HTC Butterfly 2 video review

What’s almost identical to the HTC One (M8) but features a plastic shell and a 13MP camera? The Butterfly 2, natch :) After using this phone on and off for a few weeks, I came away suitably impressed. Sure, it’s not quite as sexy as the Desire 816, but it’s super light weight and packed with goodness. As for that 13MP camera, while it’s not as impressive in low light as its Ultrapixels sibling, it’s more versatile overall. The only missing ingredient is OIS — are you listening, HTC? Check out my video review.

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Amazon Fire Phone video review

Ah yes, the Amazon Fire Phone… Long anticipated but ultimately flawed! Here’s my video review.

Forget the gimmicky Dynamic Perspective for a minute. Put aside Firefly and Mayday. Ignore the forked version of Android that lacks essential support for Google services. What you’re left with is a phone that features an odd mix of specs — some mid-range (4.7-inch 720p display) and some high-end (13MP camera with OIS) — in a well made but expensive package.

The story could end here. Amazon could improve the software and launch more affordable hardware in the future. But none of this solves the Fire Phone’s core problem: it’s an AT&T exclusive subsidized via the traditional operator model. What happened to Whispernet? Amazon missed the awesome opportunity to become a MVNO and completely remove the carrier from the customer experience.

Update: As I pointed out in my video review, the Fire Phone is now on sale for $199 unsubsidized, which is more affordable than the original full price of $449.

HTC Desire 816 video review

While HTC missed the mark with last year’s One max, it redeemed itself with the Desire 816 (and its followup, the Desire 820). I spent several weeks enjoying this large mid-range handset and came away very satisfied. The Desire 816 looks fantastic and performs well all around. It’s definitely one of my favorite HTC phones this year, despite the lack of NFC or manual camera controls. Here’s my video review.

YotaPhone (gen 1) video review

What’s got a 4.3-inch 720p IPS panel in front and a 4.3-inch E Ink display in back? The YotaPhone, natch!

It’s been over a year since the Russian manufacturer launched its first generation product, and I’ve been using it on and off for several months. While this handset is handicapped in north-America (1900MHz 2G is the only compatible band), it provides a unique and interesting user experience.

A much improved YotaPhone was announced at MWC last February and I’ll be getting one to play with, but in the meantime, check out my gen 1 video review

tnkgrl Mobile podcast – #107

After a brief hiatus, I’m back with episode #107 of my podcast (1 hour 14 min)! The excellent Brad Molen joins me in the virtual control room to talk about IFA and the iPhone 6. It’s a reunion of sorts :)

We discuss the Moto X (2014), HTC Desire 820 & Butterfly 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 & Edge, Nokia Lumia 830 & 730, Sony Xperia Z3 & Z3 Compact, and the iPhone 6 & 6 Plus — amongst other things…

Audio version
Video version

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.

tnkgrl Mobile podcast – #106

ForĀ episode #106 of my podcast (1 hour 10 min), I was joined by the fabulous Chris Davies! The plan was to talk about Microsoft and the recent layoffs, but the conversation degenerated rapidly into other topics such as the LG G3, HTC One (M8), HTC Desire 816, Samsung Galaxy S5, Nokia Lumia 930, and Amazon Fire Phone, natch…

Another thing: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Angela Lansbury somehow both made it into the recording — you’ve been warned :)

Audio version
Video version

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Yes, I’m a bit late to the party here, but I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S5 for several weeks now, and here’s my video review (finally).

– Cons: looks and feels cheap, TouchWiz is a mess, camera lacks OIS
– Meh: phase-detection AF, heart-rate monitor, fingerprint scanner
– Pros: gorgeous display, fantastic battery life, water resistant

Special thanks to the friendly people at Samsung for lending me a review unit.

LG G Pro 2 review

Launched at MWC in February, the G Pro 2 is LG’s answer to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. I finally spent some quality time testing this phone (alongside the G3), and came away pretty satisfied. What’s not to like about a large 5.9-inch 1080p IPS panel, 13 megapixel camera with OIS, Snapdragon 800 with 3GB RAM, and decent battery life? Here’s my video review.

Asus PadFone X review

For $199 on contract with AT&T, the Asus PadFone X is a phone, a tablet, and even a netbook (with the optional $99 Bluetooth keyboard dock). It boasts flagship specs — with a beautiful 5-inch 1080p IPS display, solid 13 megapixel camera, and responsive Snapdragon 800 — and comes with a 9-inch tablet dock that extends battery life. The design is forgettable, and there are some usability quirks, but the price is right. Here’s my video review.

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