Windows 8 made sweeping changes to the traditional Windows UI and that made many people unhappy. Well, they’ll be glad to hear that with the free Windows 8.1 update (formerly ‘Blue’), Microsoft has listened to their demands and made big improvements to the interface.
Perhaps the change that will draw the most attention at first is the Start button – yes, it’s back, yay! But don’t get too excited, the Start menu is still dead, the button is just an always-visible way to launch the Start screen (to be fair, that disappearing charm annoyed the hell out of me). Read more »
Bloggers from WinP.cn have gotten hold of a Nokia Lumia 925 and did a quick low-light shootout with its predecessor, the Lumia 920. They also checked the differences between the screens of the two (the 925 uses the new AMOLED screen, while the 920 has an IPS LCD).
Reportedly, the Lumia 925 offers sharper images with better white balance and less glare. Part of that is due to the new lens design – a 6 element lens for the 925 versus a 5 element lens for the 920. Shutter lag has also been reduced. Read more »
Styluses have had a bit of a revival in recent years. Now a curious rumor suggests that a 6.4″ Sony phablet codenamed Xperia L4 will go back further in time and use the predecessor of the stylus – a regular pencil. There’s not a lot of info on the L4, certainly nothing we can confirm, but it’s still an interesting rumor.
The S Pen for the Galaxy Note family adds things like pressure sensitivity and detection from a distance so it has found a place in the current finger-centric world. Will anyone want to use a pencil (or a pen)? Read more »
Experian Marketing Services has studied how Americans use their smartphones and has uncovered some curious differences between Android and iOS. On average, a smartphone owner would use their phone for 58 minutes each day.
This is where the first difference between the two platforms comes in – iPhone users spend an hour and 15 minutes on their phone on average, while Android users spend less than 50 minutes. Read more »
Qualcomm has a special app called BatteryGuru that optimizes power usage on phones with Snapdragon chipsets and it just graduated out of beta. It’s an easy to use app as it does its own thing – it spends a couple of days in the background learning your usage habits and then gets in control of things like Wi-Fi, which apps are allowed to run in the background, and so forth.
BatteryGuru learns the locations of the Wi-Fi networks you use and powers off Wi-Fi connectivity when you’re away from them. Read more »
Apple higher-ups always say “We’re never going to do X” and later they go and do X anyway – the company was claiming that 9.7″ is the perfect screen size for a tablet and then went and released a smaller, 7.9″ tablet. Can the same happen in the other direction, a tablet with a bigger screen?
Korean site ETNews thinks yes and claims Apple plans to launch an iPad Maxi (no, it’s not going to be called that) in the first half of next year. The publication also suggests that Apple is already talking to parts suppliers that will make the screens. Read more »
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a split personality – it’s either powered by a Snapdragon 600 chipset (the I9505) or by Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa (the I9500). It took a while before it became clear which model goes to which country, but now it’s time to find out the answer to a more important question – does it matter?
Typically, Samsung uses Qualcomm chipsets for its US models (due to the chipsets built-in LTE support) and sold their Exynos smartphones elsewhere. Now, the situation is different and the Snapdragon-based model is more common, perhaps due to low manufacturing capacity for the new eight core Exynos chipset. Read more »
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z had to cross a river to get to our office… okay, it didn’t but it that wouldn’t have troubled it thanks to its IP57 certification. That’s not the only specs the Z tablet shares with the Z phone either, the slender OmniBalance design gives the tablet a unique look.
The Xperia Tablet Z is only 6.9mm thick and weighs under 500g, it’s a pretty impressive device to hold in your hand. Read more »
The Nokia Lumia 928 brought something we hadn’t seen in a while – xenon flash – but it’s a Verizon exclusive, others are getting the thinner, but LED flash only Lumia 925. As it turns out, however, you can get the Lumia 928 working on a GSM network too.
Reddit user volvoshine is reporting that a Lumia 928 worked on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks after adding the proper access points. That works because Verizon’s phones come with unlocked GSM connectivity for roaming purposes, but there are a few caveats. Read more »
Google recently updated the desktop version of its Google+ social network and the accompanying Android app. Those who check Google+ through the browser on their smartphone can now enjoy the new design too.
The new Google+ mobile page uses the search giant’s new favorite UI element – the card. Now all posts in your stream are displayed as cards and they feature easy to use +1 and Share buttons. Read more »
Nokia thinks its flagship Lumia 92x range has the best cameras in town and the Finnish company can often be heard bringing up how awesome their snappers are. The latest video shows off the Lumia 928 (that’s Verizon’s xenon and AMOLED packing 920 version) and pits it against the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4.
The Nokia Lumia 928 camera has several things to brag about, including Optical Image Stabilization, HAAC mics and low-light performance. We’ve seen it take flight, but this video focuses on the low-light photos. Read more »
With the megapixel race fizzling out, Optical Image Stabilization seems to be the “next big thing” in mobile phone cameras. But it’s very rare – only two phones currently on sale have it, while the rest rely on digital processing to stabilize the image. CNET did a test to see how some of the most popular phones on the market cope with a user’s shaky hands.
The Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC One naturally were involved in the test (the two phones that do have OIS), then there are the Samsung Galaxy S III and S4, the Sony Xperia Z and the Apple iPhone 5. Read more »
The Nokia Lumia 925 recently took over the reins from the 920 as the new WP8 flagship. The Lumia 928 is similar but it’s a Verizon exclusive. Anyway, the 925 brings a much needed redesign of the body, a new AMOLED screen and several software improvements.
Just to be clear, the Lumia 920 didn’t need a redesign in terms of looks – it’s the thickness and especially weight that needed work. It weighed 185g, 2g heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which has a screen that’s a full inch bigger. Dropping to 8.5mm thickness from 10.7mm is a welcome change as well. Read more »
Aluminum construction and OIS camera of the Nokia Lumia 925 got the most attention when the new WP8 flagship was announced, but the screen is pretty interesting too. It’s an AMOLED display like the Lumia 928 has and not an LCD like on the Lumia 920.
Besides the slimmer profile allowed by AMOLED, there is custom software to make sure you have the display set up just the way you want it. Read more »
HTC is leveraging Twitter’s obsession with what is known as “vadering” to promote its HTC One flagship. The message accompanying the photo reads “We find your lack of aluminum disturbing.”
There’s more going on with this post than just a dig at the plasticy competitors of the One. Read more »