Stories by Armando Rodriguez

  • Smartphone buying guide 2013: Find the phone that's right for you

    Few tools of modern technology have become as prevalent as the cell phone, which allows you to be in touch from almost anywhere, almost all the time. And you can do more than just talk: Today's phones let you send and receive email and text messages, surf the Web, and play music and videos. Sifting through the sea of service plans and handsets can be difficult, but we'll walk you through what you need to know to get the phone and the service plan that are right for you.

  • Nexus 5 first impressions: It's the software, stupid

    You may still be waiting for your Nexus 5 order to ship, but Google was nice enough to deliver a unit to our offices early Friday morning. While I plan to put the Nexus 5 through its paces for our official review, I thought I'd share some of my initial thoughts after spending just a few hours with the handset. The Nexus 5 is quite impressive, both in terms of hardware and software, but there are a few aspects of the phone that give me pause and keep me from falling completely in love with it.

  • Specs showdown: iPad mini vs. Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire HDX

    Prepare your wallets, mortgage your house, and start looking for odd jobs around the neighborhood, because Apple's new iPad mini with Retina display looks to be one of the must-have gadgets of the year. By combining a small frame with a faster processor and a better screen, Apple's taken everything we loved about the original Mini and pumped it up a few notches to keep the tablet competitive against the Android tablets slowly invading its turf. We've already extensively compared two such tablets--Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX and Google's new Nexus 7--but it's time to throw the iPad Mini into the fight and see how it fares against these two 7-inch juggernauts when it comes to specs, price, and ecosystem.

  • The 20 greatest milestones of Android's first five years

    Happy birthday, Android! Although you were technically announced six years ago, it wasn't until October 22, 2008, that you made your debut. You've had an interesting five years, and it's only right that we take the time to celebrate one of the most revolutionary things to happen to mobile.

  • Look out Nexus 7, Dell's new 7 and 8-inch Android tablets pack a punch

    After the flop that was the Streak, it looks like Dell is giving Android tablets another go. On Wednesday Dell announced the Venue 7 and the Venue 8, two new Android tablets powered by Intel's Clover Trail chipset. As if that wasn't enough to make you sit up and take notice, Dell's pricing the two tabs to be competitive with Google's own Nexus 7. Ladies and gentlemen, we may finally have a true competitor to the current Nexus monarchy.

  • Motorola Droid Maxx: More battery life, more of the same

    The Motorola Droid Maxx is an Android phone with an impressive battery life, a 5-inch screen, a dual-core processor, and a number of convenient features. You can twist the phone to quickly launch the camera, the display pulsates to let you know when you have a new notification, and you can command the phone from across the room by saying the magic words, "Ok Google Now".

  • HP overreaches and underdelivers with the SlateBook x2

    I wanted to love the HP SlateBook x2. I imagined the Android tablet-slash-laptop replacing my daily driver, a mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Air, and I saw myself taking advantage of its lengthy battery life to get through an entire day's worth of work without having to worry about where I left my charger. Now that Android has a better library of productivity apps that work on a larger screen, I should be able to do everything I want to.

  • Review: The Motorola Droid Ultra is ultra-average

    There are two Motorolas: One is the Google subsidiary that gave us the excellent consumer-focused Moto X, and the other is the Motorola of yesteryear, desperate to give carriers what they want. It's the second Motorola that brings us the Droid Ultra, star of the new line of Droid phones on Verizon.

  • Take your best shot: Four hot camera phones compared

    It's time to end the debate of who makes the best smartphone camera. Instagram addicts and selfie junkies may settle for the shooters on the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, but serious photographers demand more out of their hardware. Smartphone vendors try to appease this crowd by throwing around buzzwords and ever-growing megapixel counts, but a photo tells you more about a camera's performance than spec sheets and marketing buzzwords.

  • Review: The HTC 8XT is better than the (original) iPhone

    Someone has finally made a phone as lackluster as the struggling Windows Phone OS that powers it. The HTC 8XT is a colorful handset that bears a striking resemblance to last year's Windows Phone 8X but doesn't bring anything new to the table, and once you get past the pretty colors, you won't find much else to like about it.