• Devices

    by Published on 07-11-2014 09:42 AM
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    My LG G Watch arrived yesterday. This isn't a loaner from LG, but something I paid for with my own hard-earned cash. I haven't really been sold on smartwatches up to this point; what piqued my interest about Android Wear was this tweet, wherein YouTuber Marques Brownlee boards a flight with his boarding pass on his wrist. I'll be travelling myself next month, and wanted to see what that would be like with Android Wear. I might hold off on a full review until after I get back; for now I'll take you through the steps to get up and running. ...
    by Published on 07-10-2014 06:24 PM
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    Next to high-end phones, I find that the under $100 prepaid price point is the most interesting part of the market to watch. Not long ago, it used to be that it was impossible to get a smartphone for less than $300 that didn’t suck, then the HTC One V and Sony Xperia U came out.

    The Nokia Lumia 520 breached the $200 barriers so now the goal posts have been moved again to the magic $100 mark.

    Huawei breached the $100 point with their Y300 - for the price was a good deal but it had one weakness - it came with a really slow processor. It was usable but only just.

    Now Huawei’s is following up the Ascend Y300 with the Ascend Y530. It’s a $89.99 prepaid phone available on Bell but compared to the Y300, it’s got a bigger, higher resolution screen, more built-in storage, a front facing camera, auto focus, a newer version of Android and most importantly, a faster processor from Qualcomm. Let’s check it out: ...
    by Published on 07-10-2014 09:45 AM
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    For my informal camera test of LG's 2014 flagship G3 I thought I'd try something a little different. Almost any phone camera can take decent pictures outside in bright sunlight; what about at the back of a restaurant, at a table lit by what seemed to be a 40 watt bulb?

    That's where my girlfriend and I found ourselves for dinner last night—at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen, a participant in Toronto's annual Summerlicious Food Fest. The food was great, and thanks to the G3's 13-megapixel laser-focusing camera the photos were pretty good too! ...
    by Published on 07-09-2014 08:43 AM
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    I had pretty much given up on the OnePlus One, when suddenly...

    The last "storm of invites" promo was just too much for me. Circle you on Google+? I can do that. Follow you on Twitter? Fine. "Like" you on Facebook? I don't really use Facebook. Spam everyone I know on those networks with at least one sample of your incessant marketing? No thanks, I think I'm done.

    I had resolved to buy myself another Nexus 5 (in red) and give my current N5 to my girlfriend. So imagine my surprise when a wild invite appeared in my inbox around lunchtime yesterday! For me, the temptation to place an order proved too great to resist; here's what to expect when your OnePlus number comes up. ...
    by Published on 07-08-2014 10:20 AM
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    I'm a big fan of Marques K. Brownlee's Quality Tech Videos. He tends to skew towards Android on the smartphone front, but I wouldn't call him an Apple hater by any means—he edits all of his YouTube uploads on a tricked-out Mac Pro. Based solely on some parts procured from suppliers, he's produced a pair of videos about the forthcoming iPhone 6. I thought them worthy of sharing here. ...
    by Published on 07-07-2014 01:21 PM
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    The LG G3 is coming soon. It’s the first phone with a quad HD display that’s going to be sold by carriers here. The display has 2560x1440 pixels or to put it in perspective; 5 times as many pixels as my iPhone 5s, 4 times as many as the Amazon Fire phone and almost 80% more pixels than my Galaxy S5.

    Resolution aside, it’s also the first LG flagship in a while that comes with a removable battery and memory card. It also has a split screen feature like Samsung has had for a while. They also improved their knock on feature so now you can now set custom knock on patterns to unlock your phone.

    I just got one yesterday, here are my first impressions.

    Front and center, of course, is the screen. At 5.5” it’s big, and with it’s super high resolution, it looks insanely sharp. LG has moved away from the fat cartoonish fonts of the G2 to smaller text and flatter icons which really flatter the screen. I had imagined how sharp the G3 screen would be since it has 80% more pixels than my GS5.

    I admit, I had preconceived notions that the G3 screen would look a lot sharper than the GS5 screen and indeed, my first impression was that it was. However, one of the first things I did after was screen capture the G3 and then load that file on my GS5 to see how much sharper the G3 is. Indeed, when you compare side-by-side photos of them at 100%, the G3 is a little cleaner looking.
    ...
    by Published on 07-07-2014 09:12 AM
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    If you've never heard of a reddit AMA, "AMA" stands for "ask me anything". Some very notable public figures have taken to the self-proclaimed "front page of the Internet" to answer questions from the community there—like US President Barack Obama, for example.

    Based on last Friday's post I hosted my own humble AMA on r/Android over the weekend, learning a few things about LG's new G3 along the way. ...
    by Published on 07-04-2014 10:58 AM
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    Yesterday Howard and I attended a pre-launch event for the LG G3 in Toronto. Everyone there got a pre-release loaner to take home and review; though I wasn't officially on the guest list I ended up getting one too!

    For me, LG's 2014 flagship is pretty much the polar opposite of my LG Nexus 5. Where the latter is a fairly nondescript black box that lets the power of pure Android shine, the G3's hardware practically screams "premium" in every way. ...
    by Published on 06-26-2014 08:52 AM
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    So the first two devices with Android Wear, LG's G Watch and Samsung's Gear Live, are now available for purchase from the Google Play Store—in both the United States and Canada, I might add. And as I figured, Google is still taking orders for both of them the morning after. There's no mass hysteria among the Android faithful like there was with, say, the Nexus 4, and I think I know why:

    The Moto 360 is the Android Wear you want, if you want Android Wear at all. ...
    by Published on 06-23-2014 08:12 AM
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    Android Police ran a story over the weekend about a forthcoming Nexus tablet from HTC, the 8.9-inch Volantis. The size is significant, right in between the 7.9-inch iPad mini and 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Air. Add HTC's trademark metal casing and you've got a pretty clear idea of who Google will be gunning for with this new product. ...
    by Published on 06-20-2014 10:26 AM
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    If you’re out or travelling around and have ever needed a charging cable, you’ll know what a pain it is to bring one along. Charging cables are meant for you to connect your phone to your wall charger, so when you have to pack them, they can make a mess because they’re too long.

    Fortunately, Nomad sent me their CHARGEKEY and CHARGECARD chargers which are both available with a Lightning connector (for iOS) or a MicroUSB (for everything else). They’re charging cables which are shaped like a house key or a credit card so they’re easier to carry around. ...
    by Published on 06-18-2014 07:32 PM
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    I got to check out Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S tablets today.

    Samsung currently has 3 tablet lines: The Galaxy Tab 4 series is their entry level. It comes in 7, 8 and 10.1" sizes with price points of ~$199/249/349 respectively.

    Next is the Galaxy Tab Pro which have higher resolution screens, more RAM, faster processors, higher resolution cameras along with a bunch of bonus content/subscriptions. The Tab Pro comes in 8.4/10.1/12.2" screen sizes with $349/449/669.99 price points.

    Lastly they have their Galaxy Note 2014/Pro line. The hardware on the Note 10.1 2014 edition and NotePro 12.2" and bonus content/subscription is similar to the the Tab Pro line plus they add Samsung's Wacom compatible stylus functionality. The 10.1/12.2" sizes are $599.99/769.99 respectively.

    One common feature about all these tablet lines is that they all use LCD displays.

    Now Samsung is introducing a 4th line, the Galaxy Tab S. The "S" is for SuperAMOLED - yes, now Samsung has a tablet line that uses the same screen technology as their Galaxy S line of phones. In the past, I thought Super AMOLED screens were at best, a good alternative to the class-leading LCD displays found on other devices. However I feel that Samsung's latest generation of SuperAMOLED displays are now superior to the screens you find on other devices. The 3 best things about SuperAMOLED displays are their inky blacks which gives them amazing contrast ratios. They also have excellent viewing angles and there is minimal contrast lost when you view them from off angle. Samsung also claims that on average SuperAMOLED screen use less power and they have faster refresh rates. Translation: the latest SuperAMOLED displays are awesome.



    The Tab S line consist of a 10.5" and a 8.4" model. They're 6.6mm thick which is a tiny bit thinner than the TabPro and NotePro Tablets. They're both powered by Samsung 4+4 core SoC (same as the TabPro and NotePro) with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, MicroSD slot (up to 128GB cards), 8/2MP cameras, IR Blaster and Fingerprint readers. ...
    by Published on 06-18-2014 03:58 PM
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    Welcome to the future. A future where everything around you is available for purchase, and your phone never stops watching you.

    This is the future promised by Amazon and their new Fire Phone, revealed this morning by CEO Jeff Bezos at a live event in Seattle. If you're on the AT&T network in the United States, this future will shortly be made available for $199 on a two-year contract. Everyone else, for better or worse, will have to wait.

    I wasn't able to get an invite to Amazon's livestream, so I made to with this liveblog from The Verge. If I ended up getting any of this wrong blame them, not me. ...
    by Published on 06-18-2014 10:29 AM
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    Here’s Acer’s Liquid S1. It’s available for $380 at various places that sell Acer products and is completely unlocked. Since it’s unlocked you do whatever you want with it. You can switch carriers, take it travelling, buy it as present and not have to wonder whether you passed all of a carrier’s rules to get your unlock code nor do you have to visit a 3rd party to get a code.

    For $380 you get a 5.7", 1280x720 IPS display. Underneath the hood is a quad-core 1.5Ghz MediaTek MT6589 SoC with a PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage (5.5GB available) and a MicroSD. On the back is a 8MP camera with a 2MP one in front and a 2400mAh battery. There's no LTE but you do get penta-band DC-HSPA+. On the software side you get Android 4.2.2 with Acer's custom launcher.

    Aside from a couple of iPhones (which cost a lot more than the S1), Google’s Nexus 5 and Motorola’s Moto E and some Moto G’s, there aren’t a whole lot of unlocked phones in the Canadian market.

    The way I see it, the Liquid S1 has 2 main competitors; The Google Nexus 5 and Motorola Moto G. Like the S1, both are sold unlocked and some what readily available locally. The Nexus 5 is available for $349.99 online from Google Play while you can pick up the Moto G unlocked from Staples for $249.99. Let’s compare:
    ...
    by Published on 06-11-2014 09:16 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    Readers of these forums should know that I'm a big fan of the personal hotspot, or MiFi. Almost immediately after my first experience with LTE data on a DoCoMo MiFi in Japan last spring I got myself one for back home—first from Bell and then another with better rates from Rogers.

    Now it seems that there's a MiFi tailor-made for the savvy world traveller. It takes up to 10 SIMs and can connect up to 5 devices. It's called the Goodspeed, and is sold by Finnish company UROS. ...
    by Published on 06-06-2014 07:45 AM
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    Samsung sent me 2 of there wearables recently: The Gear Neo and the Gear Fit. I just finished reviewing the Samsung Gear 2 Neo. To me, I was really surprised because it’s the first piece of wearable technology that I didn’t truly hate.

    While the Neo is a full fledge Smartwatch, the Fit is more of a fitness band on steroids. What’s the difference between these 2 classes of devices? I’d say the main difference is the shape. Smartwatches usually have large displays while Fitness bands don’t have a display or if they do, it tends to be smaller and more rectangular.

    Where do the steroids come in? Well, in addition to being a fitness band, the Fit is also able to display notifications from your phone. In a way, it’s a converged device.
    ...
    by Published on 06-04-2014 08:15 AM
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    It looks like the Moto G is now available online and in-store at Staples Canada.

    The exact model for sale is the XT1034, with 16GB of onboard storage and support for AWS. Yup, it's the same phone you'd get from WIND Mobile—except that this one comes unlocked for a $21 premium. If you like buying your hardware outright that's not a bad deal. ...
    by Published on 06-03-2014 12:49 PM
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    Technology is an interesting thing; It can simultaneously make our lives easier and be a complete pain in the neck. In order for technology to be successful, it has to be more of the former and less of the later.

    Take the Galaxy S5 or one of its contemporaries. It has a large and wonderful 5.1” display. Its large size is fantastic for reading emails, browsing the web, gaming and just about everything else. The trade off is that the large display means you really have to use it with both hands to get the most out of it plus it’s not quite as pocket-able as a smaller phone.

    However, for many, the large screen outweighs the usability and portability penalty and so the GS5 is a great and successful product.

    With that in mind, what trade offs do wearable technology have?

    Samsung sent me their Galaxy Gear 2 Neo and Galaxy Gear Fit to find out.

    The Gear 2 Neo is a smartwatch with a large display while the Gear Fit is more of a fitness band with a small screen. I’ll talk about the Fit in a later review.
    ...
    by Published on 05-27-2014 08:55 AM
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    LG's 2014 hero device, the G3, is to be revealed later today at synchronized events in London, New York and San Francisco. As the timing is perilously close to when I usually post the day's mobile news, I thought I'd post coverage from the tech blogs there while bringing us all up to speed on the G3 here.

    One thing you should know: if rumours are to be believed then the G3 won't be the basis for the next Nexus phone from Google, because there will apparently be no more Nexus devices. As a Nexus owner who basically gets a brand-new phone with every new flash of a custom ROM, that would really suck.

    But I digress; back to the G3. ...
    by Published on 05-21-2014 09:27 AM
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    As the social media marketing juggernaut that is OnePlus continues to cut a wide swath across the internets I've paid particularly close attention to reactions from Google+. Most of the comments I see on OnePlus posts are overwhelmingly positive, even desperate, as everyone tries to secure an invite to what is already one of the most talked-about Android devices of 2014.

    But in other corners of G+ things aren't quite so rosy. I would expect there to be some push-back from OnePlus's aggressive marketing, but I never would have thought that the anger would be so misdirected.

    TL;DR Critics of the OnePlus invite system would do well to educate themselves about another, already-successful Chinese Android phone-maker. ...
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