HTC One – The Number One of its Time

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The HTC One is not only about the name the owners have thoughtfully kept, but more about its literal meaning. The handset tops people’s expectation list in ways that are legion. It’s a branding strategy for the company, and the great news is that the model has come to justify this strategy well. If you render a look at the One series, you will notice how the features are perfectly embedded, keeping the phone’s name in mind.

The next model after the previous year’s One X has now been launched and is simply called the One. Taking HTC’s design and imaging achievements to the next level, this new handset brings in a new UltraPixel camera sensor, among various other high-end specifications. The gorgeous design of the phone is breathtakingly spectacular which gives it a suave and subtle look. The camera also does very well in low light and the powerful quad-core Snapdragon 600 chip is something to talk about as far as the phone’s performance is concerned. With a stunning 4.7-inch, 1080p display, the device showcases the best image quality and appeal of the media files. With smart features like the Zoe Share and Highlight Reel, there’s more to this new gadget of HTC than meets the eye.

The One is an Android 4.4.2 device with Sense 5, the next generation user interface. The most dramatic change in the UI is the feature called BlinkFeed, which descends as the default home page on the phone’s screen. Not only is this feature attractive, it also keeps the busier people connected to the world at all times by relaying news and social media updates of all kinds via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

We can say that HTC has come a long way from its previous flagship phones to provide something more polished and useful. The phone’s superb design, its camera, aspects of Sense 5, such as BlinkFeed and the One’s two-button layout, have enhanced the user experience multifold. Its beautiful design, great display and great performance make it among the finest phones available.

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The New Inside-Out: YotaPhone 2

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The dashing sequel to the YotaPhone has finally been launched, and this time, with changes for the better. The new and improved YotaPhone 2 has a fresh design and its high-end specs and bigger, higher-resolution displays are welcome upgrades. Regarded as the most interesting smartphone that has ever lined the mobile market, this is a handset with an E Ink display that is not just there as a novelty but has several, legitimate uses. The backside of the phone is no longer an oddity; it’s an asset.

The Dual-screened phone is an engineering marvel with its thoroughly useful E Ink screen. The gorgeous primary AMOLED display makes a rich visual experience. The phone has top-tier performance with cool points aplenty. At 144 x 69.5 x 8.9mm, and 145g (5.1 ounces), the YotaPhone 2 is slightly taller than average mobile sets having a 5 inch display. Even with that large of a screen, one thing that will continuously keep you occupied is figuring out how they packed two displays, a 2,500mAh battery and everything else in a phone with such a sleek body.

At 4.7 inches, the secondary E Ink display is bigger on the new YotaPhone and also sports a higher resolution of 960 x 540 and is capable of producing 16 different levels of gray. The most important upgrade to the E Ink display on the YotaPhone 2 is that it’s now entirely multitouch-enabled, so you can poke at it like you would any other touchscreen.

Both of the cameras on the YotaPhone 2 are different from those found on its predecessor, but only one’s changed for the better. That would be the front-facing shooter, which is now 2.1 megapixels, compared to the original’s 1MP sensor. The main camera module is now eight megapixels, down from 13MP on the first YotaPhone.

The YotaPhone 2 is a blunt upgrade over its previous version, with bigger, better displays wrapped in a much sleeker package. Most importantly, the secondary E Ink screen is actually useful this time around. Although it is very expensive and won’t suit everyone’s budget, YotaPhone 2 has clearly shown that a dual screen form factor is workable, and in many cases desirable. Yota has definitely brought something new for consumers in the smartphone world.

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The Next after Moto X: Motorola Droid Turbo

Motorola Droid Turbo

The Motorala Droid Turbo is a sturdy smartphone with more ample dimensions that have a set purpose. The solid chassis makes the handset feel reassuring to hold with that prominent curve helping the Turbo rest comfortably on your palm. More importantly, the protective outer shell has been made with a purpose to keep the precious inner composition intact. Even though the outer shell is not very impressive looking, the hardware inside it is robust. Turbo’s hardware holds together a speedy quad-core 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 processor chip, 3GB of RAM and a tremendous 3,900mAh battery. The front is somehow even less visually interesting but when the 5.2-inch Quad HD screen comes alive, the handset’s front becomes quite appealing in appearance. Other than that, the front of the phone sports a wide speaker grille nicely placed above the 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and the capacitive touch buttons beneath the screen.

The biggest addition here is Motorola’s Droid Zap feature which is a cool tool that lets you fling photos and videos to people nearby or onto a Chromecast. Droid owners can also set up specific regions called Zap Zones to speed up the sharing. Once activated, in a way, you’re broadcasting every photo you take to a pre-selected group of people.

In regard to the phone’s camera, Motorola seems to have learned from one of its biggest failings in the case of the Moto X’s lackluster 13-megapixel camera. They have worked on it now and the Turbo packs a 21-megapixel rear camera with a wide f/2.0 lens, which is indeed a great combination. The full-resolution photos look crisp and vivid although low-light performance is not all that great.

With a solid body and rich hardware, Turbo seems to be a promising smart phone. Its long battery life, attractive Quad HD screen, powerful performance and a much improved version of the camera (as compared to Moto X) this device packs specifications of a well-built and well-composed smartphone.

While it lacks the style and charm of the 2014 Moto X, the Droid Turbo is a small power packed machine that happens to outperform its relative in nearly every important aspect. However, many of you may not be able to lay your hands on it because it’s a Verizon exclusive phone.

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Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: The Phone with Curves

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung’s second experimentally screened phone is out and has got people talking. Yes, the phone with a properly curved screen has its targeted audience in for a surprise. If you look at the basic shape and concept, the curved-screen uniquely comes out as a fresh innovation. But the phone draws so many features from the Galaxy Note 4 that one wonders if the curved screen is the only new addition or is there more to anticipate from the new, unconventional handset.

The Galaxy Note Edge is an attention grabbing piece with its subjective and divisive curves. The screen looks great, with the punchy contrast and sharpness that has been a Samsung flagship pillar for years.

Going head to head with the Note 4, the Note Edge boasts of the same high-resolution (2,560 × 1,600) screen as well as a 2.7GHz processor. A similar 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (and a 64GB option), with a microSD slot for expansion also confirms how close one is to the other. The phone’s battery, however, stays a little behind the Note 4. A slightly smaller 3,000mAh pack powers this special edition Note, as compared to 3,220mAh offered in the Note 4.

Although slightly more expensive as compared to the Galaxy Note 4, the phone is beautiful with its high-resolution curved display. Most of the features and looks are pretty similar to Galaxy Note 4. It has nearly all the same design touches and material finishes as the Note 4. The phone provides a long battery life and definitely has an excellent camera.

Samsung certainly stood for no compromises while designing the imaging capabilities of the Note Edge. The new model boasts a 16-megapixel camera, with Samsung’s “smart OIS” that is intended to increase the light (and detail) in low light areas. The front-facing camera is also a top-end sensor compared to the competition, 3.7 megapixels with an f/1.9 lens.

Overall, Samsung has provided the Galaxy Edge user with some of the best components beneath that unique display: 3GB of RAM to ensure multitask windowing runs smoothly, and a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor to back it up.

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Play It Big with Blackberry Passport

Blackberry Passport

A gadget with a bizarre design often gets people talking. While that is true about Passport, the latest handset by Blackberry, there are many other features about the phone that have caught people’s attention. Let us see what else there is to the phone that also has the most competitive specs among BlackBerry handsets.

The square shaped device is the first phone with a physical keyboard since the Motorola Droid 4 or the BlackBerry Q10. The unusual thing is that by modern smartphone standards, it is not a typical keyboard that we see on other phones. The Passport’s Qwerty keyboard is a flattened, hybrid setup with both physical and virtual elements and a uniquely placed traditional-looking space key.

That said, there’s more to the Passport than just its odd shape and size. The big-sized smartphone’s keyboard doubles as touchpad. With its robust build, the device also has a long battery life, which is one of the first things users look for in today’s fast-paced lives.

The Passport has a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button on the top, with micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports, as well as stereo speakers at the bottom. The right side of the phone features volume control buttons separated by a convenience key used for BlackBerry Assistant and media play or pause. Four mics suitably grace this big device, including one hidden in the phone’s earpiece. The phone also sports a 2MP front-facing camera above the display.

On the back of the phone lies its 13-megapixel camera with LED flash, as well as a removable section above the metal separator, which holds the nano-SIM and microSDXC slots. The handset’s sturdy and long-lasting battery is a hefty 3450mAh piece, which cannot be removed from the phone.

All in all, if size and shape don’t matter to you much, the Passport is the best BlackBerry 10 device to own, and comes with a number of flagship-quality specifications to give you a rich user experience.



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Nokia Lumia 830: The New Mid-Range Device

Nokia Lumia 830With an attempt to bring the metal frame and PureView camera branding of high-end Lumias down to the mid-range smartphone price level, the Lumia 830 with the freshly minted Microsoft Mobile is a smartphone priced at $100 with a two-year contract on AT&T ($450 contract-free). Although, such moves by big mobile companies run the risk of sending the wrong message when trying to lower the price. Whether Microsoft shaved too many corners off of the 830’s aluminum body is something time will tell. Meanwhile, here is a sneak peek into the good and bad about the phone.

The quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM powering the Lumia 830 seems to be an intentional move towards making the phone mid-range, but its general performance doesn’t leave too much to be desired. Apps launch and close swiftly, and general navigation around the Windows Phone 8.1 UI is fluid and bumble-free. Browsing mobile web pages is easy and smooth, with a tad bit of tiling when zooming in and out of desktop sites.

As far as the design is concerned, the ports and buttons are located in the typical Lumia style. The phone mostly sticks to the standard layout seen on many a Lumia we have seen in the past few years. The volume rocker lies to the right edge near the top whereas the power key is located right in the middle with the camera key toward the bottom. The headphone jack sits front and center along the top edge along with the micro-USB port up there as well (which is different from past phones). The Lumia 830 achieves a nice balance with its premium aluminum frame and mid-range internals. Those looking for a solid camera experience at this price range should take a good look. Unlike the 5MP front shooter on the lower-tier Lumia 735/730, the 0.9MP unit in the Lumia 830 phone is strictly average. It’s fine for quick snaps and Skype, but does not extend its reach beyond that.

All in all, The Lumia 830 has got the high-end looks and a capable camera of flagship-level phones, combined with the fair performance and display resolution of mid-range and budget models.

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With HTC One M8, You May Not Feel the Need to Switch At All

HTC One M8The HTC One M8 continues to be one of the more popular Android devices. Its high-resolution display and beautiful design have surely set a benchmark in handset designs such that it is quite comparable to the Apple phone designs.

The Snapdragon 801 processor has boosted the phone’s battery and processing speed dramatically which have certainly impacted gaming, movies, photography, and over all browsing in a grand manner. All of these superb features packed into the elegant metal (most of it) body are surely going to take the competition for a ride. The bigger 5in LCD display makes everything on the screen look more appealing and more clear. With a peak brightness of 491cd/m2 and sRGB color spectrum coverage of 93.7%, the M8 is among the best LCD screens seen in a smartphone, competing with the iPhone 5s in terms of brightness and contrast. Although the camera lacks a megapixel upgrade due to which pictures are a little less sharp than they would otherwise be, the speed of the Duo camera is great and is coupled with useful features. The front-facing BoomSound speakers are a great addition to the beautiful display of HTC One M8 that make watching YouTube videos a joy. The speakers are impressively loud, but also very clear, with no signs of distortion or clipping when pushed to their limits.

We urge you to hold this phone for a few seconds and try not to feel at least a small flicker of smartphone attraction. It’s got great specs, a splendid design and some clever hardware innovation at a time when the competition is holding on to software to do the same thing. All in all, the phone will be worth every penny that you invest in its purchase. It’s beautiful and has smart hardware to back it up.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact–Offering Great Stuff in a Small Package


Sony Xperia Z3 CompactIn the recent few years, many of the major smartphone players have resorted to introducing mini versions of their best-selling, high-end devices with an aim to satisfy those who still crave a smaller device. While the race has not been easy for these smartphone manufacturing giants as it’s difficult to include the high-end specs in a smaller chassis. Yet, Sony has managed to take things in stride by preserving as many high-end features as possible in its smaller devices. Its recent innovation in this domain is the new Xperia Z3 Compact (Z3C), which flaunts the best of the 5.2-inch Z3 into a 4.6-inch body, and is basically everything you could want in a smaller smartphone.

At a glance, the Z3C might not appear to be the most convenient device to carry. For starters, there’s a thin, sharp rim around the two glass panels on either side of the curved border, and the corners of the device are only slightly curved. Additionally, the back panel offers minimal grip because of the slick glass used. The phone is relatively small at 127 x 64.9 x 8.6mm (5 x 2.56 x 0.34 inches) and slightly heavier for a phone of this size, at 129g (4.55 ounces); yet its weight has no negative impact on its handling. Overall, it can be said that the phone will be received well by the audience. There’s undoubtedly a huge demand for big-screen devices, but with the Z1 Compact and newer Z3 Compact, Sony’s continuing to cater to those who want a smaller handset without giving up high-end specs.

The Xperia Z3 Compact includes an elegant design, a (mostly) good camera, strong computing power and spectacular battery life. Although the phone does not promise a great shooting experience because of its poor low-light camera, it settles the scores well with its high-end specs. Some of the best features of this small device are that it holds on for quite a while with its incredible battery life. With its top-tier performance and flagship design, the phone offers a smooth user experience and a build quality that is no different than the flagship model it imitates. All in all, the handset is reduced in size, but not capability.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Resembles a Mini Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Note 4Having experienced working on small gadgets fitting snugly in our pockets, we now enter the era of the phablet. The device that makes all other phones seem comically small is slowly becoming people’s favorite and an unexpected hit.

The bigger and better handset by Samsung may not be artwork but can certainly be termed a beautiful device. The Note 4 is quite usable as it has been made very thoughtfully. Even though bigger in size, it fits in your hands pretty nicely such that the buttons and the screen are intuitively placed and easily accessed. The stylus is almost invisible until you pull it out and unlock the device.

For those looking for Samsung’s traditional removable battery or SD card slot, the device won’t disappoint them. The thin back slips off effortlessly and reveals the strong 3220 mAh battery and a small slot for a MicroSD card. Although the back cover appears to be too thin and flimsy, it is sturdy enough to keep things safe in the back of the device.

The screen, which is a full 5.7 inches, displays 2,560 x 1,440 pixels at 515ppi. With such great specs, it offers a great experience for reading, drawing, and general use. For a phablet, the screen is actually the best part and is great for people who can’t see the font on smaller phones. As far as the phone’s camera is concerned, Samsung deserves accolades for packing so many pixels onto such a small surface. It has a Snapdragon 805 processor that runs a Quad-core Krait 450 CPU at up to 2.7 GHz per core. Flaunting such high-end specs, the phone assures fast service for everything.

Samsung has packed an entire laptop’s worth of features into its package of phablets and has indeed done a good job of it. The device is a solid, useful, and usable phone designed for users who need a bit more real estate or at least for those with big hands. For many, the device promises to make them phablet converts, and this is certainly the best of the breed.


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Treading a New Path: The Xperia Z3v

The Xperia Z3v

Sony’s latest handset, the Xperia Z3v, is a new age gadget that’s beaming with innovation. The smartphone is a waterproof device, something that is very difficult to offer in smartphones. Next, it can capture 4K video and plays high-resolution audio. And if you’re still looking for more, the device can even stream games from your PlayStation 4. With these unusual but much needed features, the phone has added to the telling technological bundle for the company’s latest flagship phone, a variant of the Xperia Z3. Sony Xperia Z3v is exclusive to Verizon in the U.S. and costs $199 with a two-year contract.

The great news for PlayStation owners is that the phone’s PS4 Remote Play adds an extra layer of convenience. It is able to stream gameplay from a PS4 console in real time. It does so with the optional mount costing $59.99 that fits onto a standard PlayStation controller

If you are a photography enthusiast, you will be glad to use this smartphone as it can shoot videos at 4K resolution, providing for a sharp and clean viewing experience. Equipped with a storage capacity of 32GB, you don’t need to bother yourself with the space the 4k resolution videos will grab. If need be, you can extend the storage up to 128GB using a microSD card.

With an impressive 20 megapixels, the rear camera has matched the pixel count of a good digital camera, making it redundant. The phone’s camera also comes with a bag of tricks to use the camera in the most creative ways. Playing high-res audio is definitely something that most phones can’t do, which makes this phone unique. It’s also equipped with digital noise cancellation technology.

Although this superb handset is available with only one carrier, which automatically limits its reach, it surely gives you a lot for your buck.


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