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This product was sent to us for review from MeriMobiles.com.

When you first open the box you’ll notice the phone looks identical to the HTC HD7 in nearly every way. One big difference: it runs Android. Of all the things I liked about the phone, the most substantial one was probably the screen. It has a very high-resolution 4.3″ display with good contrast and colors. I’m guessing it is a AMOLED display due to its performance, and washed out colors when watching outside. A characteristic of AMOLED displays is that they are terrible for viewing outside, and that is certainly true on this phone. It includes both a front and back facing camera, as well as a shutter button, but neither cameras perform good in low light conditions, and are just good enough for Facebook pictures in good lighting. The back camera also has a dual LED flash, although it isn’t very powerful compared to many phones.

On the back of the phone, you will notice a nice, but flimsy, piece of matte plastic. It’s nearly soft touch, but just doesn’t feel rubbery enough to posses the title. This may or may not be a bad thing for you. The back unfortunately feels fairly flimsy, but during drop tests it did not break. You’ll also notice a metal kick stand around the 2 MP camera and dual LED flash, just like the HD7. I did occasionally have to tighten the screws that hold it in, but other than that, it performed excellently while watching video or reading. The display is covered with a hard plastic rather than glass, meaning it attracts even more fingerprints, although it won’t affect performance. You’ll also notice 3 backlit capacitive buttons, unlike the normal 4, but I never missed the search key. Battery life was OK, but like all Android phones, will only get you through a day.

When you power it up, which unfortunately can take a little while, you’ll notice you have a full vanilla build of Froyo. Due to its capacitive screen, this phone runs most tasks surprisingly well. It won’t be the real thing, but for a $200 unlocked phone, this can pack a punch. It did sometimes spontaneously lag or even crash all together, but it was defiantly usable. Typing was great due to the large screen, although I installed the Gingerbread keyboard to improve accuracy and eye candy. It would sporadically type the incorrect letter, but it was no just as good as iOS. I did notice substantial speed increases when using a 3rd party launcher such as Launcher Pro or ADW.Launcher.

Still, this regrettably isn’t true in gaming. It can hardly load Angry Birds, and once it does, you’ll notice 7 frames per second performance. Not exactly a gaming phone. The MediaTek MT6516 416MHz processor isn’t exactly designed for gaming. It does have a second 260MHz core for all phone operations, so in regular tasks it will run fine, but don’t expect it to outpace a HTC EVO 3D, or even the EVO Shift 4G for that matter.

I think this is the perfect secondary phone for travelers or a first time smartphone buyer, perhaps for kids on a prepaid plan, as it’s unlocked and will run on any GSM carrier. Another example could be for travelers, it works internationally unlocked and has dual sim card slots. Overall it is a fairly good priced phone, but unless you absolutely need that 4.3″ high resolution screen, you might instead buy the Star A5000, which has 3.5″ multi-touch screen, has a touchpad, looks like a G2 without a keyboard, and is only $160. Remember, the iPhone 4 (and pretty much all smartphones) cost $630+ unlocked, so $200 is nothing. I think Chinese phones have a market, and they are just getting better and better. For many people, this will be all they need for a phone.

Included:
-2 batteries
-A bad headset
-Micro USB cable
-Manuals
-The A1000 itself

Pros:
-Stock Android 2.2
-Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
-4.3″ high-resolution multi-touch Screen
-Good viewing angles
-GPS and A-GPS
-Dual Sim/Dual Standby
-Decent call quality
-Good build quality
-Excellent customer support from MeriMobiles
-Includes 2 batteries

Cons:
-No 3G data, only EDGE (2.75G) and GPRS (2.5G)
-The screen is very hard to view outside
-Not too good battery life
-It can sometimes lag, and it has very poor gaming performance

Buy:
Star A1000
Star A5000

Rating:
3/5

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This application was provided to us for review by TumuIt, creators of Hype.

Your workflow can get cluttered on a small screen, but is overall very usable.

$30 (limited time pricing) from the Mac App Store. Requires Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.6.

Ever since the iPhone launched 4 years ago, it has seemed everyone wants to go into the unknown realm of HTML5. Forgetting the slow, buggy Adobe Flash animations that always scream “COMIC SANS!” Until now there hasn’t really been a way for people who didn’t go to a 4 year course in college about coding to actually use HTML5 in their work. Until now, no one has developed a tool as robust as Adobe’s Flash from its popular Creative Suite. A few former Apple engineers saw this moment, a rare time when no one was making a tool for a fresh, but fairly developed technology that allows much desired animations, videos, and interactive sites to work on the most popular phone in the world. They created Hype. Hype not only brings HTML5 to a usable state, but makes it familiar with a timeline view, much like non-linear editing software. You can simply “record” animations, key frame them, add videos, and make a beautiful site. With this you can create amazing ads, websites, games, and more. Due to the video editor-esque layout, this application is truly unlimited on what you can do.

It may take a little while to get used to, but in the end this is an app that will be easy enough for consumers to use, and powerful enough for professionals to use. Once you get beyond the attraction from the beautiful sites this can make, you’ll notice you cannot zoom in or out in the project. I found this to be very annoying on my 13″ MacBook, as it was cumbersome to resize or place something when I can’t see all of. The inspector was a very important tool, but its large size often got in the way of inputting text or moving objects. My final big gripe about it is its font selection. They provide a few basic fonts, and that’s it. You can’t use any of the other fonts installed on your machines, just the ones included. I understand many machines wouldn’t have the exact font I’d like to use, but they could have used a web-based universal font system. This is a 1.0 release, so I can’t expect it to be perfect, but some of the cons seem like a no brainer.

Other than those, the program is fairly intuitive, fast, and can create some excellent sites. One smaller complaint is the inability to natively support background images. This means you’ll have to fumble around with resizing the image and putting it in the back. Buttons on the other hand do support this feature. It’s a small problem and will likely be fixed in the next update, but as of version 1.0.3, you cannot do a default background. Unlike other site creators, “pages” are managed using “scenes,” just like a Movie. You can have anything link to a scene, but no reloading is required, and you can add a glamorous transition. If you are running your site on a slow server, than initial loading times can be slow, and transitions can be choppy at first. There is a quick preview button to take a look at your website in its current state. When exporting, you do have the option to use either a folder on your computer or an integrated Dropbox option. I would say this is a consumer targeted product, but it is defiantly powerful enough for most users. I do hope to see a “Hype Pro” in the future with a little more expandability. Although, If you want to create an intuitive HTML5 site with smooth transitions that require no reloading, this is really the only out-of-the-download tool for you. I have created many sites so far with this tool, and my next tech reviewing site will certainly be made using it. Overall I suggest this app, and with some small updates, I would give this the editor’s choice award.

Pros:
-Easy to use, lets everyone get into HTML5
-Efficient
-Fast, reliable
-Works on all modern browsers
-Powerful
-Good video editor-like UI
-Integration with Dropbox
-Instant previews of your current version

Cons:
-No zooming in and out
-Hard to use on a small monitor
-Poor font selection

4/5 stars

Buy here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hype/id436931759?mt=12&ls=1

Video review:

Well, I’m back, again. Basically I’ve left TechUnwrapped.com, and I want to create something new. I wanted to create something that owuld create a dent in the tech universe. iTechGadget was obviously not that. Me, Vincent Paddon, and Brandon Keller are teaming up to create a new HTML5 graphic presentation system for our reviews. This will truly be like no other reviewing site. Although while the site is being developed, we will be writing on this site. Every article on this site from now on will also be put in the private alpha of the new site, and you’ll be able to find any iTechGadget.net Summer 2011 article. We expect to launch the final site by mid-late Summer, but for now, iTechGadget will hopefully become your source of tech info. To stay informed please subscribe to this blog from the footer of this page. We purchased the domain iTechGadget.net, so you can now access us from there.

This will be literally my last post on iTechGadget. A few months ago, I transitioned onto TechUnwrapped but I said I would make iTechGadget a community reviewing site. That never happened. Vincent Paddon, who happens to be a friend in this place called “the real world,” expressed interest in this abandoned site. I decided to give him it, and I will be training him as a reviewer, so expect good reviews. He will be kicking it off by doing a sweet giveaway of awesome prizes (think android phones, headphones, tablets, cases, etc.) GTGi Tech will still technically own this site, and I will be the editor, and PR department, but Vincent will do all the reviews. iTechGadget will soon have a real domain name, so it will hopefully get more viewers. If you want to check out my work, go to http://techunwrapped.com. It has been an honor working on iTechGadget, and I will miss it.

Thanks,
Tyler

By Tyler Simpson

You might ask why I put this in the iTechGadget “Tech Timer”, and the reason is that iTechGadget.co.cc’s timer has expired. After spending many months here, getting thousands of hits, and getting some review products, I must leave. Don’t worry, neither iTechGadget nor my reviews are going away, just moving.

Let’s talk about iTechGadget’s ‘destiny’. We are creating iTechGadget.net which will be a community blog. Anyone will be able to post articles by simply submitting it, then our experts will spell/grammar check it and post it. I didn’t say “I”, I said “our experts”. I need a person willing to occasionally write for iTechGadget and be the editor. You would get paid in 35% ad revenue from iTechGadget (the rest going towards giveaways, hosting, etc.) and you would be expected to moderate and post reviews, news and everything else in the tech world. Expect a redesign soon to celebrate iTechGadget 3.0. We are still debating whether to continue development of iTechGadget app or not.

Now about me. I applied for a job at TechUnwrapped.com and was accepted. This means my main task will be to write for them. I still have several products coming in the mail for iTechGadget, so I will post those reviews here and on TechUnwrapped. My YouTube career will not change, and Mac Mod Weekend will still happen. That snazzy new logo posted on my last few videos will remain property of both ThatAppleGeek and iTechGadget, and for the most part ThatAppleGeek will remain part of iTechGadget. My time on iTechGadget has been great, but it has come to an end. I will for now on only post ThatAppleGeek video reviews on iTechGadget.

Goodbye,
Tyler Simpson
Former editor and lead writer

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