• howard

    by Published on 08-26-2013 01:29 PM
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    With school just around the corner, it’s that time again. Here’s my list of the top phones for back to school.

    If you read the list though you’re probably wondering: “Where’s the iPhone 5”? Well, the way I see it, buying one now is a recipe for buyer’s remorse. Last year Apple announced the iPhone 5 in September, the 4s was announced 2 years ago in October. We’re probably due for a new one soon.

    Heck, even if you don’t care that a new one is just around the corner, there’s probably going to be a price cut that follows, so unless you don’t have a phone at all right now, I’d wait a month for the new iPhones to come.



    1: HTC One

    With it’s sleek metal casing, the best display on the market, the best sounding speakers, the loudest headphone jack and one of the best cameras, it’s easy to see why the HTC One is my top pick.

    It does lose points for not having a memory card slot but then again, it comes with 32GB of built-in storage which helps mitigate this problem. It also lacks a removable battery. Then again, so do most of the other phones here.


    ...
    by Published on 08-20-2013 06:31 PM
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    I just at a Moto X event and got one to play with. First off, check out the demo. It's long but interesting:



    People have been moping about the Moto X's specifications. While it's true that it doesn't have a quad-core processor and a 1920x1080 display, it does have 2GB of RAM which in my opinion, is more important than the other two specs.

    Anyways, the Moto X isn't priced at the level of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Look, it would be foolish for Motorola to think that they can "Out-Galaxy" the Galaxy S4. If they made their own version of the GS4 it would compete directly with the GS4 and well, you can probably guess how that would turn out.

    Going from dual-core to quad-core results doesn't mean performance doubles. Generally, quad-cores do better in benchmarks but in real life it's debated how much of a difference it makes. Companies use quad-core because it looks good on paper mostly.

    The 1920x1080 screen resolution spec is thing that looks good on paper. In real life, the difference between a 1280x720 and 1920x1080 on a 4.7" screen is minimal. ...
    by Published on 08-19-2013 11:33 AM
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    In past 2 years, the Android tablet market has really changed. Initially, we only had 10” and 7” tablets. Now we have many sizes with the 7” tablets becoming the entry level models. It’s the sort of tablet you buy for your toddler - not yourself. You might get one to use while you’re watching TV, that sort of thing. It’s going to be a companion device that doesn’t really replace anything.

    Here’s Samsung entry level tablet - their 7” Galaxy Tab 3 which is priced at around $200.

    A year-and-a-half-ago, a $200 tablet would have been quite a deal. These days, you can get 7” tablet from first and second tablet manufacturers like HP, ASUS, Acer that are cheaper and pack more hardware.

    If you’re looking at the 7” Tab 3 you might also consider both the 2012 and 2013 Google Nexus 7’s, the Kobo Vox and the Amazon Kindle Fire. ...
    by Published on 08-15-2013 05:03 PM
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    I have a bit of a confession, as the father of a newborn and a toddler I’m a bit obsessed with IP cameras. I actually have 7 of them deployed around the house. All of them have WiFi, night vision, microphones, some support 2-way audio, a couple can pan and tilt plus a few have megapixel sensors.

    When I want to take a break from working, I love being able to tune in and watch my kids - they’re young enough that this isn’t creepy (yet).

    Which brings us to the Belkin’s NetCam HD. It’s an IP camera with a megapixel sensor, night vision and a built-in microphone. ...
    by Published on 08-13-2013 05:07 PM
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    If you’re in the market for an 8” tablet there are 3 main choices. The Apple iPad Mini which I reviewed a while back, the Note 8.0 that Ray looked at and The Galaxy Tab 3 8” which I’m looking at today.

    Aside from the iPad Mini and Note 8.0 you might also consider the rest of the Samsung Tab 3 lineup and the 2013 Google Nexus 7.

    Let’s see how they size up.
    ...
    by Published on 08-12-2013 12:55 PM
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    Here’s the Belkin WeMo power switch. It’s a $50 power switch which you can control using your Android or iOS Smartphone.

    You just connect it to a power outlet and then plug something into it.

    Setup is straight forward:

    1. Plug the WeMo into an outlet
    2. Download the WeMo app
    3. Open up your phone’s WiFi settings menu and connect to the WeMo
    4. Open up the WeMo app, enter your WiFi network’s password
    5. Configure Switch and setup rules


    The app lets you view whether the outlet is on or off plus you can create rules about when it should turn on or off.
    ...
    by Published on 08-08-2013 04:53 PM
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    I have a Bell PDF explaining how their rate plans are changing as of August 9th. It's called 'How Consumer Rate Plans just got Better" - I'm not sure if this is to be said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

    Anyways, it stuff we're already talking about here including:

    • How new 2yr and 30 day activations and hardware upgrades should work.
    • The new rate plans which include unlimited nationwide calling, text and MMS
    • New share-only plans
    • Promo plans for Voice and Voice and Data Lite (regular plans are Voice and Data Plus)
    • How migrations from 3yr plans to 2yr plans work
    • Why Bell's new plans are better than Rogers' and TELUS' new plans


    For those who don't know. 3 year contracts are out now - the max contract length is 2 years. Bell is using this opportunity to sort of reset their 3 yr plans. Basically, if you have a awesome rate plan that's lower than the new plans you can keep it but if you want hardware you'll have to switch to a rate plan that's compatible with 2 year contracts (Bell calls it an 'in market plan').

    The new plans have unlimited calling, text and MMS - basically because TELUS came out with it first and Bell is moving to match.

    While 2 year contracts are the max there are tiers of 2 year contracts based on how much you're over-paying I mean how you spend each month.

    1. There's voice only
    2. Voice and Data Lite
    3. Voice and Data Plus


    Plus means you're the type of big spender that Bell likes and you'll get the best subsidies on phones. Lite means you spend a little less and as such will receive a smaller subsidy. You get the idea.

    If you're having trouble seeing an image right click on it and view it/view in new tab to see it at full resolution. ...
    by Published on 08-08-2013 11:39 AM
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    Looks like The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 now have the 'authority to operate' on the DoD's networks. It's the first Mobile Device Management provider to get his.

    Now the US Defense Information System Agency is working to support 10,000 BB10 devices by this fall and 30,000 by the end of the year.

    I wonder if Hauwei will get their ATO next.
    ...
    by Published on 08-07-2013 10:27 AM
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    Today LG announced the LG G2. They announced a few weeks back that they're dropping the Optimus branding on their high-end.

    Aimed squarely at the Galaxy S4 and it's comparables the G2 out-Galaxy's the GS4 on a number of fronts:
    • 5.2" 1920x1080 display
    • 2.65mm side bezels with rear controls
    • 3000mAh battery
    • 13 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization
    • 24bit/192kHz music playback
    • 2.26Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
    • Android 4.2.2 (did LG wait till 4.3 came out to release this?)
    • 32GB or 16GB of storage
    • 2GB RAM
    • 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm


    So they've managed to shoe-horn a 5.2" screen into the chassis of a 4.7/4.8"ish phone. I don't know about you but the G2 looks like a very difficult phone to hold. To make it a little easier they've moved the controls to the back. I'm not sure how well that would work.

    The 3000mAh battery is a nice touch, that's almost as big as the one you get in the Galaxy Note 2 so the G2 might have a chance of lasting the day on a single charge for more people.

    Under the hood the 2.26Ghz quad-core processor should fly. The North American GS4's come with a 1.9Ghz version of this processor while the HTC One 1.7Ghz. Will it be noticeably faster? Probably not unless you have them side-by-side but it's still nice to have the fastest one out there.

    2GB of RAM is par-for-the-course. Last year's Optimus G came with 2GB as did the Samsung GSIII/GS 4, HTC One, Xperia Z/ZL, etc. More would be nice but 2GB is more than enough right now.

    The 24bit/192Khz music playback is an interesting feature. I'm guessing LG is making use of the fact that Android now supports external DAC. I wonder how good the headphone jack will sound and if they back this with a good amp.

    I guess whiners will whine that it only comes with Android 4.2.2. The timing of the G2's release is kind of funny since LG has this reputation of being a little behind-the-curve when it comes to updates since 4.3 came out last week. Then again, it will probably be a few months till any non-Nexus phone comes with 4.3. ...
    by Published on 08-06-2013 05:30 PM
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    Here’s the 10.1" Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. On paper, aside from a new Intel powered processor, it doesn’t seem all that different from its predecessor the Tab 2. Still, shopping based solely on specs is one of the worst things you can do. So is the Tab 3 an improvement?

    The way I see it, the 10.1" Tab 3 has 3 main competitors; the Apple iPad 2, Google Nexus 10 and Microsoft Surface RT. Let’s see how the Tab 3 stacks up with them.
    ...
    by Published on 08-02-2013 01:07 PM
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    The Google Neuxs 7 was just released a few days ago, so you're probably wondering if it's as good as the Nexus 7 which was released last year. I'm still working on a full review as well as a give-away but for now here's a quick comparison between the two.

    When it was released last year, I was in awe at the amount of stuff Google managed to cram into it given it's $279 price point. This time around Google doesn't disappoint giving you even more for now $20 less.

    Pretty much every spec has been improved. While the screen still measures 7" you now get a full HD 1920x1080 display, RAM is doubled to 2GB and the quad-core processor is now much more powerful. ...
    by Published on 08-01-2013 03:38 PM
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    I had a chance to go to Samsung yesterday for a demo of their "Samsung School". It's basically a learning environment where students and teachers use Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 or Samsung 10" Galaxy Tab 3 tablets along with a large screen in their class room. The tablets replace student's notebooks and text books while the screen replaces a blackboard.

    Check out my video of the demo:


    The tablets are running a special Android program plus they have special provisioning. Since they have special provisioning Samsung told me it will ONLY run on the Note 10.1 and 10" Tab 3.
    ...
    by Published on 07-30-2013 10:53 AM
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    The Blackberry Q5 in Black and Pure Red (only on Virgin) is coming to Canada on August 13th.

    It's like a cheaper version of the Q10. It has a slightly slower processor (1.2 vs 1.5Ghz), only 8GB of storage and a 5 megapixel camera. The screen resolution and the general shape are the same as its bigger brother plus it retains LTE connectivity.

    It will be available from Bell, Virgin Mobile, Fido, TELUS, Koodo and Sasktel. ...
    by Published on 07-25-2013 11:36 AM
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    The new 2013 Google Nexus 7 is now official.

    To me, its best features are the 1920x1080 display, quad-core Qualcomm processor and the 'from $229' price tag.

    While there are now many cheaper 7" tablets I don't think any of them come with a 1920x1080 display. The display is the same resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z/ZL, etc. On the Nexus it has a PPI of 323 which is in the same ballpark as the Apple iPhone 5/4s/4, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, among others. It's an IPS display covered with 'scratch resistant Corning glass - I'm not sure if it's the simian variety.

    Part of me is a little disappointed that Google didn't make the 2013 Nexus 7 a Nexus 8. Speaking of size, the 2013 is about 6mm narrower - this isn't necessarily a good thing since tablets need thick bezels but I'll reserve judgement when I actually try one.
    ...
    by Published on 07-22-2013 03:49 PM
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    Just got word that there's a new update for the Samsung Galaxy S4 being pushed over-the-air. It weighs-in at a hefty 315MB so best to wait till you have WiFi to grab this.



    Samsung's servers are being slammed right now so it might take a few tries.

    Thanks Treatz! ...
    by Published on 07-18-2013 09:23 AM
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    The HTC One Mini is now official. It's a upper mid-range phone which shares its design complete with metal body with the HTC One (regular-size). You get:


    • 1.4Ghz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
    • 4.3" 1280x720, 341PPI
    • 1GB RAM
    • 16GB storage
    • dual front speakers (HTC Boomsound)
    • 4MP 'Ultrapixel' camera
    • 1800mAh battery
    • 132 x 63.2 x 9.25mm
    • 122g


    Just for comparison the regular-sized One is 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm so the Mini is a little shorter and narrower.

    Under the hood you get a dual-core 1.4Ghz processor vs a 1.7Ghz quad-core with only 1GB vs 2GB and 16GB vs 32GB of storage. The battery is 1800mAh vs 2100mAh but the smaller, lower resolution screen should probably off-set that.

    I noticed that the Mini's spec sheet doesn't mention if the camera has optical stabilization. To me that's my favorite feature of the regular One. So if that's the case that's a real let down.

    Like the regular One the Mini has HTC Blinkfeed and Zoe features.

    North American availability hasn't been announced yet.

    Anyone looking forward to the a One Mini or are you happy with the regular version? Personally, I think a 4" version would have been better plus you need a microSD if you're only going to put 16GB of non-expandable storage. ...
    by Published on 07-15-2013 12:40 PM

    Last Thursday, a woman in China was killed when she answered her iPhone 5 which was charging.

    No word on whether was using the charger and cable that came with her iPhone 5 or whether she was using a 3rd party one.

    We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family. We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter,” Apple said in an e-mail.
    For what it's worth, I once received a mild shock from a micro USB charger when a hair got caught on one of the pins and touched me.

    From the Globe. ...
    by Published on 07-15-2013 10:41 AM
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    TELUS just announced their new 2yr TELUS SharePlus plans. The plans consist of a separate voice and a data charges. You pick the class of device(s) you want to bring and then how much data you want shared between them. The new plans are meant to encourage users to use more than one device from TELUS (like a phone and a tablet).

    Here's the pricing:



    Let's whip out or calculators. With a 3 year term, let's assume you buy a Galaxy S4 for $200 and that it costs the TELUS $700. That means their subsidy is $500. TELUS would have $500/36months = $13.89 a month over your 3 year contract to make their subsidy back. Now with 24 months they need $20.83 a month to make their subsidy back which is $6.94 more. So, are plans going up by $6.94 a month?

    Let's assume you want a HTC One with unlimited nationwide talk and text with 2GB of data. Right now TELUS has a promotional plan called 'Unlimited Talk & Text -2GB Share'. It's $70 a month on a 3 year.

    With the new SharePlus plan, that would cost you $55 (voice) + $45 (data) = $100. Ouch. That's an extra $30 a month which is much higher than the $6.94 a month subsidy they were giving before.

    The advantage of the new plans are that you can add a couple of phones and share the data but to be honest, the data is so expensive I don't advise anyone to get them. Heck, if you want more data it gets very expensive very quickly. 6GB for $100!

    I'm sure many users will be thumping their 6GB/$30 plan and rightfully so.

    Now let's try to see this from TELUS' standpoint. Assuming most users don't cancel or change plans (which most don't). They were guaranteed 36 months x $70 = $2520 - $500 subsidy = $2020 over the life of the contract or $56.11 a month.

    Now, they're guaranteed 24 months x $100 - $500 subsidy = $1900 over 24 months or $79.17 a month. An increase of 41%! This is probably as bad as it's going to get.

    To me their 2 year plans are initial offerings. They're meant to do two things: 1) get customers to run out and sign 3 year contracts before they're no longer available 2) Take advantage of users who have been itching for 2 year contracts (and failed math).

    TELUS is putting their initial offerings in and waiting to see what Rogers and Bell do.

    The new plans launch on July 30th. ...
    by Published on 07-11-2013 10:46 AM
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    Nokia just announced the Lumia 1020 with a 41 megapixel camera. The camera has optical image stabilization with a 1/1.5" sensor and a Xenon Flash.

    When you take a picture the 1020 can save it at full resolution as well as re-sample it down to a 5 megapixel image for sharing.

    There's an optional camera grip shell that ads a large grip, 1200mAh battery and a tripod mount for $79.99.

    Qi Wireless charging is available via an optional accessory.

    Video is recorded at 1920x1080 with what Nokia calls Stereo High Amplitude Audio Capture

    It will feature a new camera software with features like manual focus, manual shutter speeds and exposure control.

    Despite the monster camera, the 1020 is a reasonable 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm and weighs 158g.

    The screen is a 4.5" AMOLED display with a brightness of 600 NITS (!). Resolution is 1280x768.

    The North American variant supports quad-band GSM, 850/900/1900/2100 HSPA and LTE on band 2, 4, 5 and 17 (1900, AWS, 850 and 700).

    It's powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 (like the 820, 920, 925, 928) with 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM (most of any Windows Phone). The battery weighs in at 2000mAh.

    Available on AT&T on July 26 $299.99 on a 2 year agreement.

    This quarter in China, Europe and South America.

    It will be available in Yellow, white and black.

    Who's getting one? Is anyone not getting one because it's running Windows Phone? ...
    by Published on 07-10-2013 11:06 PM
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    Today, T-Mobile announced their new Jump program. For an extra $10 a month you're basically paying for device insurance. After 6 months of doing this you can trade in your T-Mobile phone for a new one and not have to worry about any more device payments. Your new phone won't cost you any more than what a new customer would pay.

    Doesn't make much sense does it? My guess is that T-Mobile is banking that you won't upgrade EVERY six months since most phones are on a 11 to 12 month release cycle.

    T-Mobile also announced the Sony Xperia Z which is sort of like a bigger, water and dust-proof version of the Xperia ZL I reviewed recently minus the infrared blaster and the Nokia Lumia 925.

    They also announced a new family plan. 4 lines with unlimited talk, text and web plus up to 500MB of data for only $100. ...
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    LCSJL

    Ok,just sent feedback also. Hope they fix it...

    Ok,just sent feedback also. Hope they fix it soon. It's a pain to look up the number and then entering it.

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    Tg7621 or 7623 is mine

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