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It’s Nexmas!

In case you haven’t heard, in the early hours of this morning Google announced their two new modules in the Nexus Smartphone range – the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P.

The 5 will still be packing a lot of the punch that the 6 will be, but holding out on the alloy case that the 6 will be hosting.

Both phones will be sporting the new material look with Google’s updated OS Mashmellow.

The phones are available for preorder and are due for shipping around the end of October… so for those of us in Australia – we might be lucky to get it by Christmas!

For more information – check out Derek Ross’ post with the leaked presenter notes for the 6P and the Nexus Camera.

Check out Google’s blog post about it all.





Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review

Sony has been making some pretty decent phones, following the trend of big and massive devices. But now, they threw that idea aside and tried another way: a smaller phone, but specifications like a real hero. Can they pack all this high-tech hardware in a little smartphone? Sony thinks they can, and we’ve checked if they got it all right.

Xperia Z1 Compact Review

The Xperia Z1 Compact promises big things in smaller dimensions. It has a 720p 4.3 inch screen. It doesn’t have the 1080p on its specs list, but who needs Full HD anyway on a phone, right? If you put them next to each other, you’ll probably notice the difference, but it’s so little, you shouldn’t be put off just because of this. It still is really crisp, and it has this fine technology called an IPS screen, which gives better viewing angles than other used displays. The compact device delivers in performance too with its Snapdragon 800. This is a first in a small phone, and this alone makes it clear Sony really doesn’t want to make compromises. It does everything you throw at it smoothly. 1080p videos are displayed smoothly, you don’t surf the web, you fly over it, and gaming is handled with the best graphics. They packed NFC and 4G in there too. It’s really impressive for this little device. The camera might be a selling point too. It packs a huge amount of megapixels, 20.7MP to be exact. Photos snapped are beautiful, it’s their best camera yet and somehow they packed it this small chassis. It’s great in low light; pictures are almost always clean, balanced and detailed. People who use their phone as their always-on-hands camera won’t be disappointed.

Xperia Z1 Compact Review

With all this power, we of course already hear everyone asking: what about the battery life? The Z1 Compact houses a 2300mAh battery, which is considerably smaller than its big brother’s. To our surprise, even in this department the device excels. Battery life is amazing; it outperforms a few of the biggest phones out there from HTC, Apple and Samsung. Sony has something under their sleeve here, and they call it Stamina Mode, which will shut down data whenever your screen isn’t on. With this feature, it will give your phone a whole day of juice. Besides these features, what I liked most is that the Xperia Z1 Compact is waterproof and comes in a range of colours. It’d be difficult for me to chose between the black and silver, while I wouldn’t mind keeping the keeping the pink one with me  as well. Let’s take a look at the spec quickly:

  • 720p, 4.3 inch Screen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
  • 2GB RAM
  • 20.7MP Camera, 1080p Video Capture
  • 16GB Internal Storage, up to 64GB with microSD
  • NFC Enabled
  • 4G Enabled
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2300mAh Battery
  • Android 4.3 (upgradeable to KitKat in future)

Xperia Z1 Compact Review

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact doesn’t have the best screen out there, but it’s a fine display nonetheless. Hence the name, it’s a compact device, but it packs the best specs of today; a processor that performs like it should, a camera with a lot of megapixels that shoots pictures the way you want them to look, and a battery life that won’t disappoint, even for the heavier users out there. In short: this is a small smartphone that really deserves the title ‘smart’. Sony promised a small, powerful device, we say they delivered one.

Stay tuned for more tech reviews from Brad and Me. And, as always, special thanks to Kevin for his support.

Amaya, Gifu, Japan

HTC One Max Review

The HTC One Max is HTC’s jump to the giant Smartphone market. The One Max takes all the good things from the HTC One, but carries a few extra features, which we’ll discuss later on. Of course, a bigger phone means heavier and bulkier. Is the HTC One Max worth its price? Let’s find out together.

HTC One Max Review

Let’s first talk about the design. The HTC One Max is actually large and pretty heavy, compared to other devices. It has a 5.9 inch screen and weighs 7.65 ounces (or 217g). The build quality has some issues; I like the HTC One much more because it had a singular, amazingly crafted block of aluminum. Its bigger brother replaces this with a white polycarbonate band that keeps parts together. The result just isn’t as pretty. The size of the phone isn’t really well-designed either; other phone try to compensate with the tiniest bezels, but the HTC One Max doesn’t do this at all, it just proudly emphasizes its big front speakers on the top and bottom.

The first of its extra features that I mentioned is the fingerprint scanner. It’s not like ‘that other phone’s scanner’, but thankfully it also works. It’s not always accurate, but if you swipe in the right way it should detect if it’s actually you or not. The worst thing about it is that you don’t really know where to swipe to use the scanner. You can’t feel its presence, so if change your grip, you’ll have to search for it again. A neat feature here is that you can use different fingers for other functions. For example, you could use your middle finger to open a specific app, another finger to unlock and so on.

HTC One Max Review

Some of the specifications of the HTC One Max are rather impressive, like the 3.300mAh battery it stocks. It easily gives you a full day of heavy use, which can’t be said of a lot of devices, so that might be something to think about. The Power Saver clocks down the CPU, turns off data connection while the screen is turned off, reduces brightness and turns off the vibration. Naturally, it has a 1080p screen, which is still the best in its class for sure. The Boomspeakers really do deliver the best sound, perfect for watching your favorite video content. The camera captures pictures in 4MP and 1080p videos. 4MP might sound a bit low resolution, but HTC has its UltraPixel technology. The basic idea tells us that less pixels on the sensor gives better performance in low light environments. The stills it takes aren’t bad, but it could be better. It’s just a mediocre camera, and we think HTC should have tried to make it something special here. The front shooter is 2.1MP, and also 1080p for video. The device supports NFC and the battery efficient Bluetooth 4.0. It has plenty of RAM, 2GB to be specific, and is equipped with the Snapdragon 600 CPU. This means the One Max is just an addition to HTC’s devices, not a new flagship device. The Snapdragon 600 isn’t the best there is, but we can’t really complain, it does its job rather well.

The HTC One Max has a massive, but great, 1080p display. It houses pretty decent specs, but not the best of the best. The camera could have had some extra work, but it’s really fast and packs a whole lot of features. The speakers are amazing! Battery life is the best. Unfortunately the device is a bit heavy, and the fingerprint scanner isn’t as easy to use as it should.

HTC One Max Review

So for the most part, it’s not really a big upgrade over the HTC One, but it does have some pretty great features that might be enough to get you over to a store and get yourself into the giant phone hype of today.

As usual, many thanks to Kevin for all his support, and to you all for reading. Stay tuned for more tech reviews from Brad and me.  Until next time, happy new year to you all. Let’s hope we all can give this world a better 2014.

Amaya Ai,
Gifu, Japan

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Review

The competition on the smartphone market has become inflexible as each manufacturer tries to outperform the others with their improved hardware and features. Adding to this delight Sony has recently announced their new Xperia Z Ultra also known as Togari. Before sharing my views on this phone, let’s take a peekon its specifications:

  • 6.4-inch display size
  • 1080×1920 resolution
  • 2.2GHz quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8MP rear Camera
  • 2MP front camera
  • 16GB internal Memory
  • Expandable up to 64GB
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 3000mAh battery Source

Xperia Z Ultra

Big screen, Big Entertainment! That’s the motto of Sony’s new Xperia Z Ultra. A slim, lightweight design, it has the world’s largest full HD smartphone display and the thinnest too. Among the many large-screen smartphones, Xperia Z Ultra is the only waterproof phone. It also comes with a Bluetooth headset (so you can use it safely, even on the road).This accessory features its own OLED display,it supports NFC, FM radio with RDS and can be used for listening to your music library. The Xperia Z Ultra will come in Black, White and Purple.Sadly, Sony couldn’t reveal the exact release date and price yet of the upcoming Z Ultra. However, it has been said to release sometime within the third quarter of the year.

The Xperia Z Ultra’s design is based on Sony’s familiar OmniBalance philosophy (also seen in the Xperia Z). It has a thickness of 6.5mm, making it an incredibly slim phone.Like stated before, it comes with a massive 6.4 inch screen (‘the bigger, the better’ seems to bethe fashion now). The screen is a TFT display with a Full HD resolution(1080×1920) andfeatures shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass. It’s the first smartphone which has Sony’s Triluminos Technology built-in (unveiled at last CES). The new Triluminos technology reproduces natural rich colours and optimizes contrastwhich makes everything the phone display look amazing. It also comes with a feature called X-Reality for mobile, which analyses each image and based on that, it will reproduce lacking pixels, which in turn, of course, bumps up the quality immensely, providing you with the sharpest videos and maximum clarity for your images.

The Xperia Z Ultra comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 Qualcomm processor (2.2GHz clock rate), which is definitely more than enough for any current mobile app. The smartphone will come packed with the latest Android OS, 4.2 Jelly Bean, which enables the popular Google Now feature and lots more.
An extra feature worth mentioning here is that with the new smartphone you’ll be able to use any pencil to write and sketch on its super responsive screen, which will certainly be appealing to some of you artists out there.

Sony isn’t planning on letting the Xperia Z Ultra lack on any features, so the connectivity hardware is pretty much a complete package:

  • 4G
  • LTE
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11
  • microUSB v2.0

As you can see listed above, the phone is LTE enabled, which will make it superfast, whether you’re on WIFI or a mobile network (LTE peaks at around 300 Mbit/s download speed). It’s also NFC enabled (which can be used to pair with the included NFC/Bluetooth headset).Naturally, it has the newest Bluetooth, version 4.0. Connecting it to your computer and charging is done with a microUSB.

The phone features a 8MP rear camera with the Exmor RS Sensor. The front snapper is 2MP. Since it is a waterproof phone, you’ll also be able to take pictures underwater, which will give you, adventurers, a new way of showing off your new holiday to your family and friends. The only missing feature here is a LED flash, which will make it hard to take nice pictures in lessbadly lit places.

The Xperia Z Ultra has 2GB of RAM, which seems to be the new standard these days, and will be used to make smooth processing possible. It has 16GB of internal memory out of the box, but you do have the option to expand this all the way up to 64GB with a microSD card.

Xperia Z Ultra is Sony’s newest flagship smartphone and it’s clearly built with love. It’s very well equipped, pretty much all available features are integrated (except for a LED flash), it’s very slim, with a full HDscreen, dustand waterproof, and comes with a convenient Bluetooth headset in the box. Nevertheless, this gadget isn’t for everyone, especially because of the large dimensions and its price, making it a phone for people that don’t mind paying extra for a quality product.

Order Sony Xperia Z C6602 Unlocked Phone with 5 inch HD Display and 1.5GHz Quad-Core Processor--U.S. Warranty (Black)

Many thanks to Kevin for the info and Alex for the proofread. Thanks to you all for reading. Stay tune for more tech reviews.

Amaya Ai, TechWebcast
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