Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Huawei releases the Ascend D2 alongside the its current line of budget phones in an attempt to get a chunk of the premium market. The Ascend D2 was unveiled together with its bigger sibling the Ascent Mate during the recent CES 2013 in Las Vegas.

Huawei-Ascend-D2-announcedIn terms of features, the Ascend D2 will provide a pure smartphone user experience. It is meant to give consumers another option aside from the leaders of its segment such as the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 by Samsung, and the Sony Xperia Z.

The phone will be first released in China and then roll out to other regions across the globe. The exact dates are yet to be announced.

The chassis of the Ascend D2 speaks well of the intent of the phone. It is very sturdy and truly it can be the best offering from the labs of Huawei. The rear is made of glossy plastic but the rest of the body is crafted from solid metal. During the presentation at the CES 2013, the CEO of Huawei intentionally dropped the phone to boast of its build quality.

It is not the slimmest find in the market right now since it measures 9.9mm in terms of thickness. It is also not the lightest phone, tipping the scale at 170g.

In terms of specs, you can compare it to the Xperia Z. Huawei’s top offering has a 5-inc IPS display real estate with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and a pixel density of 443ppi. Sans the technicalities, the screen is quite impressive in short.

Under the chassis is a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU working in tandem with a 1.8GB RAM. The Jelly Bean system completes the packaging. The Emotion UI applied by the manufacturer improves the icon design a bit but does not change much of the experience.

The Ascend D2 has an impressive 13MP camera that matches its competition from Sony. It comes with HDR mode and an LED flash. In terms of storage, consumers can enjoy a sufficient 32GB of storage but it does not have an option to expand.

Verdict

Indeed the Ascend D2 is the best from Huawei and it looks like the brand is really serious in challenging the biggest hitters of the smartphone market.

It is not often that we get to review a phone from computer manufacturer Acer. For this post, we put a spotlight on the S500 CloudMobile. It comes with a leaner and design-conscious getup and specs to back it up.

S500 CloudMobileThe CloudMobile comes with an dual-core S4 Plus Snapdragon processor, 8MP camera, a 720p screen, and 1GB RAM. This phone is being positioned to battle the likes of HTC One S in the market. It basically is a phone that comes with a good list of features that somehow does not require one to drain the bank account.

Hardware

The CloudMobile looks great and it has won the iF Product Design accolades with its curved sides, sharp corners, and a glossy facade. It is made of plastic but manages to feel quite solid. It has a dimpled cover at the back and some accents that all add to its looks and function.

The screen measures 4.3 inches making it easy to the grip compared to the monstrous units that we get today. The product just makes you feel that it is just of the right size and weight while sitting comfortable on your hand.

The screen is an eye-catcher. It is an IPS LCD with a resolution of 1280 x 720. The colors are very crisp and the images pops just right. It has a 342 ppi screen density that shames the likes of the Nexus 4 of even the iPhone 5.

The innards is also impressive. The 1.5GHz processor ensures the smooth performance of the device. The storage may not be ideal at 8GB but it can be expanded using a microSD.

Performance

The CloudMobile is walking along quad-core mobile phones but it is able to keep pace with most of the competition. The Snapdragon processor will do what you want it to do. The processor is the same one you will see under the bodies of the Padfone by Asus, Xperia T by Sony, and the One S by HTC.

Also praises to its Android 4.0.4 interface that does not come with so much bloatware.

Verdict

The screen of the CloudMobile by Acer is very pleasing to the eye. The powerful processor and the operating system makes sure that the gadget does what it promises. Surely, it gives one the bang for what you will spend for.

A lotof experts were dismayed with the Defy Mini. Fortunately, Motorola tries to resurrect the brand by releasing the Defy XT.

Let us first look at the thumbs up factor of the Defy XT. This phone has excellent battery life. A lot of people will actually see that as reason enough to buy this Motorola creation. One can stretch its use for about 72 hours with no Wi-Fi, just occasional use of the internet, and some phone calls.

The Defy XT is also equipped with a potent 1GHz processor that works in tandem with a 512MB RAM that handles apps quite decently. The brain of the phone also smoothly operates the Gingerbread OS. Even some demanding apps had some respectable zippiness without any lags while running.

The Motorola Defy XT is also a tough phone as it is certified to be waterproof and dustproof. It also has a Corning Gorilla Glass to save its display from scratches.

The 5MP camera also delivers but with a bit of a noise in lower than usual lighting conditions. The secondary camera comes useful too.

What about the downside? Well the screen is 3.7 inches but it feels small. The screen might be longer than that of the iPhone’s but is narrower so it might seem cramped most of the time. The screen though is very clear and the images crisp. The keyboard is a bit poky to touch and texting might come with some errors.

The Defy XT has an affordable tag price but it might have a hard time winning picky smartphone buyers. It is rugged but if thats not your main priority, the Defy XT can look too big for you and less appealing that other phones out there.

The EVO 4G LTE by HTC shares design platform with the One X. It becomes distinct though with its industrial design featuring less curves compared to the One X. It has the same powerful dual core brain inside that comes a 1.5GHz working hand in hand with 1GB of RAM.

Hardware

The looks of the EVO 4G LTE are very impressive. If you are willing to pay for high end phones hugged by plastic casings, this gadget from HTC will give you a break from all that as it features a fresh metal body.

The dimensions scream that it is a big device but it is very thin at 0.35 inches. The size is comparable to other popular brands with 4.7 inches of display. The size should not matter though except if you are really not a fan of big phones.

Like its sibling, the One X, the EVO 4G LTE comes with an 8MP camera at the back that has an LED flash. It can shoot 1080p video while at the same time shooting still images. The lens is quite fast plus the sensors are capable even in low light conditions.

Software

The phone runs on a toned-down version of the HTC Sense. You will appreciate the setup if you have been a fan of the brand. Some familiar features like the widget for clock-weather is the quick launch applications are pre-loaded. You can set up the phone to be pin-locked or face-locked.

Things look organized since you can customize the drawer for apps. You can also edit the tabs and access the Play Store with a few clicks.

Conclusion

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is a phone packed with style and loaded with specs worth every penny. This is the gadget for you unless you are an Android purist that will rather have the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung.

Not a lot of people have heard of Meizu. It is a Chinese brand which is more popular for their MP3 players just like the MX which is actually the same name they had for their first mp3 player. Fast forward for about nine years and Meizu launches the MX, not a 256MB audio player but a dual core smartphone running on Android.

Hardware

This phone has a very interesting packaging, a cigar box like box where you can see the MX branding and might make you wonder where is the phone you paid for. The first thing you will notice when you lift the phone is the white back cover with a layer of transparent plastic on top. It appears slipper but surprisingly the grip is quite comfortable.

The buttons are pretty common – volume rocker, power button, and home button. They are quite easy to click on except for the Home button which feels a bit flat. Other visible features include the ports for the HDMI output, USB host, and connection for digital audio. There is no dedicated button though for the camera.

Another nice touch are the LED matrices on the bottom portion of the face which glows brighter as it responds to touch and has certain patterns to distinguish the position of the phone.

The MX has an 8MP camera which gives you access to several options like ISO, HDR mode, white balance, geotagging, scenes, and photosize. Video gives you a good resolution of 1080×720.

Software

The MX makes use of the Flyme OS which is at the moment clings to the Android 2.3.5 with an upgrade to the version 4.0 later on. There are ten screens for all the apps and you cannot make a dedicated list for your favorite apps. It is pretty easy to use though. The environment can still be improved so the market can receive the MX better.

Conclusion

The Meizu MX is a good leap from its older sibling the M8 and the M9. It gives you the value for your money although you will notice similarities of the features of the MX with other well known devices in the market.

The market is really getting flooded with smartphones these days, and even though that makes choosing harder - it's great news for consumers. Choice is a good thing!

Windows Phone 7.5 MangoNot everyone is fond of trying out a new phone especially if its a first generation, being afraid of any glitches or bugs that it might have. The Windows Phone 7.5 though has the Mango update which basically irons out the initial worries.

Hardware

You might have noticed that the releases of the Windows Phones last year basically had the similar specs for their hardware, and most of these phones do not have significant customization. Microsoft holds a strong grip on which hardware their OS will run on. With the release of the Mango, Microsoft still has a good list of components needed for the phone that will run their OS.

The Windows 7.5 devices will be making use of Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, hardware for DirectX graphics capable of Diect 3D, a minimum requirement of 384 MB of RAM, minimum of 4 GB flash memory, WVGA display, micro USB 2.0, WiFi, BlueTooth, FM Radio, and four sensors or more.

The camera of the Windows Phone will also be more customizable with Mango. One good feature will be the ability to save the settings for the camera and video captures. This might solve the frustration reported by users as the earlier Windows Phone reset the settings to the original configuration when you exit the camera app.

User interface

If everyone was complaining about the inability to multitask with the Windows 7. The new 7.5 version tries to fix this. It is not true multitasking yet since the apps in the background are suspended but the mobile OS has a way t deal with it. We heard though that the apps will be updated to allow multitasking. Users can switch from one app to another using the Back key.

The email client gets improved too with the messages being threaded instead of individual email treatment. The Mango also comes with Twitter integration, SkyDrive, Internet Explorer 9, and Bing Search.

Verdict

The new 7.5 version Windows Phone seems to be heading in the right direction and will most likely help Microsoft catch up with the current market leaders.

Coming mid of this month Motorola will be officially selling the Motorola Droid X. Like the Droid, you can consider this smartphone a monster but quite in a good way.

Design

The Droid X is a big phone just like other Androids. This smartphone measures 5×2.6×0.4 inches while tipping the scale at 5.47 ounces. Comparing it to the HTC Evo 4G, the Droid X is slightly lighter and thinner.

It is pretty big and with such size, some might have a hard time operating it with one hand. It will also be quite bulky for your pants’ pocket.  Good thing it does not have the slide-out keyboard or it will add more to the bulkiness.

The backside of the phone has a soft touch feel to it. You can also see the 8.0 megapixel camera. Motorola said that they will be releasing units with front facing cameras soon.

The multitouch 4.3-inch screen offers a good look of everything that you are doing. You have an option to use Swype or the usual virtual keyboard. You will get use to Swype and most likely love the feature as you get used to it. The classic hard buttons for the search, back, home, and menu are still there.

Performance

The call quality for this phone is great but we still need to see how its batteries will perform. The camera takes some time to get the feel so you can assure clear shots despite the autofocus feature. Expect a bit of a lag with its shutter though.

It will come out with the Android 2.1 setup up there will be an update later on so owners can get Android 2.2 Froyo this summer. The upgrade will speed things up and give a better pc-like performance.

Toshiba IS02If there is one thing that I know about Toshiba as a company, it is that this particular company is definitely one that I love for future phones and boy, the Toshiba IS02 is a future phone.  The brand new Toshiba IS02 is a phone that is actually being released via au KDDI in Japan and while it might not be available in the states – it is certainly a phone worth mentioning.

Not only does the Toshiba IS02 have Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5.3 OS, but it also has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a sliding QWERTY keyboard, 3G, a 4.1-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with customized NX! UI, a 384MB/512MB RAM/ROM, a 3.2MP camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a business card reader.

All of this and the phone looks cool?  I have to say, I might have to go to Japan for this one!

Motorola CLIQ XTAndroid phones are definitely some of the most popular phones on the market today and to be honest, I think that they are some of the best phones in the world.  Take the brand new Motorola CLIQ XT for example.  This phone is actually one of my favorite phones in the world and it is because not only does it look cool but it also is jam-packed with technology!

One thing that you will notice about the Motorola CLIQ XT is that it is actually an awesome phone – inside and out.  Some of the specs include: a 3.1-inch 320 x 480 capacitive touchscreen display, a 5MP camera with autofocus and LED flash, a full virtual QWERTY keyboard, a 512MB of ROM, a 256MB of RAM, a microSD card slot (up to 32GB), an electronic compass, A-GPS, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headset jack and runs on Android 1.5 OS with supports for Google services and MOTOBLUR features.

All of this and the price is just $129.99?  That’s incredible!

Sony Ericsson NaiteAll right, we talk a lot about phones in this blog but I have to say that one phone and one brand that I love is the Sony Ericsson Naite – Sony in general is a brand that I have fallen in love with over the years and now that this brand new candybar phone is coming out, it is awesome!

One thing that you should know about this particular phone is that it is actually sold for about $159 and that is unlocked … which is awesome!  Also, if you are eco-friendly, the Sony Ericsson Naite is the ideal phone for you!  It is made from recyclable materials, which is awesome.

The technology?  That is a 2.2-inch QVGA display with 240 x 320 resolution, a 2MP camera, a 100MB of internal memory, a microSD card slot and supports both quad band GSM connectivity (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) as well as HSDPA connectivity (2100 MHz).