Hands On

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge; extended hands-on

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge; extended hands-on

With Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, one of the coolest features is the new fingerprint scanner. Rather than having to drag your finger across the home button, you can now simply lay a finger on the button and get the same effect. It’s a much better method than Samsung’s last-gen fingerprint scanner, and draws heavy comparison to Apple’s Touch ID. But just how similar is it to Touch ID? In Barcelona for MWC, we went hands-on with the new fingerprint scanning feature from Samsung, and we gotta say — we’re impressed.

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You want the Nokia N1, but you can’t have it: Hands-on

You want the Nokia N1, but you can’t have it: Hands-on

Nokia's N1 tablet may not be the newest Android on the block, but its China-only availability has meant checking out the iPad mini-esque hasn't been easy. Happily the Finns have been showing off the sleek hardware here at Mobile World Congress, and I can legitimately say I'm suddenly jealous of mainland China. Sure, the design is nowhere near original, but with a sticker price equivalent to $249 and what's possibly the best-constructed hardware of any Android tablet I've used recently, it's hard not to be impressed.

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Tinertia hands-on: hardcore platformer, no jump button

Tinertia hands-on: hardcore platformer, no jump button

That's what they say, the creators of Tinertia, they say it's a "Hardcore platformer. No jump button." Indeed it does seem to be, and what we've experienced at GDC 2015 temps us to suggest that it rocks. While we're big fans of the jump button (a classic button, indeed), we're also big fans of moving the gaming universe forward with non-traditional controls. A rocket-launcher as a primary controller in a side-scrolling game is just as good a controller as any - in fact for this sort of arena, it's better.

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Throw Trucks With Your Mind hands-on (with brain control)

Throw Trucks With Your Mind hands-on (with brain control)

Finally we've gotten the opportunity to toss our enemies through space with only the power of our brain with the game "Throw Trucks With Your Mind." This is a game that's been in the making for a couple of years now, having been fully funded on Kickstarter back in march of 2013. Here in March of 2015 we're playing on a PC at GDC 2015 with a NeuroSky MindWave Mobile - a headset that makes use of your brainwaves to generate control functions for software. Here the headset makes use of this developers game, one where you're in an arena with other Force-sensitive fighters with their own, similar equipment.

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Switchmate hands-on: Smarter switches, no electrician needed

Switchmate hands-on: Smarter switches, no electrician needed

The smart home might be intended to make our lives easier, but actually upgrading with home automation kit is more like a headache. Ripping out legacy switches and replacing them with their smart brethren isn’t only a headache, it’s out of the question for many who rent rather than own where they live. Startup Switchmate plans to change that, opening up automation with ridiculously simple and non-destructive gadgets that install in seconds. I caught up with the company to find out how a Bluetooth switch could pave the way to making the smart home mass-market.

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Panasonic Nubo wants to kill Dropcam with 4G

Panasonic Nubo wants to kill Dropcam with 4G

Streaming security cameras are great, until your WiFi connection dies and your virtual peephole gets cut off. Enter the Panasonic Nubo, throwing 4G LTE into the mixture along with some smart home ambitions. Panasonic isn’t aiming low, either, claiming the Nubo is a “Dropcam killer” from the outset, and aiming to out-perform everything on the Nest-owned streaming camera’s spec sheet. I caught up with the Panasonic Cameramanager team to find out why Nubo shouldn’t just be on your home office wall, but hitching a ride in your suitcase.

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Microsoft bends their OS-agnostic mobile keyboard in half: Hands-on

Microsoft bends their OS-agnostic mobile keyboard in half: Hands-on

Two mid-range Lumia smartphones from Microsoft just got an accessory. Really, everyone did. Today, Microsoft is unveiling a foldable version of their cross-platform keyboard, launched late last year. Originally, the keyboard shielded itself from outside damage with a fold-down lid that doubled as a backstop for your tablet or smartphone. The new, fold-y version of the keyboard won’t do that, but it does offer a smaller footprint for users, handy when toting around. We don’t have word on pricing or availability just yet.

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Acer Liquid M220 hands-on: a late Windows Phone club member

Acer Liquid M220 hands-on: a late Windows Phone club member

When you speak of Windows Phone phones, one mostly thinks of Microsoft's, formerly Nokia's, Lumia line, except for one or two exceptions. Although Microsoft hasn't been very clear about its plans for other OEMs to join the Windows Phone party, it hasn't stopped others from trying their luck. The latest to join the fray is Acer, who is now unveiling the Liquid M220, an unabashedly low tier smartphone that will rub shoulders with all other low-end Lumias. Of course, it's still running Windows Phone 8.1, but that won't be a problem in the future.

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I jabbed my finger at Qualcomm’s ultrasonic biometrics

I jabbed my finger at Qualcomm’s ultrasonic biometrics

I honestly didn't expect to come to Mobile World Congress and have the moistness of my fingers judged, but it turns out I'm surprisingly dry. Qualcomm brought its new Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology to the show, eschewing the capacitive sensors found in the iPhone 6's Touch ID among other home buttons, and instead using ultrasonic scanning. The upside is being able to scan through materials, like glass or metal, and though the days of your entire touchscreen also serving as a biometric log-in panel aren't quite yet upon us, they're not far off. That is, assuming you're damp enough.

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Lenovo Vibe Shot hands-on: a unique camera/phone

Lenovo Vibe Shot hands-on: a unique camera/phone

This week the folks at Lenovo have revealed the Lenovo VIBE Shot, a device that they suggest delivers "the best of both in one device." The best of both of what, you might ask? Why, the best of smartphones and cameras, of course. This device includes a 16-megapixel camera at its back with tricolor flash that adjusts automatically based on ambient light. This device also runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and looks extremely unique, to say the least. On its back, it's horizontal, top to bottom.

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