Tag Archives: media

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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First Impression: Nexus 7–LTE Version

About 20 minutes ago, UPS came with a few items I had managed to get. The one in relation to this blog posting is the Nexus 7 with LTE. The reason of why I acquired this tablet was to have something that will supplement the demands on my phone, and provide a better experience with a larger display. The tablet has LTE, therefore, in the event that I should need LTE data, I have it available. And since this is a Nexus device, it will receive a reliable update path. This in turn will be my primary tablet – leaving the Hisense at home exclusively.

The Nexus 7 is $385 from T-Mobile, and will cost about $16/month for 24 months. For those that can afford it may want to just go to Google Play, and purchase directly for $350. Personally, if I had the $350+tax, I would have purchased that way. With it being T-Mobile, I had to pay the SIM kit ($10), and taxes (7%) upfront. I chose expedited shipping which is the only benefit over Google (their shipping of products takes longer). It is a 7” tablet with a 1920×1080 resolution for a total of 323ppi. It has a Corning Glass to help fight against scratches, a 1.2MP front + 5MP rear camera – however, there is no LED flash. It has dual band Wifi-abgn, but there is no Wifi-AC. It also supports all GSM-2G bands, as well as all GSM-3G bands. For LTE, it supports 700/850/1700/1800/1900/2100 Mhz bands. As with all Nexus devices, these are unlocked so I could theoretically take it to another carrier, and not have to beg T-Mobile to allow me to have the device I paid for. There is also Bluetooth 4.0 support and NFC.

The CPU is a quad core 1.5Ghz Qualcomm S4 Pro CPU. It has 2GB of memory, and 32GB of storage. There is no other option with the cellular edition device in storage. In addition as with all Nexus devices, there is no expandable storage. An Audrino 320 running at 400Mhz is the graphics GPU. Audio includes stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm jack. There is a power and volume on the right side, as well as a Slim Port enabled USB charging port on the bottom. The micro-SIM tray is located towards the bottom on the right hand side. A SIM ejection tool comes with the cellular edition of the Nexus 7.

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2014-01-15

Not much happened today. I have received the tablet early from Walmart. I will do a first impression on it. I also went to the grocery store to get dog food, and butter while also going to the pharmacy on East Ohio Street to pick up a cheap speaker which wasn’t that cheap. Otherwise, I took the dogs for a walk, and watched a couple of videos. I also ordered a 32GB micro-SD card which will be installed into the tablet. The card will function for my media that will have to go on the tablet. This is especially important since there is less than 2GB of storage on the tablet as well. As for tomorrow, I will walk the dogs early, and wait for the card to be delivered to me. I otherwise have little other plans for the day. Likewise, nothing is planned for the weekend.

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: IdeaPad A1000L-F

The IdeaPad A1000L-F manufacturered by Lenovo was received in the afternoon of 2013-11-30. As with all of my reviews, I go into detail of the role of the device. While I won’t say it was a need (as opposed to the Nexus 4 replacing the G2x), the tablet will carry a number of roles to offset the demands of the phone.

The tablet will be functioning as an e-reader (until I get a real one), an RSS reader, and podcast device. It will also serve in a role of handling music, videos, and casual games – all of which I would rather not do with the phone. The phone will still play music when I am not home considering I do not have a multi-point Bluetooth set. However, the tablet will handle many demands that I will normally use my cellular phone for now. Since the tablet is not cellular capable, it will use my cellular router to connect when it is not home.

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Nexus 4–One Month Later

So, I had the Nexus 4 for a month, and it is relatively better than I expected in most instances, but it left me disappointed in a couple of instances. So, for those of you who hadn’t bought a Nexus 4, but will like to – here is my full review on it.

Specs

The Nexus 4 has a 4.7” display. The number 4 is not the screen size, but the generation which succeeded the Nexus One, Nexus S, and Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus has a 320 ppi which is 6 pixel per inch short of the iPhone 5. The phone weighs at 139 grams which but with a good feel.

The phone supports Bluetooth, NFC, Wifi-N, and GSM 2G/3G. It does support all bands, so it is a truly global phone. The phone is unlocked, so those that travel in areas of other carriers will find this phone a benefit as long as the carrier supports a micro-SIM. If not, you could buy a micro-SIM cutter, but be sure to buy a quality one, otherwise you damage your SIM card. The phone also supports HSPA+42 which allows for a potential of 42MBPS download. Your carrier obviously has to support it. Last, it supports Qi enabled wireless charging. Power Mat does not use the Qi standard, so if you have one, you will not benefit from this.

As for components, there is a physical power button on the right top side. This is a change from most phones that have their power on the top. The volume rocker is on the left top side. There is a 1.3MP front camera, and a 8MP rear camera. I am not a big camera person, so I can’t really give the quality of the pictures, and anyone that uses a camera a lot should know that it isn’t just megapixels. Needless to say, there is an ear piece as well and where where one expects it to be. There is a primary microphone, and a secondary microphone for noise cancellation. There is a speaker which is obviously good, and since it is grilled exposed, it has a better sound in comparison to my previous phone. There is a USB port, but it can also handle HDMI through the less common Slim Port protocol.

The phone uses a Snap Dragon S4 1.5Ghz Quad Core CPU. If I had the resources to connect my phone to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, I could even replace my PC (to some degree) with this phone. It has 2GB of memory which is typical for higher end phones. There is also a choice of 8GB or 16GB (just go for the 16GB). The price difference of the two phones is $50, but as with the previous Nexus Phones, this one has no micro-SD card. And since the Nexus does not support mass storage with OTG, don’t expect any help there. This wouldn’t be a problem if there wasn’t an artificial shortage of data capabilities over cellular. In the United States, only Sprint and T-Mobile (+$20) offers unlimited services. Since Sprint uses the CDMA network, you will not be able to use the Nexus 4 on Sprint. This makes sense since even the CDMA carriers are eventually phasing out CDMA for the Global GSM – LTE standard. However, if you have a lot of data you want access to, you need to rely on cloud storage, and therefore you might benefit from the $20 unlimited data. Thankfully, T-Mobile’s prices (in comparison) is very reasonable and competitive.

The phone comes with 4.1, so expect the phone to upgrade itself to 4.2.2 once you connect to a network, and set up your credentials. 4.2.2 is the most up to date version of Android, and well worth the upgrade – not so much right now, but you can expect your phone to keep receiving OS updates years from now until the hardware can no longer support it.

Operating System

The OS at time of writing is Android 4.2.2. I will expect that during Google I/O, there should be a new version of the Android OS, and I (having a Nexus Phone) will receive that update relatively quickly. Because the phone checks directly with Google for updates, the updates are not under the control of the manufacturer nor the carrier. This is one reason why I chosen the Nexus over the Galaxy S3, or Note 2.

Folders is a good thing to have. It has been available in iOS, and one of the things that I preferred with iOS over Android. However, the folders on Android 4 and higher beats that out. You only get 5 screens, and Home defaults to the center screen. The back, Home, and Task Management screen are virtual keys rather than physical or capacitive. This allows for the screen real estate to be optimized in comparison to the dimensions of the phone.

Google Now is similar to Siri, but does much more. However, most likely because of my life, I hadn’t benefited much from the personal assistant features of Google Now. I will hope as time goes, it will recognize my lifestyle, and use my calendar to tell me when I need to go (on time) to take buses to appointments. However, until this (if at all) happens, I will be my own personal assistant.

The phone app is functional for what you would expect. However, the expanded feature of SIP dialing is completely useless in my opinion. First, if you are like me, and use Google Voice for calls, then this is the default system. This means trying to use the phone’s dialer to make a SIP call is not possible unless you are making a SIP to SIP address call. I could never seem to get a QWERTY keyboard to come up when trying to dial a SIP address, so I will have to assume this will only be beneficial if I am contacting a contact’s SIP address. In addition, when a POTS based call came to my SIP service and therefore the integrated SIP client, it used the number @ the IP address of the server. This made returning missed calls impossible without manually dialing the number.

Application management is easier. First, there is a task manager button. Selecting this will bring up a visual list of all of the apps in memory. Swiping right will shut the app down. Also, holding an installed app from the app drawer will allow you to drag it to a Delete option which will remove the app from the device. If you purchased the app, you can still have access to it from the Play Store. You can’t uninstall included apps such as the email or Gmail app. You can disable them, by using the App Info. This should also work with S**tware apps from carriers or manufacturers. Since the Nexus is void of these apps, the only ones are those part of the OS. An exception is the default web browser found on most devices has been replaced with the Chrome Browser. This is going to probably be the standard browser in future versions which makes sense on Google’s part.

Media

I am a big music person. When I leave my apartment, I like to have my headphones, and listen to music. Media management on Android is still as incompetent as it always has been. Yes, one could plug their phone in their computer, and drag and drop. However, iOS puts the media capabilities to shame. Mind you, to use an iOS device officially requires the media player that is larger than some office suites, but Google can do so much more. They can either provide proper integration with media players like Windows Media Player, and try to work with Apple for some integration with iTunes (maybe limiting the support with Macs). However, as Play Music and the online capabilities stand, there is no smart play lists. If you like listening to same thing over and over again, or don’t mind wasting your time trying to find different play lists – this is not an issue. However, for a more discerning person like me where I want to be able to have the PC shuffle music based on the parameters is my preference. I been doing it with an iPod Touch for a few years to say the least. It works, and it is ass backwards to not cater to that means of music management. To help compensate for this, I have to use iSyncr, and there is no such media manager that will work with Windows Media Player.

The Good

First, it is a Nexus phone. This means that it will have a reliable update path. The last two Android phones I had both had stock Android, and the manufacturer or T-Mobile chose to not update the OS after purchase beyond a minor package upgrade. The only Nexus phone that didn’t receive Android 4.0 or better was the Nexus One due to hardware issues. I can feel confident that I will have this phone for more than the 2 year expectancy that most phones these days see.

The phone is a nice size. I can see even women being able to use this phone without feeling overwhelmed by the size. My 16 year old niece loves the phone, so that has to say something about the “cool” factor.

The Bad

Yes, I know that many phones are moving to integrated batteries to stuff more battery in a smaller package. However, this can be a disadvantage if you rely on your phone, and you use it to do something crazy like make phone calls. If your work requires you to be out of the office, and being able to make and receive phone calls, then you may not like the fact you can’t swap the battery. Yes, you can always use an auto charger (if you have a car), but this takes resources that could possibly be needed for something else, and as of 2013-03-26, the only car I know that has Qi charging built in is the Toyota Avalon.

I personally feel that 16GB should have been the smallest capacity. In hindsight, Google is probably thinking the same. The 16GB model has regularly been sold out with the 8GB only going as the 16 will be gone. The Nexus 7 used to have an 8GB option. Now, it is just 16, and 32.

The glass background is begging to be cracked and shattered. While it may look pretty, it has its issues. First, expect to put the phone only completely flat or slight angles but the surface is rough. I have occasionally placed my phone on top of my iPod Touch (gen 3), and in a few moments, I hear something hit the floor. Can you guess what it was? Be prepared to buy a case to go with your phone. The bumper that Google marketed might help, but a $10 case from Ringke will work better and cheaper.

Google Wallet is not supported if you are using T-Mobile’s network. Why the wallet is disabled because of this is beyond me. Google Wallet should be encrypted from app to server and work no matter the pipeline it is transmitted on. I don’t have AT&T’s service, so I don’t know their support on this, but if you had dreams of using your phone as a virtual wallet to buy your food, and other items you want day to day and this single device consolidating all of your cards (2 in my case) into one secured system – keep dreaming. T-Mobile will eventually allow you to use Isis when that becomes available anytime between now and not in your lifetime. Even when Isis comes out, if the merchants don’t support it, you are still SOL. Google Wallet is supported with any merchant that supports Google Checkout (obviously), and Mastercard PayPass. The cards in Google Wallet doesn’t even have to be Mastercard.

If You Want One?

First, if you noticed, I didn’t mention anything about LTE. There is no official LTE support, and I think with good reason why. Consider reading my post on Why LTE Sucks for my reasoning. I seen very different prices, but I am going to give you the best options here.

Go to Google’s Nexus Page. You will pay $350 for the 16GB version. Expect $15 for shipping (in the United States), and you may have to pay for sales tax. You will not be able to get insurance through your carrier, so you would want to find a company that will insure phones. Expect $100 for 2 years which is cheaper than the carrier any how. The phone must be less than 30 days old. Buy a Ringke case (about $15) from Amazon, and an Energizer Qi charging pad. You could use the USB charging, but you might prefer to just set the phone down to charge, and lift it up when you need to take it.

If you can not afford such a large investment, and you are a T-Mobile customer, you might qualify for an EIP plan. $50 down, and $18 per month for 24 months will get you the Nexus 4. You will still have to get a case, but this should make the payments while more expensive a more obtainable option. If you don’t qualify for EIP – The Google Nexus site is you only realistic option.

Your carrier needs to be a GSM 2G/3G carrier. This means that it will not work with Verizon, nor Sprint. Your carrier will also need to provide you with a micro-SIM card. This card is about half the size of a mini SIM (what are normally found in phones).

And yes, there are faster, and better phones. However, until a manufacturer and carrier shows that they will update the OS on their phones, I don’t see why you would want to spend $500 – $800 on something that will be a regret 2 years from now because you can’t get the updates that your $800 phone can obviously support.

2011-09-11

Today was a somber day being the 10th anniversary of the terrorist murder of thousands of innocent people. And yes, that is how I see it. Every one calls it an attack which in my opinion refers to a conflict which means one group conducting a war against another group which will be understandable if a vast majority of the people murdered were military. However, nonetheless, I did a lot to avoid television today, as I don’t have confidence in commercial driven media to show proper respect. I did however spent the day finding things productive to do. Talisa got her walks, and I wrote a few blog posts to pass the time. For dinner, I made pasta, and shortly afterwards, made a couple of phone calls.

As for plans for tomorrow, I will consider walking Talisa along the new long route if my ankles are up to it. I will also have to compose a couple of email, and phase out the old house line for the wifi phone completely. I will like if Chris will be able to help me go grocery shopping, but he is never on time for such. Otherwise, I will think of a name in the case I can get the Pit Bull the woman is potentially offering, and get a list made of what I need for the store.

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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Almost 2 years. Time for an Upgrade?

It has been almost two years, and in about 4 months – it would have been 20 months since I had the first revision of the My Touch as my cellular phone. When I bought it, I wanted it for GPS, and 3G capabilities. At the time, it was the only smart phone that was such an option for me. Now a days, in comparison – it will seem as if my phone is more like a toy rather than a phone. And there are times I am frustrated with the CPU lag it gives to me. Of course with a 528Mhz CPU on an OS that should be using twice the CPU, I guess I can’t blame it. So, I already know I wish to upgrade, but exactly what, and would I settle for less? Well, first I don’t see a reason to settle for less, and if there is no phone I am comfortable with on my carrier, I simply would either consider another carrier, or not get a new phone.

I will go into each and every detail that I will consider as important to me, and would offer my thoughts to such. With that in mind, I would focus on what I would want, and expect for my needs. While I am sure that there are other features some may find as important, that would be on their interests, and not so much of mine. However, I would of course need a smart phone that would support Google Voice, and offer the ability to tether without paying extra.

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Before buying the Hype Pad

Over the weekend when the iPad was released, Apple Computers reported 300,000 sales. However, while many of them are probably Apple fans with at least $500 to spend, there are some that may have disappointments. Thankfully, there is a 14 day return policy. And while I personally don’t have one, nor do I see a purpose for one for myself, there maybe some needs for this. Here are some things that you would want to consider before spending between $500 and $830.

First, you should know the limitations. The iPad is about the size of US standard sheet of paper (about 8.5” x 11”), and weighs 1.5lbs. While this may not seem heavy, Apple been touting this as your ebook reader, game machine, and video player – much of the time, you would be holding it. After a while, that weight can get to you.

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