Tag Archives: tablet

HP Stream 7: First Impressions

I bought the HP Stream 7 for a couple of reasons. First, my primary PC is failing. The keyboard doesn’t work properly, and sound has been shot. With this in mind, I can only assume the system board (where everything is) will eventually go. This forced me to make my primary PC which is a notebook homebound. However, I never bought a notebook because that is what the cool kids are doing these days, I bought a notebook so I could be productive not only at home, but away.

In reviewing the HP Stream 7 to see if it would be worth the price, the biggest attraction was the price at $85 for a full Windows 8.1 system. Even though there is only a 7” screen – the system should at least be able to perform when away. However, I will continue to use the “homebound” PC for work done at home. The Stream 7 has an Intel Atom 1.3Ghz Quad Core CPU. This will handle basic tasks well enough, but don’t expect this to be a performer. There is 1GB of memory, and a 7” 1280×800 IPS display. Storage is 32GB of integrated Solid State Flash with a micro-SD card support for 64GB. The tablet has a 3000mAh battery, integrated mic/speaker combo jack along with an integrated mono-speaker, and micro USB which is for charging or connection to accessories. The front camera is .3MP (VGA) and a 2MP rear camera. There is Bluetooth and Wifi-N support with Miracast, but no cellular connectivity. For new purchases, there is a 1 year Microsoft Office 365 subscription which includes 60 minutes of Skype per month. Along with the purchase, I also acquired a Class 10 64GB micro-SD card which will hold content.

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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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May 2015

Not much happened this month. I had an appointment with my anesthesiologist, and since finding a doctor of his recommendations on my own has been unsuccessful, I had ask for his referral. In turn, he is referring me to the the previous office that I had dealt with that I wasn’t in approval of that anesthesiologist. Thankfully, this will not be the reason I will go. I have an appointment in the first week of June, but personally not sure what talking about my pain will do – but I trust my doctor (or I wouldn’t be with him), so I am going to give this a neutral attempt.

Nothing else happened. I bought Xavier (my youngest nephew) a tablet, which was a 2 for 1 special. I kept the second one which in my opinion has been less than suitable. I will be writing a review on it later in June. Otherwise, not much else happened in May.

Why Smart Phones are Smart

Most people in many first world countries own and rely on a smart phone daily. However, there are many people that still find smart phones as too expensive, too complicated, or just not effective. I am going to address many of the concerns that some many have.

Expense

Yes, most smart phones are more expensive than basic phones, or even feature phones. However, let’s look at the expense. First, the price of a phone. A basic phone can cost as little as $30. However, a reliable smart phone can cost more than 5 times that price. I would recommend at minimum a Motorola Moto G. The Moto G is not capable of supporting LTE, but it is also less than $200. Next is the service. Many cellular plans are about $35 or more. A smart phone plan if one shops around can get service for about $50. What would one get for the extra $15. First, at least 1GB of data. Keep in mind that the extra cost provides for data that a basic phone will never need.

Complicated

In reality, the smart phone is simpler than a basic phone. Yes, there will be some areas where a smart phone might be more complex, but keep in mind that there is much more that a smart phone can do. A smart phone not only will have a 12 key dialer, but can also handle the keys in a larger format – making keys easier to dial. However, where a basic phone will have to rely on T9 for text input, a smart phone can bring forth a QWERTY keyboard. This makes using SMS easier. In addition, a smart phone can handle email, and social networks. Don’t like your SMS capabilities, consider a new one.

And another issue to consider. What happens when you buy a new basic phone. You may have to enter all of your contacts again. All smart phones now can simply import your contacts. So, login with your credentials, and in a couple of minutes – all of your contacts are in your new phone. And rather than trying to find a number, important contacts can simply be put on the home screen (on some phones).

Efficiency

So, what about efficiency. Well, let’s take a look. Your smart phone can not only be a phone, but in some instances, it can also replace your transit schedules. The more routes your city may have, the more valuable this could be. It can also be your map, and navigation. It can be your calendar, and social network clients. It can handle your email, and provide for a basic point and shoot camera. The phone can connect with cloud based services to back up and store your content, and even be a flash light if you have a LED light for your camera. Services with some taxi services, and Jitney services such as Lyft and Uber can be installed. You can also play games, watch movies, read books and media. There is also the ability to have a translate service, and a media player. So, if you have a music library, or want to rely on streaming service – the smart phone can do it. The phone uses the cellular networks for your time, so no matter what time zone you are in, your phone has the right time. And with that in mind, you have an alarm clock. And as if that wasn’t enough, depending on the device – you can even have a digital wallet including storing all loyalty cards.

With this in mind – you can replace your cellular phone, calendar, social network clients, email client, camera (basic cameras), flash light, gaming device, ebook reader, alarm clock, timepiece, loyalty card, and in some cases, an NFC credit card. And of course, if that wasn’t enough – there is a web browser involved. A good smart phone can repalce a number of different devices, and even your personal wallet. I know personally, I carry a phone, photo ID, Google Wallet Card, and my Transit Card. If most places supported NFC payments, and if Port Authority of Allegheny County supported Google Wallet – I would only need to carry my ID.

And if this wasn’t enough, one can likely install a SIP client on a smart phone. This will mean that with a broadband internet connection at home, one can also have a lower cost home phone. If most home phone services are $30, and a sufficient calling plan with SIP is half that – this means that this could actually save the cost of the expense of a monthly service that would have to be paid more.

Reality

My first smart phone was the Blackberry 8320. This was about 7 years ago. Obviously, I had basic phones before hand. I would never consider a basic or even a feature phone. And it is not just me, but I recommended a smart phone to more than a dozen people, and those that took that suggestion, never regretted. In a matter of fact, none of those dozen of people will switch to a basic phone. This is because the basic phone will simply no longer meet the expectations they expect from their mobile device. A smart phone has become too valuable.

My Suggestions

So, you are going to bite the bullet, and will jump out to a new smart phone. You have a number of options, and this could be daunting. You might ask a sales representative who might be a fan-person (thinks a particular brand/model is the best ever no matter what), or they may be paid by commission of how much money they can get from you. I understand the value of most OSes, and therefore will give suggestions on that. So with that in mind, here is my opinion.

First, unless you live almost entirely in the Apple eco-system, an iPhone will not be the best choice. Even the cheapest iPhone is $500. To jump in the iPhone will mean exclusive use and demand of iTunes, and iCloud. You will also be limited to the types of apps. For example, no call manager for you.

Windows Phone is really only of any good if you are going to remain within Windows entirely. The lineup of apps for Windows Phones are limited, and as with Apple, apps that can handle various controls of the phone is not available. Blackberry has fallen out of favor, and like the iPhone – expect to pay more than you should. You are also limited by the number of apps, and while there is a way to get to use Android Apps, this is not completely reliable.

This leaves Android. And unfortunately, not all Android phones are equal. In my experience, non Nexus devices may get a minor update, but you already bought the phone, and therefore – no one cares about your happiness. In they end, they just want to be good enough to get you to buy their product again. Also, many phones will have OS UI overlays and “value added software” (aka: S**tware). This could be a good thing for some people, but my opinion, it is more trouble than good. Even non-modified UIs do not guarantee a reliable update path (LG G2x is a good example). Why should you care about this? Well smart phone OSes are much like your PC OS. If not updated, it leaves to security issues. However, where you can update your PC, the smart phone is at the mercy of the OS developer, phone manufacturer, and in some cases – carriers.

To avoid this, one should look to one of the following lines of devices

  • Android One (found in India, and eventually 3rd World Countries)
  • Google Play Edition (like other phones, but stripped of UI changes, and S**tware)
  • Nexus Line (specified by Google for hardware, and handled all OS updates)

You should have at least 8GB, or 16GB if you will see yourself in using a lot of apps. 8GB with a micro-SD card is needed if you would want a low number of apps, and want to use media. The Motorola Moto G (Play Edition) with 16GB for $200 is probably the best budget choice. The Nexus 5-32GB is a much better option in every way (no micro-SD card slot) is $400 which will be twice as much, but much better option which includes regional LTE, and global GSM-2G/3G. There is so much more. If you are on a tight budget, the Moto G, and those that can splurge a little – the Nexus 5. If you are going to buy used – a Nexus 4 or 5 is worthwhile if on a budget.

For service providers, you will likely have to utilize a GSM or LTE provider. Even with LTE, consider the carrier to support your bands. In the United States, this will likely limit to AT&T, T-Mobile, and TIng. Also, MVNOs using one of these carriers will likely be sufficient. T-Mobile with 2GB of service for $45 will likely be the cheapest. Cricket Wireless (now owned by AT&T) is $50 with 2.5GB. If your provider is using Assurant, I can not in good concience recommend using this insurance option. Consider outsourcing new or refurbished devices through Securanty, or Square Trade.

What I Do?

I personally use a Nexus 5 which I have payments through T-Mobile. This increases my phone bill, but allowed me to purchase a phone that would otherwise not be available to me. My phone has Securanty as the insurance provider. If my phone breaks, it will be repaired or the money for a new phone will be provided. I also have a Nexus 7-32GB with LTE – also through payments on T-Mobile, and serviced through them. As soon as a new Nexus tablet becomes available with T-Mobile, I will be upgrading which will eliminate the payments I have with T-Mobile on the Nexus 7 and I will start with new payments. As with the phone, the tablet will get Securanty as the insurance provider. While I am on a family plan, I am going to account if it was just these two devices:

  • Nexus 5: $16.50/month
  • Nexus 7: $16.00/month
  • Service: $50+$10 (Tablet – 1GB)+$10(JUMP on Tablet until replaced)+$15(taxes/fees)

In total, I pay $85 for the service for both phone and tablet. About $25 is for the tablet. $32.50 is spread across 24 months. This will pay off the tablet and phone. However if this was just on the phone – one can expect to pay $76.50 and this will assume they went through T-Mobile to get the phone payments across 24 months. If service is cancelled before payments are fulfilled – consider it as an ETF.

Week 34 – 2014

This week has been very little of productivity. I took the dogs for a walk almost every day, but for the most part – I have been in a bit of pain. I have also been working on a document which I will like to publish in a month or two. Otherwise, little much else has happened. On a side note, I acquired a Nexus 16GB which will hopefully be a gift for my brother, and his family. However, my brother will have to pay the money he owes me from other issues, otherwise – the tablet will for my own benefit. The only reason I acquired it when I really don’t have the funds is due to the fact the tablet was almost half of the new price. Therefore, if it becomes a gift for my brother’s family, then it would have been an investment worthwhile. Otherwise, it will function as a second tablet in the home.

As for plans for next week, not much will be planned as the end of the month is coming. I am still waiting for Assurant to refund the money from return of their inferior tablet they tried to pawn off on me. I will also need to add funds to my Connect Card especially since I have will have a number of things I will need to address in the first week of the coming month.

Assurant’s Bait and Switch Scheme

On Thursday August 7, my Nexus 7’s screen cracked. This was due to my ankles giving way, and in turn – the Nexus 7 falling out of my hand and hitting the ground. Yes, I was pissed. Not only do I have to come up with money for Talisa’s test – but now I had to come up with money to pay the deductible. You see, I pay $10 for T-Mobile’s Jump program which includes Premium Device Protection with Assurant Solutions. Now, my brother and his girlfriend each had to use the insurance service because they are careless with expensive things – however in the 6+ years I had T-Mobile, and been using smart devices (first one being a Blackberry 8320 – pre Apple/Android days), I had never broke a device.

So, I find out how much the deductible is, and I pull funds out of 2 credit cards to fund $100 on my Google Wallet Card. I tried to file online, but it was not successful – so I called them. They had the claim, and it would seem as if the system had problems with the Google Wallet Card. The system did accepted it, and Assurant informed me that they will be sending me the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 – 7.0 because it is a comparable model to the Nexus 7. I disputed with the representative and informed them that I had the Nexus 7, and that is the item I want. It is still available on the market, so it is not a legacy device. I bought the Nexus 7 because I get a reliable update path, and prefer the stock Android over the UI interfaces that other carriers give. I was told that I would have to speak with T-Mobile about it. And so the madness begins

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What’s On My Devices

There has been a little casual interests on what is on my phone or tablet. To make life simpler, I will be combining all three on one page. In addition, I will be noting what will be on a future replacement home phone – although, since I don’t have that device – it isn’t guaranteed. The devices I will make note of will include a Highsense Sero 7, a Google Nexus 4-16GB, and a Nexus Full HD (2013 edition) 7-32GB with LTE. In case anyone would want to know, I have written reviews of all three.

All three devices have a few things in common. First, they are all registered under my main UID with Google. Second, they are all running Android 4.1 or higher. While I would have preferred iOS for my home media player, the cost of an iOS device was simply prohibitive. All three devices are also used daily – although intended to serve particular roles. I won’t go into specs, nor my opinions of these devices as again – this was done in reviews of all three.

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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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2014-02-03

Today was my birthday, and not much happened. I made a deposit in the bank, but otherwise – not much else happened. Chris asked me to come over which he ordered a pizza, but that was the most exciting part. I did walked the dogs, and while they were a bit misbehaved on the walk, I was proud of them for behaving when I gave them free roam of the apartment for a little more than 30 minutes. Not sure if I could do that for a few hours, but I will like to see if that could be possible one day.

On some other events, I have been invested in a game called Injustice: Gods Among Us which is a pretty intense fighting game. I am sure for those that are big gamers – this isn’t much, but I still enjoy it nonetheless. I wouldn’t have played it if it wasn’t for me having the Nexus 7. The game will demand too much for my phone and will drain the battery quicker. Otherwise, not much else happened. As for plans for tomorrow, I will have an inspection with Section-8, but nothing else otherwise. If it is warm enough tomorrow, I will like to walk the dogs – but otherwise – it is going to be a quiet day.

2014-02-01

Not much happened today. I took the dogs for a walk, and stopped by my brother’s place. I returned home to feed the dogs, and I made myself some soup. Otherwise, I spent a bit of time playing Injustice: Gods Among Us. which was initially an iOS game, but is also available for Android. Chris stopped by for a little while, but otherwise – not much else happened. As for plans for tomorrow, not much is planned. I will walk the dogs if the weather is good. Otherwise, not much planned. Tomorrow will be a quiet day.