Category Archives: Android

Tesco announces Hudl2

UK retail giant Tesco have just announced the successor to their immensely popular Hudl tablet – the Hudl2. The Hudl2 undercuts the likes of Samsung and Apple with a rather unbeatable price of £129.

The original Hudl was incredibly popular with people having to sell their own body parts to get hold of one.

The Hudle2 is better than its predecessor in every way and is larger, faster and more premium looking. The design philosophy hasn’t changed however with a similar look and feel.

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The new Hudle features a 8.3 inch full HD display which is not only bigger that its predecessor, but also features smaller bezels giving for a much premium feel.The device is powered by a 1.83GHZ Intel Atom Quad Core processor with 2GB RAM. The 16 GB internal memory is fully expandable via a Micro SD slot and the device also features a 5MP rear facing camera. According to Tesco the Hudl2 is three times faster than its predecessor so it should be able to handle all the latest games and apps.

The Hudl2 is available in eight different colours and should be available from October 9th.

The original Hudl sold 750,000 units in the first year and Tesco will hope that this latest model with help turn around struggling share prices and put to bed some negative press.

Is the Blackberry Passport the ugliest phone ever?

I’m not quite sure what Blackberry were thinking with their curious new smartphone, the Passport. The device is a strange looking little thing with a screen aspect not commonly used in todays smartphones. Furthermore, the Passport may just be the ugliest smartphone I have ever laid my eyes on. I’m just clueless as to what Blackberry were thinking.

The new device is based around a decent sized 4.5 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1440 x 1440. This equates to a brilliantly sharp 453 pixels per inch (PPI). When you compare this to the 326 PPI of the iPhone 6 you can understand just how sharp this is. The display is really very good and is one of the smartphones best features.

Actually, talking about the other specifications, these are also rather good. The device features a speedy Snapdragon 801 Quad Core processor clocked at 2.26GHZ and even has 3GB of RAM. Furthermore, in the optics department we have a 13MP snapper which features optical image stabilisation.

What has to let the device down then is the peculiar design. As already mentioned the screen aspect is rather unconventional with a ratio of 1:1, and the device itself is pretty huge. It definitely falls into the phablet category with a width of 3.5 inches. In comparison, this is wider than even the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. From what we understand however the build quality is pretty good with a stainless steel rim running around the edges and a soft touch plastic battery cover on the back. Blackberry have also done away with their traditional 4 row keyboard and have opted for 3 rows. Its still full QWERTY but commentators are stating it feels rather squashed.

The Passport comes running Blackberry OS 10.3 with the Amazon App store pre-installed. Here lies a problem as you will not have access to the Google Play Store. Although the Amazon App store is now pretty comprehensive, you will still struggle to find some of your favourite games.

So whilst the Blackberry Passport has excellent specs and a great camera, the design is going to make it difficult to use. Can you imagine trying to squeeze this massive square into you pocket? It certainly isn’t going to be comfortable! Certainly not suitable for skinny jeans. The screen aspect is also going to make certain games and Apps feel awkward. That said, for business functionaltiy such as viewing and editing documents, it should be excellent. And it is indeed the business audience which Blackberry are targeting with this device.

With specs this good and a market leading display, I do wonder why Blackberry didn’t try to make a more universally appealing device. Although I appreciate that they have struggled to crack the domestic smartphone market and as such are clearly attempting to win back their traditional business customers.

So is the Blackberry Passport the ugliest smartphone on the planet? Possibly, although I imagine its rather like marmite – you either love it or you hate it!

Do I want one? Absolutely not…… actually I sort of love it.

Image from Trustedreviews.com

Release of HTC M8 Eye imminent?

It may seem like only yesterday that HTC released the stunning M8, but already people are talking about HTC’s next rumoured smartphone – the M8 Eye.

The M8 Eye is basically the same as the original M8, but with one significant difference – a 13MP Duo camera. According to GSMArena the M8 Eye is due to be released sometime in late October and will come running Android 4.4.4 KitKat, with HTC’s own Sense 6 software running on top.

If you weren’t already aware, here at LivelyState we are big fans of the original M8. The stunning design and beautiful screen are only part of what makes it such an attractive purchase. We, like many others, however were disappointed with the camera performance. This spoilt what was otherwise and superb smartphone.

HTC had been adamant that camera performance was not all about the number of pixels, and the UltraPixel camera was the product of this philosophy.

Whilst the HTC One M8 is certainly one of the best phones on the market, the improved M8 Eye is sure to become one of the best smartphones money can buy. We certainly cannot wait to get our hands on one.

The Amazon Fire Phone has landed

Well guys its official, Amazon have finally ventured into the smartphone market with the introduction of the Fire Phone. In what was the worst kept secret in history, Amazon have seemingly been developing their own Smartphone for a while. The Fire Phone will join Amazons other Fire products but brings with it a host of new features. What is particularly interesting is the new head tracking 3D display. More on this later. Fire Phone

The device sports a 4.7 inch 720p IPS display and is powered by a 2.2 GHZ quad core processor with an Adreno 330 GPU in tow. Theres also 2GB RAM and it will be available in either 32GB or 64GB external memory configurations. The Fire Phone also has a 13MP camera on the back with a physical camera key, a f/2.0 lens and support for optical stabilization.  Amazon claims that the Fire Phone will take better pictures than its competitors and performs flawlessly in all conditions. The camera also has the ability to capture 1080p video but no 4K support.

In the sound department Amazon have things sorted with the inclusion of two stereo speakers and support for virtual Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. What is pretty cool is that Amazon are throwing in some pretty nifty knot-free headphones which they claim are better quality than what you get with the average smartphone.

What is particularly interesting is the new head tracking technology. The Fire Phone is slated as having a 3D user interface but is very much a different offering to what we have seen in the past. The USP here is phone uses 4 cameras to track the movement of your head and will change the picture depending on how you look at it. This also has some other cool implications including one particular feature which allows you to change the perspective of maps by tilting the phone.

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Theres another key feature known as Firefly. This heavily integrated feature uses the camera in recognising pretty much anything from books to food. It basically acts as your all in one search facility and will make use of the camera and microphone in finding what it is that you looking for. This feature will be heavily linked into the Amazon store and clearly represents a source of income for the company. Amazon boasts that Firefly is capable of recognising a hundred million different items and clearly this will be attractive to developers. There is even a dedicated hardware button.

The Fire Phone runs on a heavily customised version of Android known as Fire OS 3.5 and will link in seamlessly with other Amazon services. Its also worth noting that the Fire Phone ships with unlimited cloud storage.

The Fire Phone is currently exclusive to AT&T in the US and is available to purchase today on a 2 year contract for $199. No word on UK pricing yet.

Knock Knock review

Knock knock is a creepy atmospheric survival game by Russian developers Ice-Pick Lodge. Originally a PC game, it was ported over to iOS earlier in the year, and more recently Android. The game itself is wonderfully strange and very difficult to describe. Even now I am still not entirely sure what you have supposed to be doing.

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The game is all about the atmosphere that it creates. It recommends at the beginning that you use headphones and turn down the light. This is not your typical game so to get the best experience you need to really play in the right conditions. When you do, the game becomes wonderfully creepy with brilliant sound effects and plenty of jumps.

Basically the game follows a freaky little fellow called Lodger who is persistently kept awake by strange goings on in his equally strange house. You begin the game knowing nothing at all and are forced to explore the house and find your own way through the plot. There are no real instructions so you just have to experiment with the environment and see what happens.

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Lodger speaks in a creepy little foreign voice which just adds to the general oddness. Here lies a slight problem, however. With the game being a port it is ofter really difficult to read the on screen text. I found myself really straining my eyes in the dark and struggled to follow the onscreen text. This becomes increasingly taxing after a while of play.

In essence you task is to survive the night and make it through to sunrise. You are presented with a clock in the top left hand corner of the screen which counts down the hours but you can find clocks hidden around the house which speed this up. Controls are really simple and just consist of pressing the right or left of the screen to move Lodger, and clicking on things to engage with them. Climbing ladders can be achieved by merely swiping up on them. The same upwards swipe of the finger also activates lights in darkened rooms.

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After a while of getting your bearings you start to encounter ghosts and ghouls. You have to hide from them in order to progress through the night and If you don’t succeed then you will have to start the level again, or certainly part of it. This is the main gameplay element. You have no tools or weapons, you just have to hide or run away from the baddies.

The game itself is very interesting and does a fantastic job of scaring the crap out of the player. It achieves this aim very well. The gameplay itself is also simple but can get a little bit tedious after a while. I often found myself wondering what the hell I had to do next, and the game certainly doesn’t really guide you at all. That said it is really fun to play, providing you set the mood first!

Visually everything looks great. The lighting and shadow effects work really well and everything looks super sharp on your smartphone display. I have no complaints about the visual experience at all.

If you like games with structure and purpose the Knock Knock is not for you. If on the other hand you enjoy new experiences and get kicks out of laying on the sofa with the lights out, then this is certainly the game for you!

I have enjoyed playing Knock Knock and find it has enough intrigue to keep me coming back for more.

Score 4/5

Rival Knights review

Rival knights is a brand new jousting game from the popular developer – Gameloft. The aim of the game is pretty simple – knock your opponent of their horse. Its pretty addictive too. What is interesting is that Gameloft are allowing you to download the app and play for free. Its true that the developer isn’t exactly known for offering free games however and you can rest assured that they will be making money from it (more on this later).

Gameplay is dead simple. As you charge down the jousting range you have to tap the touchscreen at the right time to increase your speed. You are then presented with a slow motion sequence where you have to aim your spear at the designated kill zone on your opponent. This can be anywhere from the chin to shoulder. If your lucky enough to get a perfect hit then you will be rewarded with more loot.

Skill is only part of the battle however. You can be the best jouster in the world but if you don’t have good enough stats then you will likely not succeed. Players can spend their hard earned loot on new equipment and this directly effects three skills areas: Speed, defence and strength. The better stats you have, the more likely you are to succeed against your opponent. The skill areas are effected by what equipment you spend your loot on.

In Rival knights you can improve your speed by buying new horses, your defence by buying new helms and armours, and your strength by buying new lances. All these items cost gold or gems to buy and you can upgrade your equipment if you like.You will get gold for completing battles and gems are rewarded for completing particular missions. Gems are quite hard to come by however so you will struggle to collect these through missions alone. Progressing through the game will allow you to unlock new equipment in the store.

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Although the App is free to play there is the option for in game purchases. Basically you can purchase more gold and gems for real money. Obviously this means certain people will have an advantage in the game through purchasing better equipment. This doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the game for free however. You can still take part in all events and progress through the game, the only downside is that you will have to wait before you can play again. You need a seal (basically a token) to play every level and these only replenish over time, unless you buy more.

The single player mode is split into leagues. You start in league one and take part in different mission types on your way up. Some missions require you to merely beat the opponent but others will require you to perform to a certain level. For example you may need to perform a perfect start or a perfect hit to win. This adds a lot of variety to the action and the seal concept stops you from playing excessively and getting bored.

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The campaign is only half the fun however with the multiplayer mode adding a lot of extra content. Here you can take part in different tournaments and ranking as high as possible will reap better rewards. If you don’t fancy talking part in full blown tournaments however you can merely challenge similarly ranked opponents. You will be able to have a look at their stats and see how you stack up. Completing online battles also rewards you with gold and gems. Within the online environment you will require online tokens to take part. These are exactly the same as seals and replenish over time (or for a fee).

The game looks great too. Gameloft are renowned for creating beautiful and engaging game environments and Rival Knights is no exception. The battle scenes are absolutely gorgeous to look at and beating your opponent will result in a lovely animation sequence. I have been reviewing this using the Samsung Galaxy S5 and on this device the game runs flawlessly with no lag whatsoever. I imagine older devices may find the graphics a little taxing however.

Overall Rival Knights is an absolute joy to play and is utterly engaging. Its strikes a good balance between real money purchases and skill level and without the correct technique you are nothing more than a shiny punchbag. This is one of those games you just cant put down and as such I’m giving it a top rating.

5/5

What I love and hate about Samsung’s GS5

What I love and hate about Samsung’s Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has been one of the biggest smartphone releases of the year. Its easy to see what people love about the device, but what about its flaws? Having owned the phone since release I can honestly say I have tested it to the max. Read on to discover what I love and hate about the device:

The things I hate:

Whilst the S5 is by no means an ugly device, it does leave a lot to be desired. Samsung never seem to listen to consumer feedback and even after 5 incarnations of the Galaxy smartphone Samsung has shown no signs of incorporating metal into its designs.

The micro USB port on the bottom is just stupid. I feel like a surgeon trying to get it plugged in to charge on a night. With the lights off its impossible. After a few beers…well I’m sure you get my point! Its by no means an easy task.

The screen always wakes up in my pocket. Ill be walking down the street when ill hear the touch tone key pad in my pocket. Or it will start dialling random numbers from my pocket. Perhaps the unlock button is too sensitive or just in the wrong place? It also regularly restarts itself because of the unlock button being depressed in the pocket. I have never had another phone cause so many issues from the pocket.

The external speaker is not very promising. Compared to the HTC One the S5’s speaker is a bit pants. Audio output via the headphones is also not as good as it could be and I’m always finding the volume doesn’t go loud enough.

I have found a number of software glitches. The whole voice activation has just stopped working all together. It started as an intermittent fault but now doesn’t work at all – even though it is enabled in the settings. Another problem is that sometimes apps don’t shut down properly and get stuck in the notification bar or on the lock screen. It means having to restart the device. The camera app is also a bit strange in that you cannot access the ‘mode’ option sometimes. I have no idea what causes this. Im not too concerned about this glitches however as I’m sure they will be resolved with future updates.

The finger print reader is s**t. There I said it. Its nowhere near as intuitive as that of the iPhone 5S as it requires two hand operation. It also rarely recognises my finger print unless I scan it exactly right – there is a sweet spot which is really difficult to master. The backup password option is also a bit frustrating as you are presented with the full qwerty keypad and have to use both letters and numbers as part of your password. On the iPhone you are just presented with a number pad. I wish you had this option with the Galaxy. The whole experience just lacks polish and is a little frustrating.

The things I love:

The device is very quick and responsive. Touchwiz is very smooth for once and switching between the home screens is glitch free. The device is ample powered and really eats through all the latest apps and games. The processor is clocked slightly higher than on the HTC One M8 which gives it a bit of an advantage. Im not sure why Samsung didn’t opt for 3GB RAM but it matters little as 2GB is just fine. Everything runs smoothly and the device is a pleasure to use.

The screen is easily the best I have ever seen. I was very impressed by that of the HTC One M8 but the S5’s Super Amoled HD display wins hands down for me. The colours really pop and contrast is excellent. Viewing angles are also very good and sunlight legibility is amongst the best I have seen. The screen really is stunning and has to be seen to be believed. Having owned an iPhone 5S for a number of months I find the S5’s screen really refreshing. I no longer have to squint to see things and browsing the internet is great. watching videos and playing games is also a really great experience on the S5 with the screen really bringing everything to life.

Battery life is excellent. I can use the device all day quite intensively and if I have less the 30% battery life when I go to sleep then its a bad day! there is also a battery saving mode if you need it. I use the built in pedometer all the time and as such I would have expected this to effect battery life. It doesn’t however. Smartphones rarely last more than a day on a full charge but I am really impressed with the S5’s endurance.

The camera is incredible. The device takes really quick and hassle free images. The 16MP snapper takes stunning images and also supports 4K video capture. Close ups look great and the ability to set the focal point is very cool. This is one area where the S5 trumps the HTC One M8. If you want a good camera then the S5 may be the phone for you!
Generally speaking the Galaxy S5 is a great smartphone with many strengths. I previously owned the HTC One M8 but of the two devices I do prefer the S5. The user experience is really nice and everything just seems to work as it should. Im sure the software issues mentioned above will get resolved with future updates and perhaps the finger print scanner experience will evolve a bit. I just wish Samsung would put a little more effort into the design. People are getting used to quality looking devices nowadays and Samsung just don’t seem to get it. The recent announcement that Samsung’s head of design has been relocated may prove to be a good move, indicating that the company may finally be upping its game and reconsidering its design philosophy.

Samsung Galaxy S5

A day in the life of the HTC One M8

I was well impressed with the HTC One M8 when I first laid my eyes on it in the EE shop. Its sexy brushed aluminium chassis and gorgeous curves made the iPhone 5S look almost ugly. I just knew I had to have one so I ordered one immediately. Well it got delivered yesterday and I have well over a full day to form some initial opinions.

As mentioned the build is exceptional. The device feels solid in the hand, has a good weight to it and and the brushed metal finish is really luxurious. The volume rocker now protrudes from the chassis slightly making it easier to use and the power button has moved to to the top right. This makes the device much easier to use but the large size of the device makes one handed operation tricky, particularly if you have small hands. The nano SIM slot is situated to the left of the device, with the very welcome SD slot to the right. The build is one of the key selling points of this device and I think it feels more solid than the iPhone 5S. I am very impressed with the overall feel and quality of the device.

The screen is frankly beautiful. It is pretty much the same screen from the original One but is now slightly larger. It is very clear and colours are nice and vibrant. Sunlight legibility is also very good for a LCD display. I am also quite impressed with the viewing angles. One thing I find slightly annoying is HTC’s inclusion of on-screen buttons. Basically the Android buttons are now incorporated into the screen which means about a centimetre of real estate are being used up. This is fine for the apps which run full screen, but for a lot of games and apps the onscreen buttons are permanently present and don’t disappear. Its a bit annoying but perhaps this is just because of certain apps not being optimised. The bezel at the bottom of the device is also quite large but according to HTC it is not merely empty space.

Performance wise the device runs buttery smooth all the time and I have noticed no slow down or frame rate issues whatsoever. The One runs on a Snapdragon 801 processor with a Adreno 330 in tow. This makes for a great user experience and all is this enhanced by the beautiful Sense 6 User Interface. Sense runs seamlessly with Android Kitkat and makes for a great user experience. You can actually wake up the screen just by double tapping and you have the ability to unlock the phone by swiping upwards even with the phone locked. I am very impressed with the latest version of Blink feed. This looks lovely on the huge screen and is very customisable. I liked Blink Feed on the original One but now it just feels more refined. Zoe is pretty the much the same as on the old device, the only real difference is that it is now accessed through a separate app. Im guessing that this isn’t yet enabled however as upon opening the app it merely says “coming soon”.

For some the camera will be a bit of an off put. Its 4MP camera sensor will not inspire many but others will be impressed with the low light performance and intuitive depth sensor. My experience so far has been a mixed bag. It is by no means a bad camera but pictures do lack some detail. Colours also look a bit washed out in some pictures and other pictures can look a bit artificial. The low resolution also means you lose a lot of detail if you zoom in. Another downsize is that the snapper can only support 1080p video and 4K is a no go. I have had a play around with some of the camera effects and find these quite interesting. I particularly like the ability to change the focus point post image capture. The front facing camera has a 5MP sensor and as such selfies come out pretty good. This is a much higher resolution that most competitors.

As you might expect the front facing Boom Sound speakers are quite exceptional. Sound quality is excellent and the volume goes nice and loud. These are certainly better than what you will find in a Samsung or Apple product and are a key selling point for the M8.

My experience with the One M8 has been a very positive one so far. I absolutely love the build quality which is miles ahead of anything else. Unfortunately my device has a bit of a screen bleed issue. This manifests as two lighter strips that run horizontally across the screen. Its going to have to go back for this reason which is a shame because I really love the phone. Its worth mentioning that call quality is excellent, as can be expected from a HTC device.

A lot of people will have to make a decision between buying this or Samsung’s GS5. The GS5 certainly has a better camera and some extra gadgetry but build quality doesn’t even come close to that of the HTC One M8. Both devices are very good at what they do but one thing I can say is that if you buy the M8 you will certainly not be disappointed.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 VS HTC One M8. Which is best?

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the the all new HTC One are two of the biggest handsets to be released this year. With both companies hoping to build on the success of previous models, we are sure to see some aggressive competition. The Samsung Galaxy S range has seen some of the most popular smartphones ever made and sales have matched and even beaten those of the ironing iPhone. For HTC however, It is no lie that they have been struggling lately. That said, the original HTC One won universal praise and is considered one of the best smartphones ever made. As such both companies will be hoping to top sales figures and claim the title of ‘smartphone of the year’. The question then, is which one should you get?

Design and build.

Yet again Samsung have stuck to their previous design philosophy by using an all plastic construction. The device does not look that dissimilar to the GS4 and still incorporates a aluminium look band which runs around the edges. The corners however are slightly squarer and the device now looks more like the Note 3. Samsung have gone for a leather look back for the device and although similar to that of the Note 3, it does look more plasticky. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is by no means an ugly device but the all plastic design started feeling old about three years ago. An added bonus with the GS5 however is that it is certified as water proof.

The original HTC One really challenged the excellent build quality of the iPhone with a mainly metal build. HTC have never in my mind built an ugly phone but the One was a step forward. The new HTC One M8 is even better that the original. HTC have now used a build which consists of 90% metal and the plastic rim of the original is gone. It is slightly taller and fatter than the original but it matters little. The HTC One is a stunning looking device.

There is frankly no competition here. The build quality of the HTC blows the GS5 out of the water (literally). Im frankly getting a little tired of Samsung’s choice of build materials and I really cant understand the reluctance to include a little metal. I probably won’t buy another Samsung because of this.

Specs

Both devices have some pretty awesome specs and use relatively similar hardware. Both use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 801 processors with Adreno 330 GPU’s. These are some of the latest hardware components on the market and as such both devices are lightning fast. The GS5 however has a slight clock speed advantage at 2.5GHZ compared to the One’s 2.3GHZ. In reality however there will be little difference in performance. Both devices also sport 2GB RAM and will be available with either 16GB or 32GB internal storage. With regards to batteries, the Samsung’s is slightly bigger at 2800mAh vs HTC’s 2600mAh. Again there is little realtime difference as software optimisation will be a big element of battery life.

Its worth mentioning that the GS5 also incorporates a heart rate monitor and a finger print reader. It may be that this sways it for you, particularly if you are into your sports!

Its a difficult call to make with such similar specs, but with the GS5 wins technically with its higher clocked processor and slightly bigger battery. Not to mention the additional hardware mentioned above.

Screen

Screen technology is always a controversial issue with opinion playing a big part. This is an issue of LCD technology vs AMOLED technology. AMOLED usually produces more vibrant colours and better contrast, but LCD tends to produce more accurate colours and sometimes appears sharper. Personally I love the popping colours of a AMOLED display and Samsung have always made pretty awesome displays.

Samsung’s GS5 sports a 5.1 inch full 1080p Super AMOLED HD display with HTC’s One incorporating a 5 inch LCD 1080p IPS display. Both are incredibly good and are likely some of the best screens available. Technically the HTC has a higher pixel density with 441 pixels per once (PPI) compared to Samsung’s 431. This really wont make any difference however with the difference being marginal.

This is very difficult to call as it all comes down to personal opinion. Both screens are exceptional. Although I prefer AMOLED, I know plenty of people will prefer LCD. Lets call this one a draw.

Cameras

This isn’t going to be a straight forward comparison with both devices having different ideas about smartphone cameras. The samsung uses a 16mp auto focus snapper compared with HTC opting for an ultra pixel camera at 4MP. The HTC cant really compare to the Samsung with regards to pixel count as the GS5 is way higher. The Ultra pixel camera on the HTC however has supposed to capture more light and as such claims to be better in low light situations. Clearly however if you want larger high quality pictures then the Samsung will be best for you. HTC do have a trick up their sleeve however with the inclusion of a second sensor used to create debt. This means you can play around with the background and create 3d like images.

Its worth mentioning that the One incorporates a front facing 5 MP camera which is great for selfies. The GS5’s front camera has a lower 2MP sensor. That said Samsung have an advantage in that the GS5 records video in the 4K format whereas the One only supports 1080p. This may change however.

Whilst the HTC One’s intuitive camera can create some really cool effects, it cant really compete with the high pixel count of the GS5. Samsung are pretty good at doing cameras and as such this will be a win for Samsung.

Software

Both devices will come preinstalled with the latest version of Android – 4.4.2 Kitkat. Both will also include the latest UI’s (user interface) – HTC using Sense and Samsung Touch Wiz. HTC’s Sense 6 will include the innovative ‘Zoe’ app which allows you to put videos and pictures together into short clips. Blink feed is also included which works a bit like Flipboard. The GS5 has something similar called ‘my magazine’. The GS5 is also heavily fitness optimised and includes Samsung’s new ’S Health’ fitness tracker software which works with the imbedded heart rate monitor.

This is very difficult call to make with the GS5 perhaps being more desirable to fitness fanatics. However, I have said it before and I will say it again, HTC Sense is way better that Samsung’s Touch Wiz. This sways it for me and I reckon the HTC One is the better device where software is concerned.

Conclusion

Technically, judging by the comparisons above both devices are equally impressive. The GS5 has possibly a better camera and some cool but perhaps gimmicky add ons, but the HTC One is far better looking with a much nicer design. Really, both devices are exceptional and both should sell by the bucket load. It’s really going to come down to which one you prefer.

If you want my opinion then I prefer the HTC One. Build quality is a big motivator for me and the device looks much cooler that the GS5. It will likely last longer too. The camera isn’t really an issue for me as I only take casual images on my smartphone. The One’s ultra pixel camera is perfect for quick pictures and has loads of flexibility when it comes to adding cool effects. Also, as mentioned above I really cant forgive Samsung for continuing to use plastic. Its outdated and it feels cheap. Smartphones have become fashion accessories and I don’t think samsung are going to win any prizes.

The new king of smartphones

Once again HTC have showed the rest of the world what a smartphone should look like.

Yesterday the company announced the gorgeous looking HTC One (M8). Based very much on last years ‘One’, HTC will hope to put the past behind them and consolidate on the success of what was one of 2013’s greatest smartphones.

The all new One features a 90 % all metal build compared to the 70 % build the original. This means HTC have opted to lose the plastic surround of the original and replace this with metal. The aesthetics have been improved too with the device sporting sexy curves and an overall better feel. It is slightly fatter and taller than its predecessor but this can be forgiven due to its incredibly good build and looks. The device will launch in three colours – Gunmetal grey, Glacial silver and Amber gold.

The screen has seen a 12 % increase in size and the device now features a stunning 5 inch Super IPS 1080p LCD display. This adds up to a PPI (pixels per inch) of 441. In essence this means the display is ultra sharp and makes for an incredibly beautiful viewing experience. Gorilla  glass 3 has also been used for extra durability. A slight design change is that the navigation buttons are now incorporated into the screen.

The HTC One is now powered by Qualcomm’s latest 801 snapdragon processor clocked at 2.3GHZ with an Adreno 330 GPU in tow. It also sports 2GB RAM. This makes for a very powerful configuration and the device should chew through graphically intensive tasks with ease. Another nice hardware improvement is the addition of a micro SD slot. This gives more flexibility for people who would find the 16 or 32GB internal memory limiting. The amazing market leading front facing Boomsound speakers are still present, making the HTC One an excellent multimedia device.

When the original One was released last year one of the main features was the 4MP ‘Ultrapixel’ camera. It was said to allow more light into the lens and thus make for a better low light performance. It did get mixed reviews with many however saying it just wasn’t competitive with other smartphone cameras. Well the new HTC one features the very same camera with a few improvements. Unfortunately there is now no optical image stabilisation, however according to HTC they are now using a new imaging chip which takes care of digital image stabilisation and improves image quality. The HTC One can capture video in full 1080p video but for some reason 4k isn’t supported.

Another improvement to the camera is the addition of a second sensor on the back which is responsible for creating depth. It doesn’t actually take pictures but it creates depth of field and allows for some very cool background effects. In essence it helps create a 3D image which means the background can be enhanced or changed with the use of special effects. I really like the look of this and it adds something new and unique to the new device. Clearly HTC aren’t interested in the pixel race but if like me you only really take casual photos on nights out, and of that occasional stunning sunset you discover when driving to work, then the camera here is perfect. What is also great is that HTC have upped the front camera to 5MP which means it is great for taking selfies.

The HTC One will be running on the latest version of Android – 4.4.2 Kitkat supported by HTC’s latest user interface (UI) Sense 6. Sense is easily my favourite UI and does a really good job of looking after gestures and general software aesthetics. Its miles ahead of Samsung’s Touchwiz in my opinion. The UI still incorporates Blinkfeed which is a bit like Flipboard in that it displays relevant  news and social media updates. The brilliant HTC Zoe is still present as part of Sense but this time its accessed through a separate app. Zoe is basically a feature which allows you to stitch you videos and pictures together into cool looking little clips.

Last years HTC One was without a doubt one of my favourite smartphones ever. It offered so much in terms of functionality and innovation, but best of all it challenged the iPhone to being the prettiest smartphone around. I have always been a huge fan of HTC and it saddens me to see them struggling. The original ‘One’ was a brilliant device and got people thinking about HTC again. Lets just hope that people jump off the Apple/Samsung bandwagon and start buying into brand HTC. After all the world needs diversity.

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Meet the stunning Moto 360

In line with Google’s announcement regarding its new wearables OS Android Wear, Motorola have showcased the smartwatch to rule them all.

The Moto 360 will be one of the first smartwatches to run on the new mobile OS and has been showed off in one of Google’s promo videos. The new premium looking device features a traditional looking round digital watch face and features gesture based notifications. According to Motorola these notifications will all be delivered through ‘the twist of a wrist’.

Motorola has promised that when the smartwatch is released in summer it come in a range of styles and include a choice of leather of metal straps.

In what has been a mostly disappointing line up of smartwatches thus far, the Moto 360 may well be the most beautiful device yet!

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Android Wear goes official

Today Google announced it was getting involved in the wearables scene by means of their new, super mobile operating system – Android Wear.  Google Wear is designed specifically for smartwatches and the company has released a couple of promo videos showcasing what looks like a sweet and intuitive user interface. The new OS will feature initially on smartwatches designed by Motorola and LG, and from what has been seen so far both look pretty damn amazing!

Looking after all your fitness needs, Android Wear will display distance, speed and time information and will feature Google maps. Another key feature will be Google Now which will allow users to easily access functions via voice command. This will be an ‘always listening experience’ and users can access instant relevant information with the voice command ‘Ok Google’.

From what we have seen of Google Wear it looks pretty amazing. It may be exactly what the wearable’s market has been waiting for.

Source: Google

Samsung Galaxy S5 Underwhelms

The Samsung Galaxy S5 went official yesterday at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

In what may be viewed as being a little underwhelming, the Galaxy S5 shares a lot of design aesthetics with last years Galaxy S4.

The S5 sports a Super Amoled HD display with a full 1080p resolution and measures up a 5.1inches. This is basically the same screen found in the S4 and whilst this is no bad thing, I was expecting something a bit better. The device also houses a Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. This is still top end but doesn’t offer anything new.

The S5 has taken a leaf out of Apples book and aims to appeal to sports mined consumers. The inclusion of a rear facing heart rate monitor is a cool idea but only time will tell wether this turns out to be a gimmick. Not unexpected is the finger print scanner. How accurate this is I don’t know but lets hope its less temperamental than the one found on the iPhone 5S.

The camera has been bumped up to 16mp and also films in 4k, contrary to initial reports. Other additions include water and dust proofing. This has however made the device slightly bigger.

Design-wise, the S5 shares a lot with the S4 but moves towards a slightly more angular appearance such as the Note3. It is unfortunate that Samsung have decided to stick with their all plastic design philosophy. Again there is no metal in sight, although Samsung have included a rubber touch back plate.

To me the S5 seems to be more of an incremental upgrade than a whole new device. Perhaps it should have been called the 4S! I am rather disappointed with the design and build and really wish Samsung would start using some high quality materials. ITs not that its a bad phone, its just not exceptional. There is no 64bit processor like in the iPhone 5S, and the device doesn’t really do anything revolutionary.

You should be able to order the S5 in April. Im sure Samsung will sell bucket loads!

5 reasons to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

We all know that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a pretty competent phone. With a sweet screen, bags of power and that intuitive S-pen, the Note 3 is easily one of the coolest smartphones of 2013. However I want to go one step further. To me the Note 3 is one of the best smartphones ever made. Here are 5 reasons why:

That screen

Yes that screen! You have all heard about that stunning 5.7 super AMOLED HD window to the world. Well it really needs to be seen to be believed. Personally this is the best smartphone screen on any device right now. The colours simply leap from the screen and with a dpi of 386 this makes for a truly world class viewing experience. Seriously guys go to your local phone shop right now and have a look at this display. It really is breathtaking. Movies and games are an absolute pleasure and feel right at home on the Note 3. But did I mention how good the display is!?

The power

The Note 3 is technically the most powerful smartphone on the market. The device is built around Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHZ, coupled with an Adreno 330 GPU (international version). The device is also the the only smartphone currently to include 3GB of RAM. This all adds up to make the Note 3 one hell of a serious b**tard! Gaming is buttery smooth and because of the snapdragon 800 inside the international version it also supports 2k video.

S-pen

The Note 3 has one major trick up its sleeve when compared to other phablets. It is the only smartphone to incorporate the intuitive s-pen or similar accessory. The S-pen is massively intuitive as it allows hand writing recognition right out of the box and with features such as air gestures the Note 3 is truly intuitive. The S-pen is also great for enhanced accuracy and makes quick access to your favourite features much more pleasant. The S-pen is packed with cool features and really makes for a very unique user experience. I love it.

The size

Yes controversial I know. To some this would be a major downside. To me however and like minded tech enthusiasts the size is what makes the Note 3 so brilliant. Although large, the device is very thin and relatively light. If you just love browsing the internet, watching video content and playing games then you will truly appreciate the size of the Note 3. Obviously the device needs to be large to support that gorgeous screen, but with that slim waist line you will hardly feel it in your pocket! Personally I hate small smartphone displays. I really struggle with my IPhone 5s and find it strains my eyes. It’s also difficult to type on and as such I really wish it was larger! The Note 3 doesn’t have these issues however and that’s why I love it.

The camera

The Note 3 sports a 13MP camera on the back with LED flash. The image quality is really very good and again is complemented by that stunning display. The note 3 has the ability to film video and take pictures at the same time and gives easy access to some great on-screen effects. As mentioned already the Note 3 also supports 2k video playback and guess what? Yep you guessed it the video playback looks stunning on that display! Although the camera does not give the best low light performance it does perform very well in normal conditions and has a great HDR mode.

So there you go, 5 reasons why the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is so great! I’m sure some people will disagree so please feel free to comment. By the way did I mention how good that display is?

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Samsung Galaxy Round is official

Samsung have officially announced their Galaxy Round Smartphone. The device which is based around the popular Galaxy Note 3 sports the worlds first curved display. With a 5.7″ full HD super flexible AMOLED display the device is certainly not small. Samsung have been working on flexible AMOLED displays for a while and this the first device to show off this technology. Other specs include a Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal memory. Like the Note 3 the Round will also have a 13MP camera and a 2MP front facing one. The device will have some optimisations for the curved screen but personally I see the whole thing as a bit of a gimmick at this point. I think the potential for curved screens is good but at this stage I think Samsung have just made the Round for the purpose of being first to do it. Let me know what you think.

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