Category Archives: Reviews

Comcast Internet Essentials: First Impressions

With being disappointed with the customer service of Verizon, and the availability of Internet Essentials from Comcast, I decided to return to Comcast, but only with this program. Comcast Internet Essentials is intended to help select low income groups to get low-speed internet for a reasonable price. In my case, I receive 15MBPS down and 2MBPS up for $10 + taxes and fees. The reason why I call this low speed is FCC defines broadband as a 25/5MBPS connection.

The service was installed by a technician who had to come and set my service up since I had FIOS. While I already have a cable modem, and router, I was told by the technician that I had to use their hardware, but it is free. Installing the service took about an hour with full bootup taking as long as 15 minutes. Continue reading Comcast Internet Essentials: First Impressions

Benefits of Google

I had a conversation with someone earlier today (2017-05-03), and she mentioned that she never used Google. She mentioned that she used Yahoo. First thing that came to mind is that we must be back in 1999. Now, I used to used Yahoo until they became incompetent, and there are still those few people that will swear by it. I however feel it might be worth mentioning the real world benefits of Google.

Now, I am not a fanboy, and I do understand that Google is first and foremost an advertising company. They provide “free” services to generate anonymized user data to rent to companies. But in turn so does Yahoo, and Bing. Google is just more successful. Continue reading Benefits of Google

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

Dynomighty Mighty Wallet

This is a review of the Dynomighty Mighty Wallet. This is not a technology device, so it will not appear in my tech blog. I bought this wallet because despite my deepest desires, I have to carry multiple cards, and sometimes cash. If I have to carry multiple cards, and sometimes cash, I want to carry it in something that will keep everything together, and less likely to be lost. I also don’t want something that is bulgy. The wallet is made of Tyvek which is used as building wrap, and those especially durable envelopes one will find with USPS Priority and Express package envelopes.

To make things clear, this is Not a sponsored post. Dynomighty did not send this wallet to me for review. I purchased the wallet with my own money, and Dynomight has no influence over the results of this post. The wallet was $15 + $2 for postage tracking. This is ship from US to US and in US currency. Continue reading Dynomighty Mighty Wallet

Asus Memo Pad 7: First Impressions

On Saturday July 25, 2015 – I have received the Asus Memo Pad 7 to replace the Alcatel Pop 7 when the screen cracked. The tablet is to function as a secondary tablet which is intended to remain mostly home, and suit for some of the secondary application roles that the Pop 7 did. One exception will be music playing which an iPod Shuffle was acquired as a dedicated day time player. The tablet has an Intel Atom Dual Core 1.2Ghz CPU, 1GB of memory, 16GB storage with a micro-SD card support (64GB). The tablet has Wifi-N, and Miracast. There is a .2MP (VGA) front camera, and a 2MP rear camera. There is an headphone jack, micro-USB, power, and volume. The OS is Android 4.4.2 with Zen UI.

Continue reading Asus Memo Pad 7: First Impressions

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.

Continue reading HP Stream 7: First Impressions

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.

Continue reading JLab 7 Pro–Final Review

First Impression – Blu Advance 4.0

This will be a first impression review of the Blu Advance 4.0. I had this phone for a week, although wasn’t able to make full use of the features until about 24 hours ago. There are a couple of reasons why I purchased this phone. The first is to replace the role of my DECT phone which is a terrible product (as with most VTECH phones) for something that will function better in the modern world. The second reason is to see if I will be able to suffice off of a free phone plan when my obligations are completed.

The Blu Advance 4.0 (Model Number A270a) is a Dual SIM GSM-3G phone. It has a 4″ screen, capacitive touch buttons, and a physical power and volume keys. There is also a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a replaceable battery which hides the dual SIM trays, and micro-SD card slot. The Advance can be acquired for less than $100 on Amazon (as of 2015-04-21), and comes in black or white. The phone supports Wifi-N, and Bluetooth. It runs Android 4.2 OS.

The Good

This phone functions well enough as a budget phone. Spending less than $100 on an Android phone is typically a very bad mistake, and while I would never be able to use this a primary phone (due to my requirements), for those on a tight budget – they might find this suitable. The phone comes with 1.27GB of storage space out of the box, but if you need or want a basic phone, expect another 500MB of apps to be loaded. This is good considering that I had real concern that there would have been 250 or 500MB of storage. It’s not the 16-128GB found on newer higher end phones, but the micro-SD card makes up for that somewhat.

The phone is dual SIM. This means I can have 2 SIM cards from the same or different providers. This is unusual in the US, as there are still times when one is required to sign a 2 year contract (which you should run from like the plague). In my instance, I am using one SIM for data, and another for voice. You just have to be careful to install the data SIM into SIM 1. SIM 2 only supports GSM-2G.

And of course, you will find it hard to beat the price. I last seen this phone for $75, and I bought it on sale for $50. Even the Motorola Moto E doesn’t compete on those grounds, although the Moto E has advantages over this phone, it is worth looking at if nothing else.

The Dual SIM management tool was simple enough. I was able to select SIM 2 as default for voice calls, and allowed SIM 1 to handle data by simply selecting the appropriate card. There was a couple of hiccups in navigating when it came to the phone, and services – but this more of an Android problem.

The Bad

There are a number of things that I find at fault with this phone. Yes, I understand that the phone is less than $100, and I am taking that into consideration. There are still some things that needs to be addressed.

First, the OS. Android 4.2 is just not an inconvenience of not having newer features in Android, but a security flaw. Just as people should update the OS on their PC, so should the phone OS be updated. I have concerns that this will never happen and that is a shame. And considering this is a brand new phone – it should have an updated OS. Now some will say that the phone is a lower spec phone. I call bulls**t on that as Android’s newer versions are to be easier on lower end phones.

Next is marketing. The phone claims 3D gaming, and I doubt that with a Dual Core 1.3Ghz CPU on 512MB of memory, nad only 1.3GB of storage. The marketing on the box also screams 4G, and again – Bulls**t. Under the ITU Specs, 4G cellular is LTE and WiMax with Wimax seeing the last days, so let’s just say LTE. HSPA is 3G. Plain and simple, and just because the top of the line HSPA is equivalent to LTE in the infancy doesn’t make it 4G.

And speaking of 3G, it would have been a better value if Blu didn’t skimp on supporting the other two 3G bands. My Nexus 4 from 3 years ago with no LTE at the time supported all of the GSM 3G bands, and I can’t see why a new budget phone can’t do the same. Bands supported are 850/1700/1900 bands. If they are trying to cater to the emerging market, or budget friendly choices, they have made a failing here.

The Ugly

For what ever reason, companies known to be budget likes to put the micro-USB port on the top of the device. Not only is this unusual, but it can be a problem with handling the device while charging. Next, the micro-SD card cage was a pain to open. The arrows suggested on direction which one will likely imply to open where it is to close. The capacitive touch buttons would have been nice to be rid of. A 4.3″ screen with onscreen buttons would have been better.

Initial Impression

This phone is good enough. I wouldn’t expect it to be anything really good, or an impression, but even as a Single SIM service, it could serve well enough. If you are looking for a “first” smart phone, back up, or in need of a low cost dual SIM phone, this is a good enough choice.

My main gripe is the OS. This is something that Blu can solve with all of this model phone, they just choose not too. If you are worried of a reliable update path, you may have to consider spending twice as much for a Motorola Moto series phones which have a reputation of a reliable update path. However, you may find it hard to get a dual SIM phone, and only model I know is the Moto-G.

First Impression: Pebble Watch

On the 23rd of November, 2014 – I have received the Pebble Watch (black housing). This watch was acquired after the update on my Nexus 5 to Android 5.0 which would prove valuable, and even more so with the Google Play Services Update (whenever that maybe to come).

There are a few reasons of acquiring the watch. First, and foremost is as a time piece. This watch is more accurate than the basic watch as the watch connects with your Bluetooth enabled smart phone, and acquires the time from that phone. As long as the phone has the accurate time, then the watch does as well. Next, I wanted a minor secondary screen so I am not required to pull out the phone to see if the notification was important. This not only includes SMS/MMS, and email, but also incoming calls. And third – with support having important information show on the watch – again, so I do not have to pull the phone out all of the time. Continue reading First Impression: Pebble Watch