byBradMoon11-29-201308:18 PM - edited 11-30-201309:33 AM
Tablets may be getting much of the attention leading up to the holiday season, but all the top consumer electronics manufacturers have their flagship smartphones on shelves now too —it's a great time for comparison shoppers. Every year choosing the right phone gets more difficult as the devices get faster, more capable and more attractive than the generation before. We’ve gone from chunky phones with 2.5-inch displays, 1 MP cameras and basic texting capability to sleek devices sporting 5-inch displays crammed with as many pixels as a HDTV, along with photo and video capabilities that rival a digital camera, mobile web surfing faster than some home Internet connections and the ability to play console-grade video games. Throw in variables like customized interfaces, and choosing a smartphone is tougher than ever. To help you pick the right phone for your needs, we’ve put together a comparison of five of the most popular Android flagship smartphones.
While flagship smartphones like the HTC One can offer a spectacular user experience, not everyone wants or can afford the absolute latest and greatest. Fortunately, manufacturers have been putting considerable effort into expanding the capabilities and appeal of their mid-range models. The HTC Desire 601 is a great example of how smartphones in the tier below the flagships can be solid devices in their own right. The Desire 601 gives up some specs and the premium finish of the HTC One, but the end result is a more affordable Android smartphone that still offers plenty of performance. The display may not be on par with flagship devices, but it’s still bright, fairly big and reasonably sharp. The camera takes decent photos and the sound is a standout thanks to HTC’s BoomSound dual front speakers. The Desire 601 will be available in Best Buy stores starting on November 8, through Koodoo and Virgin Mobile.
Sony made a splash with the Xperia Z smartphone earlier this year (literally —the Xperia Z is waterproof) and the company is about to release the latest iteration of this flagship device, the Xperia Z1. The new Sony looks very similar to its predecessor, but the Z1 includes some serious improvements including a faster processor, a rounded aluminum case and a huge camera upgrade: a 20.7 megapixel Xmor RS image sensor (1/2.3-inch) with G Lens and BIONZ image processing engine. With the emphasis on the Xperia Z1’s primary camera, Sony is bringing its flagship smartphone into battle with the likes of Nokia’s Lumia 1020 for the heart of mobile users who want to ditch their pocket camera for good.
Samsung received some pretty solid reviews on the Galaxy Note II when it was released last year and has reportedly sold around 30 million to date. The Galaxy Note 3 is the followup with a lot riding on it, and from the reviews that have been surfacing, it looks as though Samsung nailed it. There have been reports of potential speed benchmark shenanigans, but despite any attempts to make it seem better than it is, the Galaxy Note 3 is showing itself to be an incredibly powerful and well-designed device. Some sites are even calling it a contender as the best smartphone ever. Here are three of the key ways the Galaxy Note 3 is proving that it’s a big leap forward.
These days, the percentage of people with both a cell phone and a home phone is much smaller than it was only five years ago. In fact, according to Statistics Canada’s December 2010 Residential Telephone Service Survey, 13% of Canadians reported using a wireless phone exclusively, up from 8% in 2008 – and that data is from three years ago, so I imagine that percentage is even higher now that we’re in the latter part of 2013.
As a wireless-only individual myself, I am completely reliant on my smartphone for all my phone calls. And while I don’t regret cancelling my landline service, I do miss some of the convenience of a home phone. While I’m at the office throughout the day, I keep my phone on silent, and often forget to switch the volume back on when I am home, so missing calls is a frequent event. Also, the cell service in my apartment can be patchy from time to time, in which case I’ve had to stand awkwardly in a corner of my kitchen to do what I can to keep my calls clear.
Enter a new breed of home phone that allows you to pair your cell phone to the system and make and receive cell calls (and landline calls) via a cordless handset – just like having a landline! I tested two cordless answering systems, the VTech Connect to Cell™ Cordless Phone with Caller ID/Call Waiting and the Panasonic® KX-TG7733C Link-to-Cell Cellular Convergence Solution.
Smartphone cameras have come a long way from the days of the 2MP shooter that was included as an afterthought. Those early camera often lacked features we take for granted now, like a flash, autofocus and video recording. Current smartphone cameras are much better, to the point where some people rely on their mobile phone instead of carrying a point-and-shoot camera for casual photography. The Nokia Lumia 1020 takes things to a whole new level. This is a serious camera (41MP PureView image sensor and Xenon flash) with a colourful smartphone wrapped around it. It runs Windows Phone 8 —currently the fastest growing mobile platform— and has the power to compete with the best out there. Look for Nokia’s Lumia 1020 to be at select Best Buy locations with Microsoft Windows Store-Within-a-Stores on October 4.
How long does your smartphone battery last? For many people the answer is simply “not long enough.” That was the case five years ago and even with the latest biometric-scanner equipped, gold clad, must-have phones, a short battery life remains one of the top complaints. Battery technology has improved, but for every slight increase in battery efficiency, there’s been a massive increase in processing power, display size and pixel density —technology that demands more power. The net result is we’re not much better off today than we were then five years ago, at least when it comes to coaxing a smartphone through an entire day of use without recharging. We might be able to buy smartphones that can be dunked in water, sport DSLR-like cameras or with displays that rival the size of a tablet, but none of these has addressed the age old problem of battery life. Until smartphones reach the point where running out of juice isn't something we even think about any more, here are some pointers on how to make your existing battery last longer.
Before Apple and Android, there was Blackberry. A pioneer in the smartphone market, Blackberry was the go-to device for those wanting to stay connected on the go. In no time at all, it made its predecessor, the Palm, archaic. Its growth was unprecedented, and until about 2010, it seemed that consumers were so addicted to their “Crackberrys” – and BrickBreaker, of course – they would never switch to another device.
Fast forward three years … today, the smartphone landscape is much different. Only four years ago, Blackberry held 51% of the smartphone market. Today, that number is much, much lower, with a market share of only 4.5%. There are myriad reasons for this decline, but the bottom line is that Blackberry isn’t the golden child it once was. So, what’s a brand to do? Try its damndest to compete, which is exactly the road Blackberry took last week with its launch of a highly anticipated cross-platform BBM (Blackberry’s proprietary instant messaging application).
Your smartphone is an amazing device. If you bought it recently, you’re looking at a piece of technology with a display resolution that rivals your HDTV, computing power that would beat a high end laptop from only a few years ago, enough battery capacity to run most of the day without being near an electrical outlet and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. But smartphones —and tablets, for that matter— get even better once you start adding apps. There are free apps and premium apps, but few cost more than a dollar or two so starting a collection isn’t expensive. The tough part is choosing which ones to go with, especially now that some app stores are closing in on the one million mark. “Must-have” is a personal thing, but here’s our crack at a collection of 10 apps that virtually any smartphone (or tablet) owner will benefit from installing.
To say this has been an interesting few days for BlackBerry would be the understatement of the year. But let’s skip past the operational news and the apparent purchase of the company and focus on another announcement. It’s going big. As in joining the big-screen smartphone club, with the new 5-inch BlackBerry Z30. I pointed out in a recent post about growing smartphone display sizes that consumers are increasingly choosing big displays and it looks as though the team at BlackBerry has been following that trend too. The company’s new flagship smartphone isn’t just bigger (the largest BlackBerry ever), it’s also faster, sounds better, runs an updated BB10.2 operating system and sports a massive battery the company claims can provide up to 25 hours of “mixed use” between recharges.
Want to start a raging argument in a room full of smartphone owners? The easy target would be to lob the Android vs. iOS grenade and watch the fireworks. That doesn’t let the Windows Phone and BlackBerry fans join the party, though. To be inclusive, here’s another subjective question: What’s the ideal size for a smartphone display? This one can easily break down along platform lines as well since Apple continues to hold the line on display size while everyone else seems to be on a ‘bigger is better” kick and in the meantime, phablets are growing in popularity. But the question is actually a fundamental one that has a real impact on a user’s relationship with their smartphone. The trend toward bigger displays may seem like one-upmanship, but at its heart it reflects the changing ways we interact with these mobile devices. The way you use your smartphone will go a long way toward determining your ideal display size and should be part of any buying decision.
byShelaghM09-20-201301:31 PM - edited 10-03-201309:06 AM
Our Smartphones are with us so much they have become part of our personal style. If those cheaper, plastic cases just don’t cut it for you, then turn to Case-Mate. Case-Mate offers a collection made from elegant materials with detailed finishing.
Recently, I took the latest Case-Mate Collection on a test run with the Montreal Blogging Group to find out what they thought. Who doesn’t spend more time on their smartphones than bloggers?
Your brain needs exercise as much as your body and the right mental workout can improve your basic cognitive functions at any age. The good news is you’re never too old to train your brain
North Carolina State University researchers found that older adults who play video games report higher levels of emotional well being; researchers at the University of California in San Francisco found playing driving videogames improves memory and attention among older players.
byBradMoon09-17-201310:09 AM - edited 09-17-201310:09 AM
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, chances are you’ve heard the buzz about fingerprint scanning as the new “it” thing for securing your smartphone and even authenticating some online purchases. We’ll find out just how this works in the real world as a new generation of devices featuring built-in fingerprint scanners rolls out, but there are plenty of questions about the technology. Could you fool a scanner with a fingerprint lifted from a glass? What happens if your hands are dirty? Could a criminal cut off your finger to gain access to your smartphone? And how does replacing pass codes and passwords with biometric security protect you smartphone from other security risks like hacking?
Three years is a long time – especially in the world of cellphone contracts. In an age when new devices and unbeatable promotions are introduced to the masses on what seems to be an almost monthly basis, committing three years to a single cellphone provider and (unless you want to pay heavy fees) a single device is a bit of a pain in the behind.
However, in June of this year, the Canadian Radio-television Communications Commission (CRTC) made some changes to its regulations that will allow cellphone customers to walk away from their much-hated contracts after two years without any early-cancellation penalties, put caps on roaming and data overage charges, and allow for devices to be unlocked legally after a set period of time. A win for consumers? Absolutely. But what exactly do these new rules mean?
on 08-21-201308:45 PM - last edited on 11-01-201310:00 AM by BBYLaura
Google is calling Android 4.3 an even sweeter Jelly Bean and it looks like companies are developing a sweet tooth for the newest version.
Android 4.3 has been running on various Nexus devices for almost one month since its release in late July. Now several other key manufacturers have announced they will be rolling out Android 4.3 onto their popular smartphones and other devices.
In today’s technology-centric, always-connected society, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone without a phone in their hand, purse, or pocket. Our phones are our lifelines to friends and family, work, entertainment, information, and so much more, so it makes sense that they rarely leave our sight – in fact, I read a recent report that said that 75% of American’s admit to taking their phones into the bathroom. I’m not sure what the Canadian stat is, but I’m guessing it’s not far off.
As our constant companions, our phones suffer all sorts of abuse. They are dropped, get dirty, and sometimes, by no fault of our own, they get wet (I’m still cursing the water bottle that decided to open in my purse). Enter the Lifeproof nüüd case for the iPhone 5.
Fall is always a great time to be the owner of an Apple mobile device. Why? Because fall is when Apple traditionally launches the newest version of iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This year, Apple fans are particularly eager because iOS 7 represents the biggest change to the system in years, what Apple is terming “the start of a new chapter for iOS.” When iOS 7 is installed, expect your Apple gear to look familiar, yet different —simpler to use, stripped of extraneous ornamentation, loaded with useful new features and dynamic interactions. Put simply, it’s not only the most advanced mobile operating system Apple has ever released, it’s also the simplest to use and most engaging.
You’re heading back to school, clutching your favourite mobile device. Maybe it’s an iPad Mini, an iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, Lumia 900 or a Z10. Whatever the device, you can make the most of your high tech investment by downloading free apps for your Android, iPhone or BlackBerry. Productivity, gaming —even cheap food— we’ve got you covered with this list of the best free apps for students.
Blackbery Q5 is coming to Canada mid-August. This scaled down and more affordable smartphone gives you some of the same cool features and operating system as the Blackberry 10 released earlier this year. This smartphone has been built to let you explore, create and share while on the go.
byShelaghM07-19-201306:41 PM - edited 07-22-201310:44 AM
The market is flooded with similar iPhone cases so it takes something clever to stand out. Findables is an online service built into a phone case that turns your iPhone 5 into a business card. Connect with friends and colleagues instantly with the Findables iOS phone case!
Get ready for vacations and road trips with Bluetooth enabled wireless headsets and hands-free car systems. With these systems you can stay connected and not have to worry about being distracted while driving.
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