely changed from Google's take on the software.

The hardware specs seem identical to what we've seen in the current Moto G, as they should be. And although the device is unlocked and listed as being compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, it's worth mentioning that the spec sheet does not show 1700MHz (AWS) support for HSPA+ — that means T-Mobile customers in markets that have not been refarmed to 1900MHz will be sitting on EDGE with this one.

If you're looking for more storage you'll be able to option up to 16GB for $199, and both versions are listed in the Play Store as in-stock and shipping in 1-2 business days.

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4 years ago

Sprint's HTC One gets some bugfixes


Sprint today is rolling out an update for its HTC One. The changelog is short and sweet: "Fixes an issue that blocked users from being able to Update Profile/PRL." That's important for keeping a good connection. So, yeah. Good fix.

Meanwhile, we continue the lookout for the Android 4.4 KitKat update.

Source: Sprint; More: HTC One (Sprint) forums; thanks, Kyle!

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4 years ago

Moto G available Jan. 20 on Boost Mobile for $129


A quick heads up, folks, that Motorola's budget-friendly Moto G smartphone will be available on Boost Mobile starting Jan. 20. It runs just $129 on Boost's no-contract $55-a-month plan. You get 50GB of Google Drive space along with that, of course.

Boost's Moto G will launch with Android 4.3 but should get its Android 4.4 update shortly, Boost says.

More: Boost Mobile

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4 years ago

First look: The European Moto X in London


Moto X gets a British accent and a hefty price tag

It's taken five months, but the Moto X is finally headed to Europe — specifically the UK, France and Germany — from Feb. 1. Moto's flagship, now sporting European 4G LTE support, comes with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, and a familiar array of features that American Moto X owners have been getting acquainted with since the fall. There's Touchless Control, which lets you command your device using the "OK Google Now" keyword, in addition to active display, which shows you notifications on-screen in place of a notification LED. And other highlights include the unique wiggle gesture to bring up the camera app, and Trusted Bluetooth to let you disable lock screen security if you're paired with your favorite accessory. In essence, it's the same Moto X we declared the best Android phone around just a couple of months ago.

But the European Moto X's greatest weakness could be its hefty SIM-free price tag. It'll sell "from £25 per month" on contract, we're told, but if you want a Moto X without a monthly plan it'll set you back £380 (around $610) for the 16GB version. What's more, Moto Maker isn't available in Europe yet (it's apparently "a few months" away), so you're limited to the black and white versions. Even then, Phones4u will be the only outlet to offer the white version for the first three months of availability.

So Europeans finally get a Moto X designed for their networks, but a few pain points remain at launch. We got our hands on the European Moto X earlier today, so check out our quick look video and photo gallery after the break.

More: Moto X review

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4 years ago

LG G Flex now avaliable for preorder from Carphone Warehouse in the UK


If you're in the UK and are looking to get your curve on, the LG G Flex (see our initial review) is now available for preorder from Carphone Warehouse. It's available from £52 a month, CPW says, with a £79 handset cost, or £42 a month as part of an upgrade with no handset cost. 

You can have it in any color you want, so long as it's black.

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4 years ago

Motorola brings the Moto X to the UK


Moto X coming to British customers in February for £380

Five months after the device was announced for the U.S., Motorola has today unveiled the Moto X for the UK ahead of a day of events in London. The European Moto X is the same device Americans have been using since the fall — a 4.7-inch display with a hand-friendly design and Motorola's X8 mobile computing system, combining a dual-core AP with silicon for contextual processing and always-on voice commands. The UK Moto X will run Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, and come with all the software features we've seen on the U.S. model — such as active display, touchless control and trusted Bluetooth — only with support for UK 3G and 4G LTE networks.

Motorola says the device will go on sale from February 1, and will cost £380 outright. We won't be getting any Moto Maker facilities right now, so we're limited to the black and white versions. 16GB will be the standard model available, but a 32GB Moto X can be yours from the Motorola website when it goes on sale. 

Update: Following the London event, Motorola has confirmed again the February 1 launch date, applicable to the UK and also to France and Germany. So far, only one UK carrier partner has been announced, O2, and the Moto X will be available on contract from £25 per month. In addition to buying through O2 and Motorola direct, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U will also both be stocking the Moto X, with the white version initially being exclusive to Phones 4U. 

In addition, Motorola confirmed to us that the 32GB version will not in fact be available in the UK at this time. 

More: Moto X review

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

Sony announces 6-inch Xperia T2 Ultra and Ultra dual for emerging markets


Huge device with solid specs and dual SIM option targeted at the mid-range buyer

Sony is expanding its large device lineup today with the Xperia T2 Ultra and Ultra dual. Targeted at a more price-sensitive buyer in emerging markets such as China, the Middle East and Africa — as you would expect with a dual SIM option — the Xperia T2 Ultra brings many headline features and Sony design elements but cuts corners in a few places to lower the cost.

This budget behemoth offers a 6-inch 720 x 1280 Triluminous display, a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage (plus SDcard support), a 3000mAh battery, NFC and LTE data access all running with Android 4.3. Sony is also making a point that these devices ship with a 13MP camera and several advanced camera modes. It is also available in three hallmark Sony colors — white, black and purple.

Mid-range devices that carry the same styling and many of the features of its higher-end devices are very important for Sony's brand recognition and market share, particularly in these emerging markets. While much of the focus may be put on its flagships launching in Western markets, the Xperia T2 Ultra and Ultra dual (what a wonky name that is) can sell well if the prices are right.

More: Sony

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1s now available from T-Mobile online


This, folks, is how you launch a phone. Announced just last week at CES in Las Vegas, the Sony Xperia Z1s is now available on T-Mobile's website. It'll cost you $528 outright, or free if you're willing to pay $22 a month for two years. The Z1s isn't terribly different from its first iteration. Here's how we put it in our hands-on from the show:

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.

Be sure to check out T-Mobile's coverage maps if you're looking at making the switch.

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4 years ago

Vodafone UK confirms Moto G coming soon


Mid range device coming to large UK carrier soon

We've seen that Motorola is set to launch what we believe is the Moto X in Europe next week, and Vodafone UK has announced that they will be carrying the Moto G as well. Unfortunately Vodafone has yet to announce pricing, as they are holding that for the launch, but we can bet it will likely be less than from Motorola directly. Voda says its Moto G will run Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box — interesting as that update still hasn't landed on the European model.

If you haven't already checked out our review of the Moto G or checked out how it compares to some other devices, you will want to do that now. Would you be interested in making the Moto G your next device?

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4 years ago

Gold HTC One hands-on


One of our 2013 favorites, revisited in an exclusive new color

We've spent all week getting to know some of this year's most-anticipated upcoming Android devices at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. But as we head towards the end of the week, there's just time to take a look at one of our favorite Android phones, we've been able to spend some time with one of our favorites from 2013 in a bold new color option. As announced shortly before the holidays, the HTC One now comes in gold — at least in some European countries — with a darker trim around its edges.

And in our video and photo galleries after the break we'll compare this lustrous new HTC One to the classic silver version, and Apple's rival gold iPhone 5s. Enjoy!

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4 years ago

ZTE shows off phones, phablets and hot spot projectors #CESlive


You put the hotspot inside the Android powered projector?!

Cali and Kevin welcomed Andrew from ZTE to the stage to discuss some of the new exciting offerings from ZTE that they announced at CES this year. Having announced 7 new devices, ZTE is quite proud of being the number 4 smartphone manufacturer in the US right now. From the Nubia 5S to Android powered hot spot projector, ZTE is looking to please a wide variety of customers with their new devices. 

Check out the full video above to see Kevin and Cali get the low down on some of the new offerings from ZTE and check out all of our continuing coverage as well.

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