NVIDIA's Shield portable gaming system is easily the most anticipated product to come out of CES. Today, we finally got a chance to go hands-on with an early build of the device, and got a few hands-on videos in the process. Let's break down the videos first.
|David Ruddock||David's phone is an HTC One X+. He is an avid writer, and enjoys imparting a legal perspective on Android news where it is relevant. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.|
This year's CES sucks. But that doesn't mean there can't be a few genuinely cool things floating around out there in an otherwise dull ocean of 4K and touchscreens. Case in point: YotaPhone, which sadly isn't even on the CES show floor at all. We covered the announcement of the YotaPhone, but really, seeing and using it in person does the idea so much more justice.
On paper, it seems pretty straightforward: a phone with a screen on both sides. A traditional LCD panel on the front, and an e-ink display on the back. In fact, it sounds incredibly gimmicky on paper - a crazy idea bound to be clunky and poorly executed.
When I went to CES in 2012, I had a pretty good time. I’m having a pretty good time this year, too, but that’s in no way thanks to the gadgets that have been unveiled thus far (well, with one exception).
2012 had stuff. Cool stuff. Samsung did a Smart Window thing. Moto announced the DROID RAZR MAXX. The DROID 4 was unveiled. Sony announced the Xperia S and Ion. We saw Intel Medfield Android tablets and Medfield smartphones. AR.Drone 2.0 made its first appearance. AT&T announced six phones. Toshiba made a bunch of tablets.
Fancy a new 5" superphone? ZTE may have something to pique your interest - if you live in China. The company's latest high-end device, the Grand S, was unveiled yesterday prior to CES, and we got some hands-on time earlier today. It hits all the right points: 5" 1080p display, 13MP rear camera, 1.7GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.1, LTE connectivity, and is a fairly stunning 6.9mm in profile.
But, ZTE wasn't shy about discussing market availability: China. It's possible the Grand S will makes its way to Europe, but the only locale ZTE was willing to commit to availability on today was its own.
If you hadn't heard, Intel actually unveiled a new smartphone chip at CES. It's just not a particularly exciting one. Lexington, as its known, will be marketed primarily in emerging parts of the world - think Southeast Asia and Africa - in handsets that will probably closely mimic the reference design you see below in the hands-on video.
I'll admit - there's not a whole lot to this thing. It has a tiny 3.7" screen, isn't particularly thin (actually, it's pretty thick), and feels cheap. But this is Intel's play in the budget market, and on the whole, I feel like they could do very well with it.
Aren't you jealous that South Korea and Japan get all the cool over-the-air TV gadgets, while we in America are stuck in the stone age with things like "YouTube" and "Hulu"? Well, RCA's got you covered. The company's 8" mobile TV tablet - in TV-optimized 4:3 aspect ratio - is coming to the US in April for just $249, and does both over the air broadcast television as well as Dyle TV, which is also broadcast over the air and provides special content based on your location.
This is managed through, you guessed it, a retractable antenna! Check out our hands-on video below.
Do you think phones should be even bigger? Good news: so does Huawei. You've probably already heard about the Mate, but we got a little hands-on time before the show floor opened last night at CES Digital Experience, and, well, it's big. Really big. And yes, we put it next to a Note II to show you just how mind-bogglingly large it is.
Note: there's some artifacting near the end of the video. Sorry about that!
As far as initial impressions, the device runs Android 4.1 with Huawei's light UI overlay quite smoothly. This is the second phone to date to use Huawei's in-house quad-core KVM processor, which is paired (interestingly) with an Intel modem (GSM 3G only).
Drop this one in the "noteworthy, but not notable" bucket, but we had some time last night to check out AT&T's Pantech Discover, a phone with a pretty impressive specification sheet given its price point - just $50 on contract.
The Discover has a 4.8" 720p display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB of internal storage, 12.6MP rear camera, LTE, and runs Android 4.0 (OK, that's a bit of a miss). While we wouldn't call this a groundbreaking device in and of itself, the price AT&T will be peddling this particular piece of hardware at is going to make it a very attractive option for the brick-and-mortar crowd (eg, your parents).
So, the idea of an Android-powered camera with a swappable lens intrigues you, yes? Well, last night we got a chance to play with such a device, the Polaroid iM1836... and moral of the story: execution, execution, execution. Polaroid, we think, got it wrong. While we were playing with a pre-production model, I can't help but feel Polaroid took a half-decent idea and managed to totally flub it. First, the video.
Even after a few short minutes with the iM1836, we were able to assemble a formidable list of problems with the device. First, the actual image sensor for the camera is located inside the lens.
Sony's latest Android phones are probably the most exciting thing the Japanese company has done in the smartphone arena to date. I mean, Sony unveiled a flagship phone that is water and dustproof.* (to one meter for up to 30 minutes.)
That alone is something worthy of attention. The sister device, the ZL, is a slightly downmarket version of the phone, though even saying that much isn't exactly fair. There's nothing particularly worse about the ZL, other than the fact that it lacks the glass backing of the Z, or its tolerance for wet and sandy situations.
In fact, many people may prefer the ZL - its headphone and microUSB ports are exposed, whereas every access point on the Z is guarded by a watertight cover that has to be pried open to access the respective port.