• serenaray

    by Published on 10-08-2015 07:48 AM
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    It's been a long time since Howard has trusted me enough to review anything other than a watch or tablet but since I'm one of the few devoted Apple fans here, I think this is my chance to make things right. This is a key question to consider when sifting through all of the reviews out there on the web: do you trust their opinion? Unless you follow that reviewer religiously to build a character profile, there's no way for you to assess if they have been coerced or influenced to help sell more units. Maybe it'll help to know that I'm not getting any kickbacks for this review... just some food for thought before biting into this apple.


    Here is the quick question that I have been tasked to answer: Do you upgrade to the iPhone 6S or not? ...
    by Published on 10-27-2014 08:22 AM
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    Disappointing yet sexy.

    That's how I'm describing this "new" Samsung phone. As a disclaimer, having this phone will not increase the owner's sex appeal so I wouldn't make any rush decisions. But the bottom line for the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is that this is the biggest tease on the market... it truly is the alpha male in the smartphone arena making it that Grey dude in that Fifty Shades of something-or-other. [and yes, I would say if the Blackberry Z10 and HTC One shacked up, the Galaxy Alpha would pop out]
    ...
    by Published on 04-16-2014 08:15 PM
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    While doing research for this review, I discovered a whole other universe where the limits of precision are still being pursued and a community of fans that have no limits of how much they would spend on time pieces. It's truly incredible that watches have not become obsolete considering it would take you longer (relatively speaking) to glance at your wrist to tell the time than what's displayed on your screen right now. I haven't worn a watch for decades. The day I picked up my Nokia Fido phone was when I didn't see the point of adding mass to my left wrist.





    But in a twist of irony that puzzles me is how much more valuable and costly mechanical watches have become. You would think that when quartz was available on mass, nobody would be interested in manual wind up watches. Could this be a storyline for smartphones? Hmmm...
    ...
    by Published on 01-31-2014 10:31 AM
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    When Howard asked me to review the Surface Pro 2, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Smartphones have become easy because it's really about comparisons: you want to know which is the best and avoid the worst. Tablets have become increasingly difficult because the definitions are blurring as seen with a wide variety of sizes and core capabilities. And I think the hardest segment to review is computer hardware because of how impossible it is to define what makes a great computer. I was really struggling with a criteria to evaluate the Surface Pro 2 and unfortunately this review suffers as a result. I apologize in advance for what I'm writing and anticipate the colourful comments.


    The Surface Pro 2 is a computer. Yet within this category, this is a desktop and not a laptop. And because the true home of this computer is on your desk, it's not a tablet or a smartphone (you can quote me when I say that Skype/Facetime will make traditional phones obsolete). In more oblique terms, the Surface Pro 2 is a transient piece of hardware, sort of like that diagram depicting the evolution of humans from amino acids to monkeys to Adam and Eve; this computer is the monkey. This computer points to what the near future will be like where your entire desktop goes with you anywhere. So other words, don't waste your money on something that will be replaced in a couple years. ...
    by Published on 11-27-2013 08:25 PM
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    How long should an electronic device last? You're probably thinking why does that matter but I've run into a major problem with my Mac Pro that's now 7 years old. It's a beautiful machine that has been powered up 24/7 for 95% of those years. I've maxed this computer out with 16GB of RAM, 6TB of hard drives and an SSD. I can't ever go back to using just one monitor and I've learned my lesson to back up everything. I think it's hardware failure and I have this theory that Steve Jobs' ghost has entered countdown code to doomsday… right on the eve of the new Mac Pro being released. I'm a huge Apple fan and am fully aware of the company's fallibility. I had my video review ready to post and I found my computer off the next morning unable to get past the screen with the Apple logo on it.

    Here's where I'm going with this: for the premium I pay Apple, I expect their products to outperform and outlast the competition. I do not have this same expectation for Samsung. It's not a bad thing if that's what their business model is designed for (i.e. high volume, low margin).

    One other point is more of a challenge: can you post a review (with photos and video clips) using only a tablet? I had high hopes for the Note 10.1 but it's not quite there yet. Apart from not being able to create an article on this forum, I think we're almost there. Howard? Any takers on that challenge?

    Bottom line for those with a short attention span: the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition has outstanding specs on paper but doesn't execute appropriately. In other words, it doesn't get the horsepower to the road. The Apple iPad is still the clear leader in this field. I see the potential in the Note 10.1 but it might be the 2015 Edition that pulls it all together. ...
    by Published on 10-05-2013 10:32 AM
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    Many people don't know that LG stands for "Lucky Goldstar". When Panasonic and Sony were all the buzz in consumer electronics, Goldstar just couldn't compete. That classic Japan vs Korea battle also applied to Honda vs Hyundai or Toyota vs Daewoo. It's a very different landscape right now and the Kimchi is everywhere doing very well. It's amazing what a rebranding strategy can do: Howard, I think it's time to kick it up, Gangnam style.

    As with all my reviews, here's the bottom line for those with ADHDhhddhhdhddh - The LG G2 is not worth the $200 (on-contract) pricetag. I'd still get the Nexus 4 at the current rock-bottom price or get all the frilly bells and whistles of the Samsung Galaxy S4. The LG G2 is clearly a precursor to the G3 (or whatever nomenclature they choose to avoid colliding with Samsung) and you'll be swimming in regret throughout that 2yr contract.
    ...
    by Published on 09-18-2013 08:54 PM
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    When Howard asked me to review the new Samsung Galaxy Mega, I had already read what he wrote and wondered whether I could do this device justice… without being offensive. I believe in the value of joy in life. A smile and giggle are exactly what our world needs. It's not that I take the ask of Howard lightly; because it's truly a privilege to contribute my thoughts. The problem here is the fact that this smartphone is comical. Let the fun begin!


    There aren't many other things in life that are 6.3" that you can laugh at, and if they do it's time to chop it off and cut your losses. Can you picture those creative South Koreans in a scrum (Project Management talk for brainstorming) discussing the latest rerun of Baywatch and discovering the Western world's affinity with big things that defy all biology and reason? Perhaps across the hall in the design room, Samsung engineers just finished watching Zoolander and got the joke about the tiny Motorola flip phone. And automagically the Samsung Galaxy Mega was born! Finally this was the moment that Asians could succumb to the universal truth that bigger is better (that's what she said) and bigger is more satisfying (that's what she said) and size matters!

    Bottom line for this smartphone is simple: you are trying to make up for your life's shortcomings. Take that every and any which way you like. You can try to tell me about the hardware performance or that it's replacing two devices - I won't believe it for a second. Samsung is boldly making you pay for a joke where you are the punch line.

    Allow me to conclude by encouraging the rest of us in our fragile states of insecurity. Let's face it, every single person has more than one part of their created being that is embarrassing. We are all using "stuff" to make up for something and I admit I'm more like the president of that club (or mayor of that town). Take for instance our first stop: I use a 27" BenQ monitor ...and the Mega isn't bigger than that!
    ...
    by Published on 09-06-2013 12:14 PM
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    I was at a wedding a couple weeks ago and the conversation centered around cross-border shopping. I was particularly intrigued by this secret method of expediting the customs lineup called "Nexus". It magically allows you to use a special queue that produces a giggle directed at the others waiting impatiently. I knew it wasn't a special feature on the Google Phone or tablet although that's probably not too far in the future. And I knew it wasn't that waveform in that Star Trek movie. Nexus is everywhere and I'm sure there's a few evangelical churches that try to use the term. With so many uses (and misuses) in media and culture, this word loses its definition and dilutes its meaning. This is absolutely true with the Google Nexus 7.

    Nexus has a few definition and I postulate Google aimed for the one about connection. My daily phone is the Nexus 4 and it indeed connects me to my digital surreality. This Nexus 7 is a forgettable tradeoff between phone capabilities and a bigger screen. There isn't anything compelling (including the price) about the Nexus 7 and thus isn't worth keeping in your techie napsack. ...
    by Published on 08-20-2013 06:44 PM
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    In the automotive world, the Q5 makes perfect sense: "He" gets the A5 and "She" gets the "Q5". "Her" needs are different because she will drop the kids off at soccer practise and pick up the groceries. It's a great strategy to keep the brand in a given family unit. No longer do you need to go to Chrysler or Honda for that other vehicle; you can shop at Audi for all of your transportation needs. In case I've lost you, Audi is a car manufacturer and they have an SUV model called the Q5. And the gender references aren't intended to offend but merely as an illustration (I drive the minivan in my family).

    And once again for those with the ultra short attention span, the Q5 (Blackberry this time) is one of the best communication devices available but has success highly dependent on price. If carriers gave this phone away for free, Blackberry will claw back market share.


    Blackberry Family
    In my analogy above about a brand family, we know that Blackberry currently has 3 offerings for it's BB10 operating system: Z10, Q10, and now the Q5. Does this mean that "Dad" gets the Q10 because he is on the go and uses the practical keyboard to get his messages sent quick and fast? And does "Mom" use the Z10 for the larger screen to look at what's on sale at the outlet mall? It is entirely possible that the "kids" are awarded the Q5 to allow the entire family to communicate via BB Messenger. Like I said, if the pricing of the Q5 is such that it's a "disposable" expense, then Blackberry has hit the nail on the head. This younger generation can text better and faster than writing cursive with a ballpoint pen. With the entire family in the Blackberry brand, this opens up opportunities for a broader product roadmap that spans a couple generations. It's the same way that Apple is capitalizing on the iOS ecosystem/cult: once you're in, it's tough to get out.

    The logical extension of this is the corporate enterprise world where Blackberry is preferred. With the blip in technological progress during the iPhone/Android launch, my theory is that RIM at the time could not catch up leaving a gap that still exists today. This gap is about shareholder and end-user confidence. I have yet to hear a success story about BB10 exceeding information security requirements. This leads to my assumption that this new Blackberry Q5 is like that odd cousin that just doesn't make sense. To equip a small business, a "free" price point for the Q5 makes a compelling business case. But unfortunately at the enterprise level, the Q10 is the best choice making the Q5 ignorable to say the least. It will not help Blackberry get into the black. ...
    by Published on 08-01-2013 01:43 PM
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    For those with a short attention span, the verdict is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 LTE is a better iPad Mini.

    My reputation as an avid Apple fan has been challenged by reviewing other phones and tablets - and this is a critical exercise for everybody. Most iPad users I know of quickly (and ignorantly) dismiss the competition because of brain-washing marketing. But ironically, taking the time to seriously consider this Galaxy Note 8.0 had me thinking more about what I want in a tablet. Yet at the same time, I've increased my appreciation for the iOS ecosystem and user-experience.
    ...
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