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LG Lucid Android Phone On Verizon Wireless

LG P970 Optimus

LG P970 Optimus $299 on Amazon

The LG Lucid is one of the most affordable android smartphone on the market right now. Sold by Verizon Wireless, it has the right mix of great pricing and good features that makes it a good buy for those who just want the important stuff. It does not have the latest quad-core processor with great camera work but then it has just the right bit of power and features to see you through everyday life and a bit more.

It has a 4inch capacitive touchscreen display that is made out of Gorilla Glass, so you don’t have to worry about it shattering or cracking too easily. It has a typical Android resolution — 800×480 pixels. The display is good but not Super AMOLED good.

Body is glossy plastic with a taper and dual-tone on the back. It looks more expensive than it is, which is a very good thing. The Lucid has all the common sensors that allow you to use gestures like flipping the phone to mute it, snooze an alarm, etc. You can also tap on either edges to speed the cursors through to that side. You have the option to choose between the Swype keyboard or the Normal keyboard for typing.

The connectivity options on  the LG Lucid are exactly what you need — it has dual-band EV-DO Rev A (850/1900 MHz) with single-band 4G LTE (700MHz) network support. It also comes with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, which means you can just run on you office or home network. If you have the appropriate data plan, it has the ability to act as a hotspot for up to 10 devices at the same time. You will need LTE for that though. On 3G you can run up to 5 different devices.

The batter is a 1700mAh hulk and it is good for talking over six and a half hours non-stop. It is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 CPU with 1GB system memory. Performance is thus on par with other dual-core sporting android devices. Some occasional lagging that plagues all other android devices is also present in this one.

The only place where the Lucid lets us down is on the OS. It is a smart new phone with great features but we wish it could do better than coming with the same old Android 2.3 Gingerbread. However, there’s still hope because Verizon has promised to upgrade this to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And it should’ve just come out with it too because the components are absolutely fine for it.

The phone comes with more than its fair share of pre-installed apps but thankfully quite a few of them are useful ones. LG especially puts in apps that would be useful such the Polaris office document editor. Verizon puts in the usual bunch — Netflix, Kindle, etc. Verizone has also made the effort to making the pre-installed apps all grouped under one menu.

Over all, with its speedy performance and really affordably price, the LG Lucid is definitely a great buy.


Toshiba Portege R835: A Quick Overview

Portege R835 13.3IN WINDOWS7 640GB

Portege R835 13.3IN WINDOWS7 640GB on Amazon

One of the main things going for the Toshiba Portege R835 is its fast processing power and lower price than the current ultrabook ranges. The only thing that goes against it is the lack of a keyboard but then that’s something you can live without if you are looking for something that runs faster than your average ultrabook at a price point of less than USD800.

One thing that it has that others don’t is an optical drive. If you are the kind of person who likes to use CDs and DVDs every now and then and you install software from optical media, this will definitely come in handy.

It is a well-built device, like most of Toshiba’s offerings are. It comes in a magnesium alloy chassis and has a dark blue color that is very suitable for all kinds of usage. The screen hinges are Chrome finished plastic.

The screen has a strong and sturdy feel to it. The 13.3 display has a 1366 x 768 resolution and is a bright TFT LCD panel which is standard in all ultraportables. The keyboard has a great layout and the keys offer a good typing speed and comfort. Those are used to deep keystrokes might be unsettled at the shallowness but that doesn’t take much time getting used to. The touchpad is reasonably smooth and has a good feel to it. The buttons are also comfortable to use and do not feel like they will come off any moment.

Other than the DVDRW +/- drive, there’s a USB 3.0 port, Ethernet, VGA and also HDMI out port. There are two USB 2.0 ports, out of which one is an e-SATA combo port that features Toshiba’s sleep charge function for recharging devices from the USB even though the laptop is sleeping.

There’s no Bluetooth or WiMax. But then I can’t quite remember the last time I required Bluetooth on my laptop and WiMax is area specific anyway. The Toshiba Portege R835 has a fine WiFi that also comes with WiDi, Intel’s handy wireless HD broadcast technology that allows you to beam HD content to your TV via a Netgear dongle.

The speakers on the R835 are, well, laptop speakers but they are loud enough for portable fun. The only problem is that the fan tends to get a bit loud when the device is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

The performance parts inside the Toshiba Portege R835 are definitely things that you would be liking a lot for the price. It has a standard Core i5-240M processor with a clock speed of 2.5GHz and it is teamed with a whopping 6GB of RAM.

The 640GB HDD comes preloaded with Windows 7 and it has some of Toshiba’s in-house utility software and a 30-day trial of Norton Security. The battery lasts well over 8 hours and can touch 9 under optimal circumstances. So if you are looking for a great workhorse for not that much money — Toshiba Portege R835 is one ultraportable you should favor over an ultrabook.


Nokia Lumia Coming To China In April

Nokia Lumia 800 black 16GB -FACTORY UNLOCKED-

Nokia Lumia 800 black 16GB -FACTORY UNLOCKED- on Amazon

Nokia has finally scheduled the release of Lumia phones in China. It will start with one model in April, which will be quickly followed by the rest of the models. China used to be a key market for the Finnish phone maker but it has become quite dominated by Android ever since. So the company is now trying to reclaim some of the lost market share and some of the glory. Nokia has teamed up with China Telecom and it will start pushing the Lumia 800 to the masses in the first half of next month. This information was give out by CEO Stephen Elop during an even on Wednesday where the company head was introducing the Lumia series.

The rest of the Lumia phones will be hitting China some time in the second quarter of this year. Lumia 900, Lumia 710 and the Lumia 610c will all be available from that period onwards. Nokia has also said that it will make the phones available from the other two major Chinese carriers sometime later this year. They are China Mobile and China Unicom. They are both selling Lumia competitors in the form of the iPhone and various Android phones. China is in fact one of the last regions to get the Lumia.

It has already been available in the US since last year. European countries also have access to Lumia phones. Some of the Asian markets, including India, have already started selling the Lumia phones too. However, Nokia had to build a special version of the Lumia 800 called the Lumia 800c for China Telecom’s special CDMA network. This phone has a 1.4GHz processor and a 3.7inch touchscreen. It also comes with a 8MP main camera at the back. So it is basically the same Lumia 800 with a different radio chip inside it. At current exchange rate, the Lumia 800c will be selling for about $570 without contract.

Nokia is banking on the Lumia to give them there market in China back. The company is even more eager to stake their claims once again as China is all set to become the largest smartphone market in the world, thanks to its massive population. And Nokia’s downward slide in China has been quite drastic too. According to Gartner brain CK Lu, the company held 40% of the market during the first quarter of 2011 and that fell to around 20% during the final quarter.

According to Lu, it’s the Symbian platform that is to blame. Android rose up too fast and too quick for Nokia to do anything. But now that Nokia has a great platform to work with — Windows Phone — they should be able to capitalize on their name brand value. People in China and other parts of SouthEast Asia still like Nokia. The company has had a history of producing localized models to suit various cultural and regional traits, making the international phone maker quite a household name in many countries in the region.


Intel Netbooks To Get A Shot In The ARM With Valley View Atom Chip

Hewlett-Packard - HP Mini 1104 10.1" LED-Backlit Netbook

Hewlett-Packard - HP Mini 1104 10.1" LED-Backlit Netbook Intel Atom N2600 on Amazon

Let’s face it, netbooks are really overdue for an upgrade. They are great devices on their own — light, small and great battery life. But pitched against the iPad and the Kindle Fire, they do look dated. Enter Intel and its Valley View chip — this new processor is all set to take netbooks from 2010 to the present. There’s a lot of speculation about what Valley View could do for netbooks in the near future.

With the advent of the tablet, netbooks have been lagging behind quite badly. Since tablets aren’t exactly Intel’s forte yet, the chipmaker is looking to make netbooks come neck to neck with the rest of the industry. As a super-portable category of devices they need to extend their battery lives and cut down on their current bulk a bit more.

Intel sees a lot of things that can be done with netbooks in order to make them valid options once more. Their current selling point is the availability of a keyboard and the ability to use a desktop OS (mostly Windows 7). In the near future, they can inherit Ultrabook features like quick start up and the ‘Smart Connect’ that keeps everything up to date even though most of the device is asleep.

With these improvements in place and running on Intel’s Valley View netbooks should be even lighter and much thinner than their current generations. However, for that to happen, manufacturers will need to focus on netbooks once again instead of focusing all their energy on tablets that will finally be able to fight the iPad one on one. Or at least take a hold of some amount of market share.

Despite the current disinterest, this change of heart might happen once Windows 8 is launched. With its dual interface and emphasis on smart resource management and lighter memory and processor footprint, this new OS might actually be able to get netbooks out of the rut that they are in now.

One more point that goes for netbooks is their price. Netbooks were designed to be cheap yet reasonably well-powered with an emphasis on durability and bare minimum features. Most netbooks don’t have optical drives in order to cut cost and save physical space. Taking this one step beyond would finally enable manufacturers to compete with the likes of the MacBook Air but at a cheaper level. Intel foresees prices between $199 and $399, which makes it hit just the sweet spot between the cheapest tablets and the starting price of the iPad. The iPad 2 in fact is now selling for the base price of $399.

Netbooks are certainly useful devices but they are now showing signs of aging. If you are a student or someone who needs a small portable device with a keyboard and desktop OS, a netbook were certainly serve you well. A tablet is not good for taking fast notes and editing office documents and spreadsheet.


Apple iPad On Verizon Wireless Lasts 25 Hours On Screen Off, LTE On Test

Apple iPad MC733LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + Verizon 4G, Black) NEWEST MODEL

Apple iPad MC733LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + Verizon 4G, Black) NEWEST MODEL on Amazon

It seems that the new iPad is making news for more than its amazing new display. Just about every reviewer loves the display but some of them have managed to go beyond that and test the other main features of the iOS tablet. One of the features is of course, the battery. But before we go there, here’s another feature that has really grabbed attention after the Retina Display — the WiFi Personal HotSpot feature.

This is a feature that has been available on most Android phone for a while now and the iPhone has it now too. But this would be the first time for the iPad to get this popular gadget feature. For those of you who don’t know yet — this feature allows your iPad to share its 3G/LTE internet connection with other devices over WiFi. So in this case the tablet works as a regular WiFi hub to which any gadget that has WiFi can connect and surf the net.

So the good folks over at AnandTech decided to take this feature and combine it with a battery life test. So they tethered their new iPad and started surfing the net with it. They kept the battery guzzling screen off during this test.

As it turns out, the new iPad can actually go 25 hours straight on a full charge if you have just the LTE on and the screen off. According to their results, the tablet actually ran for 25.3 hours.

However, this also highlights how much battery the screen must take for the device to run this long even though it was working through the LTE connection. Seems like Apple has really worked on the battery to make it strong enough to supply enough power to the screen to make the tablet run the same amount of time as before.

A lot of users who own both an iPhone and the new iPad might now want to use the iPad for any tethering jobs and spare the iPhone’s battery for calls. The iPad is anyway going to run much longer than any Smartphone out there. Also, the iPad is running on LTE, which means it can actually tether faster.

There’s only one catch though — the iPad used in this test was a Verizon model. AT&T does not support the personal hotspot feature as of yet. So f you want to replicate these results, you will have to get the WiFi+4G model from Verizon.

The iPad is definitely one of the hottest selling gadgets of our times and of this quarter. Its amazingly sharp Retina Display and the 4G support has made it extremely popular amongst the masses and not just the techie crowd. It continues to be a great tablet for reading, watching videos, surfing the web and using great iOS apps and games.


HTC One X Already On Sale And Pre-Order, Takes 4 Shots Per Second

HTC One X Factory Unlocked Grey

HTC One X Factory Unlocked Grey on Amazon

The HTC One X had already been announced and shown off at the MWC 2012 that happened earlier this year. Now HTC has finally begun to roll out the device at various retailers. We noticed that it is already on sale at Amazon (click the link above) and the Taiwanese company has said that it would make the phone available in Asian markets on April 2. Pre-orders for this are already being taken at some of the online retailers.

The phone itself is a highly powered device and will be running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with the HTC Sense UI layered on top. However, these specs are already commonplace in the market for the higher end of smartphones. So HTC decided to step the came and focus on building a special feature in addition to making a powerful smartphone.

The HTC One X has a specialized camera that has a focus time of 0.2 seconds and it also shoots photos at a rate of up to 4 frames per second (under optimum conditions we presume). To put things in to perspective, only DSLR level cameras have continuous shooting abilities like that and that too it has to be at least a mid-range DSLR.

And then comes the hardware, which is quite impressive in its own right. The HTC One X is powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor and has a 4.7” touchscreen display. It has 1GB of system memory and comes with 16GB of internal storage.

The camera itself has a 8MP resolution at its highest and there’s also a 1.3MP camera on the front for video calls. Other interesting features consist of NFC connectivity (for whenever mobile payments catch up) and a 1800mAh battery feeding the entire system.

Carriers in the UK are offering the phone for free if your sign up for a contract that starts at a minimum of £41 per month for Vodafone and £36 for Three. The phone is not yet available there and is currently on pre-order from these carriers. Outside contracts, the One X will cost £500 ($798). Amazon UK in the mean time is showing a pre-order page for a sim-free version with a release date of April 5.

There’s no news of when the phone will start appearing on the rosters of carriers in the US where AT&T is supposed to be carrying it.

Given the quad-core processor, Android 4.0 pre-installed and 1GB RAM, the phone has already been showing up top on various benchmark tests. And its 4.7inch 1280×720 HD display is definitely a great selling point. If you enjoy gaming an HD video on your phone, the HTC One X seems to be the perfect phone for you. And of course, the fantastic camera with its 4FPS shooting is definitely one of the best selling points for the phone.


Nokia Lumia 900 Release Date And Pricing Details Confirmed

Nokia Lumia 800 black 16GB -FACTORY UNLOCKED-

Nokia Lumia 800 black 16GB -FACTORY UNLOCKED- on Amazon

AT&T has finally revealed the release date and the pricing detail for the much-awaited Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone. But more than the phone, which is coming on the 8th of April this year, it’s the price that has got everybody’s attention at the moment.

AT&T sells top of the line smartphones from multiple manufacturers. It sells Samsung’s top of the line phone Galaxy Nexus for $299. Then there’s Apple’s top of the line at $199. The Lumia 900 is Nokia’s top of the line at the moment and AT&T is somehow going to be selling it at, wait for it — $99.

Looks like Nokia is really aggressive about capturing market share as well as mindshare in the US. Nokia’s strategy has always been to offer great value with extremely well-made smartphones at really affordable prices. They have perfect the art of making cheap phones without compromising on the quality. Their low-end phones are legendary for being extremely hardy and hence they are very popular in Asian countries. However, for the Lumia 900, the story is somewhat different.

AT&T will be offering theNokia Lumia Windows Phone on a contract of course and the length of that contract is 2 years. So you are already locked in with a contract breaking fee attached if you want to hop networks. But this is not enough to bring the phone down to this price. Nokia itself is probably foregoing a lot of profit just to ensure that the phone stands out in terms of price versus performance.

At this cheap a rate, AT&T would be finally able to sell smartphones to a crowd that has always regarded these fancy new devices as much to expensive.

The Nokia Lumia 900 has a lot of things going for it and the price is just the latest and greatest addition to that list. It has a 4.3inch Clear Black display, which should look really good given the description of it.

Nokia has also been talking about how the Lumia 900 is really very different and there’s a lot of talk of its unique design that makes it stand out even across the room. It basically has sharp cornered edges without making it difficult to hold and the back is rounded, giving it quite a distinct look.

However, the most important thing on a Lumia 900 is definitely the OS. It will be running on Windows Phone 7.5 — a brand new take on Smartphone OS with its innovative Metro UI that runs smooth and fast thanks to its light design. This OS is rather new in town and most people who have at least seen an Android phone and have definitely seen the iPhone (because it is everywhere), would not be able to recognize the Windows Phone. Many don’t even know that Microsoft has changed the game completely. Hence, it is extremely important for both Microsoft and its current pet Nokia to push this new platform as much as possible to at least get people to know that this exists. Hence Nokia has already pledged $200million for advertising the Lumia (just in the US) and $25 million for distributing Lumia phones to all AT&T store employees.


Motorola Xoom WiFi Might Get Android 4.0.5 Upgrade Soon

MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (10.1-Inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi)

MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (10.1-Inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi) on Amazon

The Motorola Xoom tablet is slated to get an updated sometime soon. Since the tablet has already received its Ice Cream Sandwich update way back in January, there’s a possibility that this update is going to be the rumored 4.0.5 update. As per its standard practice Microsoft has been busy emailing testers for their update that is soon to come out on the Xoom.

However, since this is going out directly from Motorola and not from Google, it is possible that the upgrade is a minor bug fix of some sort that is going to their own private circle of testers for feedback. Because important updates like 4.0.5 are usually pushed directly by Google and it would be done in a much more controlled manner than what we are seeing here.

This update is currently earmarked for the WiFi-only version of the Xoom and it is going to be available only to a handful of chosen people who are on the Motorola Feedback network. If you are a part of this network, get ready to play with it and leave us an anonymous tip off with all the details. And if you are outside the circle and get the update anyway, do leave us a comment.

Also part of the realm of possibilities is the possibility of this upgrade being a preparatory upgrade for the Motorola Xoom to receive the actual 4.0.5 update. In that case, you might think about getting your hands on one of them right now.

The Motorola Xoom was introduced in January last year as the first ever tablet with Android 3.0 Honeycomb on it. This was special because the Honeycomb was the first ever version of the Android to have been specifically built for the tablet. The Android tablets that had come before the Motorola Xoom were in fact running modified deployments of Android versions that were meant only for smartphones. With Android 4.0, these parallel developments were merged and it became the first hybrid version of the Android OS that supports both tablets and smartphones.

At the time, it was a popular offering and it received great reviews from the tech blogosphere. Android 3.0 was especially praised because of its tablet oriented features and how well it performed.

Fast forward one year and it is still a decent offering that will now allow you to have fun with Android 4.0 on a nice 10.1inch display and 3D graphics acceleration. One of the best things about this tablet is that it comes with an HDMI out, which you can easily plug it in to your HDTV and enjoy all your content on brilliant HD. We recommend a wireless HD kit to connect your Motorola Xoom wirelessly to your HD TV or projector.

Over all, with the Android 4.0 update and the 4.0.5 update coming relative soon, this cheap Android tablet is definitely a great tablet to buy right now.


Apple iPhone Rumors: iPhone 5 To Have Larger Display, LTE And Smaller Dock Plug

Apple iPhone 4S 16GB - AT&T - Black

Apple iPhone 4S 16GB - AT&T - Black

A whole week has gone by and it is time for some new iPhone rumors to be collected and shared. This week, the rumor mills have been busy churning out facts about the iPhone 5 being larger than all past iPhones with a larger display. It also apparently have LTE.

Now to root out the believable from the unbelievable — the iPhone might actually come in a 4G LTE version. Now that the phone has been available for a while on Verizon, it makes no sense for the newest iPhone for Verizon to not have LTE. iPhone users are the largest data consumers in the world and a faster data connection would initially spell doom for network stability but it would definitely make the iPhone much more attractive to users. And Verizon will recover their network stability eventually, just as AT&T had to do in their initial iPhone exclusive days marked with frequent downtimes and hiccups.

However, the speculations of a larger display need to be taken with a larger pinch of salt than usual. The iPhone is what defined the genre and so far nobody has been complaining about it being too small. Sure there are 5inch phones on the market (ohhaiGalaxyNote) but that does not mean they are super comfortable to use. In fact, phones that go beyond the 4inch mark begin to get uncomfortable to hold. A corporate user once told me that his 4.6inch phone was too large to handle comfortably with one hand and he might as well lug a small TV around. Sure he was exaggerating but then that about sums up the problem. There IS such a thing as too big when it comes to handheld devices. So if Apple makes this mistake, and I do believe it will be a mistake, they would definitely lost some appeal.

That said, they might actually make the iPhone only slightly larger to fit in a better screen. But 4.6inch sounds a bit far fetched.

Apple news source iMore reports that the displays being shipped for the bext generation iPhone manufacture are of similar size, if not exactly the same, to the current 3.5inch standard size of the iPhone. Other parts being shipped include a LTE radio and a smaller docking port for charging and data transfer. Whether it will be the first Apple device with a mobile Thunderbolt is unknown.

This report is amongst the recent reports that suggest a new, smaller dock that will help save space inside the mobile device for other components such as a bigger battery. The original 30-pin flat connector was designed to make way for thinner iPods. It is now the de-facto for Apple mobile devices

The blog, which has already correctly predicted the recent iPad release, says that the launch schedule is on time for a fall release. This is the usual release cycle for Apple and most of the other iPhones have followed this cycle more or less closely.


Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G: A Quick Overview

Samsung Galaxy S II SA-I9100 Unlocked

Samsung Galaxy S II SA-I9100 Unlocked On Amazon

The Samsung Galaxy S line of phones continues to get great devices on after the other. The latest addition is the Galaxy S Blaze 4G — available on T-Mobile from Select stores, this Android running smartphone has become quite popular with the reviewers and T-Mobile customers alike.

The whole thing starts with the perfectly size 3.97inch display on the Blaze 4G. Looks like Samsung has finally realized that the human hand is not evolving to match the increasing size of the cellphone display, yet. So this size is just right for holding in your hand and a far cry from the Galaxy Note’s 5.3inch size (it’s massive and cannot be comfortably held in one hand).

Adding to the charm of the device is the 4G connection capabilities on T-Mobile, which means faster internet and better streaming (at a premium, of course). The processor is dual-core and hence makes software performance much smoother on the system. The only shortcoming seems to be the amount of unnecessary apps that come with the phone.

Both T-Mobile and Samsung have gone all out to give you what they think are great apps for you to use. Not that everything is useless but we’d rather have the option of easily uninstalling these, which is not the case here. You would definitely like apps like Netflix and Lookout but the rest of the apps like T-Mobile Name-ID, Game Box, T-Mobile Video Chat, etc. are definitely apps that we at least could live without. Samsung’s own Kies apps are useful but then apps that require a download and account sign up to work are simply asking for too much.

The hardware design on the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is standard Samsung fare. You have a square glassy face with rounded corners and a soft touch textured back that loves to collect dust, grime, fingerprints and other available debris for a hobby. However, you can easily wipe it clean without too much hassle.

The display has a resolution of 480×800, which is not amazing but definitely gets the job done. It has a Super AMOLED display, which makes everything pop to life, especially movies, photos and games.

The phone runs on the Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread and not the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Unless you absolutely must have the latest for some reason, that is not much of a deal breaker. There’s a Touch Wiz overlay on the Android OS, which is common for Samsung smartphones with the due exception of the Galaxy Nexus of course.

TouchWiz as an interface has both its positives and negatives. You’ve got to love the extras that it brings with itself and features that Gingerbread does not have otherwise. Plus it adds some much needed color to the otherwise somewhat drab interface. However, on the other side you have the non-serious look of the Touch Wiz that can completely upset you with its somewhat childish appearance.

Overall, this powerful 1.5GHz dual-core phone with 1GB memory and 4G speeds is definitely a good purchase. And if you want something different, there’s always other Galaxy S phones to look at.