Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Video Review Pebble 2 Smart Watch

With everything going on with Pebble this month, I wasn't sure that I'd be able to keep up and still release this review in time for the New Year. The watch itself is a very decent option as far as smart watches go. The price is/was affordable ($129) and the kickstarter project went [seemingly] well.

If you haven't heard already, though, Pebble was bought out by Fitbit and all hardware production has ceased. Will this watch remain to be a viable option? Fitbit has guaranteed support through 2017, and nothing more. Typically, new hardware is supported for at least 18 months. That doesn't appear to be the case for the Pebble 2.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Google Home: Unboxing & Setup

On October 4, 2016, Google held a press event to announce several new pieces of hardware. One of them being their new voice activated home automation assistant properly named "Google Home". This device is a cylindrical piece of hardware that resembles an air freshener. It sits on any flat surface in your house and the best part is you interact with it by just using your voice. However, if necessary, you can interact by touch, but you'll still have to talk to it for it to actually do anything.

"OK, Google, play Nyan Cat on the living room TV", that's my kids favorite action for it. Their second favorite is "Ok, Google, turn on the kitchen light please". I wish they were that polite all the time. As you can see here, it's so easy to use. My kids are 10 and 8, they are becoming pros at this already.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Unboxing a Pebble 2 Smart Watch

Back in May 2016, a new Kickstarter project launched for the Pebble 2 smart watch. They were looking to gain $1 million in backing for Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, and a new device called Pebble Core. They ended up getting 66,673 backers who pledged a total of $12,779,843. Very successful Kickstarter project! And that's why I decided to support them this year. They've had successful kickstarters year after year. Although, it will retail at $129, I pledged $99 a piece and got two Pebble 2 smart watches.

I had never used Pebble and being the Android/mobile tech enthusiast that I am, I was very excited. This is the first Kickstarter project I've ever supported. Finally, after many update emails, my first one arrived. I do have another one on the way, but I'm going to go ahead and unbox this one and see if this smart watch is something you may be interested in yourself.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Unboxing Pixel XL, Phone by Google

When Google announced the Pixel and Pixel XL on October 4th, I bought one of each as soon as the pre-order screen went live. I've bought into Android and I just knew that these phones were going to be the cream of the Android crop this year. It took a while to get the phones in my hands, it included chasing down a FedEx truck too, but here they are, so let's unbox them!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pixel Orders Are Processing (UPDATE: Now Shipping)

Just a few weeks ago, October 4th to be exact, Google unveiled the new Pixel phone. A phone they say is designed and engineered both inside and out, by Google. That's something they have never done before.

On the date of the announcement, the Pixel and Pixel XL became available for pre-order, both in 3 colors and both in 2 sizes: Black, Silver, Blue and 32GB as well as 128GB. I ordered a variant of each. And I've been sitting on pins and needles ever since.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Motorola Announces Their Android 7.0 Nougat Update List

What a day for Android lovers!? The Pixel and Pixel XL was announced, but wait Motorola wants to try to get in on some of this "good news" action. Today, Motorola published their official list of phones that will be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat. Let's see if your Moto phone makes the list.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

We've Got a Moto Z Force Droid to Unbox

This is a mouthful: Moto Z Force Droid. Originally, they wanted to tag "Edition" to the end of that, which would have tongue tied us even more. This phone was announced officially in June but wasn't available until July. Even then, it will be a Verizon exclusive. It's little brother, Moto Z Droid, will have an unlocked version but it's availability isn't until October. 

There is one distinct feature about this phone which i'm dying to try out though, the Mods. Unfortunately, my Verizon friends weren't able to provide any for me. So I can only speak on the swappable back plate. More on that in the full review. Take a look at this unboxing and let it hold you over as I begin my review of the Moto Z Force Droid.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

UPDATED: Pokemon Go Buddy Update is Live for Android and iOS

During the process of updating a few phones to iOS 10 (work related), I noticed that the Pokemon Go update has now gone live. Immediately, I checked my personal Android and it was there too.

The new update has a few changes, minor bug fixes, text changes, Pokemon Go Plus support, Egg hatching issues (no animation sometimes), but most importantly the ability to assign a buddy pokemon. As always with this game, Niantic isn't very clear on how this system will actually work, but the premise is that the further you walk with your buddy, the more candy you will get of it's kind. 

Jump to the Google Play Store and update Pokemon Go as fast as you can, and get to walking!

Friday, June 24, 2016

We got a OnePlus 3 to Unbox

A few short days ago OnePlus held a release event in their virtual reality office called "The Loop". They gave away VR headsets to the first 30,000 who put one in their cart, only charging $5 for shipping, and they did this to help you enjoy The Loop experience. They could have settled for a Google Cardboard type device, or asked you to use one you already owned, but this is the company that asks you to "Never Settle".

They did all this because they wanted to outdo themselves since last year was a just a prerecorded video watched inside a Google Cardboard box headset. The experience made it obvious that they put a great deal of time and effort into the development, it was indeed more fun than years past. However, it was truly nothing more than a "choose your own story" type movie. To progress you had to go through 3 checkpoints to review the phones design, hardware, and charging evolution. But that's better than waiting for an invitation to buy their phone.

Then finally, after gathering all 3 checkpoints, you could buy the phone right then and there. And that's the point where they blew everyone else out of the water. Their brand new phone was announced and available to purchase immediately. No one else has done that, some have come close. To top it all off, shipping notices were sent out within 2 days.

The phone was announced and then in my hands within 1 week!!! Absolutely brilliant!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

OnePlus Announces the OnePlus 3 from The Loop: Official Specs & Everything You Need to Know

In a fancy VR setting in inter galactic space, OnePlus brings forth their new interation to the OnePlus line of Android smartphones, the OnePlus 3. Rightfully named as it is the 3rd iteration, the OnePlus 3 launch event took place in VR space, that's virtual reality. In an effort to outdo themselves, this year, OnePlus teamed up with ANTVR to build The Loop and Loop VR headset.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Edge of a Galaxy is Not a Fun Place to Play (Opinion)

Starting with the Samsung Galaxy Round in 2013, Samsung started toying with the idea of a curved screen on a smartphone. They had been teasing the concept of curved and/or bendable screens for a year or so before that at events such as CES (Las Vegas; Consumer Electronics Show) or IFA (Berlin; Internationale Funkausstellung). Unfortunately, their first attempt (the Galaxy Round) was not successful. Tucking their tails, they evolved to the idea of only curving the screen slightly around the edge of the phone, as opposed to the whole screen being bent like a taco.

In 2014, Samsung released the Galaxy Note Edge. This time, they had a more welcomed response from consumers. It had a screen that curved around the right side of the phone. It stretched the 2560 x 1440 Quad HD display to 2560 x 1600, which provided a full HD screen with an extra 160 pixels dedicated to the "Edge". Their hopes were to provide a little more room for the owner to become more immersed in the Samsung app ecosystem. I say it that way because at that time, you could not utilize any third party apps, only Samsung apps. That included shortcuts to contacts for text, phone call, or email.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Let's Unbox the LG G5

After the LG G4 and it's miracle camera, LG set a high bar for itself. This year, LG has brought us a new phone that still has a removable battery (but in a new way), and they added a 3rd camera. Wow! If they still have great camera software, this could be a killer feature. But before we dive into a review, let's take a look at what comes in the box and run down of the hardware and internal specs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The HTC 10 Was Just Announced, Pre-Order Now, but Release Date is Still Unknown

To say the least, HTC has had a rough couple of years in the smartphone industry. Four years ago, they introduced a beautifully crafted all metal body phone and called it the HTC One. The two follow ups, unfortunately, were not as well received. They lacked in software quality within the camera and had some visually unpleasing logo placement. The design was the same as the ones before it, and it wasn't marketed well enough to compete in the big game.

This year, obviously, HTC wishes to turn all that around, in fact, they've been obsessing about it. They've made changes in their executive management to start, and that traditionally means new, fresh, ideas for both design and marketing. So this morning, they announced the HTC 10, they dropped the "One" moniker, but kept the numeric iteration. Oddly as that may be because this is not the 10th phone in the lineup for them.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mobile Blast Podcast Episode 3: S7, S7 Edge, G5, & SE

We fumbled a few times, but we made it through to the end. During episode 3 of the Mobile Blast Podcast, Matt and I discussed the few devices we had in hand, the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and LG G5, Plus 1 more we just had to talk about, the iPhone SE. Overall we're impressed with Samsung, want to be impressed but waiting to see with LG, and saw another typical Apple move to bleed you for cash.

If you weren't able to make it to the live show, you can watch it on youtube at no charge; our treat. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Tour of the Hardware and Software of the Droid Turbo 2 from Motorola & Verizon

When Motorola announced the 3rd generation Moto X, I personally was a bit disappointed. As a consumer, it's screen was too large, and the choice of LCD over AMOLED had me scratching my head, knowing one of it's main features is dependent on AMOLED sipping the battery. I'm referring to the Moto Display which gently "breaths" notifications in white even when the screen is supposed to be off. However, as a review blogger, it is an overall nice piece of hardware. It's very difficult to remove myself from the "consumer" part of the "reviewer" job. In fact, I think it's important to balance then both as opposed to allow one to take higher priority. 

I said all that to make this point, The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 brings everything original Moto X buyers want to keep, and made every aspect of it better. Top of the line hardware paired with stock Android Lollipop + Motorola's "Moto" software suite is a beautiful combination. They improved the screen, battery, build options, software suite, and then made it unbreakable!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hardware Comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S7 to the Galaxy S7 Edge

They're siblings from Samsung. Born of the same time and released on the same date, but they are far from being twins. Looks can be deceiving. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge share many similarities within their hardware skeleton and guts. Here is a comparison between these two flagship phones. If you make your phone purchase decisions based on looks alone, this information should help you place your bet.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

First Impressions After 24 Hours with the Galaxy S7

The first 24 hours of using a new phone are crucial. That is the minimal time necessary to determine whether or not you just wasted your money. If you don't like what you see in the first 24 hours, the remaining 13 days of the 14 day "return window" is spent justifying your purchase in your head and trying to look past the downfalls. If you do like what you see, well, then there is nothing else to worry about.

What did I learn from my first 24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy S7? A lot. I learned about screen, battery, software, camera, hardware, fit and finish. So the question now is, will I be justifying my purchase or will I be worry free?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Let's Unbox a Brand New Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung has continued to differentiate itself and pull away from the rest of the smartphone OEM pack. Even with the few hiccups in the Galaxy S6 from last year (battery life, camera hump, sharp edges) it was still one of the better options for 2015. 

(Please forgive the frog in my throat in the video. I developed laryngitis a few days prior to this monumental event. But I couldn't let that stop me.)

A few short weeks ago in Barcelona Spain, Samsung unpacked their new Galaxy S7. It went up for pre-order February 23, and I put in my bid hoping to get some coverage of this device for you before it's official release date of March 11, 2016. I was lucky enough to get said pre-order two days in advance.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let's Unbox the Motorola Moto 360 Sport

This season Motorola made not 1, not 2, but 3 different smartwatches. The Moto 360 2nd Gen comes in 2 sizes and then this one, the fitness focused Moto 360 Sport. Since I'm still living out my new year's resolution to lose a few pounds, I thought this device should be the first that I review. Although the Moto 360 2nd Gen was released back in September 2015, the sport version was released just a few weeks ago. Take a look at everything that comes in the box with this new device and let's get fit!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Unboxing the OnePlus 2

Let's be honest and up front, I don't really have high hopes for this phone. The release itself was meh, and the hardware choices are limited. They say "Never Settle" but there are so many compromises with the OnePlus 2. Let's get this review started with the official unboxing ceremony and take a look at what $389 will get you from OnePlus. (Price recently reduced to $349).

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Let's Unbox My New Droid Turbo 2, Shall We?

The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 is one for Verizon's two new Droid branded devices this year. It comes with a QHD screen and big battery giving it the "Turbo" name. Unboxing this review unit wasn't possible because I wasn't the first to use it. So I bought one of my own. That's right! After reviewing this bad boy, I liked it so much I bought one to be my own personal new flagship for at least a year, or so, maybe. I'm not making any promises. Let's unbox this new beast! Leave me any questions you have in the comments. A full video review is underway soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Unboxing the Huawei Watch

Huawei took it's time to enter the Android Wear market, and after seeing it, the wait was probably worth it. Based on looks alone, this thing is a beauty. Of course, there is more than meets the eye with every Android Wear accessory, because the internals matter just as much. Later, I'll have a full review on my time with the Huawei Watch, but for now, you'll have to settle with the unboxing. Anything in particular you want to know about this watch before you make your purchase? Let me know in the comments and I'll make sure to cover it too.

Be Careful Where You Recharge

I like to share some helpful tips that will benefit you and your devices. Last year, and these still hold true, I shared with you some helpful buying tips when choosing a new Android device either for yourself or as a gift. This year I want to provide some tips on how to keep your devices safe. These tips are very good to use while traveling, but actually good ideas for anytime.

I'd like to preface this by saying that I am not a cyber security expert. However, I have done a lot of research on cyber security basics in order to keep my personal devices, and my family's devices, safe from cyber attack. I've spoken with cyber security experts who work in my day to day office to get their feedback. This is a compilation of my research and their feedback.