It's not hard to find an Android tablet for less than a hundred bucks - head down to your nearest drugstore and there's a decent chance you'll see one. The trick is finding one that's worth using at that price. While most of these ultra-cheap tablets are no-name Chinese models, Lenovo just announced a pair of new 7-inchers in the A Series starting at only a single Benjamin. I guess that would make them name brand Chinese tablets, but hey, Lenovo beats whatever company is using the Polaroid license this year.
Both the TAB 2A7-10 and the A7-30 are essentially identical, but the latter and more expensive one features a 3G radio and calling support, essentially making it a giant phone.
Reviewing a Nexus phone is always a daunting task. It’s one of the most important devices of the year for much of the Android community, and it represents - in theory - the very best of what Google has to offer on phones for the respective update period.
I’ll start by saying the Nexus 6 is a great phone, albeit huge. It’s also different from previous Nexus phones in a number of key ways, which I’ll try to cover as faithfully as possible in this review.
Besides just being a great phone, though, the Nexus 6 represents a shift for Google’s Nexus strategy.
The Nexus 6 came in for a landing on my doorstep yesterday, and I've been happily exploring Google's new phablet ever since. Because I've had it for just one day, there's no way I could write anything resembling a review, so instead I thought it may be fun to do a very basic "initial impressions" post. There are a few things that immediately strike me about the device, so I'll discuss those here, with more details to come in the full review.
The Form Factor
The Nexus 6, known until recently as Shamu, is a whale. It's really big. That should go without saying since the display is 5.9", but when you see it in person its size is truly striking.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE still hasn't made a dent in the US market in any significant way, but it did turn heads with the ZMAX for T-Mobile, combining a big 5.7-inch screen and a spacious battery with a low price tag. The new Grand X Max, coming to budget carrier Cricket on October 10th, is even bigger and cheaper. This massive 6-inch phone will pack a beefy 3200mAh battery, all for just $199.99 without a contract.
Of course at that price the Grand X Max isn't exactly grand to look at - plastic seams are easily apparent despite the faux carbon fiber back and the slim bezels.
If you've been keeping up with any tech blogs over the past couple of weeks, you know that the next Nexus phone has been a hot topic. We saw rumored specs and rumoredhardware photos that only added to the confusion created back when we first reported on a possible 5.9" Nexus. Today, however, we have something special to share. We've been provided with new information about the next Nexus phone, and can confirm that it will be a 5.9" device called the Nexus 6.
Based on new information we've seen today, I've put together this image that depicts - as faithfully as possible - what the Nexus 6 will look like.
We've been hearing a lot about Volantis lately, but what about the other supposed Nexus device - Shamu? Since we originally broke the story back in July (with the Information affirming Shamu's existence soon after) things have been relatively quiet, with only a benchmark test here or there popping up with alleged specs that seemed to point to a smaller device.
Today, however, 9to5Google has divulged specs and details about the device in which the outlet seems fairly confident. 9to5 says it can corroborate the 5.9" screen size, and notes that "the device we've learned about" actually carries the following specs, some of which clash with earlier reports:
5.92" QHD display (498PPI)
13MP camera and 2MP front shooter
Snapdragon 805 processor
Worth noting is that 9to5's information aligns almost perfectly with information we received earlier this year, but they also sound very close to a device we've seen under the name Quark, which may in fact be the basis for Shamu.
People seem to love gigantic screens on their phones - just ask Samsung (or Apple). And of course, plenty of customers want phones that are cheap, or at least cheaper than the flagships. And the one thing that everyone wants is longer battery life. ZTE and T-Mobile are going to try to please the intersection of these market segments with the ZMAX, a big phone with a big battery and (impressively) a small price tag.
The ZMAX's screen is a large 5.7-inch panel, just as big as the Galaxy Note 4, though it's only got a quarter of the resolution at 1280x720.
The last Ascend Mate from Huawei was an interesting device with an affordable price point, but you had to make some sacrifices to get comfortable with that sweet phablet-y goodness. It was only 720p, had an older processor, and the storage was lacking. The newly announced Ascend Mate7 is a big phone with many fewer sacrifices.
The specs are a lot more presentable this time around. Here's what we've got to work with.
6-inch 1080p LCD
Octa-core Kirin 950 processor (1.8GHz + 1.3GHz)
16/32GB of storage
2/3GB of RAM
LTE Cat6 connectivity
185g, 7.9mm thick
13MP f/2.0 camera (rear), 5MP (front)
Android 4.4 with EMUI 3.0
So clearly this isn't going after the entry level crowd like the last Mate.
Update: Verizon's specification page has been changed to indicate that the LG G Vista has an "HD" screen. It looks like there was an error in the original spec list. We're going to assume that means that it's a 1280x720 screen.
Looking for a mid-range phone on Verizon? Then you've got two more choices starting today. The LG G Vista, an enormous "phablet" device, and the Kyocera Brigadier, the latest in the company's line of "tough" phones, are both on sale now at Verizon's website. They should be in at least some company-owned retailer stores starting Thursday, July 31st.
Huawei is huge in China, but their footprint in the US smartphone market is tiny, and not helped because they tend to be on the low end of any carrier lineup they do manage to snag. That ends today, as the company is now selling directly to consumers in the United States for the first time. The Ascend Mate 2, a big-screen, big-battery midrange phone, is up for pre-order on GetHuawei.com. The unlocked GSM-LTE phone is going for $299 in black and white color options.
For three Benjamins, you get a phone with a gigantic 6.1" screen, a 3900mAh battery (down slightly from the one at CES) rated at 25 hours of talk time, a 13 megapixel rear camera with a 5MP front-facing cam, and...