• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 10-14-2015 08:41 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Iíve been reviewing a lot of $250-$400 phones lately and for good reason; With phones like the Moto X Play, Asus ZenFone 2 and Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, this segment of the market is just red hot with competition.

    Not to be left out, Sony has their $300 locked on Bell and Virgin, Xperia M4 Aqua which brings a very uncommon but very practical feature - water resistance. Letís check it out.
    ...
    by Published on 10-13-2015 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    One of my favorite phones of 2015 is the LG G4. Itís a fantastic all-around package with no significant weaknesses. More importantly, the fact that Samsung removed some key features from the GS6 and then hiked the price makes the G4 a no-brainer.

    Still, while the G4ís price is reasonable, it still sports a flagship price tag. Fortunately, if you donít want to fork out too much dough, there are now more choices than ever when it comes to mid-range phones.

    Hereís the LG G4 Vigor, which possesses some of the G4ís qualities but comes with a much more palatable $350 CAN price tag. ...
    by Published on 10-09-2015 11:14 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    When the iPhone 6 Plus was released last year is was the biggest change to Appleís iPhone since the original model. Up until then, for whatever reason, Apple had resisted market trends and stuck with small screens for their iPhones.

    With the 6 Plus they jumped at least 2 sizes so suddenly, you didn't need to look elsewhere if you wanted a phone with large screen. The thing with the 6 Plus though is that it wasnít much of an improvement over the 5s in the processing power department.

    The problem with this is that since its SoC was only marginally faster than its predecessor. So it didnít really feel any faster. More importantly, just like its predecessors the 5s and 5, the 6 Plus only comes with 1GB of RAM while its competition comes with 2 to 4GB of RAM which makes a big difference when youíre switching programs.

    While the iPhone has usually enjoyed a performance advantage over its competition, the fact that the 6 Plus wasnít much faster than the 5s meant that they had a chance to catch up and in some cases, surpass it. So a jump in performance is sorely needed.
    ...
    by Published on 10-08-2015 07:48 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview

    It's been a long time since Howard has trusted me enough to review anything other than a watch or tablet but since I'm one of the few devoted Apple fans here, I think this is my chance to make things right. This is a key question to consider when sifting through all of the reviews out there on the web: do you trust their opinion? Unless you follow that reviewer religiously to build a character profile, there's no way for you to assess if they have been coerced or influenced to help sell more units. Maybe it'll help to know that I'm not getting any kickbacks for this review... just some food for thought before biting into this apple.


    Here is the quick question that I have been tasked to answer: Do you upgrade to the iPhone 6S or not? ...
    by Published on 09-07-2015 02:02 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Consumers have been spend less money on computers and more on their mobile phones. This has given companies like Acer, which is a big name in computers, a challenging time. While theyíve had some mobile phone offerings, they havenít gained much traction in the market. As such, itís been awhile since Iíve tried one.

    Hereís their latest offering; the Acer Liquid Jade Z. At $269.99 CAN unlocked, itís a high-entry/low-midrange phone. Spec-wise you get a 5Ē HD display, quad-core 64 bit processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 13 megapixel camera with LTE so on that front, it's promising. Letís check it out: ...
    by Published on 09-01-2015 12:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    When Samsung released the GS6, it was a big departure from its predecessor. Samsung ditched the removable storage and battery that they had become known for and went in a new direction with a sealed glass and metal body.

    Now Samsung has given the same treatment to the Note 5. It eschews the Note 4ís MicroSD and removable battery for even more metal and glass.

    Is this a worthy trade-off?
    ...
    by Published on 08-24-2015 03:29 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Among flagships, Motorolaís X line has always been a bit hard to understand. The first one costs slightly less than competing flagships but it gave up some specs compared to them. Ditto for the second gen X.

    Now, weíre on the 3rd generation and Motorola has mixed things up. The X lineup now bifurcates into the Moto X Pure and the Moto X Play. The Pure is a true flagship with the request flagship specs and price tag. However, the Play is the more interesting model. It trades some big specs for a more a palatable price tag.

    Weíre now in the ďGood enoughĒ era of smartphones where flagship ownership is no longer mandatory to have a good experience.

    It mixes some flagship-ish features which some midrange ones to bring the price tag down to $400. Throw a large 3630mAh battery into the pot and we have something very unique. Letís check it out. ...
    by Published on 08-24-2015 01:19 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    With school just around the corner, many of you are thinking of picking up a decent phone on a budget. No doubt the original Moto G will probably come up quite frequently. The problem is that the original Moto G came out 2 years ago and its successor, the 2014 didnít get people quite as excited partly because it lacked LTE, partly because it was priced too high and partly because it didnít gain much traction with carriers (probably because of the LTE issue).

    Anyways, theyíre back with their newest G, the 2015 Moto G. The addition of LTE is a no brainer but now theyíve changed the game with the addition of water resistance for under $200. HmmmÖ.
    ...
    by Published on 07-30-2015 10:05 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Without a doubt, one of 2013ís most significant phones was the original Moto G. It combined decent specs with an affordable price tag or to put it more bluntly. It was one of the first phones that didnít suck that was also easy on the wallet.

    However, itís follow-up the 2014, wasnít quite the cult classic that its predecessor was. While the specs were greatly improved, Motorola also tried to move the price up-market. That plus the fact that fact that the, ďdecent yet affordableĒ segment of the market was starting to become crowded made life difficult for it.

    While people still talk about the original Moto G, the 2014 got lost in the mix pretty quickly so Motorola has its work cut out for the 2015 Moto G.
    ...
    by Published on 07-15-2015 12:56 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    While I love my Smartphones, there are times when I need a real computer. At the same time, I donít like lugging a computer around with me so my favorite computer to take out is a Surface Pro 3. Itís the lightest computer thatís big enough to actually use. I carry it in a small backpack along with a Bluetooth mouse (donít always need it) and a pair of wired headphones.

    Since the Surface Pro 3 is really light, attaching a pair of wired headphones to it is generally a bad idea since itís easy to forget youíre wearing them when walk off which results in my computer ending up on the floor..

    Anyways, my wired headphones recently died on me so I figured Iíd replaced them with a pair of Bluetooth ones. Since my goal is to be as portable as possible I didnít want to carry a pair of large on or over the ear headphones like the very good Parrot Zik 2.0ís or my Beats Studio Wireless.

    Since these headphones would be replacing my earplug style Sony headphones (I think theyíre MDR-EX71) I figured Iíd buy something similar but with the addition of Bluetooth.

    I decided to try the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2ís. Letís check them out:
    ...
    by Published on 07-09-2015 03:05 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    The Asus Zenfone 2 comes in 2 flavours; the regular is $199 USD/249 CDN while full fat version is $299 USD/379 CDN.

    I already reviewed the the base model and was thoroughly impressed. It also got me wondering, is the fancier model worth the 50% or so price premium?

    Letís check it out:
    ...
    by Published on 06-30-2015 01:16 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    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 06-30-2015 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Reviews and Hands-on,
    3. Carriers
    Article Preview



    Not mine, obviouslyóGoogle's first MVNO venture isn't coming to Canada anytime soon.

    Pennsylvanian journalist and blogger Paul Kuehnel was among the first to sign up for Project Fi back in April, and has reported on the service after using it for about three weeks. I found his post via r/Android on reddit.

    A quick refresher: The Project Fi network uses Sprint, T-Mobile and WiFi hotspots, with seamless handoffs between each. The customer is billed a flat rate of $20/month for unlimited calls and SMS plus $10/GB for data. Unused data from each $10 increment is refunded.

    Today I'll share a few highlights from Paul's post, along with a link so you can read it for yourself. ...
    by Published on 06-25-2015 11:05 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    What do you think this new LG gadget is? A wireless speaker with long porting? A oddly shaped power bank? Some sort of projector?
    ...
    by Published on 06-17-2015 05:25 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Letís play some word association: Computers, Motherboards, Asus. About 5 to 10 years ago when I was a huge computer nerd I spent way too much money on Asus parts. I even used to have a stack of Asus Motherboard boxes.

    After Microsoft, Intel and Apple, Asus is one of the brands that comes to mind when I think about computers.

    However, when I think about Smartphones, Asus donít usually come up.

    Still, when I think about Computers and Smartphones, the next word is Tablet.

    When it comes to Tablets, Asus does come to mind - unfortunately, the tablets that I think of are usually the cheap 7 or 8Ē sub $150 Black Friday specials, you find at Walmart/Staples/TigerDirect.

    They typically come with a processor thatís a few generations behind, a dim screen and a version of Android that will likely never be updated. Yes, Asus makes more fancier models but then they get lost in the discussion with the likes of Samsung and Apple.

    So when it comes to Smartphones, Asus as a brand has a bit of an uphill battle. Until now, the North American market for phones was pretty much controlled by the carriers. You signed a contract and then got a subsidized phone through them.

    Still, lately phones have gotten very capable to the point that you donít have to spend top dollar to get a decent phone. Since you don't have to spend as much as you used to, the need for a subsidy isnít as important as it used to be.

    This opens the door to unsubsidized, unlocked phones which loosen carrierís grip which in turn allows manufacturers to sell phones via other channels. Some interesting phone include Googleís Nexus line, The OnePlus One and now Asusí Zenfone 2.
    ...
    by Published on 06-15-2015 05:50 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    Over the weekend XDA posted a review of what's shaping up to be this year's midrange champ, the ASUS ZenFone 2.

    With both micro SD and dual SIM support the cheaper $249 CAD / $199 USD 16 GB model handily trounces the Moto Góexcept for the unfortunate fact that the ASUS doesn't run anything close to stock Android. If ever a device needed a good AOSP ROM, this would be it. ...
    by Published on 06-12-2015 07:25 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    This week I installed the Android M Developer Preview on my Nexus 5, solely to try out the new and much-needed permissions manager for apps. I'm sad to report that its implementation just isn't very good.

    This Android modder has been spoiled by the superior privacy and protection offered by custom ROMs for some time now. Google could and should have done a better job at respecting their users' personal data; for whatever reason, they've chosen not to.

    For starters, the permissions panel itself is hidden away in the advanced options for the apps settings panelóin other words, you'll need to tap on Settings > Apps > Advanced to get to the screen you see here. But as I say, its how permission controls work that's the real problem here. ...
    by Published on 06-08-2015 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    It's been two weeks since I first wrote about BlissPop, the first Lollipop-based custom Android ROM good enough for my OnePlus One. Now that I know my way around a bit better, I can tell you at length about why you might want to consider it for your device.

    In case you were wondering, the clock and weather widget that you're looking at is a Lollipop beta of DashClock, and the circular app icons are from the Flux CM12 ThemeóI kept the icons and ditched everything else.

    Let's take a closer look! ...
    by Published on 06-04-2015 02:27 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    LGís last flagship, the G3 was one of the first phones to ship with a quad-HD 2560x1440 display and to be honest, it was slightly ahead of its time. While it boasted the highest resolution screen around, the screen itself didnít really look any better than the competition but worse yet, the rest of it wasnít quite as cutting edge. The camera while not terrible, wasnít terribly good either. Donít forget that the processor was barely up to the task of driving the high res display.

    Since then, Samsung unleashed their GS6, which in many ways is a big step up from the GS5 which was was the G3ís contemporary. Now LG has the G4; is it enough to compete with the GS6?
    ...
    by Published on 05-25-2015 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Reviews and Hands-on,
    3. Apps
    Article Preview



    Last November, when the sting of disappointment from the Nexus 6 was still fresh, I proudly proclaimed that I wouldn't be upgrading to Android Lollipop anytime soon. Now, six months later to the day, I'm here to tell you about the new 5.1-based ROM on my OnePlus One.

    It's called BlissPop. It's built on a CyanogenMod base, but offers so much more. ...
    Page 3 of 20 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 ... LastLast