You've been warned: the Galaxy Note II was probably my favorite smartphone of 2012, and it looks like its successor, the Note 3, is stealing my heart all over again. With big hardware improvements across the board, as well as substantial additions to software, the Note 3 feels like a true next-generation sort of phone. Samsung has rather effectively ruined every other large-screen device for me, and frankly, probably every other phone released this year.
|David Ruddock||David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.|
Welcome back to another week of the Android Police Podcast. To catch us live on Hangouts On Air every Thursday at 5PM PST (subject to change as per the calendar widget below), just head over to androidpolice.com/podcast. For the unedited video show, click here.
Let me just start by saying that I like the DROID Maxx and DROID Mini. Why conclude a review before I begin it? Because so many people have already concluded that they cannot like these phones. Motorola's new devices have proven incredibly polarizing among enthusiasts, especially to Google and Android diehards who held on till the bitter end to a fantasy (and that is what it was) that the company would come to the rescue of marginalized power users.
Update 2: Samsung has clarified the issue to Android Central, and it turns out it's actually not all that bad. Here's the gist: if you buy a Galaxy Note 3 (or other region-locked Samsung phone), it must be activated with a SIM in its home region. That means you can't import a Note 3 from Taiwan and then activate it in Europe, for example, and if you try to do that, it will lock itself.
I'm here in Beijing for Oppo's launch event for the new N1 smartphone, and last night I had a chance to spend some time with the up-and-coming Chinese OEM's super-sized flagship, as well as learn a bit more about it from a couple of Oppo's engineers and PR team.
As far as basic impressions, the N1 does feel like quite a premium phone. It has a similar painted plastic outer shell to the Find 5, while the internal structure of the phone is actually supported by an anodized aluminum frame.
While nothing has been officially announced just yet, it seems all but certain that CyanogenMod will be coming to Oppo's new smartphone, the N1, as an officially supported alternative to the company's own custom software layer. I can indeed confirm that something CM-related is happening, because Steve Kondik is here in Beijing for the event (as am I!), which will be happening later tonight (more around very early morning in America).
I am generally of the view that when it comes to high-end smartphones, most such phones are now squarely in the "pretty good" category. While the internet moans and groans about SD cards, removable batteries, and heavy-handed UI modifications, these things are trivial to most people in the day-to-day operation of a device. But much in the same way some car enthusiasts refuse to relinquish the manual transmission, some smartphone enthusiasts will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.
After a lonesome stint on the US Play Store (and various random retailers across the world) with only T-Mobile SIMs available, the LTE Nexus 7 is now available on the Play Store in nine countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, UK, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Here's a URL that should work to get to the product listing.
The US version is available with AT&T and T-Mobile SIMs, but as some have suspected, Verizon SIMs remain MIA, and may for the foreseeable future.
As it's getting close to Nexus season, the rumors about Google's next phone are really starting to pile up. As are the leaks. And at this point, it can be really fun to hop on the speculation express to conclusion town. Dare I say, it's understandable. Even "Nexus 5" - a name that has been confirmed (even circumstantially) exactly zero times - seems to be such a concrete fact now that you'd have to be a moron not to believe that's what the next Nexus is going to be called, right?