• Reviews and Hands-on

    by Published on 01-13-2014 03:25 PM
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    WeMo Switch and Insight I reviewed the Switch recently. While I liked them, it took me a while to find a use for them. When it comes to things I want to turn off remotely, the first thing that comes to mind are lights and I just don’t have a lot of lights which plug into the wall. Aside from the lights in my garage and on my nightstand, everything else is in my ceilings and controlled with light switches. Luckily, the Belkin WeMo lineup also includes a light switch.

    The WeMo Light Switch looks just like a standard decora light switch but it’s actually connected to the internet and can be controlled using your iOS or Android device just like the rest of WeMo’s lineup. ...
    by Published on 01-13-2014 02:49 PM
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    Folks,

    I just had the opportunity to try the Nokia Lumia 625 on TELUS during the holidays. It is a mid-range smartphone running on Microsoft Windows Phone 8.



    Design and Specifications

    Front and center is the Gorilla Glass 2 wrapped, 4.7”, 800x480 IPS LCD display. As far as quality goes, viewing angles and readability under bright light conditions are just average. Colours are little washed out and there is some colour shift. The 800x480 resolution sounds a bit low for a large 4.7” display. Indeed, while it is not the sharpest display available on the market it is not as bad as you would think.

    At 133.25 x 72.25 x 9.15mm and weighing 159g, its size is similar to many other smartphones. While I liked its minimalistic, clean slate design, I had some problems with its ergonomics. I found it hard to hold without accidentally triggering the soft keys and hard buttons. Hopefully, a case can fix some of these problems. ...
    by Published on 01-09-2014 07:55 AM
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    I'm still very much a fan of inductive charging, and only want you to learn from my own mistake.

    My official wireless Nexus charger from Google's Play Store works great; it's charging my Nexus 5 as I write this, in fact. I'm such a fan of the technology that decided to get two additional chargers — one for my girlfriend's Nexus 4 and another for my Nexus 7 tablet — and instead of paying the big bucks for something from a reputable manufacturer I chose to go slumming on Amazon instead.

    Bad idea.

    ...
    by Published on 12-18-2013 12:53 PM
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    The WeMo Motion from Belkin is available separately for $59.99 or part as a combo pack with the WeMo power switch which I reviewed a while back for $79.99.

    The Motion consists of the motion sensor and the power brick which are permanently connected via a 6ft long power cable.

    Officially, it has a range of 10ft but I observed that it’s actually closer to 13ft.

    The idea is that you put the sensor in one spot while the switch goes elsewhere. ...
    by Published on 12-17-2013 07:40 AM
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    3. Carriers
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    Last Saturday I had to do the unthinkable — join the mad throngs of holiday shoppers in downtown Toronto. On that particular afternoon it just so happened that (1) there was a snowstorm, and (2) half of the downtown subway line was shut down.

    As I waited for a connection at St. George Station I suddenly remembered that there was free WiFi there. I immediately whipped out my phone, connected, and performed the mandatory speed test:



    Not bad.

    Some friends who are regular commuters have complained to me about how much of a pain it is to connect, but it seemed to me that the entire process took less than sixty seconds. When I again found myself at St. George Station last night, I decided to document the procedure.

    ...
    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)? Let’s find out…
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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 couldn’t 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 you’re thinking, I can buy a high-end phone for that kind of money. However, we’re 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 “tab”, or without even signing up for service at all if don’t 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 it’s my day-to-day phone and the one I have available for comparison. Before you call me out for being unfair, note that I don’t 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, you’ll 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 12-09-2013 08:07 AM
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    This past weekend I did something I've not done since the late 1900s: strap on a watch. Not just any wristwatch, mind you, but a smartwatch — Samsung's Galaxy Gear, to be exact... paired with a Galaxy Note 3.

    Back in 1999 I got my first PCS phone from clearNET, and the network-adjusted time on that "digital" phone made wearing a watch redundant — at least for me. I have at least one friend who has carried on wearing wristwatches to this very day; for me, the convenience of glancing at my wrist is made moot by the phone I usually have in my other hand.

    So maybe I'm not the best person to be reviewing this early iteration of a nascent product category. But hey, if the Gear can win me over then it's gotta be good, right?

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