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HTC One E8 First Impressions & Hands On!

Posted by wicked July - 30 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

HTC has created an empire with its One series. The One M7 was shrouded with awards last year and the One M8 is on its way to becoming one of 2014′s best smartphones, with unparalleled build quality and an experience that can be challenged by very few.

For all intents and purposes, this device is a non-metal HTC One M8, made with affordability in mind. Can the Taiwanese giant accomplish the same without the metal construction, though? The HTC One E8 is here to prove polycarbonate (aka plastic) can be just as good!

First impressions

Seeing that build quality is the major differentiator between the One E8 and the One M8, it’s important to note that while more affordable, the HTC One E8 is far from feeling cheaper. The polycarbonate material offers a smooth, soft touch feeling that you won’t find in average plastic smartphones.

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The two-tone coloring makes the device very good-looking. Our unit displays a golden film surrounds the power button, lens, flash and HTC logo, making for a very elegant and simple look. All ports and buttons can be found around the edges of the device, but there is one hardware factor that may stick out to us Americans. The HTC One E8 comes with a dual nano SIM slot, aside from the micro SD card slot.

Another substantial difference between this phone and the M8 is the absence of the dual-camera set-up. Instead, users can enjoy a more traditional 13 MP camera that may or may not improve picture quality. We need to put it through the test. What does stand out is the gorgeous 5-inch 1080p display with 441 PPI pixel density (though some may find it a bit over-saturated).

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We can’t yet pass judgement on the device’s performance, but Android 4.4.2, Sense 6 and the device’s hardware seem to be working very well together. The device offers an experience very similar to any other high-end smartphone, with insignificant lag even when playing the most demanding of games.

And we can’t forget the manufacturer’s now-iconic BoomSound technology, which is definitely not missing here. Stay tuned for the official review! We are putting this phone through our most challenging tests, so we will give you every detail your little heart desires.

Specifications

  • Android 4.4.2 with Sense 6
  • 5-inch 1080p display
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of internal storage
  • MicroSD up to 128GB
  • 13 MP rear-facing camera
  • 5 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,600 mAh battery

Gallery

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Stay tuned for the full review! Do you wish the original One M8 had this 13MP shooter?

Review of the ThL 5000, the octa-core smartphone with a 5000mAh battery

Posted by wicked July - 27 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

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A quick skim through the comments left on Android Authority will show any interested reader that longer battery life is one of the key features that smartphone users want. Although smartphones have been progressing rapidly, it is true to say that battery capacity has not kept pace. The only reasonable option for a smartphone maker who wants to offer high performance with long battery life is to include a big battery. And that is exactly what ThL has done with the ThL 5000. This 5 inch, full HD phone includes a 2.0Ghz MediaTek octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 13MP camera. But most importantly it has a 5000 mAh battery.

I got hold of a ThL 5000 and spent a few days playing with it. Read on to find out what I discovered…

Spec sheet

Besides the full HD display, the octa-core processor, and the 5000 mAh battery, there are a couple of other key features of this device. It runs Android 4.4 (and not Android 4.2 as is so often the case with Chinese OEM smartphones) and it supports NFC. Here is the full specification sheet:

Display 5 inch, full HD (1920×1080), Corning Gorilla Glass IPS, OGS
Processor 2.0GHz, MediaTek MTK6592T octa-core
RAM 2GB
Storage 16GB, microSD card slot, up to 32GB
Camera 5 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera + 13 Megapixel Rear Camera
Battery 5000 mAh
Connectivity GPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Networks 2G: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz. 3G: WCDMA 850, 2100MHz
Software Android 4.4 with Google Play
Dimensions 145 x 73 x 8.9 mm, 170g.
Colors Black or White
SIM slots Dual-sim

Design

The ThL 5000 is 7.3 cms wide, which makes it just a little wider than a Nexus 5, but to accommodate the large battery it is about 0.8 centimeters longer, which isn’t very much really. You might think that with such a large battery the device would be quite thick, but it is actually thinner than a Nexus 5 and only 0.6mm thicker than a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

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The design of the device is “classic”, in that there is nothing new or innovative. But that isn’t a bad thing. Everything is how you would expect. Above the screen is the earpiece along with the front facing camera and a couple of sensors. At the bottom are the three capacitive keys: Menu, Home and Back. The USB port (used for charging and data transfer) is at the top of the phone, as is the 3.5mm audio jack. On the back there is the 13 megapixel camera, the LED flash and a small speaker grill. On the right is the volume rocker and on the left the power button. Overall the design is sleek and the dimpled plastic used by ThL isn’t a fingerprint magnet. It is easy to hold in the hand and feels well built. At 170 grams it is a bit heavier than a Nexus 5, mainly due to the big battery.

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Display

The IPS display on the 5000 is about as good as you can get without moving to other display technologies like AMOLED. With its full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, the definition is great and the color reproduction is true to life, but not overly vivid.

The ThL 5000′s screen offers a clear, sharp display with crisp text and high detail. Playing games, reading, watching movies or viewing photos are a pleasure on this device. Although there are certainly better displays out there, this one certainly adds to the overall great experience of the device. As an added bonus, the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Performance

Like many of ThL’s recent phones, the 5000 features a MediaTek octa-core processor. In this case the MediaTek MT6592T runs at 2.0 GHz, which is faster than other ThL devices like the W200S or the T200S. The MT6592T uses eight ARM Cortex-A7 cores. The Cortex-A7 core isn’t as fast as the Cortex-A9 or the Cortex-A15 cores which means that core for core, processors based on the A9 or A15 will beat a Cortex-A7 processor. However the Cortex-A7 is more energy efficient than the Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 cores. By using 8 of these cores MediaTek is offering a solution which provides high-end speed but hopefully with lower battery drainage.

The 5000′s AnTuTu scores are high. Although it doesn’t take one of the top spots, the 5000 manages a score of 28774. That makes it faster than the HTC One (M7), faster than the Galaxy Note 2, and faster than the of Samsung Galaxy S4. However it is still bested by phones like the LG G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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For Epic Citadel, the demo app for the Unreal 3D engine, the 5000 managed 50.3 frames per second (fps) on the High Performance setting and 50.1 fps on the High Quality setting.

In terms of GPS performance, the 5000 is excellent. I stepped outside and activated the GPS and within under five seconds the device had a lock. Previous ThL phones have had an issue with the GPS working simultaneously with Bluetooth. The situation improved with the T200S and it looks like the 5000 behaves basically the same as the T200S. In other words, there is still some stutter and lag in the Bluetooth output (tested by playing background music to a Bluetooth speaker) when some GPS related apps start. But the interruptions to the Bluetooth output are only temporary and last, at most, only a couple of seconds. Another weakness of some ThL devices was that the compass didn’t work very well, some basic testing on the ThL 5000 shows that this has also improved.

Battery

The battery in the ThL 5000 is a massive 5000 mAH unit. That is a big battery for a phone. Previous ThL smartphones suffered from below-average battery performance when coupled with a full HD display. The T100 and the T200S both had full HD displays and the battery life in both devices was a little disappointing. The W200S sported a 720p HD display and as a result its battery performance was much better. Interestingly the T200S has a 2500 mAh battery, which gives us a good reference point for the ThL 5000.

The battery is a silicon anode Li-polymer battery which according to ThL’s website means it offers a greater density. This is why the phone is relatively so thin. However one sacrifice for this thinness is that the battery is non user-removable.

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I did some tests to generate some battery usage numbers and the results are, as you would expect, excellent. When running Epic Citadel in its Guided Tour mode the phone will last for over 5 hours before it will run out of juice.

For YouTube streaming (over Wi-Fi) the device does very well and you can watch around 10 hours of video on a full charge. Watching a MP4 movie from the internal storage yielded the same 10 hours possible playback. Both the YouTube and MP4 tests were conducted full screen.

The ThL 5000′s official talk times are 47 Hours for 2G and 30 Hours For 3G. I performed a crude 3G calling test and after forty minutes the battery dropped just 1%, which means that the quoted talk times look very genuine.

Compared to the T200S (with its 6 inch full HD screen and 2500mAh battery) the 5000 performed better and yielded more than double the T200S’ numbers. With careful usage you could get two full days of usage out of the 5000. Of course, everyone uses their phone differently, but based on my personal usage pattern I would only need to charge the 5000 every other night.

Connectivity

The phone has all the standard connectivity options like Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, 2G GSM and 3G, but it also supports NFC. There are two SIM card slots, both of which take normal sized SIM cards. The 5000 supports 3G on 850 and 2100MHz. The latter number is the common 3G frequency and should work in most places around the world, however a lot of carriers also use a secondary 3G spectrum range. In Asia and South America this is often 850MHz, but in Europe it tends to be 900MHz. Unfortunately the 3G won’t work in the USA, however standard GSM calls should work. You need to check with your carrier to ensure compatibility or if you trust Wikipedia then the List of UMTS networks page could have the information you need.

I compared the Wi-Fi signals strengths of the 5000 with other devices I have and it performed equally as well. I was able to access the Internet from all around the house and outside. There were a couple of times when I had to toggle the Wi-Fi on and off to restore Internet connectivity. This could have been an local problem at my end, I am not sure. But in the interest of full disclosure I just wanted to mention it.

Camera

The camera in the ThL 5000 has a 13MP sensor from Sony with a F2.0 aperture. In other words this should be quite a good camera for its price. And after doing some testing, the device doesn’t disappoint. Since the ThL 5000 runs Android 4.4 KitKat it is also able to use Google’s camera app if you don’t like the built-in one.

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For those into selfies the front camera is a reasonable 5 megapixels but without autofocus. The built-in camera app also has a selfie gesture mode. Holding up two fingers, in a V for victory shape, starts a two second count-down and then a photo is taken. A great way to take selfies without fiddling with other settings.

Overall I was impressed with the camera and I got good results from the Google app and from the built-in app. Have a look at the photos and judge for yourself:

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Software

The 5000 comes with stock Android 4.4.2 with a few minor tweaks: there is an additional control in the Battery section of the Settings which enables “CPU power saving mode.” Limits the maximum CPU performance to conserve battery life and lower the device’s temperature. There is also a section in the settings to enable the “Float App”, a little “always on-top” floating square which gives you quick access to a calculator and a music player.

The built-in launcher is the “Launcher 3″ from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and not the Google Experience Launcher from devices like the Nexus 5. What that basically means is that you can’t swipe left to launch Google Now. This build of “Launcher 3″ also has some ThL custom icons. One minor point is that all the icon backgrounds are a green square with curved edges. This means that if you install an app with a transparent background then it gets placed on a green square. Look at the Google camera icon in the screenshot below.

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The device comes with full Google Play support and all of the normal Google apps are available. For those Google apps not pre-installed, a quick trip to the Play Store gets you everything you need. There were a few bloatware apps that came pre-installed including the Baidu Browser and a flash light app that really did take some liberties in the amount of advertising it showed. However these were easy enough to uninstall.

The 16GB of internal storage is a reasonable amount of space. But it is worth mentioning that the 16GB is divided into 4GB of internal storage (used mainly for apps and 9GB of phone storage (for you media). You can also set the SD card to be the default write location for the device, and there is also an option set the preferred app installation location to be the SD card rather than the internal storage.

Pricing and conclusion

Before closing, it is worth mentioning what you get in the box besides the device itself. There is a fairly standard USB charger and cable, which isn’t very interesting, but what is interesting is that as part of the launch offer you get a 16GB micro SD card, a gel-type case, plus a USB OTG adapter.

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The ThL 5000 is a great phone and excels in many areas including the battery life. For a 3G phone it is hard to find fault with the 5000, especially when you consider the price, just $269.99. There are other good phones on the market for that price, but not with such a large battery. You can pick up a ThL 5000 from Chinavasion.

AT&T now offers the Amazon Fire Phone, HTC Desire 610

Posted by wicked July - 26 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

AT&T has just added to Android smartphones to its lineup, now making available Amazon’s Fire Phone and the HTC Desire 610 to its subscribers under contract or without one. Please hold off on snarky comments on whether the Fire Phone is indeed an Android phone or not, but consumers should be relatively glad that they are getting variety in their choices, not to mention the phone being sold in more places other than Amazon.

The Fire Phone, irreverent and not-so-smashing reviews online aside, will be available at USD$199 under a two-year contract, and USD$649 without contract. We’ve already discussed the highlights of Amazon’s new phone elsewhere, but the major points for consideration are these – a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor at 2.2Ghz per core and an Adreno 330 graphics chip, 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Fire phone also sports a 4.7-inch 1280×720 screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

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The HTC Desire 610 is from all indications a cheaper, mid-tier version of the HTC One M8. This phone is available at a dollar (for real) under a two-year contract and USD$199 without one. The phone is touted to be a mid-range media hub as discussed here. The phone also has a 4.7-inch 1280×720 screen, powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor (1.2Ghz) and 1GB of RAM. The Desire 610 is made out of plastic, but retains a premium feel to it. It has 8GB internal storage and an 8MP main camera.

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The Firefly feature – a service lets you take pics of items you may want to buy, and then automatically links you to the Amazon listings for the item – might be one of the major come-on’s for buying a Fire Phone. If you’re just looking for a cheaper alternative, then maybe the HTC Desire 610 may be a fit for you. Check out the source links for more info.

SOURCE: AT&T (1), (2)

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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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