Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review

After being announced by Samsung, the Galaxy Alpha was a device we saw unexpected excitement for. Maybe it is the new design language Samsung implemented for the hardware, or the fact it features decent specs in a smaller package, but many people across the web seemed interested in the device, so we decided to pick one up and try it for ourselves.

Having spent my time with an iPhone 6 before the Galaxy Alpha, the smaller size was no big deal, as I was already accustomed to a display smaller than 5″. However, making that jump between iOS and Android was a weird one, as the operating systems are certainly very different from each other, but it felt great to be back on Android. Plus, given that a few in this industry labeled the Galaxy Alpha as an “iPhone Killer,” I was excited to see if the phone could live up to that hype.

This is our Galaxy Alpha review.  (more…)

iPhone 6 Review

In short, the iPhone 6 is not the phone for me. Shocker, right?

I spent the last two weeks with the iPhone 6 by my side out of both curiosity and to become even more familiar with Android’s biggest competitor. I have seen all that iOS 8 has to offer (at least at this point). I have experienced Apple’s finest. I have experienced Apple’s vision for Android. Yes, I just said that.

If there are two conclusions that I can take from this experience, it’s that I now understand why millions upon millions of people want this phone each year, but also that I am still confused at the obsessive, often times obnoxious, need for all-things-Apple, especially involving the iPhone. This is a nice phone, don’t get me wrong. However, this is not something to obsess over or to use as a prop to help you look down upon people who don’t own one. The iPhone is not a status symbol. You should not stand in lines for days to own one. It’s a really good smartphone – it just isn’t the best smartphone. It certainly isn’t running the best mobile OS.

Here are some final thoughts to put this experiment to bed.  (more…)

Moto X Review (2nd Generation)

Last year’s Moto X earned “Top Android Phone of 2013” honors from our staff even though it had some pretty major flaws. With its below-average 720p display and mostly-terrible camera, the overall package still bested the rest of smartphones in the game, thanks to its perfect size, Moto Maker customizations, and incredible software add-ons from Motorola. So what happens when Motorola takes what it created from last year’s best Android phone and tries to improve it in all areas, especially those two we just mentioned? You get the Moto X (2nd generation).

With generation two, Motorola has gone with a bigger 1080p display, because that’s what their research showed that people want. They also tossed in a 13MP camera, premium metal frame, and added options like Leather to Moto Maker, but managed to keep a phone that looks and acts very similar to last year’s model. So did Motorola get it right again? Let’s find out.

This is our Moto X (2nd generation) review.  (more…)

Moto 360 Review

Motorola’s Android Wear watch, the Moto 360, is without a doubt the most anticipated wearable of 2014. There is good reason for that, of course. Thanks to its classic, round design, stainless steel body, and leather accessories, there aren’t any other smartwatches that can come close to the overall package promised.

Motorola took their sweet time getting it ready for retail after initially unveiling it in March, but the device is now available for purchase. Early reviews showed concern over battery life, limited quantities have been available for purchase, and Apple just got done unveiling their own watch, so we can imagine that you want our thoughts. Trust me when I say that there are plenty to share.

This is our Moto 360 review.  (more…)

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller Review

With the Android platform continuing its growth, mobile app and game developers, as well as hardware manufacturers, are all looking to slice themselves off a piece of the pie. NVIDIA, known for their long history in desktop computing, has always seemed highly focused on mobile gaming on Android, going back as far as the release of the Tegra 2 processor which powered the DROID X2.

Now, NVIDIA has the Tegra K1 quad-core processor, capable of running PC grade games on mobile devices. Not only are mobile processors stronger than ever, but the hardware game has changed significantly in the past few years, with the company releasing the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller as of this morning.

Both devices broaden the newly-named “SHIELD Family,” which also includes last year’s SHIELD Portable, previously known as just SHIELD. This new tablet and controller are NVIDIA’s commitment to make mobile gaming on Android an experience like you have never had on Android. I’m not sure anyone could have imagined when we all got our first DROID devices back in 2009, that this is where we were headed in terms of mobile gaming. Below, we take a look at NVIDIA’s new Android-powered gaming offerings, putting them to the ultimate Android fanboy gaming test.

This is our SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller review.
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OnePlus One Review

The OnePlus One has grabbed more headlines over the past few months than almost any other phone outside of an iPhone. Some of them have been good, many have been, well, not so good. The phone boasts incredibly good specs with an equally good price point, yet the world isn’t able to buy one because OnePlus can’t seem to get their sh*t together. Apologies for the strong words, but this phone had the potential to be a game changer, yet here we are months after it was announced and the general public still cannot buy it.

We were lucky enough to pick one up because this is what we do for a living, but that also made this review quite difficult. You see, we have had our OnePlus for almost two months now and have absolutely enjoyed every minute with it. The problem is, reviewing it seemed silly if none of you could buy one for yourselves after we said our piece. Thankfully, more invites are about to open and a handful of readers have begun asking for this review in case they get the chance to buy one.

So, here you go – this is our OnePlus One review.  (more…)

LG G3 Review

Quad HDs. Lasers. Floating Arcs. Q all the things. LG has filled its new G3 flagship with so many keywords and flashy marketing terms that you can’t help but give it a look. And you know what, you would be a fool not to give it more than a look.

LG has slowly been rebuilding its reputation over the last couple of years, partly with the help of Google and the Nexus brand, but also thanks to last year’s G2 and some of its recently released tablets. The Korean company has even tried to become the alternative to Samsung and those looking for something different. LG wants to be taken seriously, so they are playing with design ideas (rear buttons), testing out new materials (self-healing backs), and of course, pushing out new display types often (think of the curved panel in the G Flex).

The LG G3 feels like the culmination of all that LG has worked for. It introduces new technologies, its accompanying marketing plan is taking direct shots at Samsung, and they finally have people truly excited about one of their products. It’s time to take a long look at whether or not LG has ultimately succeeded.

This is our LG G3 review.  (more…)

LG G Watch Review

Android Wear, Google’s new wearable platform, is now available for use in the form of the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch. Tim already reviewed the Gear Live, so it’s now my turn to weigh in with thoughts on this other option.

In short, Android Wear and the G Watch offer what I would consider to be first generation, almost-beta-like experiences. The G Watch is one of the first Android Wear devices ever made and Android Wear is so fresh and new that we don’t really know where it will be in two months from now, let alone a year or two years. This is one of those products that you buy if you have to own all things Google, are an early adopter, or are a developer who plans to explore the potential of Android Wear. The rest of us are probably better off waiting to see where things shake out.

Below, you will find more thoughts on those ideas, along with a full G Watch video review.  (more…)