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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

Ice Cream Sandwiched between the flavors of last month and next month

IN THE TRADITION of the Nexus S, which was the first Android Gingerbread phone, Samsung has constructed an elegantly simple, yet powerful, phone to show off the stock version of Google's latest OS, Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Android function buttons are now onscreen only; the bottom bezel holds just a white notification LED. A complete rundown of ICS would require its own article, but this full Android redesign merges tablets and phones into one OS with many improvements. For example, the more detailed Settings are available from the Notifications menu, you can swipe items out of the Recent Apps menu, and an unlock screen swipe to the left takes you straight to the camera, which, like many of the stock apps, is also greatly improved.

The 5MP camera certainly falls behind the times in specsmanship, where 8MP is soon to be replaced by 12MP as the standard for top camera phones. Yet it works fast and has tap-to-focus, a super‑bright flash, and an elegant software interface that lets you easily share/upload photos to any of the compatible apps on the phone right from the photo playback screen.

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Motorola Droid Razr Review

This buzz phone looks sharp and performs on point

THE MARKETING BLITZ swirling around the Droid Razr’s launch drive home these twin selling points: thin, yet powerful. This wafer of a smartphone measures just over a quarter of an inch thick along most of its chassis before filling out at the top where the camera lens and flash; speaker; and HDMI, USB, and headphone jacks reside. A layer of Kevlar fiber drapes the backside, and the Gorilla Glass covering the 4.3-inch display has a water-repellent coating for protection against errant spills and inevitable raindrops.

For all its vaunted thinness, the Razr feels very sturdy in your hand, while its substantial surface area assures that it doesn’t feel small. If anything, it’s a bit unwieldy for one-handed operation. The thin build has its share of downsides, too: The side-mounted power and volume buttons are too small, and this is one of the rare Android form factors that doesn’t let you remove the battery.

We do, however, cherish the generous qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display, which exhibits vivacious colors and deep black levels. The Razr is one of the first smartphones to allow Netflix streaming in HD; and for what it’s worth on a screen this size, movies, other HD video, and games look extraordinary.

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Jabra Freeway Bluetooth Speakerphone Review

Negative press associated with the practice operating a cell phone while driving—which is not only dangerous, but also illegal in many jurisdictions—has spurred a sales boom in the Bluetooth headset market. But many drivers refuse to wear a headset, either because they find the device uncomfortable or inconvenient. And that, in turn, has created a niche market for solutions such as the Jabra Freeway, an in-car Bluetooth speakerphone that can be paired with up to eight devices (although only two can be active at once). 

 

BlackBerry Torch Review

RIM dips its toe into the modern age

The Torch 9800 is simultaneously a departure from, and a clinging embrace of, the form and function that has helped make BlackBerry the most popular smartphone platform over the last five years.

Nokia N900 Review

Linux on a smartphone? That's just the beginning of the weirdness

In many ways, Nokia’s oddball device matches every other phone in this story, feature for feature. It’s kind of like a Swiss Army Phone made by Finns. Front-facing camera? Check. Rear-facing camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens? Check. Touch screen and a physical QWERTY keyboard? Check and check. Stylus? Roger that. FM transmitter?

Wait, FM transmitter? WTF?

Yep, this phone can transmit audio to your car radio and home hi-fi.