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HTC One M8 shows off red and pink colors

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

If you’re the type of person who prefers to have your smartphone in flashy colors without resorting to using phone casings, then HTC One M8’s newest color offerings would be right up your alley. They are now making the smartphone available in two other color variants, namely red and pink, to appeal to those who would rather forego the original Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver colors.

However, not everyone will be able to avail of these funky new colours. While Verizon is offering the red variant in the US, calling it the Glamour Red model, it is exclusive in the UK to carrier O2 who will be accepting pre-orders by August 5 and will be available in-store by August 7. The Pink HTC One M8 will only be available to the Carphone Warehouse in the UK as well starting August 7, but customers can already pre-order starting July 25 and will even receive an HTC One Dot View case for free.

One-M8-red

But lest you think that there are some additional features for the two color variants, they’re still the same as any other HTC One M8 phone. And that is not exactly a bad thing as HTC’s flagship has been receiving mostly positive reviews. Its 5-inch Super LCD3 1080p display, 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, 2600 mAh battery and Snapdragon 801 processor are very desirable features to have in a smartphone. Another stand-out feature is that 5MP front-facing camera for those who just love to take selfies. The Duo Camera boasts of great imaging capabilities, harnessed by HTC’s Ultrapixel technology.

The design of the HTC One M8, with its rounded corners and edges and curved unibody design, isn’t all that bad either. The brushed metal look which worked so nicely with the gray, silver and Amber Gold (also available in the US through Verizon) colors, also work well with the two newest colors. Now anyone up for making a purple or orange one?

VIA: Pocket Now

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom review

Posted by wicked July - 24 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

The Bottom Line

An average phone with an above average camera

PROS
  • 10x optical zoom
  • Solid build quality
  • Optical image stabilization
CONS
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Awkward to hold
  • Bad battery life

6.5

The Galaxy K Zoom features an impressive camera, and offers robust optical zoom, but suffers from being the sum of its parts and having less than stellar battery life.

The cameras on our smartphones have come a long way over the past several years, and have undoubtedly contributed to making point and shoot cameras obsolete. An important feature from these cameras that aren’t easily found with smartphone camera tech though is optical zoom. Samsung, in their continued efforts to make sure that there’s a smartphone for every consumer, has taken up the charge in this regard, beginning with the Galaxy S4 Zoom released last year. Its successor has now made its way to the market, and today, we’ll be taking a comprehensive look at the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom!

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-30

When it comes to the design of the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, it looks like most other Samsung devices, being made entirely of plastic, with a faux metal rim around the perimeter. The signature Samsung button layout is available below the display, and the buttons and ports in the usual places for the most part, but with the volume rocker being moved to the right, along with the inclusion of a dedicated camera  button. The microSD card slot is found to the left, which will certainly prove useful, considering that the device offers just 8 GB of internal storage.

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Turning to the back is where things get interesting. From this view point, you could quite easily mistake the Galaxy K Zoom for a regular point and shoot camera. Other than the enhanced camera optics, you’ll find the same perforated design on the back cover that was first introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S5. The back is also removable, giving you access to the 2,500 mAh battery and the SIM card slot. The single speaker has been moved, and is placed above the camera. The sound quality is average, as you’d expect from a speaker on such a device, but its new position means that you won’t run the risk of covering it up while holding the device in portrait orientation.

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The Galaxy K Zoom is a thick and bulky device, which makes for an awkward handling experience. The design and material of the back cover does allow for a decent grip though, and the overall footprint of the device is a manageable size, courtesy of a display that isn’t too large.

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Speaking of the display, you get a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen, with a 720p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 306 ppi. While not the display specification of a flagship device, this screen does look good, as you’d expect from any Samsung AMOLED display. You get punchy colours, great viewing angles, and a brightness that allows for good visibility while outdoors.

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Along with the display, the other hardware specifications also attest to the mid-range nature of this phone, but aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination though. You get a hexa-core Samsung Exynos processor, that includes a dual-core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A15, coupled with a quad-core 1.3 GHz ARM Cortex-A7 processor, backed with 2 GB of RAM, and the Mali T-624 GPU. Day to day performance has been fine, with no obvious issues with regards to responsiveness.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-34

Coming to the camera, which is the biggest selling point of this device, you get a 20.7 MP sensor with a Xenon flash, and the key feature of 10x optical zoom. The camera software is very similar to what you’d get with any other Samsung smartphone, but does include options meant to take advantage of this camera, like the “pro suggest” feature, that lets you shoot with a variety of filters. There’s even a selfie alarm mode, that will automatically take a picture when you look at the camera, an interesting feature for all you selfie lovers out there.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-19

As far as the image quality goes, the Galaxy K Zoom is certainly capable of taking some great photos. Images look sharp, with great colours and no shortage in detail, and the camera does a great job with white balance and exposure. Photos tend to be on the colder side, but turning on HDR can help you achieve a much warmer looking shot.  The biggest advantage of course is the 10x optical zoom, allowing you to zoom in on subjects without losing detail. The optical zoom is really nice, but it’s got a variable aperture range of 3.1 to 6.3, so photos will tend to appear darker when fully zoomed in. The picture quality is really good, but not necessarily leaps and bounds ahead of other smartphone cameras though.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-21

What is less than impressive about the Galaxy K Zoom is the battery life. I found it difficult to get a full day of juice out of the battery, even while using the device just as a phone. If you plan on snapping photos all day, you might end up needing to charge the device half way through the day, which is certainly disappointing. The battery is replaceable though, so you do have the option of carrying around a spare if required.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-31

On the software side, the Galaxy K Zoom is running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, along with the latest version of TouchWiz on top. Most of the software features, such as Toolbox, Smart Stay, Smart Pause, and MyMagazine, are available, but not making the cut are multi-window, air gestures, s-health, and the fingerprint scanner. Overall, the software experience is identical to any other recent Samsung smartphone release.

Specifications

Display 4.8-inch Super AMOLED, 720p resolution, 306 ppi
Processor Samsung Exynos 5260 – Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 and dual-core 1.7 GHz Cortex A15, Mali-T624 GPU
RAM 2 GB
Storage 8 GB, expandable
Camera 20.7 MP, auto/manual focus, 10x optical zoom , optical image stabilization, Xenon and LED flashn2 MP front camera
Battery 2,500 mAh
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi, microUSB
Networks 3G/4G LTE
Dimensions 137.5 x 70.8 x 16.6 mm, 200 grams

Gallery

The Samsung Galaxy K Zoom won’t be available in the US from network carriers, but can be picked up from Amazon, at its full price of $500. It does feature LTE support, but if you’re on the T-Mobile or AT&T network, you’ll be limited to 3G, as the LTE bands of these networks aren’t supported.

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom-17

So there you have it – the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom! It may be a phone and camera combined together, but there’s not much that makes it stand out. As a phone, it is a mid-range device, but as a camera, it does boast great picture quality and optical zoom. Whether you want it or not depends on how important optical zoom is to you, or if you’re in the market for a fantastic camera on an otherwise mid-range smartphone.

OnePlus One Review – A Follow Up

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Aiming to shake up the Android smartphone industry, the OnePlus One has been making waves since its official launch. Not all of it has been good though, and people have certainly been vocal about their frustration with being able to actually get the phone. That said, the interest behind the “2014 flagship killer” is still understandably very high, and things are starting to look up.

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We were able to review the OnePlus One immediately after its launch, but I’ve been looking forward to doing a follow up for two particular reasons. Firstly, the software is now its final version, taking care of a lot of the kinks that plagued the pre-release review unit, and second, the device I bought is the 64 GB Sandstone Black, that features identical specifications, but comes with a lot more internal storage, and a different build material. So what changes, if any, are found in the final production version of the device ? We find out, in this follow up review of the OnePlus One!

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As mentioned, the full review of the 16 GB “Babyskin” white version of the device is already available, so this time around, it’ll be a somewhat unstructured look at what has changed from that pre-release version. In the earlier review, we did notice a few quirks and kinks, mostly with regards to the software experience, but I still found the device to be one the best I’ve reviewed, if only because of its still impressive price point of $299.

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For the follow up review, I was able to pick up the 64 GB Sandstone Black version of the OnePlus One, available for just $349. As far as the handling experience goes, it is very different, as an issue that I found with the soft touch plastic of the “Babyskin” white version was that it was quite slippery. That is not the case with the 64 GB edition, as the material on the back feels almost like sandpaper, obviously without being as coarse. It does have a soft touch to it, but is very textured, which definitely makes a big difference with regards to grip. Looking around the device, I did find the overall build quality to be a lot more refined this time around as well.

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When it comes to the display, you get the same 5.5-inch screen with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 401 ppi. The display performed admirably during the comprehensive review, and continues to do so with the final release version of the device. You get nice, vibrant colours, and the display also works quite well if you’re out and about in broad daylight. It has to be mentioned though that the screen does have sensitivity issues.

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This has nothing to do with touch sensitivity while using the phone, but rather, to do with the screen-off gestures. As you know, you are able to wake the device, quickly open the camera, play music, and turn on the flashlight easily, using a number of different gestures. To turn on the flashlight, you need to a draw a “V” on the screen, and what happens with this gesture is that there have been plenty of times where the torch turns on, even while the phone is in the pocket. It is something you have to be careful about, or you could choose to disable that particular gesture instead.

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The processing package, that includes a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5 GHz, and the Adreno 330 GPU, is still the best currently available in the market, and as such, there are no issues with the OnePlus One in terms of performance. A contributing factor to the performance aspect is also the software, CyanogenMod 11S, which was built specifically for this smartphone. The software features improvements across the board, not just in subtle aesthetic looks, but in relation to crashes I faced in the review unit earlier. For example, VSCO Cam would not open on the previous device no matter what I tried, but is an issue that I don’t face anymore.

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Things remain unchanged with the hardware, but one thing to worth mentioning here is that the two speakers, placed at the bottom of the device, are not stereo speakers, but are, in fact, two single speakers. These speakers work in tandem, that allows for it to get really loud, but doesn’t provide a left and right experience. One of the big problems I had with the review unit was the fact that the call volume was really low. At the time, I was assured that it was a software bug that would be addressed in a future update, and it looks like that fix has been done. Call volume is no longer an issue with the full retail version of the device.

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Without microSD expansion available, the bump in internal storage from 16 GB to 64 GB makes a world of difference. Being able to store a lot of things in this phone has allowed me to make this device my media powerhouse. Not only does it save all my music and podcasts, but also gives me the opportunity to game crazy with this device. Even with large games requiring a maximum of 2 or 3 GB, I get to download a lot of them without having to worry about running out of space.

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There is a lot of customization available with the “Themes Showcase” application, allowing you to completely change the look of the user interface. There were only a few options available at the beginning, but that list has certainly grown exponentially since, packed with both free and paid themes. The AudioFX app features a more updated look which is a lot flatter. The app, of course, gives you complete control of the equalizer, whether its through the headphone jack, or via the external speakers, and works really well.

Other Videos

That rounds up my experience so far with the final production version of the OnePlus One. When it comes the current crop of flagship devices, the OnePlus One has been a great surprise. Whether it stands true to its self-proclaimed titled of “flagship killer” depends on you and your requirements. The OnePlus One has a lot to offer, but misses out on expandable storage and a removable battery, features that may be important to you. Of course, the biggest selling point of the OnePlus One is its price point, and there are only a handful of smartphones that will prove to worthy competition for this device at this price range.

Stay tuned as we continue to bring you more great OnePlus One coverage, including an upcoming comparison with another fantastic device competing at this price range, the Google Nexus 5. You also have the chance to pick up the OnePlus One, by participating in our latest OnePlus One International Giveaway!

Archos 45c Platinum leaks out: Wanna pink?

Posted by wicked July - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

We already mentioned that Archos was planning to launch a lot new devices powered by MediaTek chips and running on Android 4.4 KitKat OS. Today, we would like to reveal the budget friendly Archos 45c Platinum which will come with three exchangeable covers. Are you ready to go pink?

archos-45cplatinum-s1

Speaking about other things than just covers, the specifications of the 45c Platinum are nothing to write home about. This dual-sim smartphone comes with Quad-Core CPU from MediaTek clocked at 1.3 Ghz, 512 MB of RAM(we thought it was 2014 already, oups), 5 Mpx camera on the back and 4.5 inch IPS screen with 854×480 resolution. It runs on the latest Android 4.4 KitKat(though we are wondering whether KitKat will be the latest Android by the time the 45c gets to the market) and there is an removable 1700 mAh battery to keep everything running.

archos-45cplatinum-s4

The blue and the pink covdrs will be included in the package.

archos-45cplatinum-s2archos-45cplatinum-s3

The good thing about the 45c? It should be available a price around 100€, but if you ask us – it is not worth the Platinum name and it is not worth spending even 99€ on it, because of the frustrating low resolution and low amount of RAM. Here are the full technical specifications for those that are still interested:

Operating System Android 4.4 (KitKat)
CPU Quad-Core MediaTek MT6582 @ 1.3GHz
Flash Storage Memory Capacity: 4 GB
System Memory 512 Mb
Interfaces Micro USB 2.0: Mobile Transfer Protocol (MTP)
Micro SD slot
Display 4.5″ IPS
854 x 480 resolution
GPS Yes
Bluetooth 4.0
Camera Back: 5.0 MPx + LED Flash
Front: 0.3 MPx
Dual-Sim Yes
Dimensions 134 x 67.5 x 9.9 mm
Weight 144.5g
Battery 1700 mAh

Archos 45b Platinum: Platinum for a penny

Posted by wicked June - 24 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Following the release of the 50 Neon and 50b Oxygen models, Archos is preparing another smartphone to be priced under 149€. We already mentioned that the 45b Platinum was on the way back in February, we revealed some of its specifications in April and today we are happy to share the full specifications. Is it an interesting device? Well, the 45b Platinum is another dual-sim(only one sim card slot that supports 3G connectivity) offering from Archos featuring the 1.2 Ghz quad-core processor from Qualcomm, 512MB of RAM and a relatively low resolution of 854 x 480 pixels on a 4.5 inch display. There is a 1700 mAh battery inside which should make sure that the phone will last a full working day on normal usage. And for 99€ it is currently available for at some places in Germany, it doesn’t look like a bad deal at all.

45bplatinum

It runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, comes with just 4GB of storage but which is expandable via microSD slot. And the 1.2 Ghz Quad-Core CPU with 512MB of RAM should be sufficient for an undemanding customer who is looking for an affordable smartphone, though a larger resolution with 1GB of RAM would have been much better.

45bplatinum-2

Technical Specifications

Operating System Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
CPU Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 @ 1.2GHz
Flash Storage Memory Capacity: 4 GB
System Memory 1024 Mb 512 Mb
Interfaces Micro USB 2.0: Mobile Transfer Protocol (MTP)
Micro SD slot
Display 4.5″ IPS
960 x 540 resolution 854 x 480 resolution
244 ppi
GPS Yes
Camera Back: 5.0 MPx + LED Flash
Front: 0.3 MPx
Dimensions 134 x 68 x 9.9 mm
Weight 144.5g
Battery 1700 mAh

Galaxy S5 LTE-A: 5.1-inch WQHD display, Snapdragon 805 core

Posted by wicked June - 18 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

It may not be the Galaxy F “S5 Prime” that was being leaked, but at least in the things that were important it might as well be. Samsung officially announced the newest member of its ever-growing smartphone family, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A, the first of its kind in its category in terms of its connectivity and Super AMOLED display.

One of the things that’s important for most mobile users is the connectivity speed of their devices and this new model, with its LTE-Advanced connectivity says it can offer its users download speeds of up to 225 Mbps, depending on your provider of course. Another concern is most users have multiple apps open at the same time and sometimes switching from one app to another bogs down the phone. The new Galaxy S5 features a Snapdragon 805 processor, the first one to do so, that makes your phone run faster with no danger of hanging when you have many apps open.

In terms of memory, it has 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage with the option of adding microSD cards for up to 128GB. Its screen is no lightweight as well, with the WQHD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED which gives the 5.1 inch-screen a 577ppi pixel density. The Galaxy S5 LTE-A is also supposedly water and dust resistant and has even received an IP67 certification for that. It also retains certain features from the last S5 model, like a 16-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera and it will be running on Android 4.4 KitKat as well.

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But hold on a minute before you start selling your old S5 and fall in line for this new one. It will only be available in the South Korean market at first during its official launch. And it doesn’t come cheap either, with the initial price of $919, considering the $600 price tag of the previous S5 model.

SOURCE: Samsung

Echo Lock Screen to help organise your notifications

Posted by wicked June - 16 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Notifications can be both the best friend and banes of existence of smartphone users who are always connected. They can be annoying at times especially when you’re in the middle of your zone at work and they interrupt your work flow. But if organised and categorised properly, they can help you manage your apps. Echo Notification Lock Screen is aiming to do just that for your Android phone.

The goal of this new app is to eliminate the notifications that you don’t want to see because admit it, not everything you “turn on notifications” for is useful and sometimes it’s too much of a hassle to turn them off one by one. Echo Lock Screen can intelligently sort through all of them, and based on your previous behaviour towards these notifications or when you choose those that are important to you, it will send you alerts only on those that are important to you.

It can also create reminders from the notifications you receive so that you can read the important messages later during the day when you have more time. It also puts your notifications into categories so that the games, emails and social media are not just in one cluster in your lock screen. Another great thing about this app is that it shows you more details about the notification if you wish to know more about it. It can also let you view and dismiss each individual notification and not just all of them at one swipe.

Some early reviews of the app show that the users are generally satisfied with it, but since it’s still in the early development phase, there are still some things it can’t do, like access lock screen widgets that are often used. Some have also complained that the notifications still show even after dismissing them. But the developers are open to feature requests and feedback, so we might see some changes in future updates.

Download Echo Lock Screen on Google Play Store.

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UNU Ultrapak portable battery series feature quick battery pack refuel

Posted by wicked June - 12 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Gadgets running out of power are some people’s worst nightmare nowadays. And with most of us always being mobile, portable power sources are already a need and not just a want. The new Ultrapak portable battery features Ultra-X Charging Technology which allows the portable battery to recharge 2000mAh in 15 minutes.

The Ultrapak claims that it can gather 2000mAh of energy at eight times the normal speed of the usual batteries. The new series comes with two models: the Ultrapak Go and the Ultrapak Tour. The Go has a single USB 2.1A output and 3000mAh capacity which can be fully recharged in 30 minutes. The Tour needs 100 minutes to fully charge up to 10,000mAh of battery capacity and includes two USB outputs, 1.0A and 2.1A that can be used for both smartphones and tablets. They both come with a rubberized, anti-slip frame and an LED screen that shows the battery levels of the gadget. It also indicates how long it would need to reach full charging levels.

According to Brian Westphal, Chief Marketing Officer of UNU Electronics, this new Ultrapak invention of theirs is a smart solution for the “time sensitive power deficiency” that mobile users always experience. Let’s hope this becomes a trend among new battery packs as the more apps the developers create for our gadgets, the more power it drains from our devices.

The Ultrapak GO and TOUR are available for pre-order now, priced at $59.99 and $99.99. UNU will start to ship the battery pack from June 30th.

Ultrapak Go Portable Battery Pack-1
Ultrapak Go Portable Battery Pack-2
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279 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2014, 34% had over 5-inch displays

Posted by wicked May - 12 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

smartphones

Year over year, smartphone shipments saw a decent increase from last year. In Q1 2014, 279.4 million smartphones were shipped globally, which showed a roughly 29% increase from the first quarter of last year. Oddly, though, shipments fell 5% in Q4 from 2013, which is usually a pretty strong quarter for all sales markets, considering all of the holidays in the last three months of the year. Sales were still great, they just aren’t improving like everyone would expect.

81% of the 279.4 million devices shipped were Android devices, unsurprisingly. iOS phones accounted for 16%, and Windows Phones claimed 3%. Samsung was still the global top dog in the smartphone market, shipping 31% of all of the devices in Q1. The next closest vendor was Apple at 16%.

Interestingly, 34% of all devices shipped in Q1 had a common factor; they all had over 5-inch screens. This segment grew 369%, showing that consumers are gravitating towards larger smartphones. Samsung took the lion’s share of the market when it came to these devices, accounting for 44% of all devices shipped with over a 5 inch screen.

source: Canalys

Come comment on this article: 279 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2014, 34% had over 5-inch displays

New UI for LG G3 possibly spotted in leaked images

Posted by wicked April - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

LG’s new flagship could bring a fresh interface as well. LG’s Android skin is fairly in-depth, and typically up-to-date with styling cues. Leaked shots, said to be from the LG G3, show a design that offers up flatter icons, rounded shapes, and a different color scheme.


The G3, expected to launch in the summer, is likely in the final stages of software tweaks. From top to bottom, i seems as though LG has reimagined their UI, and we must say — we like it. The natural comparison is to Samsung or Apple, and that’s fair, but those are both great as well. The icons are a touch smoother, and have a bigger color shceme than we’re used to. Rather than light up the actual shape of the service when in use, the entire icon now captures your eyes.

The icons in the settings menu are also flat and round, unlike the transparent background that’s been in use. LG has also redone their own apps, bringing in the flatter design in lieu of the skeumorphic icons that are going away altogether. The contact cons have also changed, again sticking with the rounded format.

There is no word on an official launch date for the G3, but we would expect to see this UI along with it. The real question remaining is whether or not LG will follow in the footsteps of Motorola and HTC, splitting their apps from the OS skin to allow for faster updates of older devices. Their software support comes slowly, and that’s a big reason why.

Source: Digital Trends

ePad 7 Android 4.0 ICS
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10" Android 4.2 1.2GHz Tablet PC

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