A lightweight wearable display that tethers to a phone got its first public outing this week in Las Vegas.
Standing on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, I saw a mass of lanyard-yoked electronics industry workers struggling to make sense of an event boasting 150,000 attendees and 200,000 new products. But when I shifted my attention to the gadget clipped to my right ear, I saw a neat line of app shortcuts on a tiny digital display in front of my right eye. I flipped my attention between the two sights a few times—something I found surprisingly easy—and wondered whether this would soon be normal.
ZTE just made its latest flagship Grand S LTE official here at CES 2013, and we've got our hands on it. This is definitely the top of the line model for ZTE right now, joining in on the 1080P display game. As for the specs, they're all top of the line as well. We're looking at a 5-inch 1080×1920 display, a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (SDcard expandable,) 13MP / 2MP cameras, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and support for both DLNA streaming and MHL displays. This thing certainly checks all the boxes.
The external hardware is pretty high quality, with a nice unibody plastic construction that covers the entire back all the way up to the screen bezels. The 13MP camera is set in a piano black finished area that's slightly raised from the rest of the back plate. At just 6.9mm thick the Grand S LTE feels paper thin, but the curves around the sides make it still comfortable to hold. There are capacitive buttons — back, home, menu — on the bottom bezel, but they don't seem to light up very brightly. The display is quite nice, but it's really hard to judge in terrible trade show lighting conditions.
The one potential complaint after spending some time with it is that some of the devices were very glossy, which may turn some people away. Thankfully some of the other colors had more of a matte finish to them. Speaking of colors, ZTE has gone all-out with the selection here. From our count, there's light pink, dark pink (nearly red,) mint green, light grey, bright yellow, black and white colors of the Grand S LTE available.
Stick around after the break for a quick run-through of the software, as well as many pictures and hands-on video of the device from the show floor.
Lenovo introduced its latest flagship smartphone tonight here at CES in Las Vegas, and it looks like it will live up to the hype: the K900 manages to pack a 5.5-inch, 1080P IPS display atop a strikingly-slim 6.9mm body weighing in at a mere 162 grams. The K900 is powered by Intel's brand new Clover Trail+ 2GHz Atom processor along with 2GB of RAM — coupled with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, this is set to become one of the most powerful smartphones on the market today.
The goodies don't end there — the K900’s 13 MP camera should be atop any shutterbug's wishlist, boasting a Sony Exmor BSI sensor and a F1.8 lens for remarkable low-light performance. The front-facer isn't too shabby, either, sporting a super-wide angle lens.
The first thing you’ll notice about the K900 is its industrial design, with exposed screws, sharp corners, and both a gun metal black and two-tone silver finish — this is more of a tool than a toy. It’s a huge device, no doubt, but it feels great in the hand, more akin to the Droid DNA than the Note 2 thanks to its more tall, less wide shape. And at 400 PPI, the display practically jumps off of the phone and slaps you in the face. Simply stunning.
Here’s the bad news: unfortunately, Lenovo has no plans to bring the K900 to North America, making this limited-market device the best smartphone American’s can’t buy. The K900 will head to China, India, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the coming months for an undisclosed price. Our hands-on video and gallery are after the break.
We've just wrapped up at the Huawei press conference here at CES 2013 in Las Vegas where the Chinese OEM announced the Ascend Mate. This device has been rumored some time as the super large competitor to the likes of the Galaxy Note II and Optimus Vu, and Huawei didn't disappoint when it announced this 6.1-inch behemoth. As you would expect, the Ascend Mate is borderline when it comes to what we call a "phone," but they're positioning it as such nonetheless.
The hardware on this device is quite a departure from previous Huawei phones, stepping up to a stainless steel frame and solid plastic accents. Even the power and volume keys are stainless, and set well into the frame. The 6.1-inch screen is surprisingly manageable considering its size, thanks to very small bezels and on-screen navigation buttons, but this is far from one-handed use friendly. The panel itself is only 720×1280, although at first we thought it must be a typo because there really aren't any noticeable pixels. It's just a bit puzzling considering it's sibling the Ascend D2 has a 1080×1920 display at just 5-inches. Nevertheless, under the hood we see the same specs as the D2, with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
On the software front, Huawei has also made some big changes coming from its previous builds. This is its "Emotion UI" set of customizations, which combines many of the stock Jelly Bean features, with its own added tweaks and style. In the keynote, CEO Richard Yu noted that their software has "fixed 200 problems with Android." This is indeed Jelly Bean 4.1.2 under the hood, but it doesn't necessarily feel like it in normal navigation. Most items have received visual tweaks — from the app icons to the settings menu — and Huawei has even opted to remove an app drawer from its default launcher. It's something quickly fixed from a download in the Play Store, but it hurts this device's out-of-the-box appeal for some.
The Ascend Mate is expected to launch in China starting in February, with international availability thereafter. There was no pricing given, but Mr. Yu explained that the devices would be for sale to other markets online.
Be sure to stick around after the break to take a look at several pictures and a hands-on video we've got for you straight from CES.
And, finally, Verizon's gotten some top-shelf HTC hardware in 2012. And what a device it's gotten in the Droid DNA.
I spent some quality time with the DNA early this morning, and again at Verizon's launch event, and there's no denying that HTC's Android phones are starting to follow in the footsteps of its Windows Phones, in terms of design. The DNA is large, with that gorgeous 5-inch display. But it doesn't feel overly huge. A little bigger than the HTC One X, but thinner. Slimmer, especially as the edges taper off 4 mm at their thinnest. So think One X, but more svelte.
The mix of polycarbonate (with its soft-touch coating) and aluminum edging is to die for. It's got just enough grip, but it doesn't look as industrial as other phones in Verizon's Droid line. Do note, however, that the red grilles on either side of the DNA are for design purposes only. The speaker is on the back of the phone.
And that screen. Oh, that screen. Have you ever seen so many pixels?
Folks seem to have lost their minds a little bit over the 32-gigabyte Nexus 7 — which remains unannounced, though Staples (always them, right?) apparently has no qualms about selling them early. So in the spirit of utter ridiculousness, here's some breakslclusive hands-on in-the-wild first-look oh-my-god-it's-full-of-stars video of the 32-gigabyte Nexus 7, courtesy of John1029 in our forums.
As should surprise no one, it's a Nexus 7. With 32 gigabytes of storage. (Actually, more like 27.5.) And that's it. It's running Android 4.1.1 out of the box, which also should surprise no one, since Android 4.1.2 just pushed over air, and these would devices would have been flashed before then. No big deal. At all. In fact, it's not even a deal. It's a non-deal.
Still, this is a decent enough walkthrough, and all snark aside, it's great to see our readers get the. Hit the break for the full video.
Source: Nexus 7 forums
Entry level is the name of the game for the LG Optimus L9 on T-Mobile. We knew that, of course, from T-Mobile and LG's positioning of the Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, as well as from the specs on paper. Let's recap:
Nothing the spec-conscious crowd will write home about, no? But here's the thing: It's a surprisingly solid entry-level device. You can't quite appreciate just how light it is until you grab it.
In the hand, though, the L9's a ridiculously light device. It's decidedly plastic, but it's a soft plastic. (Kind of like a dry heat, I suppose.) The user interface seemed quick enough, though the device is loaded down in T-Mobile and LG applications. This is a buy-and-drive device, designed to be used out of the box, for folks who don't want to do a whole lot of customization.
The good news is that it's got a removable battery and microSD card. The power plant is respectable, but the four gigabytes of built-in storage most certainly isn't.
We've got a bevy of pics and video after the break.
In spite of all the hype surrounding a certain competitor, the HTC One X was a very strong entrant in the high-end smartphone space earlier in the year. Many of our editors own it. If you’re reading this, there’s an above-average chance you do, too. Though lacking in mindshare compared to the Galaxy S3, the One X remains a formidable smartphone, even besting Samsung’s flagship in many areas.
But as the year draws to a close, it’s time for a successor, as part of HTC’s annual fall product refresh. Last year the Sensation XE built upon the strengths of the Sensation, with a larger battery, a faster CPU and enhanced software. And later this month, the One X will undergo similar augmentation, with the resulting device coming to market as the HTC One X+. Read on for an extensive preview of HTC’s flagship international Android smartphone for late 2012.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 hitting the select retail stores imminently, it's time for us to go hands-on with the finished product. We first tested out the Galaxy Note 2 at IFA in Berlin in late August, and it's taken just over a month to finalize the device. The original Samsung Galaxy Note has proved a surprising success over the past year. With the second-gen Note being bigger and more powerful than ever, Samsung will be hoping its efforts are reflected in even stronger sales this time around.
Check out our first hands-on video with the final, retail Galaxy Note 2 after the break, along with a quick overview of the device.
We're live in London where Motorola and Intel have just taken the wraps off the RAZR i, a new Intel-powered smartphone with a 2GHz Atom CPU and edge-to-edge SuperAMOLED display. It's a big deal for Moto and Intel — the RAZR i becomes the company's new international flagship, and it's also the first Intel phone from a top-tier smartphone manufacturer.
We've just had our first hands-on with the phone, so check past the break to get a quick tour of Moto and Intel's new baby.