If you have been on the fence about whether or not to purchase Google's latest tablet, the Nexus 9, Best Buy may have made your decision a little easier. For the next two days, the blue box store is discounting the price of the 16GB model by $75, bringing the price down to a more reasonable $325. The verdict is still out among Android Police staff on whether or not this is a great tablet, but a lower price might make up for some of its warts.
Almost four years ago, we ran a poll on the subject of battery life versus thinness. Four years ago, Android's battery life was even worse than it is now, batteries were smaller, and LTE radios could be a death sentence on newer handsets. Today... battery life still isn't that good on most phones, but it's not as bad as it once was, and all the while the phones are getting thinner and lighter and sleeker.
There are phones with massive batteries out there (Huawei Ascend Mate 2/7, DROID MAXX, etc.), but batteries have generally only sought to keep pace with screen size over the years instead of actually growing enough to appreciably extend the amount of time we spend off the charger.
This year at MWC, there's little in the way of room for the notion that Samsung failed to deliver on the hype. The Galaxy S6 is the most dramatic redesign the Galaxy S has ever seen, and is more Samsung than ever before. Down to the NAND storage and Exynos chipset, the S6 takes Samsung's larger corporate vision of vertical integration seriously, and that should have Samsung's competitors on edge (no pun intended).
To start, the physical hardware simply seems superb. Even the relatively early units we played with had outstanding fit and finish, and I don't mean that in the forgiving sense we typically are forced to provide Android handsets because of the median build quality in the industry.
At CES this year, Blu announced a handful of new devices that should all show up in the first half of 2015. We've already taken a look at the sleek and slim Vivo Air, which really surprised me in almost every possible way. So much, in fact, that I've been using it as my daily driver for the last few weeks. I really like it.
As much as I enjoy using the Air, however, I had to put it off to the side to spend some time with the newest Blu handset, the power-packed Studio Energy.
Update: Pre-order registrations have been extended "due to high demand," until Monday February 2nd, 12pm MST. Beside the $50 discount you get for registering, you'll also receive an extra battery and a glass screen protector. Pre-orders should open on Monday, but the discount and freebies will be gone then.
Beside Energous, the most novel company I met with at CES 2015 was Saygus. Here was this start-up I hadn't heard about touting a superphone of sorts, with bells and whistles to rock most bells and blow most whistles, an unconventional product that seemed, on paper, more hallucinogenic than the most optimistic crowd-funding project you've come across.
In June of last year, Blu released its sleekest phone yet, the Vivo IV. This ultra-thin, super-svelte handset really put an emphasis on design, something that no other Blu phone before had really done. At CES, the company announced the newest member of the Vivo line, the Vivo Air. At just 5.1 mm thick, this is the thinnest smartphone you can currently buy in the US. It's stupid-thin, but it also weighs under 100 grams, so it's equally as light. So, stupid-light.
Based on its specs, I wouldn't necessarily call the Vivo Air the IV's successor, but rather just a new addition to that product family. In fact, the Vivo IV is still more powerful than the Air, though both devices feature the same MediaTek octa-core chipset.
Xiaomi has been stepping up its hardware game in recent years to compete with more established OEMs, and the newly announced Mi Note is the latest example of this commitment. This device is basically a higher-end version of 2014's Redmi Note. Not only is the Mi Note significantly more powerful than the Redmi Note, it's lighter and thinner too.
Blu isn't a company that's typically known for pushing out the highest-end flagship devices, but rather a solid company offering unlocked budget handsets. It's always releasing new handsets, giving potential customers a lot to choose from. At CES this year, the company took wraps off of seven new handsets (to be fair, a couple of those are from the same line), none of which cost more than $199 off-contract. Powerhouses? Probably not. Good return for the money? I'd almost guarantee it. Let's take a quick look at each one.
The Vivo Air is basically the successor to last year's slim and sleek Vivo IV.
LG's just announced the G Flex 2 here at CES, and we had a chance to go hands-on with the company's next curvy smartphone. First, though, let's get the technical bits out in front.
The G Flex 2 is one of the first officially announced phones from a major manufacturer to have a Snapdragon 810 processor, an octa-core chip in ARM's BIG.little arrangement, with 4 high-power cores offering speed when you need it, and four lower-power cores suited for standby tasks and other low-overhead operations. What's interesting about this chip is that it's something of a steppingstone - instead of using a proprietary Qualcomm CPU core, it's using an ARM reference design.