It’s been almost a year to the day since we reviewed Nokia’s first Windows Phone and now we’re staring at its second-generation flagship, the Lumia 920. Since the Lumia 800, Nokia’s taken a pretty big role in improving Windows Phone’s standing in a crowded (but lucrative) smartphone battlefield. While it may be sharing the spotlight with the new HTC 8X, this slab of hewn polycarbonate has garnered plenty of admirers. No doubt, a large chunk of those would-be phone buyers are, for better and worse, lusting after the phone’s PureView imaging tech — and after our earlytests, it looks like it could be just as impressive as the lossless optical zoom seen on the PureView 808.
The Lumia 920 dominated Nokia’s presentation at Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 press event a few months ago, with the smaller Lumia 820 barely getting a look-in. It’s got a “better-than-HD” 1,280 x 768, 4.5-inch high-contrast IPS display, built-in contactless charging, solid build quality and more of Nokia’s exclusive software additions. This time, at least on hardware specifications, the company aims to put its flagship on equal footing with the likes of the Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5. Can Nokia’s biggest and (literally) brightest smartphone maintain its place at top of the Windows Phone pile? How does that camera fare with extended use? And will the Lumia 920 offer enough to pull you away from Android or iOS for your next phone? Continue reading →
When the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro hit store shelves this past summer, MacBook Air owners hugged their slim, lightweight laptops tightly while looking longingly at the beautiful display of the larger machines. “If only Apple would release a smaller laptop with a retina display,” they wished. It took a few months, but it’s here: a 13″ version of its Retina MacBook Pro offering a relatively lightweight, “pro” oriented laptop in a smaller form factor. Having spent a good amount of time with the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro this past summer, we wanted to get a feel for what the smaller size could offer.
For the past several days, I have switched from my usual 11″ MacBook Air to using the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro for all my daily work. The experience isn’t far off from using the 15″ model—the battery life easily bests the MacBook Air and the screen is crisp and clear. Performance is in-line with what we expected, given the dual-core Ivy Bridge processors. And the thinner aluminum unibody is solid despite the thinner profile compared to the older MacBook Pro design.
Still, while the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro offers an overall great package, the pricing and performance compromises compared to its larger 15″ sibling left me wanting. Here’s why. Continue reading →
Skype is so popular that in some circles people use the name of the service as a verb. Yet most people use Skype only for making free voice calls, and for conducting occasional video chats between far-flung relatives. That’s a shame, because Skype is a powerful business tool. A Skype-powered videoconference can take the place of a business trip, saving you money on airfare, hotel, and car rental. And let’s not forget the free Skype-to-Skype calls you can make to overseas suppliers, clients, and other contacts.
There’s actually more to Skype than meets the eye, however. For example, you can use the service to show someone a PowerPoint deck. You can use it to dial in to conference calls without all the usual hassles. And you can add a Skype button to your website to give customers a free and easy way to contact you. Sound good? Let’s begin.
Whenever we review Chromebooks, we alwayscome to more or less the same conclusion: it’s a neat idea, a computer where everything is done online, but it’s not worth the money. That was back when Chrome OS devices were priced at $500, competing with netbooks that could run not just the Chrome browser, but all manner of Windows apps. Ditto for tablets, which can be tricked out with many thousands of apps on both iOS and Android.
But what if we told you the price had been slashed to $249? Then could you see yourself pulling the trigger? That’s the gamble Google and Samsung are taking with the new Chromebook, which retails for $249 with an 11.6-inch display, 6.5-hour battery and a more compact design. All told, it’s as good a piece of hardware as any netbook you’ll find, only cheaper. And good luck finding a tablet-and-keyboard combo for less than $250.
There is one major change this time around, though, and that’s the Chromebook’s dual-core ARM processor, instead of something from Intel’s Celeron family. The performance isn’t likely to be as good, but will that matter if all you’re running is the Chrome browser? Will the lowered price be enough to lure in parents, travelers and other folks looking for a cheap second laptop? Let’s see. Continue reading →
Guest author Tim McCormick is a product developer & writer in Palo Alto, CA interested in publishing, learning technology, and urban innovation.
Over the last six months, I’ve made an experiment of giving up my $90/month cellular + data plan, and exploring alternative ways to use my smartphone (iPhone) costing as little as $5/mo. The key point is that you don’t need a contract or a subscription to use a smartphone, contrary to just about everything you ever hear. Continue reading →
For many people, buying a camera isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s not really a one-model-fits-all kind of product, so there’s not just a single camera you can point to and say, “Buy this!”
In fact, it’s the opposite; with such a range of types, sizes, features, and prices, unless you know your exact needs, you could very well end up disappointed with your purchase. And that’s what this guide is all about: Helping you make the best camera purchase for your needs and budget.
The first smartphones bearing Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system are hitting store shelves this holiday season. CNET has even reviewed the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X, the first two premium handsets with Microsoft’s next-generation smartphone OS. Yet those of you on the fence still have questions. Here’s what you’re asking. Continue reading →
Cell phones have become the most crucial personal technology purchase you can make. Not only are these devices full-fledged miniature computers in their own right, they’re getting smarter with each product generation. If you’re looking for a new handset right now, start with the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the iPhone 5. The Galaxy S3 offers all the power you’d expect from a high-end Android device in a gorgeous package. The iPhone 5, meanwhile, continues to set a smartphone standard, and it’s the best iPhone you can buy. If you’re an Android user who’s always on the go and far from power outlets, the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD is the longest-lasting handset we’ve ever used plus flaunts a distinctive design. For more top cell picks, check out CNET’s list of our favorite phones.
Still undecided or need a little more guidance? Well, if that’s you, then read on for CNET’s expert advice on how to buy the nest cell phone for you.
The last version of Android to be released, 4.1, code-named “Jelly Bean,” was only an incremental bump over the major 4.0 release (“Ice Cream Sandwich”). But that little bump made a big difference. Android became more or less fully realized with Ice Cream Sandwich, but Jelly Bean brought a level of polish and maturity that the platform previously lacked.
The biggest improvement for the end-user experience was “Project Butter,” the name given to a group of adjustments vastly upgrading Android’s responsiveness to touch input. These included adding triple buffered graphics rendering and maximizing the CPU’s clock speed briefly whenever the screen is touched (there were also a few other underlying architectural improvements). Taken together, the tweaks made overall performance much more consistent in Jelly Bean. Before, Android’s interface was capable of smoothness on sufficiently fast hardware (see our Optimus G review for evidence of that), but Jelly Bean brought smoothness even to older hardware like the Motorola Xoom and first-generation Kindle Fire. Using Android finally felt as good as using iOS or Windows Phone.
Now, only four months after Android 4.1 was released into the wild, the mobile operating system is getting another incremental bump. Android 4.2 carries the same “Jelly Bean” code-name as 4.1. It doesn’t bring any drastic changes to the operating system and, given its quick turnaround, no one really expected it to. However, it introduces enough new features to keep Android a healthy contender in the vicious smartphone and tablet markets. Continue reading →