Competition in Android smartphones is better now than it's ever been, and not just in the flagship segment. With devices like the Moto G, the ZenFone 2, and various Blu designs, the mid-range is heating up with phones that are jam-packed with value. But how about the low-end, entry phone segment? For those people who just want a device that runs a few apps, plays a nice round of Threes, and maybe browse for some sports scores? Before a few years ago, they were limited to whatever bottom-of-the-line, low-margin phones Samsung and LG would spare.
The Galaxy S6 has been out for three months now, so it's time to revisit this phone and see if any of my feelings from the original review have evolved. At the time this seemed like a pretty fantastic phone with few drawbacks. Samsung made a lot of changes with this year's Galaxy flagship, so does it also avoid some of the long-term pitfalls of past phones? Let's find out.
DxOMark just released their review of the HTC One M9's camera. I'm not going to beat around the bush, the results aren't great (not that any of us here at AP are all that surprised). The HTC One M9 scored a rather abysmal cumulative score of 69, placing the Taiwanese manufacturer's latest flagship in 22nd place on DxOMark's top mobile camera list.
That places the M9 21 spots behind the Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, which currently sits in the number one spot. The M9 also lags behind other ultra modern behemoths of the mobile photography world, such as the Amazon Fire Phone, the LG G2, the iPhone 4s, and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Not too long ago, I took a look at the Griffin iTrip AUX Bluetooth dongle. It was a solid product that delivered on its goal of allowing people to connect over Bluetooth in cars that don't have the functionality built-in. But at $49.99, it's a little on the pricey side. For that cost, you can get a Kinivo BTC455 that not only delivers the same capability, it supports two devices at once, hands-free calls, and controlling music playback. Frankly, it's more bang for buck.
That said, after trying out the Kinivo BTC455, I occasionally longed for the Griffin iTrip AUX. Let me tell you why.
Mobile electronics have to have compromises. You can't shove a 55-inch screen onto a phone no matter how hard you try, end eventually even the biggest battery will run out. It's all about balancing the desirable with the practical. A similar principle extends to the more niche world of mobile-focused gaming controllers: while we'd all like a console experience in a portable package, even the most generous pockets will be strained if you try to shove a Dual Shock into them.
So we have a sliding scale, portability versus utility. You can go big, with console-style controllers that have full button complements like the MOGA Pro or the Thrustmaster Score-A.
I have been hunting for an ideal Android game controller for a long time. I've tried tons of them: tiny, retro, travel-oriented, and full-size. None have hit that perfect combination of portability and utility (for as much as "utility" can be applied to a gaming accessory) that makes it a recommendation for everyone. Thrustmaster, a minor player in the gaming accessory market, has had its Score-A Bluetooth controller that's specifically designed for Android available at retail for a while now. Can this compact controller, complete with Android navigation buttons and a full console button complement, rise above the rest?
Newer cars let you connect your phone over Bluetooth, empowering you to stream music and make calls. The capability is found in most base models nowadays, but drivers of older cars typically have to install an aftermarket radio to get in on the fun. The Griffin iTrip AUX Bluetooth is a cheaper way to get some of the benefits of Bluetooth without having to fork over as much money.
But at $49.99, the iTrip AUX Bluetooth remains a bit pricey itself. It works as advertised, but in this case, I don't know if that is enough. Here, let me tell you why.
Lenovo has crammed just about everything it can think of into the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro to make it interesting, with the exception of a stylus and a can opener. And it is interesting, from a purely technical point of view - it has a huge 13" screen, 2.1 JLB speakers, integrated kickstand, and oh yeah, a built-in pico projector. This machine epitomizes one of the best things about Android hardware: a diversity of manufacturers can yield an amazing variety of features.
Unfortunately, Lenovo's design is more ambitious than its execution. With a build quality that's only average, some questionable hardware decisions, and a software experience that's poor at best, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro simply won't be worth a look for most people.
TellTale is getting really good at this. In the developer's short history they've released more than ten games that have adapted the classic point-and-click adventure template to modern pop culture licenses, improving on both the classic formula and their own unique approach. Game of Thrones, like The Walking Dead game first introduced in 2012, is a particularly timely addition. With excitement bubbling over for the fifth season of HBO's adaptation of the fantasy novels, the GoT license is a hot item, and one that TellTale is uniquely qualified to explore.
That said, the very nature of the Song of Ice and Fire franchise means that the developer is more limited than it might otherwise be.