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Deal: Mount Your Phone or Tablet to Any Surface With the Discounted Neutron S

Posted by Kellex January - 20 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Have you ever wanted to mount your phone or tablet to the dash of your car on the fly, without one of those giant suction cup arm holders? Or maybe you just want to be able to stick your phone quickly to a board, wall, microwave, cabinet or other surface to keep your hands free for a minute? One option to get you there is the Neutron S. Originally funded in minutes through Kickstarter, the Neutron S is a magnetically shielded mount that can be “installed anywhere” and is now available in the DL Deals shop for $25 ($5 off).

The Neutron S “uses magnetic architecture to generate herculean grip while taking up minimal space,” but also has NFC built-in so that you can configure it to accomplish tasks as you mount a device (think turning on Bluetooth as you mount it in your car to connect to your stereo). The Neutron S attaches to objects using 3M VHB tape that is included with purchase.

Deal Link 

Deal: Mount Your Phone or Tablet to Any Surface With the Discounted Neutron S is a post from: Droid Life

Sand version of Nexus 9 available for first time in Play Store (32GB only)

Posted by wicked January - 13 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

nexus 9 sand play store

When the Nexus 9 first landed in the Play Store on November 3, the Sand version was listed as “Coming soon.” It took Google more than two months to make “soon” happen, but now the tan Nexus 9 can finally be yours.

Only the 32GB storage option of the Sand Nexus 9 is available as of right now, with a price tag of $479 and a 1 to 2-day shipping window. This goes for the WiFi-only model, as the LTE-enabled model is still only available in Indigo Black.

The Sand Nexus 9 features a light brown back and black margins, while the front is black, like on all versions. All the differences are skin-deep: inside the device ticks the same Tegra K1 CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, backed by 2GB of RAM and a 6700mAh battery, with a nice 2048×1536 LDC display on the front. Check out review of the HTC-made tablet for more insight.





There’s no telling when, if ever, Google will release the 16GB Sand model in the Play Store, though considering the lack of expandable storage, going the 32GB route is a sound investment anyway.

Jide’s Ultra Remix Surfaces, wants to provide Window(s) to productivity

Posted by wicked January - 12 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off
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From this angle (or any, really) one might be hard pressed to see anything other than a Microsoft Surface.

Many believe that the motivation behind Microsoft’s Surface line of tablet PCs is to inspire OEMs to make similar, competitive products. This was especially a relevant point in the early days of Windows 8 when manufacturers were still focused on laptops with the slate form-factor primarily embraced by RT products. While inspiration may be the main ingredient, it’s questionable just how enamored Redmond will be at the sight of Jide’s Ultra Remix tablet. The bigger cause of concern? Hard to guess: the design itself or the fact it’s running Android.

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This curious creation is the brainchild of a trio of former senior engineers at Google: Jeremy Zhou, David Ko, and Ben Luk. They, along with a team comprised of former staff at Sony, Baidu, Amazon, and even Microsoft itself (among others). The Remix appears to be little more than a geek’s fantasy of running Android on a Surface, but the hardware doesn’t disappoint either. In addition to the kickstand (which can be positioned at either 40 or 80 degrees), it also has an 11.6 inch, 1920X1080 screen and a 1.8 GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 on-board. Add to this 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of on-board storage, a pair of 5 megapixel front/rear cameras and dual-band Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n). It is only 860 grams and sports an nice 8100 mAh power cell. And let’s not forget the pre-requsite magnetic keyboard (replete with touch pad) and magnetic charging port.

Running on this familiar-looking piece of kit is a variant of Android 4.4.2 called Remix OS. The mobile software platform makes use of a taskbar to facilitate multi-tasking (just like Windows), which interestingly seems to have chosen Lollipop’s system navigation buttons. The OS also allows for apps to be ran in a phone-sized state thus avoiding the stretched out form factor that typically occurs when running them on an optimized screen resolution/size. And, just like Windows, you can have multiple… windows open. Given the similarities, it actually would be most-fitting should Jide work in a licensing agreement with Microsoft to have Office for Android pre-installed.

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When the Jide Ultra Remix tablet hits China it should retail for around $349 (16 GB) and $449 (64GB) and be offered in a variety of color options. A US/UK release is expected in Q2 or Q3. Suffice to say, it does look nice and provided it has decent build quality, could actually present a challenge not only to Chromebooks, but to larger Android tablets that offer bigger screens yet the same basic Android interface present on all non-forked devices.

CES takeaway: smartphones and tablets

Posted by wicked January - 10 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

asus zenfone 2 first look a (7 of 19)

If you missed our coverage of CES 2015, that’s okay! As the event is coming to a close, we thought we’d take this time to go through the week’s top stories and roundup the biggest smartphone and tablet announcements we saw at the trade show. There’s a lot to recap here, so let’s jump right in.

Smartphones

LG’s G Flex 2

LG’s early announcement of the  G Flex 2 was arguably the biggest announcement of CES 2015. LG’s first G Flex brought a ton of new features to the smartphone world, but it fell short in many critical areas. With the G Flex 2, it seems as though LG stepped up and really made this a device worth buying. It’s 5.5-inch 1080p curved screen, rear-facing 13MP camera and even the super attractive Flamenco Red color make it an overall killer device. What’s more, the G Flex 2 is the first smartphone on the market to tote the Snapdragon 810 processor.

Last year’s G Flex was really difficult to recommend to almost anyone, but this year’s iteration will definitely be one of the most interesting phones of the year, especially for those looking for something a bit more unique when it comes to form factor.

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The superphone/supercamera hybrid: Panasonic’s Lumix CM1

Panasonic was showing off their Lumix DMC-CM1 smartphone at CES, but it was announced at the tail end of last year. That didn’t seem to bother anyone though, because this camera smartphone can really pull its own weight. The phone itself has a 4.7-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 800 processor backed by 2GB of RAM, and it’s running Android 4.4 KitKat. But the phone isn’t the star of the show here, it’s the camera. Panasonic managed to throw on a huge 1-inch sensor, an f2.8 Leica lens and a 20MP sensor that truly makes for an amazing camera experience. To top it all off, there’s a smartphone attached to it? Sign us up.

When the device was originally announced, Panasonic made it very clear that this device was meant solely for the European market. Turns out it’s coming to the US on AT&T and T-Mobile to the tune of roughly $1,000 unlocked. It’s expensive, but we think it’ll be worth it for any photography lovers out there.

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The multimedia powerhouse: Saygus V2

The Saygus V2 (V squared) is probably one of the most talked about handsets to hit CES this year. It’s marketed as a true multimedia powerhouse that is perfect for anyone who values tons of storage and great speaker quality. The most notable feature of the phone is definitely that it can house up to 320GB of storage. No, the phone doesn’t have a massive hard drive. There’s 64GB of on-board storage, and two microSD card slots (maximum of 128GB each), equalling 320GB of storage. What’s more, the device features a removable 3100mAh battery, front-facing Harman Kardon speakers, a 5-inch 1080p screen and a Snapdragon 801 processor backed by 3GB of RAM.

This really is the phone for you if you’re into one of the best multimedia experiences you can get on a smartphone. We’ll have more to say about this device in our full review, but for now, we’re really excited about this device. Of course the fact that it is from an unknown handset maker might be a turn off for many folks, and it’s worth mentioning that no exact pricing has been announced just yet, though supposedly it will hit the hands of consumers in the next few months.

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Asus Zenfone 2: The first smartphone with 4GB of RAM

Moving along, Asus also had a pretty big keynote at CES with their announcement of two high-end devices, one of which being the Zenfone 2. This device is such a hit thanks to its premium build quality, customizable software and unbeatable price point. There are three different variations of the Zenfone 2, all of which are at different price points. The “middle” device (the one featured in the above video) features a 5.5-inch 1080p screen and 2GB of RAM. The lesser of the three versions has the same screen size, but with a resolution of 720p and with 2GB of RAM. This device will cost less than the other two. The most powerful of the bunch, while no pricing information is announced yet, features a 1080p display and a whopping 4GB of RAM.

The three devices will be available beginning in March starting at $199 unlocked. There are a lot more specifications to cover with these three iterations, so follow the links below for more information.

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Asus Zenfone Zoom

Asus also unveiled the Zenfone Zoom alongside the Zenfone 2. As the name suggests, the Zoom is a camera-centric smartphone with a 13MP camera and 3X optical zoom, optical image stabilization and a laser auto focus system. While the device is quite bulky, it’s not as bad as other camera-focused smartphones out there. Overall, the 5.5-inch 1080p display and the sturdy build quality should suffice for anyone looking for a great camera experience on their mobile phone.

The Zenfone Zoom will be available in Q2 of this year starting at $399.

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HTC’s budget-friendly Desire 826

The Desire 826 is HTC’s next iteration in the Desire 820 line. Sure, the HTC One M8 and M7 were terrific smartphones, but HTC has really put a ton of effort into their mid-rangers lately. Many Desire phones are even considered to be towards the high end of the mid-tier, and the 826 is no exception. Much like the rest of the Desire series, the 826 is either glossy or matte plastic (depending on the color combination), and two SIM slots, a vibrant 5.5-inch 1080p display, and a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor. The big story here is HTC’s decision to move the cameras around a bit. On the 826, there’s a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 4MP UltraPixel shooter, instead of the other way around like we see on a few other Desire devices. This seems to be a really nice phone so far, and we’re looking forward to putting it through its paces in our full review.

The Desire 826 will be available later this year for China and other Asian markets, with the potential to roll out to other markets.

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ZTE Nubia Z7

Last but not least, we have the ZTE Nubia Z7. Shown off alongside the Grand X Max+ and the Star 2 at CES, this is the most high-end device out of the three. It has a 5.5-inch QHD screen, a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3000mAh battery and 32GB of on-board storage. To be honest, there are very few compromises when it comes to this device. Unfortunately, it’s set right now as a China-only release, and there’s no word yet of the Z7 making its way out of Asia.

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The devices listed above aren’t the only smartphones unveiled at CES this year. If you’d like our full coverage on other recently-announced phones, check out the list below.

Tablets

Fuhu’s television-sized kids “tablets”

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Fuhu has released big tablets in the past, but none even close to this size. But at CES 2015, Fuhu announced some products to really expand their tablet lineup – 32, 43, 55 and 65-inch variants of their Big Tabs.

Fuhu is really pushing the “Internet of Things” movement, and would like their new Big Tab XL models to be the centerpiece of your home entertainment. There’s no mention of which version of Android these tablets are running, but the press release does say that they run “the latest Android software” and Fuhu’s groundbreaking Blue Morpho OS. All four of the new “tablets” will also double as televisions, which justifies the purchase a bit more. The two smallest models sport 1080p screens, 2GB of RAM and run on a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor. The two biggest models both have 4K resolutions, 4GB of RAM and use NVIDIA’s new Tegra X1 chip. The tablets will go on sale sometime this year and will range in price from $699.99-$3,999.99.

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Arbor’s rugged Gladius 10 tablet

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Arbor isn’t usually the name we think of when talking about Android devices, but the company has just announced the Gladius 10 rugged tablet. It’s meant specifically for warehousing, transportation, medical, and mobile point of sale applications.

The Gladius 10 features a 10.1-inch TFT LCD display with 1280×800 resolution with a Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating. It also brings a MediaTek MTK8392 Octa-core Cortex A7 CPU, a Quad-core ARM Mali 3D GPU, 2GB of RAM, optional barcode scanner, a 13MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera and a dual-SIM card slot. On top of these already decent specifications, the tablet is also rated with IP65 protection, and meets the U.S. Military’s 810G standard for drops and other hazards. There’s no mention of the battery capacity in the release, but Arbor is quoting the tablet to have up to 10 hours of battery life.

The Gladius 10 seems like a decent tablet so far, until we get to the price. The tablet will go on sale in May of 2015 for $1,030, and can be customized to the user’s preferences.

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Archos 80b Helium tablet

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Archos recently announced their new 80b Helium tablet, a 4G LTE-capable budget tablet for less than $150. Details are pretty scarce when it comes to this one, but we’ll definitely keep an eye out for more details. So far, though, a 4G-capable tablet for under $150 is bound to be a big seller.

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As much as people might want to disagree, I thought this year’s CES offered up a decent amount when it came to smartphones. We haven’t seen anything truly groundbreaking with smartphones in the past few days, but that surely doesn’t mean it was a bad CES. There are a few devices that are getting me excited, though.

First of all, I really like what LG is doing with the G Flex 2. It’s smaller, prettier and has specs that might give some other flagships a run for its money. LG hasn’t really had the reputation to skimp on their devices’ internals, and this year is no exception. It’s great to see them focusing hard on a smartphone that isn’t their “flagship,” and I really think more companies need to adopt that trend.

lg g flex first look aa (3 of 49)

Other than the G Flex 2, of course I’m going to love the Lumix CM1… and I think you’d be crazy not to. It’s a relatively high-end device on it’s own, only with a super powerful camera on its back. Speaking of devices with cameras strapped to the back, the Zenfone Zoom isn’t half bad either. Remember when the Galaxy S4 Zoom launched? It seems like Samsung didn’t even try to make the phone compact in the slightest. We’ve absolutely come a long way since then… the Lumix CM1 and Zenfone Zoom are actually viable options for folks who want to take photography a little bit more seriously.

One device that stuck out in particular was the 65-inch Fuhu Big Tab. It’s an interesting concept, and makes me feel a little bit more like I’m living in the future.

CES 2015 wasn’t a year that pushed any boundaries with smartphones or tablets, but it was a trade show that needed to happen.

A tablet that doubles as a television… with a 4K display… and NVIDIA’s new Tegra X1 processor? Awesome. What’s not as awesome is the price, though. When the devices launch, prices will likely hover around the $700-$4,000 range. Prices aside though, while there likely isn’t a huge market for devices like this, the concept is still very intriguing.

CES 2015 wasn’t a year that pushed any boundaries with smartphones or tablets, but it was a trade show that needed to happen. A few companies bumped up the specs of their devices, sure, but we all knew these progressions would come in time. While 4GB of RAM, 320GB of storage, or even QHD displays on more affordable handsets are great, we all knew these were going to happen eventually. So, I’m not too upset or excited about this year’s CES, it has just made me more excited for what’s to come in 2015.

What were your most favorite/least favorite smartphones and tablets from the trade show this year? Did you think this was a particularly good or bad year for mobile devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Nokia N1 tablet up for pre-order in China for $260

Posted by wicked January - 7 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

nokia n1 (4)

November was an interesting month for Nokia, as just days after its CEO went on record and stated his company was finished with phones but brand licensing was possible, it went ahead and announced tablet. And not just any tablet, but one running Android. And not just any Android, but Lollipop complete with the company’s Nokia Z Launcher. And if that trifecta wasn’t shocking enough, it was going to be made by Foxconn of all companies (thus the aforementioned licensing at play).

Well, it’s now been a few months and the fruits of Nokia’s licensing labors are starting to show, in China at least. The aluminum-constructed tablet is now open for pre-orders and slated to ship on January 29th, somewhat earlier than the February time frame originally slated. It will retail for an attractive 1599 RMB (about $256) which no doubt comes as a direct result of Foxconn’s handiwork, as the manufacturing company is handling all aspects of the device save for the name and software.

The specs, as a reminder, are nothing short of sizzling, with a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 laminated IPS display, a Quad Core 2.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3580 (64-Bit) CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32MB of on-board storage (non-expandable), an 8 megapixel/5 megapixel rear/front camera, dual channel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0, stereo speakers, and a 5,300 mAh power cell. If that wasn’t enough, the device will also be the first consumer tablet to feature the reversible USB Type-C port which should alleviate difficulties associated charging a device in the dark and other danger zones.

Cg-4V1Ss2RmIeCbAAAGCY_JCQ40AAS9tgGiCLQAAYJ7853 Zol

The tablet is going to be not only distributed by Foxconn, but supported as well. While this will fly in China, it will be a different story entirely if/when the device hits other territories. It’s possible that Foxconn might partner with local domestic companies for distribution and after-service, but nothing is known yet. Given the licensing of the Nokia moniker however, it’s actually a potentially touch-and-go situation at hand, for if the device fails to deliver on any given note, be it build quality, durability, customer service, or anything else, it’s the Nokia brand image that will ultimately be sullied in the minds of the masses who adore the namesake.

The device is also slated to hit some European markets from February with the possibility of a wider international roll-out in the future. At the very least, it will be giving the Nexus 9 some competition in the 4:3 aspect ratio Android market.

Report: Samsung to begin Lollipop rollout in US in January

Posted by wicked December - 31 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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With OEM skins, Android updates are something of a mixed bag, especially among top-tier products: the question isn’t really one of if, but instead when. Motorola, for example, has shuttered its Motoblur skin entirely, and gets updates out the door quickly. Samsung on the other hand, still requires some down-time before it can begin the roll-out. This year has seen the Korean giant speed things up considerably, with a [limited] Lollipop roll-out in select parts of Europe for the Galaxy S5 flagship some weeks ago. However, American customers are still left standing. But, not for long?

Thanks to Reddit user SamsungRep2015, we now know that the USA distribution for Android 5.0 Lollipop will begin in January. As nothing has been officially verified by Samsung USA, this information is still “unofficial”, however Reddit mods have apparently verified the authenticity of said user’s employment at Samsung. S/he reports that the Galaxy S5 will be the first to receive the update, followed by the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge, and then the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, with tablets (such as the pair of Galaxy Tab S flagships) apparently coming in the fourth wave. The following screen capture reported to be from Samsung internal e-mails was also posted:

TOoUPiu SamsungRep2015 (Reddit)

Despite the above image, there is no information provided as to which carriers this update will be coming to and when, nor is there any indication as to what version of Android Lollipop will be pushed: since its release, there have been three builds (5.0, 5.0.1, and 5.0.2) although the most recent seems to be currently relegated to the 2013 Nexus 7. Also missing are any details of the purported Galaxy Note 2 Lollipop update that may be reaching Europe eventually.

Still, as they say, “you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, and thus the effort Samsung is making to update its devices in a generally timely fashion is still something worth considering.

Google Nexus 9 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Posted by wicked December - 24 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Earlier in the year Samsung released two Android tablets that featured high resolution Super AMOLED displays. One of those tablets was 8.4 inches, and it became a go-to tablet for anyone who valued portability while looking for a stunning display. Then, back in October, Google released their follow up to the 2013 Nexus 7, the HTC-made Nexus 9. It was one of the first devices to run Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop software, which was arguably the tablet’s most sought-after feature. As you may know, Samsung and Google have very different ideas when it comes to tablets. There are quite a few differences between these two, though they are both solid options.

In this latest versus, we’ll walk you through both devices and point out the biggest differences. So, let’s dive right in. Here is our in-depth look at the Google Nexus 9 vs. the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

Editor’s Note - If you haven’t had a chance to see our thorough videos and comprehensive written reviews, see them here!

Design

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-7

Let’s begin with the Nexus 9, and more specifically, the company that manufactures the device. You could say that HTC spoiled us in the hardware department, thanks to the company’s beautifully-design HTC One M7 and M8 handsets. We were all expecting something more original and something with significantly less plastic. However, that’s not the case. The Nexus 9’s hardware isn’t bad, it’s just very normal. The back is made of a nice soft touch plastic that has a quality feel to it. The back is plain, aside from the familiar Nexus logo running down the middle. A metal band wraps around the sides of the tablet, leading into the front panel. The screen on the Nexus 9 is 8.9-inches, which boasts a somewhat unfamiliar 4:3 aspect ratio. The top and bottom of the front panel is cut by two front-facing BoomSound speakers, which we’re very happy HTC included. All in all, you could say the Nexus 9 looks like a giant version of Google’s Nexus 5 handset.

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-21

Moving on to the Galaxy Tab S, anyone who has used a Samsung device of any kind should feel right at home. The entire chassis is made of plastic. Around back, we have the same dimpled pattern that we’ve seen on the Galaxy S5. The sides feature a brushed metallic-like plastic that actually does a good job at making us think the sides are made of metal. When holding the tablet in portrait mode, the two speakers sit on the top and bottom of the device. They’re relatively loud, but are unfortunately easy to cover up with holding the tablet in landscape. Moving to the front, the Tab 8.4 features a, you guessed it, 8.4-inch display. Towards the bottom sit Samsung’s classic home button, and capacitive recent apps and back buttons. Even though the overall build is made of plastic, the hardware is sturdy and light. However, that’s not something the Nexus 9 can boast about.

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-23

In our first few minutes with the device, we’ve found a few hardware issues. First of all, the backplate on the Nexus 9 has had a reputation for having a slight bow in the center. It doesn’t quite feel like it was put together correctly, at least in the center of the backplate. Then, moving around to the buttons, you’ll find all of them in their normal spots, just like on any other Nexus. However, on many devices, we’re hearing the buttons aren’t particularly clicky, and almost blend into the edges of the device. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have a device with clicky buttons, but be aware that there may be some defects in your Nexus 9’s hardware.

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-17

Probably one of the most obvious differences between these two tablets is the size. The screen sizes may only be .5-inches off from one another, but the bezels on Samsung’s device are much smaller, giving the device a smaller overall footprint. Holding the Tab S is easy to do with one hand, and actually feels quite nice. The Nexus 9, however, is a little more difficult to use with one hand. It’s a little heavier and a little bigger, making it uncomfortable to hold one-handed. The Nexus 9 is also 7.8mm thin, while the Tab S is only 6.6mm thin, making Samsung’s offering one of the thinnest tablets on the market.

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-15

A few more minor differences come to mind when it comes to hardware. Samsung’s offering features microSD card expansion, while the Nexus 9 doesn’t. Both devices’ speakers put out just about the same volume, though the Nexus 9 has a clear advantage, thanks to it’s front-firing speakers.

In all, these two tablets don’t really have a lot in common in the design and hardware department. The Tab S is very well-made, feels sturdy and light, and offers a familiar feel to all other Samsung devices. The Nexus 9 isn’t poorly made, it’s just very bare-bones. The Nexus 9 is more sleek, more simple, and just isn’t made as well.

Display

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-13

Google’s Nexus 9 features an 8.9-inch LCD display with 2048 x 1536 resolution and a pixel density of 281 ppi. The Tab S features an 8.4-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1600 resolution and a pixel density of 359 ppi.

Both tablets offer great viewing angles and are extremely sharp. However, the biggest difference between these two tablets is the aspect ratio. The Nexus 9 has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which isn’t too common on tablets for a reason. Letter boxing occurs more than we’d like it to when watching videos or movies, but that’s the sacrifice you’ll need to make when choosing a squarer display. We understand that no aspect ratio is perfect for everyone, as Samsung’s 16:9 ratio has its flaws as well. Holding the tablet in portrait mode is okay, but Internet browsing in landscape on the Tab S isn’t ideal, as not much information can fit on the screen, especially because web pages aren’t usually laid out side-to-side. Additionally, thanks to the Nexus 9’s LCD panel, we’ve experienced a bit of light bleed on the top and bottom of the display. However, that’s nothing you would particularly notice in everyday use.

When it comes to displays, if you want a more natural color display palette, you might want to consider the Nexus 9. But if you’re partial to punchier colors and deeper blacks, the Tab S is for you. What’s more, the Tab S offers a significantly higher pixel density, resulting in an overall clearer display.

Performance

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-29

The Nexus 9 offers the powerful NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor backed by 2GB of RAM. The Tab S features Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octacore chipset backed by 3GB of RAM.

Thanks to the Tegra K1, gaming on the Nexus 9 is runs particularly well. We haven’t seen many dropped framerates or stutters in games, so if you’d like a tablet specifically for gaming, the Nexus 9 might be your best bet. Gaming on the Tab S isn’t laggy either, though we can’t help but notice it feels just half of a step slower than the Nexus 9. If you buy one tablet or the other for gaming, you won’t be disappointed with either.

When it comes to performance in software, the two don’t really differ. Thanks to the stock Google experience on Android 5.0 Lollipop, the Nexus 9 flies through the software with ease. We didn’t notice many hiccups while scrolling through recent apps, web pages, or really any other aspects of the software. Though the Tab S has many more software features to push around in Samsung’s TouchWiz, it performs surprisingly well.

Camera

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-3

Both rear-facing cameras on these two tablets boast 8MP sensors. Picture quality isn’t particularly good on either, though we found the Tab S pictures to be a tad sharper and brings more accurate colors to the table. Just like on any tablet camera, you likely don’t want to bother with the cameras unless you’re in ideal lighting situations. Indoors with a significant amount of light is what produces the best photos, and anything other than that is blurry and grainy. This is the same for the front-facing cameras on both devices. Grainy, poorly-lit shots are what we come to expect on front-facing tablet cameras, and neither of these tablets are going to change our view on that.

When it comes to the camera interface, Google’s Nexus 9 is way more simplistic, offering the bare-bones experience we’ve come to expect on Nexus devices. Panorama, Photosphere, and Lens Blur modes are all here, though there aren’t too many other controls to mess with outside of these familiar features. The Tab’s camera interface struggles on the line between feature-rich and cluttered. Samsung has been known to offer quite a few manual controls and plenty of different shooting modes, though it can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Battery

One advantage in having a bigger overall footprint is more room to put a bigger battery. The Nexus 9 boasts a 6700mAh battery, while the Tab’s is only 4900mAh. While running through our usual tests – gaming quite heavily and streaming YouTube and Netflix – each tablet will last at least a day on a single charge. We could get roughly 4.5-5.5 hours of screen-on time with the Nexus 9, and about 4-4.5 on the Tab S. Basically if you’re a heavy tablet user, expect to charge either of these devices everyday. If you use your tablet sporadically, both could stretch beyond 2-3 days. Both devices include battery saving technology which can be particularly handy when you’re running low on juice.

Neither of these tablets offer particularly great battery life, but if we need to choose one, it would be the Nexus 9. Just based on screen-on time alone, Google’s offering simply lasts longer.

Software

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-30

In case you’re new to the tablet world, software is where these tablets differ more than anything. Google’s Nexus line has always come with a “no-frills” software experience. Nexus devices always run stock Android software, and that can be both a positive and a negative. Without a ton of extra features crammed into the device, the software runs very smoothly. Whether you’re a fan of Android 5.0 Lollipop or not, there’s no arguing that the software experience is one of the most simple and elegant experiences out there. On top of that, this device was made by Google, so it will be one of the first devices to receive any updates that are pushed out to Android.

Samsung takes a vastly different route when it comes to software. We’ve all said it before, and we’ll say it again: TouchWiz is bright, big, colorful, and very busy. From the cluttered Settings panel to the busy notification drop down menu, it’s clear that simplicity isn’t Samsung’s strongest asset. However, it’s cluttered for a reason. With so many extra features crammed into the software, you’ll find some to be extremely useful and others to just take up space. Unfortunately, software updates are pretty scarce with Samsung devices. The Tab S is still running Android 4.4 KitKat. While not too many other manufacturers have pushed out Lollipop updates so far, Samsung is usually last to update their devices. Though it’s a relatively new tablet, the Tab S may not see its Lollipop update for quite some time.

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-13

When comparing the two, it should be noted that Samsung is one of the only device manufacturers to actually use a big screen the correct way. Features like Multi-Window that allows for running multiple apps at once, Smart Stay that keeps the screen on when you’re looking at it, and Smart Pause that pauses a video when you look away, really help make for a better media-consuming experience.

Where the Nexus 9 comes up short in the number of features, it makes up for it in design. Android 5.0 Lollipop brings more UI enhancements to Android using Google’s new Material Design language. In Lollipop, everything warrants a movement, whether that be the information on the notification shade moving when you pull it down, or any number of new layers Google has added in to show more depth in the software, it’s all just really good looking. We aren’t sure what Lollipop will bring to Samsung’s TouchWiz, but we do know that it may not get there for quite some time.

All in all, if you’re looking for a tablet that has more features than you can count and incredible multitasking software, the clear choice is the Tab S. But if you’re more partial to the simplistic, elegant and quickly-updated software experience, we’d suggest you go with the Nexus 9. Keep in mind that neither devices’ software experience is perfect, and sacrifices will need to be made with both.

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Pricing and availability

The Nexus 9’s starting price is $399 for the 16GB Wifi-only model. Higher storage options and LTE-connected variants are also available, so be prepared to pay more depending on which option you choose. It’s also available in Black, White, and Sand colors, and can be purchased directly through Google Play, HTC or Amazon.

The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 also begins at $400, and can be bought directly through Samsung, or basically any other electronics retailer out there. It’s available in Dazzling White or Titanium Bronze, and also comes in higher-storage variants. Though the Tab S is priced at $400, at the time of writing this, we found a few on Amazon being sold for under $350.

So, there you have it — our comparison of the Google Nexus 9 vs. the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Again, your decision on whether to buy one tablet over the other completely lies in your needs. The Tab S offers great multitasking software, a solid build quality, and is slightly more portable. However, be willing to put up with cluttered software and a slightly lower battery capacity. The Nexus 9 offers a beautiful, simple software experience with a large battery and loud front-firing speakers. Nonetheless, choosing the Nexus 9 means you’ll need to deal with slightly less-quality hardware and not many extra tablet-friendly software features.

When comparing these two, it’s very apparent that neither one is close to perfect, but if you’re looking for a tablet that has an 8 or 9-inch display, you can’t go wrong with either one. Let us know your thoughts on these two tablets!

(Update: now in Play Store) T-Mobile releases Nexus 9 LTE for $600 (total price)

Posted by wicked December - 13 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

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Update: The Nexus 9 LTE is now available on the Google Play Store for $600 for those who wish to buy it directly.

Original post: The HTC Nexus 9 is a curious device. With an unconventional 4:3 aspect ratio, uneven build quality (read: quality control issues), and a pretty premium price, it’s more-or-less everything the Nexus 7 wasn’t. Then again, with its 64-bit CPU, Lollipop packing performance, it need not be. Previously available only in Wi-Fi only variants (with the Sand “gold” variant nowhere to be seen), from today T-Mobile has become the first carrier to sell the LTE model, and has beat even the Google Play Store to the proverbial punch.

As always with the Uncarrier, pricing is set to $0 up-front, with 24 monthly installments of $24.99. The Full Retail Price (FRP) therefore comes out to $599.76, which makes it significantly more expensive than the Wi-Fi model. The LTE tablet is sold only in the black color variant unfortunately, and has the larger 32GB capacity storage.

Check out more details in the press release:

Show Press Release

HTC Nexus 9 Now Available at T-Mobile with Best Tablet Plan in Wireless

If you don’t know, now you know. Starting today, the HTC Nexus 9 is available at T-Mobile online via the Underground for $0 down (and $24.99 for 24 months; FRP $599.76).T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to offer the LTE Nexus 9 tablet – and is the ONLY place Nexus 9 customers can get the best tablet plan in wireless this holiday season. Just $10 a month enables you to add a tablet and match the data on your Simple Choice™ voice plan—up to 5 GB a month—for use specifically on your tablet. And all T-Mobile tablets can get you Free Data for Life, giving you 200 MB of free data a month for the life of the device as long as you use it with T-Mobile.The HTC Nexus 9 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, features a crisp 8.9-inch screen with two front-facing speakers and is powered by a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, for fast and easy transitions from work to play.

More information on the best tablet plan in wireless can be found at http://www.t-mobile.com.

Interested in the LTE Nexus 9? What do you think about the price?

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro Review

Posted by wicked December - 11 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

The Bottom Line

PROS
  • Large and gorgeous display
  • Loud front firing speakers
  • Versatile kickstand
  • Unique pico projector
  • More than adequate battery life
CONS
  • Uninspiring software
  • Subpar camera
  • Inconsistent performance
8.0

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a tablet with beautiful hardware and unique features that is slightly crippled by mediocre software.

While tablets between 7-inches and 10.1-inches are quite common, those with even larger display sizes fall under a more niche segment. There aren’t a lot of options available in this category, but those that are do offer quite a different experience. If you’re on the lookout for an ultra-large tablet, one that you should consider is the latest high-end offering from Lenovo. What does this device have to offer? We find out, in this comprehensive review of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro.

Design

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With a 13.3-inch display, there’s no denying that the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a big tablet, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case. The tablet is quite thin and made entirely of plastic, save for the cylinder at the bottom, a signature design element and feature of the Yoga series. While the size can result in some awkward handling moments, it does feel great in the hand. Of course, one-handed use is out of the question, and it is also not the most portable, but that is obviously something you are fine with, if you have decided on picking up such a large device.

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As is the case with any Yoga tablet, the cylinder at the bottom houses a built-in kickstand. As mentioned, this is one of the few parts of the tablet that is made of metal, and the resulting weight does a good job in keeping the device propped up. There is a button to release the kickstand available this time around, and hidden below is a microSD card slot, allowing for an additional 64 GB of storage. The kickstand lets you prop the tablet up in a few different positions, such as the stand position which is at a relatively steep angle, ideal for media consumption. It is quite difficult to hit the power button at this placement though, so a tap-to-wake feature would have been appreciated.

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Another tilt position at a much smaller angle serves as the all-purpose position, letting you do everything including typing, playing games, watching videos, or browsing the web. There is now also a hole in the kickstand that allows you to hang the tablet upside down for viewing media. While definitely introducing a different use case for the tablet, there are very few situations in which I could imagine needing to hang my tablet up anywhere.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro-4

As if the Lenovo Yoga series wasn’t already unique enough, the Tablet 2 Pro also comes with a pico projector on the right side of the cylinder. Right above the projector is the power button to start it, and towards the back is a physical slider to adjust the focus. The projector is powerful enough to project an image up to 50-inches before the quality to starts to deteriorate. It’s not quite at the mark to replace a home theatre system, but can be very useful for presentations, or sharing videos and movies with a lot of people without needing to huddle around an otherwise relatively small screen.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro-7

If you are planning to use this tablet as a media consumption device, especially with the availability of the projector, a great audio experience is also a necessity, and the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro certainly delivers. On the front are two 1.5 W speakers flanking the left and right sides of the kickstand, along with a 5 W JBL sub-woofer on the back. This speaker setup gets quite loud, with great highs and mids, making this one of the best setups you can get on a tablet right now. Their front-facing placement is always a big plus, and adds a lot to media consumption experience.

Display

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The display is of course the reason the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is as large as it is. The tablet features a 13.3-inch LCD display with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 221 ppi. While that pixel density may not inspire a lot of confidence, the display is actually fantastic. It is bright and vivid, colors are saturated, and the viewing angles are good. You get everything you’d expect from a high quality panel, and you’ll certainly have a great experience using this screen. Watching videos are especially fun, and while gaming might be a little awkward because of the size, the display still makes for an enjoyable time.

Performance

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Under the hood, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is packing a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor, clocked at 1.86 GHz, along with 2 GB of RAM. While the processing package looks good on paper, the performance is unfortunately not up to to mark, even if it might have more to do with software optimization, as opposed a fault with the processor itself.

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Applications do open and close quickly, and even graphically-intensive games are handled well, but it is in the small things that you’ll notice a lot of hiccups. Animations can be very jittery, scrolling through web pages is choppy, and there is even a slight lag while waking the device when you press the power button. The projector is also a resource hog, and all of these issues are accentuated when the projector is on. It is quite difficult to pinpoint whether it is the software optimization or the choice of processor that is at fault, but it is quite disappointing to see a relatively high-end tablet suffer from lag while doing something as simple as swiping through homescreens. If it is software based though, upcoming updates should hopefully alleviate these issues.

Camera

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The Yoga 2 Tablet Pro features a 1.6 MP front-facing camera and an 8 MP rear camera, which will certainly do in a pinch, but is likely not nearly as good as your smartphone camera, as is the case with most tablets currently available. The camera interface is simple, straightforward, and easy to use, and includes just the most basic of modes and functionality, such as panorama and macro, along with a big and spacious viewfinder to go along with the huge display.

The auto focus is also extremely slow, taking about 2 or 3 seconds to focus on something, so you won’t be able to rapidly take a lot of shots. The image quality is not particularly impressive either. Photos look dark and dull, colors are washed out, details are soft, and the image is full of noise, with the quality expectedly deteriorating even further with worsening lighting conditions. This camera is nothing more than an adequate backup if you don’t have your primary camera with you, and more than anything, it will be quite embarrassing to pick up such a large device to take a picture anyway.

Battery

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Since a lot of people use their tablets primarily as media consumption devices or for gaming, the 9,600 mAh battery of the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro performs quite well. With normal to heavy usage, you will get at least a full day of use, with about 5 hours of screen-on time. With lighter use the decent standby time, the battery life can be pushed to as long as 3 days. If you do plan to use the projector a lot though, up to 2 movies is the most you will get out of it.

Software

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While Lenovo may have nailed it with the majority of the hardware, the same cannot be said with regards to the software. The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro runs Android 4.4 Kitkat, with Lenovo’s custom skin on top, that will quite familiar to some. The user interface is flat and colorful, with a lot of transparencies, and there is also no application drawer, requiring the use of folders for organization instead.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro Screenshot-16

The biggest problem with the software is not with its appearance, but rather, the optimization to take advantage of the large 13.3-inch display. While you can fit a lot more widgets and shortcuts on your homescreens, there is not a whole lot more to take advantage of its size. The notification shade is just blown up to fit the entire display, and the Recent Apps screen is still limited to only three apps at a time, regardless of whether you’re in landscape or portrait orientation. While the panel that slides up from the bottom of the display is useful, giving you access to commonly used settings and a brightness slider, there’s not much that Lenovo got right here.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro Screenshot-15

There is a multi-window feature that lets you place up to 4 apps on the screen at the same time, but that is limited to only a few compatible applications, with even a majority of Lenovo’s own in-built applications not utilizing the display to its fullest potential.The calculator app is just a blown up simple calculator in portrait mode, and while a few more functions are added when in landscape, it’s not nearly as much as you’d expect for a display this large. The gallery application also has a lot of unused space and is without a split view, which makes the app look more like it was made more a smartphone instead of a tablet. The same can be said about the weather app, that only shows the current weather and a 5 day forecast, even if the space could have allowed for a lot more information.

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Since this is all software related, it should be relatively easy to fix. Lenovo should certainly get more creative with the pre-installed applications, and their own custom skin, as it is the software that makes or breaks the user experience.

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Pricing and Final Thoughts

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is available directly from Lenovo and Amazon for $469.99, which is a fair price for a tablet of this size. The Wi-Fi only model is available for now, with a LTE version coming soon, that will likely set you back an additional $50 or $100.

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So, there you have it – the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro! There is no doubt that Lenovo has built an Android tablet with fantastic hardware, and are continuing to push the boundaries with regards to design. The build quality is solid, the kickstand is incredibly useful, especially for a tablet of this size, and the 13.3-inch Quad HD display is great to look at. The pico projector may be considered gimmicky by some, but is still an unique feature. What is missing is an optimized software experience, which is the only thing holding this tablet from being a truly amazing and powerful tablet.

See it on Amazon

Ultra Fast Wireless Charging for Tablets and Big Phones Will Soon be a Thing

Posted by Kellex December - 8 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Thanks to the introduction of the world’s first 15 Watt Qi-compliant wireless charging solution by Freescale, ultra fast wireless charging of tablets and big-screened phones will soon be a thing. Most traditional wireless charging units deliver at 5 Watts, but that low power delivery typically means that it takes hours to fully charge a device with a large battery. In fact, I don’t know that anyone who uses wireless charging on a regular basis would even attempt to call it “speedy.” With Freescale’s new solution, we could see a time where a 4,000mAh tablet could be charged in just a couple of hours. 

Their new charging solution is scheduled for Q1 2015 availability, which means they have production-ready reference designs and evaluation boards ready for manufacturers to use quickly to bring new wireless charging products to market.

The new 15 W portfolio from Freescale is also supported with the Wireless Power Consortium and the Power Matters Alliance, the two major wireless charging standards. So should manufacturers adopt Freescale’s new systems, we should see 15 W wireless chargers and embedded wireless charging with both Qi and PMA solutions.

Again, Q1 2015 is when the first products could arrive.

Via:  Venturebeat | Freescale

Ultra Fast Wireless Charging for Tablets and Big Phones Will Soon be a Thing is a post from: Droid Life