When people mention Android, typically it’s all about humongous smart phones and how much processing cores it can pack. That is normally the trend for the high end flagship models today with 5″ screens being a standard benchmark today. However there are those who seek practical sized smart phones. Something that offers decent performance without having their phones outgrowing their palms.
This is where the Acer CloudMobile S500 comes in, which is a mid-spec device that strives to create a balance between performance and size. Read on for the full review of the CloudMobile S500 to find out how it fares on a day to day usage.
Following our previous Camera Shootout for Videos, we have done some sample shots during the day. This time we tested the HTC One, BlackBerry Z10, Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5 & Sony Xperia Z. The Sony Xperia ZL was dropped this time as it produces the same result as its water resistant sibling.
Among the smart phones we have tested, only HTC One and Sony Xperia Z offers native HDR Video recording. It is worth pointing out that the Nokia Lumia 920 is rather steady thanks to its optical image stabiliser.
Head after the break to view the samples. Don’t forget to change the resolution to HD to watch it in higher quality.
|Android, BlackBerry, Blackberry OS, HTC, iOS, iPhone, Mobile Devices, Mobile OS, Nokia, Product review, Sony, Windows Phone|
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We are into our 2nd week with the BlackBerry Z10 and we can say that it is a refreshing reboot of the BlackBerry smart phone experience. The BlackBerry Z10 is an all touch screen device and it uses a lot of gestures to move around. Initially, we expected the learning curve to be steep for the all new operating system but surprisingly we managed to picked it up rather naturally.
To recap on the specs, the Z10 runs on a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 2MP front facing camera and a 8MP main camera. The display is one of the highest pixel density for this size at 355ppi on its 4.2″ display. In terms of resolution, it pushes 1280×768 pixels. It also comes with NFC compatibility and the removal back cover gives you access to its 1,800mAh removal battery, microSD expansion and micro SIM slot. In case you’re wondering, transferring photos to another Android smart phone via NFC is rather seamless.
Using the BlackBerry Z10 is quite a breeze with the BlackBerry Hub, which acts as one stop centre for calls, SMS, BBM, Email, Twitter and Facebook updates is stored in a unified manner. The middle pane houses the multi-tasking view where all the running apps are displayed in a 2X2 grid. This is accessible by swiping from bottom to top in any situation.
While swiping upwards, this gives a peek on the notifications on the BlackBerry Hub. To access the hub directly, you’ll just need to swipe up then move to the right in an upside down L motion. Settings are accessible by swiping downwards. These gestures are better illustrated in the hands-on video above.
How are we liking the BlackBerry Z10? It is one of the freshest approach to mobile right now and certainly a big step forward. We like the fact that you can wake the screen by just swiping upwards in sleep mode. However this may pose a problem of accidental screen unlocks in the pocket but it is good to know that there’s an option to disable gesture while the phone is in sleep mode.
Those who are very well used to the tactile feel of a QWERTY keyboard might be better off with the upcoming BlackBerry Q10 which is launching end of this month. That doesn’t mean that the Z10 keyboard is bad but in fact it is pretty responsive and we liked how it is able to predict your next possible word like SwiftKey. Switching to numbers and symbols is accessible easily by simply flicking the keyboard downwards.
Now onto the downsides. There are some software refinements that the Z10 is lacking in order to make this the perfect device. For example the camera isn’t always ready to take pictures if you have shared or viewed a photo previously. Normally when you launch the camera app, you would naturally expect it to be ready to take the shot. On the Z10, you might end up looking at your last photo or in the sharing app if you didn’t close them right after taking your last picture. Limited number of native apps is a hurdle for the Z10 but it is good to know that selected apps from Android such as Instagram can be side loaded.
Watch out for our full hands-on review coming soon.
Most Android players right now are focused on their flagship devices but what about those seeking for something in the middle? Now we have the Acer CloudMobile S500 which is a capable contender in the mid-spec range that’s priced at RM1,299. It is powered with a respectable dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 processor and 1GB of RAM. On board there’s 8GB storage but it is expandable with microSD. The biggest highlight is its 4.3″ IPS display which pushes a rather high resolution 1280×720 pixels. This gives a rather high density of 342ppi which is even higher than the iPhone 5 or the Galaxy S III.
Design wise, it feels rather compact in the hands and it does feel like a smaller 4″ device. The appearance looks different from the usual all black design and the S500 stands out with its curved upper and lower ends which is wrapped with a nice textured plastic back cover. Operating the S500 is rather smooth thanks to its plain vanilla Android without any of those heavy customised skins. However it isn’t that all bare as Acer has added some nice touches such as a customised pull down notification bar which offers quick access to setting toggles and alarm. Acer is no slouch when it comes to software updates as the S500 is currently running on a recent Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
In the photography segment, it comes with a 8MP shooter that is capable of shooting 10 frames per second while the front facing 0.7MP camera is capable of shooting 720p videos. Over at the back, the S500 also comes with NFC capability where you can beam contacts and files across seamlessly. The Achilles heel of the S500 would be the battery which is a rather small 1,460mAh that lasts about 10 hours in our heavy usage. For moderate users, you might be able to get more hours and there’s also a power saving mode to stretch that even furhter.
Watch the hands-on video above. We will be posting a full review shortly.
For the second year in a row, Sony has been the first to release its flagship device in a brand new year. It was about a year ago when Sony had announced its Xperia S, which dropped its “Ericsson” name and featured its first ever dual-core smart phone device. It was a time where Sony Xperia is playing catch up with its rivals with a unique transparent belt design and a high density 720p display which remained unchallenged for a significant duration.
Fast forward into 2013, Sony has a greater challenge to face and expectations are much more demanding than before. Build quality becomes a growing concern as plastic are being scorned upon. In the last quarter of 2012, Sony is seen experimenting with more water resistance on higher end models which previously was limited with low spec hardware.
With just a limited combination of alphabets available for its Xperia line up, Sony had decided to jump to the very end – The Xperia Z, dubbed as the best of Sony in a smart phone. Read on for the full review.
We managed to get a hands-on of the new Sony Xperia Z from its Singapore event recently. From the short period of time we have, we are overall impressed with the new device. Firstly the build quality of the Xperia Z is rather impressive and is probably one of the best we’ve seen for a phone.
In our short hands-on experience with the device, the screen refresh rate is impressive but colours and blacks tends to be washed out. It appears that there’s some issues with contrast but probably Sony would have refine these imperfections once it is commercially available. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any sample photos due to limited time and less than ideal lighting conditions.
In other news, Sony Malaysia has confirmed that the Xperia ZL which was left out from the initial availability announcement will be coming to Malaysia after all. So for those who are wiling to sacrifice water/dust resistance for a smaller dimensions, the Xperia ZL would be your option.
Head after the break for the Xperia Z’s sample HDR Video taken in low light condition.
Sony has started 2012 with a bang with its line up of Sony NXT series. The Sony Xperia S which was first announced in January broke new grounds with its 4.3” display that pushes a high 1280×720 resolution. That’s a massive 342 ppi (pixels per inch) which was the highest pixel density at that time. It also marks Sony’s foray into dual-core processors and its refreshed mobile brand that dropped the “Ericsson” name.
When the Xperia S was launched, its other cousin the Xperia ion which is Sony’s first LTE device was only available at selected markets. Fast forward 8 months later, the Xperia ion is finally available for Malaysia that now comes in international HSPA+ variant. Read on to find out more of this Xperia S’s bigger brother.
In an ever changing environment, hybrid devices have been appearing in all sorts of shapes and sizes. When companies tried to combine the tablet and phone, we’ve seen phones that try to mimic a tablet and tablets that come with phone functionality. There’s no standard formula of converging the 2 together but ASUS has taken a radical approach in offering phone, tablet and “notebook” form factor in a single integrated solution.
The result is the ASUS PadFone which is their next evolution following its success of the ASUS Transformer tablet series. The Eee Pad transformer tablets is probably today’s best example of a seamless tablet + keyboard form factor which started the wave of hybrid tablet designs in the market.
Now let’s get right into this unique 3-in-1 hybrid phone tablet hardware.
The newly available Samsung Galaxy Note II is by some margin, the best Android device in the market right now. Here’s a quick look at some of the interesting features of the device which is demonstrated with a hands-on video.
Retailing at RM2,299, the Galaxy Note II comes with a massive 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED display, a quad-core 1.6GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and the unit we are getting comes with 16GB of storage. While the device has gone bigger in screen size with top spec hardware, the Galaxy Note II comes with additional new features that makes the large screen and stylus combo more productive.
Among the new features include a new enhanced S-Pen with AirView, Smart Rotation and multi-view support which lets you view 2 apps side by side. It also inherited the new features from the Galaxy S III such as Smart Stay and various gesture based actions.
Do watch this space as we will be having an in-depth review soon.
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Being a middle child usually comes with its own dilemma. This is what the HTC One S faces when it was launched in Malaysia. The big brother HTC One X has being in the spotlight as the flagship product while the HTC One V is a lower entry device that rides on the popular iconic design of earlier HTC models.
Despite being a betweener device with 4.3″ display, the HTC One S still has something to shout about. It is the thinnest HTC smart phone yet at only 7.8mm. While the big brother One X uses polycarbonate plastic, it uses aluminium just like the smaller HTC One V. So does the One S stand a chance of being a recommended device from the line up? Read on to find out.