Tech Review: LG G Pad 7inch.

My laptop died in fall and I came to the realization that I fall into the tablet user category more than the laptop user category. Sure, I use a laptop for work, but in my personal life, I am more content driven than anything. I am not a hardcore gamer, I don’t use graphic editing tools for anything, and I mainly need something on which I can answer emails, write my blog posts, and watch my Amazon Prime. Now, I could do some of that on my phone, but sometimes, I just need a bigger screen and better processing power than a phone can offer.

7 and 10 inch
7 and 10 inch

The LG G Pad I had a chance to try was an awesome treat. I tried the 7 inch version, but it also comes in a 10 inch version as well, if you want an even bigger screen. It features LG’s Knock On technology that let’s you tap the screen to wake it up. Having this on my LG Phone is amazingly handy and I found it just as handy on a tablet. Once the screen goes to sleep, just knock twice to wake the screen and you’re up and running again.

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The screen is responsive and setup is user friendly. Olivia was able to get logged in and ready to go within minutes and we were watching YouTube videos seconds later. The clarity on the 7″ IPS display is outstanding too. Colors are vivid and crisp, even with fast motion. The quad core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon allows for good video playback with no lag either, so even gaming looks great.

Apparently my phone doesn't do justice for this awesome screen.
Apparently my phone’s camera doesn’t do justice for this awesome screen.

Another great thing about the LG G Pad is the battery life. In a world where tablets are plentiful, the battery life on the G Pad really sets it above other tablets I have seen. Right out of the box, the LG G Pad provided over 6 hours of solid use. After charging, it was a good 9 full hours of video playing before the 4000mAh battery needed another charge. On standby, it can even last up to 29 days!

Yes, my phone is named McDonalds.
Yes, my phone is named McDonalds.

One really cool feature of the LG G Pad is Q Pair…the ability to pair your tablet with your phone’s different features (above). Left your phone upstairs while you watch Shrek with the kids on the main floor? No biggie. Once paired with your phone, texts and calls come right to the tablet so you can remain productive while you get entertained.

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Speaking of productive, there is also a dual screen option that allows you to snap two different apps to each half of the screen. You can take notes on Romeo and Juliet while you watch it on the other half of your screen, or you can text while you Skype. The possibilities are endless!

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The ONLY thing I found wasn’t as good as I hoped is the overall volume of the tablet. It was great while holding it, but when I set it down, it seemed pretty muted. I fixed the issue by plugging it into my soundbar, but if I was using it while I got dressed in the morning, it may not be loud enough just sitting on the dresser.

This tablet offers quite a bit for a quite a low cost. The tablet is $149 for the 7″ and $249 for the 10″, so it won’t break the bank, but you still get some great features. If the onboard 8gb storage isn’t enough, you can also pop in another microSD card for up to 32gb extra storage. All in all, the LG G Pad is worth every cent.

Check it out at Best Buy or by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Sean

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Rotten Apples

Apple’s “BIG” announcement of new stuff today was a big disappointment to me (and apparently others too, judging by the feedback thread I was participating in).  I was hoping for some big mobile news, and as of 207pm, I’d only heard about a mini-me version of Mac Pro, new MB Airs with a longer battery (which makes them more like PCs and Android computers now), and the IOS7 “updates” which seemed more like they were catching up to 2010.  No new Iphone was discussed as of yet, no 14-20 hour phone battery, they talked about an “audio only Face Time” (..gosh, really?  Isn’t that called a phone call?), a South Park looking redesign of the presentation, a camera that is like Instagram with filters, and an updated Imessage that makes it look more Microsoft-y.

I-Yawn.

I’m taking this opportunity to throw a few ideas over to Apple/Google/Microsoft as to what their next phone should have…

1.      First and foremost, the world needs a 14-20 hour heavy use battery.  Develop the technology or limit the drain from apps.  Get. This. Done.

2.      I’d love the ability to take a picture of something in another language and have the camera translate it.  Tourism bonus.  Oh, it’s a TOILET..not a hand washing station.

3.      Make the email layouts for ANY provider better.  Unified inbox sucks.  No one wants to accidentally respond to a work email with their personal “magicthighs77@aol.com” email.

4.      Give us (with a switch on the side of a tablet or phone) the ability to grab and throw a text convo or phone call to another device seamlessly.  Any device, regardless of manufacturer.

5.      Cloud store music and allow us to put on any player (Iphone to PC to Google tab). “Throw” songs from phone to car stereo.  I know, awesome.

6.      Wireless charging standards. With more and more phones moving this way, why hasn’t everyone gotten on this?

7.      Total voice control.  “Grab” and “Throw”, “Answer”, “Block”, “Open”, “Copy and Paste”, “Back/Forward/Refresh” Voice to text options with every aspect of phone.  Kill the keyboard and you will truly be innovative.

8.      Allow phone to use WiFi (and security code or button on phone) to operate lights, computers, car startup, TV’s.  Imagine having a conversation and driving up to house.  You tell your phone to turn on your lights, TV, and tablet/computer.  Your computer does this by voice control, then you throw your conversation to the TV and keep talking while you grab your tablet and look at emails.  Imagine you do this WITHOUT Comcast or your ADT charges.  Imagine you being awesome. Imagine you being awesome outside of your own mind.

9.      Smarter Wifi.  Computer learns areas that have no WiFi and turns off auto search. Stop wasting my battery at my hipster friend’s house.  He won’t use WiFi because it interferes with his skinny genes.  Haha.

10. Have the phone auto share pictures by location.  It learns.  If you’re at a bar and you take a pic, it asks you if you want to auto share..then every pic is posted after that.  When you pick up the hottie in the corner and leave, your phone stops sharing pictures.  Giggity.

11. Nightshade option.  At a specified time and location, phone will ask you if you want to enable nightshade.  If you select no, it keeps on as-is.  If you select yes, it turns off emails stops screen from lighting, turns off data, and gives specified incoming calls and texts a softer ring tone. A phone should never be a cause of insomnia.

12. Full control of app screen.  No dock bar, no square layout.  You put the apps wherever you please.  Circle?  Sure.  Triangle?  Yup.  Overlapping collage?  Certainly.  Let my phone reflect who I am..confusing and messy as hell.

13. Auto lifetime OS updates.  A guarantee to the phone consumer that they’ll always receive some sort of OS update when a new OS is released.  I don’t care if my phone is the 3XS and you’re on the 27xs…give me SOMETHING cool once in awhile.

14.  Ability to share tablet/smartphone desktop real-time.  Blackberry does this.  Everyone should.

15. True fingerprint or facial scanning.  Forget a number/pattern lock.  Scan two million facial aspects of my face or finger and store them in the cloud, then use these aspects to auto unlock my phone when I look at it or scan my finger.  Leave the number lock as a backup.

I’m Flipping out!

As a former radio DJ, I have sampled my share of headphones and earphones over the years, so I feel I know good sound when I hear it.  Flips™ HD Headphones/Speakers are certainly a leader in good sound.  I’ve spent as much as $400 on headphones, but these take the cake.

What are Flips™ you ask?  Flips are an impressive new concept in sound that allow the wearer to listen to the music by themselves in a headphone style, or listen to them socially by flipping the headphones outward which turns them into a great set of speakers.  It’s this Solo2Social design, coupled with HD sound that makes Flips™ such a great investment.

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When I opened the box, I realized Flips™ are a headphone that spares no expense to give the listener the best experience.  Inside of the box was a cool clamshell case complete with clip for hooking on to a backpack for on the go listening.  When I picked it up, I was also surprised at how lightweight the clamshell was with the headphones inside.   The clamshell case has a clip for easy transporting on a backpack too, so they could easily be a good source of airport or school entertainment.

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I opened the clamshell and found the headphones packed neatly inside, along with the USB cable for charging the 500mAH battery that provides the “Amp’d Sound” experience of Flips™.  The headphones are a sturdy build too.  Unlike some overpriced “designer” headphones, these don’t feel cheaply constructed.  No clicking pieces or clanking around here..just an all around solid pair of headphones.  They folded out easily for my first listening experience.

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WOW.

The memory foam padding around the headphone speaker is a snug (but not uncomfortable) fit.  It adjusts easily to fit many different head sizes and it does a great job of blocking out exterior noise.

My test for headphone sound quality is “Spitfire” (the Kill the Noise Remix) by Porter Robinson.  It’s a dubstep song that has some pretty heavy bass drops in it along with a very sharp chorus in the song.  If a headphone can’t pick up the four different parts of the first drop in the song, I wouldn’t use them.  Flips™ were put to the test and I realized there are actually 5 parts to the drop! I’ve listened to them for a week straight and I am finding more depth to my favorite tracks daily.

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Olivia wanted a listen, so I gave her a shot to hear a few of her favorite songs using Flips™ and she was pretty impressed.  She said, “this is what a concert must sound like”.  I told her it was awfully close.  I also managed to impress her by flipping out the headphones and turning the Flips™ into speakers.  She said she’d use that more than the actual headphones.  I guess that is what is so great about Flips™..you can use them by yourself or out loud and they always provide a great listening experience.  Whether at work, at school, on the go, Flips™ are a good investment for anyone that loves quality sound and the ability to share the experience.

Flips™ are available at www.FlipsAudio.com and at your local Wal-Mart.  More stores coming soon!

6/11/13 UPDATE

You can get a special offer when you purchase Flips™ online on http://www.FlipsAudio.com!
Get $10 Off on Flips™ Headphones
Plus Rush Shipping Upgrade FREE
Enter Code:  FA0010INT
 
This Offer is exclusive to purchases made online at www.flipsaudio.com and valid from June 12, 2013 through July 16, 2013.  Each unit purchased will receive $10.00 Off the online retail price plus we’ll “upgrade” your shipping from ground to Rush 3-Day at no additional cost to you. This Offer is unlimited in quantity and cannot be combined with any other offers. 

Sean

Netmazonbusterdu

I am becoming less and less interested in streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and the rest.  Why?  They have a ton of crap I don’t want to see and only a handful of movies and shows I like.  Why would I pay $79 or more per year to watch two to three movies a month? Why are the titles I want to watch never available? Why does Netflix want me to watch old black and white movies instead of Tron Legacy?

What I’d really like to see is a streaming platform that has open movie/tv libraries, meaning the member can watch ANYTHING new or old, but they can only watch 20 to 30 movies per month and the tv shows have a commercial in them.  I know you Netflix lovers may have issues with that, and I am sure Cinemax and HBO would put up a stink for losing customers to a service with such a wide selection, but I am confident people would love this service.  I’d even pay $10 per month rather than $7.99.

What do you think? Am I striking a familiar vein with my concept?

LG Should stand for Let’s Go!

I got myself a new phone.  Bought this one..for free, thanks to Best Buy’s trade-in program.  It’s one of the best phones I’ve ever actually owned and I’ll explain why (and what it is) in just a bit.

Anyway, I looked at my phone on my lunch hour and was inspired to post something that’s been on my mind for a while now:  Why are phone manufacturers clueless about the people that buy their phones?

I say they’re “clueless” because, while shopping for a new phone, the salespeople bombarded me with statements like, “thinnest phone”, “sleek aluminum shell”, Facebook OS, and “many color options”.  I went for the phone that offered something that the others didn’t…performance and stamina.

I don’t care what the outside of the phone is made of as long as the phone is lightweight.  Over 75% of all smartphone users buy a case or cover for their phone, so why are phone manufacturers putting so much effort into designing “cool” phone exteriors?  No one will see it!  LG and Samsung have gotten the idea and designed their phones with a plastic or resin shell.  You get one or two color choices, but you also get more actual phone than the manufacturers that dump money into metal shells (I’m looking at you APPLE and HTC).  To me, a good case is worth every penny and I don’t even really care what that looks like, but I’d imagine some people do.  The only one I don’t really like is Otterbox because the damn cases make phones look like and weigh as much as a small car.

I’ve also got a beef with this new Facebook phone OS.  People already spend enough time on Facebook.  Why do we need a constant stream of what our friends are up to at our desks, at home, and now everywhere we go?  Are we really that lonely that we always need to live our lives through our friends food and concert posts?  It’s sick.  Use your phone’s Facebook app or go online.  You don’t need it fed to you.  Personally, I can’t see the point of constantly feeding information.  Windows Phones are excluded because it’s MINOR (pics of contacts update, a news blurb may come in, but you still need to go to apps to find more).

I’m not a person that listens to music or watches hours of TV on my phone either.  I’d imagine that if I took the bus in the morning, I may want to stream news or something, but it’s not on my mind these days.  I also don’t play video games on my phone.  I feel if your Xbox or PS3 can’t fulfill your gaming urges, you need a 12 step program.  I have a few piddly games like Angry Birds and stuff for Olivia and I to play when bored, but I don’t play the “pay” games and I can’t see the point.  What would really help me listen to music on my phone is the ability to wirelessly (via WiFi) sync my Itunes to my phone’s music player.  Apple’s inability to offer cloud stored music and the ability to do a once a week sync of my playlists on Itunes. I don’t want to stream anything without WiFi..but I WOULD listen to music if I could sync it wirelessly.

So you’re probably wondering what the most important thing I seek out in my phones is.  Battery life.  If it can’t last from sun up to sundown without a charge, I won’t use it.  I don’t care if it’s at 5% before I plug it in at night..it HAS TO last all day.  The trouble with newer smartphones is that all of those little bells and whistles on the phones (Blink Feed, S Beam, Siri, location services, etc.,) drain the battery faster than you can say 4GLTE.

The first phone I looked at this time around was the Galaxy S4, but two different salespeople said it can drain quickly.  Same thing for the HTC One and the HTC First.  I tried the Galaxy S3 and that had me charging twice a day with moderate use.  The Samsung OS upgrade came and I was charging three times a day.  Frustrating, to say the least.  The phone I finally discovered was the LG Optimus G.

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Before this phone, the only LG experience I had was a horrid three day experience with their 3D phone several years back, before 4G was mainstream.  The phone was so bloated with OS widgets and “features” that the battery lasted about 6 hours.  I took the phone back and got something with a better battery.  Fast forward to modern day and LG has realized that more and more phone owners want a battery life to match the phone’s performance.  After all, what good is an Android Jelly Bean OS without the battery life to truly use it’s features?

The phone is thin too, and looks nice inside of a case.  Out of the case is fine, but in the case is what counts.  I don’t want to feel like I am carrying around a concrete block.  I got a Body Glove case with the phone and it keeps the phone slim and protected.  The 4.7” phone screen is a True HD screen and it has Corning Gorilla Glass on the front, but I took the extra step and put a Zagg Shield on it.  I like to keep my phones looking like new to get the best trade in value.

It has a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Quad Core processor and can really keep up with my multitasking.  With Qslide, I can split the screen for better multitasking too! I can write blog posts while tweeting and taking a picture if I want and it never lags.  The camera is only an 8mp, but it’s a good one.  Pictures are clear even in lower light.  It even uses NFC and has a beam feature like the Galaxy S to share wirelessly.  The best part?  I use this phone constantly and am left with 20-35% battery at the end of the day.  LG’s Optimus G far exceeds my battery life expectations.

Middle of the day and I still have a good battery life.
Middle of the day and I still have a good battery life.

It may not have the billion gimmicky widgets, but it doesn’t need them.  This phone truly is a performer in its own right.  Other phones, you are on notice…Lg Optimus G is one hell of a phone to compete with.

Aaaaaaaaapps.
Aaaaaaaaapps.

Blackberry’s Back..Alright!

Yes, I just referenced a Backstreet Boys song title for my post title, but I think it mirrors the sentiment that many reluctant smartphone users have had for years. Many BlackBerry owners seem to have reluctantly migrated away from the BlackBerry platform in search of a phone that could simply “do more” for their lives.

As time went on, it seemed BlackBerry would fade away into the pages of smartphone history.

Wrong.

BlackBerry is definitely back with a vengeance pending the release of their new BlackBerry Z10 phone, and they have a nifty new operating system to boot.

No more buttons
The first thing you may notice when looking at the BlackBerry Z10 is that there is no keyboard, no home, and no back button, and not even a menu button! The touchscreen is actually capable of doing everything you’d do with those buttons by just a few swipes of your finger. Want to jump from one app to another? Simple!  Just swipe up to “Pause” your current app (or you can close it now), then swipe over to find your new app and touch to open! You can even “Peek” at an email while using a different app and decide to answer now or wait until later.  Here’s a video explaining the “peek” feature:

Sleek and sexy
The boxy design is also gone, and the phone looks almost identical to the Iphone 5. It is lightweight and the touchscreen senses touch on almost the entire face of the phone. The Z10 even has a mini HDMI port for you entertainment junkies.  All in all, it’s a slick looking phone.  There are some really cool cases and holsters out there too if you want to look unique.

Cheese
One of the coolest things in phone tech is the Z10’s camera with Time Shift technology, which allows you to take a picture and rewind time in the photo to ensure you have the best facial shot of the person in the pic. Jaws have dropped when I have shown people this awesome trick, and rightfully so. The zoom feature doesn’t work when time shifting, but the camera also does HD video and takes better pictures than any phone I have had so far.  Here’s a video showing the time shift:

BBM
Even the tried and true BBM has gotten a face lift and can now do a video chat similar to Apple’s Face Time..but what makes the BBM different is the ability to share your screen, even while video chatting.  I tried it myself and the phone I used to record myself doing the BBM video chat had a crappy camera, so the video didn’t turn out right.  Here’s another YouTube video showing BBM:

Keyboard upgrade

The keyboard is remarkable on the Z10.  In my opinion, BlackBerry not only fixed the issues with the current touchscreen keyboards of Android and Apple, they also improved it.  The keyboard learns from the user and intelligently suggests words, giving the user options of “flicking” the word onto the screen while they type as well as suggesting words on the space bar.  The autocorrect feature only had one flaw when I used it, it changes “..” to “mm” for some reason.  Other than that, it was perfect.

APPS

In a world of smartphone app addiction, some may be wondering, “What about apps?  Does it have a decent selection?”  Yes it does, and it’s growing everyday.  The Z10 comes with Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn already installed, and there are a pile of new apps being added to the BlackBerry World App Store everyday.  It has just about everything I need (bank apps are light, but I’d imagine the smart ones will be developing soon).

Any Negatives?

There are a few negatives with the BlackBerry Z10, so don’t go thinking the phone is the best thing since breathing.  The first gripe is that the battery life isn’t that great…in fact, with heavy use (like most users), I can drain it in just over 5 hours (which is a little better than an Iphone), and I was really hoping to find a BlackBerry with all day battery life.  The second gripe is that the phone takes a little getting used to because Blackberry reinvented the functionality most smartphone users were used to..this is not necessarily a bad thing, just don’t get pissy when you accidentally close your browser 5 times while changing apps.  The third gripe is that the webpages in the browser show up really small and double tapping to enlarge doesn’t always work.  I want fast browsing and the “pinch to zoom, unpinch to enlarge” thing doesn’t cut it for me.  The final gripe is that all notifications have the same vibration, if vibration is enabled.  Personally, I like a different vibration for emails than texts or social media, but so far, I haven’t found any way to change this vibration and it is a drag.

I’d show you some pics, but other than modeling in a mirror or taking crappy webcam shots, I can’t do that because the old phone I had is no longer working.  Hopefully the videos I included in this post will give you some good visuals.  All in all, I really like this phone.  BlackBerry really pushed out some new innovations and I am glad to see they’re back in the game with a quality new product.