Android 8.0 Oreo whats inside

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What’s Inside Android 8.0 Oreo?

Today Google has released there new Android OS version 8.0. (Code Name Oreo) If you are interesting in watching the live stream announcement from Google then watch the video here.

The Android 8.0 Oreo Firmware has been released and you will find it here, with this link to access all of the new firmware images from Google. You will need to know the code name IE (sailfish Marlin) of your nexus or pixel device to make sure you download the right version. If you need help installing this firmware then check out my tutorial HERE.

Lets take a look.

RootJunky

 

APERLITE YH-500 Camera Flash

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APERLITE YH-500 Camera Flash

Aperlite-YH-500C

As many of you know I use a Cannon Rebel T5I and Tamron lens to shoot all of my youtube videos and family pictures. I have many times taken my video lighting out to light up the family to take some nice pictures. I figured it was time to get a nice flash and hopefully leave those big video lights put away. I am hoping the Aperlite YH-500C is the answer to those Lighting needs.

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Lets talk a little bit about the features on this flash, the back lit display is clear and easy to use and the function buttons are readily accessible with plenty of room if, like me, your fingers are a bit sausage like. My only concern is the power switch. A rotary affair, it doesn’t feel very robust. That may be just my perception and it may prove me wrong over time but at first glance, I’d like it to feel a bit stronger.

The battery configuration is the usual four AA size cells and these sit vertically in the body of the flash. Once again the cover of the battery compartment felt a bit flimsy but once it was secured the whole flash felt reassuringly solid. The flash is secured to the camera hotshoe using the more traditional rotary collar and whilst this is not as convenient as the quick release system , it is firm and feels safe.

With a guide number of 58 this is a powerful flash and had no problems lighting up the average size room. TTL metering ensured that exposures were spot on and there were no communication issues between the camera and the flash with the zoom function adjusting automatically as I changed the focal length of my zoom lens. Recycling times with duracell batteries were almost instantaneous after lower output flashes and mere milliseconds after a full discharge. This will drop off i am sure, as the batteries loose power but I have to say, for a camera flash in this price bracket, its very impressive. Add to this the capability to use it as a slave flash, the port enabling use of an external power pack, the built in, pull out reflector and you’ll be checking the price to make sure there hasn’t been a mistake. Used both direct and bounced, this flash stepped up to the plate and performed extremely well. Here are some pictures for comparison.

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picture one is with direct flash, picture two i am bouncing the flash off of the ceiling, and the third picture is my favorite with it asset to 60% angle and the white reflection board out. these are just a couple examples of how this camera flash really lets you change the look of your phones. The problem with the direct flash is that the background is to dark and if you just reflect then the front of the box it to dark but with the angle and reflector up it is just right. 🙂 thumbs up.

You will not regret the space it takes up in your camera bag! If you are interested in this affordable Camera flash then pick on up HERE for a great price.

 

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Specifications

Circuit Design: Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)
Guide Number: 58 at ISO 100 (105mm) maximum
Flash Modes: Canon E-TTL II, E-TTL, M, Multi
Wireless Modes: Canon Wireless TTL, S1, S2
Flash Coverage: 24-105mm
Vertical Angle: 0 – 90°
Horizontal Angle: 0 – 270°
Internal Power: 4 AA batteries
Battery Life: 100-1500 flashes
Recycle Time: up to 3 seconds
Color Temperature: 5600K
Flash Duration: 1/200 s to 1/20000 s
Flash Power Adjustment: 8 levels of output control (1/128 – 1/1), 22 levels of fine tuning
Weight: 368 g

If you are interested in this affordable APERLITE YH-500 Camera flash then pick on up HERE for a great price.

Nexus 6P

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Nexus 6 P

DSC_0255-minGoogle-Nexus-6P

What does it mean to be a nexus phone? Is it a cutting edge flagship? Perhaps something meant for developers and enthusiasts? A bang for your buck champion?  It should be easy but it is a hard thing to explain the nexus brand.  Nexus phones have meant a lot of different things to people over the years.  Even Google’s own vision has shifted a little after each year.  Each time trying to adjust, trying to find the perfect vision and never quite getting there.  Knowing that you can’t please all the people all of the time, Google decided to have two phones this year, two visions of perfection. We are going to look at the phone marked with a P, the Nexus 6P.

The one trait that has remained the same about nexus phones; they push the limits.  They try to take what is current and improve it.  They take new technology and implement it.  Has Google succeeded with this year’s vision? Let’s review a few key areas and find out.

 

Look and Feel

The first thing that I actually noticed about this phone was how thin it felt in my hand; then I notice how good it felt, sturdy and well built. That something that told my fingers “this phone needs to have some thickness to it” faded after using it for a while. The phone does have some heft (178g) and I like that.  Huawei has made a solid phone for Google and that is a feeling that has not faded.

 

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The speakers are on the front, the only place for speakers in my opinion, and they blend in very well with the front fascia.  The antenna lines on the four corners works well and I have even started to like the camera visor. Early leaks on the internet made the visor look as if it protruded out like an ugly growth.  Even now pictures don’t do it justice.  In the hand and in person the visor looks to be part of the phone, a natural extension.  The power and volume rocker are located on the right hand side.  They sit just above half way to allow some single handed use.  The SIM card slot can be found on the left side.  Look to the back for a fingerprint sensor.  Perfect placement!  I would like to see the volume and power back there as well.  LG really has something with their “Buttons on the back” phone design. I hope more companies take inspiration from their design. Overall this makes for a very elegant phone and I would like to stop there but I can’t.

On the bottom portion of the back side of the phone is a plastic cover.  The plastic cover is there for antenna signals access and covers a few screws used to keep this thing together. The plastic cover really hurts the phones look.  There is a lot of effort to match the plastic and aluminum but plastic is plastic and aluminum is aluminum. You can’t hide that. Most people will put a case over their phone and that will moot the point but I still find this to be a hard pill to swallow.  80% of the phone is beautiful; the plastic cover is the other 20%.

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Multimedia experience

At 5.7 inches this is a big and beautiful display.  The colours really pop and this is to be expected from an AMOLED screen.  If there is too much colour for your eyes to handle you do have a built in option.  You can use the sRGB colour mode found in the developer settings if you want the screen to pop a little less. The colours tend to be more true to life with the sRGB enabled.  I have used both settings and I have to admit that I prefer the default settings.  The popping colours look really great when playing any game.  It made the experience come alive, even if it looks to bold to be real.  The only fault I have with the display is the blue/purple haze that washes over the screen when viewing it on an angle. This is most evident when you have a complete white background.  The coloured background of various apps and games can make this effect nonexistent. Just make sure that you are viewing straight on when opening gmail.

Viewing angles aside, this phone seems to be made for Netflix.  The visuals come in clear and crisp with the 518 PPI (pixels per inch) screen and the speakers are great.  This combines to produce a fantastic multimedia experience.  Five minutes into any show or movie and you are hooked.  You will forget that you are watching this on a phone and just enjoy the entertainment.

The speakers were so good that I had to compare them with an HTC phone and their Boom Sound speakers.  I assumed the sound would have been closer but you can definitely perceive better sound emanating from the HTC.  I am not an Audiophile but even my dull ears noticed the depth of sound that came from One M9.  Both are great, both are loud, but HTC had a richer and fuller sound.  I hope that more OEMs bring front facing speakers to their designs; it really makes a world of difference to the multimedia experience.

Under the Hooddsc_0055

For those that like specs, the Nexus 6P does not disappoint.  Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 v2.1 is the chipset that powers this unit.  This Octa-core setup is split in two with a Quad-core 1.55 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57 64-bit setup, mated to an Adreno 430 GPU.   Memory comes in at 3 GB of DDR4 RAM and your choice or 32, 64 or 128 Gigabytes of storage.

Does that translate to a fast phone? Yep it sure does!  This phone is like a big block V8 with Android 6.0 Marshmallow at the wheel.  It handled almost anything that I could throw at it.  Even jumping from Clash of Clans to Star Wars Commander and back again, was handled thoroughly.  Marshmallow many not have come with a change in design language but it put a lot of grease in the gears.  Everything is silky smooth. The phone did get a little warm under heavy use but not noticeably warmer than any phone I have played with in the past.  The only thing that made the phone hiccup or stutter was the camera.  It was an odd thing for me; I tried to replicate the stutter but could not get a consistent result.  Sometime is just wanted to be a little slow getting in or out of the camera app.  Thankfully this was the exception and not the rule. Speaking of the camera…….

Camera

When I first read about DxO Labs giving the Nexus 6p a place beside the Galaxy s6 I was impressed.  The new Samsung combination of hardware and software has walked away with all the prices this year.  Even Apple and Microsoft (Nokia) fanboys have been forced to admit that it is the best Camera of 2015.  The new iPhone 6s may change that but early reviews don’t give me that impression.  Either way the 6P had something to prove.

Does it live up to the hype? In my opinion, no.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good camera.  I would even say great comparing it to other nexus phones but I personally do not think it can hang with the Galaxy s6 camera.  Over all the pictures come out rather nice, but there is a tendency to overexpose the whites.  It reminds me of the large megapixel camera HTC was pushing.  Both cameras are great in low light but both tend to overexpose or wash out bright whites.  This may be an effect of larger pixels.  The pixels size for the 6P is 1.55 microns which really isn’t that large considering the HTC’s were 2 microns across each length.  It has the ability to record 4k video but the results are not always great.  Too much motion with the camera or the subjects and things get pixelated, fast. It also suffers under poor lighting conditions compared to the 1080p videos.

That is the bad news and the good news is……. there is lots of good news.  The camera has an eloquent and simply designed interface.  Some have said that it is too simple but I disagree.  Most people want to just point and shoot.  If you are a shutterbug you already have a dSLR camera for adjusting exposure and ISO, etc.  If you really want to have the dSLR experience with a smartphone you could always download and app and have your fun.  Personally I really like the simple design, it make it easy.

The 8 megapixel front facing camera is a dream.  The photos are nice and crisp with great low light performance. The camera will focus quickly and keep the colour very true to life.  It is really one of the best selfie cameras that I have used.  It does not have the “beautification” mode that some cameras sport, but I find that a blessing.   I would rather have my ugly mug look crisp and clear than that waxy makeup image that comes from “beautification” mode.

The 12.3 megapixel Sony sensor is for your rear facing photos and even though it does occasionally overexpose like I mentioned earlier, it is still a great camera.  It is generally quick to launch, fast to focus and the colour representation is pretty good.   The AMOLED screen can throw you off a little but set it to sRGB or put you picture on your monitor to show your true colours shining through.  With an aperture of F2.0 you can get some nice effects playing with your depth of field.025024

 

With an aperture of F2.0 you can get some nice effects playing with your depth of field.  Notice the focus on the background and then the for ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The indoor or low light performance is better than most but still tends to pixelate when there are not enough photons buzzing around.  Optical Image Stabilization would have helped out in this area and could have taken this camera from very good to great.

The video quality is better than most but I recommend sticking to the 1080p resolution settings.  4K sound awesome but the results are for from superior.  It is acceptable for basic scenes with little motion but the camera seems to handle 1080p much cleaner when pushed to the limits.  Try chasing your kids around with the video on you will see lots of pixilation at 4k.  With most TVs and monitor still pushing 1080 I don’t see the need for the 4k video at this time.  I just wish Google would have done it better if they were going to offer it. Even with the nitpicking it is a great camera and great phone.

 

Conclusion

 

When I started to write the conclusion, I was looking at value for your dollar along with what it means to be a Nexus phone.  I am going to leave price off to the side for now and discuss it in a follow up article.  So, that leaves us with the question of what is means to be a nexus phone.  Does this phone push the limits? Is it a cutting edge flagship? Perhaps something meant for developers and enthusiasts?

What I know is the Nexus 6P is the best you can get from Google today.  Does it push limits?  Camera and Battery have never been so good with Nexus phone but others have pushed their limits further. Is it a cutting edge flagship?  Yes, it can run with the flagship crowd but it is part of the pack, not the leader.  Is it meant for developers and enthusiasts?  Despite the e-fuse that will let everyone know this phone’s bootloader has been unlocked, I would say yes.  There are already all kinds of support for this device in the libraries of XDA.  That will only grow over time.

So Google has succeeded? Yes! This is the best Nexus phone to date, as it should be, it the newest.  Is it a perfect phone? No, but it comes close and for the money it may be the best value for your dollar.  This is a phone that you can recommend to anyone, the power users or the casual Facebook viewer will both enjoy this phone.  I comes close to being all things to all people.

 

 

 

Until next time

E. Tuesday

 

P.S.

Well it may be the best value for your dollar unless you are Italian.  Why am I picking on the Italians?  Well I am not but come back to view my next post and find out who is.

 

 

 

 

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Android Launchers Part 3

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Android Launchers Part 3 – conclusion

Welcome to part 3 of our look at Android launchers. In this post we will discuss launchers in general and ask a simple question. Is all of this choice worth it?

To use a launcher or not to use a launcher – That is the question! Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the conformity of apple or take arms against the colours of touchwiz, and by opposing end them.

Publication1William Shakespeare wrote that, or at least something very, very close to that. I don’t want to make this post remind you to much of high-school English class but what was William trying to say? This is my opinion…….
We have heard the arguments before, people who enjoy conformity and more communistic viewpoint should buy an Apple phone. This is not a bad thing. They are great phones, and all comrades are considered equal. All use imessage, all use facetime, and with this comes the ability to streamline services and production. Apple is the icon of conformity and Android OEMs would love to have that level of success with their own apps and services. Samsung has tried to push its services in a wide variety of ways, HTC has Zoe and LG follows along with this approach but non can compare with Apple’s magical ability to glorify conformity. Are they wrong? Why does it matter if i don’t have a choice? If the correct and best option is already laid out in front of me why would i need to look elsewhere? As parents do we not lay out the best choices for our children and tell them what to choose? This is done with love and for the greater good. Apple has spent countless manhours creating the best icon for you, the best app for your needs and the best layout for your information. I am not saying this to be sarcastic. Many people, about 20% globally and about 50% in North america prefer the option of a ready made choice. And why not? It’s easy. The rub with this viewpoint is that the whole is more important than the parts. Your individual identity is lost.
Android is the choice for those that like choice or so it is said. “Be together, not the same” as the slogan says. But is android the choice of freedom? Yes and no. Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and the rest have tried to get you to enjoy their premade choices. They have each failed at their version of communism so they allowed more choice as the years have moved along. A little more colour in the pristine white of conformity. Is it enough? Sony’s themes have always been gratifying and improved over the years. Samsung has done wonders with the new touchwiz theme engine but again, is it enough? Is this preset amount of easy change something to Shakespeare would write about? Are these the choices of freedom, the ones that are truly noble in the mind?Publication1
Well they work and they work really well. Anyone can open the Sony theme engine on their Xperia and in a few taps have a new look on their phone. Samsung has also done amazing things in 2015 to allow colour into our lives. All the OEM have given in to bits and pieces of personal choice. This is good for us all. Even Apple has opened up little but little.
So why do we need launchers? They can muck up processors and slow our phones down. They can be difficult to work with. If you really want to make a launcher your own it can take hours of time and adjustment to get it just write. Why bother?

Shakespeare also said
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to your smart phone.”

That is what Shakespeare said or at least it was really close to that. This is the point i am trying to make; launchers allow you to be true to yourself. When my phone rings the Knight Rider theme plays. KITT even talks to me when I get a notification, sure he calls me Michael but i am OK with that. The point is that i feel like myself with the phone. And the best part is I can have a multiple personalities. So many different launchers, with so many different strengths, the possibilities are endless. I can change who am from day to day. We can all express our individualizam.
So go out and be true to who you are. If that means an iphone or sticking to touchwiz, great be happy with who you are. If you have a taste for colour in your life, if you need to push away from the ordinary, then go for the customization that launchers can give. It does not matter which one you start with, what matter is that you start to explore. There is an odd kind of spark that happens when you see someone with a heavily modded layout. You know that they also dream in colour, and that they are true to themselves.

Perhaps i am making much ado about nothing, a phone after all, is just a device. A piece of overpriced glass and metal. It has no soul. Thing is, not all of us are artists, not all of us can sing or paint. For some our phones are our canvases. The device may not have a soul but we all do. So let your colours shine.

E. Tuesday.

WileyFox

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WileyFox The New CyanogenMod Phone

WileyFox is the name of a new OEM coming to town that will be offering two phones. Swift is the phone shown above and is there budget friendly model at just $200.00 US.  The Storm is there flagship devices at just $300.00 US. But the best part about this new WileyFox company is that these 2 phones will come with CyanogenMod 12.1 on them and will be supported by CM. This reminds me of the OnePlus one and i am really looking forward to checking out the WileyFox Swift for sure and maybe even the Storm. Now that you know CM is the OS you are probably wondering what are the specs on these Foxy phones. Scroll down. I dont see anything really grown breaking in these specs but for the price and the OS it should still be a interesting device.

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SWIFT

BODY Dimesions 141.15 x 71 x 9.37 mm Weight 135g Sim Dual SIM

DISPLAY Type HD, IPS, Full Lamination Size 5 inches Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels (~294ppi) Multi-touch Yes, 10 points, Glove mode Protection Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

PLATFORM OS Cyanogen 12.1 Chipset Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 8916 CPU 64-bit Quad-core 1.2GHz GPU Adreno™ 306

MEMORY Card slot Yes, expandable up to 32GB Internal 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM

CAMERA Primary 13MP AF Samsung S5K3M2 BSI, Dual LED Flash Features Face detection, touch focus, zero shutter lag, panorama, HDR, geo-tagging, auto exposure and antibanding customisation Video 1080p@60fps slow motion capture, high speed capture Secondary 5MP

SOUND Alert types Vibration, Multi-colored LED Notification Loudspeaker Yes 3.5mm jack Yes

COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Bluetooth v4, A2DP, BLE GPS Yes, with A-GPS, Radio Yes USB microUSB

BATTERY Removable 2500mAh battery Stand-by Up to 200 hrs Talk time Up to 10 hr (2G), up to 8 hr (3G)

MISC Sensors 3D G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-Compass Color Sandstone Black

REGULATORY Certifications CE / ROHS / EAC / REACH /GMS NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE 2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G bands HSDPA 900 / 2100 4G bands LTE 800 / 1800 / 2600 Speed LTE CAT 4 up to 150mbps GPRS Yes EDGE Yes

 

STORM

BODY Dimesions 155.6 x 77.3 x9.2 mm Weight 155g Sim Dual SIM*

DISPLAY Type FHD, IPS, Full Lamination Size 5.5 inches Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels (~400ppi) Multi-touch Yes, 5 points

PLATFORM OS Cyanogen 12.1 Chipset Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 8939 CPU 64-bit Octa-core 1.5GHz GPU Adreno™ 405

MEMORY Card slot Yes, expandable up to 128GB* Internal 32GB ROM, 3GB RAM

CAMERA Primary 20MP AF Sony EXMOR IMX220 BSI, LED Flash Features Face detection, touch focus, zero shutter lag, panorama, HDR, geo-tagging, auto exposure and antibanding customisation Video 1080p@90fps slow motion capture, high speed capture Secondary 8MP, LED Flash

SOUND Alert types Vibration, Breath LED Notification Loudspeaker Yes 3.5mm jack Yes

COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Bluetooth v4, A2DP, BLE GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS Radio Yes USB microUSB

BATTERY Non-removable 2500mAh battery Stand-by (Information coming soon) Talk time (Information coming soon)

MISC Sensors 3D G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-Compass Color Sandstone Black

REGULATORY Certifications CE / ROHS / EAC / REACH / GMS NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE 2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G bands HSDPA 900 / 2100 4G bands LTE 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2600 Speed LTE CAT 4 up to 150mbps GPRS Yes EDGE Yes

Slots: Dual SIM/Single SIM+MicroSD

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

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The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is one cool little device with it you can do tons of fun little projects like a mini linux computer or maybe a web server. Home automation can also be fun like turning on and off lights among many other things. Below is a nice little review on the Raspberry Pi 2 and I am hoping to do some more coverage on this device soon. I will have to come up with a cool project and make a Tutorial video on it. Please let me know if you would like to see something like that.

Pick up this fun little device links belo

Raspberry PI 2

Raspberry PI 2 case

 

 

 

Huawei P8 Lite Android Phone

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Huawei is a newer phone company here in the US. I am really looking forward to what they will bring to the table. Rumors around the Android community say that Huawei may be making the next Nexus device. For this reason, and the fact that I have never owned a Huawei product, I decided to check out the Huawei P8 Lite. Hopefully it will come soon and I can do a review on it and you can join in my journey to discover all the Huawei has to offer. Check out all the specs on this bad boy below and if you are interested in the Huawei P8 Lite.  Gearbest has a great price on them right now CLICK HERE

Display: 5.0 Inch HD 720 Screen
CPU: Octo Core Hisilicon Kirin 620 1.2GHz
RAM+ROM: 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM
Cameras: 13MP rear camera + 5MP front camera
OS: HUAWEI EMUI 3.1 compatible with Android 5.0 system
GPS: GPS/AGPS/Glonass
Bluetooth: 4.0
Networks:
2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G WCDMA 900/2100MHz
4G FDD-LTE 1800/2100MHz

Battery Capacity (mAh): 2200mAh

Micro SD Card Slot

 

 

Unlocked for Worldwide use.

Lenovo K3 Note Budget Android Phone

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Lenovo-K3-Note-front-back

Lenovo K3 Note Budget Android Phone

The Lenovo K3 Note is a rocking some amazingly nice specs for a price of just $160 US dollars.

Specs

• CPU: MediaTek MT6752 64bit 1.7GHz octa-core high-speed processing platform
• GPU: ARM MALI-T760
• OS: Android 5.0
• RAM+ROM: 2GB+16GB
• Camera: Dual cameras back-13MP, front-5.0MP
• Screen: 5.5 inch IPS capacitive screen, FHD 1920 x 1080 pixels
• SIM Card: Dual SIM card dual standby, dual Micro SIM
• Bluetooth:4.0
• Support Wifi/3G/4G/GPS/Gravity/Gesture /FM/MP3/MP4

Networks:
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
4G: FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600fMHz

If this is a device that you may be interested in check out these links for the best price on the internet.

Lenovo K3 note comes in two colors White HERE and Yellow HERE

Still looking for more info check out this video review below.

 

Picyourway PHONE CASE

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Picyourway PHONE CASE

Picyourway phone case is one of my favorite finds to personalize your phone case with exactly what you want pictured on it for a great price. Logan Miller is the owner of Picyourway and Each case is made-to-order as the customer chooses their design, colors, etc. The whole process of the cases is called sublimation printing. Sublimation printing is when special ink (sublimation ink) is heated up, it turns into a gas and ends up forming a bond on the case which has a polymer coating. The benefit of using the sublimation method is a full-color, photographic-quality image that does not crack, peel, or wash away and trust me its so much fun to see any picture you always wanted on a case come to life. I have been using my case for my GS5 for 2 months now and im very rough on case and i dont have a single scratch or any imperfection showing nor do i expect i will. The are 2 types of cases, hard plastic and a softer rubber but not as soft as the gell case which i really dont like anyhow and i have tested both versions and  fit of both case is perfect and no button issues such as volume/power ect. Im absolutely amazed at how good the pictures i sent look on the case, its so refreshing to have a personalized case exactly to my liking and for under $13 its even more of a reason for me to order another one. I will edit this article soon as Logan has his website up and running but here is link to purchase your case. https://www.etsy.com/listing/217608049/personalized-custom-apple-iphone-4-4s-5?      https://www.etsy.com/listing/217609705/personalized-custom-samsung-galaxy-s3-s4?

case rootjunky

 

 

 

Sony Xperia Z3 – Does it live up to its promises?

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Sony’s Xperia Z3 (along with its Xperia Z3v) is their latest attempt at breaking into the mainstream US smartphone market. They make a lot of promises with the device, but does it really live up to its 2-Day battery, 20.7 MP camera, immersive front-facing speakers, and fun gaming sessions with Playstation 4 Remote Play? Let’s find out.

Battery

Quite possibly the biggest claim of their Z3 flagship is the 2-Day battery life. Unfortunately for the time had with this device, it quite simply is not the case. Being quite blunt, this battery does not even last 1-Day for a power user. Besides Display killing battery as per norm on most devices, on the Z3 there is something that has to be wrong with Bluetooth. More explained later about that; Android Wear is heavily draining the battery on the Z3 and eating up CPU cycles for seemingly no reason at all. In this case a Moto 360 is connected and is also being used for trusted Bluetooth device unlock, a feature that hopefully isn’t causing this issue for how convenient it is to not have to enter a passcode or PIN lock when you’re Bluetooth device is nearby. For example, just this morning by 11AM the Z3 had 28% of its battery life taken from Android Wear. Resetting the Moto 360 and re-installing the Android Wear app seems to not do anything to alleviate the problem. It’s evident from other users on XDA-Developers.com that not everyone is having the same problems with their Z3, so to each their own.

Camera

Megapixels aren’t everything when it comes to a smartphone camera. Although, with the Xperia Z3 that is definitely the case! Sony has decided to go with an Auto camera mode that takes a few 20.7 MP images and down-samples them into a 8 MP image. In theory this is a good thing, it makes better wide-screen ratio’d images and saves memory on the device, but what if you have a large microSD slot and want to take full advantage of the 20.7 MP shooter? This camera doesn’t disappoint and it probably the strongest feature of the Z3 (when you use Manual mode to set the higher resolution!). Pictures are worth a thousand words of course, so below are some samples of some festive scenes and the San Diego Zoo Safari park that were taken with the Manual setting. As well, you will find a 4K Tiger and a 720p Time-Shift video of a waterfall.

Audio Quality

Normally, headphones are included with modern day smartphones, but not in the T-Mobile variant of the Sony Xperia Z3. So for better or for worse, the dual-front facing speakers were used for this review. Music videos that take advantage of stereo in quiet environment sound great. However, the speaker settings are not calibrated at all. 0-80% is near silent, 90% is OK in quiet places… and 100% is extremely loud. Not just extremely loud though, but it sounds horribly blown out and distorted at 100%. The same goes for in-call quality! A choice must be made between loud and tingy or too low of a volume for normal humans to hear. Most of the phone calls were over HD Voice, but as soon as it went to standard voice quality it makes the user strain to understand anyone on the phone call. Its a darn shame that some smartphone manufacturers ignore the phone part and just focus on the smart.

Remote Play

Disappointment is an understatement, Remote Play can be described by one word unplayable. Sony’s Hero feature for this device was its compatibility with PS4 Remote Play. For their credit, they did turn it on before their original November date it was slated to be released, but its downhill from there. A bit about the test environment: A Playstation 4 hard-wired by ethernet connection to an AC router, a Z3 connected via said AC router, a DualShock 4 controller connected video Bluetooth, and a frustrated Destiny gamer. When using the Remote Play app’s on-screen control buttons there is little to no noticeable input lag… that is NOT the case when using the DualShock 4 gamepad from Sony. 1 second of input lag with a gamepad makes Destiny a horrible experience and anyone playing in such an environment would be quickly overrun by enemy Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Guardians in the Crucible alike. On top of the terrible input lag, the Z3’s WiFi range is also just plain terrible. Even 10 feet from the AC router there were disconnects from the Playstation 4. In comparison, this same environment and router was used for an Nvidia SHIELD streaming which is also 720p@60FPS and there was no input lag or disconnect issues. Sony needs to step up their game when it comes to Remote Play and its unacceptable to advertise it as the Xperia Z3’s saving grace.

Software

Every OEM like to put their own skin on Android, Motorola absent, and Sony is no different. However, their skin is mostly just a UI change and everything runs silky smooth. There is one major thing that Sony should really advertise some more and that is Xperia Themes. Any user can go into the Play Store and download themes that can change a ton of the look and feel of the device, no root and sometimes no cost needed! A great example is the Android L theme that can be purchased for the pro version here or given a test run with the free version here. It changes the soft-keys along the bottom to look just like Android Lollipop’s shapes and when combined with the Google Now Launcher, 8SMS, and the Google Keyboard give a very smooth and stock Android-like experience without having to root or unlock any bootloaders. Speaking of rooting and bootloaders, you won’t be doing anything on the T-Mobile version of the Z3 or the Z3v as of the time of this review. The current version of Android on both is 4.4.4 Kitkat, and Sony claims to be updating the Z3 to Lollipop in late first quarter 2015. Compare this to Samsung’s claim of December and you’ll see that’s a very slow update turnaround if even the masters of UI overhauls and bloat can get it done by the new year!

Screen

Sony, like Motorola with the Moto X 2014, thankfully did not fall for the trap of 1440p smartphone displays. The Z3 has a 5.2″ @ 1080p screen that brings a dpi of 423 (keep in mind, Apple considers Retina on a smartphone 300 dpi and above, and they aren’t wrong!). Anything past 400 dpi is honestly not worth the horsepower required to keep up with it. For example, the DROID Turbo with the Snapdragon 805 @ 1440p could last even longer and run even faster with 1080p. Instead of going with the same 423 dpi if they had a 1080p display like the Z3, they went for a dpi of 564. Its quite wasteful and I hope this doesn’t become the norm from now on. As for the quality of the screen, coming from the Samsung Galaxy S 5’s Super AMOLED display, the Xperia Z3’s IPS LCD screen is bland and the white’s appear quite grey.

Body & Buttons

With a 5.2″ screen and large bezels on the top and bottom, the Z3 is almost impossible to use one handed. Thankfully, Sony decided to put the power, volume, and dedicated camera key on the middle of the right-side of the phone so its not difficult to reach them. Also, a fun feature they don’t really advertise is Double-Tap to turn on the display, a feature borrowed from LG and stock Android L, but definitely a welcome one! User beware! The back of the Xperia Z3 is made of a glass material and is quite slippery. Get a case for this one or be at risk of it slipping out of the hands when trying to snap a pic or when taking out of a pocket. The material looks nice, but its definitely not worth the risk of cracking one of the two pieces of glass the phone is made out of. Water resistance is a requirement these days, and its no surprise that the Xperia Z3 is advertised heavily as such. There was no water resistance test done for this review, but that’s mainly since this is a personal pre-order device and not a review unit.

Bottom Line

Should a consumer looking for a smartphone in November 2014 purchase a Sony Xperia Z3? I’ll leave that choice up to the user. The review experience turned from positive initially into a fairly negative one, and this phone will be turned ASAP and be replaced soon by a Nexus 6.

 

Picture and Video Samples

 

Evening Macro shot of a rose.
Pumpkin Test Image
Low lighting macro’s with flash works quite well.
Taken in direct sunlight.
Evening scene with a spooky Hello Kitty!
Entrance to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Check out the 4K Video Test by clicking the Tiger.
Don’t zoom in! The Xperia Z3’s kryptonite. Zoomed 1/2
Paw-In-Mouth. Embarrassing photo. Zoomed 2/2