Why Blockchain Technology is Causing an Industry Revolution​

If you listen to the tech experts, then we’re in the middle of a blockchain revolution. The technology behind the often misunderstood currency, Bitcoin, blockchain is currently being adopted by a variety of industries.

Without delving too deep into its specifics, blockchain is basically a way of validating transactions without the need for human authorisation. Each time a Bitcoin payment is sent a specific address, it needs to be verified by a network of computers. Once the payment is verified, its details are stored in a block of valid transactions and this block is then uploaded to the network of the computer holding the blockchain.

Breaking Down the Blockchain

Essentially, a blockchain is a record of every Bitcoin transaction, in much the same way a bank uses a ledger to track payments across accounts. However, because this system is updated every 10 minutes and stored on network of computers, it means that each transaction is highly secure.

Although somewhat complex for the general public to really appreciate, the tech experts in the banking world, healthcare profession and security industry are all starting to use this technology to enhance their services. Indeed, according to a recent report by the Financial Times, blockchain looks set to “disrupt” the way the fund industry currently operates.

With blockchain gaining in popularity, many experts, including the Digital Current Group’s Barry Silbert, have suggested that this revolution could help to make Bitcoin a mainstream product. Back when the cryptocurrency first went live in 2009, many insiders believed it would become the currency of choice for the masses within a few years.

Unfortunately, those predictions were a tad optimistic as Bitcoin is still seen as an “alternative” option rather than “the” option for those spending money online. However, that’s not to say you can’t do some “mainstream” things with Bitcoin. Indeed, when you consider that British Airways, a company that made $1.2 billion (£850 million) in profit in 2015, now accepts Bitcoin payments, it’s clear the currency is gaining credibility.

Bitcoin Already Has Base Online

In fact, it’s not only the aviation industry that’s starting to realise the value of Bitcoin payments. iGaming, otherwise known as online gambling, is a $41 billion (£28 billion) industry that’s starting to see more Bitcoin-based sites spring up. VegasCasino, a Vegas Royal S.A., platform now offers an array of Bitcoin only betting options.

Inside the VegasCasino sportsbook, customers can place bets from as little as 0.10 mBTC on everything from football and Euro 2016, to the NBA playoffs and the Olympics. Similarly, the site also offers slots, table games and ever virtual lotteries; all of which are powered by Bitcoin alone.

Beyond the iGaming industry, Dell, the computer manufacturer, brokered a deal with Bitcoin walled Coinbase in 2015 which allowed cryptocurrency customers to get a discount on Alienware PCs. Similarly, Overstock.com began offering discounted prices on everything from watches to bed linen after it started accepting Bitcoin payments in 2014.

Are We on the Cusp of Technological Shift?

In a nutshell, what we’re currently seeing is a shift in the way transactions of all shapes and sizes are processed online. As we can see, Bitcoin is already thriving in a variety of industries and it’s this popularity that has helped blockchain technology move into the mainstream.

Whether or not this will in turn bring people’s attention back around to Bitcoin remains to be seen, but what is clear is that people are willing to accept new forms of technology and that should mean we’ll be seeing a myriad of innovations in the coming months and years.

 

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Product Review: Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Gaming Headset

If you are a gamer, one of the most important pieces of equipment besides the controller is your headset. If you are playing games that require precision sound that you need to make sure you have the best. Look no further to Logitech, this month they have released the G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Gaming Headset, just in time for the holidays. Look no further, since this is no question, the best headset I have seen in 2015. Every year, the tech get better as does the headset and each year these companies are making impressing buyers with new features and no one does it better than Logitech.

Before reviewing this product, I was able to get on the phone with one of the key developers of this outstanding headset and got an inside look into its key features and unique abilities. What makes this headset better than others and worth taking a look at? Well, it features brand new Patent pending advanced Pro-G™ audio drivers which are only available in this headset. These are made with hybrid mesh materials deliver super performance and unprecedented audio quality. I was literally blown away by this one feature alone! Whether you are listening to music or playing a video game, this unit deliver both clean and accurate highs as well as a deep rich bass.

Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Gaming Headset allows you to experience incredible 7.1 surround sound with Dolbyreg; or DTS Headphone:X Surround Sound. Of course you need to have Logitech Gaming Software to get 7.1 sound but it is totally worth it because you are able to create an outstanding in-game awareness, hearing every branch cracking and noise possible. Another benefit of this unit is that it simply supported all game platforms. One headset to rule them all! This works with PC, mobile, home theater devices, and game consoles, most important supporting BOTH PS4 and Xbox One.

One of the important questions that I had for the developer of the product when we spoke was about the how clear the communication was on the foldaway, noise-cancelling mic. Well as he explained and as it turned out it is absolutely crystal clear. Testing it out, I found that it was clearing that even my cell phone at times. The boom is removable as well which is cool if you don’t want it in your face or you can fold it back as well.

Listen if you are planning on wearing this headset for hours at a time also or even longer (if you have a few days off from work and no plans), you are going to need comfort. The G933 Artemis Spectrum is designed for long gaming sessions. It is extremely comfortable and relaxed on your head. It uses new sports mesh materials in the ear cups and headband are soft and breathable for maximum comfort. The over-the-ear ear cups designed to fit around most ears without applying pressure on soft tissues. My ears are very sensitive and hurt easily with headsets usually and I actually forgot that I was wearing it at one time during my testing. Plus if you like to keep clean, the ear cups can be removed from the headset and washed (but you know you will never use that).

For those that like customizing your lights and tabs, the G933 Artemis Spectrum has customizable lighting zones, including the light strip and logo. You are able to customize each zone and program them to different colors or effects as well as even have them synchronized. There is also no shortage in options, the adjustable RGB lighting lets you select from up to 16.8 million colors. I have never been huge with this feature but users that like syncing their equipment lights will love this.

Keeping with customization, you are able able to assign custom commands using Logitech Gaming Software on the three programmable G-keys. This will allow you to move around seamlessly between your gaming and media experience. Some of the custom controls you can play with are controls for each audio profiles, skipping to the next song, activating push-to-talk communication, in-game trigger instant command combinations, and more. You can also use the Logitech Gaming Software to program the audio equalizer and pre-set audio preferences for music, games and movies.

Whether you want to use this headset wired or wirelessly, you can choice either one. Even though it is wireless, you will get a lag-free experience on 2.4GHz wireless for up to 12 hours per charge, without lighting, or if not 8 hours, with default lighting. So honestly just expect to recharge this headset after every use because who is going to use default settings and use less than 8 hours if you got a good session going. If you don’t want to use wireless, the 3.5mm analog input on the headset allows you to use wired without using battery power. So if you are looking for a perfect gift this season, look no further.

Product Review “Kodak PixPro SP360 with Extreme Accessory Pack”

If you are an active person, in this day and time, who does have a GoPro? Well Kodak has released the the Kodak PixPro SP360 to deliver a new angle in active lifestyle filming. I have used the GoPro cameras in the past and I was really excited of the concept of a 360 degree panorama handheld mini camera. The idea is cool but the product itself is a bit of a let down. Firstly, it is not user friendly AT ALL! It is extremely frustrating to setup and use.

There is no screen on this unit, which makes it even harder to navigate the menus in order to get this to function. Through either Wi-Fi or NFC (if you can get it setup), in order to see the images you need to use the PIXPRO Remote Viewer App on your iOS/Android device. I honestly wasn’t even satisfied with the quality of the images and video taken with this device. It is said to come with an advanced MOS sensor with 16 MP but I just felt that it looked less than par. I have seen many output results from GoPros and I was never disappointed to date. 

I feel like I should still list some of the feature this comes with multiple viewing modes including Ring, Dome, Front Degree/Rear 180 Degree, 360 Degree Panorama, Globe. It is also 2m Shockproof, -10 Degree Freeze proof, Dustproof and Splash Resistant.  Extreme Accessory Pack 16 MP Camera with 1x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 1-Inch LCD. The Extreme Accessory Pack includes the following: (1) Standard Housing, (1) Waterproof Housing, (1) Suction Cup, (1) Bar Mount, (1) Vented Helmet Strap for Top Facing, (1) Vented Helmet Strap for Front Facing, (1) Head Strap, (1) Surfboard Adhesive Mount, (1) Flat Adhesive Mount, (1) Curved Adhesive Mount, (2) Extended Arms, (1) Quick Clip.

So there is definitely is some expansion if you want to take this on the road with you but honestly, I would just stick with your every day GoPros this is a trying to be a replacement or an alternative but it really doesn’t come close in quality to it. The price is pretty low, so if you are able to pick up one use or cheap to try, it couldn’t hurt to play with but I wouldn’t rely on it for your big trip since you will end up being disappointed with the end result for sure.

 

Product Review: Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse

The brand new Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse has been billed as the “Most Advanced Portable Mouse…Designed to Work Anywhere You Do”. Being an IT guy, I love new tech. If you use computers you also realize how important mice are to your job. You need to have a good one if you want to make your life each. The Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse hits stores this month with a very reasonable retail price of $79.99.

We all know what a mouse is used for (hopefully), so I will discuss some of the neat features that this new “advanced” mouse has. Firstly it has an advanced Darkfield™ Laser Sensor is made to be used on physically ANY surface…that includes glass..yes GLASS!! No more mouse bad needed for those with a glass table. It has a nice compact size , a contoured shape and a rubber surface that makes it use very user friendly.

If you are a fan of Logitech mice then you will realize that the Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse is actually a more mobile version of their award-winning MX Master Wireless Mouse. A real important feature of the mouse is that it has dual-connectivity and connects easily to easiy Windows or Mac computers through the Pico Unifying Receiver (included) or through Bluetooth Smart technology. Either one works great and is extremely easily to connect. Another awesome feature is that you can pair the MX Anywhere 2 with up to three devices at once, this is an awesome feature if you are taking this mouse on the go and moving it from machine to machine.  With the touch of the Logitech Easy-Switch button you can easily switch.

If you are on the computer all day like myself, then you are used to scrolling non-stop through your Facebook page or through ending websites. This mouse’s scroll wheel is equipped with hyper-fast scrolling, so you can easily browse your sites easily and then shift to click-­to-­click mode for precise navigation. Lastly the most important part for a wireless mouse is do I need batteries? or does it charge? The Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse has a rechargeable battery lasts up to two months elimating the new for replacing batteries often. It if you need quick results only one single minute of USB-cord charging actually ends up giving you up to two hours of usage. I recommend this for sure.

Product Features: Samsung Gear 2 Neo / Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1


This holiday season, I received two Samsung products to review and feature in our holiday guide, the Samsung Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Tablet. These are both fantastic products and in my opinion MUST HAVE gifts for this holiday season. I will break each of them down with more details below. But since receiving them, I haven’t gone a day without using them and have quickly becoming my favorite pieces of technology outside of my smartphone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S5.

I have been researching Smartwatches for a while now and I have never really gotten on board with them as being a must have before. Once I had a chance to play with one hands on, I realized that I am unable to function without it. The Gear 2 Neo features apps, offline music playback, and heart-rate monitoring and much more. The downfall to some is that it only works only with Samsung phones and tablets but luckily enough I only use Samsung phones and tablets, so it couldn’t be more useful.

If you compare the Gear 2 Neo, which costs $199.99 to the Gear 2, which runs $299.99, it is not much different. The Gear 2 Neo has all the bells and whistles of the Gear 2 except the wrist camera, which is being fazed out of future models anyway and a metal wrist band. I personally do not need a camera on my wrist and the band of the Gear 2 Neo is absolutely perfect. In fact, I knew right out of the box that this Smartwatch was for me because I didn’t even have to adjust it either since it fit perfect instantly.

Other great features of the Gear 2 Neo are that it provide real-time notifications from your phone including Facebook and emails, as well as allowing you to receive and place calls when linked via Bluetooth to your phone. The device as an incredibly crisp 1.63″ Super AMOLED® display. It uses S Voice to allow you to speak directly to it in order to respond to texts, check email etc. All around, this is a fantastic device.

Next up is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Tablet. Personally, I am tired of Apple’s iPads having a lock on the tablet market. Sure iPads are good but you can do so much more with a Samsung Tablet.  The 10.1″ screen comes with a beautifully sharp 1280 x 800 resolution. If you are a user of other Samsung products like myself, it will wireless integrate and sync with your contacts, music, apps and more. You can also download apps, games, movies, music and e-books from Google Play. The products cloud integration really provides a seamless crossover experience across all Android devices.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Tablet comes with 16GB internal storage plus microSD slot, which has expandable storage up to 64GB. With the extra storage you can stores your music, movies, photos and more on the microSD card (sold separately) to save space. This is somethign that you cannot do with the Apple products. The device also features a Quad-core processor and is very fast to boot and allows rapid multitasking and stunning graphics on the games. It also features dual camera, a 1.3MP front camera and 3.0MP rear camera, which works well with face chatting with your friends and family. An iPads camera is slightly better with 5.0MP but to be me doesn’t look much different.

This Tablet also comes with get Samsung gift including trial periods to Box.com and SiriuxXM. It is also very light weight and easy to carry around. I also like the option to use Kids Mode for my daughter, so she can enjoy it without having me looking over her shoulders. If you are looking for a change from the iPad world, this is an amazing device to get started it and get introduced to the Android system. Plus the 16GB model is priced very well at around $319.99, which is a steal when you compare to the similar iPad Air 2, which is $449.99. Go Samsung for sure this holiday season!

Product Review “Nokia Lumia 1020”

All I have to say is 41 megapixels! That’s right the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a camera that is 41 megapixels. This phone delivers some amazing detail with it’s photos and one hell of a zoom. The display is a little small though to display these amazing photos running only 4.5″. When you compare to the Samsung Note or the Apple iPhone 6S, this seems a little weak. To top it off it comes with Windows Phone 8.1, which to my taste is a major thumbs down. I hate the interface. If you are using this primarily to take photos, I can see myself recommending this since this device really steals the show in photography.

Now getting to some of the other cool features, the smartphone itself uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 with a Dual-core 1.5 GHz. Forget Siri, meet Cortana, she is your truly personal smartphone assistant with this model. My only issue is that it is powered by Bing, which I am not a big fan of at all. Being a big fan of AT&T, This phone comes with the use of AT&T Locker, which is like the iCloud for all you iPhone users. It includes a whopping 50GB of FREE cloud storage for AT&T Mobile Share® Value Customers to store your photos, videos, music and documents.

With the camera, you are able to sue the 41-megapixel PureView sensor, which allows you to zoom into any photo or video without losing the amazing details. You are able to shoot HD video. Even though the screen is kinda small, the display is a AMOLED PureMotion HD+touch screen that has super sensitive touch capabilities that let you type using your fingernails or while wearing gloves. Plus, Nokia Glance Mode shows time and phone settings even when the phone is locked and asleep.

Personally, this phone was the first that I look at when I wanted to break my 7 year relationship with iPhone but it just didn’t have all the features that I was looking for. I wish they had this exact phone with an Android system instead of Windows and this would a perfect smartphone. I sure do love the pictures though. That is one thing that my Samsung Galaxy S4 lacks for sure. Ok one more time  41 megapixels! Maybe Nokia will release a new phone with an even more powerful camera and a better OS in the future. l’ll be first in line.

Tech Pioneer Launches Next Evolution in Online Videos

Vusay Transforms Online Viewing  Into a Powerful Interactive Social Experience

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 8, 2014—Wendell Brown, founder of groundbreaking tech companies Teleo, LiveOps, Nularis and eVoice, announces his latest venture, Vusay (pronounced view-say). Vusay is a powerful platform that makes online videos interactive with any device, vusay.com or any website with digital content. With Vusay’s point-in-time commenting technology, instead of  just passively watching videos, viewers can immediately add their thoughts and comments at  specific video moments they connect with, then instantly and seamlessly share them via Facebook  and Twitter without ever leaving the video screen.

Vusay disrupts the fast-growing online video industry with this new, powerfully immersive way for fans to engage with media, brands and millions of other viewers around the world. Vusay’s free  embedded technology integrates with virtually any video player on video content websites. The Vusay sidebar features real-time comments flowing at precise moments in videos, making the old scroll-down commentary format—which buries each comment and lacks connection to specific moments—a thing of the past.

“Social media is a vital transformation in the way we engage and communicate,” said Brown. “Especially with video, it’s a moment that matters. With Vusay, comments will no longer be afterthoughts at the end of videos. Now, fans can Vusay their comments in videos at meaningful points, thereby connecting with content, and each other, on a much deeper level.” “Today, more than 1 billion unique users watch more than 6 billion hours of video each month on YouTube alone, with online video users expected to increase globally to 1.5 billion by 2016,”
continued Brown. “There’s a massive opportunity for Vusaying to become an integral component of the video-watching experience.”

Other pioneering companies founded by Brown have been acquired by Internet giants including AOL, Microsoft and Cybermedia. Vusay has offices in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Berlin, and expects to launch in Europe by the end of September.

For more information, visit www.vusay.com.

About Vusay
Vusay (pronounced view-say) is an innovative social platform that makes videos more interactive for consumers and enterprise customers. With Vusay, viewers add comments that highlight specific moments of Internet videos, while instantly and seamlessly sharing them via Facebook and Twitter. Vusay Media Corp., founded in 2014, is a privately held company with offices in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Berlin. To share in the experience, visit vusay.com. Don’t just watch your favorite video, Vusay it!

Product Review “VTech InnoTab 3S: The Wi-Fi Learning Tablet”

When I was a kid we never used to have cool gadgets like this. My two year old daughter already knows how to use a iPad fully. She can unlock it, swipe through the pages/apps and open/play her games. This is unbelievable that today’s kids has this knowledge. I used to pretend to be superheroes running around in my backyard, but as they say “Kids these days”. I feel old. Luckily, the VTech InnoTab 3S: The Wi-Fi Learning Tablet is not old…in fact it is brand new and really cool. This device is a tablet and also a learning tool for our kids. It comes with a kid-safe WIFI connection, built-in camera/video recorder, eReader, Games, MP3 Player and Art Studio. It comes stocked with 20 apps that are already installed and it also included an expandable memory up to 32GB (along with the 4 GB of internal memory storage).

The InnoTab 3S: The Wi-Fi Learning Tablet promotes learning and as a parent, I am behind that full force. Only with the 20 apps that come pre-installed you are able to download more than 350 educational games, e-books, music and videos. These are specially developed around each child’s unique stage of development, age and interests. Some of the subjects that are tackles with these apps are reading, math, social studies, science, creativity, problem solving and more. Kids don’t need to panic though, these apps are fun and don’t feel like you are being forced to learn and be taught anything.

I am a IT guy, so the specs of this device are pretty cool. There is an improved 180° 2.0 MP rotating camera with enhanced photo features similar to the Kidizoom camera. There is a Kid Connect communication app, which allows a secure communication between a child’s InnoTab and a parent’s smartphone. Kids are allowed to browse the web with a kid-safe internet browser with VTech pre-selected and parent-approved websites. The display is a solid 5″ color touch screen. All I know is that if I was a kid and they had “toys” like this my life would have been shaped much differently so as a parent, I think that this is really cool to be able to assist in the development growth of my child.

Along with the apps that come pre-installed and are downloadable, you can also purchase themed software packs in the stores. Two of the VTech InnoTab Software packs that we were able to test out are “Minnie’s Bow-Toons” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”. In “Minnie’s Bow-Toons”, it is an e-book that tells the story of the TV episode a “Trouble Times Two”. There are three learning games focusing around teaching numbers and counting, shape matching, colors, and patterns. In  “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, you are able to use the touch screen or the tilt-sensor to play three educational games. There is also a e-book that tells a story of Mickey and Donald playing hide-and-seek around the clubhouse. These games are great and filled with fun Disney characters, music and sounds.

Product Review “Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer”

Last month, we were given the chance to do a feature review on Epson’s back-to-school printer, Epson Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One Printer, now this month we step things up a bit with their BRAND NEW latest Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One. I was blown away by the XP-410 but wow this XP-860 is absolutely phenomenal. Being in the IT business, I have a lot of exposure to printers and this is easily one of the finest printers that I have recently come across. The XP-410 is definitely still an amazing printer but it is a good option for kids in school etc. This is smart and bold choice for any moderate user.

The Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One printer still features that slim space-saving design. It print absolutely stunning, professional-quality borderless photos up to 8″ x 10″ with 6-color Claria® Photo HD Inks. The colors are mind-blowing. I did a comparison between the XP-410 and this one and wow, what a difference. The color is so vibrant and clear. The device comes with a 4.3″ color touchscreen, 30-page Auto Document Feeder, and auto 2-sided printing, copying, scanning and faxing.

I used to have a real snazzy printer back in the day that printed photos right at home, which was new and great…but you used to be able to go out for coffee and dessert before it was done printing…then it had to dry. This crazy amazing printer can knock out 4″ x 6″ photos in as fast as 10 seconds. I am amazed at the speed of this device. With the inclusion of another ink cartridge, the photo quality dramatically increases, while it does not compromise on the features included in the Premium XP-820. It also comes equipped with Epson Connect, which allow access to print and scan documents, photos, emails, and web pages from a tablet, smartphone or computer from literally anywhere in the world.

This device also features a dedicated photo tray, a rear paper feed for specialty media, and direct CD/DVD printing. This allows your the creativity to kick in as you can really do some cool things with these features. One of the coolest features though as to be that the XP-860 enables users to edit, scan and share photos directly to Facebook or the cloud with the touch of a single button. With today’s social media obsession, this is a real amazing feature for anyone with a Facebook account. I am going to make it my duty to spread the word about this printer. If I know anyone that needs a printer, this is going to be the one that I recommend.

Product Feature: yurbuds® Latest Earphones

Every day I spend my business hours sitting at a desk. I ALWAYS have headphones in my ears. I also find that I am going through head phones on a weekly basis. I seem to either have bad luck with any pair I get. Either my ears are hurting from being so uncomfortable or one each just stops working out of the blue from being all tangled. I will be covering two different pairs of headphones from yurbuds®. This a brand that I recently discovered and have been wondering why it took me this long to find them since I have been in love with their products.

The first is the Inspire Duro Performance Fit Sport Earphones, which takes my issues above and makes them a thing of the past. These come with Quik Clik magnet technology, which are tangle-free magnets can be connected together prior storing them away. The cord itself feature a tangle and tear-resistant woven cloth cord providing ultimate durability. These are literally guaranteed never to hurt or fall out. Honestly, I put this to the test also wearing them for 9 hours a day and plenty of moving around at my desk. They are very comfortable, they fit perfectly in my ear and are also sweat and water resistance and ambient noise awareness. Plus the best news of all is that the Inspire Duro come with a lifetime warranty. So this is a no brainer purchase if you spend anytime listening to music with head phones.

The next pair of from yurbuds® are the Focus Pro, like all their products these buds are guaranteed never to hurt or fall out (thanks to Twist Lock). These are also very comfortable if you like having something over your ear for a little extra hold. They feature a three-button sweat and water-resistant microphone. So you are able to control your music, calls, and volume control. The ear loops are definitely not cheap plastic either. They are very soft and moldable to your ear that add extra comfort and support. Attention all Apple users, the Focus Pro was designed  for iPhone, iPod, and iPad and is also fully integrated with Siri® and other voice-control, so if that is your choice of smart device, they should be the headphones for you…much better than Apples crappy pair for sure. Lastly, these are backed by a limited warranty.

Product Feature: What’s the Smartest Newest Smartphone?

When the very first iPhone came out, I traded in my old flip phone for what at the time was the best smart phone on the market. It stood the best for quite a while in my opinion. After the iPhone 4, I lost interest in the future development of Apple and its product. I decided to cross over to the dark side as iPhone users says and go the Android route with the Samsung Galaxy S4. WOW! Was my world expanded! Convinced that I would never switch back to iPhone again, I decided to see what else is out there.

In this article, I will be discussing three new smartphones besides the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone, which always thought to be the two strongest options in the market. Are phones even phones anymore…the phone part is the bonus with these devices. What is more important these days to be is the speed, the size and most importantly the apps! The first of the three is the LG G3, which I feel is no question the strongest of the bunch.

This is a phone, I would honestly switch over to if I had the option. The device comes with a 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS display. I am a big picture guy, so the camera is very important. This phone is equipped with a 13MP ultra fast laser auto focus camera. This is a big improvement over the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera for sure! I felt that I always got blurry photos but this comes with Optical Image Stabilization, which reduces blurry photos that result from shaking.

The carrier we tested this phone on was with Verizon. With that the LG G3 comes XLTE Ready, which is a good feature and let’s you take advantage of the latest advancement to America’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network. It is double the 4G LTE bandwidth in cities coast to coast, which allows you to do much more with your smart device. The device also comes with a Smart Keyboard as well as your own Virtual Personal Assistant. It’s not Siri, I mean what is, but it is quite snazzy.

Finally since I am an IT guy, I can’t help but to throw some tech specs in here. The OS come with Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat). The Chipset includes is a Qualcomm MSM8975AC Snapdragon 801 with a CPU of Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400. Th screen is made up of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Most important, and something an iPhone can not do at all is, expandable memory, this includes the option to expand with a microSD card, up to 128 GB, while the internal options are 16 GB, 2 GB RAM / 32 GB, 3 GB RAM. My only major complaint is the volume button and main button are located on the back. This is annoying at first but you get used to it. Overall a pretty rad phone!

Next up is the Nokia Lumia 1520, which last month was made available at AT&T in matte green! This phone is definitely big and quite bold, especially with that green back cover. The Lumia 1520 also offers the latest Windows Phone 8.1 software update. That is a great thing…if you like Windows. I use Windows 8 for work, so I know how to work it but it honestly fails to impress on the phone. The app store is also terrible. There is a big issue for me since I rely on all my apps to run my day and a bunch of them are MIA.

I see the Lumia 1520 working well with the trendy kids of today looking to have the biggest phone with all the good gadgets. It is a college phone. I wouldn’t recommend this phone for the general office environment for sure. The phone does come with Microsoft Office built in, so you are able to access Microsoft Word, Excel etc. I knew that this phone was going to be the biggest challenge to impress me and I really wasn’t blown away.

The Lumia 1520 does have a wicked camera, which is the best of the bunch. The 20MP camera is quite the powerhouse and using Zeiss optics, it is one of the most sensitive and powerful cameras included in recent smartphones. Though, with my smartphone I need more than just a strong camera to sell me.

Though camera aside when comes to technical it falls behind the top the LG G3. The screen is only Corning Gorilla Glass 2 for its six-inch HD display. It can only be upgraded to up to 64 GB with an additional of an microSD. The internal options are different also giving options of 16 GB (RM-940 only) and 32 GB, 2 GB RAM. Lastly, the chipset is Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 and the CPU is Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400. I would just expect more from such a big phone.

Last one of the bunch this time around is the HTC One (M8) from Sprint. This was a decent phone but not a fan of the service from Sprint at all when the other phones were sporting 4G LTE, this phone barely stayed at 3G, when it wasn’t saying it was roaming. Right away, I was turned off. It also features the worst camera, I have seen on the smart phone in today’s market. There is only a 5MP camera on the front camera, which is laughable in today’s market of 13MP and 20MP camera.

The screen has decent specs though coming wit Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It is expandable with a microSD, up to 128 GB and comes with an internal storage options of 16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM. The OS is Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat), upgradable to v4.4.3 (KitKat). It’s Chipset is Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801 and the CPU is CPU Quad-core 2.3 GHz in the US but the Asia and China markets for this phone get a 2.5 GHz Krait 400, so that is a bummer if you are in the US.

So if you read all the above, you might agree with me that the LG G3 is the obvious winner of the trio of alternative smart phones. The Nokia Lumia 1520 has the best camera but suffers from its Windows OS and a terrible lack of apps in their store. The HTC One is a decent phone also but just lacks any wow features that really drew me in despite having terrible service from Sprint. Hopefully next time, we will be able to feature the new Amazon Fire Smartphone and the iPhone 6 in our next Smartphone comparison.

Product Review “Epson Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One Printer”

It’s September, which means the coming of Fall and also back to school for the kids. Having a teacher for a wife, I learn to stay in line with the requirements in order to get ready for the new year of school. If you are looking for that perfect back-to-school printer, I would look no further than the Expression Home XP-410 from Epson. It is very small in size yet still packs a solid high quality output. It is also great and very user friendly for students of all ages.

In today’s technology everything needs to be wireless, the XP-410 is a complete wireless solution. It comes Wi-Fi Certified, as well as Wi-Fi Direct, and equips with Epson Connect, which is a great solution to wireless printing from smartphones and tablets. If you are on the go and need to print quick, the XP-410 doesn’t even need a computer. You can use it’s supported Android printing (KitKat 4.4), which will allow mobile users to easily print documents, images or web-pages to Android mobile devices. So you can pretty much take the ability to print with you wherever you are.

When you are in front of this one-in-one printer, where you are printing, scanning or copying, the 2.5″ LCD and touch panel is very user friendly and easy to use. When I think about one-in-one printers, I always worry about the ink cartridges. You spend $60 dollars on a printer and then hundreds on ink. Luckily, the XP-410 comes equipped with very affordable individual ink cartridges and give you the option to replace only the color you need. For this unit there are four DURABrite Ultra Ink cartridges (one Black ink cartridge and three color ink cartridges: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow).

Spending all the time on the cool features, I don’t want to forget to discuss the actual printing process. I was very impressed with the remarkable print quality from this device. It is extremely fast and yet still delivers very crisp and sharp color in it’s photos and documents. Also included are better image enhancement tools like red-eye removal, photo restoration and correction of over/underexposed images, which are very handy. Lastly, this printer also allows you to print customized & borderless photos and of course you can also use the built-in card slots for PC-free printing.

So if you are nervous or excited to head back to school, this little handy device will save you a ton of worry. Plus did I mention it runs for around $50-60 dollars, which is quite cheap for such a powerful all-in-one. On the other hand, if you are looking for something with a little more oomph, you can check out the next model up, which would be the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax. Hopefully we will be reviewing this unit next, so stay tuned to Media Mikes!

Product Review “ASUS MeMO Pad 7”

After experiencing the ASUS Transformer T100, I wanted to see what else ASUS had new to offer. I came across the ASUS MeMO Pad 7 7-Inch 1 GB Tablet, but from the moment I took it out of the box, I knew I wasn’t thrilled. The tablet takes quite a while to turn on, which is probably since I have been playing with a Acer Chromebook, which boots in a mere seconds. The tablet is too big for one hand and too small for two hands, so I felt awkward trying to maneuver it in my hands. ASUS is saying that this is one of their thinnest and lightest MeMO Pads, so it is definitely small but in terms of lightness, I felt that it had a little extra weight to it then I actually expected. If I take my iPad Mini compared this, it is not much lighter.

The technical guts of the device are as follows: 1.33 GHz Quad-Core Intel Atom processor, Android 4.4 KitKat. It comes with an 16 GB Storage expandable by 64 GB with micro SD, 1 GB RAM. There is also a 2 MP Front Camera and 5 MP Rear Camera with Auto focus (1080p Video Recording). Besides the boot time, the device is otherwise pretty smooth since it comes with a powerful Intel Atom Quad-Core processor. The picture quality on the device is also solid. The colors are vibrant, clear and bright with the IPS Display with 170-degree wide viewing angles.

Some of the features that are included with this are ASUS HomeCloud, which is a one-stop destination to access your video and music streaming across cloud storage. It also auto-uploads photos from your device. The camera has several different neat features including Time Rewind, which allows you to rewind your photos and never miss an important moment. All Smile, which gives you to the option to pick the perfect smile. Smart Remove gives you the option to easily remove unwanted moving objects from your photos like photo bombers. Last is Auto Selfie, which takes high resolution selfies with the rear camera without worrying about missing a person.

Other features at the ASUS MeMO Pad 7 include is a brand new interface called ASUS Zen UI. It is customizable to your own personality. It comes with eMusic to play and download music with your given 75 complimentary music downloads from ASUS. Also includes is Zinio, which gives you access to 5000+ digital magazines from around the world and you even get 6 free Mini-Subscriptions to your favorite magazines and a $10 voucher at registration. Lastly since this is only 16GB storage, there is the ASUS WebStorage Service available, which allows to you get 500GB of online storage free for 2 years. So you see that there are some decent features included with this device but I personal wasn’t very wowed. I would rather stick with a slightly larger and more functional Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Product Review “Acer C720P Chromebook”

I have been testing numerous tablets, laptops and other computer-like devices recently and I have been trying to find the perfect device for me to use as a backup to my desktop and smartphone. Well, I think I have found it with the Acer C720P Chromebook, which is actually Acer’s First Chromebook with Touchscreen. It is 11.6 inches, measures only 0.78-inches thin and weighs only 2.98 pounds. This is great device to take on the road and be able work remotely.
Acer already has the industry-leading Chromebook line and they are only sealing the deal by adding a 10-point touch display, which only makes this more convenient. Even though this has a mouse track pad and keyboard included, I like the option of being able to tap and swipe your way through navigating on it. In fact, the Chrome OS also has custom gestures built-in, so you are able to tap, swipe, and pinch to zoom just like you would do on your tablet or smartphone.

The device lasts up to 7.5 hours of battery life and boots literally in a mere seconds. I mean this thing is lightning fast. It includes the latest Intel® Celeron® processor based on Haswell micro-architecture. This device also has a fantastic tilt angle of up to 145° which gives the best view of the screen since I am usually lying down when working. It also has the option to extend to a bigger screen or television using the HDMI port.

So all this talk about how great this device is but in case you don’t know Chromebooks are not laptops and they are not tablets. They are basically used for browsing the web and also come with popular Google products built in: Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Hangouts. You are able to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings with apps like Google Docs, Zoho and SlideRocket. Plus the Chrome Web Store offers thousands of free apps, themes, and extensions to help you make the most of your Chromebook.

The Chronebook comes with only 2GB of space but you are able to take advantage of up to 100GB of free storage on Google Drive the first 2 years after purchase. The Acer C720P Chromebook also connects with dual band Wi-Fi and even comes with 12 free Gogo Inflight1 passes, which is worth about $150 bucks and can be used on continental U.S. flights of participating airlines. Another thing that I love is that these machines are virtually virus, malware, spyware, adware free and being an IT guy myself that is always a bonus.

So I have been shopping various Chromebooks in the last few months and this Acer C720 Touch is easily the best that I have seen on the market. If you are looking for something that is light, powerful and very easy to use that I cannot recommend this anymore. Plus this device only would run you around $299.99, which is much cheaper than a laptop or any iPad. Highly recommend this for sure! Another great Acer product.

Product Review “Turtle Beach Ear Force PX4”

It is not easy to be a gamer and also have a young child. I recently just purchased a Playstation 4 and I was dying to get lost in the system after putting my daughter to sleep. I could do so but I had to keep the volume so low it was taking some of the fun out of the experience. I wanted to give this system a real test run. Well, the answer to this problem can simply be resolved with the purchase of this fine product, Turtle Beach Ear Force PX4, which is a Wireless Dolby® Surround Sound headset

When I am playing a game, I like to get immersed in the game and listen to all the fine details and enjoy the score. This is honestly, the best and only way to do that. The PX4 allows you up to 15 hours of uninterrupted play on your video games sytems including the PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. But the fun doesn’t stop there and you are able to also use this amazing headset to enjoy watching content on your Netflix account or even any of your Blu-Ray movies. The surround sound is absolutely impressive.

Besides just listening to your games or movies, this headset also has a receiver that allows you to stay connected with friends and teammates with chat audio for each system. The headset used Dual-Band Wi-Fi Wireless Technology that is interference-free with audio and chat. A really cool feature that I actually didn’t even know about until writing this review is the ability to dual-pair the headset. So you are able to link your Bluetooth on your phone to be able to answer mobile phone calls without ever leaving the game or pai with ANY Bluetooth communication device, such as a PC, laptop or tablet. Tell me this is MEGA cool!?

For those audiophiles out there this headset also takes advantage of multiple EQ presets including bass and treble boost combinations plus separate game and chat volume controls. You can adjust your experience by changing the positioning of the surround sound. You can even connect a second audio source (such as a phone or MP3 player) to the transmitter to listen to music when done gaming. Chat volume automatically increases as the game volume gets louder.

At first, I was a bit concerned about having to wear a headset for a long period of time but Turtle Beach really delivered a product that specialized in comfort. It is thickly padded with adjustable headband and breathable mesh ear cushions. What I really like is the fact that the built-in rechargeable battery delivers up to 15 hours of continuous play and you can even charge while playing (if you are close enough to your system). All and I, I couldn’t have been anymore excited for this release and if you are a gamer, I highly recommend this!

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