Windows HTC One (M8)

When I first heard that HTC will be making another high end Windows Phone I thought that was great, only to find out it’s the HTC One M8, now thats a surprise but a very smart move.The exact same hardware but installing the Windows Phone 8.1 on it is the smartest moves HTC have done, it will only expand their audience. The last HTC Windows phone I had was the HTC One X which was a great device but very weak on the hardware side.

Now this will be in competition with the Nokia Lumia 930 which is currently the high end model from Nokia with WP 8.1 and I am loving it. There were will lots of comparisons between the two and I for one will be making my own to describe two very different devices.

The M8 for Windows has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage as its Android counterpart. The 5-inch screen has the same 1080p resolution, and both front-facing BoomSound speakers are present and functional. The rear camera is the same 4-megapixel Ultrapixel camera with HTC’s Duo Camera depth-sensing tech, while the front-facing camera is the same 5-megapixel unit. The only major differences are that the Windows version will only come in the gunmetal gray color.

Link: TheVerge

Nokia 625 – Not What I Was Expecting

Nokia625A

I was hoping for a light phone with a great screen & Camera that has 4G, even though the camera was a little less then the 8X. Well it turned out to be more then a disappointment then anything else, this phone has a beautiful screen but every other component is cheap and horrible, cheap price doesn’t necessarily mean cheap quality but in this case it does.

Nokia625B

Cons:

  • Crappy 5MP Camera, I’m really bad
  • Speaker – You can barely hear it and there is this metal grinding sound when it goes to high volumes
  • Heavier then a better specified phone
  • No real change for the Windows 8 software
  • No real added value for Nokia
  • Battery doesn’t last as long as the HTC 8X

Nokia625C

Pros:

  • Beautiful Screen
  • 4G/LTE Speeds are good on the phone
  • Cheap Price

Nokia625D

I really want to stay on the Windows Platform, I’m enjoying more integration with my Windows 8 laptop to a degree and I want it to get better, but if you are looking for a cheap Windows phone to try out the software then this will do, don’t expect much for the camera and speaker. I will still keep the Windows phone, but I will probably trade this one in for something better at a later stage. My only problem with the option coming out from Nokia are the either bulky or too big.

Nokia625E

There are two option from Nokia as a replacement, the Nokia 1020 which has the perfect combination except for the ridiculous camera popping out of the back with 41 MP which is just overkill. Then the Nokia 1520 has a 6″ screen which is just overkill with a 20 MP which is more then enough, but at the end both of these phones are just too big. Both of these phones won’t fit in a normal cup holder in a car and even worse when I place it in my pocket.

Nokia625F

The New Windows Phone Line Up

NokiaLumia625

Nokia is coming out strong with their new Lumia line up and thanks to Jacqui for bringing to light the details of the Lumia 625. I have the HTC 8X which I think its fantastic and it lasts over 24 hours which is odd for a new phone, and whats great about it is that it has never hanged and is something that can’t be said of either the iPhone or Android. The Windows Phone hasn’t had an update since WP 8 and it doesn’t look like any updates are coming along any time soon only the hardware. I don’t have a major issue with Windows Phones, the status updates need to updated as it currently sucks but everything else is pretty good. The new hardware brings 4G into the mix, the 625 looks great except for the camera, and the 1020 has a ridiculously large camera which makes the phone slightly oversized, and the 1520 is too huge. I want a 4G Windows Phone which is light, and a great camera which would be the perfect Windows Phone, but Nokia’s new line up looks impressive.

Nokia Lumia – 625

  • 5MP Camera – Not That Great Expected Better
  • 4G
  • 4.7 Inch Screen – Pretty Good

Nokia Lumia – 1020

  • 41 MP Camera
  • 4.5 Inch Screen
  • 4G

Nokia Lumia – 1520

  • No Exact Details
  • 6 Inch Screen

NokiaLumia1020

Applecentric

ApplePC1_SN

This post has been a long time coming, and at this point I think it is somewhat appropriate. I have been a Windows user for a very long time, some Linux and Solaris thrown into the mix for a little while but never really Apple. So over the past few years I got introduced to Apple, the first one being the Mac Mini from last year which was an impressive little guy. If you asked me back in 2006 if I would be using a Mac I would say that is blasphemy but now I will happily admit it. Over the years I think that Apple’s hardware has improved drastically and you get the better hardware for a better price unlike before, and OS X and higher is much better then its previous versions with better compatibility. Still I’m really annoyed that they don’t have NTFS built into OS X but I think its just Apple being their usual stubborn self so people can’t use the same external USB/Hard Drive between Apple & Windows Machines. I have been using my iPod for a while now, pretty much since the iPod Touch came out and the useful applications and games. So a few years later I got into my first apple, and it was as if I was walking into an unknown zone. Overall I think Apple does have a winning product but you can’t knock Windows just yet, it does have its good uses and I know you Apple fans do get crazy but it wouldn’t be dominating in the market if it didn’t do something right. A lot of you know how much I love Android products but I do love my iPad, I will admit which platform is better for which application, and Apple knows how to integrate all their products but its annoying how much they lock out other companies from innovating on their platforms. I prefer my Android over iOS by far but I wouldn’t mind it syncing with iTunes so I can get my music, of course there are ways to get around it but I’m too lazy to go through the hassle. Luckily for me I started using Spotify to a large extent and so I depended less on iTunes but still on an Apple device iTunes is worlds better then on Windows, for one thing it works.

ApplePC2_SN

What I really think which is better in which:

Mac:

  • Graphical Items
  • Doesn’t Crash As Much, And Yes It Does Crash Under My Abuse
  • Very Smooth Interface, Very Nice Design Of Their Machines

Windows:

  • Network Management
  • Larger Software Compatibility
  • More Games, Alot More Games
  • Larger Variety of Manufacturers to Choose From

I haven’t really jumped into any video editing yet so I can’t compare between the machines, but most probably I will be trying it out on the Mac for sure. If you ask me which do I use more I would say its 70% Windows 30% Apple, and for work I can only use Windows. Apple can be used in Advertising or Media companies but everything else its Windows, too many work applications just aren’t compatible with Macs.

My Experience With Windows Phone 8 – The Last Mobile Platform From Microsoft

WP8_01

My experience with Microsoft dates back to the original CE phones back in 2003, I wanted something different and that phone was different and to configure it you needed a doctorates degree in physics. But I like the bubbles game on it, then i tried Windows 3.0 for work and that had decent integration with Microsoft exchange. But nobody did integration like Apple & Google did, so I switch to Android the moment it came out and before that I was on the SonyEricsson platform.

WP8_02

With the introduction of the Windows Phone 8 they are finally trying to make a decent competitor to the Apple & Android platform and right now its a few steps behind but still impressive. With Windows Phone 8 has some decent integration with Windows 8 such as auto photo updates, and the Microsoft Office Suite integrates nicely with the Windows Phone 8, especially OneNote which is probably the best note taking tool I have ever used, even better then Evernote. As well as SkyDrive integration which can sync your photos as well as your documents, trying to be a better DropBox for Windows which isn’t too bad.

WP8_03

The operating system itself gets a little getting used to, its like visiting somewhere for the first time, you know enough to get around but need some time to get really familiar with it. There is smooth feeling to the operating system that I like, and after 6 months of abuse the phone has not hung on me once which is great for a smart phone of this caliber.

WP8_04

What I Like:

  • Easy to sync Google Contacts and emails with the WP8 interface, even after Google extended
  • The App store is pretty decent, has some junk in it but they all started off that way, they have about 80% of the Apps that iOS & Android have.
  • Music integration has been fantastic, you can load up all your iTunes playlist as well spotify which is exactly what I’m doing.
  • Has some fun XBox integration so the games you play are displayed.
  • It sort of between the strict Apple platform and the loose Android platform, its formed but flexible and I really like the tiles and options of the live tiles.

WP8_05

What I Don’t Like:

  • The email display feels wrong, it just doesn’t do a good job of displaying emails no matter what email I use. I think they can do a better job with that.
  • They don’t have instagram, I won’t kid myself I’m addicted to it.
  • Slow to get the necessary Apps into the App Store, App Store needs some more Apps, not everyone is developing for it yet
  • Better integration with Windows 8, I want it seemless, just as Android is integrated with everything Android.

WP8_06

Hardware:

I’m using the HTC 8X and I’m honestly loving it, its a light phone with an excellent camera. And the battery lasts over a 30 hours with a lot of abuse. Even when I was riding over 5 hours in San Diego while listening to Spotify the whole time it only lost 25% of the battery which is insane, if i did it with the Nexus 4 it would have lost 50% and with the iPhone 5 only 20% battery would be left.

WP8_07

My Top Apps

  • TVShow – Best TV Show App I have seen, better then anything on iOS or Android
  • Weather Flow – Great Weather App
  • SkyDrive
  • Spotify
  • WhatsApp
  • NextGen Reader – Fantastic RSS Reader – Displays Images and information perfectly without having to visit the site
  • Flixster – For the movie fanatic
  • Battery Status – Updated information on your battery
  • MyTrips – For the TripIt Addicts, I use it all the time when I travel

WP8_08

Conclusion

Overall I’m honestly loving the windows platform. This phone got a high rating for stability and the long lasting battery and a great selection of Apps. Microsoft have a good thing, they just need to clean up their App store and integarte it with Windows 8. They really are in need of Youtube and Google Maps, there are replacements but they don’t beat out the originals. They built an excellent product I just hope they keep on improving it, and I love that when other phones run out of battery this one is still going. The success of this platform depends on the Apps available and Microsoft knows this, Blackberry failed because of this, thats why they are throwing everything they can at it and hopefully it will keep growing. They have substitute Apps for most of the major ones, but hopefully the major App developers will develop for Windows.

Rating:

WP8_09

WP8_10

The Microsoft Store – A Different Experience

MS1

I think there is a lot of inherent dislike towards Microsoft, they have just done too many wrong things over the years and Apple has done an excellent job of painting them as idiots with their Mac vs. PC ads over the past decade. Also it doesn’t help that Microsoft made Microsoft ME which is probably the worst iteration of Microsoft out there, Vista was pretty bad too off the start, but got progressively better.

MS8

Microsoft does try and in this case they launched the Microsoft stores, after all this time they know that Apple is successful with their stores and every Apple store employee is supposed to know everything about every product that Apple has and they inherently love Apple. So people love the Apple stores.

MS7

Recently I had a chance to spend some time in an Apple store and this one had people in it. I have recently gotten into the Windows Phone 8 and so I decided to venture into the store and mess around with the machines. I played around with the Microsoft Surface Pro and it is a very interesting machine, very solid and smooth, I liked how it felt. they had a selection of hardware from Acer, Asus, HP, and Sony, not including the Windows Phone section and the XBox Section. People get a hands on feel for Windows 8 across different hardware and the Windows Phone 8 platform as well.

MS6

Microsoft is really trying to make you feel that you are in one environment, that everything is connected and they are trying to connect things but they aren’t there yet. Apple doesn’t release a feature unless it knows it works 100%, except for Apple maps, that was a blunder that Apple has never seen, but Microsoft would rather release a broke feature then no feature, that is their problem from my aspect.

MS5

The store was a fun experience and honestly they have a good range of products, and the staff who are there are good but they are lacking a bit in information, sometimes I know that I knew more about a product then they did which shouldn’t be the case.

MS4

MS3

MS2

Review: Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A

Having lived with this laptop for about three months now, I can safely say it is without question the best PC laptop I’ve ever owned. Every review out there just raves about this machine. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Retina-esque 1920×1080 resolution in an amazingly high quality 13.3″ IPS display
  • Intel’s latest 17 watt Ivy Bridge processor with (finally!) decent integrated graphics
  • 128 GB SSD with fast 6Gbps interface
  • Just under 3 pounds
  • Decent 5 to 6 hour runtime
  • Classy brushed metal case and cover

Pros:

  • The best ultrabook currently out there, it seems Asus just keeps stepping it up, if you are looking for a thin powerful Windows laptop then this is it.
  • 4.5 to 5.5 hours battery life with full media use
  • Amazing Screen, Very Bright and clear Details
  • Light Up Keyboard, and a very nice feel to it
  • The SSD & Processor are insanely fast, about a 17 second boot time from scratch and 5 seconds from sleep. These are numbers we wouldn’t even dream of before.
  • I love the aluminum clean cut finish of the Zenbook, surprisingly it doesn’t get too hot
  • it has just enough ports to make it useful
  • With the USB 3.0 I managed transfers of 100 to 130 MB/s from my External Seagate HD
  • The best thing is the price as well, its an amazing machine for $1299 and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an ultrabook

Cons:

  • The only downfall is the annoying sensitivity of the touch pad
  • Windows 7 that came wwith the ASUS was the home version and had bloatware, so I decided to do a clean install which worked perfectly, and it booted even faster, it is up and running within 12 to 17 seconds, nice and smooth.

Specifications:

  • Intel Core i7 -3517U 2.4GHz
  • Widows 7 64bit Unlimited (I reinstalled it because of the bloatware)
  • 4GB Ram
  • 128 GB SSD
  • Intel HD Graphics

Simple Conclusion:

I love this laptop and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a thin and powerful windows laptop. I started using it everywhere, I take it everywhere with me and it has taken a few odd drops with no issues at all. Its fast, lightening fast and it boots up within seconds, I can’t recommend it enough, and the price honestly is very reasonable.

Live Drive – Your Online Hard Drive

Everyone at this point has heard or is using DropBox, its so convenient and very simple to use with a lot of options, also its one of the least complicated sharing solutions. For a while I have been checking out LiveDrive since they have almost the same features but with a more bells and whistles, you get the option of 2TB or 5TB, and the back ups from your machine doesn’t count against your quote. The interesting thing is that the space loads up on your computer as a hard drive and you can do that across several machines Windows or Mac which is pretty cool. Currently I’m paying for the extra DropBox storage and I’m around 80% capacity, they other day I realized that I store a lot on DropBox and rarely take it off since I’m accessing it a lot from different machines. I would go with one of the home solutions which doesn’t have file restriction sizes like Box, and provides a lot more space then DropBox. For now DropBox is the best on the go solution and fantastic, but LiveDrive is when you need something for those huge files and flexibility to do what you want with them across multiple machines.

LiveDrive App Available For:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android

For Home Services (Yearly Price)

  • 2 TB – $150
  • 5 TB – $250

For Business Services (Yearly Price)

  • 5TB – $500
  • 10TB – $1500

Link: LiveDrive

Geekaphone – Power Search for Smartphones

Web site Geekaphone lets you check off the platform, price range, and features you want from a smartphone and tells you which phones match your criteria.

Geekaphone acts like most other “power search” functions you’d find on shopping sites, only it focuses on smartphone features and is incredibly easy to use. Just tell it what platform you want to use (Android, iOS, etc.), let it know your price range, and it will spit out a list of phones. I was impressed with the depth of the search features, you really go into every detail of the phone and specify everything to get what you want. You can then click on different features in the top row (like “hardware keyboard”, “4G”, or “front camera”) and it will narrow down that list for you, featuring the best phone at the top. Instead roaming about all the different sites to find the right phone Geekaphone can help you to choose your next phone, I’m still amazed how they managed to drill down on all the data & Specifications of a phone in a very simple way.

Link: Geekaphone

PhotoRec – Photo Recovery From Every Type of Media

The worst possible thing that could happen with the memory stick of your camera is for it go south and you would lose all your photographs, that includes a memory that could go corrupt in a phone. After doing a little research I found PhotoRec which is freeware photo recovery that works with all forms of media.

PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures (thus the Photo Recovery name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the file system and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s file system has been severely damaged or reformatted.

I had to work on a Micro-SD card that went corrupt from a phone and a corrupt SD card from a camera. I plugged into the card reader on my PC and it couldn’t read the volume and asked me to format it but I cancelled that. I ran the program and pops up on command line window, keep mind this is a freeware program that is meant to do a job and doesn’t look pretty. You pick the lost MiniSD card that the program can see then you choose a location for it to deposit the recovered files, there are a few technical steps in between like what type of file system was used for the card, I managed to pick the right one. As things progressed it too about 10 minutes to finish all the choices and then the program starts, it said approximately 57 minutes to recover 16 GB worth of pictures. I came back an hour later it recovered everything that was on there even things that I didn’t know was on there. Overall about 70-80% of the pictures were recovered, the rest were either text files or disturbed black images. The program does what you need it to do even though its a bit on the rugged side, I think its a fantastic program.

Link: PhotoRec