HTC One (M9) video review

March 22, 2015

I’ve been testing HTC’s latest and greatest — the new One (M9) flagship — for a few days now, and here’s my 3-part video review:

Part 1 covers the design and specs
Part 2 covers the camera and software
Part 3 covers the comparisons with other phones
Part 4 is a bonus, my preview for Before You Buy

Yes, 3 parts with a 4th, just like musketeers :)

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SXSW 2015: hands-on with the Touch Easel

March 16, 2015

What happens when you cross an Android tablet with a school desk? You get something like the Touch Easel, which is here at SXSW 2015, and is launching later today on Kickstarter. The product, which is designed specifically for students with disabilities and aimed at schools and institutions, puts a large Android tablet into an adjustable school desk.

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LG G Flex2 video review

February 18, 2015

I first played with the LG G Flex2 at CES 2015, and just spent a few days using it. The verdict? It’s a fantastic phone — arguably LG’s new flagship.

Unlike the original G Flex, with its 6-inch 720p curved screen, the G Flex2 features a much improved 5.5-inch 1080p plastic AMOLED display. It’s also one of the first handsets to pack Qualcomm’s latest powerhouse chipset, the 64-bit Snapdragon 810. The G Flex2 is otherwise almost identical to last year’s G3, with a 13-megapixel shooter, laser autofocus, and (slightly more advanced) optical image stabilization. Still, LG’s camera software lacks basic manual controls, which is unfortunate considering the quality of the hardware.

Ultimately though, the G Flex2 looks great, ticks all the boxes, and runs Lollipop like a champ. What else do you really need? Check out my video review :)


HTC Butterfly 2 video review

December 2, 2014

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.


Amazon Fire Phone video review

December 1, 2014

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

November 30, 2014

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

November 29, 2014

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