When you think smartphones, ASUS probably rarely comes to mind. While the company has been building Android phones for several years now, their market penetration outside of Asia has been relatively low, and so they rarely get much attention in American or European markets. But the ZenFone 2, when it launched at CES six months ago, definitely raised eyebrows.
At a starting price of just $199, ASUS is offering up a phone with extremely impressive specifications for a do-a-double-take MSRP - it almost sounds too good to be true. Thankfully, I don't think it is - the ZenFone 2 is a solid phone that works pretty much like any Android 5.0+ device you'll encounter while simultaneously blowing the doors off pretty much any competitor at this price point for raw spec sheet power. Read More
Back at CES earlier this year, Blu announced a handful of phones, including the Vivo Air, Studio X, and Studio Energy. Today, we're looking at the final phone from that announcement, the Life One, as well as another handset Blu has coming out in a few weeks, the Life 8 XL.
Let's jump right in with specs.
The first thing worth noting about the Life One is the processor - it's a 64 bit Snapdragon 410. Read More
I've spent time with a lot of Blu handsets over the past couple of years, and one of the biggest downsides (to me, at least) is always the outdated software. In fact, every Blu phone I've looked at so far this year has been running KitKat. Fortunately, Lollipop is set to hit a few of the company's handsets starting this month, and it also just released the Studio C - its first offering to run Lollipop right out of the box.
The Studio C is a modest midranger with specs similar to some of Blu's other more recent devices (like the Studio Energy):
Powerhouse? Read More
LG has developed something of a cult following in the smartphone enthusiast world since it introduced the G2 back in 2013. With the G3, it became the first major smartphone OEM to bring a QHD (2.5K) display, among the first to use the Snapdragon 801 processor, introduced a great camera with OIS, and generally built a fast, bleeding-edge phone.
The G4 could be seen as a largely corrective measure - mostly existing to improve on its predecessor's pitfalls. The G3's display was criticized as dull and lacking much in the way of brightness. The G4's has much better contrast, improved viewing angles, output, and uses less power. Read More
While smartphone enthusiasts typically care deeply about every spec inside the phones they buy, there's one feature that nearly every smartphone owner wants: a good camera. In fact, on several occasions, I've had friends and family ask which phone they should buy based around that one qualification: which phone has the best camera? Needless to say, a good shooter is a pretty big deal in the smartphone world.
With a name like Selfie, to say that Blu's newest handset is all about the camera experience would be pretty accurate. Not only does it have a 13 MP rear shooter, but also a 13 MP front camera with flash. Read More
Not long ago, a $250 unlocked smartphone was probably asking for trouble - a sketchy processor, WVGA display, potato-resolution camera, and 3G were basically what you could expect. But as technology has marched forward, component costs for things like 1080p LCD panels, 13MP camera sensors, and LTE have become much cheaper.
The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 5.5" (I know, I know, the name is ridiculous), which I will from here on call the Idol 3 for the sake of brevity and sanity, has the things you want in a modern smartphone. A big - but not ridiculously large - 1080p IPS-LCD display, a modern Qualcomm processor, dual front-facing speakers, LTE, a 13MP Sony IMX image sensor, and a respectably capacious 2910mAh battery. Read More
Samsung must have known it had a problem early in the Galaxy S5's run when most of the reviews called the phone "boring" or "predictable," while also conceding that it was a good device. A good, predictable phone isn't going to sell like gangbusters, and indeed, the Galaxy S5 fell short of expectations. Over the next few months, we saw devices like the Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4 that played around with more premium materials and different designs, but the Galaxy S6 is the culmination of Samsung's plans to rehab its reputation.
The Galaxy S6 is still distinctly Samsung with the oblong home button, big camera sensor, and industry-leading AMOLED panel, but it almost feels like it was made by a version of Samsung from some bizarre parallel reality where plastic doesn't exist. Read More
HTC was one of Android's earliest supporters. When the Dream launched in 2009, little did HTC likely know that its fortunes would skyrocket in the few years after, along with its share of the smartphone market. Not long after, though, those fortunes began to wane - with the launch of the original One series (One X, S, V), HTC's first attempt to rebrand its smartphone design image began.
The One X was, and I still think is, a beautiful phone. While the Tegra version was lamentable, the Qualcomm-powered variants received generally wide praise. The next year, One M7 launched. It, too, was very good-looking, and while the Ultrapixel camera was controversial, the phone debuted to very positive reviews. Read More
Back at CES in January, Blu announced a handful of upcoming devices that were all basically slated to hit shelves in the first quarter of 2015. We've already taken a look at two of those phones: the super sleek and thin Vivo Air, as well as the massive battery-packing Studio Energy. Today, I have the Studio X Plus (which is exactly like the Studio X, just larger) and the ultra-affordable Studio G, two more devices that were announced in that same lineup.
Both phones are from Blu's Studio line, which is basically Blu's midrange series of devices. You typically find slightly slower processors and lower-quality displays than what you'd see on the company's higher-end devices, but they also have prices to match. Read More