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AT&T HTC One X hands-on

Monday, February 27, 2012

AT&T HTC One X hands-on
Are you salivating after seeing HTC's One X? We don't blame you, it's a stunning piece of hardware with a set of rather lust-worthy specs. But, how does the AT&T version stack up to its international cousin? We're happy to say, quite well. Yes, the quad-core Tegra 3 was given the boot in favor of a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 and an LTE radio was crammed inside, but otherwise this is pretty much the same device we saw on the floor in Barcelona. The only piece of carrier branding is an AT&T logo above the gorgeous 4.7-inch 720p display. Thankfully, the design was left largely unmolested. At least at this early stage it's also blissfully free of bloatware and carrier apps, but we'd expect that to change before launch. Sadly, none of the demo units on hand at the New York showroom had SIMs in them, so we couldn't test LTE reception, and the devices weren't logged into the Market so we couldn't pull down benchmarks or a taxing 3D game. That being said, Sense 4.0 and ICS were plenty responsive and pages rendered very quickly - even without those two extra cores.

Nokia 808 PureView Hands-On

Nokia 808 PureView Hands-On
[MWC 2012] I got some hands-on time with the Nokia 808 Symbian smartphone, and of course, the first (and only) thing that I wanted to look at was the 41 Megapixel camera that can capture photos as high-res as 38 Megapixels (only in 4:3 ratio). The demo was extremely interesting as the effective Megapixels of the phone could be used in a couple of different ways. Basically you can choose between the super-high resolution, or to have the Nokia software crunch all the pixels into a more Manageable 8 (or less) Megapixel image. Of course, Nokia says that it doesn't "just shrink" the image, but that its internal software processes the image so that it can extract and use as much information as possible from the original 41 Megapixel data from the sensor.

From my perspective, this has great potential, and the demo images from Nokia (captured with the phone of course) were very convincing. Now, we really need to get in the field with one of those and capture a few photos to see how the average user (who just cares about point and shoot) can exploit this new capability.

Anyhow, this is very promising, and although I'm not really a Symbian user, I hope that this feature -if it is as good in the field as it is on the show floor- will bleed out to non-Symbian devices. Now, there's quite a bit of software to port, so this may not make it into the Windows Phone line-up until Tango, as it has C++ support....

HTC One X/S/V Enjoy Extra Camera Love Thanks To Android/Sense 4.0 [VIDEO]

HTC One X/S/V Enjoy Extra Camera Love Thanks To Android/Sense 4.0 [VIDEO]
HTC’s first three Android 4.0 based devices – the HTC One X, One S, and One V – also have HTC Sense 4.0. Much of the design and feel remains true to the original HTC Sense vision, but it’s the camera UI and functionality that gets the biggest boost in the latest rendition of the manufacturer’s custom UI.  See exactly what we mean in the video below:

If (like me) you often struggle internally when deciding whether to take video or still images at that crucial moment, you’ll enjoy Sense 4.0′s multiple recording methods. You can actually take video and, while still recording video, press the camera capture button to take individual pictures while the video continues to record.

When you think about it, all you’re really doing is selecting one of the still images out of your video, but Sense 4.0 allows you to refocus the image before the picture snaps. The rear camera itself is 8MP but when recording video and taking pictures using this feature, the maximum quality is 5MP images.

Similarly, you might want to take a timely picture, but have some hesitation about snapping a picture at the precise perfect nanosecond, causing you to narrowly miss the Kodak HTC moment. Now you can simply hold down the shutter button for rapid-fire picture taking. By default it’s set to take 20 pictures in a row but you can raise this amount all the way to 99 if you prefer. HTC also included a very intuitive interface for deleting numerous photos at once so that you’re not overloaded in the aftermath. Capturing that candid smile just got easier and the irritation of picture blinks just got lighter.

A few other nice features include greatly improved auto-focus time (.2 seconds), a straight to camera unlock feature, and an improved lighting sensor for use with the camera’s flash. Most camera phone’s have 1 light setting on the flash, meaning your pictures often end up washed out and ridiculous looking. The HTC One devices, and other Sense 4.0+ phones, have a feature that detects how much light will be needed to illuminate the object being focused upon and attempt to provide the right amount of lighting for that instance. We didn’t get to test this feature, but it sounds incredibly helpful in theory.

ZTE Orbit Windows Phone announced

ZTE Orbit Windows Phone announced
The ZTE Orbit will come with the latest version of Windows Phone preinstalled along with 4GB of internal storage, HD Voice, and a 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash. It will be powered by a 1GHz single-core Qualcomm processor with 512MB of RAM, a 4" WVGA 800×480 display and GPS capabilities.

It will also come with a variety of connectivity options, such as WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, DLNA, and NFC. The ZTE Orbit is expected to be made available in Q2 later this year, but no specific dates were mentioned, so check back with us at a later date for further details. [Press release]

ZTE Era flagship phone brings Tegra 3, 4.3-inch qHD display, 7.8mm chassis

ZTE Era flagship phone brings Tegra 3, 4.3-inch qHD display, 7.8mm chassis
We're just about to get hands-on with ZTE's latest high-spec ICS phone, the Era, but in the meantime here's a heads-up on the main credentials. The guts are all NVIDIA, with a Tegra 3 quad-core processor and an Icera HSPA+ modem. The display has 960 x 540 pixels spread over 4.3-inches of real estate, housed in a razor-like 7.8mm-thick (0.31-inch) slab. The 8GB of onboard memory is expandable via microSD, while there's also HD Voice and Dolby sound processing. ZTE will be looking to release the Era in the second half of this year, and says it's counting on the handset to help it become a "top three handset provider by 2015."

Nokia 808 PureView 41 MP camera sensor, 3x lossless zoom, other crazy imaging stuff to blow your mind

Nokia 808 PureView 41 MP camera sensor, 3x lossless zoom, other crazy imaging stuff to blow your mind
How crazy is Nokia 808 PureView camerphone with 41 megapixel sensor?

I wasn't expecting much from Nokia during this Mobile World Congress. And I was expecting even less from the the successor to N8 - previous imaging flagship.

We knew for months that the N8 successor is in the works, we even heard about the optical zoom, big camera sensor and other cool imaging stuff. But we also knew that it will still run on Symbian. No matter how good a camera they can put into this thing - I couldn't imagine any reason my aging N8 wouldn't be good enough until the same tech comes to Nokia Windows Phones.

But as soon as they put the first Nokia 808 PureView slide on the screen at Nokia MWC launch event, I sat up, hardly believing my eyes. “Carl Zeiss 41 MP sensor“, the label below the camera said... What the heck?! How could they have fit 41 megapixel camera sensor in to this thing? And why do we even need 41 megapixels - the size of the image files will be enormous.

Then Nokia got to explaining things, and PureView 808 got even more interesting. Here's a short feature overview video:

I hardly know anything about cameras, so do not ask me to explain all the details. If you interested - there is a pretty detailed white paper about all the cool stuff inside Nokia PureView 808. You can download it here (*.pdf). Here's some info from the paper on how PureView works:

The starting point is a super-high-resolution sensor. This has an active area of 7728 x 5368 pixels, totalling over 41Mpix. Depending on the aspect ratio you choose, it will use 7728 x 4354 pixels for 16:9 images/videos, or 7152 x 5368 pixels for 4:3 images/videos ...

When you zoom with the Nokia 808 PureView, in effect you are just selecting the relevant area of the sensor. So with no zoom, the full area of the sensor corresponding to the aspect ratio is used. The limit

of the zoom (regardless of the resolution setting for stills or video) is reached when the selected output resolution becomes the same as the input resolution..

For example, with the default setting of 5Mpix (3072 x 1728), once the area of the sensor reaches 3072 x 1728, you've hit the zoom limit. This means the zoom is always true to the image you want…

The way Nokia PureView Pro zoom works gives you many benefits. But the main one is undoubtedly 'pixel oversampling'.

Pixel oversampling combines many pixels to create a single (super) pixel. When this happens, you keep virtually all the detail, but filter away visual noise from the image. The speckled, grainy look you tend to

get in low-lighting conditions is greatly reduced. And in good light, visual noise is virtually non-existent. Which means the images you can take are more natural and beautiful than ever. They are purer, perhaps

a more accurate representation of the original subject than has ever been achieved before.

Key specs for Nokia 808 Pureview imaging/sensor part:

Video camera:

Other specs:

Recommended retail price before taxes and subsidies for Nokia 808 Pureview is 450 Euro. Which is higher than a for a  previous imaging flagship - N8 - at launch. But for this kind of leap ahead in camera tech - it sounds worth it.

In the end, the only thing I can say is - Wow, Nokia! I thought it was impossible to get me interested in another Symbian phone, but you went ahead and did it. After Pureview - is there any point to buy a stand alone point&shooter?

For Symbian - that's what I call going out with a bang. What a way to wave goodbye...

Sony Xperia P and Xperia U hands-on videos and images from MWC 2012

The newly sans Ericsson Sony Mobile Communications held a press event yesterday on the eve of Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona, and presented two new Xperia-branded Android smartphones, the Xperia P and Xperia U. We've already brought you all the official details, and now it's time for the complimentary hands-on post.

The Xperia P and Xperia U, when looked at from over a metre or so, would be virtually indistinguishable from each other (and from the higher-end and previously announced Xperia S) if it wasn't for the slight difference in screen size. Sony sure has put unifying design into all of its new devices. Unifying, recognizable, and quite different from anything else currently on the market. So… that's good, right?

Well… yes and no. It's interesting that Sony brought the blocky corners to the rest of the world (meaning outside Japan – where many smartphones have the same corner design or similar), so I appreciate it going for recognizability. And while that will make you instantly say “hey, that's a Sony” the problem is that you'll never know which Sony. Not for sure, anyway.

And the branding doesn't help either. These three smartphones, which are very similar in appearance, are differentiated in name just by one letter. True, Sony isn't the only company doing this (see HTC, Huawei, and to some extent Samsung which started the whole company brand+smartphone brand+letter madness with the Galaxy S). Yet Sony's devices are the ones which most closely resemble each other. So that could've been done better.

The next problem here is that spec-wise, both the Xperia P and Xperia U are okay phones. Okay, but not ‘wow', if you know what I mean. That has to come with the price point, yet Sony keep insisting that synergies within the group will make its phones stand out. That, in fact, was the exact thing they said back in 2001 when Sony Ericsson was formed – that Sony will step in with its know-how in electronics and bring integrated experiences.

Now we hear the same tune. But this time, because the Ericsson brand is gone – this time it will actually happen. In case you're wondering, this is the same company that Sony Ericsson was a month ago. The same people are working there. It just changed its name because Sony acquired Ericsson's stake in the joint venture, that's all.

Sony has also remembered that it has movie and music studios in the group somewhere, and thinks that people will buy Sony smartphones because they come with Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services.

I don't think so. But it is in a way refreshing to see a company focused less on raw specs and more on user experience. That said, Sony is focused on that just theoretically for now – we'll have to wait and see if they actually deliver something different in this regard.

And the last issue I have with the Xperia P and Xperia U is that they run Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was announced in October. HTC is launching devices running ICS in April. So why can't Sony do that too? The new Xperias will ship in “mid-Q2″, so presumably in May. But they'll ship with Gingerbread.

Sure, an update to ICS is promised, but didn't Sony learn anything from the Xperia X10 debacle of yesteryear? Or maybe that was Sony Ericsson that learnt that, and Sony still hasn't. We'll see.

The Sony Xperia P, with its unibody design and 4-inch screen, is the middle-market offering among the three new Xperias. Here are some hands-on pictures:

And here's a hands-on video showing it in action:

The Sony Xperia U is the entry-level device in the range, and thus should be the most affordable. It comes with some interesting gimmicks too, such as interchangeable colored bottom tips, and the ability to set a specific notification light color. Here's the Xperia U in all its glory:

And here it is on video:

More pictures of the Sony Xperia P and Xperia U are right below this paragraph in the dedicated gallery. Enjoy!

Nokia 808 PureView Comes with 41-Megapixel Camera

Nokia 808 PureView Comes with 41-Megapixel Camera
Nokia pulled out a surprise during its recent press conference as it introduced a smartphone equipped with a 41-megapixel camera. Yes, 41 megapixels! Whether or not you are a believer of the megapixel myth, cameras such as this in a small mobile device certain catches our attention.

What is even more shocking is that the Nokia 808 PureView runs on Symbian Belle OS. Windows Phone gets no love here.

The 808 PureView features a 1.3GHz single-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4-inch AMOLED display, and a curved Gorilla Glass for a scratch-proof screen. The camera, meanwhile, comes equipped with Carl Zeiss lens and can record videos in 1080p quality. Despite the 41-megapixel sensor, the camera can only capture images up to 38 megapixels, but we cannot imaging people wanting to store photos that large. Nevertheless, the large-megapixel sensor would enable to device to zoom up to 3x without sacrificing the quality.

The Nokia PureView 808 will hit Europe in the second quarter of 2012 for about 450 euros (US$603.45). No official announcement yet on whether this will land North American shores.

Intel's Xolo X900 by Lava hands-on

Intel's Xolo X900 by Lava hands-on
Intel's Medfield-based Android smartphones have been buzzed about for sometime now, but until this past CES, we hadn't actually seen one of these unicorns en vivo. No longer, as the chip manufacturer outed a trio of those very handsets today at its MWC event. Of particular note is the Xolo by Lava, a 4.03-inch, single-core unit running a mostly stock build of Gingerbread and destined for the Indian market. We spent time getting to know the device, so follow on past the break as we parse through its finer qualities. Before you even notice the Xolo's design, your eyes (should you be an Android purist) will be immediately struck by the stock Android 2.3 UI. Indeed, in this cluttered age of OEM skins, we're clearly unused to seeing the OS ushered in by the Nexus S. It's a refreshing change of step and one we heavily clamor for. Still, we understand that the mobile industry needs to keep pushing things forward and to Intel's credit, the Xolo has been running ICS just fine - it's actually up to the OEMs to push that update when they're ready.Belying its angular design is the device's surprising lightness and that's in part to the mix of materials at use. The back of the phone is a smooth, matte plastic case that peels away to reveal the 1,460mAh battery and microSD slot - here loaded up with a 2GB card. That amount of juice may not seem like much, but according to the company's claims, it's rated to last up to 14 days on standby, six hours with continuous 1080p video viewing and eighth ours for talk. Wondering how the chipmaker engineered that feat? Thanks to a proprietary power management system that's integrated into the microprocessors, the phone is able to step down the use of its charge, essentially isolating processes and even going so far as entering a sleep state when the screen is powered off.Let's get back to the build, though. On the front face, there's a chrome trim bordering the 1024 x 600 LCD display and a 3 megapixel camera residing up top, while four capacitive keys stretch across the base. A sleek power button is located up top, followed by a dedicated camera key (no double detente, here) sits on the lower right with volume controls occupying the opposite side. There's also ports for HDMI out and covered micro SIM slot along the edge. Around back, you'll find the usual Intel Inside logo reassuring consumers and accompanied by an 8 megapixel shooter with single LED flash above.In regard to customizations, one area where Intel's really made some interesting tweaks to an otherwise plain affair is the camera app, itself. Using the company's burst shot mode, a series of ten successive pics can be snapped automatically at 15fps. Video playback is also refreshingly instantaneous, as a sample we watched not only loaded briskly, but required minimal buffer time when jumping back and forth to different timestamps.The Medfield Z2460 CPU, clocked at 1.6GHz, is admittedly only single-core, but, regardless, performance continues to keep pace with finger swipes, loading applications fluidly, if not always speedily. For what it's worth, Intel is prepared to offer a higher 2GHz version of the chip, but again, the decision to ship with that onboard lies with the OEMs. You can really see the company's baby work its magic when games, bolstered by the 400MHz GPU, load up on the device. In the snowboarding demo we witnessed, frame rate ranged between 60 to 80fps.As it stands, you'll have to make a trip to India to snag this handset when it launches in Q2 of this year on Aircel and Airtel. In the meantime, let's hope that Intel's along with a willing OEM are cooking something up for us statesiders.Sean Cooper contributed to this post

Samsung Galaxy S III Full Specs “Revealed” – Quad-Core, 1080p Display and Ceramic Body [Rumor]

Samsung Galaxy S III Full Specs “Revealed” – Quad-Core, 1080p Display and Ceramic Body [Rumor]
Okay, I think we know better than to believe another “BGR exclusive” but since I'm a gossip/rumor whore, I'll go ahead and throw it out there, and if you think it stinks, feel free to throw it right back. Seems the Samsung Galaxy S III specs have all but been leaked, spilling out like rainbow vomit onto the floor of the interwebs. The SGSIII will apparently see a simultaneous global launch but for now, let's just jump right into what we're looking at in terms of specs:
  • 1.5GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor
  • 4.8-inch "full HD" 1080p resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio display
  • A 2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Ceramic case
  • 4G LTE
  • Android 4.0
To be fair, more than half of this stuff was already a given. 4G LTE? Well, it's not going to launch with yesteryear's radios. Android 4.0? I'd sure hope so. 8MP rear/2MP front facing cameras. Sure. Most interesting is the ceramic body. Not sure exactly what they're getting at their, but maybe it has to do with a ceramic coating and not a phone made of ceramic. A sudden drop and my screen cracking is enough of a worry without having to worry about my whole phone shattering to bits.

What really throws me for a loop is the “report” that the device will launch with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and not Samsung's upcoming new and improved 1.5GHz dual-core processor. Oh, and 1080p display? Is that even possible right now? More than that, how necessary is that? I mean, I'm all for excessive specs. I'll take what I can get, but this sounds more like an Android fanboy's wet dream than real world specs.

What do you guys think? Hoop dreams? Or could this really be the spec sheet for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III superphone?

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile Hands-on [MWC 2012]

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile Hands-on [MWC 2012]
Tucked away inside one of the side events here at Mobile World Congress was T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. While the device has already been announced, we haven't had a chance to play with it for ourselves until today. It's a nice little mid-range offering that should be perfect for those who want to ease into the smartphone game.

The device is thin and light, and unlike a lot of other mid-range phones (Samsung included) it actually looks very good aesthetically. The device's backplate has a premium-feeling mesh finish which transitions into a nice glossy exterior near the top. Samsung doesn't do anything risky with the design, and it's for that I thank them.

As for functional specs, we have a 4 inch Super AMOLED display, a 5 megapixel rear camera which can shoot HD 720p video, a front-facing camera, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and Android 2.3 with TouchWiz, plus a lot more.

For $150 on a two-year contract, it's not the greatest value but with a slight price drop here and there it could be an attractive offering. Look for this one sometime in March. Our hands-on video is above and find some images of the device below.

[Note]: The rep we spoke with mentioned the device had a 3.5 inch display and a 1GHz single-core processor. In actuality, the device has a 4 inch Super AMOLED display and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. The discrepancy in the video is due to the lack of a spec sheet at the site of the hands-on. We have corrected the errors in writing.

Nokia announces Asha 202, 203 and 302 at MWC 2012

Nokia announces Asha 202, 203 and 302 at MWC 2012
[MWC 2012] Today at its MWC press event, the company announced the launch of three new Asha phones. For those not in the know, Nokia's Asha devices were introduced at Nokia World last year, as a budget-friendly alternative to smartphones. They are feature phones running on Nokia's Series 40 operating system. Today, Nokia introduced the Asha 202, 203 and 302.

The Asha 202 and 203 will be the first Series 40 devices to offer EA games (not to mention, Nokia will be giving away a 75 Euro EA game pack with 40 games for free to customers of either new model. They both features a 2.4″ touchscreen and a traditional keypad, a 2-megapixel camera, music player, FM radio, Nokia Browser, Bluetooth connectivity and SD card slot (up to 32GB). The 202 will also feature Dual SIM Easy Swap technology for those of you who are always swapping SIM cards on the go. They will retail for about 60 Euro and will ship in Q2 2012.

The Nokia Asha 302 will be the first Series 40 phone to support Mail for Exchange. It also has a QWERTY keyboard for fast typing (no touchscreen though), a 1GHz processor, 3.5G data speeds, and will be available today for 95 Eruo. No word on whether these phones will be making it over to the US.

Acer CloudMobile hands-on at MWC 2012

Acer CloudMobile hands-on at MWC 2012 (video)
Tucked away in the dark corners of the Google booth at Mobile World Congress, amidst several miniature hubs inhabited by all types of various companies, is a stand dedicated to all things Acer. Included as part of the selection was the CloudMobile, the proud owner of a coveted iF Product Design award. So were we that impressed by its trophy-winning feature? Yes and no. It's not tough on the eyes by any stretch of the imagination, especially given its fancy textured back and curvacious construct, but we have a difficult time declaring this to feature the best design of the show, nor is it necessarily much of a ground-breaker. The build quality itself doesn't quite hold a candle to what you'll experience on something like the ceramic-like aluminum treatment used on the HTC One S, but yet doesn't feel like it will smash into a million pieces if we give it the 'ol heave-ho.But perhaps the CloudMobile earned the honors by producing a respectable internal design: it offers a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon chipset and 4.3-inch 720p HD display, for instance, and that panel is absolutely stunning with great viewing angles. We weren't allowed to view any part of the OS beyond the lock and a couple home screens, no doubt due to the model's pre-production firmware, so we'll need to leave our impressions of the UI for another time. From what we can tell, it will definitely be offering a customized skin, though it's unclear to what extent that will shine through in the final production version, still due to come out sometime in Q3.

Nokia 808 PureView video and camera samples emerge

Nokia 808 PureView video and camera samples emerge
The Nokia 808 PureView's 41MP camera is causing quite a stir at the MWC and we finally get to see its full-sized camera samples. Alongside the four photos are also three full HD 1080p video samples.

All of them are really impressive, so let's start.

This is what everyone has been waiting for - Nokia 808 PureView's full samples from its 41MP camera.

Nokia 808 PureView camera samples

Now, to the equally impressive 1080p full HD video samples. They are a month old, so they're definitely taken with pre-release software. They still look stunning, especially the first one, shot at night in low light.


Sony Ericsson


Windows Phone


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