US-IT-COMPUTER-CES

Long before Transformers director Michael Bay choked onstage at Samsung's lavish CES 2014 press conference, the Korean company was just another electronics outfit begging for attention. But after decades at CES, Samsung is now the undisputed king of the show. Its blowout media events are the largest and most difficult to get into. Samsung Electronics CEO BK Yoon is kicking off the show next month by hosting the prestigious opening keynote. And it's one of the few tech giants left standing at CES, as Microsoft and others abandon it. Samsung's glorious rise mirrors its ascent in the mobile industry, and it's also yet another example of the company's oft-repeated formula for success: Time, money and perseverance lead to victory.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

ASUS ZenWatch review: subtle and stylish, with a few shortcomings

The war for your wrist isn't going to wind down any time soon: We've already seen the industry's biggest players take a stab (in some cases, multiple ones) at perfecting their wearables. ASUS isn't quite as prominent as other names on that list, but that just makes its $200 ZenWatch all the more interesting The Taiwanese company -- probably best known for its quirky phone-tablet hybrids -- has put together an inaugural smartwatch that's dripping with style. In fact, it's the first smartwatch I've worn that's ever attracted random compliments from passersby (in two countries, no less), not to mention the first one that didn't make me feel like a complete nerd while wearing it. Alas, it takes more than just a sweet face to make a smartwatch worth owning.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

How thin is too thin? Well, the Chinese smartphone makers are always pushing their limits on this end. Following Gionee's 5.1mm Elife S5.1 and Oppo's 4.85mm R5, today Vivo has set a new record with its X5Max, a 4.75mm-thick Android phone that still manages to pack a number of notable features. The slim aluminum mid-frame houses a vibrant 5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, a 1.7mm-thick logic board and a 5-megapixel f/2.4 front camera. Flip to the back and you'll find a 13-megapixel f/2.0 main camera -- the inevitable bulge that goes beyond the phone's official thickness by almost 2mm -- and a loudspeaker towards the bottom. On the whole, the phone feels surprisingly light (Vivo has yet to list the official weight) but also solid and well-made.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Crafting and selling a smartphone is hard. Crafting and selling a smartphone while legions of titans and upstart ankle biters do the same? Well, that's just infinitely harder. You'd think it would be the newcomers struggling the most as they try to carve out their niche in a too-crowded market, but these days, it's often the big guys, the juggernauts that need the most help finding their footing. Just take a look at the news: Representatives for both Sony and Samsung recently said their respective companies would be slashing the number of smartphone models they churn out, all in hopes that more sweet, sweet cash will eventually fall into their laps.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

YotaPhone was inarguably one of the quirkiest smartphones released last year, with not one, but two displays. This curious marriage of LCD and E Ink was certainly a manufacturing achievement, but limited uses for the secondary screen meant it simply couldn't live up to its potential. Undeterred, Yota Devices announced earlier this year it was cooking up a sequel, and today it's ready to launch the new and improved YotaPhone 2. Its fresh design, high-end specs and bigger, higher-resolution displays are welcome upgrades, but most importantly, a thorough overhaul of the handset's software means you can now make full use of the low-power E Ink screen, which has also been granted touch functionality for this generation.

I've spent a fair amount of time with the device, and have to say that it's the most interesting smartphone I've ever used. Like its predecessor, the YotaPhone 2 is still very much a niche proposition with narrow mainstream appeal. That being said, Yota Devices has more or less achieved what it set out to do last year: Make a handset with an E Ink display that has several, legitimate use cases. Whether these will actually tempt you into picking one up is another matter, but the second screen is no longer an oddity; it's an asset.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Samsung Gear S review: an ambitious and painfully flawed smartwatch

Samsung's wearables strategy seems to be: "Throw everything at a wall and see what sticks." In a little over 12 months, the electronics giant has launched six -- yes, six -- different smartwatches, each with its own unique personality. The latest is the Samsung Gear S, and its particular claim to fame might be the most ambitious yet: It's the first Gear watch that lets you make and receive calls from your wrist, no phone required. Yep, the Gear S actually has a 3G modem inside it, along with WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS radios. It's basically a watch that's also a phone. You can even respond to emails using a tiny onscreen keyboard. But, at $350 a pop, can it replace your phone? And more importantly, would you want it to?

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

Black Friday shopping in 2013

Yes, it's once more time for Black Friday -- that beloved (and sometimes dreaded) day when you can brave crowded stores in hopes of scoring deals on gadgets that would otherwise be out of your reach. But who's offering the sweetest bargains? Never fear: we've rounded up some of the better sales you'll find on or around November 28th, including some pretty hefty discounts on 4K TVs, game consoles and phones. Check out the gallery bellow to browse by store and see which shops are worth visiting, and let your fellow shoppers know if you've spotted any other great offers in the comments.

[Image credit: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images]

0 Comments

HTC RE Camera review: a fun personal shooter with room to grow

My father's camcorder was a common sight on childhood vacations. Trips to Mount Rainier, the Oregon Coast, Disneyland, skiing, weddings -- you name it, there's video evidence of my siblings and I enjoying time together. I'm lucky to have grown up in an era where this technology was available, but today these memories can be captured more easily and with less sophisticated (read: less expensive) equipment. We have quick and easy access to cameras at a moment's notice, thanks to smartphones and tablets, and now another form factor is starting to gain momentum: personal cameras. With the exception of the GoPro, this genre is now seeing an influx of small, hand-held devices that are small enough to put in your pocket or bag and can still take decent photos and videos.

HTC is one of the companies rushing to get into this space with the RE camera (pronounced "Ree"), an awkwardly named gadget that's shaped like a tube, packs a 16-megapixel camera and 1080p HD video capture and features cross-platform support so Android and iOS users alike can take advantage of it. Can this tiny camera take the place of my father's camcorder? What else is it good for? And is it worth paying $200 even if you already have a smartphone camera? Keep Reading to find out.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Amazon Fire HD 6 review: great value for a $99 tablet

Here's a question: How did Amazon know it was time to make a $99 tablet? Because of focus groups? Its ace marketing department? Close: user reviews. Let's not forget that Amazon is best known for its retail empire, so when lots of people start buying cheap tablets, the company catches on quickly. And when shoppers start giving them lousy user reviews, well, Amazon notices that too. After reading lots of write-ups from disgruntled customers about tablets with chintzy build quality, the company decided it could do better. The Fire HD 6, a 6-inch tablet priced at $99, is the company's cheapest and smallest slate yet, and it's designed to take on all those unreliable no-name devices that shoppers seem to hate so much. Suffice to say, it offers some great value for the price. Here's why.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

It wasn't all that long ago when China's Meizu unveiled its latest phone, the MX4, but the real flagship is actually what the company announced today. As you can tell from the name, the new MX4 Pro is a beefed-up version of the earlier model, yet it's still priced very competitively and is almost just as comfortable to hold. Most notably, it has a slightly larger 5.5-inch display with a stunning 2,560 x 1,536 resolution -- a tad more than the standard 2K resolution (hence the "2K+" label), thus making this the highest screen resolution for the current smartphone market. That said, this NEGA LCD panel is apparently very power efficient, sipping just 1.05 times the power consumed by the MX4's 1,920 x 1,152 screen. Underneath that lies a Samsung octa-core processor (2GHz A15 x 4 + 1.5GHz A7 x 4) which, according to Meizu, is 20 percent more efficient than the MX4's MediaTek offering.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

EE has evolved rapidly since it became a household name two years ago after switching on the UK's first 4G mobile network. Today, it's more than just a carrier, with a home broadband business and a selection of own-brand mobile devices, among other things. And now, EE's decided to turn its hand to home entertainment, having recently launched the EE TV set-top box. Free and available only to customers of EE's mobile and broadband services, it's essentially a Freeview DVR with a few tricks up its sleeve. Tying into EE's primary focus on mobile, one of the fancier features is the box's ability to stream live and recorded video to multiple smartphones and tablets simultaneously. But is a free DVR with a couple of advanced capabilities enough of an incentive to get you signed up for the required services (which is sort of the point)? Not really, no.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

There's something magical about the idea that, in the space of a few minutes, your smartphone or tablet can look dramatically different and do some cool new things, to boot. That's why operating system updates can be oddly exciting, and Android's latest upgrade -- known as version 5.0 or Lollipop -- is the firmware equivalent of opening a stack of presents on your birthday. The upcoming release, which is now available on the Nexus 9 and heading to dozens of mobile devices in the coming months, brings a fresh design and no shortage of new features. Join me as I unwrap Google's latest gift to the wireless community.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Smartphones, tablets and laptops are standard fare in 2014, but living in an always-on world isn't just about the essentials. So this year, we looked beyond the gadgets that fit in your backpack or briefcase to compile our Holiday Gift Guide. We've collected a veritable feast of devices to cater to everyone from the amateur bartender to the DIY tinkerer, and made sure to offer a wide-ranging menu that hits every price point. We don't advise eating your gadgets, but playing with what's on your plate is a must. So grab a bib and dig in!

0 Comments

There are generally two schools of thought on how to build a wrist-borne wearable. Either make a fancy pedometer that's supposed to stay out of the way, or go the smartwatch route and cram in as many features as possible. Then there's this weird no-man's-land occupied by devices like the Samsung Gear Fit and Garmin Vivosmart. Microsoft's $200 Band falls squarely in that latter category. It's not quite a smartwatch, but it's not purely a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Flex. The Band can pull in emails, text messages and other notifications from your phone. If you're using a Windows Phone, it can control Cortana and put the power of Microsoft's virtual assistant on your wrist.

But it is, to hear Microsoft tell it, a fitness device first. And to that end Microsoft has packed the Band full of sensors, ranging from heart rate, to GPS and the prerequisite accelerometer. And, most importantly, it's the first device to tie into the new Microsoft Health platform, which seeks to outgun offerings like Apple Health and Google Fit. But, as we all know, there are inherent dangers in trying to carve out a third path. The question ultimately is whether Microsoft has built something (both physically and figuratively) that combines all of the most compelling parts of the existing wearable scene. Or, if it's created a sort of Frankenstein's monster that suffers all of their weaknesses.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Which is easier to juggle on your daily commute: a small smartphone and tablet together, or a 6-inch phone that merges features from both? Consumers once leaned toward the former, but many have lately changed their minds. The so-called phablet has come a long way since Samsung came out with the first Galaxy Note in 2011, and now it's not uncommon to see several of them as you walk down the street. Nearly every manufacturer has at least one or two such devices in their lineup, so it's about time Google stepped in with some outsized hardware of its own.

The company just launched the Nexus 6, a 6-inch phone made in collaboration Motorola that comes with a winning feature list and is just as glorious as the Moto X it shares a likeness with. Aside from being a strong handset in its own right, it's meant to be a blueprint to inspire Google's partners as they work on their own devices. It's not as affordable as Nexus phones from the past two years, but at $649 it's still less than most premium-grade flagships of similar size. With that in mind, let's find out if the Nexus 6 serves as an encouragement... or a disappointment.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments