Kyocera is one smartphone manufacturer that could care less about beating the competition on specs. It makes cheap phones that either won't receive updates or won't get them until long after you've given up hope. But the handsets are affordable, and many of the later models tend to be pretty rugged.
It's hard to believe that it's been nearly three years since we reviewed Soundfreaq's original Sound Kick portable speaker. Over that period of time, we've seen a slew of new offerings from the company, including a few ultra-portable options, an alarm clock speaker, and a handful of others. The Sound Kick was really a groundbreaker for us though - it had standout features unlike any other speaker at that time.
Fastforward to today, and the SK's successor is finally here. The SK2 takes a lot of what made the original so great, including a tilting design and UQ3, and improves on that.
Sony has just announced the follow-up to its flagship device, the... why does it feel like I've written this story before? Oh, because I have. So a month after making its Xperia Z4 official in Japan, Sony is taking that device and releasing it with a more appropriate name for the global market: Xperia Z3+. Let's face it, the changes compared to the Z3 are minimal enough not to warrant a full number increase, so the switch back to the Z3+ is more honest on the company's behalf.
On the outside, the Z3+ looks almost exactly like the Z3, give or take a few slots and speaker grill placements.
The Sony Smartwatch 3 is one of the most compelling options among currently available Android Wear devices. Its comfort, water resistant body, great outdoor visibility, and inclusion of features such as GPS and NFC set it apart as the best Android Wear option for fitness and outdoor enthusiasts.
If the compelling features weren't enough to entice you before, a new low price may increase the watch's attraction. The SW3 is currently available on Ebay Daily Deals for just $169.99. That’s $80 dollars off retail and $30 lower than it has ever been listed before. In other words — it’s a freaking steal!
Along with the Xperia Z4 Tablet, Sony has announced the mid-range waterproof Xperia M4 Aqua today at Mobile World Congress.
With a 5" 720p display, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octacore, and 2GB of RAM, the Xperia M4 Aqua doesn't seem too impressive to begin with. However, when you start factoring in all the other specs, you'll understand why Sony says that there are "no compromises" in this mid-ranger.
First up, a 13MP camera (remember when that was a feature of high-end smartphones?) with Sony's Exmor RS sensor and a large F2.0 aperture with 3200 ISO sensitivity dons the back of the Xperia M4 Aqua and adapts to various environments.
Do you have a smartphone? Do you completely rely on it an entire day for navigation, music, gaming, communication, and more? Then you definitely understand the woes of battery life on these modern all-singing all-dancing gadgets. I personally have a charger at home, a dock at work, a car charger, a small portable charger in my purse, but I also like having MOAR POWER just in case I ever need it.
That power comes in the form of a big portable battery, the kind that Anker, New Trent, and Limefuel make. I was a Kickstarter backer on the latter's Limeade Blast L130X, a 13000mAh unit with two USB outputs, a handy carrying case, and a 2-in-1 MicroUSB and 30-pin cable.
HTC's Butterfly series is an interesting one. While this particular range of models rarely makes its way outside of Asia, HTC often uses it as a testbed for new technology and features, and some of the highlights of these phones make it into the primary international lines on the next go-round. The latest version of the J Butterfly, which will launch exclusively on Japanese carrier KDDI next month, has some additions to the basic One design that might be worth watching.
First of all, the body is designed differently, with what looks like high-quality polycarbonate (read: plastic, but nice plastic) instead of the metal we've become used to with the One family.
Maybe it's the months-long PR buildup, maybe it's the extreme scarcity, or maybe it's just the manifested hopes of thousands of overeager Android fans, but the OnePlus One sure seems to be attracting more than its fair share of rumor and misinformation. Just over a month ago we needed to clarify that the powerful unlocked phone does not, in fact, have a MicroSD card slot, and here we are again. So, just to be clear: the OnePlus One is not waterproof in any way, shape, or form, and giving your shiny new phone a baptism is a very bad idea.
The idea of a OnePlus One with water-repelling powers stems from the video above, where one random YouTube user observed that his OnePlus One did not immediately melt after being exposed to a few raindrops.
The Huawei Honor smartphones have been straightforward affairs, with the original being nothing to get excited about unless you were shopping on a budget and wanted something functional enough to do more than check Facebook (though considering how bloated the Facebook app is, even doing that is no small feat). However, we did consider it an example of what a budget phone should be, and the sequel was an improvement in every area - except for price. This year's model is only marginally improved over the Honor 2, but it packs its internals inside a more rugged shell. This phone is resistant to both dust and water, with a touch screen that is capable of reading wet fingertips.
My first two smartphones, the Milano and the Rise, were both made by Kyocera, so I have a soft spot for the brand. The company's handsets generally may not be high-end, or even midrange, but they're good for average folks who don't live and die by the number of pixels their phone is able to push or flip tables if there's a momentary stutter when switching between home screens. Kyocera's latest offering, the Hydro ELITE, will launch online at Verizon Wireless this Thursday, August 29th, and it's quite an improvement over the company's usual offerings.
Kyocera's devices typically leave much to be desired, but the Hydro ELITE is a big step up from its predecessor.