T-Mobile G2 (HTC) Unboxing Gallery

Here are 23 of photos of the T-Mobile G2 by HTC, a Google Android phone that works with the zippy HSPA+ network. I’ve only had the phone for about an hour, but I’m already impressed with its build quality. The body has a lot of metal, giving it a really nice heft (though wimpy boys might find it too heavy). The keyboard uses a unique hinge mechanism as opposed to traditional springs; it opens smoothly and easily, without the harsh clack that many slider phones have.

I’ll be putting the G2 through its paces throughout the next week. For now, check out these photos and let me know if you have any questions about the phone.

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Random Thoughts (Not a Review) on the Samsung Fascinate

Samsung has totally upped its game with its Galaxy S line of Google Android phones. With variants available on all four major American carriers, the Galaxy S line offers a strong choice to every consumer, regardless of their coverage situation. All four phones share the same roots — Google Android 2.1 with Samsung TouchWiz 3.0 and a gorgeous four-inch Super AMOLED screen — but there are differences between the various models. The Samsung Fascinate for Verizon is one of the better choices. I was very impressed with the phone’s look and feel, but there are some curious software choices and performance issues to consider. Let’s break it down!

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Build Quality: Although the Fascinate has an ample four-inch screen, it’s surprisingly thin and light. It’s so light that it’s easy to confuse for a display model. A big reason for the phones lightness is that its body is almost all plastic. It doesn’t feel cheap by any means — though it does look like an iPhone 3GS wannabe — but it doesn’t offer the luxurious feel of metal.

A lot of people feel that phones like the Motorola Droid X and HTC Evo 4G are too big to be pocketable. Those people will love the size and weight of the Fascinate. While I prefer having a larger screen, I acknowledge that most people will prefer the size of the Fascinate. It offers solid (if not overly impressive) build quality, feels great in your hand, and is easily pocketable.

The Screen: Most people will be dazzled by the Fascinate’s Super AMOLED screen. It’s just frickin’ gorgeous. The colors are super vibrant and the screen is bright. It makes TFT LCD screens look dull. There are some caveats though. Some colors — particularly reds and purples — are over-pronounced. TFT LCD screens are also easier to see outdoors. Although some colors aren’t reproduced accurately, I think most people will prefer the brightness of Sammy’s Super AMOLED screen.

User Interface: Going into this (not a) review, I was dreading spending time with Samsung TouchWiz. Version 2.0 was garbage. I’m pleased to say that 3.0 is quite good. It offers several little touches that make the Android experience smoother. I particularly liked having control of the WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth radios in the notification area. The music player is also much better than stock Android’s. Thanks to the phone’s potent CPU/GPU combo — which is currently the best in the business — everything ran smoothly.

That said, there were a few things I didn’t like. Having four icons stuck at the bottom is another iPhone feature that was borrowed. I don’t need to see those icons on all seven menu screens. I really don’t like that Bing and Bing Maps are the default choices for search and location. In fact, you can’t change the default search engine at this time (Verizon has claimed that this will change in future updates). All that said, I’m impressed with Samsung’s improvements to TouchWiz 3.0. It’s not quite as good as HTC Sense, but it’s as good as what Motorola has done with its Android customizations. (Of course my personal preference is vanilla Android for its speed and faster updates.)

Call Quality: The Samsung Fascinate’s combination of powerful hardware and smooth software allow it to do many things excellently. Making calls isn’t one of them. I found the call quality to be average. Incoming voices sounded a little tinny. The phone doesn’t have the noice-canceling wizardry found in the Droid X either. It’s not a bad phone for making calls, but if voice is a priority than the Droid X is a better choice on Verizon.

Camera: Samsung has been making some of the best camera phones for years, so my expectations were pretty high for the Fascinate. They were mostly met. Photos taken outdoors or with ample light were among the best I’ve seen from an Android phone. Indoor photos and low-light pictures were trickier. It’s easy to get nice shots when messing with the various settings, but quick shots taken indoors can result in poor photos. Unlike the Evo 4G, the Fascinate has one LED flash instead of two. This can make a big difference indoors…particularly when you’re drunk. Here are some sample photos (see if you can guess which ones were taken under the influence of wine and beer).

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Random Thoughts: After using Android 2.2 (FroYo) on the Evo 4G and the Droid 2, it was tough going back to 2.1. There were a few times when I thought, “What is this caveman crap?!?” I really missed having Flash too. Although Samsung has promised a Galaxy S FroYo update in October, who knows when a Fascinate-specific build will be submitted to Verizon and approved. Samsung has a bad reputation when it comes to updating Android (see the Behold II), so there is some cause for concern. However, I think the company has learned from its past mistakes. Hopefully Verizon leans on Samsung for a fast update.

Conclusion: This is the second-best phone in the Galaxy S line. Unlike the AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant, the Fascinate has a camera flash and doesn’t suffer from the ridiculous GPS issues that plague its siblings (though it’s still not as accurate as other phones I’ve used). The Bing issue will annoy some users, but that should be getting fixed in the near future. The Fascinate isn’t quite as good as Sprint’s Epic 4G, which has a keyboard, front-facing camera for video chat, and WiMax connectivity.

For Verizon customers, the Samsung Fascinate is an interesting choice. I love the call quality and screen size of the Motorola Droid X, but I prefer the screen technology and UI of the Fascinate. They’re both excellent phones — it just depends on what your priorities are. If they happen to be a pocketable phone with a brilliant screen, wicked CPU/GPU, and a snappy interface then you can’t go wrong with the Fascinate.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions about the phone. If I didn’t answer them in the (not a) review then I’ll try to cover it in the comments section.

How Bad Will the Nintendo 3DS Shortage Be?

Most analysts chalk up Nintendo’s February 2011 3DS launch to supply issues. Several experts predicted a November 2010 launch in Japan, with other regions getting the portable gaming system in March 2011. That fits in with the information I gathered at GDC 2010. Since Nintendo will be launching the 3DS in multiple regions in the span of a month, analysts are predicting a supply shortage, but how bad will it be?

Nintendo had a devil of a time meeting demand for the Wii, but who could have predicted those ridiculous sales? The 3DS is pretty much a sure thing — there’s no doubt that it will sell millions out of the gate. Nintendo knows this like I know water is wet. That said, there will probably be hundreds of thousands of people that want a 3DS but won’t be able to get one in February/March 2011. I don’t expect the shortage to be as bad as the Wii, but I could see it lasting throughout the year.

What do you think? Will the 3DS be difficult to obtain throughout 2011? Or will it only be in short supply for a few months? Does the prospect of a shortage have you thinking about pre-ordering the system?

Coffee Talk #221: So Psyched for Portable Gaming in 2011!!!

I’m so excited for portable gaming in 2011. The Nintendo 3DS is coming in March. Several developers are working on games for the PSP2. Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 games are going to get huge. At the very least, it’s going to be chaotic trying to cover and understand everything. At best, we will be overwhelmed by the flood of excellent portable games.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Intelligentsia’s Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado, remembering to vote for WWE AJ Lee in the NXT poll, or if you’re going to see Wall Street 2, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’m so excited for portable gaming in 2011. The Nintendo 3DS is coming in March. Several developers are working on games for the PSP2. Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 games are going to be better than ever. At the very least, it’s going to be chaotic trying to cover and understand everything. At best, we will be overwhelmed by the flood of excellent portable games.

I realize that most of you RPadholics are home console guys, but I’d bet that most of you will do more portable gaming in 2011 than you did in 2010. There are too many capable platforms and too many potentially cool games. It’s going to be tough to ignore!

Are any of you guys and dolls as excited about the prospects of portable gaming in 2011 as I am? What platforms are you looking forward to? If you’re still not convinced handheld gaming is worth your time then I must ask you…why the hell not?!?

Natalie Portman to Play Lois Lane in Superman Reboot?

Here’s a hot rumor that I’m absolutely loving: Natalie Portman is in talks to play Lois Lane in the Superman reboot being produced by Christopher Nolan. The other rumor — which is also very cool, but not nearly as sexy — is that Darren Aronofsky will be directing the film. Here’s a clip from Hollywood.com:

Natalie Portman might venture back into the world of superheroes, but this time — not behind a masked vigilante. The actress is rumored to be the next Lois Lane in the upcoming Christopher Nolan-produced Superman reboot. Whoa! This follows more rumors that Darren Aronofsky will be directing. Double whoa!

While some people slam Portman’s acting ability, she’ll certainly be better than that chick from Blue Crush, right? And yes, this article was a great excuse to post a sexy Natalie Portman picture.

Source

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Today’s Poll: What Will the Nintendo 3DS Cost in America?

You have the initial launch information on the Nintendo 3DS and a list of games in development. What do you think Nintendo’s upcoming portable will cost in America? The Japanese price is 25,000 yen, which is around $300. However, the yen is remarkably strong against the USD, so I doubt that’s what it’ll cost over here. Please take today’s poll and explain your choice in the comments section.

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List of Nintendo 3DS Games in Development

Here’s a list of Nintendo 3DS games that are in development. It’s based on stuff I saw at E3 2010, assorted press releases, and the sizzle reel posted above. When you have a moment, please let me know which games have you excited for Nintendo’s next handheld console.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Kid Icarus
  • Animal Crossing
  • Paper Mario
  • Nintendogs + Cats
  • Mario Kart
  • Pilotwings Resort
  • Paper Mario
  • StarFox64 3D
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Chocobo Racing
  • Resident Evil: Revelation
  • Resident Evil: Mercenaries
  • Mega Man Legends 3
  • Super Street Fighter 4 3D
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions
  • Samurai Warriors: Chronicle
  • Super Monkeyball
  • Ridge Racer
  • Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater
  • Steel Diver