My Favorite Gear From 2012

This has been an interesting year with a lot of new hardware being introduced from everyone, from TVs, Cameras, Laptops, Tablets, Phones and a whole lot more. My list for electronics was freaking long, I had about 20 items on her and it was hard bringing them down to this, so many good pieces of hardware but I wanted to just list the gear that I really use. Basically what was abused, even if it was in a short period of time like the Nexus 4, but I have been waiting for that phone for so long and I’m happy that I’m using it. A few items didn’t make it to the list like the GoPro Hero 3 because its a bit too soon to judge, it has its crappy moments and its great moments. Still too many pieces of hardware to review but I will get to them.

  • Nexus 4 – Best Google Phone Yet
  • Nexus 7 – Still The Perfect Size Tablet
  • Canon G15 – Awesome Camera, Reviewing it Later
  • Nike Fuel – Loved it when I used it, and now don’t want to see my crappy numbers
  • Canon G1X – Great Camera, except for the Macro shots
  • Apple iPod Touch Gen 5 – Loving it! And so small
  • Asus Zenbook – Best Windows Laptop Ever!

Kindle Fire HD – New & Interesting

With the arrival of the Google Nexus 7 Amazon knew they had to step it up, the Google Nexus 7 sold so well even with a few glitches that it did have, for a while there was a ridiculous wait but even using it now I am very happy with it and it is an excellent device. So Amazon stepped it up with the new Kindle fire and higher specs, lets hope that it doesn’t choke like the Kindle Fire did after a while. The best thing about the Kindle is the Amazon platform access to a lot of content, and hopefully this time the hardware will be able to handle it.

But as usual I couldn’t resist to get my hands on the new Kindle Fire HD, so I went with the 8.9″ since I already have the Google Nexus 7″ and I’m happy with it. Also the specifications on the Wifi 8.9″ is really good, also the 4G LTE Kindle Fire HD is useless outside of the US.

Simple Specifications:

  • 1280×800 display
  • Dolby audio with stereo speakers
  • Dual-antenna Wi-Fi
  • Dual-core processor
  • Min 16GB of storage
  • An upgraded software experience

The price range is between $200 for the 16GB 7″ Wifi Kindle Fire HD and $369 for the 32 GB 8.9″ Wifi Kindle Fire HD.

Link: Amazon

The Magazine Pile Up

With the Nexus 7 and the spread of the iPad it got me thinking a lot about the digital magazine format. In general, I love the entire idea of digital magazines. Carrying a year’s worth of magazines all at once, the new touch interface, interactive components, downloads at your finger tips, and the lack of a paper mountain in your room that makes you look like a crazy hoarder because I don’t want to throw them away. For comic books it worked out this way for me, I read them constantly have hundreds of them on my Galaxy Nexus, iPad, and any other device that Comixology downloads to. I want this to be the future of magazines, well I think.

I say “I think” because I have a secret. Aside from a few magazines that I have to read the day they arrive, I tend to forget about the other magazines because they’re not piling up in my face, filling me with guilt for buying these things and not reading them. And for all the conveniences tablets provide, casually thumbing through a magazine on your iPad still isn’t quite as casual as it is with a paper copy. Am I the only one who has an even bigger backlog of magazine reading thanks to the advent of the Apple & Android Devices? Anyone else feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of Next Issue?

Review: Google Nexus 7

AFter a long 3 to 4 week wait I got notification that my Nexus 7 has shipped and its on its way, as soon as I got it I even went out of my way to get it on Friday afternoon on a hot day the first day of Ramathan to start tinkering with it. I had my hunting knife ready to rip the box apart since those youtube video’s showed how impossible it was to open the box, and in this case it was so with the knife I made short work of the box, pretty much impossible to use the box again.

As soon as I took it out and started it up, they already had my email programmed into the Nexus 7, just had to sign in and everything is pretty much the same compared to any Android device. I have also been using Jellybean version of Android on my Samsung Nexus Galaxy, and I’m loving the interface so it wasn’t new to me when I was trying out the Nexus 7, Google did a great job with this software. When your handling it, it feels solid, the screen is fantastic, I didn’t try the camera yet but it isn’t a priority for me.

Just for people who are going to wonder, my home network runs on a US VPN when I switch on from the router so when I was using the Google Nexus 7 the IP was a US Based Address so I was able to play movies, magazines, and books right away. First thing I watched was Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen, very quick playback, excellent video quality, the Nexus 7 handled the action scenes flawlessly and the sound is pretty good too. For a tablet that size the speaker packs a punch, louder then I thought it would be. This is also one of the more annoying things, I took the Nexus 7 with me to another location and hooked up to the wireless, at that moment, Google Movies, Magazines, and Books disappeared so they are forever gone. I don’t understand why Google can’t sort out the media issue so everyone can access the content like Apple in this case.

Pros:

  • Screen Size is Perfect, you can really watch stuff on it without feeling that its too small or too big. You can take it around with you without feeling that its big as the iPad.
  • Battery life lasted about 2 days of extensive use with gaming, shows, instagram, surfing the web and all other sorts of utilities
  • The Price is really cheap compared to any iPad and yet its a powerful device with a great graphics.
  • Great for reading and writing emails, they have perfect the Gmail interface for the Nexus 7, its just so smooth and has all the Gmail features integrated into it.
  • It doesn’t feel like an oversized phone, it feels like a genuine tablet, and I have tried the Galaxy Note, and it feels very different.
  • It’s relatively light, and Asus have done a fantastic design with the design

Cons:

  • Content is still somewhat lacking in comparison to Apple.
  • There is a white screen problem that I am having, I can’t adjust the contrast on it so its a bit too white and it starts off too white then 15 mins later it adjust. I contacted Google Play Support and they are sending out a replacement unit right away, so it isn’t necessarily a con in this case since they didn’t even take 10 mins to say they would send out a replacement, I was just hoping for some sort of software fix for it. But I don’t mind getting a new unit.

Overall:

I love the device even though it’s lacking in content, its quick and presents all the information I want. If I’m somewhere with a wifi connection I don’t have to abuse my phone to keep me entertained, these days the amount of battery a phone has is important so I have started to abuse the Nexus 7. A lot of application work perfectly on this screen, and the Chrome Browser, Gmail and pretty much all Google Applications work better on the Nexus 7. I would recommend this tablet to anyone who is looking for something smaller then an iPad, and it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. The Kindle Fire was my first experience with an Android Tablet, and it was good since it had the content to back it up, but it was majorly lacking in firepower but this machine is another story its the best hardware you can pack into it. I took a few screen shots so you can see how good the screen is, and a few of the applications.

Price: $280
Rating:


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Tech Round Up – Nexus 7, Dropbox, Zenbook

Google Nexus 7

I got a notification that my Google Nexus 7 has been shipped as off the 13th of July which was pretty exciting since it was around 3:53 am and I don’t know why I was up at that time. I heard some people got notifications and some didn’t get it yet, but I got mine I stopped worrying, I thought they might pull an Apple and just cancel you for random reasons as usual. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on it, I got the 16GB version and with the hardware its packing, its going to be good.

Dropbox Expansion

I think I use Dropbox for almost everything, I store everything electronically that I can that is usefull like airline mileage cards, a copy of IDs, bookings in PDF, not including music, videos, and tv shows, and any other form of media that can be stored. A long time ago I go the Dropbox Pro plan which gave me 50 GB and then with the HTC One X they give you the an extra 24 GB, so I had a total of 74 GB. Then recently I got an update from Dropbox a few days ago that I got an upgrade to the account and its not 126 GB which is a pretty nice thing to see since its been a while since they updated their packages.

Then I setup a friend’s Samsung Galaxy SIII and I knew they had a package for Dropbox too and since he wasn’t using it I signed up through it and got a nice 48 GB bump to 174.75 GB. I do love Dropbox and now more space to abuse.

Asus Zenbook

I made the jump, it was out of stock for a while on Amazon and the other day it said In Stock so I hit the Add To Cart & then the Checkout button right away. It seems that the Zenbook has been an Amazon Exclusive because I couldn’t find it anywhere, and I specifically wanted these specifications. The only thing I’m going to do is do a clean install of Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate which I have without all the random junk installed for it to be even faster.

Specifications

  • Intel Core i7-3517UM 1.7 GHz
  • 4 GB SO-DIMM, 128 GB Solid-State Drive
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • 13.3-Inch IPS Full-HD LED Screen, Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I will probably get my hands on it next week when both the Zenbook and Nexus 7 hit my mailbox.

Logitech Harmony Link

I have always wanted to control my media devices from my Android device or my iPad, and usually for my universal remote needs I use the Logitech Harmony One. This time around they have come up with the perfect little device and you don’t have to attach anything to your Android or Apple device to make it work, The Logitech Harmony Link ($100) is the solution. This sleek system consists of a small black transmitter that connects to your home network via Wi-Fi, letting you control your entire system from your Android or iOS device without the need for any dongles or other attachments. The hardware can be hidden in the cabinet and you can still control it, in my case I don’t have any TV guides to use but I do have all my different Activities that I have. If you have use any Logitech device before then this is very familiar to setup. There seems to be some negative reviews regarding its limitations but still its pretty good to get some activities going, I might get it to try it out.

Link: Logitech

Archos G9 80 & 101

I have been looking an Android Tablets for a while now and waiting for Honeycomb to come out with them. There have been a lot of options for the past few months but nothing that really struck my eye. There were a few tablets but then I wasn’t sure, one turned out too heavy, or not powerful enough, or the design just didn’t click with me. At some point I know that I will be getting one and after seeing what Archos is coming out with I am very tempted to get their tablet, there are two versions and you can get a light one or the 250 GB tablet. $279 for the G9 80 with 16GB or $349 for the 250GB G9 101 which is very reasonable and you can get the 3G stick for an extra $49, overall its a very good tablet and lower priced with good specifications, and its supposed to be coming out at the end of September.

Specifications:

  • Available in 8″ and 10.1″ models
  • G9 tablets have a dual core 1.5GHz OMAP4 CPU
  • Android 3.1 Honeycomb
  • USB port
  • HDMI out
  • Either 16GB flash storage (plus microSD slot) or a 250GB hard drive
  • 3G Ready

Link: Archos


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iPad 64GB – Wifi

I have had my iPad 64 GB Wifi for about four days now, and I LOVE IT! There are a few things of course which are annoying but overall I think Apple did an amazing job with the product. The iPad itself feels very good in your hands, I love the Aluminum bezel and they have the right amount of buttons to control the iPad. The screen is amazing, just the perfect amount of brightness and you can really enjoy it, I go through my RSS feeds so smoothly and easily, the one thing is that it attracts finger prints so you have to keep wiping constantly it to keep it clean. Reading comics and watching a few shows on it is pretty good, but after a while you do get tired of looking at the screen, but I got lost using the iPad and forgot the time around me which tells you how much this product pulls you in. But the iPad is only as good as the Applications that you can use with it, and luckily there are quiet a few different applciations from gaming to utilities. I like the buttons on the iPad works smoothly to control the volume and locking it up if need be, and you can lock the screen in a certain vertical or landscape mode which is very smart on their part. What surprised me the most was the battery, with normal use it lasted over a two day period before finishing the battery, watching some TV shows, surfing, reading a couple of comics, and playing video games. Some people complain about the speaker being of lower quality but I honestly think its decent for what the iPad is supposed to do, I was surprised it had one in the first place, if it isn’t what your looking for then plug in a pair of head phones and you are good to go. Another good edition is being able to add any App or even website for that matter to the App bar at the bottom, so you can really put your frequently used Apps and websites in one location.

My Applications:

  • Jump – Remote Desktop to My Server and Computers (Must Have)
  • Marvel – Marvel Comics loaded up on the amazing screen.
  • IDW Transformers – Downloading every Transformer Comic there is, I can’t get enough, reading comics on the iPad is a fantastic experience and I really got into it forgetting myself
  • GoodReader – Reads, PDF, Test Documents, Images and a few other files on the iPad and on other machiens and servers. (Must Have)
  • NewsRack – Best RSS Reader which integrated with GoogleReader, smooth, loads up articles in a different window and if you click a link it takes you to it (Must Have)
  • AirVideo – Watch any type of video file on your iPad from any PC or Server, works perfectly for all my anime and tv shows, don’t have to purchase the TV shows (Must Have)
  • Accuweather – The best and smoothest weather app for the iPad, the other ones just didn’t work so well. Kind of annoyed with the WeatherBug and when I tried Accuweather I was very happy
  • Shazam – It has a built-in Microphone and Speaker, so you can catch the song you want and you can listen to it, better then the iPod Touch in my situation since I don’t have an iPhone.
  • GQ – This has turned into an interesting read, lots of time just to flip through the magazine, but all the Ads are very very very annoying. GQ has to rethink the way they have the magazine, it should be smart and intuitive, not just cut and paste from the magazines (Hold Off)
  • PopularSciene – Making the magazine interactive is smart, but the content isn’t there yet and applications need to be refined a little (Hold Off)
  • SkyGrid – All the upcoming news from multiple feeds brought to you and updated, its fantastic how it keeps updating, you can view the stories which are most popular then choose the articles within it that you want to read.
  • SportsTap – Football, NFL, NBA, College Football, Tennis, and Golf all at your finger tips. I use it to follow the updates on the NFL mostly and its pretty damn good.
  • BBC News – Different the iPhone/iPod its presented in video format as well as articles which makes it pretty interesting.

Games:

  • TopGun – Its fun but annoying when you haven’t gotten the movements right
  • FlightControl HD – Addictive game, you can place for hours, you have to direct planes to land around other planes, and no mistake is accetable
  • Harbor Master – One of those fun time consuming games, but drives you nuts! You have to dock and undock ships in the right port without them crashing!
  • Scrabble – Its a fun old game with new life, there are so many words that I don’t know any more
  • Red Alert – Command and Conquer is fantastic, the only annoying thing is selecting a lot of troops but who can imagine that an iPad can play a full Real Time Strategy game such as this!
  • N.O.V.A – Fun first person shooter, a different experience but not for everyone
  • Implode – Blowing up buildings, who doesn’t enjoy that!

The Problems:

  • Right now the Wifi works fine but sometimes it does have its issues, seems online some people are already complaining, and to get a lot of content it needs bandwidth and constant connectivity
  • Without Flash somewebsites just don’t show their full content and its a very easy fix for Apple but that doesn’t seem to be happening
  • Navigating the large amount of Apps for the iPad is a bit of task, you just can’t seem to find the right App for your need. I’m looking for a Networking App but can’t seem to find it
  • iPod/iPhone Apps should not be installed on the iPad with the X2 Zoom functionality, it just looks wrong and tacky

Do I think every should get an iPad, yes I definately do, Am I addicted to it? Positively! Its not for everyone but everyone who I know has it is really enjoying it, I’m trying to fill mine with as much content as possible so as to use it when I’m traveling and have no wifi connectivity, which is the main purpose in my case, and the comics are doing that perfectly.


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Apple Tablet in March

Apple Tablet

Apple have been successful with most of their products, at about 90% of all their products have had high sales and now they are coming up with the “iSlate” or what ever else name they will choose for it.

A simple description that it is a 10 to 11 inch iPod Touch with all the application. If the iSlate has a smooth interface such as the iPhone and iPod Touch there will be a long waiting list for this product. At $1000 its not too bad, I’m assuming they will try to go below that to $900 or $800 range, because you can buy decent netbooks for that price. The anouncement is expected to take place at the end of January, and release targeted for March and as usual there will be a waiting list. The benefit in this case is they already have the huge amount of applications available which can be used with it, directly from iTunes.

Link: Gizmodo