Tag Archives: verdict

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.

Ello (BETA)

Ello is a social networking service that prides itself on being different from everyone else by having a strong stance on Privacy. With Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter – and other social networks, you aren’t the consumer but the product. The advertisers are the consumers. In the case of Google, this is expected – but many people will find it hard to stomach as being rented out as a product which is pretty much what is happening. While Ello doesn’t quote it this way, this is the premise and the sad truth is they are correct.

Ello claims to be different. They as of 2014-10-01 do not have ads on their site (that I noticed yet), nor do they claim to sell your data to companies. The second claim while it can’t be proven nor disproven is very likely the case. In Ello’s settings, I have a UID which in this case is FSP. I have my email address, password – all of which are required. Optional entries include my name, a bio, and web site(s) links. All of the optional items has little value for marketing. However, as of now, Ello has a long way to go to be a prominent place in the Internet. Continue reading Ello (BETA)

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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Final Review: IdeaPad A1000L-F

A few days ago, I received the Lenovo IdeaPad A1000L-F on sale as I would have benefited from a tablet to offset the demands on my phone, and PC. While the concept and thought was good, the product was not. This is my final review of the tablet.

The tablet was purchased from Amazon, and will be hopefully returned to them by this time next week. I opted to have UPS pick up the tablet which they can take 2-5 business days. This could mean anytime between 2013-12-04, and the 9th.

The Good

I still liked the headphone jack was on top, and liked the weight. I would have thought that the name of the brand would have meant something, but in this case, it didn’t.

The Bad

What was there to like about it? With exception of a couple of things, this tablet has been a bane in my existence. When plugging in a headphone, the tablet nags you about the volume. The volume rocker by the way is finicky which would respond for no reason, and other times, it will respond after a minute.

Whatever the CPU was in the tablet, it wasn’t of any value. It stuttered just through scrolling, and as for the wallpaper – it was a plain black wallpaper which should have meant less demands on processing.

Video quality was sub-par even for it being a $100 tablet (the MSRP rather than sale price). The screen also acted as if it was a resistive touch screen which made using a stylus for capacitive screens a problem to use at best. The stylus would have been important in very cold temperatures.

The tablet also rebooted a couple of more times for now reason. And one time – the power button was completely unresponsive. Again, I would have expected much better from Lenovo.

The Ugly

There is still the fact of a lack of rear camera and obviously, an LED flash. One app I wanted to install on the tablet wasn’t possible, while another app I had (WhatsApp) wasn’t compatible neither. And as noted, no Bluetooth.

Final Verdict

This device had an RMA on it within 2 days of owning it. Needless to say, I will not be keeping it, nor would I recommend this to anyone. I will still want a tablet, but will likely consider the Nexus 7 or Galaxy Note 8 as for the next tablet. The Nexus 7-32 with LTE is offered on a payment plan with T-Mobile. I will want to reduce my current EIP payments before taking on another one. However, this tablet is one that I don’t think anyone should buy.

First Impression: Samsonite Xenon 2

Yesterday, I have received the Samsonite Xenon 2 from Amazon at a sale price of $43. While this may seem expensive from a backpack you may find in Target, or Walmart, and a bit more than the cheapest back pack I ever owned ($5.00 at retail), the back pack has a number of features.

First, the reason I purchased the back pack is both the old backpack which had a shoulder strap fraying needed to be replaced. This is where I purchased the $5 backpack, but this back pack had no means of organization making it impossible to keep things together, and easily found. Since my backpack carries everything I do not need immediately on hand, organization is important.

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Don’t Drop My Box

I am sure that there is already a high user count of Drop Box users, or at least people that heard of it. However, there still might be some people that don’t know what it is, how it works, and why I recommend it. First, Drop Box is a Cloud Based Storage syncing service. With a program or app on major smart phone and desktop Operating Systems, the program can grab all of the respective files, and sync them. Therefore, if you take a picture on your smart phone that syncs with Drop Box, that picture will be on your personal computer (provided there is an internet connection).

Now, there is a copy on all respective systems, as well as the Drop Box Server. There is a limit of free space which varies, and there are premium services which adds to the free space. This means you can make Drop Box a second Hard Drive, although that is a little tricky to do that, and I personally wouldn’t.

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First Impression: Verizon FiOS

After dealing with 6 months of terrible and inadequate service from Clear, I have decided to actually use a real ISP. Since I have been living in the current apartment for a couple of months, I would be able to actually choose a land line based service. I had three options. The first would have been Cable Internet from Comcast. The second would have been DSL from a wide range of providers, and the third was Fiber Optic Services from Verizon. Many of the DSL providers were requesting contracts with only a couple not requiring them. Needless to say, I left Consolidated Communications to go with Clear. I wasn’t going to leave one terrible company to go to another one.

I am not a fan of Comcast. They have terrible billing, and customer service – at least from my experience. They also have poor services at least from what I have witnessed with people who have them, and they are definitely over-priced. My brother for example pays more than $100 for his television service that gives out, and requires support at least most of the time I come (I don’t even touch the remote), and for their 1MBPS connection. For this, I find it as appalling.

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T-Mobile G2X–First Impression

About 3 hours ago, I have took the plunge, and replace my T-Mobile MyTouch (rev 1) with the G2X (LG Optimus 2X). This phone will come at a price of $60 walking out the store, and about $25/month for the next 19 months. However, I needed something that would work the way I feel it should. This was the best option. And while I am sure I will notice more things in the near future, This will be a first impression. There are good and bad things. There are also a couple of things I would have liked, but knew it didn’t have it.

First, the G2X is an Android 2.2.2 phone with a 1Ghz2 CPU. It has a good bit of memory, and good size storage, although the numbers seems to be a bit different from my impression. Further research will have to go into more detail. The phone has a 4” screen, a 1.3MP front-side camera, and an 8MP camera with flash, and 720p recording. The top of the phone sports a 3.5mm headphone jack, mini HDMI port, and power. The volume are at the top right, while the charging port is at the bottom. There are 4 capacitive buttons which lights up with the phone, although I am not sure how the phone behaves when someone calls.

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A Perspective of the MyTouch

It’s been 5 months since I had purchased the T-Mobile MyTouch (HTC Magic) to upgrade my RIM 8320. And I figured 5 months is more than enough time to give my perspective on the phone. First, this is a low end phone compared to what’s coming out. While the Nexus One has had more than its share of problems, it puts light that 528Mhz found on the MyTouch is actually on the low side.

So, with that in consideration, I do write this review with little regret. No matter what you would buy, or when you buy it, there would always be something better in 6 months. So, I would want to focus on two things. One would be the phone which is my first touch screen phone, and another is the OS which is one of the newest players in the game.

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