11/3/09

Sony XPERIA X10 Announced

Engadget went hands on with the soon to be released XPERIA X10, and to say the least, the phone was LAGGY. Sony says they had a very early software build on their display models. Why in the world would Sony not have the most up to date software versions of an device during the announcement event? This is a major FAIL on Sony's part. Sure the phone has the nice looking Rachael UI (with animations similar to those on the Zune HD), but it appears even the Snapdragon processor won't be enough to save the phone from lag and slow performance, but we should see soon enough though. Check out the link to the video on Engadget, it's lagtastic!

10/31/09

Top 10 Smartphones

Updated October 31, 2009

Determining what the best smartphones on the market are is an extremely subjective endeavor. What separates one smartphone from the other? We've broken it down into five categories:
-Features includes organizers, camera quality, contacts, social networking capability, etc.
-UI includes the operating system and the overall navigation of the phone, as well as the general software.
-Browsing refers to how fast and usable the browser on the phone is.
-Applications refer to the amount and quality of applications in each phone's application store or downloadable 3rd party apps.
-Hardware refers to the general physical build of the phone including QWERTY keyboard, screen, trackball, etc.

1. iPhone 3GS - There is no doubt the iPhone has been the envy of all fellow smartphones since its release in 2007. The simple user interface, along with the absolutely ridiculous amount of applications, the ability to use it as an iPod, and its utility as a gaming platform make the iPhone 3GS the world's most desirable smartphone. The 3GS has finally introduced a landscape QWERTY virtual keyboard, video recording, and copy and pasting, which have silenced many of its critics.

Although the 3GS is on top for now, the lack of major UI changes since it's initial launch have given competitors, especially Palm and HTC, time to close the gap. Only time will tell if Apple decides to do a major revamping and give the next iPhone a "fresher" approach and more complex UI. For now, it still remains king.

Features: 9.5

UI: 9.0

Browsing: 9.5

Applications: 10.0

Hardware: 9.5

iPhone 3GS Average: 9.5


2. Palm Pre - This is the phone that attempted to save Sprint and Palm, but unfortunately it’s been completely overshadowed by the Droid and 3GS. Palm OS is still great, and the multitouch display

and navigation are very competitive with any other smartphone list. The Touchstone charger is also an amazing ad-on. It also has the added benefit of synching to iTunes. The bad? The keyboard kind of sucks, the Palm App Catalog is anemic.

Features: 9.5

UI: 10.0

Browsing: 9.0

Applications: 7.5

Hardware: 8.5

Palm Pre Average = 8.9


3. HTC Hero/Eris – This is basically the myTouch 3G with Sense UI on top of the default Android OS. Sense UI, even though slightly laggy at times, is absolutely stunning to look at and use.

Sense UI also introduces pinch browsing, and the organizer (including contacts and calendar) are terrific. With Eclair 2.0 coming soon to the Hero/Eris models, higher performance could make this relevant for quite a while longer.

Features: 9.5

UI: 9.5

Browsing: 8.5

Applications: 8.5

Hardware: 8.5

HTC Hero/Eris Average = 8.9


4. Motorola Droid – The Droid is Verizon’s flagship phone, and it all indications point to the device living up to it’s insane level of hype. The new Google Maps Navigator seems to be a killer app, and Android 2.0 is nicer looking and snappier than 1.6.

The hardware is also getting decent, though not great reviews, with a fantastic high resolution display, and very responsive capacitive screen.The keyboard has gotten very luke warm impressions, but the ultra slim profile still make up for it. It may not be the prettiest phone, but it gets the job done.

Features: 9.0

UI: 9.0

Browsing: 9.0

Applications: 8.5

Hardware: 8.5

Motorola Droid Average = 8.8


5. myTouch 3G – The myTouch 3G is the successor to the G1, and removes the physical QWERTY keyboard. Luckily the G1 has a notoriously awkward keyboard and form factor, and the myTouch 3G has a great virtual keyboard and much more modern look.

The device is fast, lean, has a great display and has the Android operating system. Although it’s a solid phone, it doesn’t ‘wow’ in any way, it’s just a very good Android phone.

Features: 8.5

UI: 8.0

Browsing: 8.5

Applications: 8.5

Hardware: 9.0

myTouch 3G Average = 8.5


6. HTC Touch Pro 2 – The Touch Pro 2 is the perfect business phone. It has a natural advantage over the Diamond and Imagio because of its solid physical QWERTY keyboard and screen tilt, making typing out emails a breeze.

It also has a decent processor and doesn’t lag as much as the original Touch Pro. There are also tons of third party applications available for Windows mobile phones, many of which are useful and enhance the performance of the phone.

Features: 8.5

UI: 8.0

Browsing: 8.5

Applications: 8.0

Hardware: 9.5

HTC touch Pro 2 Average = 8.5


7. Blackberry Storm 2 - The Storm 2 is a GIGANTIC upgrade from the original Storm. Literally everything functions better, from the screen clicking to the camera. This is what the original Storm should have been. It’s pretty snappy, still has a gorgeous display, and serves as a pretty decent media player.

With improved SurePress, and significantly better hardware, the Storm 2 is actually a great phone. The default BB browser is still not very good, and the lack of multitouch hurts, as does the stagnant and boring UI.

Features: 9.0

UI: 8.0

Browsing: 7.5

Applications: 7.5

Hardware: 9.5

Blackberry Storm 2 Average = 8.3


8. Blackberry Bold – The Bold is the more glamorous version of the Tour, featuring a bigger screen and much more reliable hardware. The keyboard is pretty much perfect, and when it was released, it was a worth competitor to the iPhone on AT&T.

Now, however, the BB operating system is significantly outdated and very dry, and the Blackberry App World is still far away from Google and Apple’s offerings.

Features: 8.0

UI: 7.5

Browsing: 7.5

Applications: 7.5

Hardware: 10.0

Blackberry Bold Average = 8.1


9. HTC Imagio – The Imagio is the successor to the subpar HTC Diamond that was offered on Verizon. Luckily the Imagio has an upgraded processor and is pretty snappy. Touch Flo 3D is also impressive, but it hard for it to completely remove Windows Mobile.

The phone still lags, and the Imagio’s optional $15 television service is overpriced, and a gimmick not many people would even consider using (or paying for). The Imagio is still a solid option for consumer who needs a Windows Mobile smartphone.

Features: 8.0

UI: 8.0

Browsing: 8.5

Applications: 8.0

Hardware: 8.0

HTC Imagio Average = 8.1


10. Blackberry Tour – The Tour was temporarily Verizon’s flagship phone for most of Summer 2009. The phone received great initial reviews, with many claiming it was the best Blackberry ever. Although the software is snappy, the hardware is nothing short of shoddy (although the hardware issues seemed to be solved with the newest batches of the Tour).

A huge number of Tour owners had had to replace one or even several Tours because of stuck and unresponsive trackballs and screen problems. The lack quality control was shocking, especially since everything else on the phone matches the BB Bold’s offering.

Features: 8.0

UI: 7.5

Browsing: 7.5

Applications: 7.5

Hardware: 7.0

Blackberry Tour Average: 7.5

10/29/09

Sense UI to be Upgraded to Android 2.0

Via HTC's twitter page was an announcement that the rumors Sense UI would be upgraded to
Android 2.0 are indeed true. That means the Hero on Sprint and upcoming Eris on Verizon might not look like so bad options after all. With Google Navigation, Sense UI would get a little bit of its lust factor. No estimated release date yet, but we shouldn't have to wait for it too long. The only real question is just how well 2.0 will work on the Hero/Eris' outdated and weak processor.

10/28/09

HTC Eris to Cost $99

With the Motorola Droid costing $199 with a 2 year contract, the HTC Eris is primed to be the "consumer" oriented Verizon Android phone, with rumors pricing it at only $99 with a 2 year contract. This makes the Eris significantly cheaper than the $179.99 HTC Hero available on the Sprint network. The Droid and Eris will be rather affordable Android smartphones, proving that Verizon is really serious about saturating the market.

The Eris will have a pretty lackluster 528 MHz processor, but it still has Sense UI, which looks prettier than Android 2.0. Style (Eris) or substance (Droid)?


Verizon Officially Announces Droid

Verizon announced today that the Motorola Droid will be available on November 6th, selling for $199.99 with a 2 year contract, following a $100 rebate. The phone feature google maps navigation, a 3.7" WVGA display, a 5 MP camera with dual LED flash, a preinstalled 16GB memory card (yes!) and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Pre orders are rumored to start on Friday. The hype on this phone is getting overboard, next Friday can't come soon enough.

Still no word on the HTC Eris, but it is pretty much certain it will also be released on the 6th along with the Motorola Droid.



10/27/09

HTC Hero Owners Experiencing Texting Problems

Many HTC Hero users have complained that their phone is not receiving some or all text messages, and in some cases users have not been able to receive incoming phone calls. The big kicker here is that it has nothing to do with the carrier in the US (Sprint) since tons of Europeans have also cited the same exact problem, citing the text messaging problem may have something to do with the software that is preventing incoming texts. Some annoyed Hero owners have stating that rebooting their device leads to a flurry of all their missed texts. Let's hope HTC fixes this rather serious problem, especially with the HTC Eris (aka Hero) coming to Verizon soon, or Sense UI can lose all its lust appeal rather quickly, because nothing is sexier than getting dumped for not responding to text messages and calls you never got in the first place.

10/24/09

Samung XL2370 Review - Great Performance, Great Price

The XL2370 is Samsung's led-backlit version of the Samsung P2370. The monitor has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 (full HD) and has a DVI, HDMI, and optical and stereo audio jacks.

The most noticeable thing about the monitor is just how slim and sexy it is. The monitor is only .65 inches thick and weighs less than 8 pounds. The crystal bezel outline and neck are very nice touches, and Samsung claims it gives the monitor a "floating" illusion, but I don't honestly see many people getting fooled into believing the monitor is really "floating". The bezel itself is glossy black, and the monitor looks very much like the little brother of Samsung's Luxia LED Television lineup. The touch of color is also incorporated into the monitor, which is simply touch sensitive buttons that control the monitor options. The touch buttons are fairly responsive and easy to use, unlike the touch sensitive buttons on some of LG's monitors.




The slim and sexy factors are important, but what about functionality? Luckily the Samsung XL2370 doesn't fail in this regard. Whites on the old Samsung P2370 would look either slightly yellow, or have a gray hue to them, but the whites on the XL2370 are pure snow white, and blacks are as close to true blacks as you can get. It's clear the ridiculous 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio is as impressive when viewing images on the monitor as it is on the specs sheet. The screen itself is matte, and no reflections are present even in highly lighted rooms. Text on the screen looks very sharp and legible, the contrast, matte screen, and high resolution help out greatly.

With a 2ms response time, I witnessed no blur when playing games with the monitor hooked up to a Playstation 3. Even better, blu-rays look absolutely stunning, with the color contrast again impressing.

There are a few minor drawbacks to the XL2370, most notably the lack of any real ergonomic features. The monitor only tilts +/- 15 degrees and has no swivel or pivot options, which is very disappointing. It would have also been nice to see a built in webcam and one or two usb ports, which would have made the XL2370 a very accurate comparison to Apple's 24 inch Cinema Display.

But at only $299, it's hard to find a better monitor for a cheaper price. The led-backlighting is a substantial upgrade over any traditional CCFL monitors. The colors really pop out, and the added contrast makes writing in Word or forming spreadsheets in Excel very comfortable for the eyes. The monitor performs wonderfully to watch movies or play games, and can be a very high performing media center for many consumers. LED monitors on the market right now are very expensive, with Apple's retailing for $899, Samsung's offering is a great alternative to Windows users, or those Apple users wanting to save a few dollars without sacrificing too much on performance.



10/22/09

Fennec Android Hands On Video

Droid Dog has posted a video showing off the Fennec mobile web browser, modeled after Firefox, and it looks SWEET. Although the features are still a little fuzzy, the UI looks beautiful, and the functionality is on par with with Safari on the iPhone (espeically if multitouch is eventualy integrated into Android 2.0). The UI looks like a simplistic version of Firefox, and should give Android users a nice choice of web browsers when Fennec is released. Mozilla looks like they have a winner on their hands, and should add intrigue to the mobile browser war.

Photos from DroidDog: