Apr 18, 2017
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Last year was the first time that I left my iPhone for more than a month and switch to Android. I used the Galaxy S7 for around 5 Months until the iPhone 7 came out. I've always liked Android but until a couple years ago it just wasn't as good as iOS and when I say good I mean the apps available on the OS were not as good as those on iOS.

Switching from iPhone 7 to Galaxy S8


 

I believe 2017 is the first year that it doesn't really matter what phone you choose because all of them are going to be pretty much the same. The iPhone 8 will look and function very similarly to the Galaxy S8 and both devices have lots of features which end up accomplishing the same thing. I sold my iPhone 7 a couple of weeks ago in preparation for the Galaxy S8 because it is the best smartphone ever made. The combination of materials, features, software, and design of the phone make it the most comfortable smartphone I have held and it sports the most beautiful screen I have seen. The iPhone 8 will most like match all this but we are still months away from an announcement this means it's currently Samsung's turn to shine.


 

I ended up purchasing the Silver since I have had a black phone for the past couple of years and Samsung has given all the S8 colors black fronts which is perfect. If you have yet to see one in person, I highly reccomend going to a store and checking it out. This is what phones will look like for the next couple of years until the foldable displays become more affordable. I’ll be making some videos on the S8 this coming weekend so stay tuned for those!

Bragi Dash Smart Truly Wireless Earbuds Review

As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of “truly wireless” earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does “truly wireless” even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be “wireless” actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi’s first product, the Dash.

The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues.

The Sound

DSC01138An earbud can’t be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they’re actually pretty good! I wasn’t expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I’m coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I’ve been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I’d compare the sound to something like the “wireless” (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user’s pockets. Obviously, that’s a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they’re in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device.

Comfort and Design

DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don’t care, and the Dash really doesn’t look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven’t had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash.

Gestures/Controls

A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren’t only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem.

Other Features

DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there’s not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn’t have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they’ve been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn’t spectacular at about 3 hours.

Conclusion

So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don’t know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that’s built into them. I think Bragi’s next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash’s capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

How Does Pokémon Go’s ‘Nearby’ Pawprint Feature Work?

One of Pokémon Go’s most annoying aspects is the fact that you can’t tell in which direction or just how far away that Pokémon you are trying to catch is. The developers behind the app have been very vague regarding that feature but I believe there is reasoning behind it. If you came here looking for a representation of distance every Pawprint indicates then you’ll be happy to know that there is a number but it’s quite vague. I have been told that during the beta each Pawprint indicated 50 meters while serebii.net is reporting that the first Pawprint translates to 20 meters, 2 prints is 100 meters, and 3 prints is nearly 1 kilometer.

Pokemon Go Pawprint Disntance to Pokemon How It Works

Which is the more accurate? Well, from my experience it really varies but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Just the other day I was at a park and everybody in the park was helping each other out as to where each Pokémon was. In my opinion, this lack of information just makes each new Pokémon you catch feel far more satisfying. A direction indicator would definitely help in finding Pokémon but at the end of the day it’s the thrill of the hunt that makes it fun! If you are completely set out on catching all of the Pokémon on your radar then there is a way but it requires some time to exeggcute it. A redditor by the name of DJToaster has devised this elaborate plan:

How To Find Pokemon Go Pokemon in Radar Distance

2in1cable’s Micro USB/Lightning Charging Cable Review

For a long time, Apple and Android users have fought over which of their phones or operating systems are best, all while never actually accomplishing anything. Luckily, a company called 2in1cable decided to resolve one of the biggest 1st-world problems: your friend always has the wrong charging cable. The interesting part is how they went about solving the issue.

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The interesting part is how they went about solving the issue. One may think they just created a splitting cable, where you have one USB end that connects to two different ends (one a micro USB end and the other a Lightning end). But that would look weird and not many people would be fond of it. So, the company came up with the novel solution of just combining the two ends into one single end that can fit into either a micro USB or Lightning port. Simple stylish, and most importantly incredibly useful. Now you can charge your friend’s Galaxy S7 even though you have the 6S.

Pic 2

Another pretty cool thing the team did is create a lot of different styles, from a simple white cable to cowboy blue jean or various colors of leather. If you’d like to pick up one of these neat cables, head on over to their website at http://www.2in1cable.com/. Also, check out the images of some of the cables below: Pic 3

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Z4 Aurora Smart Projector Raises Over 100K on IndieGoGo

There are two categories in the tech market that have been making quite a splash recently: projectors and crowdfunding. In the case of the XGIMI Z4 Aurora, those two combined to make a very popular campaign on one of the largest crowdfunding websites, IndieGoGo.

So what makes the Z4 special? Well, a few things.

For starters, the projector outputs a 700 lumen, 1280×800 resolution picture at up to 300″, and for just $449.00 (that’s the current offering on IGG; will increase to $699.00 after the campaign). The projector is also able to receive inputs of up to 4K quality, and can output a 3D image with active-shutter 3D glasses. Additionally, the internal bulb is rated to last 30,000 hours, so you should get plenty of movies out of it.

Z4 Aurora 3Of course, none of this is entirely special, until you look at the other built-in features. The first of which is sound. Projectors are commonly associated with having very poor internal speakers, and XGIMI wanted to change that. As a result, they have constructed the Z4 with a custom Harman Kardon stereo speaker set, which should theoretically sound awesome, as HK is known to have very high-quality sound products.

Next up is connectivity. Built into the Z4 system is WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB, ethernet and AV ports. This allows for a very versatile system. You can hook your computer up to it via HDMI, plug in a flash drive, or stream wirelessly from your laptop, tablet, or phone.

Z4 Aurora 2Moving along, we’ll now talk about some of the cooler features the Z4 has to offer. For one, that record-player-looking thing on the top is actually a 3D gesture control, allowing you to play, pause, fast forward, and control the volume. For example, let’s say you want to raise the volume. Well, all you need to do is swirl your finger in a clockwise direction above the “record”, and that’s it!

Last but not least, one of the awesome features found on the Z4 is the custom Android OS built into the system. This means you don’t actually need any other device to interact with the Z4. Find a video on the YouTube app or watch a movie with the Netflix app. Simple.

I really look forward to seeing how this product turns out, as it is quite innovative for the projector market, and that extra boost may be exactly what the market needs to truly become a commonality within homes. If you’d like to view the campaign and/or back the project to get one of your own projectors, click here.

 

Kickstarter Project Jide Remix Ultra-Tablet Reaches $100,000 Goal in a Day

Remix Tablet Design 3

By now, most of us have heard of Kickstarter, the popular crowd-funding platform. But for the people who haven’t, the site works by allowing an inventor or company to launch a product on their website. People can pledge money, and often receive that product or swag in return, based on the amount pledged. The projects generally last 30-45 days, and only the top projects are funded quickly.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can gaze at the beauty of this new Android-based tablet from ex-Googlers Jeremy Chau, David Ko, and Ben Luk, along with the rest of their company, Jide Tech.

So what makes the Remix Ultra-Tablet so great and why should you care? Well, it may look a little familiar, being that it’s based on the very successful Microsoft Surface Pro 3. However, there are a few key differentiators to this tablet.

An Android Productivity Tablet

Remix File ManagerOf course, one of the best things about the Surface is that it’s meant to be used as a productive tool. However, up until now, no one has released a true productivity tablet. The closest to it so far is the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro, but even that has quite a few limitations, such as a file manager, which I believe Jide is the first to fully introduce on an Android tablet.

Other features this tablet boasts related to productivity are multiple windows open at once, a taskbar, and a magnetic keyboard, similar to the that of the Surface Pro.

A Powerful Tablet

Next up are the price and specs, and Ultra-Tablet doesn’t flank out on either. With the Nvidia Tegra 4+1 quad-core processor paired with the GeForce LP 72-core GPU, you’ll have PLENTY of power for most any application you need to run. In addition, it comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable to 192GB with microSD slot supporting up to 128GB).

Of course, to power such a device, you need a lot of battery, and this tablet packs an 8100mAh to do the job. And the power features don’t end at just the size of the battery, as this tablet has a proprietary fast charging port AND a much more universal micro-usb port to be able to charge your device when not with your charger. Oh, and did I mention it can also act as a power bank? Well, it can.

Don’t forget about aesthetics and the OS

Remix Tablet OSSomehow, Jide Tech was able to fit all of this great hardware inside a small body that greatly resembles the Surface Pro 3. It has an 11.6″ FHD touchscreen, it’s thinner than .4in., and weighs less than 2lbs, making it very competitive with the tablets out there today.

As for the operating system, Jide did a complete makeover of Android to make it as productivity-friendly as possible, and being ex-Googlers, I would expect them to know the OS better than anyone else, so it should be great, and from what they’ve shown us, that’s accurate.

Price

So this tablet must cost an arm and a leg, right? Nope! The Remix will retail for $399, and if you get over to Kickstarter now, you can grab one for $349. The first few lucky people got one for just $39, so if you’re one of them, I’m jealous!

I highly recommend you check this out on their Kickstarter page to find out more info, and maybe consider getting one for yourself!

 

More Photos

Remix Tablet Design 2

 

 

 

Remix Tablet Design

Remix Tablet Taskbar

Remix Tablet Email Client

Kodak to Release New Android Smartphone at CES 2015

kodak-logo

Kodak recently created a press release with some detail into the new Android smartphone they’re going to release at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show. They stated the focus of the phone will be around the camera hardware and software, with an emphasis on ease-of-use and wide range of editing.

They also stated in the press release that the phone will be created by the Bullitt Group, the same group who, a few years back, designed the rugged Cat Phones, which were from the Caterpillar company.

“Kodak is one of the world’s most recognisable brands. It is trusted by consumers as a marque of quality and innovation,” says Oliver Schulte, CEO Bullitt Mobile. “We’ve taken that heritage and used it to inspire a range of beautifully designed devices that will let users take great pictures and edit, share, store and print them in an instant.”

Some of the features Kodak and Bullitt have added into the smartphone include pre-installed remote access so friends and family can help out the owner of the phone with navigating the device. However, the press release stated clearly that the phone will not conform to the current market of easy-to-use phones by compromising on design, but will rather have “as much focus on design [as] usability.”

The phone is said to be the first of many coming from Kodak and Bullitt, with more products like a tablet and connected camera to be released later in the year. Kodak needs a bit of a boost with a loss in market share and stock price in recent years, and if this is successful, the Kodak name could be brought back to life.

 

OnePlus One Review

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The OnePlus One smartphone has been getting a lot of attention lately. As such I though it would make sense to grab one for myself and share my thoughts!

Background

For those who don’t know what the heck a OnePlus One is (no it’s not two), it’s a new smartphone with high-end specs, but a low-end price, competing at an off-contract price of $299 to $349, compared to a standard price of $650 to upwards of $900 for current high-end smartphones. Inside the phone is a 2.5GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a huge 3100mAh battery to power the phone. The screen isn’t 4k, but it’s still a 1080p full-HD screen that measures a massive 5.5 inches Other features include a 13-megapixel photo/4k video back-facing camera, 5mp 80-degree front-facing camera, three microphones, 4G LTE support, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and all of the standard orientation-detecting sensors. As you can tell, this sounds like a flagship phone from a large brand that would require you to get a contract in order to not spend a fortune, but it’s not. The 16gb white model will run you $299, and the black 64gb model will only cost you an addition $50 for a total of $349. One question remains, though: how does it actually stack up?

Design

DSC02990004The design of this phone is quite nice, with a slightly rounded back, top, and bottom, with straight sides and a non-curved screen. The phone is very thin and light, at 0.35 inches and 5.71oz, making it very comfortable to hold. If you get the black version, the back has a sandstone/fine sandpaper texture that’s very grippy and I personally really like the feel of. The power button is placed nicely so that smaller hands can easily reach it, and though the volume rocker looks nice, I did keep running into the issue of pressing the wrong side of the rocker because it is fairly small. However, that’s not too big of an issue and I did start to get used to it after a little while. Overall, the phone has clearly been meticulously designed with beautiful bezels and a fantastic feel, so props to OnePlus in this category.

Speed

With the 801 Snapdragon processor and 3GB of RAM, you’d expect very fast performance, and that’s exactly what you get. The One has one of the snappiest response times I’ve seen in an Android (in this case specifically CyanogenMod) phone in quite a while. Apps open up quickly and multitasking is a breeze. Browsing the internet is also very fast on WiFi with an 802.11ac antenna and with data over 4G LTE (though if you’re in the UK, you’ll likely not get 4G). Games can be easily played with no lag and they look beautiful on the large HD display. This is certainly another category where the One rocks!

Battery

Similarly to the other parts of the phone so far talked about, the battery is fantastic! I was able to use the phone regularly easily for a full day, and often for an additional half a day to a full day before needing to recharge. If you’re a heavy user, you may worry that you can’t just swap out a battery mid-day, but I can assure you that the One won’t require a second battery, as it lasts for an incredibly long time.

Camera

DSC02992005The camera certainly has its ups and downs. To start, it takes very nice photos for a phone, and CyanogenMod gives a lot more options for photos than the standard Android phone, so I liked that. At 13MP and f/2.0 aperture, the phone takes some very nice pictures. My one issue is the shakiness. I found that it’s hard to get a clear photo as there isn’t much stabilization. This is extremely evident when you take video, though, and the video almost becomes unwatchable if there was a lot of action. If that was fixed, I’d really like the camera, but as of now, I find it to be pretty annoying.

User Interface

CyanogenMod has some nice features, with full customization options and theme packs (though some will cost you), and gestures while the phone is asleep. The customization allowed me to choose what I wanted the screen to look like, including app icons, backgrounds and more, which certainly appeals to some users, though that’s not too important to me. As for the gestures, they need to be improved. For instance, if I draw a V on the screen it turns on the flashlight… 5 seconds later. Most of the other gestures worked pretty well, but I found it very difficult to do if you’re doing it one-handed, as the software didn’t recognize a small circle or a non-close-to-perfect circle. However, the notifications looked great, and I really liked the feel of the operating system while using it.

Conclusion

DSC02987002In conclusion, this phone is very good, ranking highly in many categories. Though some features leave more to be desired, they still work well, and that’s a lot more that can be said compared to another phone that costs only $350. Basically, if you don’t want a contract but don’t want to spend a small fortune, I can’t think of a phone I would recommend more than this one. If I had to rate it, I’d probably give it a 4.5/5 for it’s great features and low price.

 

Sonos System Review

Sonos Logo Jul 29, 2014

There are many electronic devices that can give you the ability to stream music from your devices to a speaker wirelessly. However, a lot of them are only meant to be portable, and as such don’t give you the best audio quality. Well, Sonos is an option that can give your all of the above to add some great audio experiences at home!

Background

Sonos Connect Jul 29, 2014The idea is that the Sonos Bridge will act similarly to a router, creating its own “Hi-Fi” system that connects to all of the other devices in the Sonos line. This system is more reliable than a standard Wi-Fi connection, and provides fantastic audio quality to your speakers.

Now, in order to get sound, you need to have other devices from Sonos. A Connect or Connect:Amp will connect to your existing speakers (the Amp giving more powerful audio) and make them wireless. Along with the Connects are the Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5, with bigger and better sound as you rise in number. Lastly are the Playbar and Sub, which as you probably guessed are a soundbar and subwoofer. The Playbar and Sub can be connected to your TV as well as play music wirelessly.

The connections available are vast, being able to be controlled by Mac, PC, Android, or iOS devices over WiFi. The services that can be used are also quite large, and include Rhapsody, Google Play Music, Rdio, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Slacker, SiriusXM, Songza, or even connecting to your computer’s library. Basically, you can play any song in the world on this system.

Design

Play-1 Speaker Jul 29, 2014

 

The quality of materials used by Sonos is outstanding! They have fantastic aesthetics and could almost look like decor for a home. My personal favorite for looks is

the Sub, with a very intriguing design (though I don’t actually own one of these). As far as the Play series goes, they are very solid pieces weighing a lot more than you’d think, so it’s quite stable while being compact. The Connects are the only products I’m not too fond of for the design category, as they are white, so anything that gets on it will show.

Sound

The sound quality is also great, with very clear highs, mids, and lows in every one of the products I’ve tested, which includes the each Play series speakers, Connect (though sound will vary based on your speaker), and the Playbar. I was especially surprised by the Play:1, being that it’s so small compared to the others in the Play line, as it was able to deliver some of the best sounds I’ve heard from speakers. The Play:3 and Play:5 are even better with deeper bass tones and consistently great vocals.

Of course, it’s difficult to know what I’m talking about without actually hearing it for yourself, so I suggest you check it out for yourself, but I can say from my experience, I’m very impressed with what I’ve heard!

Ease-of-Use

Sonos App Jul 29, 2014The Sonos system is fairly easy to setup, requiring you to press two buttons on each added device to get it to connect to the overall system. To add services, just find which one you want to add on the app, login with your existing credentials, and you’re good to go. As with all technology, not everything goes according to plan, though, so luckily they have good customer service that can help guide you along.

Once you have everything setup, the hard part is over. Just download the apps on the corresponding devices, and you’re good to go! To play a song, search for an artist, title, or album, and Sonos will search through each connected service, whether it be Google Play, Rhapsody, or something else, and choose to play it now, next, or just add it to the queue. Want to create a playlist? Sonos can save playlists, too, so you can have the ultimate party with automated sounds. One of the coolest features, I think, is that you can have the option to play a different song in each room when multiple people are home and want to listen to their own songs, or if you’ll be all around the house, pick one song or playlist to play synchronized in each room you want it to. Once you’ve played around with the app, you’ll get the hang of controlling it fairly quickly, as they made it very easy to use.

Issues

Now, I know I’ve talked up Sonos a lot in this review, and that’s because it’s a great system. However, there are still some issues that can be quite annoying. The biggest issue is that randomly the system will not connect with your phone or other device. I’ve tried reconnecting the speakers, checking for updates in the apps or system, and re-downloading the app, but nothing seems to work. After a while (usually a couple hours), it will start working again. I’m not sure if this is just my system of if it’s a problem all over, but it’s quite a nuisance, and it will happen usually once every couple of weeks (so it’s not too often). My only other complaint is that when an update is released for their app or the whole system, you HAVE to update; it’s not an choice given to you. So, if you just want to listen to music, you’ll have to wait for the update to be done, which granted usually only takes a few minutes, but it can be a bit annoying either way.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Sonos has done a fantastic job in creating a good system that’s easy to use, looks great, and sound fantastic. I think any music-lover would want this system in their house and I highly recommend it if you’re considering purchasing it.

Next Event – SXSW 2017

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