Tag Archives: smartphones

Apple stock drops 12 points following iPhone 5S & 5C announcement.

apple stock down following iphone 5s and 5c announcement somegadgetguyDamn stock market. I haven’t even finished writing up what was announced at the Apple event today, and you guys already jumped into some trading.

It would seem investors weren’t impressed by the new offerings on display from Cupertino. Following the unveiling of the worst kept secrets in tech, Apple’s stock is currently down 12 points, trading at around 494 a share. Not a great position for this company to be in as the last several product announcements from Apple have been viewed with some cynicism. Apparently a revised iPhone 5 and a new plastic mid-range iPhone wasn’t what the market was hoping for to drum up some excitement.

From a business perspective I’m a little surprised that adding China to the list of countries receiving the iPhone at launch wasn’t met with more celebration. China will be a huge potential market for Apple, and those people concerned with the profitability of iOS should be optimistic that we’ll see increased revenue from these Asian markets.

Video samples from the Nokia Lumia 1020 – The best camera on a phone today.

nokia lumia 1020 pureview camera test video samples somegadgetguyNo joke. Nokia nailed it.

The Lumia 1020’s monster 41 megapixel PureView sensor is an absolute beast. Even when the output is scaled down to 1080p video, you just wont find a phone camera as capable of delivering the kinds of photographic output you’ll receive from this Lumia. Plus it has the first digital zoom which is actually worth using! It’s a whole new tier above what we would normally consider “premier” smartphone optics.

Yet with all of the accolades I can throw at this phone, no camera is perfect. Let’s go hands on with some video samples!

Watch my first impressions of the Lumia 1020.

Real Person Video Review: Tom Costello chats about his Nokia Lumia 521

nokia lumia 521 review hands on somegadgetguy smartphoneMy friend Tom Costello is a working actor in LA, and he was kind enough to sit down with me to chat about his experiences using his Nokia Lumia 520.

I hope to continue this as a semi-regular series on how real people (not tech bloggers) incorporate tech into their daily lives. You can catch our first Real Person Review of Marie talking about her Galaxy S4.

We had a few teething pains with Google Hangouts getting the interview started, but it settled down once we got to talking.

I really want to thank Tom for sharing his experiences, and to keep track of his projects, please check out his IMDB profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1843641/

IFA 2013: Sony Xperia Z1 Android phone with 20.7MP camera and 5″ HD screen

xperia-Z1-hero-black-somegadgetguy smartphone androidSony has its work cut out for itself in scratching out a niche in the Android ecosystem. They’ve been releasing quality hardware, and their fan base, while small, is passionate. With the announcement of the Z1, they’re hoping to give the Galaxies and Ones a run for their (customer’s) money.

The Xperia Z1 sports a five inch 1080p “Triluminous” LCD utilizing the same color tech found in Sony’s TV lineup. Under the hood you’ll find a Qualcomm 800 quad-core CPU paired up with 2GB of RAM which should handily outperform the GS4 and HTC One. 16GB of onboard storage is lean these days, but you do have access to an SD card slot to expand. A non-removeable 3000mAh battery should perform decently, but we haven’t seen many real world battery tests of the Qualcomm 800, so the increased battery capacity might get eaten by the more powerful internals.

The camera is a huge 20.7MP job with a 27mm wide angle lens (good for group shots and landscapes) and a fast f2.0 sperture for low light sensitivity. The image sensor is the same size as those found in most point and shoot cameras. Hopefully that combo works out, as there’s no mention of image stabilization on board, and 20 blurry megapixels are no fun.  If you pull the shot off however, Sony is including software to aid in sharing to your family and friends and favorite social networks.

xperia-Z1-gallery-03-1240x840-7d3dbfe4986436b7f56e2252c3114236Also of note, while not a rugged device, it will feature enhanced water resistance like that found on the original Xperia Z. So you folks who drop your phone in fluids (I don’t want to know what you drop your phone in, please don’t tell me) will have a little extra piece of mind that your handset might actually survive a two year contract.

the Z1 will ship with Android 4.2.2 alongside Sony’s custom skin and widgets, and availability is set for “later this month” No word yet on pricing and availability, but it will come in black, white, and purple, so that’s cool.

All the rest of the details on the Sony site.

Samsung shows off Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Gear, and Note 10.1 2014 Edition

unpacked building note 3Thankfully this follow up Unpacked event was far more mature than what we saw for the Galaxy S4. None of that musical theatre train wreck, this time around Samsung largely let their new devices speak for themselves. Simple and straight forward.

As expected, we saw the official unveiling of the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and I was surprised to see a main stage announcement for the updated Note 10.1 2014 edition.

Galaxy Note 3

16 air commandThe Note 3 looks like it’s going to be another powerhouse phablet. A 5.7″ full HD (1080p) screen backed up by 3GB of RAM. CPU’s will change based on region a quad core in LTE areas (likely the Qualcomm 800) and Samsung’s Octa-Core in 3G zones. A new camera module is on board featuring improvements to lighting and image stabilization, but no mentions of proper hardware optical image stabilization were to be found. Video is going  to get a huge shot in the arm however as the Note 3 will support 60FPS 1080p video recording -OR- 4K video for Ultra HD playback on supported 4K TV’s and monitors.

17 action menuThe Note 3 will be sporting a Category 4 LTE radio giving it access to most LTE networks around the world. A nice touch for people who travel a lot (watch those roaming data rates).

S-Pen is getting spruced up, now with even more ability to control actions and shortcuts on the phone. Smart Command can pop up almost anywhere on the screen to provide quick access to shortcuts. S-note is getting a face lift with more gesture support and a cleaner interface plus support for Evernote. Almost any content can be “Circled” to save in personal Scrapbooks, later to be retrieved via S-Finder universal search. Drawing a box allows users to customize the size of widgets which float on top of the app currently being used. For example, you need a calculator on screen, you draw how big that calculator should be so you can still see info on the rest of the screen.

 

20 multi-windowMulti-Window support is improved for better multi-tasking, and users can even open multiple instances of the same app, say for instance you’d like to have two chat windows open at the same time.

 

Note 3 will come in three different leather clad back pates, black, white, and pink, and designers are working on numerous color and texture options for further customization. The Window Flip Cover accessory from the GS4 returns with an even larger window to support alerts on the screen when the screen is technically off.

14 back coverThose of you worried about corporate solutions, Samsung Knox security software will now be rolling out worldwide.

Samsung is shooting for worldwide availability by September 25th. An ambitious release schedule. Pricing info to come shortly as carriers jump on the press circuit.

Galaxy Gear

29 gearSammy proudly showed off their smartwatch, ending all the rumors on what kind of tech we might see on board. a 1.6″ touchscreen AMOLED display will be paired with an 800MHz CPU and a host of sensors, gyros, mics, speakers, and a camera. Movement tracking will allow Gear to help you sort work out and fitness info, and gestures can be utilized. Answering a phone call happens by holding your hand up to the side of your head. That seems funny, until you see that the mic and speaker are built into the watchband. Not exactly handsfree, but easier to support than holding a Note 3 up to the side of your face, and less “crazy person talking to no one” looking than some of the smaller bluetooth headsets.

25 answerA 13MP camera is built into the strap as well, allowing Gear owners to snap pics and vids directly from the wrist. Lining up shots might be tricky holding your arm out sideways, but it’s nice to have an easily accessible camera which can shoot quickly from simple gestures. Custom apps are already available. to take advantage of the smaller screen, and it interacts with Samsung handsets, specifically the Note 2 & 3, the Galaxy Note 10.1, and the Galaxy S4. Smart relay will auto transfer what you see on the Gear screen simply by picking up a paired device. Plus Sammy is claiming 25 hour run time on the watch for all day and all night activity.

Expect a price of $299 when it’s released to the world, also shooting for a September 25th release.

Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition

28 note 10Less time was spent on the Note 10 during the press event. Most of the new tech included in Note 10.1 was detailed during the presentation of the Note 3. Happily we are seeing a refresh on the screen. Now sporting a 2560×1600 resolution display, similar to the one found on the Nexus 10, this absolutely shames the 1280×800 screen on the last generation Note. The new Note 10.1 will have an 8MP rear camera (no word on 4K video so that’s probably not included), and the same CPU split will happen with LTE variants likely receiving Qualcomm’s 800 series CPU. I would expect WiFi and 3G variants to sport Sammy’ s Octa-core Exynos.

Huge news from Sammy today, and if you were holding off buying a new premier phone or tablet, Samsung totally justified your cautious shopping decision.

Click here to watch the Unpacked event.

HTC to update all variations of One to 4.3 by end of September?

ATT HTC One Mini software update jelly bean 4_3If you’re checking out HTC Phones on AT&T, you’ll notice something a little curious. Firing up the One Mini you’ll see it’s running Android 4.2.2, which is a newer version of the operating system than the flagship full-sized One which is currently rocking 4.1.2. One of the biggest changes in the update can be seen on the right. The notification tray quick toggles for things like WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.

The update for 4.2.2 is already live in the UK, much to the chagrin of some One customers in the USA. Support for Android handsets has always been a dicey conversation. The relationship between Google, manufactures, and carriers can often delay support to end users. This support gets even more contentious when some phones are updated but others are not.

Apparently the Verizon version of the One will ship with 4.2.2 pre-installed. President of Global Sales Jason Mackenzie took a couple minutes to respond to some of the comments on Twitter.

Minor though it may be, it does include some nifty usability improvements like that aforementioned notification tray update. When pushed on the timing of this update Mr. Mackenzie replied:

And hopefully that’s what we’ll see. The changes between 4.1 and 4.2 and 4.3 weren’t substantial enough for Google to even change the name of the update. They’re all called “Jelly Bean”. Yet this still gives customers the impression that some are being left out in the cold. That they aren’t getting bug fixes and patches. Not a great feeling to have when you supposedly have a premier handset.

As I’m currently using the AT&T HTC One, I’ll be following up on coverage as soon as some kind of update reaches us.

A Real Person Review: Mrs. GadgetGuy’s Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S4

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (8)It’s important not to lose perspective when reviewing phones. You experience so many different devices that your threshold for “good” and “bad” gets severely fine. Occasionally I like to include other people on my long term reviews.

My wife Marie would never consider herself to be “tech savvy”, yet living in a household covered in glowing rectangles she does have some unique opinions on the technology she invests in. She’s spent some time playing with Samsung’s Super Phone the Galaxy S4. I asked her some questions about her experiences so far.

What phone/phones did you use before the GS4? Which have you liked? Which have you disliked?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (1)I’ved used the Blackberry, the Galaxy S2, the iPhone, and the Motorola Photon. I loved the Blackberry, but was soon totally addicted the the Galaxy S2. I know most iPhone devotees will disagree with me, but I found the S2 to be more intuitive to use than the iphone. The dedicated menu and back buttons really helped. I despised the Photon. It was an android, and had a hardware keyboard, so I thought I’d love it, but I didn’t. I never used the keyboard (it was too cumbersome). Despite resetting it and “turning it on and off,” I felt like it was really buggy much of the time.

Thoughts on build quality, design, and ergonomics of the GS4?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (9)The only issue I really had with the GS2 was it’s size. I have smaller hands and it felt huge. I’m told that the GS4 has a 5 inch screen and the GS2 only had a 4.5 inch screen and yet holding it in my hands, the GS2 felt really clunky. The GS4 feels really slim and it doesn’t cause people around me to ask if that is my “tablet”? It feels comfortable to hold and I can use it one handed (much easier when trying to answer the phone while walking the dog).

Just because I’m paranoid, I do keep a bumper on the phone, and I use screen protectors on all my phones. I want them to look proffesional when I have to use them at work.

How is the screen? Size good or bad? Have you used it for media or video?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (6)The screen is beautiful. I’m a big Netflix and Hulu watcher and the screen is really crisp and clear. I’m not bothered at all by the fact that it is a small screen because all the details are there to see. It’s replaced a lot of my tablet usage. It really is shocking compared to other phones I’ve used.

How does the phone perform? Has it locked or slowed down on you? App performance?

So far I have had none of the bugginess of the Photon. I use Google voice and it’s a pretty seamless transition. I haven’t had to “Turn it on and off again” to get things to work properly. I use pandora, google music, calendar apps, and the kindle app pretty regularly and I have had no issues. Also, since it’s an android, after updating the calendar on my phone, I can see and access those updates right away via any other device (desktop, tablet, etc). LOVE that.

Thoughts on the camera? What kinds of pics/video do you like to take? Does the GS4 camera accomplish that usage?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (3)I don’t really take a lot of pics and I’m not the photographer in the family (as I’m sure most readers are aware), so I can’t speak to all the various camera settings. I’ve tried a few, but wouldn’t be able to say if they made the picture better. I did notice this past weekend after taking a lot of pics in strange low-light, that most came out really well. In focus and clear.

Have you had an issues using WIFI GPS or NFC?

Sadly, I haven’t used the awesome NFC option yet. But I love knowing it’s there. I use Wifi pretty regularly and it’s easy and has always worked. It’s fast on our home cable internet connection. I’ve used several apps that would require GPS (Google Maps/Navigations, Waze, MyTracks, etc) and it has always been able to fire right up. It only has issues if I am not in a great signal area. So, not a problem with the phone.

How does the phone handle phone calls? Is the earpiece loud enough? Speakerphone?

Calls are clear. The speakerphone is loud enough to be heard clearly, but I prefer to use a headset option.

What do you think of the software that came pre-installed? Touchwiz UI? AT&T apps? Are menus easy to use/find? Settings?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (7)Menus are easy to find and use. I’ve played with them a bit more on this phone than any other because, again, they are pretty intuitive. I have not used any of the AT&T preset apps. I’ve been using the pre-installed keyboard and I have had no complaints. I like that auto-correct is not automatic. It offers a suggestion and I can choose that word if I want, but it won’t change it automatically.

It was easier going to the GS4 than trying out the Photon. There’s a ton more software on the GS4 than the GS2, but it looks “right”, like I know where everything is. I haven’t turned on gestures, but I like the eye tracking features. I keep my screen time out really short to save battery.

Speaking of, how has battery life been?

So far, I have been able to go all day with the phone without being worried about the battery. I do have to charge it every night, but that’s been pretty normal since leaving Blackberry.

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (5)Any final thoughts? Do you enjoy using it? Does it feel like an upgrade over other phones you’ve used?

This phone definitely brings all the best aspects of the GS2, while fixing the minor issues I had with it. I have no complaints about this phone, and would definitely recommend it to friends and family. Especially if they are big Google app users. They work together so well.

Thanks Marie!

A Letter to HTC: The HTC One Mini isn’t THAT mini…

Dear HTC,

I like the One Mini a lot. I think you’ve largely succeeded in bringing a nicer experience to the mid range Android ecosystem. The fit and finish are outstanding, and in many ways it out shines its bigger brother One. There are a few things I’m going to be critical about when I wrap up my review, but honestly there aren’t any severe deal breakers here. It’s a great little phone.

You know what is bothering me about the HTC One Mini however? Your advertising for the phone.

You remember two sentences ago, when I said it was “…a great little phone”? The problem is, it’s not THAT little. In fact it’s ever so slightly bigger than the Moto X. This wouldn’t be a problem by itself. The phone IS smaller than the original One, so you have every right to call it the “Mini”. I guess I’m just a little disappointed to continue seeing press pictures of the Mini like this on your official HTC site:

htc one mini ad size comparison somegadgetguy

Nice! That makes the Mini look like it’s a tiny wunder-phone. A Mighty Mouse here to save the day from all of these gargantuan mini-tablets! Huzzah!

Unfortunately reality look more like this:

htc one mini size comparison somegadgetguy

Yeah… See that’s not what you showed us it would be. That’s actually pretty close in size to the original One. This is the problem with forced perspective and Photoshop. Moving the Mini in front of the One would actually make the One appear to be smaller as it would be slightly farther away from the “camera”. To recreate the size difference you showcase I actually had to move the One closer to the camera:

htc one mini size comparison faked somegadgetguy

I know, I know a LOT of tech has to be crammed in there like a 4.3″ 720p screen and those terrific Boomsound speakers. I get it. But you didn’t have to lie to us.

Ahem, I mean, you didn’t have to exaggerate the differences in size for dramatic effect.

Love,

SomeGadgetGuy

P.S.

Click here to watch my video first impressions of the HTC One Mini.