Review: Blackberry KeyOne

17 Jun
Blackberry KeyOne

The Blackberry KeyOne is the first device that Blackberry has produced in recent memory that really had me excited about owning a Blackberry again.

Blackberry has finally created an Android device with the latest version of the operating system as well as a fantastic camera, large battery, and best of all a physical keyboard that only Blackberry knows how to do.

Battery Life

The battery life on the Blackberry KeyOne is absolutely insane! On reddit some users have posted over 10 hours of screen on time on a single charge. I’ve had slightly lower numbers than that, but I also was never able to drain the battery entirely in a day.

Camera Quality

The camer a sensor is the very same sensor in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices. It turns out some pretty incredible photos and videos.

 

Call Quality

The call quality on the Blackberry KeyOne has been absolutely stellar. Callers are loud and clear and can hear me just as clearly. Not much else to say about this. It works tremendously well as a phone.

Build Quality

The build quality on the Blackberry KeyOne is truly exquisite. The full metal body with the curved screen edges and the grippy textured back make this device a delight to hold in your hand.

Conclusion

The full outright cost of the Blackberry KeyOne is $729 unlocked from Blackberry, and for the price you get a great camera, fantastic battery life, and a physical keyboard. If these are things that are important to you as they are to me, then this is a fantastic device to consider.

Thoughts on the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3

20 Jan
Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3

While Alcatel is not a well known player in the mobile device game, the Onetouch Idol 3 is a budget device that offers quite a bit for such a small price tag. Bear in mind I’ve only had this device for about 12 hours, but having owned quite a few “budget” devices, I have to say that this is a very impressive device

The Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 comes in at $312 off contract and can be had for $0 assuming you want to take one of those tab dealies that the carriers all offer.

I took some sample photos that you can have a look at below, but this phone easily destroys the Motorola Moto G 2015 and is within the same price range as the Moto G.

As you can see, it takes some damn good photos. These photos are taken with the flash off and with absolutely nothing done to them. Just auto mode photos.

I’ve got to say I am impressed! Will have a full review once I’ve used it for a few days.

Review: Motorola Moto G 2015

19 Jan

The 2015 edition of the Motorola Moto G comes with some awesome changes but also comes with a ton of caveats for us here in Canada. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Moto G 2015 Storage Space

In Canada, the only version of the Moto G 2015 that is available is the 8GB Model. We’re also lacking access to Moto Maker which is an online application that lets you really customize your Motorola Products which is incredibly annoying.

Having 8GB of storage does not imply usable. The usable storage is about 4GB once the OS takes its share.

Moto G 2015 RAM

Again being in Canada we only have the weaker version of this device available which is the model that comes equipped with 1GB of RAM and it really does show its weakness while using the device.

I’ve experienced constant stutters and slow downs entirely at random and depending on what it is you’re doing, you can crash this phone pretty easily. I was able to crash it by installing Instagram and Facebook Pages manager at the same time. This device truly struggles to keep up with Android and don’t even get me started when more than one app needs an update!

You essentially need to manually update each app one by one otherwise your phone will be completely unusable and will likely crash.

Moto G 2015 Camera

While the camera on the new Moto G is a 13 megapixel sensor, the image quality regardless of lighting is something that “will do in a pinch” but is not something that will produce photos that you’re going to want to share.

Even with HDR enabled the photos look washed out and extremely blurry. Indoor photos with decent lighting still end up looking like something you shot back in 2000 with one of those cheap digital cameras from China that hooked on to your keys. The camera is truly disappointing.

Keep in mind all of the photos above are taken in the same lighting conditions with no flash and HDR enabled. I found it truly difficult to get a photo that looked decent.

Summary

In the end, this is a “cheap” phone coming in at $240 off contract but still…. You figure if you’re going to put a 13MP sensor in this damn thing that it would be capable of taking a photo that doesn’t look like a VGA camera.

If you’re looking for a similarly designed phone, spend the extra $100 or so and get yourself a Moto X or Moto X Play depending on where you live.

I really want to love this phone, but I can’t.

Thoughts on the ZTE Axon

23 Dec

The Axon is a new premium device from manufacturer ZTE that is usually known for low cost Android devices. That being said, the Axon is far from being a budget Android device in the traditional sense.

The Axon is available exclusively from Fido here in Canada at $0 on a 2 year tab / contract and $400 outright and at that price point you may be thinking to yourself: “Another budget Android phone with crap hardware.” Right?? Right??

I’ve had the absolute pleasure of using this device for the last week or so and thought I would jot down some quick information that will show you just how much of a power house this device is for the price.

The Spec Sheet

CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400

GPU: Adreno 330

Storage: 32GB (About 25GB Available)

Camera: 13 MP + 2MP (Dual camera), autofocus, dual-LED flash

Additional Features: Hi Fidelity Audio, Fast Battery Charging, 8MP front facing “Selfie” camera.

The Camera

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with some of the shots I’ve been able to get with this device simply sitting on auto without any manual adjustment. Here’s a small collection of photos I’ve taken.

The Battery

In my humble opinion ZTE has knocked it out of the park with this devices battery! It is by far the absolute longest lasting battery I’ve seen in an Android device.

ZTE_Axon_Battery_Life

As you can see in the screen grab above the battery was sitting at 47% after a full day of usage with the screen on over 50% of the time! I’ve never witnessed battery life this good in an Android device. Generally speaking, 2 hours of screen on time is the most I’ve been able to pull out of most newer Android devices.

The Bad

Every device has certain pain points that can frustrate the crap out of you. My biggest issue with the ZTE Axon is the custom UI they’ve squeezed into this device. While it may be running Android 5.1.1, the UI sometimes lags like you would not believe and even crashes sometimes. Thankfully this can be fixed with an update, but I do find the UI to be rather frustrating sometimes when it lags or crashes.

That’s about the only negative thing I can say about this phone. It’s a great deal for the price and packs some pretty awesome features and battery life.

Long Time Coming

25 Sep

iphone6-gray-select-2014I feel like this post is long overdue and a lot of friends and family have been making fun of the fact that I said a bunch of stuff about the iPhone 6 (that I still believe to be true) but still ended up buying one. So maybe it is time to go into a bit more detail as to why I bought an iPhone again even after saying things like they are made for idiots.

Let me take you back to 2007. Apple was readying the launch of their revolutionary new device that was going to change the way people communicated forever. I was 22 at the time and was rocking my awesome Blackberry 7290 which at the time was what I thought to be THE smartphone for me.

Then I watched the Apple keynote on their new baby. I was blown away! A full real web  browser?! HTML email?! Why the hell was I using this junky Blackberry when this new phone was like a computer in my pocket! Needless to say I was incredibly disappointed that it was an AT&T exclusive, and it wasn’t available in Canada until a little known hacker by the alias of GeoHot came up with a way to be able to use the new iPhone with any network! Again my 22 year old heart nearly burst!

I’m not sure of the timeline but about a week or so after the iPhone had finally been unlocked, my brother and I drove down to Watertown and bought a couple. We unlocked them and got them going on Rogers and I couldn’t have been happier with my new shiny. Since that day, I’ve always been a fan of the innovation Apple brought to the mobile device space (much like RIM used to) and then like every great mobile device company, Apple stopped innovating and started iterating just like RIM was already doing before Apple knocked them out of their seats!

You see I’m a massive fan of technology. What I’m not a fan of is a company that has a huge hit, and then becomes complacent to the point where they stop innovating and start churning out the same device every 6 months with  “1 EXTRA MEGAPIXEL!” or  “2 TIMES THE PIXELS!”. Stuff like that pisses me off, and anyone who knows me knows that I speak my mind. So I may say stuff about Apple, RIM, Nokia, etc. but it’s because I’ve grown up using devices from all of these giants that it saddens and sometimes angers me to see that there is some exec making decisions that effectively destroys the future of some of the biggest tech giants in the world!

TLDR: I love technology. Lack of innovation pisses me off. Complacency pisses me off. I’m using an iPhone now because I like the new design, and haven’t had one since the 5C which was poop IMO.