This is Samsung's 2013 flagship Android smartphone. Yes, you could call it an evolutionary device, but the new features (love 'em or hate 'em) are more than evolutionary. When a phone watches you and responds to your movements, that's something new and exciting. Perhaps it's a revolutionary smartphone trapped in an evolutionary casing? The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 5" full HD Super AMOLED display, a 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 quad core CPU with 2 gigs of RAM and an excellent 13 megapixel camera.
The HTC One has the perfect storm of smartphone features, from its fast and brand new Snapdragon 600 quad core CPU to its stunning full HD 4.7" display and impressive UltraPixel camera that laughs at darkness. Then there's the striking aluminum casing that gives the iPhone 5 a run for your money and excellent BoomSound stereo speakers up front where they belong. Better yet, it's available on three of the top four US carriers and HTC sells an unlocked GSM edition for those who like their autonomy and unlocked bootloaders.
If you love the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 but prefer something more portable, the new Galaxy Note 8.8 is for you. This 8" Android tablet has all the features of the larger Note 10.1 tablet, including the S Pen with Wacom digitizer, a very fast 1.6GHz Exynos quad core CPU, 2 gigs of RAM and Samsung's custom software for multi-tasking, playing video in a floating window and more. The only drawback? The price. But if you need the precise digital pen, it's worth the price of admission.
The Sony Xperia Z is Sony's flagship Android smartphone, and this time they really mean it. Previous Sony and Sony Ericsson Android smartphones have always lacked truly all around high end specs, but the Xperia Z has all the right ingredients. Of course, it's up against some very challenging competition with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. The 0.31" thick Xperia Z is clad in glass, front and back. It has a quad core 1.5GHz Snapdragon CPU, a 5" full HD Mobile Bravia 2 display and an excellent 13 megapixel main camera.
It's hard to beat free, and the LG Lucid 2 is free on contract with Verizon Wireless. For your money (so to speak) you get a smartphone running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on a 1.2GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus CPU with a gig of RAM and 8 gigs of internal storage. The phone has a sharp 4.3" IPS qHD display, a microSD card slot and a removable battery. The phone has a 5MP rear camera with HDR that can shoot 1080p video and the usual LTE 4G,WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.
The Sony Xperia ZL is the more affordable and slightly smaller sibling to the Xperia Z flagship Android smartphone. In fact, Sony claims it's the smallest 5" full HD smartphone on the market, and we believe they're right. For a phone with a very large display it's slightly shorter than the 4.7" HTC One and both narrower and shorter than Sony's own Xperia Z. In terms of internals and display, the ZL is identical to the Z, but it costs a bit less because it has a plastic back and isn't waterproof like the Z. It runs on a1.5GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with 2 gigs of RAM and it has a very good 13 megapixel camera.
Samsung's new Series 7 Ultra is that series' first Ultrabook, and it's a winner. The 13.3" Series 7 Ultra features an all-aluminum casing, a gorgeous full HD 1080p display with 10 point multi-touch and the usual Intel Core i5 CPU, 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gig SSD drive. What sets it apart from the Ultrabook crowd are the upgradable internals like RAM (up to 16 gigs) and a standard mSATA SSD drive. Sweet. In this review, we look at the US Samsung Series 7 Ultra NP740U3E that's available at Best Buy for $999. It has Intel HD 4000 graphics, while some overseas models are available with low to mid range AMD Radeon graphics.
The Asus Zenbook Prime line of Ultrabooks have been top sellers and top picks since the Zenbook UX31E came out in the fall of 2011. With each generation, Asus perfects the Zenbook and the new Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch is their crowning achievement. This is an all black version of the Zenbook Prime UX31A we know and love with a full HD IPS 13.3" touch screen. The slim, tapered design, elegant aluminum casing with spun metal lid, good backlit keyboard and dual band WiFi plus Bluetooth are here along with an improved trackpad and Windows 8. The UX31A Touch runs on an Intel Core i5 CPU with 4 gigs of dual channel RAM and a 128 gig SSD.
The Dell Latitude 6430u is a sweet business Ultrabook that may be a wee bit heavy but it has two things we sorely miss in the skinniest Ultrabooks: a removable battery and easily upgradable internals. The Latitude 6430u is the svelte cousin of the Latitude E series and it weighs 3.7 lbs. and is 0.82" thick, though it looks thinner thanks to tapering sides. It's available with third generation Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3, i5 and i7 ULV CPUs with Intel HD 4000 graphics. It's a great looking laptop with Dell's soft touch black finish, a magnesium frame and an excellent backlit keyboard.
The little ThinkPad from Lenovo is hard to beat if you're looking for a quality 10.1" Windows 8 tablet with a sturdy design that's nonetheless extremely light at 1.29 pounds and slim at 0.34" The tablet is available with a Wacom digitizer and digital pen that fits nicely into a silo in the tablet, and Lenovo offers a plethora of lovely accessories including a Bluetooth keyboard with stand, custom cases and docks. The ThinkPad Tablet 2 runs Windows 8 on the usual 1.8GHz Intel Atom dual core Clovertrail CPU with 2 gigs of RAM and 64 gigs of internal storage. It has a capable rear 8 megapixel camera and is available as a WiFi-only model or with 3G/4G LTE that's compatible with AT&T. Battery life- awesome.
We've spent two weeks torture testing Asus' new affordable 10" Android tablet, and we like everything expect the name. For $299 you get a very solid product that doesn't offer the latest bleeding edge specs, but it's all good stuff like a gamer-friendly NVidia Tegra 3 quad core CPU with GeForce graphics, a sharp 1280 x 800 IPS display, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth and a solid GPS. It has a front 1.2MP camera for video chat and a decent 5MP rear camera that's a bit picky about lighting. Even better the tablet has an SDXC microSD card slot and USB host so you can use game controllers and USB flash drives. The tablet is just 9.9mm thick and weighs 1.29 pounds. If you're on a budget and don't want a limited tablet like the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" and don't need the optional keyboard dock on the slightly more expensive Asus Transformer Pad TF300, it's worth a look.
The all new BlackBerry OS 10 is here on RIM's first new phone in quite some time. The BlackBerry Z10 is a slab touchscreen smartphone with a 4.2" IPS screen running at 1280 x 768. It has a removable battery and microSD card slot, an increasingly rare set of features. The phone runs on a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with a gig of RAM and 16 gigs of storage. It has a 2MP front camera and rear 8MP camera with LED flash and backside illuminiated sensor. The Z10 is fast, fun and stable: BlackBerry is off to a good start. In this review we look at the AT&T and unlocked versions of the Z10.
The Aspire S7 is a member of Acer's high line of Ultrabooks and it looks and feels every bit the part. The S7 is available in 11.6" and 13.3" models, and the 11.6" has a solid aluminum alloy lid while the 13" model has a white glass lid. We take a look at the Acer Aspire S7-191, the 11.6" model here. The 2.29 lb. Ultrabook has a 1920 x 1080 capacitive touchscreen with 178 degree viewing angles. It runs on on Intel Core i5 ULV CPU with 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD, yet it's no larger or heavier than a slate Windows 8 tablet. Acer includes a clip-on secondary 3 cell battery, case, VGA adapter, USB to Ethernet adapter and a Bluetooth mouse in the box for $1,199.
I wasn't expecting much from the HP Envy x2 transformer style Windows 8 tablet. So far, these Intel Atom tablets have been a bit sluggish in desktop mode and the keyboards have felt like afterthoughts. The Envy x2 when docked to the included keyboard dock looks, feels and acts just like an 11.6" ultraportable laptop. And the 1.5 lb. tablet itself is light and spritely enough to enjoy solo. The HP Envy x2 runs Windows 8 32 bit on a 1.8GHz dual core Intel Atom with the usual 2 gigs of RAM and a 64 gig internal flash drive. The all aluminum casing on both tablet and dock are fitting of the Envy line and it looks and feels like a classy product.
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