• Steve Punter

    by Published on 04-01-2016 12:42 PM
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    Iíd never really cared much for the BB10 O/S, but I was most certainly looking forward to seeing what sort of Android phone Blackberry could produce. Clearly they needed to differentiate themselves from the rest of the Android rabble, but at the same time they couldnít substantially change the O/S without taking away what makes it Android. They also wanted to reintroduce the physical keyboard, which has mostly disappeared from Android. As far as I can tell, the keyboard is there mostly to appease old Blackberry fans, who were used to typing on physical keyboards in older Blackberry devices. ...
    by Published on 06-30-2015 01:16 PM
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    I borrowed a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge from Howard Chui. I've been a longtime fan of Samsung high-end smartphones, but of late I've become rather disappointed in the slow pace of real improvement in the subsequent models. This isn't strictly a Samsung issue however, as this has been the case with every manufacturer out there. The smartphone, like the PC before it, has begun to reach maturity and the level of improvement from one generation to the next has slowed down considerably. The new models are indeed more powerful and have more features, but only INCREMENTALLY SO. It's becoming increasingly difficult to justify the purchase of a new device every year. ...
    by Published on 04-20-2014 07:08 PM
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    Before you ask yourself how this review qualifies to be in the Android forum, placing it here was recommended to me by Howard Chui. After all, I needed my Android phone to fly this drone, so in a sense this is actually an Android app review that happens to work with a piece of external hardware.

    I should start by admitting that I've never tested (or even flown) a quadrocopter before, and so unlike my smartphone reviews I won't have a wealth of past experience to draw upon. When I started this test I didn't even know what the norm was for quadrocopter features, and so I did a little background research. I looked at other reviews of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 to make sure that what I'd observed was also observed by others. I found reviews of other quadrocopters that were considered the competition. However, as best I can possibly do, I'll try to keep any other opinions of the aircraft out of this assessment, other than to compare facts, such as battery life or range.

    Perhaps a good place to begin is with the geeky stuff. Were this just a four motors with fan blades on them that somehow the operator managed to fly successfully using just a remote control, then there wouldn't be much to say here. However, to make this device flyable by complete novices such as myself it needed some very sophisticated software. In the end, the only thing the operator needs to worry about is that he wants the aircraft to move forward, backward, side to side, rotate, or go up and down. It's almost as easy as driving an RC car, but not quite. ...
    by Published on 03-30-2014 03:52 PM
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    The S5 is the 5th in a line of highly successful high-end smartphones from Samsung. It looks a lot like the S4 (so much so that unless you took a close look you couldn't tell them apart upon first glance). It improves upon the S4 in a number of important ways, but overall it is just an evolutionary step in the Galaxy lineup. ...
    by Published on 03-28-2014 03:24 PM
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    Howard Chui lent me a brand new HTC One M8 to test, but to give me something very relevant to compare it to he also loaned me his old HTC One. Both phones were equipped with KitKat (version 4.4.2), which put them on a level playing field. I'll still compare the M8 to my Samsung Galaxy S4 where applicable, but a lot of the comparisons you'll read here will be between the two HTC models. It seems only fitting, given that HTC has chosen to associate this new phone with the older one by using the same name. ...
    by Published on 02-26-2014 10:50 AM
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    This is the first tablet that I've ever tested and I went into it with a bit of an unfair bias AGAINST tablets. I've never really seen the need for one, because I find them too bulky to carry around, and so for me they don't work as a substitute for a smartphone. I'm also a software developer, and so I needed a full laptop to do development work on. My time with the Galaxy Tab Pro 10 didn't change my mind about tablets, but I promise not to let my bias stand in the way of a reporting on this device as I do for all Android smartphones.

    The Galaxy Tab Pro 10 that I tested is one of whole range of new tablets that is slated for release at the end of the February. This lineup will come in 3 screen sizes, which are 8.4 inches, 10.1 inches, and 12.2 inches. There will be WiFi-only versions (which I tested) and versions that offer cellular connectivity via LTE. These devices will also be available in Galaxy Tab versions (which I tested) and Galaxy Note versions. The latter differs from the Tab in that it offers the S-Pen (and its included functionality), but is otherwise essentially the same device. To make the choice even more bewildering, you will also be able to pick up 32 GB or 64 GB versions. ...
    by Published on 12-15-2013 02:24 PM
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    The Huawei Ascend Y300 is a super-low-end phone that is presently sold in Canada by Bell Mobility as an entry-level prepaid phone. They usually sell it for $100 outright, but at the time of this writing (leading up to Christmas no doubt) you can buy one for just $80. It might even be possible to get it even cheaper elsewhere.

    So what does $80 buy you? And how does it stand up to the Motorola Moto G, which sells for around $180 (on sale for $150 from Koodo at the time of this writing)? Letís find outÖ
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    by Published on 12-14-2013 02:26 PM
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    The G2 is the newest high-end offering from LG. It is essentially the sister phone of the Google Nexus 5, and as such quite a few of my observations on the G2 match the Nexus 5. Except for one glaring flaw in the phone I tested, I found the G2 to a worthy contender in the crown for best high-end smartphone.

    I will primarily compare the G2 to my Galaxy 4 as it is available for side-by-side testing, but if applicable I will compare the G2 to the Nexus 5, going on what I wrote in the review, and what I remember from my testing.
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    by Published on 12-13-2013 01:08 PM
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    The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini has been around for approximately a year, but it was only released in Canada on October 4th of 2013. It sells for around $250 off-contract, and it therefore competes with the newly-minted Motorola Moto G, which has set a new standard for what to expect in a low-end phone.

    The newest version of the firmware for this device does bring to bare a number of features that were originally released on the Galaxy S4, and so when it comes to software features, the phone is no slouch. Its technical underpinnings however are nothing like the S4 however.
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    by Published on 12-09-2013 07:51 PM
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    The Moto G is new phone from Google-owned Motorola aimed at the budget shopper. It easily blows away every other low-price smartphone on the market and could single-handedly bring a lot more Android buyers who simply couldnít justify the price of anything else.

    The Moto G isn't a high-end smartphone, nor does it even try to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S4, the HTC One, the LG G2, or the Nexus 5. It doesn't have the specs to do that. However, what it does have is excellent build quality and one of the lowest upfront prices of any smartphone on the market, mated to hardware that is way above what one might expect for the price. It feels like a premium high-end phone from 2 years ago.

    So how inexpensive are we talking? Well $180 regularly, but on sale at the time of this writing for just $150 on Koodo. Big deal youíre thinking, I can buy a high-end phone for that kind of money. However, weíre talking about OFF-CONTRACT here, the PURCHASE-OUTRIGHT price. You can buy the Moto G for this insanely low amount without signing a contract, or opening a ďtabĒ, or without even signing up for service at all if donít want to. If you loose one, this is all it will cost you to replace it.

    As far as which phone I compare the Moto G to in this review, that will have to be my Galaxy S4, simply because itís my day-to-day phone and the one I have available for comparison. Before you call me out for being unfair, note that I donít generally include much in my reviews about features and add-ons, I concentrate on the core functionality. While the Moto G isn't the greatest at any one thing, youíll see that when it comes to core competency, the Moto G doesn't need to make any apologies.
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    by Published on 11-19-2013 03:15 PM
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    As many people know the best way to customize the look, feel, and functionality of Android is to install a custom ROM, but sometimes doing so robs you of features that manufacturers put in their phones that are tied to their specific hardware and can't be duplicated. For instance, I haven't ever CONSIDERED putting CyanogenMod into my Galaxy S4, even though I did that long ago on my S2 LTE, because neither it nor any of the other custom ROMs have camera software that even comes close to the Samsung camera.

    Secondly, while I can force LTE only on CyanogenMod, I can't tell it which band to force to as I can with the native Samsung version of Android. There may be many other reasons why people DON'T want to install a custom ROM (including plain old fear), but that doesn't mean you must forego some of the interesting tweaks that a custom ROM provides.
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    by Published on 11-14-2013 10:33 AM
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    The Nexus 5 is the newest iteration of the Pure Google Experience smartphones. Like the Nexus 4 before it, this one is manufactured by LG (and it has their logo on it lest you forget). Itís roughly based on the new LG G2, but the two phones differ in a number of ways. The most obvious is that the G2 has a 13-megapixel camera and a 5.2-inch display, while the Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel shooter and a 5.0-inch display.

    This time around Google has decided to officially support LTE. While there was a working LTE radio in the Nexus 4, it could only be made to work on Band 4 which virtually limited it to use in Canada, plus you had to make a change to the settings each time you booted the phone to get it to work.
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    by Published on 11-04-2013 07:55 PM
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    Letís face it, the real reason I tested this phone was to try out the camera. The lure of a 41-megapixel camera was just too great. Now I canít speak for most people who might get the Lumia 1020, but I strongly suspect that the camera will be at the top of their list of reasons for buying it. For that reason the bulk of this review will be devoted to the camera, though I do touch on most of the other hallmarks of my phone reviews.
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