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Verizon Galaxy Nexus

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has already made its mark and is now being touted to be the best Android phones to grace the planet. Not to be left out from the competition to provide the best smartphone for consumers, Verizon has now released its own version of the phone, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. This phone has definitely got a lot of promise especially given the fact that it will be able to make full use of    Verizon’s 4G LTE connectivity. Now it’s up to us to find out what the Verizon version of the phone can offer that its competitors can’t. So read on to find out.

Design

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In terms of exterior design, there’s really nothing much to differentiate this phone from the GSM version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. So you can be forgiven if you couldn’t recognize this as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus the first time you pick it up as even the materials used for the phone are the same. However, at 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.37 inches, this phone is a mere 0.02 inches thicker than its GSM sibling. You wouldn’t really notice the difference in thickness in the Verizon Galaxy Nexus since it still feels as streamlined as the GSM one. Adding to that, the Hyper Skin finish on the back of the phone and its balanced weight makes it really comfortable sitting in your hand. Although the body might be of an all-plastic make, but we can assure that it feels solid and is built to last.

On the front of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is the 4.65 inch HD Super AMOLED screen which sports a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. Apart from that, on the front you will find that Android’s trademark capacitive buttons are missing. You also get a 1.3 MP front-facing camera which you can use to check your makeup and it can even record videos at 720p. Apart from that, the camera can also be used for the new face unlock feature. On the right side of the phone is the power key while sitting on the left is the volume rocker. Much like most other Samsung Android phones, we loved using those buttons as they are exactly how you want them, not too easy to press – to avoid accidental presses – but at the same time not too hard either. On the bottom of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is the standard audio jack as well the microUSB port which in fact doubles as an MHL port for video-out purposes for instance. Flip the Verizon Galaxy Nexus to find a 5MP auto-focus camera on the back that also comes with LED flash.

Features

So what kind of a CPU is needed to power a beast such as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus? The answer to that is the 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 CPU, or at least that’s what Samsung thought. Sure, the CPU together with the 1GB of RAM breezed through all the simple tasks, but try working around the phone with live wallpaper and you will find some choppiness while navigating through the interface.

The Verizon Galaxy Nexus just like its GSM sibling is the first breed of phones to run on Android’s latest OS, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This OS had a lot of people excited as Android looked to provide a brand new experience for smartphones with this OS. If you already own a tablet that runs on Android Honeycomb then using this OS shouldn’t be a problem right off the bat as you will find most UI elements applying similar logic as in Android Honeycomb. However, if you haven’t had any previous experience using Android Honeycomb, don’t worry; you will still be able to master this UI in a matter of hours. One of the things that haven’t changed is how the homescreen can be divided into a few pages. On each page you can choose what you would like to have from widgets to app shortcuts. One new feature that caught the eye is how you can create application folders just by bringing one app shortcut over another.

The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is also candy to the eyes as it looks very pretty too. However, that’s just on the surface of things as on the inside you find some major changes too like the removal of the context menu key. This key was there previously to show all the additional options for anything you were doing at the moment. Now these additional options can be found embedded into each app’s interface so that things look more streamlined and organized. We also liked the changes that were mad to some of the applications like the People app that has a new UI. With this new UI, you get all the important details first minus all the stuff you don’t need.

As mentioned earlier, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65 inch HD Super AMOLED display and it’s the same kind of 720p display we have seen previously on phones like HTC Rezound for instance. Its resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels churns out a pixel density of 316 ppi meaning you get a great amount of detail from the phone. The screen also sports high-contrast and also gives some great colors. The viewing angles are also wide.

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The Verizon Galaxy Nexus ships with a new camera interface as well and we like that it is easy to use. There are many options to toy around with like the different scene modes and white balance. You also get Panorama mode with this new camera interface. Moving on to the camera itself, it’s a 5MP camera with LED flash. Yes it’s not an 8MP camera, but this camera proves that numbers don’t usually tell the big picture. Once we started snapping away, we found pictures taken outdoors turned out great and macro shots were amazing too. You also get a good amount of detail from the phone. We can surely live with the fact that the camera is not an 8MP one as it showed what it’s capable of. However, taking videos at 24 fps is definitely not acceptable as other high end phones are offering 30 fps. To make matters worse, artifacting and poor details were to be found when taking videos in low light situations.

Call quality had a good and a bad side to it on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. While there were no issues hearing our friend on the earpiece, things were not the same for our friends on the other end as they say our voices wasn’t natural. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus also comes with a powerful 1850 mAh battery, a good choice given that this is a 4G LTE connectivity smartphone. However, even with that battery you get only about 10 hours of average use, so if you are going to be using 4G all day, then you can expect the battery life to be less.

Pros and Cons

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We definitely like the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experience on the phone. The screen was also of the very best quality. Of course, 4G LTE connectivity being available was a plus too.

Battery life on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus should have been better. We would have also liked the camcorder to do much better.

Conclusion

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Verizon Wireless being able to provide 4G LTE connections on its own version of the Galaxy Nexus will definitely a winning formula for a phone that’s already great on its own. So if you have the cash, then don’t think twice.

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Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman

Sony Ericsson W8 Walkman was the first Android smartphone from the Sony stables to carry the Walkman name which was when first introduced an immense hit and still is in many ways. Now another Android smartphone has followed its footsteps, namely the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman. If you are familiar with the Sony Ericsson phones then you would have probably realized that the Sony Ericsson W8 Walkman was almost a carbon copy of the Sony Ericsson X8. With the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman however, you get a Samsung smartphone that is totally new and sporting some pretty good specs along the way.

Design

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Smartphone manufactures sometimes ignore the importance of design and tend to focus on giving the best possible specs they can think of. However, Sony Ericsson didn’t disappoint us in that way as the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman was not boring in terms of design. The phone is made of plastic and oozes with some kind of youthful look thanks to its colorful accents. It would definitely hit it off with the younger crowd and also some trendy adults as well. The phone measures in at 4.17 x 2.22 x 0.56 inches thus allowing it to fit snugly in one hand and making it really easy to operate the phone with one hand too. It tips the scales at just 115 grams giving you no reasons to complain about its weight. Although it fits in the hand comfortably for us, users with a small hand might struggle a little with the 0.56-thick phone.

As we were saying earlier, if you have a smaller hand, then you will definitely have a problem getting to those buttons on the top of the screen especially when there is a headphone connected. We also have some complains about the 2-stage camera button as it doesn’t really give proper feedback. If you are not paying close attention to the button, then it will be so hard to know if you have already pressed the button or not. Even harder is to know when you are half-way through the button. However, one good thing when it comes to buttons is that Sony Ericsson has thrown in a dedicated Walkman key that sits on the top side of the phone for quick access to the Walkman music player app. The screen on the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman is just 3.2 inches big and has a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. On the back of the phone sits a 5MP camera that comes with both auto-focus and LED flash.

Features

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As mentioned earlier, the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman smartphone actually comes with a decent specs sheet. One of them is the single-core processor which runs at 1GHz. This CPU is aided by a 512MB RAM and this makes your journey through the Timescape interface a really smooth one if you are willing to forgo using live wallpaper that is.

The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman runs on the Android v.2.3 Gingerbread and Sony Ericsson provides its very own user interface, Timescape, which we are really happy with. At 3.2 inches, the screen may be a little small for the current generation of smartphones. However, what makes this phone great is the UI as it takes up all the space on the screen to give you as much as humanely possible. Timescape makes your user experience pleasant and convenient by providing you with a pop up bubble on each of the four corners and each of this pop up bubble can hold four shortcuts for super quick access. Thanks to this feature, your five customizable home screens can be used to fit all the widgets that you are going to need. Each of the homescreen allows for up to three widgets, depending mainly on the size of the widget. A simple pinching out movement will show you an overview of all the widgets running. The screen is really small for the onscreen keyboard to be used in portrait mode because the keys are really small. So if you are not a patient person and typos will just irk you, then it is best you switch to landscape mode whenever you want to send out a text.

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The screen has already made a bad name for itself in this review due to its 3.2 inch size. However the screen on the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman provides a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels which churns out a 180ppi screen. The display also had normal viewing angles and average contrast levels. We also liked the display’s brightness as you could use it with no problems even under direct sunlight.

On the back of the phone you will find yourself looking at a 5MP camera that has both auto-focus and a single LED flash. We found the interface very straightforward making it easy to use. The variety of shooting modes offered was also a plus. You also get to take panorama shots in both 2D and 3D modes. The camera did impress us with its photos. When we went out on a cloudy day to take pictures, the pictures actually turned out well as it had the required details and good color too. WE also loved the fact that we barely waited between shots. It’s so fast! Moving indoors however, pictures take a turn for the worse as the flash doesn’t kick in to save the day. Videos are not that good although you can record at 720p. We found the videos to lose out on details.

The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman comes with a good browser installed as your pages load pretty fast. However this rule doesn’t apply when the pages are heavier as you will see when you try to load pages with heavy Adobe Flash content. You get some nice response when trying to do all the navigational functions too. So what connectivity options are offered on this phone? You get the usual suspects like DLNA, Bluetooth and A-GPS with the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman.

The phone’s performance was an up an    d down ride. We liked how the earpiece sounded loud enough, but we didn’t like the muffled voices and rattling noise that we hear when we increased the volume. Our friends on the other end had a good time though as our microphone picks out our voice clearly and sends it over to their ears. Sporting a 1200mAh battery at this time and age is probably a little outdated especially since it’s a smartphone with Walkman feature too.

Pros and Cons

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The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman had its user interface optimized for the smaller screen. The camera was super responsive and was fast to move from one shot to the other.

We found from our tests that the phone actually has an issue of rebooting out of the blue. The dedicated camera key was good to have, but it was nowhere close to being easy to use.

Conclusion

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The decent list of specs that comes with this phone is definitely worth every penny you will be paying for. If you are a fan of music, then the Walkman part of the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman phone will kick in and make your day too. So if you are looking for that smartphone that will take care of your music needs at the same time, this phone will do you some good.

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Nokia C2-03

Smartphones may have the biggest share of the pie in the phone industry, but feature phones still have a foothold in the market and Nokia’s C2-03 is one of them. There aren’t very many feature phones out there or to be exact, there aren’t many that stand out. However, the Nokia C2-03 has a strong case as it is able to run two SIM cards at once. So it’s time we found out more about the phone.

Design

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Measuring at 4.06 x 2.02 x 0.67 inches, the Nokia C2-03 is by no means one of the smaller phones out there. At a thickness of 0.67 inches, it is definitely going to bulge out of your pocket. Holding the phone also ends up giving you that cheap and plasticky feeling you never want with a Samsung phone. Although we won’t take the risk of dropping the phone we are glad to tell you that its curved edges are a real delight in the hands. Another plus would be the sliding mechanism as it feels reliable. On the right side of the phone you will find the volume rocker as well as the lock/unlock key. They are both well exposed which means they were easy to press or in the case of the lock/unlock key, easy to slide. The SIM card slot is found on the left. Meanwhile, on the top you will find the standard audio jack together with the microUSB and charging ports. Although solid, the slide out numeric keypad has tiny buttons and they crammed up. So if you are into text messaging all the time, you will find it to be a bit annoying. The Nokia cC2-03 doesn’t boast a 4     inch screen but rather comes with a 2.6 inch QVGA touchscreen. It is a resistive touchscreen, so there are the plus and the negatives that we will see later. On the back of the Nokia C2-03 is a 2MP camera minus flash and autofocus, something you would expect from a featurephone.

Features

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Being a feature phone means we don’t have much to talk about in terms of CPU as you don’t exactly expect a dual core processor in one of them, and so is the case with the Nokia C2-03. So, we will jump right into the interface. This phone runs on the Series 40 platform that although offers quite a bit of customization, but there are some things that could have been better for instance the design itself. The interface looks as crammed as the numeric keypad that we saw previously. The added fact that the screen is just 2.6 inches big that crammed feeling will get to you after a while as it makes the interface rather unattractive. Nevertheless, there are some up sides like the fact that we can place our favorite widgets and shortcuts on the home screen. This interface doesn’t feel too great when used with a touchscreen display as to get things done on this phone we would face a bumpy ride every time. If Nokia had kept the classic D-pad instead, we might have had good things to say about the Nokia C2-03.

Other than that, the other basic features like messaging, calendar and alarm clock are pretty simple to use. One cool thing about the contacts list that’s worth mentioning is how the results update in real time when you search for a name in the list. The Nokia C2-03 comes preinstalled with Nokia Maps. You can use the app offline as long as you already have the maps downloaded over the web previously. There are not too many apps installed with this phone which gives you all the more reason to check out Nokia’s online store, Ovi. You can get a wide variety of apps and even games for free.

As mentioned earlier, the Nokia C2-03 has a small 2.6 inch resistive QVGA touchscreen. So you can’t expect much in terms of responsiveness. The screen also lacks brightness which means if you are going to use it under sunlight it’s going to be super hard. Making things worse, the screen has rather inaccurate color gradients no thanks to its low color depth.

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The highlight of the Nokia C2-03 is obviously the fact that it can work with 2 SIM cards at the same time. The primary card goes under the battery as most other phones while the other one goes on the right of the phone. This means you can change cards on the go and you get to choose what services you want each SIM card to do. So the primary SIM takes care of calling while the secondary one can perhaps handle all other stuff.

So on the rear of the Nokia C2-03 is a 2MP camera which is very basic to say the least. There is no flash or autofocus to go with the camera. We are sure that you will stay away from it as long as you can unless a desperate moment crops up although there’s doubt the camera can help much even then. The photos taken with this camera produces pictures that lacked detail and there was a large amount of digital noise too. Video recording wasn’t much better either as the resolution of 176 by 144 pixels at 15 fps makes you want to stay away from it too.

For the internet experience on the Nokia C2-03 it was a surprising one. The Nokia Browser that comes out of the box just didn’t turn up. Many attempts at making it work just failed. So we downloaded another browser on our own accord and we decided to stick to the Opera Mini 6.1. No thanks to issues with navigation, surfing the web wasn’t a great experience at all. So the only way to go online on the Nokia C2-03 is via EDGE 2G. Other than that, you don’t get the array of connectivity options you get with smartphones, but rather you get only Bluetooth.

So you might have heard quite a few negatives already up till now, but all that changes with the in-call sound quality you get with the Nokia C2-03. This is because we got some clear and loud voices in the earpiece. However, our friend on the line could not hear us so well but not to the extent of being unable to make out the words. The 1020mAh battery on the Nokia C2-03 isn’t great though as you only get about 5 hours of continuous talk time which is not the best for a feature phone.

Pros and Cons

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The best thing about the Nokia C2-03 has to be that it works with 2 SIM cards simultaneously. The in-call quality was also top notch.

The fact that Nokia Browser is totally unusable is unacceptable. Other than that, the camera on the Nokia C2-03 is not up to par with other feature phones.

Conclusion

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So the Nokia C2-03 only has one very strong point and that is the dual SIM card capability. Since this feature can be found in other phones as well, we suggest you look elsewhere before coming back to get this phone.

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LG Optimus Black

The Black Beast has just being unleashed! Don’t worry people; it’s just the LG Optimus Black P970 that is released to the market this month. Featuring what the manufacturers would call it the NOVA display technology competing with Apple iPhone’s retina display and also the Super AMOLED Plus display from Samsung. Slim and lightweight at the same time makes this phone so sexy and attractive.

Design

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The first impression users would notice is how slim the phone would be and its only 122 x 64 x 9.2 mm. Not only that, its light at only 109 g. The front is a 4 inch display with NOVA display technology but more about that later. 4 capacitive (Menu, Home, Return and Search) buttons located at the bottom of the screen. There is a 2 Mp front facing camera for video call just beside the headpiece. Not much at the right and bottom side of the phone. At the left side there is a volume rocker and also a dedicated gesture “G” button much like the previous LG Optimus 2X. On top there is 3.5 mm phone jack, a dedicated mic for noise cancellation purpose, a microUSB jack with sliding lid and also the power/lock button. The 5 Mp camera, single LED flash and speaker is located at the back of the phone. The back c  over is made from plastic with matt finish and popping out the cover reveals the SIM slot, microSD memory card (supported up to 32 GB), and also the 1500 mAh battery.

Features

The LG Optimus Black is one of the high end phones currently in the market. The phone comes with Android 2.2.2 Froyo and is said to be upgraded to Gingerbread in the future. User interface is much like the Optimus 2X running on Gesture UI 2.0 and Optimus UI 2.0. TI OMAP 3630 1 GHz processor for speed and energy efficient chipset but it’s not dual-core even though it’s a high end phone. PowerVR SGX 530 GPU is installed for running all sorts of 3D games. Built in 521 MB RAM and also 2 GB for storage but only 1 GB is available so it’s better to have an extra memory card as this phone can support up to 32 GB. With so many video and music, 1 GB is bound to be full in a short time.

LG boast about the new NOVA display technology used in this phones IPS LCD. Furthermore, its 50% more energy efficient enabling a longer usage time for the phone plus the contras is brighter than the iPhone 4’s Retina Display and also on par with Super AMOLED Plus display from Samsung. Under sunny condition the phone does lit up bright enough so that the display won’t be affected by glare from the sun. Picture is bright and colorful thanks to 16 M-Color from the NOVA display.

The gesture control is same like the Optimus 2X. By pressing the button while tilting the phone would switch the home screen one by one. Also there are many uses for the gesture button including SMS or activating the camera without unlocking the phone. Options for turning on and off the Gesture feature are allowed so it’s not a must to use it.

For connection, the phone supports the latest Flash 10.1 download speed on 3G is 7.2 Mbps and upload speed is 5.76 Mbps so it’s an average speed. Watching flash videos online is mostly fine unless for FullHD videos it’s not suitable because the processor is only single core and unable to render it. Bluetooth v2.1 comes with this phone and it’s not the latest but soon to be leading the future of Bluetooth is the Wi-Fi Direct available in this phone. By transferring data trough Wi-Fi Direct certified devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II is even much faster than Bluetooth.

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Another feature about this phone is that it comes with 5 MP camera and a single LED flash with auto focus, manual/touch focus and also image stabilizer while there is also a front facing 2 MP camera. There is no camera dedicated button but using Gesture control the cameras function is much easier to be executed. Picture quality is above average but recording video is only limited to HD 720p only due to single core processor only.

Lastly there are also many basic functions like, A-GPS, Organizer, and Voice command. Social networking like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace is included. SMS function is well performed in landscape or in portrait mode given the large screen size. The response is good and messages can be sent quite fast. There is also music player available for the phone and separated to different categories (Album, Artist, Playlist, and Songs). Tilting the phone to landscape mode turns the music player into 3D view is an interesting feature too. Calling quality is excellent thanks to the active noise cancellation dedicated mic.

Pros and Cons

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Design wise is a plus point. This phone is more of a looker because of the slim and light design and also display from the Nova technology is very good. Basic usage of the phone is impressive with good and fluid response. Calling quality is good with the aid of dedicated mic.

The weak point of this phone is not all apps are supported due to the phone is running on a single core processor only. This would affect video rendering FullHD video as well all because of hardware issue, other than that this phone is near perfect.

Conclusion

If you would like a slim and light phone then this is the phone for you. If for a performance wise phone then you should consider the LG Optimus 2X or the Samsung Galaxy S II as they run on dual cores.

HTC Freestyle

The HTC Freestyle is at the border between your average phone and a high tech Smartphone, but this doesn’t make it any less special. This phone combines both of these worlds and it is practical and efficient at the same time. It comes with a medium sized touchscreen, a couple of interesting features, and a camera that doesn’t impress, but gets the job done. This is not the best phone on the market, but since it is made by HTC, you can be sure that it won’t disappoint you either. Let’s take a closer look and see what this phone is all about.

Design

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As soon as you put your hands on the HTC Freestryle you will notice that the screen is only 3.2 inch in diagonal and that the phone is surprisingly small for a touch screen device. This is great for those who are tried of phones that barely fit into their pockets, but we’ll have to see how does its small size translate when you want to start browsing the internet. The phone is 4.2 inches tall, 2.2 inches wide and only 0.49 inches thin, at 4.52 ounces in weight. The HTC logo is displayed above the screen and the AT&T is placed underneath it. A silver grille that doesn’t draw too much attention covers the speaker. Four buttons are placed on the button side of the phone and three of them are very easy to press. The other one is the menu key, which is a little thinner than expected. The HTC is really easy to grip and you will feel like you will never drop this phone on the ground. If you turn it around, you will see the camera on the top center side. The HTC logo and motto are engraved discreetly on the grey side of the phone and the margins are black and rubbery. On the top side, you will find the power off/on button and on the sides, you will feel the volume buttons and the one that activates the camera. The microUSB port and the 3.5 mm headset jacks are the only inputs you will find on this phone. This means that the only way to add or remove the memory card is by taking the cover off, which is not the best mechanism in the world.

Features

The 3.2 mega pixel camera is definitely not the most impressive feature brought to you by the HTC, but we have to take a look at it anyway. If you are not particularly interested in snapping pictures, you won’t see the camera as a disadvantage and it will work fine for the few pictures you need to take outside. Going inside will have a serious effect on the quality of your photos, unless you have a very well lit room. There are little to no features that will help you snap better pictures, so you will have to settle with what you get. You can also record 3GP videos and, depending on the encoder you choose, you can obtain a resolution of up to 480 x 320 pixels and 20 frames per second. This isn’t much, but the camera is definitely not the strongpoint of the HTC Freestyle. The video player performs much better than the recorder itself, so you can watch some movies of your phone without any problems.

Most people who are interested in getting a HTC Freestyle will go online at one point or another. Luckily, the capacitive touch screen performs very well and you will be able to type in the URL and surf the web without struggling. This screen will display 320 x 480 pixels, which is more than enough for its size. Even so, a couple of things are not perfect when it comes to internet browsing. First of all, you have to choose the landscape mode yourself before you go online and second of all, Flash support is not available. Luckily, even without Flash, you can still watch online videos through MobiTV or AT&T Video. Unfortunately, there is no solution to the lack of an accelerometer, so you will have to get used to the landscape button every time you go online or surf the web in portrait mode, which is really inconvenient.

Moving through the menus and even through complex application is a breeze thanks to the Qualcomm MSM 7225 processor that runs at 528 MHz. This is not a high end processing unit, but it will get the job done. You can trust it to run any application you will find in the AppCenter. This is where you will find programs that will allow you to go on eBay, access the GPS, and you will see many other interesting tools. However, keep in mind that The Navigator feature that is very useful for your GPS will cost you $10 per month.

Pros and Cons

If you need a phone that provides a nice balance between performance and looks, the HTC Freestyle won’t disappoint you. The menus are very easy to use, you can surf the web without any problems, and the phone is very well built. The price of this device is much lower than people expect and you will receive a lot more than what you pay for, which is definitely a plus.

Unfortunately, you will have to settle for 3G speeds when going online since this Samsung phone doesn’t have Wi-Fi support. The lack of Flash support is also a minor inconvenience as well as the 3.2 mega pixel camera, which doesn’t take exceptional photos.

Conclusion

The HTC Freestyle is not the kind of phone that will disappoint you. The design is great, it comes with enough features to keep you occupied, and it only carries a couple of flaws. If you want to test the Smartphone waters and see how these phones handle, this is a great device and it is not expensive at all.

Samsung phone reviews: What to know with the camera, battery, RAM and ROM in Kenya.

The truth is that when we are going to get a Samsung smartphone there is something specific that we are putting into consideration before buying the phone.  What most Kenyans will look at on a phone is different depending on the kind of person doing the shopping. Most ladies will put into consideration the camera of the Samsung smartphone that they need. The camera is number one in what they need in a phone. Most girls love selfies and photos and they will go for the phone that gives them the best.

Males, on the other hand, prefer getting phones that have a RAM that is high. This is because they love games and have many apps on their phones and they need phones that will give them an easy time when it comes to switching between apps. Both the ladies and the gents pay a close attention to the internal memory as the battery capacity. This is because they both need phones that will give them a large space to store all their documents as well as a battery that will support all the activities that they carry out on the Samsung smartphone without it having to shut down.  Let us take a look at some of the Samsung smartphones in Kenya and what they have to offer.

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 brings you the ultimate experience of a large screen in a screen that can be easily held by your hand. It has a lot that it brings to the table with. It is a brand that most Kenyans have come to appreciate and I would say that it has not disappointed most users.

  • Battery

The battery capacity of this phone is 2600mAh. This capacity is capable of keeping you going for a whole day if you are medium phone user. For Kenyan mobile phone users that happen to be heavy users, they may need to charge their phones more than once in a day in order to stay online. This capacity will give your Samsung phone an advantage over most people that use other smartphones. This is because most batteries run on battery capacities that are lower than this.

  • RAM

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 runs on a 1.5 GB RAM that is capable of giving your phone the speed that it needs to run the many apps that you may have on your phone.  The best thing about this kind of RAM is the fact that your phone will not be constantly hanging. This is the problem that most smartphone users have to deal with as they want to have many important apps but the RAM is too low to support the user.

  • Internal storage

The internal memory is not as large as you may want it to be. This phone has an 8 GB internal memory capacity. It is good but it might not give you the best if you have so much data that you may want to store on your phone. Kenyans are good at storing their music in external memory cards and the good thing about this is the fact that Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 has a slot that can accommodate up to 64GB of an external memory card.

  • Camera

The camera of Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a good one as it comes with an 8MP rear camera and a 1.9MP front camera which is perfect for selfies. You don’t have to worry that the pixels are lower than that of other smartphones that are in the market. The only thing I know about Samsung smartphones is that the quality of the camera is great and it does not disappoint.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 is the phone that you enjoy using without a lot of hustles. To begin with, it has some of the best features that you can get in a Samsung smartphone. The quality has been maintained and I will guarantee you that it has some of the best specs that you will get anywhere. Let us look at some of them and what they have in stock for us.

  • Battery

Samsung Galaxy S5 battery is slightly of a higher capacity with a 2800mAh capacity. This means that it keeps your phone on for much longer. It will give you more talk time without the phone shutting down. The only thing that may give you some trouble is that if you have to travel you may need to carry a power bank with you.

  • RAM

Kenyans live a fast life and this is the case with Samsung Galaxy S5. It comes with a 2GB RAM this is super fast for all your apps giving you a better experience than you have ever had. The processor is also good and thus, this phone gives people exactly what they need in a smartphone. It allows you to have as many apps as possible and gives you the freedom to choose and to move from one app to the other very fast.

  • Internal storage

Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a 16GB or 32GB internal storage. It is perfect for storing large amounts of data. This kind of space will eliminate the need of you buying a memory card that is probably fake along the streets in Kenya. If you are tired of “phone storage full” notification on your phone, this phone will assist you.  In case you need more space to store your document, there is expandable memory storage of up to 128GB.

  • Camera

The camera of Samsung Galaxy S5 is excellent as it offers you a 16MP rear camera and a 2.4MP front camera. The camera has a lot to offer such as LED flash, face detection,  autofocus and to sum it all it gives you the best quality images that will make you happy. For ladies who love a good camera on their phone, this phone will be one of your best companions in a long time to come. It captures images just as they are maintaining the integrity of the memories that you would like to keep.

Conclusion

I have to say that most Kenyans are in love with technology that is improved than the previous technologies. Kenyans have been in the forefront of promoting the Samsung brand and the most impressive thing is the fact that they have been improving on a daily basis.

For instant, most of the Samsung smartphones that were in Kenya previously did not have a front camera.  Funny enough, this did not make the Samsung smartphone fall out with people. With the improvement in the front camera technology, the ratings of this phone have increased and fallen in favor with most people. The other thing that you can always bank on with Samsung is the fact that its RAM will always work for you. Most of the phones have a RAM of more than 1GB which is quite impressive.

There are more Samsung smartphones that have great specs that can work for you and give you what would fit in your style. Next time we will take a look at the best of what we can get in other Samsung brands.

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HTC Desire HD

Introduction

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HTC has become an   extremely popular Android user since the release of the original HTC Desire. More than ever, Android fan boys and tech-enthusiasts alike are hanging on their every word, hoping for the smartphone of their dreams to be realized in their next release. Now, we shall see if the HTC Desire HD can manage to enamour us with its huge 4.3-inch screen, cutting edge processor, 8MP camera and the brand new version of HTC Sense coupled with the popular Froyo.

Design

At a gigantic 4.3 inches, this superLCD display lights up brightly. Once everything loads up, widgets, page transitions and response times all look very positive from the offset with the screen looking crisp. At a resolution of 400×840, it’s pretty much the minimum resolution that’s to be expected from an Android phone with a screen this size that doesn’t detract from the initial impact of the screen. Brightness options can be adjusted through the menu or a home-screen widget with three set levels which are low, medium and high.

The HTC Desire HD is a wondrous combination of aluminium unibody and glass fronted fascia. Four capacitive buttons are directly below the screen with the HTC insignia below them. The buttons are fairly sensitive and provide sufficient haptic feedback to the touch. We were concerned that they would be too close to the screen, but we didn’t find ourselves accidentally pressing them as we have on other handsets. Moving to the top of the screen lies a cavity accommodating a mean looking grill (the speaker) with a miniscule notification light to its right. The phone’s top side houses the power button whereas the phone’s base contains a microUSB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as an in-call mic. The left side has the volume rocker while the back of the HTC Desire HD contains the 8MP camera, dual LED flash, loud speaker and centred chrome HTC insignia. This accommodates the removable parts like the battery cover and the SIM card/microSD card cover, which are all the darker shade of grey along with a rectangle surrounding the camera. The aluminium part of the HTC Desire HD, is the lighter shade. HTC is appearing to like this two tone styling lately, with a number of their Windows Phone 7 handsets taking on a similar styling. While the removable covers secure onto the phone well, there is a sense that these may weaken over time, especially at the bottom due to small gap between elements.

The HTC Desire HD feels solid and utilises interesting means of securing the battery and cards, while managing to look sweet in the process. The screen is big, bright and beautiful, despite delivering less saturated colours compared to a Super AMOLED screen and the handling is very comfortable.

Features

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HTC Sense takes some getting used to if you’ve never used it before, but isn’t more challenging than other Androids.

Tapping the “Phone” button, centred in the bottom of any one of the 7 home screens pulls the dialler up which enables you to numerically enter a name (i.e. tom as 262), with the HTC Desire HD displaying it instantly. The phonebook works very well once you learn how to use it since HTC Sense pulls in ALL your contacts from EVERYWHERE by default. This may feel a bit overwhelming at first, however, open “People”, press “Menu” and then tap “View” and you can select which contacts to display (Google, Facebook, SIM etc). Once you’re done, your contacts are a pleasure to browse through. As far as voice recognition goes, it works better than most, but still gets it wrong every so often.
We would daresay the HTC Desire HD has one of the best on-screen keyboard experience we’ve used to date. It has good haptic feedback, amazing predictive text, comfortable and intuitive key spacing all make for greatness. However, with the experience being so good for text entry, number and symbol entry requires a long press on a key which construes as too long, breaking the speedy entry and what could have been a near perfect keyboard experience but nevertheless, amazing.

Use the widgets wisely as they tend to lag if it syncs too much; however, managing your phone’s connections (to preserve battery) and it shouldn’t be an issue.

The camera is 8MP with autofocus, which the HTC Desire HD kicks things off to a solid set of specs, and with a dual LED flash, we’re expecting many good things. It includes a range of special modes: Distortion, Vignette Depth of Field, Vintage, Vintage Warm, Vintage Cold, Greyscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Posterize and Aqua which work very nicely, although some are gimmicky, but others such as ‘Vintage’ are adding quality to the image we really like.

As for the standalone performance of the camera, it’s unfortunately not very clear-cut. Focusing is a bit of an issue, with shots out of focus (OOF) for roughly 10% of the time. Colour reproduction is fairly okay but inconsistent. The phone’s camera isn’t handling noise well at all which are evident even in daytime shots where the black visibly suffers from grain. The night shots were also quite shabby unless the subject is well lit. Macro shots weren’t too bad at all and there is a focusing distance of about 4 inches, and we found that this is one of the phones stronger points. Indoor shots, however, are entirely dependent on lighting. Suffice to say, the HTC Desire HD isn’t going to replace your digital camera.

Video recording is fairly good at 720p and 25fps with detail visibly lacking when comparing video with some other HD handsets such as the Nokia N8 and the colours are also over saturated on the HTC Desire HD2, however, video looks much smoother overall, so it’s a trade-off. Video effect options are only limited to: greyscale, sepia, negative, solarize and posterize.

The Dolby Mobile and SRS Wow HD offer a nice amount of roundness to the sound the HTC Desire HD can produce which is a great wow factor. Unfortunately, we were unable to activate these features for most audio and video players that aren’t the system’s standard.

The loudspeaker plays music quite well considering the sound’s being pushed through a tiny grill on the back, though it isn’t one that can be listened to comfortably for a lengthy amount of time. The HTC Desire HD plays DivX, H.264, MP4 and Xvid files out of the box but unfortunately, HTC hasn’t implemented the standard of video playback that can be found on the Nokia N8 or C7, with DivX and Xvid only playable up to 640×480 without audio sync issues. We discovered that it plays H.264 and MP4 up to 720p well.

Once a movie is in a format the phone likes at its native resolution of 800×480, all we can say is wow. The Dolby Mobile audio and SRS Wow HD does make a huge difference and coupled with the huge screen, it made us forget we were in a packed train watching Avatar on our phone, and left us feeling all shades of blue and CGI.

The HTC Desire HD has a GPS on board to take full advantage of all HTC Sense has to offer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and quad-band GSM, as well as dual band 3G. You also get the DLNA functionality, which should work with a Windows 7 PC or any another DLNA enabled device.

Email is quite typical for an Android phone. HTC have incorporated enhanced usability for its widgets and Sense immersion while the core emailing experience is very good. Setting up our Gmail account took mere minutes and Android brought all our Google contacts, emails and calendar information onto the phone very quickly.

The HTC Desire HD’s screen is also perfect for surfing the web. Having a responsive screen coupled with speedy responsive scrolling through even larger sites makes this an incredibly good, pocketable web browsing device. Thanks to Froyo, the real high point comes when browsing Flash sites, with the HTC Desire HD managing the challenge incredibly well, especially when playing embedded video(s).

While we’ve covered the feature set HTC Sense provides you with, it turbo-charges the phone’s standard connectivity features. Sense makes the GPS, for instance, more usable, caching maps and making the world revolve around you using the in-built compass. As for the network connectivity, it is useful on its own; with HTC Sense – unique, giving you connection to your phone, even when you don’t know where your phone is. We cannot stress this point enough, for every negative we get, the positives look much better.

Friend Stream with the HTC Sense is a widget and app that pulls your Twitter and Facebook updates to a big, clear tile on your home screen or a respective standalone window in app format. Look a bit deeper and you’ll find that HTC has found a nifty way of merging your phonebook with your social networking contacts. Although it requires the user’s confirmation that the contacts it wants to merge are the same, it may be a very useful asset to hardcore social networkers and this feature is much more intuitively integrated than MOTOBLUR or Sony Ericsson’s Timescape which earns HTC another thumbs up.

The HTC Desire HD has a 1GHz processor which is the standard top-class processors. The HTC Sense widgets go pretty heavily on the phone. The fact that they’re useful means they’re worth it, but the phone does lag every once in a while.

Battery life is definitely the HTC Desire HD’s weakest area. With regular use and at mid to full brightness, the phone usually struggles to make it til evening before prompting us to put it into power saver mode which is a disappointment since it was quoted to be able to withstand 9.16 hours of talk time (5.3 hours 3G) and 18 days of standby time. However, if you have a HTC Desire HD, you will want to use it a lot, because it’s so useful. You will want to watch a movie and surf the web while listening to songs and getting directions when you’re all done. This usually means that your battery may not make it through a whole day if you don’t show some restraint (especially with screen brightness).

Pros and Cons

The gigantic screen is ideal for movies on the go and the keyboard input offers one of the best touch experiences to date. The Dolby Mobile / SRS provides great sound variation and the HTC Sense offers wonderful functionality out of the box.

The rather poor battery life and occasional lag when multitasking along with its pretty fiddly battery/card covers are quite worrisome.

Conclusion

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The HTC Desire HD is more exciting than a perfect phone. We’re as excited about how HTC is evolving their Sense UI, as we are about the hardware. As it happens, the hardware and software are in a wonderful marriage, so job well done, HTC. You’re not really getting the best of anything however, as the Nokia N8 has a much better camera, the Samsung Galaxy S has a richer screen of a similar size and the iPhone 4 has a way better app support. What the HTC brings together however, is the best combination of everything, with a mouth-watering addition of innovation to go with it. Battery life being the one big drawback, the HTC Desire HD is nevertheless on our highly-recommended list although alternatives would be the iPhone 4 as mentioned for an alternative operating system, the Nokia N8 for a stronger camera experience, or a HTC Desire Z if you’re smitten by much of the functionality mentioned, but want a QWERTY keyboard.