• howard

    by Published on 05-13-2014 10:27 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    The Motorola Moto G with LTE is coming to Rogers and Fido for $224.95.

    It's just like the Moto G that came ...
    by Published on 05-05-2014 06:48 PM
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    One differentiator between a good phone and a great phone is the camera. Any company can put in a sensor with a lots megapixels and pair it with a fast lens but thatís no guarantee that the camera will be great. Software and processing also play an important part.

    Even then, a great camera isnít a guarantee that youíll get good pictures. It will only give you a better chance of taking good pictures.
    ...
    by Published on 04-21-2014 06:57 PM
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    2. Commentary and Analysis,
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    The other week, Bell announced that they were first to deploy their newly bought 700Mhz spectrum in Upper Hamilton. Steve Punter, HC - No "i" and myself drove to Hamilton to check it out and indeed, Bell had 700Mhz running though it was only on a handful of towers and not every single tower.

    We learned a few things. First off, Bell only owns a 6Mhz paired channel (effectively 5Mhz) of spectrum in that market which they can use to deploy LTE. What this means is that the maximum speed on that band is 37.5Mbps. Just to compare, Bell uses a 10Mhz channel on AWS (Band 4) which is capable of speeds of up to 75Mbps while they use a juicy 20Mhz channel on 2600Mhz (Band 7) which can go up to 150Mbs. So, their 700Mhz is never going to be as fast as the rest of their spectrum.

    Secondly, since 700Mhz was only running on a fraction of Bellís towers, their deployment is probably more so that Bell can say that they were first to do it or ďYes we have itĒ.

    Not long after Bellís announcement, Rogers announced that they also deployed 700Mhz and in bigger markets; Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Rogers also reminded us that they own 2x the amount of 700Mhz spectrum that the competition has. Does that mean itís twice as fast? ...
    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 04-07-2014 03:03 PM
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    This past week or so, Iíve 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 Iíd throw my 2 cents in. This isnít a full review but rather my thoughts on each phone, how they compare with with each and after, how they compare with their competitors. ...
    by Published on 04-06-2014 12:59 PM
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    2. News,
    3. Carriers

    Just got an interesting PDF outlining how Bell and their network partners are going to be shutting down their CDMA networks. Basically they're shutting down EVDO first (probably since it uses more bandwidth) followed by 1x later.

    Basically Jan 1st 2017 is the date when it all ends.

    Anyone still using an EVDO device?


    ...
    by Published on 04-04-2014 07:01 AM
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    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Exclusives,
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    With Bell announcing that they had begun to roll out 700Mhz LTE (band 17) in Upper Hamilton, myself, HC no 'i' and Steve Punter decided to go to Upper Hamilton to figure out how extensive the roll out is. We took along a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a Bell SIM card. We also brought along a Galaxy S4 with a TELUS SIM to figure out if TELUS is allowed on Bell's 700Mhz.

    We hunted the 700Mhz towers using Steve's very cool LTE Widget (not available on the Google Playstore but you can ask him for it).
    ...
    by Published on 03-31-2014 07:39 PM
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    2. News,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Rumors
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    Googleís Android operating system is a runaway hit. Itís not hard to understand why manufacturers love Android; after all, Google gives it away for free. However, it seems Google is not satisfied with how much revenue they get from giving Android away for free. Itís no secret that Google has been watching how successful Samsung has been with Android and have actively been thinking of ways they can better monetize Android.

    It looks like Google is going to follow the same route that virtually all successful Android apps take and are going to bring 'in-OS purchasesí to their next iteration of Android.

    Yup, Android 4.5 is going Freemium.
    ...
    by Published on 03-27-2014 12:35 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    I was playing with the Samsung Galaxy S5 earlier today. I'm getting one later so for now I'm just going to post some pictures I took.


    The biggest difference over last year's GS4 is that the GS5 is IP67 water and dust resistant. While it resists water, it's not meant to be submerged. I'm sure it will handle a quick dip in the toilet but that's it. Check out the water tight gasket on the back cover. ...
    by Published on 03-27-2014 12:21 PM
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    I just got a HTC One (M8) today. I'm still playing with it but I thought I'd throw some pictures of it up. We'll have a ...
    by Published on 03-25-2014 08:28 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    If you asked me what my favorite Android phone was last year, my first or second choice would be the LG G2. Itís almost the complete package plus, as far as Android phones go, itís probably the easiest to use.

    Now there's the LG G Flex which is sort of a bigger version of the G2. However, thereís a twist; the is G Flex also flexible. Letís check it out.
    ...
    by Published on 03-13-2014 08:47 PM
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    2. Carriers
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    Just got word of Bell's new Q2 rate plans. Is it a coincidence that since Wind didn't participate in the recent spectrum auction rates have been inching up on all of the big 3? Should be interesting to see if rates continue to go up in the coming quarters.

    These consumer plans are effective March 15th. The plans have changed slightly but it looks like the cheapest Voice and Data Plus plans now start at $80 instead of $75 (click image to view full size):



    These small business plans are effective March 14th. They start at $85, up from $80. The plans appear unchanged on they're now all $5 more expensive (click image to view full size):



    What do you call it when prices rise across the board? ...
    by Published on 03-12-2014 10:25 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    I donít know about you but I can never get enough storage. When it comes to my phones, In the past Iíd go out and buy the biggest card I could find and immediately, Iíd regret it because I wish it was bigger and faster. I canít tell you what size card you need but maybe I can help you figure out whether you should spend extra and buy a faster card.



    To compare, Sandisk sent me two 64GB MicroSDXC cards; One is a Sandisk Ultra card while the other is an Extreme Pro. In Sandisk-speak, Ultra is the next step up from plain Sandisk cards. On the other hand, Extreme Plus represents the fastest MicroSD you can buy from them. ...
    by Published on 03-11-2014 08:56 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Carriers

    Just got word that when the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes to Bell it will be available in black or white. They'll be carrying the 16GB version (approx ~8GB of free space) for $699.95 off contract.

    Good to know that they're keeping prices in line with the GS4 when it launched even though the Canadian dollar has been slipping lately. ...
    by Published on 03-06-2014 04:18 PM
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    2. Tips,
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    Iíve been pretty lucky. Of the 30 or so different phones that pass through my hands each year, almost none of them have ever broken. Mind you, there have been a few close calls when one of my phones is dropped (usually not my fault). Fortunately aside from some scuffs and scratches here and there, Iíve been fortunate.

    Extended warranty, purchase protection plans are like dirty words that sales people throw at you. Theyíll talk up how great a product is and when theyíve convinced you to buy one, theyíll pull the carpet out from under you and tell you it will break and that you absolutely must buy an extended warranty when the inevitable happens.

    I usually counter by telling them my credit card will cover me for up to one more year after the manufacturerís warranty in case it breaks. This usually works.

    When one of my phones breaks, itís usually one from my collection thatís now a few years old and it needs a new battery. Hereís a tip, if you collect phones, donít leave the batteries attached unless youíre using them.

    Anyways, my luck ran out recently. I bought a 32GB iPhone 5 on launch day, unlocked from the Apple store online using my credit card. A month after my one year warranty ran out, my power button started acting up. At first, it would only respond if you pressed it from one side, but eventually it rarely worked. ...
    by Published on 02-28-2014 10:12 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    Since screen sizes have been creeping up with each new generation of smartphone, it was only a matter of time before companies started releasing smaller, less expensive versions of their flagship phones. The timing is perfect since Canadian carriers are now forced to offer 2 year contracts. Customers are forced to pick their poison.

    If you want a fancy phone youíll have to pay more than you used to each month.

    This is where the less-costly smaller versions come in. If you don't want to spend so much each month you can opt for a cheaper plan and get a less expensive phone.

    I checked out the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 Mini a while back and now itís time to give the HTC One Mini a twirl.
    ...
    by Published on 02-25-2014 03:00 PM
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    For the past couple of years, weíve been spoiled when it comes to phones. Each generation has brought huge, tangible improvements over the last. However, as screen size, resolutions, the number of cores, the amount of RAM, battery capacity, camera capabilities and network support continue to increase, weíre starting to reach a point where further increases only net a marginal improvement.

    Take for example screen sizes and resolution. Companies could release phones with bigger screens but people may not be ready to handle the increased size. As for resolution, you could raise it but aside from marketing (which is a very important reason), most people wonít notice any change in quality.

    Weíre rapidly reaching a point where most phones will offer a similar level of capabilities and companies will have to rely on incremental features which have little practical use except to sell more phones. In a way, PCís reached this point a while ago. They all kind of contain similar ingredients. Itís like youíre all buying the same wine only it comes in different bottles.

    This means 2 things; companyís margins are becoming squeezed and weíre going to start seeing more handsets from less well known companies.

    Take for example the Alcatel Idol X. Just like the Samsung Galaxy S4/HTC One/LG G2/Sony Xperia Z1 it has a 1080P, 5Ē class display, quad-core processor, 2GB RAM and a 2000mAh+ battery. No doubt, itís in a class filled with heavy hitters.

    However, unlike the other phones, the Idol X only costs $250. Yup, you could buy 2 Idol Xís and still have money for left over for service for what any of these other phones costs.

    So how does it compare? ...
    by Published on 02-21-2014 12:04 PM
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    2. Devices,
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    I love watching videos on my Android phones. From the large screen sizes, to the wide codec support you get from the plethora of video playback software. Itís just a fantastic platform for this. The problem is that many of the coolest Android phones lack a MicroSD slot. If you own a HTC One, Nexus 5 or LG G2, youíre stuck with whatever the phone came with. I donít know about you, but nothing is more annoying than being stuck on the train and realizing you have nothing to watch.

    Stream video via your network connection is always an option but this can have a heavy toll on your data plan. Do it too often and you could find your data bucket running empty.

    You could copy new videos to your phone whenever youíre about to leave the house but letís face it, copying files to and from a phone is still a bit of a pain since even the fastest memory cards still take some time plus your phone storage is shared with your pictures, music and apps.

    So what can you do? Well one thing you could try is to use a portable drive with WiFi like the Sandisk Wireless flash drive I just reviewed. It does work but it has some problems like being a little complicated plus you canít access the internet while youíre using it unless thereís a WiFi hotspot close by.

    A simpler solution is to use a USB OTG cable and a flash drive. Itís a good solution; copying files from your computer to a flash drive is usually faster than copying it straight to your phone. Of course, youíll have to fiddle with both a cable and a flash drive whenever you do this.



    Hereís where Sandiskís Ultra Dual USB drive comes in.



    It has a regular USB on one end for connecting to your computer and a micro USB OTG connector on the other.



    The idea is the same as using a OTG cable with a flash drive but this is a little bit more portable. ...
    by Published on 02-13-2014 05:47 PM
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    2. Devices
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    One trend that puzzles me is the growing scarcity of memory card slots on higher-end phones. First up was the iPhone, which has never come with a memory card followed by the Palm Pre (RIP). Next up, the Galaxy Nexus did away with a memory card slot followed, by the HTC One, LG Optimus G and now even the Moto X lacks this once common feature. Intuitively, youíd think a fancier phone would come with this feature but no.

    There are a number of reasons why this has happened.

    One big reason is cloud services, why store content on your phone when you can store it in the clouds and access it from all your devices? Another is DRM. When you buy a movie, chances are you can only view it from main memory. That way, you canít easily remove it from your device. Thereís also form factor considerations, all else being equal, a phone with a memory card slot is less sleek.



    Lastly, built in flash memory tends to be of much higher quality than the chips they use in a MicroSD. Smartphones need high quality storage because they can shoot high definition video, have high speed burst modes and most importantly, need to launch large programs quickly. Built-in memory is usually much faster and much more durable the removable memory. Faster, more durable memory costs more which adds to a phoneís bottom line.

    Unless your higher-end phone is from Samsung, Sony or Huawei, chances are, youíre stuck with whatever your phone came with. The problem with this is that in order to keep prices low, many phones come with the bare minimum when it comes to flash memory.

    Apps aside, for me the causes of low storage messages tends to be photos, music and movies.



    Hereís where Sandiskís wireless flash drive comes in. Itís a MicroSD card reader that connects to your phone via WiFi. It has a built-in battery and has an app which you use to connect it to your iOS or Android device. It approximate the same size as a large flash drive. Let's check it out: ...
    by Published on 02-06-2014 03:16 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    I donít know about you but when it comes to monthly bills, the cost of heating and cooling my house is one of the highest. You can cut your phone service, cut your cable, but for most people, you canít eliminate your electrical or heating.

    There are a few things you can do to reduce your costs. You can make your house more efficient by changing all your windows and doors, add more insulation, buy a more efficient HVAC/AC, install solar panels but the cheapest and easiest way to reduce your heating and cooling costs is to to install a programmable thermostat.

    The idea is that your heating and cooling needs arenít as great at night and during the day when everyone is at work. Instead of running the AC when no one is at home you tell the programmable thermostat to ease off.

    Thatís the idea anyways but the thing is, cheap programmable thermostats are a pain to program. To save money, they have tiny screens and a minimal number of buttons. Fancier models have larger screens and more buttons but you still need to go up to your thermostat and program it. If Iím lying in bed and want it to be warmer, itís a pain to have to walk over to my thermostat, set it and then go back to bed.

    Hereís where the Honeywell RTH9580WF comes in. The 9580 can connect to your WiFi network so that you can control it using your computerís browser or via an app on your iOS or Android phone. It also has a relatively large colour display. The large colour display makes programming it very easy and letís face it, the big screen looks awesome. Also, since the 9580 is connected to the internet, it knows what time it is and will automatically adjust for daylight savings.
    ...
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    JoeInPa

    I do agree with that statement for the most part...

    I do agree with that statement for the most part but Verizon is still bursting at the seams capacity wise. Between their prepaid, postpaid, and all the MVNOís (my market is also a xfinity mobile...

    JoeInPa Today, 12:15 AM Go to last post
    october262

    the phone is locked for 60 days from original...

    the phone is locked for 60 days from original activation - https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Verizon-Motorola-Moto-E6-Prepaid-Phone-16GB-Android-9/174133254086?hash=item288b2697c6:g:XVgAAOSwX9ld~oq3

    october262 Today, 12:15 AM Go to last post
    DanCalling

    Not quite your age yet, but I know what you mean...

    Not quite your age yet, but I know what you mean about fretting over junk that's not too important. I do tend to do that! :doh:

    I am old enough to remember Mannix... :hehehe:

    DanCalling Today, 12:09 AM Go to last post
    DanCalling

    I got a private message from a TF rep saying...

    I got a private message from a TF rep saying they'd transfer all the old minutes etc., I'll check it out on Monday. Which is also when my 128 gig microSD is arriving for the phone. Hopefully all goes...

    DanCalling Today, 12:03 AM Go to last post
    JoeInPa

    I was just walking around there yesterday. Speeds...

    I was just walking around there yesterday. Speeds were really good with ATT. They were also installing/working on a new ATT node near the entrance to Schenley park. 165040

    Also right at the corner...

    JoeInPa Yesterday, 11:50 PM Go to last post