Huawei Watch: Design Styles and Pricing Announced

huawei watch steel and leatherThe much teased Huawei Watch is official! Announced at IFA, this circular displayed fashion piece will be joining the Android Wear ranks soon, with pre-orders shipping September 17th.

We also have confirmation on styles, and pricing. A classic stainless steel body with a black leather strap will start at $349, moving to a steel bracelet will bump up the price to $399. The Black Steel body and bracelet will cost $499, and the rose gold watch will cost $699 and $799 with Alligator leather strap and rose gold bracelet respectively.

The tech on board seems like ballpark Android Wear. A 1.4″ AMOLED screen with a 400×400 resolution should look nice and crisp. The Snapdragon 400 CPU is well known, and with current software is a snappy performer on other watches. Plus, we’re happy to see WiFi and 4GB of storage listed as features.

huawei watch blackHow this all pairs with the 300mah battery for run time will be interesting to test as Huawei claims “up to two days” of battery life.

It’s a good looking timepiece. You can read Huawei’s full announcement below!

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Sony Showcases 4K screen, Cameras, and Waterproofing on Family of Xperia Z5 Smartphones

Announced today. Sony took the wraps off their newest flagship phones. The Z5, Z5 Premium, and Z5 Compact.

04. Z5_white_groupSony is first to market with a 4K display on a phone. The Z5 Premium will sport the Qualcomm 810 with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of built in storage, and the ability to add more via Micro SD card. Quite a feat shrinking that resolution down to a 5.5″ screen.

The bread and butter Z5 shrinks down to a 5.2″ display and reduces the resolution to 1080p, but retains largely the same overall experience.

The 4.6″ screened Compact also returns, continuing Sony’s track record of producing a smaller form factor phone which matches most of the specs found in their larger flagships. Always happy to see a smaller premium phone rather than gimped “mini” budget phones.

12. Z5_Z50c_WhiteWhite_Group 2For all three, Sony’s hard edge rectangular design retains the Xperia feel we all understand. Water resistance seems to be improves ala Samsung, where ports no longer require awkward flaps.

Sony produces most of the top tier camera sensors found in competing phones, so it makes sense they would save “the good stuff” for themselves. Their newest sensor is a half inch 23MP beast with an f2 lens aperture, and they’re touting the world’s fastest smartphone auto focus. Combined with OIS, it should make for a solid competitor to the current crop of flagship phones.

Lastly, the side mounted power button gets upgraded to include a fingerprint sensor, a fairly ingenious design, providing one action for turning the phone on and unlocking, without resorting to a hardware Home button or rear mounted scanner.

The family of Xperia Z5 phones should be shipping in October, with country and pricing info to follow. You can catch Sony’s full press release below.

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Lenovo Refreshes Helix Business Ultrabook and Horizon Portable All-In-One PC

Announced today at IFA, Lenovo has refreshes planned for some of their most unique Windows 8.1 PC’s.

ThinkPad Helix PowerBaseThe new Helix gets a slimmer build and finally gets the more powerful and efficient Intel Core M chipset. Helix is an 11.6″ tablet which can dock in a clam-shell keyboard for a more traditional laptop experience.  Lenovo calls their latching system “rip and flip” as the tablet can be inserted either facing towards or away from the keyboard for multi-mode usage. You can use the Helix as a tablet, laptop, or in “stand mode”. The Helix features up to 12 hour battery life with the Ultrabook Pro Keyboard dock.

As the Helix is a part of the Thinkpad line for business users, it includes support for a digitzer pen and security features like a fingerprint reader, smart card reader, and three factor authentication.

Lenovo Horizon 2e_Hero_01Consumers looking for an All-in-One experience can look to the Horizon 2s and 2e. Like the Flex 20 we reviewed recently, the Horizon 2 is a battery powered AiO. Like a semi portable, giant tablet which can replace your desktop PC running a full version of Windows 8.1 on an Intel Core processor.

Lenovo has shaved 10 pounds off the weight of its first Horizon PC, while including a battery capable of up to three hours of run time. The multi-mode stand also returns, allowing you to prop the screen upright, hold it at an angle, or lay it completely flat for tabletop gaming.

The Helix with Ultrabook Keyboard dock will be available in January starting at a price of $999. The Horizon 2e will launch in October starting at $749. You can catch Lenovo’s full PR below.

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Nokia Unveils “Affordable Flagship” Lumia 830 Smartphone

Lumia-830_group1Following the announcement of their Lumia Denim, Nokia showed off the first phone which will include the software update.

Nokia is positioning the 8XX line as upper mid-range. The Lumia 830 has a 5″ 720p display powered by a Qualcomm 400 series quad-core. The rear shooter scales back to a 10MP shooter which supports 1080p video and includes optical image stabilization. While there’s only 16GB of storage built in, it will include a MicroSD card slot unlike its bigger brother the 930.

It also retains a lot of the design language we current enjoy, a metal frame with a polycarb back which will come in white, black, orange, or green. It’s a nice aesthetic touch, not punishing consumers who opt for the less expensive models.

The Lumia 830 will be available this month with an expected launch price of 330EUR. You can see Nokia’s teaser vid below, and their full PR after the jump.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Crushes “Mini” Smartphone Competition

06_Xperia_Z3_Compact_White_GroupI try not to editorialize TOO much while covering press releases, but I am bothered by the “bigger is better” trend in smartphones. Flagships are starting to blur the boundaries between “regular” sized and “phablet”. Mini phones are almost always hamstrung versions of their larger stablemates. In Android land, there is exactly one mini phone which still retains higher-end specs, and Sony just gave it a refresh.

The Z3 Compact steps down to a 4.6″ display with a 720p resolution, it loses 1GB of RAM (down to 2GB), and it packs a smaller battery at 2600 mAh versus its big brother’s 3100 mAh. Besides those, it retains almost all of the hardware from the larger Z3. You’ll find the same Qualcomm 801 Quad-Core processor. Both have stereo speakers, and water submerge-able builds.

30_Xperia_Z3_Compact_White_BackThe Compact has the same 1/2.3″ camera sensor packing 20MP, 4K video, and optical image stabilization. Plus Sony will be bringing PS4 remote play to both the Z3 and the Compact for you console gamers out there.

It’s a largely premier specs sheet. At a time when even Apple will be moving up in screen size, and with the mid-range market getting hammered, Sony is providing a shot in the arm to a segment of the smartphone market which is often ignored. Pricing and availability will follow soon, and you can read Sony’s full PR below.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edge Brings a Different Bend to the Curved Screen

galaxy note 4 edge front and backSamsung’s Unpacked event at IFA this year saw a couple of exciting announcements. Of course most were on tap to see the release of the newest member to the Galaxy Note series. Rumors were flying about a curved AMOLED display. We’d seen previous attempts from Samsung with the Galaxy Round, and LG released a banana curved G Flex, but toying with the popular Note could have been a risky proposition.

For the Note 4 Edge, Samsung has done something a bit asymmetrical. The right hand side of the screen tapers off giving the device a screen which wraps around that corner. It’s a dramatic effect, and Sammy is using it for a variety of functions. It can act like a dock for app shortcuts, it can display time and notifications. It handily houses settings for the camera app (keeping the viewfinder free). Scrolling widgets can be housed on the edge, and while the main screen area is off, the side can still display time allowing it to act like a bedside clock.

What’s a little curious is that Samsung hasn’t made both sides taper off. It could have been our first side bezel-less phone. Hopefully this doesn’t affect the usage for left handed folks. Otherwise, the Edge very much resembles the Note 3 in terms of general design, but thankfully the guts of this phone are getting an upgrade. Continue reading “Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edge Brings a Different Bend to the Curved Screen”

Lenovo Offers Up New Android Tablet and Windows Gaming PC’s

Lenovo TAB S8_1Lenovo has led the PC market in sales for five consecutive quarters, while also making substantial gains with their tablet offerings.

At IFA in Berlin, Lenovo took the wraps off of their first Intel powered Android tablet and some new gear for gamers.

The Tab S8 has an 8″ full HD screen (1920×1200) powered by an Intel Atom quad-core processor. The screen is bordered by tiny bezels with front facing stereo speakers, there’s an 8MP rear shooter, and features 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage.

Base model will be available in September for $199, and there will be an LTE enabled model released later.

Also announced were a pair of gaming PC’s.

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IFA 2013: Panasonic Toughpad 4K – a 20 inch tablet running Windows 8.1

panasonic toughpad 4k ifa somegadgetguyIt’s audacious. PC sales are slowing up, so tech companies need to come up with new product lines to excite the public. Microsoft is blurring the lines between tablets and PC’s with Windows 8, and manufacturers are starting to develop hardware based on that shift.

Panasonic is making the Toughpad 4K a real product. A year ago they showed off a proof of concept 4K display running Windows. Soon you’ll be able to buy one!

This 20″ display has a resolution of 3840×2560, and is being marketed towards graphics and design professionals. In addition to touch controls, there’s the option to use an inductive stylus to get work done. Powered by a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA graphics, and up to 256GB of solid state storage, Panasonic is smudging the lines on “portable” computing. There needs to be a new classification for these types of slate. Something like “Semi-Mobile”.

Impressively, this thing is actually battery powered, and those high performance guts can run for around two hours without being connected to an outlet. At only five pounds, you could conceivably leave the house with the Toughpad. Something you’d never really consider doing with an iMac for example. It opens up some interesting possibilities for temporary workstations and situations where you’d need visuals like presentations. Instead of lugging a laptop and a projector, just pack up your Toughpad.

We’ll see more of this type of product soon in the coming months, as even Sony is releasing a “semi-mobile” computer.

No info on a USA release, but Toughpad 4K should arrive in Europe the middle of November. Expect it to drop for around  €4,500 (about $6000).

(picture via @Windows)