• Devices

    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 04-17-2014 12:13 PM
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    I had the opportunity to play with the Sony Xperia Z2 today. I was also fortunate enough to bring a HTC One M8 along to compare with it.

    If you're a Sony fan and are familiar with last year's Xperia Z1 then the Z2 is best described as a mild improvement.



    Size-wise, the Z2 and its 5.2" screen make it a little bit bigger. In a way I'm disappointed because the Z1 with its somewhat hard corners makes it feel bigger than it really is.



    The Z2 is also a little thinner.



    When I reviewed the Z1 last year I thought it was a nice phone but compared with it's contemporaries; the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One (M7) it had the worst screen. In absolute terms, it wasn't a horrible screen but the viewing angle really lagged behind it's competitors.

    So, the first thing I noticed was that the Z2 has a really nice screen. In fact, it's the first Sony phone I've used that has a top-notch screen that's as good as its rivals instead of a good but not great one. ...
    by Published on 04-16-2014 08:15 PM
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    While doing research for this review, I discovered a whole other universe where the limits of precision are still being pursued and a community of fans that have no limits of how much they would spend on time pieces. It's truly incredible that watches have not become obsolete considering it would take you longer (relatively speaking) to glance at your wrist to tell the time than what's displayed on your screen right now. I haven't worn a watch for decades. The day I picked up my Nokia Fido phone was when I didn't see the point of adding mass to my left wrist.





    But in a twist of irony that puzzles me is how much more valuable and costly mechanical watches have become. You would think that when quartz was available on mass, nobody would be interested in manual wind up watches. Could this be a storyline for smartphones? Hmmm...
    ...
    by Published on 04-16-2014 07:27 AM
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    Parting is such sweet sorrow... Yesterday marked the end of my time with the HTC One M8, on loan from Bell.

    I supposed that the next logical step would be for me to spend some quality time with the other flagship smartphone of early 2014, the Samsung Galaxy S5. I've handled a pre-production model briefly, and while it seems like a solid upgrade to the GS4 it's not at all in the same class as the M8, at least in terms of the hardware. In fact, I don't think anything is—compared to the M8 my own Nexus 5 feels like a cheap plastic toy.

    But there exists a phone that I'd recommend over the M8 to to prospective buyers, and that's the One before it. ...
    by Published on 04-15-2014 09:06 AM
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    Maybe, like me, you've never actually seen HTC's BlinkFeed in action. Or perhaps, for some reason, your next Android smartphone purchase rests entirely on BlinkFeed vs. Samsung's Flipboard—sorry, My Magazine.

    Whatever the case may be, here, as a public service, is a quick screenshot tour of yours truly getting acquainted with BlinkFeed on Sense 6.0, via my locked-to-Bell HTC One M8. ...
    by Published on 04-14-2014 09:09 AM
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    What follows is a real-world test of the 4 mega—sorry, UltraPixel camera on my locked-to-Bell HTC One M8. That is to say, it's not an exhaustive review of the camera and available features by any means, but rather a taste of what it's like to use when out and about.

    Case in point: early yesterday morning saw a double breakfast date somewhere on Highway 10 at the Caledon Family Restaurant. Good conversation and a full table of food didn't afford a proper test of everything the M8's Duo Camera can do, but the results will at least give you a Sense (get it?) of what can be achieved with a modicum of effort. ...
    by Published on 04-11-2014 09:21 AM
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    So it's day two with my locked-to-Bell HTC One M8. As it will be my full-time sidearm over the weekend, I thought I'd share another screen grab tour—this one showing some available options for customization, along with steps to mitigate the Bell bloatware that ships with this particular device.

    Admittedly, the decrapification part would be a lot easier with root—all you'd have to do is freeze up the Bell apps with TitaniumBackup. I don't have that particular luxury here, but if you'd like to make your M8 your own I'd recommend a trip over to XDA.

    Even without root, there are some obvious and not-so-obvious things you can do to ban the bloat. Here's what I did. ...
    by Published on 04-10-2014 08:24 AM
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    Last night, in a dingy warehouse high above the mean streets of downtown Toronto, a suspicious-looking character slipped something into my jacket pocket as he brushed by. It was Howard, at an HTC launch event, handing off a locked-to-Bell HTC One M8 for me to play with over the weekend.

    HTC's 2014 hero device has been photographed by Howard, reviewed by Steve Punter (who I also had the pleasure of meeting last night), and compared to Samsung's GS5 by Howard again. Now it's my turn.

    As I have the M8 in my possession for only a few precious days, I plan to make the most of it. I was up early this morning to set it up. Here's what that looks like. ...
    by Published on 04-08-2014 03:12 PM
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    Around November of last year, Acer started a campaign it called “a touch more”. The idea was to shed some of the negative image the brand has garnered over the past few years. With the release of Windows 8, PC manufacturers have been building many different hybrids in an effort to differentiate and move more units in this post PC era. Acer has come out swinging with the Aspire R7 and its “Ezel hinge”. But is the R7 a work of art or a work in progress? Lets have a look.
    ...
    by Published on 04-07-2014 03:03 PM
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    This past week or so, I’ve had the opportunity to use both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the new HTC One (M8) extensively. Steve already posted his reviews of both the GS5 and the One M8 but I thought I’d throw my 2 cents in. This isn’t a full review but rather my thoughts on each phone, how they compare with with each and after, how they compare with their competitors. ...
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