This year's CES sucks. But that doesn't mean there can't be a few genuinely cool things floating around out there in an otherwise dull ocean of 4K and touchscreens. Case in point: YotaPhone, which sadly isn't even on the CES show floor at all. We covered the announcement of the YotaPhone, but really, seeing and using it in person does the idea so much more justice.
On paper, it seems pretty straightforward: a phone with a screen on both sides.
Fancy a new 5" superphone? ZTE may have something to pique your interest - if you live in China. The company's latest high-end device, the Grand S, was unveiled yesterday prior to CES, and we got some hands-on time earlier today. It hits all the right points: 5" 1080p display, 13MP rear camera, 1.7GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.1, LTE connectivity, and is a fairly stunning 6.9mm in profile.
But, ZTE wasn't shy about discussing market availability: China.
If you hadn't heard, Intel actually unveiled a new smartphone chip at CES. It's just not a particularly exciting one. Lexington, as its known, will be marketed primarily in emerging parts of the world - think Southeast Asia and Africa - in handsets that will probably closely mimic the reference design you see below in the hands-on video.
I'll admit - there's not a whole lot to this thing. It has a tiny 3.7" screen, isn't particularly thin (actually, it's pretty thick), and feels cheap.
Aren't you jealous that South Korea and Japan get all the cool over-the-air TV gadgets, while we in America are stuck in the stone age with things like "YouTube" and "Hulu"? Well, RCA's got you covered. The company's 8" mobile TV tablet - in TV-optimized 4:3 aspect ratio - is coming to the US in April for just $249, and does both over the air broadcast television as well as Dyle TV, which is also broadcast over the air and provides special content based on your location.
As you probably already know, Sony made the Xperia Z and ZL official yesterday at CES. David got to spend some hands-on time with both handsets, and shared his initial thoughts on the duo right here. If that wasn't good enough for you, though, then perhaps the metric ton of videos Sony just uploaded will get the job done.
Without further ado, I present to you: slews and slews and slews of videos about the Xperia Z and ZL.
Do you think phones should be even bigger? Good news: so does Huawei. You've probably already heard about the Mate, but we got a little hands-on time before the show floor opened last night at CES Digital Experience, and, well, it's big. Really big. And yes, we put it next to a Note II to show you just how mind-bogglingly large it is.
Note: there's some artifacting near the end of the video.
Drop this one in the "noteworthy, but not notable" bucket, but we had some time last night to check out AT&T's Pantech Discover, a phone with a pretty impressive specification sheet given its price point - just $50 on contract.
The Discover has a 4.8" 720p display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB of internal storage, 12.6MP rear camera, LTE, and runs Android 4.0 (OK, that's a bit of a miss). While we wouldn't call this a groundbreaking device in and of itself, the price AT&T will be peddling this particular piece of hardware at is going to make it a very attractive option for the brick-and-mortar crowd (eg, your parents).
So, the idea of an Android-powered camera with a swappable lens intrigues you, yes? Well, last night we got a chance to play with such a device, the Polaroid iM1836... and moral of the story: execution, execution, execution. Polaroid, we think, got it wrong. While we were playing with a pre-production model, I can't help but feel Polaroid took a half-decent idea and managed to totally flub it. First, the video.
Sony's latest Android phones are probably the most exciting thing the Japanese company has done in the smartphone arena to date. I mean, Sony unveiled a flagship phone that is water and dustproof.* (to one meter for up to 30 minutes.)
That alone is something worthy of attention. The sister device, the ZL, is a slightly downmarket version of the phone, though even saying that much isn't exactly fair. There's nothing particularly worse about the ZL, other than the fact that it lacks the glass backing of the Z, or its tolerance for wet and sandy situations.