Tag Archives: review

Review: Capital One 360

I normally don’t review financial products/services as typically everyone’s needs are different. For example, I have a basic credit card with a relatively low interest, but no cash back. I don’t use the credit on my card enough to really benefit from cash back especially at a threat of higher interest rates. However, this is a bank account, and most people need a bank account, right? Now, your bank account may serve you well, and if that is the case – keep it. However, if you are looking for a new account, this might be an option to consider.

I chosen to open a Capital One 360 account for a few reasons. First, my previous account (which I still have the account open) gave me a bank account, but seem to refuse me when I asked for a credit card or a personal loan to consolidate debt, and get a few essentials. With the fact that I already had a credit card and on time payments with them had been 100%, I felt as if I wasn’t being looked at as a customer, but a number with another number attached. With this in mind, I have loss any personal sense of loyalty and commitment to them. I already had a Capital One Credit card which I had for more than 8 years when I applied for the loan, so I had an established payment history – one that was longer than my bank account. So knowing that I will be treated as a number with a big bank like Capital One, I didn’t see much difference in customer relations to what I been dealing with already. Continue reading Review: Capital One 360

Blu Advance 4.0 Final Review

It’s been more than a month since I had this phone, and I bought it to try to reduce my current phone bill once my EIPs (Easy Installment Payments) was paid off. The reason for this purchase is the phone is Dual SIM (capable of supporting 2 SIM cards at one time). The idea would have been to use T-Mobile’s free 200MB data plan and a cheap or free voice plan with another company. I would have used a SIP client to make my phone a home phone as well. Good News and Bad News.

Good News is the concept works. The bad news is the phone is too under powered to be fully functional. The reason is again – I would want a SIP client to run to always provide a “Home Phone” line when I am in a Wifi Network. Having a Lifeline subsidized phone plan would have meant just 100 – 250 minutes per month, and less important calls (such as unknown callers) shouldn’t eat my cellular minutes. However, while testing this – the phone locked up too many times through the Acrobits Softphone which is the best and maybe the only SIP client worth mentioning for Android.

The Good

The phone at time of writing this is $75 through Amazon, and there is an Amazon Prime option for shipping. This makes the phone affordable and actually competing with the price of a good basic phone. The OS is not the most up to date, but if Blu Products (the OEM) was to update the phone with Android M, then there could be a chance this phone might actually be able to do the ideal situation. The phone supports micro-SD card which is always a good thing. And with dual SIM, one SIM could be data while another is for voice. Another option is to where you would have a “work” and a “personal” phone – this could solve that.

The Bad

Yes, I know that this is a low budget phone, but I am disappointed with the 512MB size. This should never be in phones nowadays as almost every application demands that much or more. Simply put, building a phone with that little memory is begging to have a bad experience with the customer. Yes, I know they need to cut corners – but you should find somewhere else. The phone has a front side camera. Maybe remove that so you can have 1GB of memory. Yes, the teenie boppers who want to show themselves making duck faces won’t find this cool – but your market probably isn’t that.

I am disappoited about the fact that the phone does not support all five GSM-3G bands. This is like saying only certain people should have 3G. I can almost accept that with LTE since every country seems to have 5 different bands, but this is not the case for GSM-3G. And while we are at, Blu – HSPA is NOT 4G. Please stop lying to perspective customers. Thank you.

The Ugly

Say it with me – top mount USB charging. This is ridiculous, and is more of an inconvenience to the user than saying “Look at me, I am different”. Capacitive buttons are also Ugly. Let’s move to On-Screen buttons please. The speaker is a little tin sounding – but I am OK with that as this is a sub-$100 phone.

Verdict

If you go in knowing what to expect, you should be OK. Keep in mind – this is a basic smart phone. You won’t get games on there, and don’t expect to be a productivity power house. You may be able to install a few of your favorite apps.

JLab 7 Pro–Final Review

The JLab 7 Pro in a word should be thrown in jail for fraud. It is a 7” tablet, but far from anything related to professional. First, let’s address why I made this mistake. I wanted to get a tablet for my 6 year nephew. Tiger Direct offered this tablet with a buy one get one free sale. This means the $70 tablet will be a 2 tablet purchase for that same price. Now, for a tablet that is 7”, I never expected much, but this is a serious understatement. Since my nephew is 6 years old, he is probably OK with it, but there is so much left to be desired.

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Nexus 7-32GB with LTE (2013 Edition)

About a month ago, I purchased the Nexus 7-32GB from T-Mobile. Obviously, this is the LTE version, and it is the 2013 Edition which means it is the thinner one with a camera in the front and the rear. I bought this tablet for a couple of reasons. First, I think I should have something relatively nice once every couple of years without a “need” or condition. My last major purchase was my notebook which replace the one that died, and the one before that was my Nexus 4 which required a 2 year contract. Now with the tablet came a down payment which was pretty much the $10 SIM card, and sales taxes on the price defined by T-Mobile. With expedited Shipping, I paid $50 and will be paying $16/month for 24 months. In addition, there is a $10/month service charge for 200MB, but since I am a T-Mobile customer, there is a $10 credit that will be applied to the bill.

The tablet has a Snap Dragon S4 Pro running at a 1.5Ghz Quad Core CPU. This is a little slower, but more cores than my notebook that I am typing this posting on. It has an Adreno 320 GPU running at 400Mhz which is sufficient for tablet games. There is 2GB of memory, and 32GB of storage with no micro-SD card slot. There is a 3950mAh battery which does about 8-9 hours of active use, and can go a day with casual use. The micro-USB2 port supports for both charging, HID (Human Interface Devices), and Slim Port for media. This port is located on the bottom with the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. Both power, and volume is located on the right hand side along with the Micro-SIM tray. The screen has full HD with 323ppi, a 1.2MP front camera and 5MP rear camera. There is no LED flash however. It supports Dual Band Wifi-N, Quad Band GSM-2, 850/900/1900/2100 HSPA+ as well as AWS 1700/2100 (used by T-Mobile) for GSM 3G. It supports 700/850/1700/1800/1900/2100 MHz LTE, and Bluetooth 4.0LE. Obviously, it also has GPS, and NFC.

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Review: Hisense Sero 7

This is a review after my first impressions. I had this tablet for over a week now, and don’t think my opinion of it will change. This seems to be a bit to the point as I try to give at least a couple of weeks for a review after I received the item. Again, the role of the Sero 7 was to replace the iPod Touch that went dead after a few years of owning it. While the two products are drastically different, I will also be doing some comparison with the two.

The Sero 7 has 1GB of memory, but functions more like a device with only 512MB of memory. The tablet has stuttered on a number of occasions with just doing basic things. Transitions with the menu is delayed, and even play a simple casual game such as Fruit Ninja has stuttered. I am blaming this on the UI overlay that Hisense has put on the tablet. The tablet has a 1.2Ghz CPU which is a 3 – 4 year old CPU. My G2x had a 1Ghz CPU, and that has been replaced after two years of owning it almost a year ago. The manufacturer claims 4GB of storage, but at best, only about 1GB of storage is available even after removing all of the non-OS apps. The screen resolution is 1024×600. This is a ppi of 170 and that is apparent. It runs Android 4.1 and was upgraded to 4.1.1 which I am guessing was to address any problems with drivers the manufacturer may have had. All of the ports are at the top which includes USB2 (charging and synching), HDMI, 3.5mm headphone, and a micro-SD card slot. The power and volume is located on the left side. There is a VGA quality front camera, but in my experience – was worthless. There is a 3400mAh battery, and support for Wifi-bgn. There is NO Bluetooth however.

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Jabra Halo 2

I had the Halo 2 for a couple of months and now, and while I thought it might have been what I was looking for, it has fallen short of expectations. First, I bought the Halo 2 as it is one of the only headphones I could find that was Bluetooth and supported Multi-Point. Multi-Point is when the device can connect with two or more devices at one time. My hopes was to have it paired with the phone, and a media player (eventually hopefully Nexus 7).

The Good

It is easy to use. The volume is a capacitve slider that is relatively invisible and therefore keeps a clean look. Not a fan of the silver outer shape, but it is OK looking on the predominantly black headphones. The single button can pause and resume music. It however can not play music. You have to use the phone to start music. Calls are reasonable considering it is bluetooth. It is also an over the ear set which I have preferred over the in ear headphones that a majority of wired sets seems to be.

The Bad

Resetting and pairing is a nightmare. I had the headphone not work properly a few times already, and the solution from support was to reset the headphones, and repair. On a Nexus 4 (running 4.2.2 and 4.3), this was a nightmare. When the headphones was new, pairing was straight forward, but doing the reset and pairing, it was less than straight forward.

And this brings me to the other problem. A few times, there was an extremely weak signal where the headphones sounded as if it was buffering. There would be times where I will head 30 seconds of music, wait 15 seconds, and hear between another 30 seconds to a minute. The only solution technical support gives is reset it. I had to do that twice already. At the time of writing, it has lasted a couple of weeks so far, and is working as expected so far, but I have no confidence in it. For now, I am not demanding much. I am using it only with one device which defeats the reason of why I bought it. However, it seems to act completely stupid when it is using Multi-Point.

The Ugly

I wasn’t happy with the purchase price before, and even less so now. Combined with unreliable Multi-Point, and I have regretted purchasing the headphones at $75. If I was to price this, it will likely not be more than $35. This is less than half of the MSRP.

Would I?

I will not recommend buying this. Maybe with me only pairing it with one device, it will work more reliably, but I am sure that there are cheaper or more reliable headphones than these at $75. And it’s a shame, I had so much hope for them.

First Impression: HP 2000-2c20NR

The HP 2000-2c20NR was purchased to replace my current HP Pavilion G62. The reason of why is the current PC was essentially going on its last days. It lost all of its feet, and lost one bumper for the monitor. The power button is temperamental, the SD card reader is not functioning, the F4 key is only on the keyboard due to a piece of scotch tape. The system will overheat, and the Shut Down has errors with it. On top of that, it has failed to even pass beyond the BIOS boot which is essential for any PC a few times. With this in mind, it is understandable of why I felt I should have got a new PC. For now, my G62 is still functional (considering), however it can not serve as a primary PC any longer. It will be demoted as a guest system, and hold my iTunes resources which I still use until I can find a competent replacement and move over to Android entirely (retiring the iPods).

The HP 2000 (the noted model) has an Intel Pentium Mobile CPU running at 2.4Ghz dual core. This is not the i3-i7 series CPUs. It has one 4GB SODIMM, and is upgradeable to two 8GB memory slots. It has a 720p resolution webcam, and integrated Intel series graphics. Drives include an SD card slot, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, and a DVD Writer. Ports include 1 VGA, 1 HDMI-out port (plugs into a TV or monitor), three USB2 ports, an RJ45-1GBPS and a VGA port (because we live in the 90s). It has Wifi-bgn support, but no Bluetooth. The screen size is 15.6” diagonal. There is also a speaker, and microphone jack, but there are integrated speakers, and mics.

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2013-04-25

Today was a relatively normal day. I took the dogs for a couple of walks, and wrote an email. I also wrote a blog posting on a First Impression for the ObiHai 100. I watched a couple of videos on Hulu, but otherwise – my day has been quiet. I didn’t run the errands I wanted too, which I will likely do that on Monday.

As for plans for tomorrow, if I am able to, I will like to give the dogs a long walk. Otherwise, nothing planned. The days will be relatively quiet for the most part.

First Impression: HP G62-340US

First, I have ordered this notebook from Fingerhut, and I am not going to go into detail of how I basically bent over and said Ahh by paying almost twice as much as the fair market value, nor will I have to pay high interest. I figured this is simply the price of doing business with Fingerhut. My intention is to go into my first impression of the notebook based on what I received. First, I had three choices as for manufacturers. I could have chosen a Acer, but with past experience with them, that was not going to be an option. I could have also chosen Lenovo. However, I have chosen HP simply because all of my experience with them have been good.

As for the specs, it is a bit basic. The notebook has an AMD Athlon P340 CPU which is a 2.2Ghz dual core processor. In comparison, my desktop has a Pentium 4 – 2.8Ghz. The notebook has 3GB of memory, and integrated graphics. The screen is a 15.6” 720p LED screen. The computer has an Media Card reader, microphone/speaker, 2 USB ports, RJ-45 at 1GBPS (assuming), HDMI, and a VGA port on the left side, and the optical drive, USB, a closed RJ-11 port, power, and Kensington Lock on the right hand side. The closed RJ-11 port is there to prevent openings for models that will not have a dialup modem (custom machines). The hard drive is a 320GB, but there is only in reality 290 as some of it is due to base8 math, and a partition for the recovery.There is also a Lightscribe DVD Writer, and wifi-N. I am assuming that I could possibly replace the wifi-N module with a better wireless module, or one with bluetooth. The PC will accept up to two 4GB DDR3 SODIMM modules, and has an integrated webcam. There is a 101 keyboard, and a touch pad that is hidden within the body of the notebook towards the center with a single button support right click.

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A Year with the Blackberry

It has been a year since I bought my RIM Blackberry 8320, and I thought I would give my thoughts. I am sure that very few would find this as interesting considering that the 8900 is the replacement to it, but some things would be worth noting.

First, I did have some problems with it that required that I replaced it. Also, I was a bit naive, at first, and dropped once which made a little scratch at the top. Nowadays, I use a hard plastic shell to covers everything but the buttons. It makes it impossible to use the holster though.

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