Tag Archives: revenge of the pc

iOS 6 – What you need to know

iOS 5 was a pretty big update, which came around the launch of the 4S. Same schedule and same promise this time again, but this time we have iOS 6. Well, should you update? That’s what we’ll talk about below!

iOS 6 as a whole really doesn’t contain a whole lot of new features, but there are a few that are certainly worthy of noting. First and foremost, one of the new apps is Passbook which is a coupon and ticket organizer. It’s something that we’ve seen in 3rd party apps on the store for a while, but the Apple version will probably be more polished and attractive. For all of you people who enjoy talking to your device, Siri is now out of Beta. Sounds like sports info is greatly improved and you can now make restaurant reservations! Essentially the update for Siri just improved upon what they already had. Perfect timing too considering how Google is showing it’s voice muscle with Google Now.

Here’s the part that people seemingly have been most excited about: Improved sharing including Facebook recognition. We were all stumped when iOS 5 launched without a Facebook share option, despite it having one for Twitter, so it’s fantastic news that Apple finally filled that void.

The bad: The new Maps app and lack of the YouTube app. Here’s where Apple really made a huge mistake, in our minds. As the Apple vs. Google thermonuclear war continues, Apple made the decision to essentially rid iOS of as much Google as possible. Say goodbye to Google Maps and YouTube, and say hello to the crappy Apple Maps. Other sites like The Verge have covered this pretty extensively thus far, and there are even several large Twitter topics going around about this. It seems like a pretty bad replacement, which is surprising considering the high amount of polish we usually see in Apple software. It mainly lacks detail and completion, and the bugs are pretty bad. If you choose to look at the Manhattan Bridge, you’ll see a picture of what almost looks like a collapsed freeway. How about the Statue of Liberty? It literally isn’t there. If you’re worried now, it gets worse. Apple Maps is far worse in other countries, most of the time giving wrong locations and even tons of wrong names.
Luckily, Apple didn’t attempt to remake YouTube. They simply got rid of it from the vanilla state of iOS. It’s still on the App Store, so those who want it are still able to get it. It’s hardly more than a minor inconvenience for most users, but it’s still rather irritating.

So should you upgrade? Well, if you rely on Google Maps, then almost certainly no. Otherwise, it builds upon the already solid (albeit somewhat dated) iOS by eliminating lots of other bugs and adding useful sharing options as well as Passbook. Hopefully we’ll get to review the iPhone 5 sometime soon so we can talk about the experience on that!

iPhone 5 – What you need to know

It’s big news, the iPhone 5 has been announced! The successor to the extremely popular iPhone 4s is already available for pre-orders via Apple and other retailers. If you decide to wait until it comes out on the 21st on US carriers, then you can avoid the steep 2 week delay for pre-orders.

The latest of the series includes some modestly updates specifications, most significantly including the slightly bigger display, clocking in at 4 inches. The previous iPhones all had 3.5 inch displays and most of the competition was raising the bar, namely Samsung, so it was pretty necessary to bump up the screen real estate. For those curious, the resolution is 1136 x 640, giving it a more than respectable PPI of 326. This means you won’t be seeing any individual pixels without a magnifying glass. Also upgraded is the processor. Gone are the A5’s and in is the new A6. It’s a dual core CPU seemingly clocked in at 1GHz. Given that iOS is already pretty smooth, we’re going to be looking at some pretty slick performance. The iPhone 5 also includes a full gig of RAM, up from 512MB, which was truly necessary given that iOS really has a somewhat poor multitasking solution. The camera is MOSTLY the same, for the exception of a slightly improved sensor and a better front camera. Probably not going to notice a difference there.

The new iPhone will be shipping and be sold with the latest software, iOS 6.

The iPhone will be available on September 21st on the major US carriers, so should you buy it? That’s your decision, but we’ll talk about that some later today. It’ll be a pretty big Apple day for us!

HTC One X Review


The HTC One X is the the Thai manufacturer’s flagship device attempting to change the company’s image. Can it do just that? We’ll see down below!

Hardware & Design:
The One X is powered by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon S4 processor along with 1GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, a 4.7″ Super LCD display, and a 1800mAh non-removable battery. Keep in mind that the back does not snap off like those of the Samsung devices, so you don’t have removable storage either.

The design of the One X is the greatest I have ever seen on a mobile device, bar none. The large display takes up the front of the device and is surrounded by a white or grey poly-carbonate bezel that curves under the screen giving it a really innovative and modern feel. Every part of the device feels like it’s just… “One” essentially. The materials blend perfectly into each other, and it’s really something that one has to see to believe.

On the back of the phone is the 8MP rear camera, some Beats and HTC branding, and some cleverly placed holes for wireless charging. Aside from the Beats branding (which I despise on any device), the back is very elegant. If it weren’t for the Beats branding presence, I would easily give the HTC One X a 10, at least in the design.

The One X rocks an HD screen (1280×720) like most other high-end Android phones now, but this one is very special. The Super LCD 2 technology really shines here. It’s closest competition is the panel on the SIII, which will be detailed in the next review. If you’re not one for the notorious over saturation of Samsung’s AMOLED technology, then this is definitely the best display for you. I actually like the AMOLED displays quite a lot, but this is pretty damned close. Many would argue that this is currently the best mobile smartphone display, and that’s the truth, depending on your personal preference.

Contrast and color reproduction were very, very good on just about everything. One of the real benefits, or actually one many, of LCD technology is the traditional RGB pixel layout. This means that text will appear sharper than that of AMOLED displays because it doesn’t add in an extra green sub-pixel. This means that one would have to try incredibly hard to see any pixelation at all or any rigid text. That’s pretty great. The LCD technology that the One X sports also allows for some fantastic viewing angles. You can see whatever is on your display until you actually cannot see your display. Colors just do not wash out, whatever you do.

The display is also fairly usable even under direct sunlight. I am pretty confident that it is easier to see than my old iPhone 4, but you still will have a hard time seeing some things here and there. I may just be particularly picky on this subject. Whatever the case, it’s usable and one should have no issue with this. Just don’t go outdoors expecting the quality that you see indoors.

The phone has an 8MP camera with full 1080p video recording all running atop HTC’s Imagesense software. It sounds very impressive, and the results are pretty good. Pictures are very detailed and are sure to impress, at least for a mobile device. Videos, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. I found that video recorded even in 1080p seemed to lack detail. Lighting was a whole other story, and the end is the same. Not pretty. If you’re looking for a camera, the phone will definitely do the trick. A video recorder? Look elsewhere. I’m certain that there are people who disagree and even I’ve seen better video performance from others on YouTube. The fact is that mine didn’t perform well, and that’s the one I am reviewing. You can see the video and the sample pictures in the Flickr gallery below. Don’t worry, soon we’ll have a better way (hint, hint).

Considering that it’s powered by the Qualcomm S4 and a full gig of RAM, you’re going to get some pretty great performance out of the One X. Generally performance all around was very snappy, but there were a few too many hiccups, and sometimes they were pretty bad.

Sense is very pretty, but it adds a hell of a lot of bloat and takes up a lot of the phone’s limited RAM. It’s definitely better than it used to be, but its presence only hurt the phone’s performance. Swiping through home screens was only fair. Stutters were pretty common, even without the addition of live wallpapers or 3rd party applications. At that moment I knew that HTC already screwed themselves over. Next on the bucket list is the application drawer… Haven’t clicked it in a minute? Great. Next time you try to go there, be prepared for a two second delay before you see your applications. It’s not a huge delay, but when you’re paying for a high end smartphone, you expect snappy performance! It only gets worse too. Next on the list is the dreadful loading. Not the loading of applications, that was quick. The loading I’m talking about is something I have never even seen happen before on an Android device. Occasionally when I would quit out of an application with hopes of returning to my home screen, I was actually treated to a darkened background with a large loading symbol in the middle. This lasted a good 15-20 seconds. Not good. It happened time after time again as well.

So we all love the new multi-tasking in Android 4.0, right? I’m sorry again, but prepare yourselves… Part of HTC Sense is a different form of multi-tasking, and odds are you won’t love it. It is very pretty though! For those of you who have used WebOS, it is a card interface much like that, just much less useful! It WILL show your recent apps and let you revisit them. Here’s the bad part though: If you’re using an app like Facebook or Instagram, the app will just reload and you’ll lose whatever progress you have made with it. It’s enormously frustrating, to say the least.

Gaming and other applications all loaded quickly and worked great, just Sense screwed everything else up. I know the phone SHOULD have good performance, and does when not affected by the software. I will rate the two separately and accordingly.

Call Quality, Data Speeds, Speakers, & Battery Life:
Call quality was excellent throughout all testing. AT&T’s network in Los Angeles is pretty well covered. The only dropped calls I had were in very hilly areas. In general though, the One X performs admirably here! (Phew!)

Data Speeds! Yes! Another good area! AT&T’s 4G LTE is very quick and under utilized right now, so now is the time to use a 4G smartphone on their network. My download speeds peaked at 26 and hardly went below 10. Pretty good!

Speakers: Nothing to write home about, but nothing bad either. The speakers don’t pump out too much noise, but for what it is, it’s pretty high quality. It’s the in-ear action that HTC advertises though. Unfortunately they no longer provide Beats in-ear headphones, so you will have to deal with standard audio without them. The only real difference is a bass boost, or at least real difference I could notice. It’s really just a gimmick. :(

Battery Life: This was actually surprisingly good for a 4G Android device! I had no problems getting through a full day once I finally convinced myself to turn down the brightness. This was with some pretty standard usage, email syncing, web browsing, occasional gaming or video streaming. Don’t be fooled though, like any phone you will not get a days worth of continuous usage. I’d still keep that charger nearby, you’re going to need it when you get home.

This phone has SO much potential. I love it in so many ways, believe it or not. The design is impeccable and the performance should be incredible. Actually, scratch that. The performance IS good, under that crappy software. I will safely recommend this phone once it’s easier to unlock and install a stable custom ROM. With HTC Sense running though, I just cannot recommend this to anyone over an SIII, or even the new Atrix HD. HTC ALMOST has a winner. Just for that reason, this phone saddens me.


Why iPad?

I don’t get it. Regular readers already know I’m not a huge fan of Tablets. But I admit they can be neat gadgets. Some say they’ll even replace books one day. Just think of all the paper that would save. However, I don’t understand the iPad.

Remember the days of the large, clunky iPod Video? Then the iPod Nano came out. The iPod Videos just disappeared into everyone’s drawer, replaced by the newer, slimmer Nano. In the case of the iPad, this process happened in reverse. First, the iPhone and iPod Touch were released. I’m not an Apple fanboy, but this really did change the mobile phone industry. For those who didn’t want the iPhone, the iPod Touch served as a modern iPod that was frankly close enough.

Then the iPad came out. There was tremendous hype around it. There still is. But why? Other than having a larger screen, it’s just an iPod Touch. The way I see it, the iPod Touch might as well be called the iPad Nano. There is almost nothing new on the iPad compared to any other device running iOS.

So what are iPads used for? I repair computers and other technology gadgets as a side job while going through school. Clients frequently need help getting their email set up on their iPads or learning how to put e-books on them. Older clients can’t find any use for them at all. Younger clients say to me “My kids gave this to me for my birthday. What is the best use for it?” I can’t help them. Yes, you can put your email and books on it. Same with ANY other tablet out there. The difference is with the iPad, you’re spending hundreds of extra dollars.

Now, if you have hundreds of extra dollars just sitting around and you can find NOTHING else to spend it on, you’ll probably still have fun showing your iPad to all of your friends. But if you want to get any value for your money, I strongly urge you to look at other tablets on the market. Any feature you want to use on the iPad WILL be available on all of the cheaper tablets. Most of them also run faster than the iPad ;)

HP DV6T Quad Edition Review


The DV6T Quad is officially my new daily driver, so it’s very worthy of a review! It is the replacement of my older HP G60T Notebook with the following specs: Core2Duo @2.20, 3 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD (5400 RPM), and the Intel GMA 4500MHD. Clearly I wasn’t computing with power, even at the time I purchased it. Times have changed though! Read more below to hear about my new companion!

HP used to not be a company that one would look to for looks in computers. They used to be pretty bulky and ugly, to say the least. I had only seen pictures of the DV6T before I purchased it, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a very elegant looking machine just daring me to turn it on. The first things I noticed were the very professional inscribed “Hewlett Packard” text on the hinge and the LED HP Logo on the lid. These things actually do contribute to the design and add a really nice feel to the whole computer.

My DV6T Quad came with the Dark Umber finish which is a very dark brownish-black. There are lines running down the entire body of the laptop and they have an intentional slight texture. So far, it appears as if the build materials are pretty top notch so the design isn’t just a gimmick here. It’s supported by some pretty good materials which isn’t something too common in the market, especially for HP in my experience.

Once you open up the laptop, you’ll be greeted with the display first and foremost. The bezel is pretty slim, so that shouldn’t be an issue for most people. Under the display there’s a speaker bar (Beats, of course) which accompanies two other speakers in the front. More on that later! There are only two buttons here, the power and HP QuickWeb. Under this you’ll find a full-sized keyboard with a number pad. Below that is the standard Synaptics Touchpad. Interestingly, there’s a LED light that borders the Touchpad, however, in this model there is no keyboard backlighting. The new Ivy Bridge models released do appear to have this feature though. Honestly, I saw no point to this at first, but it actually did grow on me over time.

Click to view all the design photos for this laptop.

Keyboard and Touchpad:
These are two very important parts of a laptop computer because they’re the main drivers of the machine. Keyboard fanatics should be very pleased with HP’s solution here. The keys feel just perfect. There’s enough bounce and almost no flex. The keys are just about the perfect size as well. In fact, typing this review was incredibly easy and almost pleasing. Typing was almost fun in a way. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself sometime! The only experience that comes close is on a Macbook. On the right side of the keyboard there’s also a number pad. I haven’t used it too much yet, but it seems to work well too. For business people, I’m sure it would be very useful.

The Touchpad isn’t great, but it’s pretty good for a Windows PC. In all of my usage time thus far, I haven’t had one bit of random jumping around which is greatly appreciated as my last HP laptop had a major problem with this. It feels very accurate and the sensitivity levels can be set just right for anyone. There are dedicated “clicking” buttons as well, so it’s not like what you would find in an Apple laptop in that sense. HP also included other Synaptics software that allow things like two-finger scrolling, one-finger scrolling, zooming, and more. These features were a bit more buggy than the rest of the Touchpad. Two-Finger scrolling was near impossible to get right, and zooming was even worse. I went straight to turning zooming off due to its terrible inaccuracy and the difficulty of controlling it. So it’s not the greatest I’ve seen overall, but it definitely still stands out in the current market.

The configuration I’m testing comes with a 1366×768 HP Brightview display, but before you all instantly close this tab, it is possible to upgrade to a full 1080p. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the 1080p screen just yet, but for this resolution, the display still impresses.

Despite the lack of extra pixels, colors are very accurate and pop out with lots of personality. There isn’t over-saturation, in fact, it feels just right in that aspect. Whites are extremely white and blacks are really dark. I can’t just ignore the fact that it’s 1366×768 on a 15.6″ display though. When looking closely, it is fairly easy to make out individual pixels. I normally use the computer from about a foot away, so it hasn’t been too much of a problem for me, but for some it could definitely prove itself an issue.

Viewing angles were acceptable. Most side angles until you reached the extremes still provided not too washed out images, so several people could definitely watch a movie with ease. Vertical angles though were fairly dissappointing. While moving the display up usually worked fine, doing the opposite ensured a terrible viewing experience.

How about during gaming or just one person use? This computer can handle that with ease. We’ll get onto graphics performance later, but the display definitely can help the newest titles shine. Colors when looking head-on (viewing angles described above) were very good! Movies and TV shows were just the same. Even without 1080p on my configuration, Blu-Ray movies looked phenomenal.

Click to view all display photos for this laptop.

Here’s the section that probably most of you actually came here for! Don’t let the average price fool you, the DV6T will play with the big kids. My unit is powered by a Sandy Bridge Intel core i7 2670QM @ 2.20 GHz, 8 gigs of RAM, a Radeon 7690m XT, and a 750GB HDD @7200RPM. It’s no slouch, but boot times and program opening times will be slightly limited due to the lack of an SSD. This wasn’t really an issue with my unit as I don’t really mind the time it takes for a computer to turn on, and if you do, lots of Ultrabooks are covering that territory.

General performance was incredibly snappy, as expected. Tens of browser windows, a couple downloads, and music streaming all were smooth as could be. There were virtually no slow downs noticeable which is something that once you have, it’s impossible to live without.

Clearly this computer is designed for more than those easy tasks though. Given that the machine has a 7690m XT, moderate gaming should be possible as well. I’ve been pretty late to this review, and that has actually been good because I’ve gotten to really test how it handles gaming. I went straight in for the hardest title possible. Battlefield 3 is the ultimate test for gaming computers as of right now.

Keep in mind that the resolution of the display is only 1366×768, so we won’t get true HD gaming, but the game still looked great on the screen. For fun, I decided to put all the settings on ultimate to see how things turned out. Surprisingly even with 4X AA, the game ran at 20 or so FPS. That’s not playable for an FPS, but it was quite impressive considering the hardware. Toning down the graphics to High and lowering the AA will give a perfectly smooth experience that never once hovered below 30FPS. Quite impressive to say the least. The new DV6 comes with a 550m, so expect even better performance.

Other titles like DOTA 2 and Call of Duty MW3 all ran on highest possible settings without issue. Moderate gamers will definitely be pleased!

Speakers and Other:
One of the major advertising points of the DV6 right now is the Beats speaker system. It’s both a gimmick, and not a gimmick. I’ll explain. So normally Beats means just a simple bass boost, so I was not expecting anything special in terms of audio quality here. However, I was still excited to see how the 4 speakers and subwoofer would play out. The first thing I did was play around with the Beats control center where you can actually really get your sound the way you like it, much to my surprise. It’s a hell of a lot more customizable than I ever imagined it would be. This is entirely different from different Beats enabled HP products, like the Touchpad.

So once I got the settings the way I liked, I gave one of my favorite songs a listen. I fired up Ji by Periphery (It’s pretty heavy, not sure if it is suitable for all of our visitors here). At max volume, there was no distortion, which was quite the feat considering how incredibly loud these speakers can go. With my palms resting on the laptop as well, working or playing becomes much more… interesting. Gaming was pretty spectacular with these as well. Battlefield (I know, it’s one of my favorites) really came alive.

Another gimmicky feature is the Fingerprint sensor included. I highly doubt the safety value of it, but unless someone else has your fingerprint, you’ll be completely fine. I had several people try to crack it and they never once prevailed. That is more than good enough for me, but definitely not for those who require high security. As for actual usefulness, it definitely did more than I expected. Every website that requires a login allows for the fingerprint sensor to be used, and it can hold more than one account that you can scan into. It makes logging into anything incredibly easy. Beware though, you may find that you forget all of your passwords…

Battery life is as good as you pay for it to be. The standard configuration includes a 6 cell battery, but I opted for the 9 cell since I don’t like worrying about running dry. My very long and boring test lasted 8 hours and 42 minutes on the HP Recommended setting with Half brightness. To conserve battery, the computer also relies on the Intel HD graphics rather than the higher end Radeon solution. This is a lot of power that is saved. Considering the processing power even without the better graphics, that time accounts to a ton of productivity. You will not have to worry about reaching for that charger too much. One important thing to awknowledge however is that the 9 cell battery will add a “hump” to the laptop and make it appear much thicker. The placement is spot-on as it fits in between your legs if it’s on your lap, but some would still call this a major negative, especially if you’re lacking space. The keyboard indirectly benefits though. The added slant really enhances the typing experience.

I really have given this computer a ton of praise throughout the review, and that is after setting my expectations very low. My previous experiences with HP laptops have been iffy at best. For the price on the DV6T Quad right now, this is the middle to high end machine to beat! Just keep these things in mind, you’re going to want an external monitor and a real mouse to really take advantage of the computer!


HTC One X Video Review


That’s right, we got our hands on the smartphone that HTC is counting on to change its image. Does it do that? Well, you can make that decision, but hopefully this video review will help!

What’s in my bag? -Brian Adler

I saw this sort of post on other Tech sites and always sort of wanted to do the same! So here is mine!

My Bag:

Nothing really too special, but it works.

It’s really nothing too special, but it has surpassed my expectations in every way. I bought it as a bundle with a sleeve about 4 years ago and it doesn’t even have 1 tear. The amount of storage is average, but it holds everything I need it to. It was about 20 something dollars, so really not too bad of a deal either. I was a bit of an HP fanboy back then, so as of now I feel like a walking advertisement, but I guess that’s not too bad! You know what? It’s a good bag.

Prepare yourself. This part isn’t pretty! Remember when I said my bag is four years old? Well my laptop is as well. It’s an HP G60t series. It has a Core2Duo t6600 @2.20 GHz, 3GB of RAM, 250 GB 5400 RPM HDD, an Intel GMA 4500MHD, and… I’ll stop there… It has a 15.6″ screen and it still fits perfectly in the backpack, so at least there’s a plus.


I will however be ordering myself an HP DV6T in about a week to replace this dinosaur. Phew. It’ll have an AMD A-8 3550MX quad core at 2.0 GHz (2.7 with boost), an AMD Radeon 7690 1GB, 8GB of RAM, and a 640GB HDD. So that’ll be quite an upgrade. I’ll be sure to review it right when I get it!

So close...

I still use an iPhone 4 due to an annoying 2 year contract, but it’s been a pretty interesting experience. I guess it isn’t in my bag necessarily either… as its home is in my pocket. I have to use a battery case as well due to the atrocious battery life. I’ll probably be upgrading to a Samsung Galaxy Note in the coming weeks.

iPhone 4

I use an HP Touchpad 16GB which I snagged during the huge fire-sale last year. I haven’t used WebOS very much even though I really enjoy the Operating System. It’s lack of developer support convinced me to install Cyanogenmod 9 (Android 4.0) to get the full tablet experience. Haven’t regretted that at all. So far it has been running like a dream even though it’s only in Alpha. I think I may get around to reviewing it with that software sometime in the near future.

HP Touchpad

Portable HDD:
I also carry around an HP 320GB portable HDD with me every day in my bag. It’s physical size is fairly small and the storage space is adequate for my purposes. Haven’t been disappointed at all.

As a courtesy to other people, I tend to not blast music or other sounds from my computer, so earphones are a necessity. I’ve owned a pair of V-MODA headphones for almost two years now and have never really needed an upgrade. The bass is delivered pretty well and the sound doesn’t sound tinny. As for durability, I’ve never seen anything like it. They’ve gone through the washing machine on several occasions (more than I would like to admit…) and survive the daily trip through my pockets and bag. Pretty impressive, especially for two years. Keep in mind also that I purchased them for about $40. Pretty cool.

Other:As you can tell from above, my current laptop is pretty weak in terms of performance, but it does fine to satisfy my occasional light gaming needs. Unfortunately, most new games will not run with decent frame rates, but I still carry Rise of Nations (an older RTS) and Starcraft II (on lowest settings, playable). So these two games have their own dedicated spots in my bag!

New iPad announced!

I know, we usually don’t cover Apple products here, but since it’s a huge launch, it’s probably necessary to report on it! So the iPad HD has some modest spec bumps over the iPad 2, most of which we were already expecting.

The new iPad will have a much higher resolution display at 2048 x 1536. So that’s pretty impressive. We’ll be looking forward to developers taking advantage of this extra real estate. The new iPad also has a upgraded processor and graphics chip. It’s now called the A5X. The processor is dual-core, much like it’s older brother, but the graphics have been bumped up to Quad-Core. This makes perfect sense because it takes lots more power to push those extra pixels.

Other improvements include a 5MP back-facing shooter, but I doubt that will be used too much sense most people won’t be snapping photos with their iPads (we hope)!

The new iPad is also .8mm thicker than the iPad 2, but that’s probably very difficult to notice.

So, will you guys be buying the new iDevice?

HP Envy Spectre released!

HP’s big Ultrabook has finally been released… for $1399. The entry model includes an Intel Core i5-2467M, Intel HD Graphics 3000, 4 GB of RAM, NFC, a 128 GB SSD, and a 14 inch BrightView Infinity LED 1366×768 Display.

What do you guys think? Worth a buy?

LG Teases the LG Optimus Vu

Hey, are you into huge phones like the Galaxy Note, but looking for something a bit stranger too? Well then, this may be for you. From what we can tell, the Optimus Vu has a 5 inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Yep. That’s right.

There’s also a 1.5GHz Qualcomm APQ8060 SoC, 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, NFC, Android 2.3 (No word on ICS) and an 8MP Camera.