Samsung Epic 4G Touch, the first SII model offered at a subsidized cost!

Samsung Epic 4G Touch, A Galaxy for All!

If you haven’t heard about the Samsung Galaxy S II by now, you’re definitely tardy to the party. But as the proverbial saying goes, it’s better late than never, right? The Galaxy S, its predecessor with myriad chassis selections and carrier variants, is still selling like hotcakes all over the world, and the sequel is no lightweight (figuratively) either — selling three million units in 55 days only seems to be rivaled by a company based out of Cupertino — and for good reason. We gave the unlocked version high marks for its excellent performance, gorgeous display and top-of-the-line camera, so it was only natural that we’d spend the next four months wondering when we’d see the powerhouse make it Stateside.

Don’t get us wrong — we’ve seen our fair share of unlocked Galaxy S II devices proudly shown off in the US (most of them from our own editors, admittedly) because it’s already available at full retail (roughly $650-700) from multiple vendors. However, the Samsung Epic 4G Touch is the first to be offered at a subsidized cost in return for a two-year commitment, and it won’t be the last as AT&T and T-Mobile pull up the rear with their own styles of the same handset. So how does the landmark phone stand up to not only the test of time but several carrier-specific design changes? Are Sprint customers getting a “tainted” version of Sammy’s flagship Android device? These questions have been pondered for months, and we finally have the answers if you keep on reading.

Motorola Droid X2 versus HTC Incredible 2, Fight!

And the winner is….. The Droid X2!

PC World has an informative review where they compare the Droid X2 and the HTC Incredible 2 side by side.
Note that these are not 4G LTE phones, such as the Droid Charge and the HTC ThunderBolt.

The Droid X2 has a larger screen (4.3 inches versus the Incredible 2′s 4-inch screen), and is thinner–but not lighter–than the Droid Incredible 2. Screen resolution is also better on the Droid X2, at 540 by 960 pixels versus the Incredible 2′s 480 by 800 pixels.

Check out the Full Spec Comparison Chart:
Although the Droid X2 is basically just a Droid X with bumped up specs, Motorola’s Droid packs more punch than does HTC–dual core puncy, that is. The X2 rocks a 1GHz dual-core processor, while the Incredible 2 struggles by with a single-core processor. The Incredible 2 does have more RAM at 768MB (512MB on the X2), but less onboard storage–1.1GB compared to 8GB on the X2.

Motorola Photon 4G

An Android 2.3 Gingerbread World phone with dual-core Nvidia processor and 8 megapixel camera…

Motorola Photon 4G is Sprint’s first dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 smartphone. As many speculated earlier, the Photon 4G is similar to the Motorola Atrix 4G and also features a 4.3-inch qHD display, 16GB of onboard memory with expansion capabilities, and Webtop app connectivity.

That said, the Photon 4G isn’t a carbon copy of the Atrix running on a CDMA network. It’s actually a world phone, so you can use it on Sprint’s 3G/4G network and overseas. The smartphone also ships running Android 2.3 Gingerbread (with Motoblur) and has an 8-megapixel camera, whereas the Atrix runs Android 2.2 and has a 5-megapixel camera. The Photon is slightly bigger in size, mostly in thickness, but offers a built-in kickstand.

Other notables include mobile hot-spot capabilities for up to eight devices, a front-facing VGA camera, an HDMI port, and extra security features to satisfy enterprise and corporate customers.

There will be a number of accessories, including an HD multimedia dock and a car dock, available at launch.

HTC Sensation is Coming June 15th (TMO)

Dual-core processor, a “Super” 4.3-inch screen, and skinned Android 2.3…

A hotly anticipated smartphone with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a “Super” 4.3-inch screen, and a manufacturer-skinned version of Android 2.3 — we must be talking about the Samsung Galaxy S II, right? Not on this occasion, squire. Today we’re taking a gander at HTC’s Sensation, a handset that’s just begun shipping in Europe under a short-term Vodafone exclusive and which should be making its way to T-Mobile in the USA early next month.

By beating its stablemate the EVO 3D and Moto’s Droid X2 to the market, the Sensation becomes the world’s first 4.3-inch smartphone with qHD resolution, while also serving as the debut phone for HTC’s Watch movie streaming service and Sense 3.0 UI customizations. That leaves us with an abundance of newness to review, so what are we waiting for?

Samsung Exhibit 4G – The Cheaper, Faster Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ Phone

An affordable 4G Android Gingerbread phone with 1Ghz processor and 3MP Camera

On the heels of yesterday’s heady HTC Sensation 4G announcement, T-Mobile announced Thursday that it is coming out with its second Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread, device this month, the Samsung T-Mobile’s Cheaper, Faster Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ Phone, the Samsung Exhibit 4G.

Samsung Excite 4g Not only does it cost half the price of the HTC Sensation, it actually runs on 4G speed, which T-Mobile defines as HSPA+ 21. The Sensation, meanwhile, is stuck on HSPA+ 14.4.

For a modest $79.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year contract, the Samsung Exhibit 4G comes with a 1-GHz processor, touch screen keyboard, 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, front-facing photo camera with pre-installed video chat, Flash-supported Web browsing, microSD slot, and best of all, theoretical speeds of 21 Mbps, which T-Mobile defines as 4G. Or perhaps this is the best part: the phone also comes pre-loaded with Bejeweled 2, Hasbro’s Scrabble, and Doodle Jump.

HTC Droid Incredible 2

The good: The HTC Droid Incredible 2 improves on its predecessor by adding world-roaming capabilities and a larger, sharper screen.

The Android device has a solid construction and features an 8-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture.
The bad: The smartphone lacks 4G support and isn’t running the latest Android software.

The bottom line: Though the lack of some features is disappointing, the HTC Droid Incredible 2 is an improved device and a good choice for Verizon customers looking for a global smartphone.

One of our favorite smartphones from 2010 was the HTC Droid Incredible. The smartphone’s zippy performance and polished user experience helped earn it an Editors’ Choice Award. Obviously, its day has come and gone, but it’s not the end of the line. HTC unveiled its successor, the HTC Incredible S, at Mobile World Congress 2011 and it’s finally made its way to the States and back…

HTC Thunderbolt

“In other words, the Thunderbolt has a very real opportunity to be the finest 4.3-inch device HTC has ever made — for the moment, anyway…”

At a quick glance, without any background information, your eyes might tell you that the HTC Thunderbolt is little more than a Verizon remake of Sprint’s EVO 4G and AT&T’s Inspire 4G. After all — like its contemporaries — the Thunderbolt features a spacious 4.3-inch WVGA display, 8 megapixel camera, and dual-LED flash. In reality, though, the Thunderbolt is something more: from the Inspire, it borrows a better, crisper display with a wider viewing angle and a newer-generation (though still single-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. From the EVO 4G, meanwhile, it borrows a cool integrated kickstand and the addition of a second “4G” radio, making this a spec Frankenstein of sorts — the best of both worlds. Of course, instead of Sprint’s WiMAX for that 4G radio, the Thunderbolt grants you access to Verizon’s LTE network — a network so fresh, it still has that new-network smell. There’s a lot of horsepower here.

The Thunderbolt doesn’t buck the trend of packaging high-end phones in high-end boxes — put simply, it’s an elegant, sturdy, matte black cube encased in a black sleeve. Lots of black here, actually, which means you can’t see the name of the phone… but you can feel it. It’s embossed! Nice touch, the kind of thing that’ll make you want to put the packaging away in a closet or drawer somewhere rather than throwing it away. The black theme is broken in rather spectacular fashion when you crack open the box — which is split down the middle — to reveal gobs of bright Verizon red and your shiny, new purchase square in the middle. Underneath, you’ll find some literature, a slim, glossy black USB wall charger, and a micro-USB cable — sorry, no trashy earbuds here. As we’ve said in the past, that’s just fine by us; odds are good that if you’re spending $250 on a phone, you’re going to be spending a few bucks on a decent headset, anyway — the units that are bundled with phones are almost universally awful, which ends up unfairly tinting your opinion of the phone’s audio quality. In our review unit, both the battery and 32GB microSD card came pre-installed.

Pulling the phone out of its cardboard cradle, you instantly recognize that this thing is a beast — it’s just big and heavy. There’s no other way to put it. If you’re acquainted and comfortable with the EVO 4G, you’ll feel right at home — the EVO’s actually a few grams heavier, which took us by surprise when we looked it up — but if you’re coming from pretty much anything else, you’ll probably mouth the word “whoa” the first time you take it into your hand. For comparison’s sake, it’s right around 20 percent heavier than an iPhone 4. We’re not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing; in general, phones have a tendency to feel higher-quality when they’re more substantial and they’ve got a little more junk in the trunk, and that’s certainly the case with the Thunderbolt — but it’s still something to consider. We’re fairly certain there will be at least a few potential buyers who are off-put by the weight, so you should swing into a store and spend a little quality time with it before pulling the trigger.

Samsung Infuse 4G

4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display and crazy thin…

The Samsung Infuse 4G has yet to make its way to market, but when it does, you might be able to find it at Walmart. Rumor has it that the retail giant has been sending around circulars indicating that the Infuse and its 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display will hit shelves sometime next month. The notices also mention that the device will be sold for $178.88, which would likely be bundled with a two-year AT&T contract.

First introduced just last year on the Wave, it feels like Super AMOLED was just starting to get its sea legs… but here we go again: Samsung’s latest handset — announced today in collaboration with AT&T at CES — is the first to tout “Super AMOLED Plus” technology that features a 50 percent boost in sub-pixel count, promising improvements both in contrast and outdoor readability. Maybe more importantly, the display clocks in at a whopping 4.5 inches, besting HTC’s 4.3-inch range (the EVO 4G, Desire HD, and likely the Thunderbolt) without getting dangerously close to Dell Streak territory. It’s got an 8 megapixel camera on back paired with a 1.3 megapixel shooter up front, a 1.2GHz single-core Hummingbird processor, and still somehow promises to be the thinnest smartphone on AT&T when it launches at a to-be-determined date. Now, the controversy: despite the name, the Infuse 4G apparently doesn’t have a hint of LTE — it’s HSPA+, which means AT&T’s now playing the same game as T-Mobile.

We’ve had a brief chance to play with an early Infuse 4G dummy unit, so we weren’t able to turn it on, but we got a pretty good impression of how it feels. Basically, we came away encouraged that 4.5 inches isn’t going to feel too big for practical use — if you’re accustomed to something like an EVO, you probably won’t skip a beat (that’s undoubtedly due in part to the fact that the Infuse seems to be quite a bit thinner). We’re told the tastefully textured matte rear cover that we saw wasn’t final, but we’re crossing our fingers that the retail unit doesn’t diverge far from what they’ve done here, because it felt exceptionally high-quality and looked a whole lot better than the typical glossy plastic on the existing Galaxy S series. Speaking of Galaxy S, the Infuse is described as “a Galaxy S phone” — so yeah, that brand isn’t going away any time soon. Software-wise, we obviously weren’t able to get a feel for speed on the non-functional model, but you can expect the usual TouchWiz skin atop Android 2.2; sure, Gingerbread would’ve been nice at launch, but you can dry your tears on that 1.2GHz silicon.

HTC Incredible 2

“The leaked Verizon roadmap we saw a week or so ago mentions April 28…”

Well, well, what have we here? An all-new, hot-off-the-press, get-it-while-it’s-hot look at the upcoming (and still not actually announced) Incredible 2 on Verizon. From what we can tell, the body’s exactly the same as we saw on the HTC Incredible S at Mobile World Congress (see our hands-on here). Same rounded corners, same plateaued battery cover (which we still really like). But this one’s all done up in Verizon duds, and that makes us all tingly inside.

Flip it over, and we see the same 8-megapixel camera with dual flash, and the ever-comforting “with Google” logo.

We also get another look at the HTC keyboard (which remains one of our favorites), confirmation that indeed we’re dealing with ADR6350, for those of you who keep up on your HTC code numbers, and this one’s running Android 2.2.1 at the moment. Whether it’ll launch with that, well, we’ll see (and keep our fingers crossed for something a tad newer).

And speaking of release dates. Nothing official, of course, but that leaked Verizon roadmap we saw a week or so ago mentions April 28. That said, we’ve heard that roadmap might already be out of date, and we might be treated to a phone or two a little sooner rather than later. Will the Incredible 2 fall into that category? And is that actually its name? We’ll just have to see.

HTC Sensation 4G

“HTC’s first device enabled with a new feature called HTC Watch…”

If you don’t remember, this model was originally being tossed around as the HTC Pyramid, so that name change rumor turned out to be true.
But let’s get to the important stuff. Enabled with both the signature HTC Sense interface on top of Android 2.3, the Sensation runs on a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor. The Sensation 4G is also quite powerful than most other comparable smartphones when it comes to the 8-megapixel camera that also shoots full HD 1080p video at 30fps.

This is also HTC’s first device enabled with a new feature called HTC Watch. Basically, it’s an on-demand service with a library of movies and TV shows that can be rented or bought. Those purchases can be shared amongst up to five HTC devices. HTC also boasts that the Sensation allows owners to watch movies “in their full cinematic glory.” Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – this is still just a smartphone.
The Gingerbread phone is also outfitted with a 4.3-inch qHD touch screen, aluminum unibody and rounded edges. It sounds rather sleek and slender, so I’m definitely intrigued to see this in person when it lands with T-Mobile USA this summer. Pricing hasn’t been revealed yet.

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