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.
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 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.
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.
I'm sure we all know the frustration of trying to take a bath with a smartphone only to have it stop working. Outrageous! Surely there must be some sort of technological solution to this conundrum? Liquipel is a possibility, but you usually have to send in your device to have it sealed up. Now you can grab a pre-treated Galaxy S III for Verizon at a subsidized price from Wirefly. Kind of neat, right?
The Xperia Z is a pretty spiffy flagship phone, and tough as well, thanks to its IP55/IP57 Ingress Protection rating. But now there's a more specialized model coming, the Xperia ZR, designed specifically for waterproof functioning in even wetter environments. The new phone is manufactured to the higher IP55/IP58 standard, meaning that it can be safely submersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
The Xperia ZR roughly follows the Z's design, getting rid of some of the slim lines and premium materials for the sake of its more waterproof chassis.
Sony's Xperia Tablet Z, the tablet first announced for Japan about three months ago, and spotted again at MWC, is finally up for pre-order for those customers awaiting the device's US launch.
When we saw the Tablet Z in person at Mobile World Congress, its super thin, super light water/dust-resistant frame impressed. Its 1920x1200 10.1" display, S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM and promised Android 4.2 base also sounded good on paper, but we concluded it could still be held back by two things: a 6000mAh battery, and a $500 price point for the 16GB model.
Who wants a new "lifestyle device?" You know, those phones and tablets that cater to a very niche, and usually pretty small, market. Like Samsung's new Galaxy Xcover 2, for example. This ultra-ruggedized device is made for extreme conditions. It's waterproof for up to 30 minutes at a meter deep, dust/sand-proof, and crazy-durable. It can even take pictures under water! Seriously, that's pretty cool.
Aside from the ruggedized shell, the Xcover 2 also features an "enhanced GPS + GLONASS which shortens the satellite signal detection by up to 20% to tracks your location more accurately," along with a "massive 1,700mAh battery" (really, Samsung, we need to talk about what 'massive' actually means).
If you've been searching for a way to safely play your Android phone's music library in the rain or at the beach, Amazon's got a deal for you. Grace Digital's ECO X Terra (orange only) is available for just $50 shipped, which is a notable $100 discount over its original price.
If you're wondering how the ECO X Terra works, it's simple – just cram your Android-powered phone (or "any mp3 player") into the center compartment, and enjoy your tunes.
We've all experienced the misfortune of dropping a phone. Some of us have even taken that bad experience a step further, by not only dropping the phone, but having it end up in a puddle/pool of water. At that point, there's little hope of its survival. Let's all have a moment of silence for devices who've met their tragic fate by being dropped.
If you own a Galaxy S III and cringe at the thought of losing your beloved device in such a manner, there's hope: the new OBEX case from Seidio.