Today Samsung unveiled two new Galaxy Note phones, one that’s a by-the-book upgrade to last year’s Note 3, and one that that does something innovative and has the potential to shake up the way you use Android for the better. There’s no official price announcement yet, but both phones will be out in October. Want to check them out sooner than that? Later this week the public in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, LA, and San Francisco will get a chance to at least play with demo models at select carriers. If you don’t live in any of those cities, check out our hands-on below.
This year, a number of excellent new Android phones hit the market: the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z2 and LG G3. All of them have the ingredients of a great phone — big, beautiful displays, speedy performance, good cameras and long battery life — with only a few drawbacks between them.
I tested each of the new models and determined that the HTC One M8 is the most impressive of the bunch. It has the whole package down pat, including a gorgeous design, which makes it my pick for the best Android smartphone. Here’s why.
The ASUS Padfone X, available now on AT&T for $199 (with contract), is a smartphone that transforms into a tablet that sort of transforms into an Android laptop. It’s an intriguing concept, especially if you want or need a tablet with productivity chops and you don’t want to pay extra for mobile hotspot service. That use case only covers a specific type of user. If you mostly use a tablet at home, the Padfone X may not be the device you need.
My favorite piece of tech is one I can’t keep in my pocket. At least, not when I’m sitting down. So it’s usually hanging out on the table or the bar in front of me even when I’m not obsessively checking Twitter or Google+. When people see it, their reactions tend to fall within a predictable range:
“Oh my god, it’s so huge!”
“How do you even use something so big?”
“I could never handle anything that massive!”
“I can’t even wrap my hand around it!”
No, they’re not talking about some giant dildo, they’re talking about my phone.
Liken the Nexus devices before it, the Google Edition GS4 is available unlocked directly from Google. It’s also expensive at $650 since it’s not subsidized by a specific carrier. The price tag isn’t the only thing that may stop many potential buyers short. Because as joyful as it is to have stock Android on the Galaxy S4, it also means that the smartphone’s signature features are now gone as well. Is the trade-off worth it?