HTC One X and S review round-up

HTC One X and HTC One S

HTC announced earlier in the year that it would be changing its approach to the smartphone market by consolidating an overabundance of different handset offering into one, unified line of phones. There was a fair amount of skepticism in the press as to HTC’s ability to follow through on its word and deliver line of halo handset that were much better than tis past offering.

The One X and One S are now are the market, and it seems that HTC has followed through on its promise and more, with many describing the One X in particular with phrases such as “best handset on the market.”

HTC One X

The Verge: And even without any modification whatsoever, 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. -Chris Ziegler

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. -Myriam Joire

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. -Phil Nickinson

Cnet: HTC seems to have hit all the right notes with the One X. If you’ve been waiting patiently to upgrade your Android handset, look no further.

Slash Gear: It’ll take more than good looks and a fast chip to make the One X an automatic success, but it’s is a capable phone and, perhaps more importantly, a sign that HTC has finally turned a corner in its strategy and products. -Chris Davies

HTC One S

The Verge: If all you want is the best HTC phone you can own today, the easy answer is the One X and its superlative 720p display. There’s a reason why HTC prices it at €100 more, after all. -Vlad Savov

Engadget: Sporting a thinner and lighter design, the One S doesn’t deserve to be hidden in the shadow of its pricier brother. With the latest dual-core Snapdragon S4 and noticeable improvements to HTC’s Sense UI, as well as Android 4.0 and a potent camera, this phone is likely to play a large part of the manufacturer’s renewed efforts after a shaky 2011. -Mat Smith

Android Central (preview): It feels better in the hand than HTC One X, mainly because it can actually fit in your hand. We didn’t think we’d be calling a 4.3-inch phone “smaller,” but in this case, it’s true. -Phil Nickinson

Official site

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime review round-up

One of the biggest tablet launches this year is due in about two weeks, heralding a new wave of quad-core mobile devices. That tablet is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the direct successor to the original Eee Pad Transformer. The first Transformer was well known for an accompanying keyboard dock that enabled the tablet to act as a part-time laptop, a feature that seems to continue in a much improved form through the Prime. The Prime beefs obviously beefs up the processor while also including an IPS screen, aluminum backing, and thin design. Unfortunately, the tablet only launches with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, lacking the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that is on the verge of proliferation.

Did all of these hardware improvements manage to push the Transformer Prime into the top Android spot, or is is ultimately another uninspired also-ran? Let’s see what reviewers from the top technology websites had to say to that question:

  • Slashgear – The ASUS Transformer Prime is without a doubt the finest Android tablet to date, and barring those with an addiction to having what they call the “widest” or “finest” app collection in the land, I’ve got no qualms with calling this the highest quality slate on the market today. [....] If you’re deciding between an iPad 2 and this device, you’re doing it wrong. Buy the one that feels better to you, and go with it. There’s no perfect test to decide between the two, it always comes down to personal preference if you ask me. If you’re deciding on which Android tablet to get, look no further. The rest of the Android slate world has been completely blown away. -Chris Burns
  • The Verge (8.2/10) - The Prime is an incredible piece of hardware. It has a marvelous display, form factor, the best camera on any tablet yet, and it’s new quad-core internal organ puts more graphics and gaming power in your hands than you’ll know what to do with (quite literally in fact, until the games start appearing). And then there’s also the added keyboard dock that adds even more battery life and really does transform the tablet into a highly-usable laptop. But a true laptop replacement isn’t about raw power; it’s about the productivity that power enables, and Honeycomb just isn’t up to the task. -Joanna Stern
  • PCWorld - The Asus Transformer Prime makes a visual statement, in both its brilliant design and its inner power. The docking station option makes it a superb choice for power users who want a tablet that converts into a productivity workhorse. Our full rating is pending until our testing is complete, but this tablet is shaping up as one of the top contenders you can buy today. -Melissa J. Parenson
  • Engadget - The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has had a long run as the top-tier Android tablet in the 10-inch size, but that position has now properly been usurped. The original Transformer was a very good tablet and it successor steps up another notch. The Transformer Prime is thinner and lighter than the rest and, with 32GB of storage available for a dollar under $500, it’s a better deal than most of the top-tier contenders. The dock, however, is a bit of a tougher sell. If you need crazy battery life on the road then it’s definitely a good choice, even if you won’t be relying on that cramped keyboard too often. In fact, the less you have to use that part the better, but it’s still a perfectly usable way to enter URLs and it sure beats the pants off of any virtual, touchscreen text input method. -Dana Wollman, Tim Stevens
  • PCMag – If you’re considering the Prime, just make sure it does what you need. I can’t recommend it the same way I would the iPad 2, assuming that there’s an app available for whatever. If you’re a Droid through and through, you’ll revel in the power here. For Web surfing with Flash, for playing Nvidia’s Tegra Zone games, or for drawing in Sketchbook and PS Touch, the Prime is the ultimate experience right now. [....] Until Google can offer a broad array of easily discoverable tablet apps, tablets like the Prime will get good reviews, but won’t our wholehearted endorsement, or our Editors’ Choice. -Sascha Segan
While some features like the laptop dock and Android Honeycomb didn’t land with everyone, the games (through Nvidia Tegra Zone), processing power, and design did seem to be universally praised. It’s quite clear that the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the best Android tablet on the market, but it doesn’t quite take the top overall tablet spot from the iPad 2; it simply appeals to users with a different set of priorities than those interested in the iPad. Check out the above reviews for more detailed analysis of the tablet, in addition to more great shots of its beautiful design. If you’re interested, Asus’s latest will be available on December 12 from online retailers and December 19 from brick-and-mortar stores for $499 (32GB)/$599 (64GB).

Image: The Verge

Samsung Galaxy Nexus review round-up

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is easily one of the most anticipated Android phones of all time. For once, Google seems to be offering a premium experience on a premium device, free of any manufacturer customizations and laden with the latest software available. The massive 4.65″ 720p display is easily the most recognizable strong suit of the Galaxy Nexus’s hardware, though internals (CPU, GPU) are also quite competitive with contemporaries. The device will be launching this month on Verizon in the US, but the following reviews are for the GSM version of the device launched in Britain. Does the device live up to the promise and hype? Check out some of the reviewers’ thoughts below:

  • TechRadar (4/5) - We had real high hopes for the Galaxy Nexus and genuinely expected it to take the place of best smartphone on the market today. But it hasn’t. That is not to say it’s not a good handset because it is a fantastic piece of kit. But if you were to take away Ice Cream Sandwich, hardware-wise, you’d not have much to write home about compared to what else is out there. -Gareth Beavis
  • The Verge (8.6/10) - The Galaxy Nexus is the best Android phone ever made. It’s one of the best smartphones ever made, and with a couple of minor tweaks (particularly to the camera), it could be the best smartphone ever produced. [....] Since day one, I’ve been waiting for an Android device that lived up to the promise of such a powerful OS. I think I can stop waiting now. -Joshua Topolsky
  • CNet (4/5) - As we said, ICS is a big leap forward in making Android friendlier to entry-level users while satisfying the pros. Google has struggled to find that balance in the past, with some devices being too simple and others being too geeky. The trouble is, though, that iOS and Windows Phone, with their manual-not-required interface and attention to the user experience, are waiting to scoop up consumers who find the new Android to be too much. By taking a step forward, ICS will win a few of them back, but it also keeps a foot in Android’s cluttered past. -Kent German
  • Mashable - [...] Ice Cream Sandwich’s main claim to fame is that it’s a more-polished version of Android — it’s easier to use and more aesthetically pleasing than any of its predecessors. Bravo, Google — I’m looking forward to further refinements of Android, and if this leap forward is any indication, the world’s most popular smartphone operating system has even brighter days ahead. Couple that with this gorgeous and subtly curved handset, and you have yourself a winner. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is by far the best Android phone I’ve seen yet. -Charlie White
There may be some question as to whether the Galaxy Nexus’s hardware is just “very good” or “the best”, but there seems to be no question that the device’s software (Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”) truly pushes the platform forward in significant ways. There seems to be little doubt that this Samsung’s latest is one of the best phones you could grab this holiday season.

Galaxy Nexus homepage

Kindle Fire review round-up

We’ve been pretty excited about the Kindle Fire since it was announced less than two months ago, and the din of excitement has grown to a fever pitch in the past week. Amazon’s budget tablet is now out, and it hasn’t quite lived up to it’s promise. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it doesn’t seem to shatter preconception about what a $200 tablet can deliver–it just happens to be among the best in its budget class.

  • Engadget - So, the Kindle Fire is great value and perhaps the best, tightest integration of digital content acquisition into a mobile device that we’ve yet seen. Instead of having a standalone shopping app the entire tablet is a store — a 7-inch window sold at a cut-rate price through which users can look onto a sea of premium content. It isn’t a perfect experience, but if nothing else it’s a promising look into the future of retail commerce. - Tim Stevens
  • The Verge (7.5/10) - It’s a well thought out tablet that can only get better as the company refines the software. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start, and at $200, that may be all Amazon needs this holiday shopping season. – Joshua Topolsky
  • Wired (5/10) - iPad killer? No, the Kindle Fire is not. And it doesn’t even match the iPad in web browsing, the one area in which its hardware should have sufficient performance to compete. But the press has definitely supercharged Amazon’s product launch with a level of hype and enthusiasm that would make Apple proud. - Jon Phillips

The opinions range here, but at $200, and the multitude of built-in media services, it is certainly worth a look. Look for updates to this post as more outlets put up their reviews.

Official site | Image: The Verge