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Nomad ChargeKey review: a must-have iPhone charger for your keychain

ChargeKey_hero-3When it comes to my phone, I’m not a big accessories guy. I own a spare charging cable and way too many cases, but no crazy docks, speakers, camera lenses, alarm clocks, styli, or game controllers. However, after spending a week testing Nomad’s ChargeKey, it has become the one iPhone accessory I will never leave home without.

Simply put, the ChargeKey is a tiny Lightning cable for your iPhone 5 or 5S. It’s designed and shaped like a house key, and it’s meant to live on your keychain so you always have it with you. It’s an emergency charger for those panic moments when you’re out and about and your battery hits the red. On one end is a standard USB to plug into a computer, external battery pack, or even a wall charger, and on the other end is an Apple-certified Lightning connector. Plug the ChargeKey into your laptop, connect the Lightning end to your phone, and voila – you’re charging. Plain and simple. The ChargeKey also works with most other Lightning-equipped Apple devices, including the iPhone 5C, the iPad Air, and iPad mini.

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Mini Review: HTC Windows Phone 8X

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Mini Reviews are a new review format from Current Editorials that allows us to take a look at a selection of interesting gadgets and present you with the details you care about most in a bite-sized article.

HTC and Microsoft partnered up this year to launch the premiere Windows Phone 8 handset, the HTC Windows Phone 8X. It’s running the latest Windows Phone 8 software, and features top-notch, stand-out hardware design. Microsoft and HTC are promoting the 8X as the Windows Phone 8 handset, but can it live up to that title? And more importantly, is it worth your hard earned cash?

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Mini Review: LG Intuition (Verizon Wireless)

Mini Reviews is a new feature from Current Editorials that allows us to take a look at a selection of interesting gadgets and bring you the important details in a short and fast format.

If you ever thought, “I could really use a phone that I can’t use with one hand,” well, you’re in luck. The LG Intuition is a monstrous device, checking in with what feels like an underrated 5-inch screen. Now, you may be saying, “the Galaxy Note is bigger than that!” and it is – but what kills this Android-powered device is the aspect ratio — a ridiculous 4:3. It’s like holding a brick to your face. Here are the details.

Display: The display is quite beautiful, with a 1024 x 768 5-inch screen coming in at 256ppi, but the 4:3 aspect ratio damages what could have been a fantastic display. Sure, the aspect ratio is great for web browsing and reading text, but when you get into apps that aren’t built for a 4:3 display, they get stretched to the brink of recognition. If you want the LG Intuition strictly for screen real estate, get a Galaxy Note.

it’s 3.56-inches wide, or about the size of an average sidewalk brick

Hardware: Let’s start with the good first. The LG Intuition has some great hardware — Android 4.0 (ICS), 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of memory, 4G LTE, and a decent 8MP camera that records in full 1080p, along with the front-facing 1.3MP camera. The bad — it’s 3.56-inches wide, or about the size of an average sidewalk brick.

Software: The skin that comes with the LG Intuition is downright awful. ICS looks amazing stock, so LG decided to go change all of it. The skin is useable, but it doesn’t look good. One thing LG did get right is the keyboard. If you text or type a lot of emails, this keyboard will be your best friend. I type relatively fast on any keyboard, but the lack of mistakes I had on the Intuition separates this one from the pack. As usual with any Verizon device not named the iPhone, there is bloatware, and a lot of it.

There is no real reason to buy this phone

Performance: With a 2,080 mAh removable battery, the Intuition easily made it all day with a normal workload. The LG Intuition comes with a stylus — which while not as great as the S-pen, works pretty good. If you’re an artist, or enjoy taking handwritten notes, this is your best bet on Verizon. Calls were awful. People complained about the call quality, and said it sounded miles better when I switched to a mid-range Motorola device. For a phone that comes in at $199, that doesn’t bode well.

There is no real reason to buy this phone. It’s horrible as a phone, mediocre as a drawing or note-taking device when compared to the Galaxy Note, and while it’s a good for viewing text, that’s not a good enough reason to spend $200 plus a two-year commitment. But, if it’s been your lifelong dream to have a device half the size of your head as a phone, or you’ve been searching for that perfect smartphone/weapon combo — go ahead and get it. It fits that criteria perfectly.

Display 7

Hardware 4

Software 5

Performance 6

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Nokia Lumia 900 Review Round-Up

Image Credit: The Verge

The Lumia 900 is meant to be the saving grace of both Nokia and Microsoft. The phone herald’s Nokia’s true return to the North American phone market, while acting as the halo device of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. The device has garnered a lot of attention in the weeks since its announcement, but does it live up to the hype?

We hope to publish our own Lumia 900 review very soon, but for now you can check out these reviews from around the web in our Lumia 900 Review Round-Up!

Joshua Topolsky, The Verge
“I think Nokia made a lot of the right decisions, but it’s almost impossible to move beyond some of Windows Phone’s shortcomings this late in the game. Try as I might to envision the Lumia 900 as my daily driver, the math never added up. There’s just too much missing, or too much that feels unfulfilling.”

Walt Mossberg, All Things D
“If you’re looking for a $100, high-end smartphone, or are a Windows Phone fan who has been waiting for better hardware, the Lumia 900 is worth considering. But the phone had just too many drawbacks in my tests to best its chief competitors.”

Joseph Volpe, Engadget
“Much ado about nothing? Not quite, the Lumia 900 has its strengths, coming mainly in the form of optics, but it’s the overall package and performance that’s simply too plain, too ordinary, too dependable to merit the haughty flagship halo it aspires to emanate.”

David Pogue, The New York Times
“This Nokia phone and its Microsoft operating system are truly lovely — more beautiful than the iPhone or Android software, and, for most functions, just as powerful. But is that enough to make you willing to sacrifice important apps like Scrabble, Pandora and Dropbox?”

Jessica Dolcourt, CNET
“It won’t outsell the Samsung Galaxy S II or iPhone 4S (which together gobble up 95 percent of all smartphone profits), and the design isn’t strictly new, but the Lumia 900 is nevertheless a successful handset for the Microsoft-Nokia partnership.”

Adam Lein, PocketNow
“I think it’s going to be difficult to find a reason not to buy one of these if you’re on AT&T and are up for a contract renewal. Nokia has always been known as the best mobile phone manufacturer in the world. The Lumia 900 is here to remind you of that.”

Joanna Stern, ABC News
“For $99.99, the Lumia 900 is a superb value. But even if the phone wasn’t just under $100, it would be considered a great smartphone. It has a striking design, beautiful display, solid camera, fast data speeds, and a very clean and easy-to-use operating system.”

Jordan Crook, TechCrunch
“All in all, I think this phone has great potential. It’s quick, elegant, brings something fresh to the table by way of Windows Phone, and is going for a ridiculously cheap price point.”

Marin Perez, IntoMobile
“The Lumia 900 is probably the best Windows Phone out there right now, as it sports a stylish design, a refreshing user interface, super-fast 4G LTE service and a really nice camera. On the downside, the app selection in the Windows Phone Marketplace is a bit limited and there are legitimate concerns about the update schedule.”

Todd Haselton, TechnoBuffalo
“I’ve said consumers should walk into an AT&T store and get their hands on a Windows Phone device just to see how solid the platform is. That statement is even truer now that the Lumia 900 is available. It’s the perfect marriage of Windows Phone and beautiful, first-class hardware all in a super affordable $99 package.”

Casey Johnston, Ars Technica
“If you don’t need to take cost into account and are a power user looking for the best phone in terms of performance and design, you’re probably going to walk on from the Lumia 900 to greener iOS and Android pastures.”

Devindra Hardawar, Venture Beat
“The Lumia 900 is the best Windows Phone yet, and it’s the first phone I’ve seen to truly unleash the potential of the platform. If you’ve been at all interested in adopting Windows Phone, it’s the only option worth considering at this point.”

Peter Pachal, Mashable
“This is the device that Microsoft needs to show off how good Windows Phone can be. Sure, you don’t get Instagram (yet), but the world of possibility it opens is unlike anything else out there.”

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HTC One X and One S Review Round-Up

Image Credit: The Verge

HTC’s One Series represents an entirely new philosophy for the company. Gone is the overly complicated HTC Sense of the past, replaced with the newly streamlined Sense 4.0, and beautifully designed new hardware brings with it the promise of a smaller, more focused product line.

While we hope to provide our own thoughts on HTC’s One series soon, for now we offer you this convenient HTC One X and One S Review Round-up.

(Editor’s Note: these HTC One X reviews look at the international quad-core Tegra 3 version. AT&T in the U.S. will launch an LTE variant with a dual-core Snapdragon processor).
 

HTC One X

Chris Ziegler, The Verge
“…the One X isn’t just one of the best Android phones I’ve ever used — it’s one of the best mobile devices I’ve ever used, period. Seriously, HTC has done something pretty special with the One line, and I’m encouraged that Peter Chou and company appear to be back on the right track.”

Myriam Joire, Engadget
“There’s absolutely no doubt that the One X is a masterpiece of an Android device: it obliterates pretty much all of its competitors by giving even the mighty Galaxy Nexus a run for its money. HTC’s really crafted something special here, with a brilliant combination of branding, industrial design and user experience.”

Chris Davies, Slashgear
“The new flagship is distinctively designed and well constructed, has an admirable camera and a solid screen. The Tegra 3 chipset is capable of both speed and endurance depending on what’s demanded of it, particularly gaming and HD video, though the non-expandable storage could prove limiting if your connection isn’t up to streaming from cloud storage such as Dropbox.”

Matt Brian, The Next Web
“Having had just over a week to play with it, there is no doubt in my mind that HTC is back on form with the One X. It has a few minor annoyances (mainly software related) but it’s a supremely fast phone that gets the job done whilst looking good doing it.”

Phil Nickinson, Android Central
“Indeed, the HTC One X has set the bar high for this new generation of Android phones. That bar’s always going to inch higher as the year goes on. But for now, HTC’s back in the saddle and is riding high.”

Chris Hall, Pocket-lint
“With the HTC One X we were prepared not to be disappointed, but that isn’t the case. HTC’s attention to detail in design has created a device that looks great as well as being practical to use. Yes, it’s large, but it works as a large device and the display is fantastic.”

Todd Hasselton, TechnoBuffalo
“The HTC One X is without question the creme de la creme of Android phones right now. It’s the phone Android users have been waiting for. There wasn’t a single issue that I can think of that disappointed me.”

Vincent Nguyen, Android Community
“It’s too soon to say whether the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 will prove the One X’s undoing, but one thing is for sure: HTC has thrown down the gauntlet with its new flagship, and the One X sets the bar high.”

 

Image Credit: Engadget

HTC One S

Vlad Savov, The Verge
“Simultaneously one of the thinnest and most powerful phones on the market – but held back by HTC’s addiction to Sense.”

Mat Smith, Engadget
“With a tactile finish and enough power to go toe-to-toe with HTC’s quad-core entrant, it comes down to whether you’re willing to trade a technically weaker screen for a noticeable price difference and better battery life. It’s a decision we’d prefer not to make.”

Chris Davies, Slashgear
“The quadcore One X will gain the lion’s share of attention, yes, but the One S is the mainstream device that should go a long way to changing HTC’s fortunes in 2012.”

Michael Oryl, MobileBurn
“Though the HTC One S might find itself overshadowed by its quad-core endowed brother, the One X, this device has nothing to be ashamed of. It features a far more hand-friendly design, is available with a cool micro-arc oxidized aluminum body, and makes use of the exact same software and 8 megapixel camera as the X.”

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iPad (2012) Review Round-Up

Image Credit: The Verge

Apple’s new iPad launches in less than 24 hours – March 16th at 8 AM local time – but the embargo on reviews has just lifted. The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky and All Things D’s Walt Mossberg were first out of the gate last night, and plenty more have followed suit this morning. The general consensus: the Retina display is amazing, the battery life is great, and the new iPad remains the only competitive tablet on the market.

We’ve collected a cornucopia of reviews right here for your convenience, and we will add more as they appear online.

Joshua Topolsky, The Verge:
“Let’s be clear: the new iPad is in a class by itself, just as its predecessor was. As the latest product in a lineage of devices that defined this category, the iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition. With the addition of the Retina display, LTE, more memory, and a more powerful CPU, Apple has absolutely held onto the iPad’s market position as the dominant player and product to beat.”

Walt Mossberg, All Things D:
“Since it launched in 2010, the iPad has been the best tablet on the planet. With the new, third-generation model, it still holds that crown.”

David Pogue, The New York Times:
“The new iPad doesn’t introduce anything that we haven’t seen before, either in the iPhone or in rival tablets. There’s no Steve Jobs “one more thing” moment here; Apple just took its white-hot iPad and added the latest screen, battery and cellular technologies.”

Jason Snell, Macworld:
“The new iPad is just that: The iPad, updated for a new year and millions of new iPad users. It’s not smaller or lighter, but it’s got a remarkable screen, a much better rear camera, and support for cellular networking that can run at Wi-Fi speeds. It’s the iPad that millions of people have embraced, only one year better.”

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:
Pixels pixels pixels. Battery battery battery. Speed speed speed.

That’s the new iPad, a.k.a. (for comparison’s sake) the iPad 3. The retina display, significantly faster graphics, and the potential for startlingly fast cellular networking — all with the same renowned battery life (and standby time) as the original iPad and iPad 2.”

Jim Dalrymple, LoopInsight:
“I’ve been using the iPad for a week now and I’m so impressed. From the first time I turned it on and saw the Retina display, I was in awe of how good it was. Trust me, even if you watched the introduction video, you still have no idea how good this display is. You really do have to see it to believe it.”

MG Siegler, TechCrunch:
“Technology is amazing, and this new iPad is amazing. Also amazing: the only company competing with Apple right now in this particular space is Apple. So the only real question is: do you upgrade if you have a previous iPad model?”

Rich Jaroslovsky, Bloomberg:
“Let’s get right to the point: If you don’t already have an iPad, chances are you’ll be very happy with the third-generation model that goes on sale Friday. If you already have an iPad 2, there’s little need to upgrade.”

Vincent Nguyen, SlashGear:
“Steve Jobs would have approved of the new iPad. With its focus on the holistic experience rather than individual boasts around its constituent parts, it’s the epitome of the Post-PC world the Apple founder envisaged. No lag or delay; no frustrating cloud settings or arcane minimum software requirements. Simply pick up, swipe, and you’re immersed in a joined-up ecosystem. Apple doesn’t need another revolution, it has already started one, and the new iPad brings a fresh degree of refinement to a segment in which it is undoubtedly the king.”

Shane Richmond, The Telegraph:
If you have been holding off getting a tablet then this is the one to go for. In my view, it’s the best that money can buy. Existing iPad owners who are thinking of upgrading should take a look at this new device. You’ll see the difference very, very clearly indeed.

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