We've had a chance to spend some significant time with the Huawei Mate 8 in the last 24 hours, and so I felt an intial impressions post was warranted. The "space gray" (yes, really) 32GB unit I've been using is technically preproduction per Huawei's own disclaimer, though the software feels largely finished and the phone physically feels ready for sale.
The Mate 8, by the way, is not a phone you'll be seeing in America. Huawei has taken a pretty careful approach in regard to its US device launches, and its most expensive handsets generally never make it here through any official channels.
CES always seems to have at least one major trend at the trade show, and this year's hot ticket is virtual reality. With a new HTC Vive headset, the announcement of the Oculus Rift's pricey consumer model, and all manner of smaller announcements, it's safe to say that VR is the belle of the ball on the show floor. But all of them have one thing in common: you can't fit them in a pocket. Even Google's super-cheap Cardboard system is about the size of a dSLR camera when assembled. Case maker Speck thinks it's solved that problem with a new design, which is about the same size as a phone.
Any reasonable person might get a bit confused at the continuity of Worms, the perennial "lob stuff across the 2D map and watch it blow up" simulator. According to the franchise Wikipedia page, there have ben no less than 23 Worms games before this one, and at least one of them (from 2005) has been named Worms 4. Paradoxically, Worms 2: Armageddon and Worms 3 came after that Worms 4 (Mayhem), and now we're back to 4 again, this time with no subtitle. Maybe it's because this is the fourth Worms game to be available on mobile, if you include the disastrous version licensed by EA.
Plugging in the little dongle is hardly a difficult task, but it's still less sightly than having the functionality built-in. Throughout this year, B&O Play, Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer, and Raumfeld will all join Sony and LG in producing Google Cast-enabled speakers. As they roll out, Google will introduce the ability to sync playback across multiple speakers and rooms using them as well, just as you already can with Chromecast Audio.
Huawei has only released a few phones in the US market, and the new Mate 8 isn't among them. Instead, we'll get the mid-range Honor 5X. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the LG-build Nexus 5X. The Honor 5X has somewhat more modest specs than that other 5X, but the price is lower too at just $199.
If you want frequent Android updates but don't have the cash to pick up a 5X or 6P, then the Nexus 5 may still be your best option. Right now you can buy a refurbished16GB model for just $150 on Daily Steals. The 32GB model is also available for just $30 more.
Shipping is free and no tax is added to the sale price. Both black and white options are available in each capacity. If you want a different (notice I didn't say new?) Android phone, and have less than two bills to spend, there aren't many better options out there, especially for someone who enjoys rooting, flashing, and customizing their phone.
If you own a Xiaomi device, and you probably don't if you live outside of Asia, then you're familiar with MIUI. This build of Android ships on all of the company's devices. 7.0 arrived a couple months ago, and now folks are receiving the first update of 2016, version 7.1.
The update is small, and so are many of the tweaks. The file manager has changed private folders to "Hidden Folders," which let you hide files from view and protect them with a password. The code will be the same one guarding your lockscreen unless you leave your phone unlocked.
A serious audiophile will scoff at Bluetooth audio. They also scoff at most other things, but maybe there will be less wireless scoffing now that Qualcomm's aptX HD audio codec is a thing. Using aptX HD, a device can output true 24-bit audio over Bluetooth, and there's already a Bluetooth hardware module that supports it.
At CES 2016, New Balance announced the launch of a new Digital Sport division that aims to mix its physical activity expertise with modern technologies and bring it into a more modern era of sports and active lifestyles.
There are several aspects to Digital Sports' ecosystem: a Strava-based community of runners called Run Club, plans for embedding sensors and smart technology into future New Balance footwear and apparel and sports equipment (though nothing tangible has been announced there), and finally New Balance-branded wearables. The first product to launch in that latter category will be an Android Wear smartwatch.
Details are almost non-existent, but New Balance says the watch will be first and foremost focused on running.
With winter approaching and the possibility of getting snowed in, there's a certain comfort that comes from knowing your phone can stay active throughout a week-long power outage. Being able to place calls and derp around online (assuming the towers are still active) is like a super power.
But you aren't born with that innate gift. First you have to buy an external battery pack to replenish your phone's reserves when that icon in the corner goes empty, and preferably a big one.