iPhone 5S vs 5C (5C Edition)

iPhone 5C Review

iPhone 5CLast February, when I was still working at the American Cancer Society, I was doing some canvassing one day and happened to pass by a Verizon store. My Droid Incredible had been giving me some trouble, so I went in to ask them if anything could be done. I ended up trading it in for an iPhone 4 for only $100–the 4s had just come out, so the 4 was cheap.

As a Mac person, it was about time I got an iPhone. When I had originally bought the Droid, I found I couldn’t sync any of my calendars in the correct direction (my Google calendar would sync to iCal, but I couldn’t get iCal to sync to Google). So I was just biding my time until I could get a phone that would sync seamlessly to my calendars, iTunes, etc. Getting the iPhone 4 completed the circle.

Fast-forward a year and 9 months or so. My trusty iPhone 4 was still working more or less perfectly, but its capacity was shot–having bought only the 8GB, I had barely 30 songs, less than 1,000 pictures, and only a few extraneous apps installed on the phone, but there still wasn’t enough space available to install iOS7. The large majority of these apps were daily essentials (banking, Facebook, Sparkpeople, Pandora), and my phone was running painfully slowly. So when the iPhone 5s and 5c came out, I got it into my head that I should upgrade. (Thankfully, there was an upgrade available on my family plan!)

Amazon – Apple iPhone 5c, White 16GB (Unlocked)

The first thing I did was check out the differences in specs between the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c. I ruled out the iPhone 5 almost immediately because only the 64GB model was available through Verizon, and I wasn’t about to pay $300 for a phone that wasn’t even the most recent version. In comparing the iPhone 5s and 5c, I noticed only a few things the 5s had that the 5c didn’t, namely a few camera features (burst mode, slow-motion video, “True Tone” flash instead of an LED flash) and, of course, the fingerprint identity scanner. Deciding that I really didn’t want a fingerprint scanner anyway, and realizing that, if I wanted fancy camera features, I could just buy a camera (which I plan to do before I get married in April), I decided to go for the iPhone 5c. Plus, for $199, I could get a 32GB iPhone 5c, while that much would only get me a 16GB iPhone 5s.

So about a month ago, after watching BC get dealt a crushing defeat at the hands of FSU, I decided to cheer myself up by heading to the Verizon store a few miles away. After signing in and waiting a while for service, another rep finally called my name and I explained what I wanted. I also mentioned that I had an iPhone 4 that I would be willing to trade in if it would get me anything. Incredibly, my iPhone 4 had a $100 trade-in value! I got my new, blue iPhone 5c, a case, screen protectors, and an additional charger for less than $200. I went home a VERY happy camper.

I love this phone. Everything is fast. The capacity is great and (hopefully) more than I’ll ever need. The display is beautiful. The sound quality, both from the earpiece and the speaker at the bottom, is great. I haven’t had any antenna issues when making or receiving calls. The battery life, while never great on smartphones, is definitely an improvement over my drained-in-4-hours iPhone 4 battery, so I’m definitely not complaining. With moderate use throughout the day (some music playing, lots of Facebook, texting, and Words With Friends) I still usually go home at the end of the day with at least 50% charge. I worked from 8:30am until midnight a few days ago, and my phone only gave me a “20% battery” alert when I was about to go home.

The camera is also pretty great for a phone camera. There are a bunch of different instagram-like settings, including a “square” setting, as well as panoramic and video settings. The zoom is pretty good too.

Video quality is great, too:

Of course, I have to make a bit of a mention of iOS7. I got used to it pretty quickly and frankly not much has changed except the surface. I don’t love the eye-searing green that accompanies the toggle switches and text message balloons, and the dock bothers me because it seems like a step backwards all the way to Mac OS X Tiger:

Tiger OS X

I definitely prefer the “platform” look of the dock from previous iOS iteration.

Otherwise, though, while I do miss the skeumorphic touches of previous versions of iOS, I can live with iOS7 and frankly haven’t noticed too much difference. The starkest difference, to me, is the Messages app. The speech bubbles are entirely flat now and have taken more getting used to than most of the changes, just because texting is a large part of what I do on my phone.

I also LOVE that the new Maps app will actually REDIRECT when you take a wrong turn! It’s like a real GPS!! I was VERY happy when I discovered this feature. It also has much better graphics and actually makes sense when you’re using turn-by-turn directions.

 

Overall, I can’t say anything bad about this phone. If you’re looking to upgrade, I would highly recommend the iPhone 5c.

Review: Lenovo Twist Laptop

Lenovo Twist Laptop Recently I decided to purchase a new laptop now that I have graduated college. I have been using the same Dell XPS for the last 4 years and even though it still works it has suffered decent wear and tear. I constantly carry my laptops with me everywhere I go, always finding some sort of work to do or necessary need for it. So I began looking into the new technology on laptops and some of the features that I would want. This is when i found out the laptop market is a new type of beast. With all the new different types of laptops out there it is extremely complicated deciding what features best fit your needs nevermind which brand to choose from. I was in no rush to buy a new laptop because I wanted to thoroughly research each one and find something that would be perfect for my specific needs. After a bit of online research, I came to the decision that I wanted a high performance “Convertible” laptop. A convertible laptop is a touch screen laptop where the screen can be rotated or slid over the keyboard converting it into a tablet.

Now with the type of laptop decided it was onto the more complex part of choosing, deciding what brand to buy then what specifications the laptop required. Luckily I have a strong knowledge of computer statistics and knew the exact specifications I needed for both work and entertainment. I wanted an i7 with both a solid state hard drive (no moving parts) and a hard disk drive. One of the most important factors was reliability and durability, I carry my laptop with me everywhere I go…Literally I always have it so if it can’t take some rugged situations then it will have a short life span.


Price: $1100 (www.lenovo.com – $1400 after 4 year warranty)
Ownership Length: 2 months
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros:
1) Portability and adaptability – It is so light and ultra thin that it’s almost mesmerizing watching it transform back and forth from tablet to laptop. Fully functional laptop when I’m at a desk and folds into a tablet when I need to be mobile.
2) Speed – The Intel Core i7 has been unbelievably fast.
3) Durability – Gorilla glass screen and tough Lenovo ThinkPad parts combine to make a sturdy machine. (I got a screen protector because of touch features)

Cons:
1) Not 1080p HD – 12.5″ W HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlight, but it is Gorilla Glass
2) HDMI mini out – I don’t know why they did not put a full-size HDMI port in this laptop, requiring me to get an adapter is somewhat frustrating
3) Display orientation – This is a very minute criticism that I am only mentioning because it can be slightly frustrating. The screen rotation sometimes acts strange and whatever orientation it is in when it’s slept/turned off will be how it is going to startup until you are logged in, then it becomes active.

Summary

This laptop has been completely perfect for me. I was impressed when I first had unboxed it; before I had even fired it up it had me smiling. I knew it would be smaller than my old laptop but never realized this would only be a ¼ of its size.

This laptop has more than impressed me, it has spoiled me with its portability and has almost rendered my iPad as an entertainment only device. I’ve used IBM and Lenovo products before and they have a very crisp and responsive feel, this being a ThinkPad has the same overall good feel with the addition of a touchscreen and innovative portability. If you want a laptop that basically functions as a tablet just as efficiently and have strong value on dependability this should be one of your major considerations.

Tech Specs
Processor: Intel Core i7-3537U on MB
Operating system: Windows 8 64
Operating system Language: Win8 64 English
Total memory: 8 GB PC3-10600 DDR3L on MB
Hard drive: 500GB HDD 7200rpm
Battery: 8 cell Li-Polymer 42.4Wh S230u
WiFi wireless LAN adapters: Intel CW-N 2230 (2x2BGN&BT4)
Display Panel: S230u 12.5WHD,NW Mocha
Storage Adapter: 24GB Micro SSD SATA3 Win8
System Unit: S230u Intel HD, i7-3537U 8GB

Review: Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HDI bought the Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS because I was looking for a camera with full HD video as well as a decent overall picture camera. My other option was to use my phone, but I have a lot of scratches already from dropping it everywhere I go. I also wanted something that I could travel with and not carry it around in a case or bag.

My budget was around $150 and I was looking to get around 16 Mega Pixels.


Price: $144.95 from Adorama Camera (through Amazon)
Resolution: 16.1 MP
Ownership Length: 2 month
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros
1) Picture Quality – Pictures are nice and large [insert dimensions] and are really clear. See examples below.
2) Video/Audio Quality – The full HD (1080p) and stereo microphone perform exceptionally well for a point-and-shoot camera. It is very popular with many YouTube Partners. See examples below.
3) Size – It is small enough to easily fit in your pocket with other things.

Cons
1) Zoom Noise – This camera is loud when zooming in. It is picked up in the video recording which is definitely a bad thing.

Example Content

Summary

Overall, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS is a great all-around point-and-shoot camera. The price is good and the quality is great. I used this for some graduation photos and it didn’t disappoint at all. The outdoor pictures were especially good.

This is also great if you are looking for a camera to shoot videos with. The quality is pretty good and can capture great moments like sporting events or concerts. The size makes it really portable too. This makes a great camera for YouTube videos as well!

Is The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 A Good Phone?

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung Galaxy Note 2Deciding what phone to buy is always a difficult decision with new devices being released to the market every month. For me, this was especially difficult because I have had multiple Blackberry phones previously and had grown to like their products. I was going to wait to buy the new Blackberry z10, but at the time, it was not released. Not wanting to buy an obsolete blackberry I decided my choices were limited to Apple or Android.

Due to the fact I already have an iPad, I was dissuaded from buying an iPhone because it would simply be a smaller version of my iPad and I am not a fan of the Apple operating system, I like to be able to customize my phone and have plenty of adjustable options.

To make a decision, I came to the conclusion I needed to physically try the phones recently released to see what features are available. So off to Verizon I ventured to search for a new cellular device.

The first phones that drew my attention were the Motorola Razr HD, Samsung Galaxy S3, and then I saw the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Instantly attracted to the mini-tablet that claimed to be a phone, I needed to know more. After a few minutes of using each one, I was drawn back to the Galaxy Note 2 with its massive and clear HD super AMOLED screen. Then I realized it had a stylus and my intrigue spiked. The stylus is one of the best features because of how many things it allows you to do that would not be possible without it.


Price: $422.50 with 2-year contract from Verizon
OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Ownership Length: 6 month
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros
1. Screen size and quality- Very large 5.55 inch and super bright HD super AMOLED screen provides clear video and vivid colors.
2. Stylus- The stylus that comes with this phone is unlike any other. Not only does it have a button but the phone also detects it when it is hovering over the screen.
3. Operating system- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean provides features that work well with the phone such as built in power saver mode and driving mode.
4. Speed – Quad core processor makes it so that you can multitask…on a phone.

Cons
1. Size- Difficult to use with one hand.

Summary

At the time, my phone had died and I was forced to replace it. I decided on something that would be the best for me, which happened to be the most expensive one at the time. After owning this phone for more than 6 months, I am still in love with it and use it nonstop, both for business and for entertainment. If you like watching video on your phone, multi-tasking, lightning fast processing, and the ability to draw, then I highly recommend getting the Note 2.

iPad vs. iPad Mini

Review: iPad Mini

iPad MiniAs a recent convert from Windows products to Apple in 2012, I began to consider purchasing a tablet to fill the gap between an iPhone and a MacBook Air. While I found the super-light laptop great for making a backpack less cumbersome, it is still difficult to use on something other than on a table or other hard surface. Additionally, while the iPhone is nice for pocketability, it isn’t a great size for reading at the airport or watching a video while lounging. While the iPad, of course, already fits this niche, to me it still seemed somewhat cumbersome for things like reading, and too expensive for something that would be used purely recreationally, so I decided to try the iPad Mini.


Price: $329 from Apple
Ownership: 3 Months
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)

 


Pros
1) Build Quality – It’s a sweet, well-engineered, solid product.
2) Size and Weight – Unlike its bigger brother, the iPad Mini is the perfect size for reading and one-handed use. Plus, it’s super light. (Sidebar: I will go more in depth about in a future blog post about cases, but suffice it to say, I’ve stopped using any kind of case when I’m at home because the machine is just too awesome sans any kind of weighty nuisance.)
3) Software – If you like iOS, then you will like the iPad Mini. If you don’t like iOS, why are you still reading this review?
4) Screen – Some people hate that the iPad Mini does not boast a Retina display. While it is not as sharp as the iPhone, it’s not a very noticeable difference to me, as I currently type on a perfectly fine non-retina computer.
5) Battery – The battery life of the iPad mini is good. I can watch a full hour of video with the battery only decreasing by about 3-5%.

Cons
1) Ports – Lightning isn’t bad, but it should be cheaper to get an HDMI to Lightning adapter if you want to hook it up to show something on a TV.
2) Muting – The mute switch will only mute app and general sounds. It will not mute the video, which is dumb.
3) Flash – I still wish you could get flash content on iOS.

Summary

I really like the iPad Mini. I think it’s a better form factor than the iPad (though the rumors about the iPad 5 seem intriguing and might make it a wash). For me, it still isn’t as much of a “go-to” device as my iPhone or Macbook Air, but it’s really good for home lounging, as well as a cramped location (airplane, sitting in a seminar). If you are into the Apple ecosystem and want a fun, less expensive (though not inexpensive) tablet, I can only recommend the iPad Mini.