Vodafone UK – 4G

Vodafone

All the Providers are talking about their 4G Coverage in London. Of course the 4G Services is only available to Contract numbers, not Pay As You Go or Top Up lines. In my case I have a contract line and upgraded to 4G contectivity with a max of 8GB per month for 36 GB per month, you can change from month to month, but only stay on 4G.

I was happy and thought I would get the same service as I do in Kuwait. At full signal I was getting 50+ MB/s which was impressive. Out of all the companies – EE, Orange, O2, Vodafone, & 3 – I read that Vodafone has the best 4G coverage in London as well as the fastest.

It seems their definition of coverage is similar to swiss cheese, lots of holes in the network. 4G was fine as long as I had 4G coverage, spotty would be putting it nicely. The coverage in London’s main metropolitan area is a disaster. Every building I go into, there is almost little to no coverage, and even when we are outisde it is max one or two bars. Rarely do I see full bars, I don’t know how they planned their coverage but Vodafone falls far behind Zain or any of our Mobile Companies in Kuwait. Zain has spoilt us, our expectations are too high.

HTC One VS. Samsung Galaxy S4 – Battle Of The Titans

HTCONESAMSUNGS401

With the release of the Samsung S4 & HTC One, everyone was running to get their hands on it, true 4G Android Devices which honestly make the iPhone 5 look like crap and its going to have to do a lot more then just another hardware design to beat these two machines. HTC have been having a hard time getting things right with Android after Samsung took the lead as the best, but I honestly think they have a great device on their hands with the HTC One. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was a smart move by Samsung, the S3 was so successful that they just improved on it slightly in regards to the design and packed it with the best possible hardware they could put together.

There were a lot of comparison and technical reviews, but I wanted a real use review of both machines to see which fit better and for what use. I wanted to really try both phones and after almost a month of having them both I can honestly say there isn’t just one conclusion, it just depends what you want because they are both really good.

Wifi

It’s very important for a device to have a strong wifi signal capability, it has to capture it and use it. And out of all the Android brands out there, I can say that Samsung has that down, they pretty much have everyone beat. And sadly the worst out of the bunch is HTC, I had the problem with the HTC One X and with the HTC One it’s signal always weaker then the S4 and sometimes it can’t see the Access Points.

HTCONESAMSUNGS404

Screen

The Samsung S4 screen is huge, both screens are crisp and excellent touch interface. Honestly they are both excellent. If you want the bigger screen then the Samsung S4 is the way to go, but its a matter of preference. Both of them have amazing brightness and you can easily see them during day time.

HTCONESAMSUNGS405

Design

Honestly hands down the HTC One wins in this department, if Apple wants to copy anyone for their next phone then it would be the HTC One. The Samsung S4 is 80% the same as the S3 just bigger screen and an aluminum frame which I liked. The one benefit to the Samsung S4 is that it feels lighter then the HTC One, but still it looks better then the S4. One aspect that I like about the S4 is the ability to add the a MicroSD Card, that is a huge win for the S4 in my case. You don’t need that much space on your phones these days but having the ability to is a huge plus.

S4A

Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

HOneA

Camera

HTC has the Ultrapixel which is sort like a supercharged 4MP which performs better then most camera phones with higher Megapixels. The HTC has the machine gun shot which shoots multiple shots and you can choose the best or keep them all which is a great feature. The Galaxy S4 has an amazingly crisp camera, they improved on their best selling Galaxy S3. And they included all the features of the Galaxy Camera with all the different settings and mode. The HTC One has the low light shots done perfectly, this is one thing that HTC has had down. Between the two I preferred the S4 camera, but it’s just barely better. And hands down both better then Apple iPhone 5.

S4B

Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

HOneB

Battery

This takes a bit longer to figure out but both Android devices lasted a full day of abuse. Nonstop wifi use, making phone calls and sending messages, they could both take it. And I know over time I will get the Mophie battery case for the either phone, and its a matter of time the case comes out for the S4 since its selling like crazy as expected.

HTCONESAMSUNGS406

Interface & Feel

To be very honest you can go with either of them, this really comes down to preferences. I prefer the HTC One Sense Skin feel over the Samsung Touch Skin, since its less intrusive in this case. I always prefer getting phones from Google because its a clean installation and I can do as I please, but in this case I had to choose, and the HTC One was cleaner and crispier. I just get annoyed with Samsung trying to make things more watery with the TouchWiz Skin. Now for the Sound hands down the HTC One has amazing sound, by far much better then the S4 and it can easily blast music in a room, you wouldn’t think its a phone speaker.

HTCONESAMSUNGS407

What I don’t like about the Samsung S4

I really hate the keyboard, had to get the Swift Keyboard so my fingers don’t feel like they are stretching across the screen. It really made me feel like I was learning how to type for the first time. The speaker is loud but not crisp, I wish they put it up front. The air gestures aren’t really that useful, I only like the finger hover when in the gallery for a preview but the rest makes you look crazy when your staring at the screen trying to make things move, if you have an S4 you know exactly what I’m talking about.

HTCONESAMSUNGS408

What I don’t like about the HTC One

I hate the Blink Feed, wish there was a way to get rid of it since its taking a piece of the screen that I could use and you only have a limit of 4 screens. The Weak wifi signal is a breaker for me, I have to have good wifi on my phone.

HTCONESAMSUNGS409

Which One

Choosing between them is tough but I had two deciding factors which were the Wifi Signal and Camera, which in this case the S4 was the better choice even though I really like the HTC One design. I picked up the Samsung S4 LTE from Al Babtain and got the HTC One from a friend. Honestly Babtain did a great job of making the phone available all over Kuwait and quickly, the HTC One was like hunting an endangered species.

Microsoft XBox One

XBOXOne1

The new XBox One is here, Microsoft is referring to it as the new “Entertainment System”, people don’t realize that at the core of all this is gaming, we want to play games as well as have other features, gaming is the main feature, everything else is secondary. So Microsoft has to do a lot to live up to, but one thing I like is XBox Live and your Gold Account is going to carry over to the XBox One which is great, the functionality of XBox One is going to be the same with a mix of XBox 360 & Windows 8 so if your familiar with them you will be fine. They are trying to introduce more functionality with TV, Skype, and Internet Explorer, its ok but not key for me. I want to see if they will be releasing another Halo, now that would be Epic, even though I haven’t finished Halo 4 yet, I still have the rest of 2013 to do that. One surprise for me is that they have finally introduced a slot-loading BluRay player, I still buy BluRays but only of movies that I love, so I’m not sure how many people have BluRays when they have the option of streaming, still its a good option.

XBOXOne2

As far as installation, when you first insert a disc into the Xbox One, it’ll install the game to the hard drive — you won’t have to use the disc again. As for internet connectivity they haven’t given a clear picture, so I’m not sure if it has to have internet connectivity to keep playing the games, that wouldn’t be a wise decision if you have to have constant internet connectivity. I like the idea that you load the disc once and then you don’t have to use it to play the game. The controller is an update that I really like, they put a lot of thought into it and everyone keeps saying how great it is, so that is something I want to try. They new Kenict is a bit like the CIA’s dream it can hear and see you while the console is off, you can use gestures and voice commands to switch the XBox One on and go through its menus.

XBOXOne3

Annoyances:

  • TV Features – Useless to anyone outside the US, and its not a settop box, I want a gaming machine
  • Again not backwards compatible – I only have about 20 Games that I cherish, so what to do with them now?
  • No Used Games, So I don’t know how thats going to work for rental companies now! Sometimes I want to try a game but don’t want to buy it, so whats the solution?
  • New Kenict which is watching you all the time, not a feature I like, will probably point the Kinect to the TV, don’t like being watched!
  • Gamers will have to connect the console regularly, possibly at least once a day, and game discs will be restricted to your Xbox profile if you use them on a second console

XBOXOne4

Both consoles promise to track your motions, power on instantly, and seamlessly update themselves in the background, among many other common features. Lets see how that works out, how many people have power up their XBox 360 or Playstation after a month of not touching to play a new game and end up having to perform a systems update for an hour or more so that you can play that new game. Honestly what I loved about the XBox was XBox Live, I could always play with friends across the globe, this time around I don’t know what they have planned.

Overall I’m honestly excited about the new console but they have to clarify a few points about the 2nd hand market and online connectivity. I’m the graphics will be phenomenal, and I want to see what games they have lined up, not sure what they are going to price it at, but I’m hoping it won’t pass the $400 mark.

Link: TheVerge

XBOXOne5

Lytro – Review

I have been looking forward to getting my hands on the Lytro for a very long since its built on a new type of photography technology, basically allowing you to focus the picture after taking it. I had very high hopes for it be amazing, especially since its very oddly designed, not your regular camera, but I was waiting for some reviews to make a decision, and this is honestly the best and most thorough review I have seen by far. After watching the video and reading at article at the verge I don’t think I will be getting the current incarnation of the Lytro since it has a few drawbacks and limitations which can be overcome over time, so I’m gonna wait for a little while for next generation of this camera before making a purchase. Check the link below for the full article.

Link: TheVerge

Star Wars Vehicle Art

This artwork just spoke to my inner nerd, there isn’t enough Star Wars work out there and I can never get enough of it. Nicholas Hyde aka Harshness has taken the vehicles we have come to love from Star Wars and turned them into works of art. I would love to see the Millenium Falcon & AT-AT Walker pieces hanging on my wall. All of these are for sale on Etsy

Link: Etsy


Continue reading…

Western Digital Livewire

Internet throughout the house, thats one of the biggest annoyances people have when at home. You are usually stuck where the router is, and that is probably where you have the most powerful signal. In my case I went to an insane extent to wire up different rooms throughout the house so I can spread the wireless signal coverage. Most cases your stuck with the wireless signal you have, but in this case you have powerline networking. I have always been a bit skeptical about this technology, it usually doesn’t produce that speeds that I am looking for and I’m always thinking that it just won’t do. But there have been a lot of successful kits and this is just the latest development. If you are having internet coverage problems and putting ethernet cables through what little space you have in your walls is not possible then the WD Livewire Powerline Networking Kit is your best option.

There are drawbacks with powerline networking but it’s a simple solid solution when don’t have a wired option. You have four ports with the WD Livewire, the throughput is around 200MB/s which your machines will interpret as 100 MB/s since it’s not a Gigabit connection which is 1000MB/s. Sometimes with sound there is interference but if you need to this get your network where you need it to go. You would have to buy it from Amazon UK to get the right plug with it, but you can change it you buy it from the US as well.

Check out the Review at WeGotServed.com
Link: Amazon

Valleywag – Tech Dirt

ValleyWag

You hear a lot of good things about big companies, especially tech companies but there is a lot of dirt to go around but very few talk about it. Well not as much as Valleywag, they are the TMZ of tech companies, they bother everyone, talk about their dirty theories and spread bad news like wildfire. It’s always good to know that Google and Apple aren’t the saints they try to portray, every company has its dirt and what every Steve Jobs has they bring it to light. They seem to love to talk about Mark Zuckerberg, the guy behind Facebook and all his dirty tricks and skeletons in the closet and how they have the new movie about them. They talk about HP and Oracle like it’s a big boys club, and the sex listings on Craigslist that has just shut down. Anything dirty on tech companies can be found at Valleywag and its always entertaining.

Gawker Media Sites, Gawker

Google, Craigslist, Mark Zuckerberg, Apple, Steve Jobs, Oracle, HP

Link: ValleyWag

Reading Now 03/10

I buy a ridiculous amount of books and I don’t have enough time to finish them. Recently I have been reading some interesting business and technology books, I don’t like something being dry when I read it or else I would get bored and have a hard time finishing it. Whenever I finish a good book I have no clue what to choose next and I have piles of books all over the place with items hidden left and right, so to find the right book is always a challenge after finishing a good one. Recently I have been reading more business and technology books because I feel that they will get old if I don’t read them right now, its a strange feeling I have but with other books it doesn’t matter.

Books:

Legend – David Gemmell (Old Book but new Print, one of the best fantasy stories period)
Brilliant “Shuji Nakamura” – Bob Johnstone (Work in Japan and the Revolution in Lighting Technology)
In and Out Burger – Stacy Perman (All about this little fast food burger place that turned into a cult following)
Yakuza Moon – Shoko Tendo (This book loses me at times, I want to finish the story since I started it over a year ago)

Iron Man: Armored Adventures

With the success of Iron Man, Marvel Studios has followed up with an Iron Man animated show called Iron Man: Armored Adventures. In this case they take the younger version of Tony Stark the genius and go through how he developed all the different version of the suit and it’s purposes, as this monstrosity called the Dynamobuster which is meant to destroy all that is in it’s path. Then the other versions for deep space travel, atmospheric flight and battle, the other version is a stealth suit meant to penetrate all kinds of surveillance and security. This is looking to be a very fun show, the animation and CGI quality is very good so they haven’t ruined it as I would have expected, its a bit of kid’s story line but still very entertaining and I have just seen a few episodes.

When his industrialist father Howard Stark disappears in a plane crash after refusing to weaponize the Earth Mover at Obadiah Stane’s behest, 16 year old genius Tony uses a high-tech suit of armor he has constructed and investigates a charge that Stane may have been involved in his father’s death. As Iron Man, Tony spends his time stopping Stane’s plans and saving the world from other villains such as Mandarin, Mr. Fix, Whiplash, A.I.M., Madame Masque, Living Laser, the Maggia, Firebrand, Controller, Crimson Dynamo, Blizzard, Killer Shrike, Unicorn, M.O.D.O.K., Ghost, Fin Fang Foom, Black Knight, and Technovore. He is assisted in his crime fighting efforts with help from James Rhodes and Pepper Potts. Tony’s activities as Iron Man usually result in his needing to make up excuses as to why he is constantly late or missing from school and other activities. Now dependent on his phenomenal technology for survival, Tony must balance the pressures of teenage life with the duties of being a super hero.

Link: iO9


Continue reading…

BlackBerry Messenger 5.0.0.55


There are some likes and dislikes to BBM 5.0, and I like that RIM tries to address these issues, so with BBM 5.0.0.55 they addressed the issue with the pictures, and cleaned up the status area and organized the groups a little. Its a simple upgrade to your current 33 version but I recommend that you do a full back up before doing any software modifications:

Improvements:

  • Picture Preview, you don’t have to download to see the pictures now
  • Cleaned up text in your status and chat previews
  • Cleans up groups as well

Link: Download BBM 5.0.0.55