Category Archives: Hardware & Devices

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When an Apple person reviews Oranges

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“This thing called Orange doesn’t look like Apple, doesn’t have Apple color, it doesn’t taste like Apple, an Apple can have a worm, but this Orange thing can’t even tolerate a worm”.

Here we go again. Another Microsoft Hardware/Platform launch, followed by rounds of Reviews from people who has little or no interest in Microsoft, neither do they use Microsoft’s products as goto tools in their daily routine. Continue reading

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I Got Lumia Black Update for my AT&T Nokai Lumia 520!

About Windows Phone Lumia 520

Well, I wasn’t expecting this so soon! But I am pleased to say that I have finally gotten the Lumia Black Update for my AT&T Nokia Lumia 520. If you have a Nokia Lumia 520, did you get the Black Update? Are you using the AT&T version of the phone? I would like to know because on Nokia’s website, it still says that the Lumia 520 on AT&T is “Waiting for Approval”. Continue reading

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Unboxing the Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel

Thanks to Richard Hay from WindowsObserver.com for giving me this Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel in a Giveaway Draw. I unbox this on this video and play Need for Speed Hot Pursuit live on the video!

Follow great content by Richard Hay at http://www.windowsobserver.com/ You can follow Rich Hay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/winobs

Can’t watch the video above? Try this link.

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Is This Proof of an Otterbox iPhone 5C Case?

We all know that accessory manufacturers get “some” advanced knowledge about upcoming Apple products. Either that or they just feed off of the ever-churning rumor mill. Otterbox may have taken either path. But I recently witnessed one of their ads right here on Techtronica. It showed a preview of what looks like an Otterbox iPhone 5C case. So did Otterbox just spill the beans on the iPhone 5C?

Otterbox certainly isn’t the only company to reveal products associated with to-be-announced gadgets and certainly won’t be the last.

What are you expecting to see out of the Apple iPhone event? Comment below.

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The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Wants Your Time

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Earlier today, Samsung announced what is considered the first major smart watch; the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Samsung, being in a long running competition with Apple, seems to have finally beat Apple to the punch. But what benefit could this smartwatch have on an ever growing technological world?

Perhaps this taps into the dreams and fantasies of our youth of wanting to be like James Bond or some other super spy who could do almost anything with a simple watch. Though lacking the qualities that would make this smartwatch super spy worthy, there are features to the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch that do catch the eye and bring us closer to those childhood dreams.

To begin, Samsung is calling their new smart watch the Samsung Gear. Seems a little cliché but that’s okay, it’s a watch right? Samsung announced that the Samsung watch will have plenty of capabilities such as being able to take photos, answer calls (when connected via Bluetooth to a Samsung device), and run certain applications that would make this almost enticing to get. There are many other interesting things to do such as being able to SnapChat, which of course in our world of video/picture messaging, is very important.

I do find though that despite the cool features and near super spy appeal, there are concerns on how well this device will function. Regular watches are often worn as accessories and usually have a level of protection offered by being mechanical or semi-mechanical time pieces, bringing in the idea of a non-water-proof watch might be a little off setting for those who like cool tech but love to take on the elements.

Other concerns would be the battery life. As stated in Business Weekly among other news sites, having to charge this watch every day would require you to take along extra chargers and docking stations just to use this while on the go.

Other than those concerns though, Samsung doesn’t fail to deliver a decent product. Making it to the front of a market before Apple is a good accomplishment by any company standards, but the real test of how well this watch preforms and whether Apple will release their own smart watch, well that will take time.

To give an honest estimation of the success of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, I would say it will sell because it is the latest gadget and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to seem like a super spy answering calls on their watch? I do plan to acquire this watch in the near future (perhaps on debut) to give you an in-depth report of the actual functionality and usefulness of the Gear. Until then, below are listed the basic stats that Samsung released today for the gear.

 

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch:

Processor clock speed: 800mhz

Memory: 4gb

Screen Size: 1.63 (type: Super AMOLED with gyroscopes and accelerometer)

Batter life: roughly a days worth of regular use

Other features: S Voice, camera (called Memographer)

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TI-Nspire CX CAS Unboxing

Editor’s Note: this post originally appeared on Techtronica.

TI-Nspire CX CAS Unboxing

In this video, I unbox the latest and greatest calculator from Texas Instruments, the TI-Nspire CX CAS. It is a colored screen, computer algebra system with a user interface designed to be similar to that of the PC.

Sign Up for the Xbox-Live Beta Program for Summer 2013 Before Time is Up! [Update: Time's up!]

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Update: It appears that space has been full. Here’s a quote from major nelson: We’ve had an overwhelming demand for participation, and have closed registration.
If we re-open registration,
I’ll let you know

If you have an Xbox 360 and love testing the cutting-edge software, I have good news for you! You sign up for the beta program for your Xbox 360 this summer. This beta program will let you have an early download of the Xbox 360 dash board update that is coming this fall.

Space is limited, and, thus, you need to sign up for the beta BEFORE it is full. You can do this only form your Xbox 360 dashboard home screen. On the home screen, you will have an option to sign up for the beta. If you choose to do so, you will be prompted to install a small app for your Xbox. After you install the app, you will need to select the option to sign up for the beta again from the Xbox 36t0 home screen. This will launch the sign-up utility. Just follow the on-screen instructions to join the beta. Hurry because it’s filling up fast!

I do wander if we will see a UI change in this next update to match that of the UI shown off for the Xbox One. The Xbox One dashboard features a nicer looking dark background with bright tiles. It does look nicer than the current Xbox 360 dashboard. But we shall shee.

Source: Major Nelson

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#AppleProbz & The iPhone #7

The moment all Apple lovers have been waiting for may be right around the corner. According to the iPhone “experts” we should be expecting the 7th iPhone this Summer since we haven’t seen a new devices since October when the iPad Mini was released. Though Apple is continuously working with its counterparts in Asia on a lower-end [less expensive] iPhone. The device is rumored to be about 4 inches long, have wireless charging [rumors say a patent has been filled concerning wireless charging] and have different colored skins.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

-Steve Jobs

Many experts are beginning to question the performance of Apple due to their slowness compared to other major electronic companies like Samsung. Samsung is also rumored to be on the verge of releasing their Galaxy S 4 this Summer at a much faster rate than Apple. The Tim Cook lead company is expected to to upgrade the camera and processor for the 7th iPhone but for now those are just rumors. Apple’s stock has also seen a drop due to its extensive time between new product releases. Compared to September 2012, Apple has lost $272.31 in stock value as of April 2013. Apple has usually held their new events to release new devices in March but this year is the first in Techtronica’s being that we have not seen a release. So maybe we’ll be waiting till June for an iPhone 6, iPhone 5 S, The New iPhone or more specifically the 7th Generation iPhone.

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AMD Radeon Sky Series Brings Cloud Based Graphics to the Masses

Okay, It is fairly obvious that the way to go for computing these days is “To The Cloud.” but perhaps not everything is best suited for cloud operations. We have seen many blunders in Cloud based technology such as with SimCity’s DRM game play that upset global servers and most importantly turned off many loyal SimCity fans from even touching the game. Signs like this might be a good indicator to say “hey, not everything is meant for the cloud.” Unfortunately it hasn’t started with SimCity in the least. SimCity though has brought light to the subject, but as a Loyalist to SimCity I might be biased in saying the cloud gaming isn’t that bad except when you can’t connect to the Internet and then any hopes of saving your game goes down the drain. I did get my free game out of it all, but that is besides the point.

According to an article by PC Perspectives, AMD has launched or rather revealed a cloud based graphics/video card. My first thoughts on this is, well at least nVidia won’t be the only one. Most of you know nVidia released the plans for their cloud based handheld console using a cloud based graphics technology they were flashing last year at E3. The odd thing about this launch is, it is at GDC. AMD has never been one to release any consumer products at a non-consumer show, but being well warranted seen as this gpu has been a year in the waiting. The AMD Radeon 7990 showed off the Battlefield 4 HD demo which impressed many to say the least.

AMD Sky, that is the name of this new cloud based GPU technology. In PC Perspectives’ article they said there will be 3 AMD Radeon Sky GPUs, Sky 900, Sky 700, and you guessed it, the Sky 500. These are using dual AMD GPUs on the cards with the Sky 900 and 700 having 6GB of memory and the 500 having 4GB. To say the least, these cards should be like little monsters in your computer mastering any level of gaming you could throw at it. I do though, have my skepticism about these cloud based cards. For the simple fact that, what happens when you are not connected to the “cloud?” This would present many issues for gamers, especially if their Internet goes out. We will definitely see how these perform in the actual world environment when hidden variables make themselves known, and the true power or blunder of these cards are revealed. As an AMD fan from the start, I can only hope these are well performing cards and that they rebuild the name of cloud gaming that many games of recent have utterly ruined.

-Seth

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My Next Tablet: ASUS got my money, again!–Sorry SurfacePRO

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Yes, I did it! I chose mobility above Power and Style! Those of you that follow me might know about my predicament in a post I wrote some time ago complaining to Microsoft about SurfacePRO on battery life. I was conflicted whether to get the SurfacePro or not. Believe you me, there is nothing I wouldn’t give to get SurfacePro, its got the muscle, its got the style, but the only thing it hasn’t got is the stamina; which I desperately need. In the post I complained I already have a Core i5 tablet giving me an average of 3 hours, I was not ready to get another Core i5 tablet giving me an average of 4 to 5 hours. I need the stamina, to be able to leave the power adapter for once at home!

You could have said why not get the SurfaceRT that was pushing 9hrs of use, well, just one reason, I’m not just an Internet buff trolling the net all day, I’ve got some real work to do in my daily life. I need to be able to access my office and do real work on my Tablet, and I mean real work. VPN, Office, Citrix and Proprietary apps; you know, the real deal. SurfaceRT will not cut it for me. And if SurfaceRT will not cut it, iPad and Android devices could never. I am of the opinion, you stick to the platform that most serve your need. There’s no way to get me to actively use Google’s products. I only use YouTube passively, period. Apple’s walled-garden is too limiting for me, so thank you, I’ll stay on MS campus if you don’t mind.

So, the decision is quickly made, Atom tablet it is! Current x86 Clovertrail tablets are pushing average of 9hrs of use, the only thing is the bad press they are getting. Nearly all of the reviewers were complaining about near uselessness of these tabs. Could they be right? As of this moment, I can tell you for fact, the majority CAN be wrong, and they ARE wrong!

I went to the local Mall to check out the Atom tablets available for myself. There are many of them, but the one that got me is the ASUS Vivotab Smart.

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Dang! That device is small, thin and light! The ultimate mobility candidate! And it could give me 9+ hours? Well, I loved the size and its feature, but I was put off by its screen quality. It has just an IPS screen, a cheaper screen compared to others with Super-IPS screens. And what’s more it’s a bit greenish and washed out. It was the worst screen you could have!

Another thing is I could not for the life of me bring up the Charm on this thing, can’t open app bars, it seems this only Show unit was broken. Asked an attendant why the Charm is not working, he said he didn’t know why, and from his demeanor, I could see he didn’t care neither. This is exactly the reason why Microsoft needs to open motar&brick shops himself, there are just too much MS-hating shop attendants out there! Well, the geek in me did what’s right at that point in time; I reloaded Windows 8 there and then! Have you ever did a complete restore of an OS in a shopping mall?! Thanks to that single action, my opinion of the device changed. The device came back restored to its default state. Some idiots obviously were messing around with the tab, probably disabled the Windows 8 gestures in the registry, sabotaging the product. There are too many haters out there I tell you.

Well, the device is looking good now, and very responsive. WEI (windows experience index) is 3.2, that’s not bad for a device that all reviewers were dumping upon. And from what I can see, there is nothing wrong with the response. The only thing still is the white balance, still tends to the green. Tried to set the color correction to reduce green or bring up blue and red, to my dismay, you can’t do Windows color correction on this device. I was furious with Microsoft. Why in everything holy would they disable color correction in the Display Wizard?! Tweeted about this, bought the device and left the shop.

Guys, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Don’t listen to idiots when it comes to your devices. Go out there and try it, or order it online and give it a spin yourself, you can always return it if it doesn’t meet your requirement. I tell you, this atom device is perfect. It withstood everything I threw at it up till now. Got the Task Manager permanently fixed on the taskbar watching CPU usage, I’ve never seen such a cool device, and literarily cool too, no heat, no fan. It’s a dream. What’s more, this thing is powered via a standard micro-usb! I don’t have to lug a bulky power adaptor around, I could just charge with the same charger as my Lumia 920! Are you kidding me?! I mean, we all have this notion in our heads, when you mention an Intel device, you automatically see a bulky power adaptor next to it. I am looking at your HP and Dell!

I loaded it with all my Play and Work software. My VPN clients and Lync MX clients worked flawlessly, no lag nothing! Loaded Office 2013 and a few work related clients, everything works! I mean everything! This is a complete opposite experience than what I was reading in reviews. How can there be so much difference in what Reviewers say and what the real life experience is? Something is wrong with this picture! I was prepared for a very slow experience, after all, this is a netbook class CPU. Nothing, no lag at all. The only lag I’ve seen on this thing is my Bluetooth mouse being jerky at times when device is heavily in use. And the most awesome of all, I am getting about 10hrs on this thing! See what Windows PowerCfg says for yourselves:

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That “Since OS install” is just a fair estimation. I am definitely getting more than 10 hours on this thing. Its an eye-opener for someone that is used to meager battery life on my laptops and tablets.

So there you go. The last argument against Intel platform for mobility thrown out of the window. At the moment Intel Atom Clovertrail CPU leave ARM in the dust in terms of performance. And now that Intel can match and exceed ARM battery life, the contest is over as far as I am concerned. I don’t care what the fanboys sing. On lesson is very clear from this experience, don’t listen to Apple or Android-invested sites to tell you about a competing platform. Go out there an test for yourself. Go to GDGT and see the ridicule of it all. Where real users are giving products 9 or 10 and reviewers are giving 6 or 7. I tell you most of these fanboys have lost their credibility. I am mad that they are still being called journalists. There’s nothing journalistic about what they do. They don’t report facts, they only try to shape opinions.

When I was getting this device, my mindset was to get a less-than-average device to get me to the Intel Haswell timeframe when I hope MS will release a Haswell Surface product that combine beauty and brawn, with stamina to boot. But I can tell you I am more than satisfied with this ASUS Vivotab Smart tablet. Its my companion device now. No, I don’t play Crysis on the device, I don’t have ridiculous expectation of an Atom device like the most reviewers do. They should stop comparing apples with oranges. Atom Clovertrail was never meant to compete with Ultrabook class devices, it was meant to compete with ARM devices, and that is where it is leaving the types of iPads and Galaxy Notes and Nexus is the dust. If you’ve been holding back on getting Atom x86 tablets because of what you’ve been reading, don’t wait any longer, they are perfect Work and Play devices!

P.S: The Color correction no more available in the Display Wizard (Read-only now), adjustments is now ONLY available in Intel’s Graphic Media Accelerator Display client:

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See Also:
Engadget: ASUS Vivo Tab Smart
GDGT: ASUS Vivo Tab
GDGT: ASUS Vivo Tab Smart (Sorry, no user reviews yet, I am no GDGT user.)